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bond categories

XPO Logistics

XPO Logistics. A $2bn high yield transaction and why we didn’t play.

As value investors we would generally assert that every financial asset has its price. Few bond market offerings tick all the boxes, but if we are to be suitably compensated, and subject to certain red lines, we are generally sanguine.

Yesterday saw XPO Logistics, a third party US based logistics firm raise $2bn equivalent of debt across Euros and Dollars to part fund its acquisition of Norbert…

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Why have bonds sold off – and why did they even rally in the first place?

Ben Bernanke has spent a good deal of time explaining on his blog why he thinks interest rates are so low (something that Martin Wolf wrote a column on earlier this week).  An extremely quick and dirty summary is low nominal interest rates and yields can be explained by low inflation, however this doesn’t explain why real interest rates are also low.  Bernanke doesn’t think low real interest ra…

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Sorting the micro from the macro in Emerging Markets

While generating a lot of concerns, one of the benefits of the strong growth of the emerging market (EM) corporate bond universe in the past decade has been the diversification of issuers. The asset class, which at $1.6 trillion is now larger than the US high-yield market, offers a vast number of countries and industries to invest in. Contrary to the EM rhetoric that has been making headlines i…

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High yield floating rate note case study – an oasis of calm within the desiccated desert of duration

We’ve seen a swift and rapid re-pricing of the bund curve in recent weeks, highlighting again the risk to capital that bond investors face when yields start to rise. All major bond markets in Europe have been impacted to some degree. Nevertheless one corner of the bond market has remained very resilient: floating rate notes.

We have highlighted before how these instruments have some potentially…

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What are index-linked corporate bonds telling us at the moment?

When in past years I have fielded calls from bankers faintly like Chad ‘Ace’ Jefferson III (A Brave New World: Zero Yield Corporate Bonds) requesting any potential interest in new index-linked corporate bond issues, I have often begun my feedback by pointing to an old maxim. This well-known dogma posits that an index-linked corporate bond should price 25 basis points or so wider than a comparab…

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Krafty work – 3G and Berkshire Hathaway continue to play the arbitrage theme

Almost two years ago to the day we wrote about a return of animal spirits, the LBO of Heinz by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G, and the significant role debt had to play in the transaction. Yesterday Heinz announced that it is to merge with Kraft Foods to create the fifth largest food and beverage company in the world. The transaction will see Berkshire Hathaway and 3G invest an additional $10bn in t…

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Islamic-finance

The Middle-East – an expensive safe haven for bond investors

I am just back from a fascinating investor trip to the Middle-East, where I spent a week meeting with corporate and government bond issuers as well as market participants in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). We spoke at length about Islamic finance, the oil price impact and geopolitical risk.

When I asked the question of the oil price impact on the region to corporate issuers and government offic…

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Hybrid debt – another beneficiary in the hunt for yield

The rapid growth of the hybrid corporate capital market (non-financial) over the last few years has provided fixed income investors with an opportunity to access a quasi-equity income stream. Much like equities, hybrid bonds are perpetual in nature (though an option to call exists), and allow the issuer a degree of discretion over coupon payments. And, whilst they rank ahead of common equity in…

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Long US Treasury bonds are overvalued by 250 bps. Discuss.

As we started 2014 the US Treasury market was expecting 10 year yields to be at 4.13% in a decade’s time. This 10 year 10 year forward yield, derived from the yield curve, is a good measure of where the bond market believes yields get to if you “look through the cycle”, and disregard short term economic trends and noise. I wrote about it here and suggested that we were approaching the top of th…

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Emerging market fixed income – 2014 performance

Emerging Market debt: 2014 returns post-mortem and 2015 outlook

2014 was quite an eventful year for Emerging market (EM) fixed income. After a period of strong performance which lasted all the way to September, markets corrected significantly in the latter part of the year as the escalation of the Russia crisis and the plunging oil prices triggered the most significant drawdown since the “taper tantrum” of June 2013. All in all, emerging markets still poste…

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