Category Archives:

high yield

“High” Yield yields hit a low

The dramatic rally in US high yield bonds since the end of September saw yields reach lows of 4.6% earlier this month, the US high yield index’s lowest level since 2000.  Yields have risen modestly since then but remain very tight: 4.9% at the time of this writing.  The US high yield bond spread over risk-free government bonds has narrowed close to its pre-Covid level (see chart below), a tren…

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High yield case study: McLaren – a car crash averted

Covid-19 has taken lives, dramatically reshaped the way we live and work, and challenged our view of a safe and stable world. Those of us who work in investment management, especially high yield fund managers like myself, have seen the pandemic put many businesses under severe financial stress. British high-end sports car maker McLaren was one of them. The company’s activities have been badly …

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High Yield in the Covid Crash: Risky, but potentially very rewarding

1. What’ s happened to the high yield market in the last month?

We’ve seen negative returns of -12.7% for the global high yield market. Following a weak February this brought the Q1 return to -13.7%. To put this in context, this was the second worst month and second worst quarter since 1998. Only October 2008 and Q4 2008 saw a more negative drawdown for the market.

2. Can it get worse…

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Defaults in European Retailers and US Energy on the rise

2019 has been a pleasant ride so far for high yield investors. Over the past 9 months the global high yield market has delivered a total return of 10.9% and an excess return of 6.4%, in part thanks to the U-turn of major central banks. Despite all the good news, things have occasionally gone wrong.

Recent events have reminded high yield investors that investing doesn’t come without risk. Thomas…

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Bond Vigilantes Weekly: 2016 all over again?

Global bond markets rallied after the US Federal Reserve (Fed) signalled on Wednesday what financial markets had been pricing in for months: the central bank will most likely retract from its rate hiking plans this year, given the global economic slowdown, lower oil prices and generally muted domestic inflation. The Fed also indicated its balance sheet may not shrink as much as expected as it n…

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High Yield in 2019 – floating or fixed?

As we all know, 2018 turned out to be a tough year for most asset classes, not least High Yield (HY) bonds. The sell-off in the fourth quarter was particularly quick and brutal compared to the recent lulls of benign volatility under the blanket of central bank largesse. Global HY lost a few percentage points in pure local currency terms in 2018, whilst the lower beta and more senior secured hea…

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High Yield managers need to up their ESG game: 4 recommendations

Not that we needed anybody’s reassurance, but the UK government’s decision that pension fund trustees must consider financially material ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) factors in their assessments, definitely helps those who believe that sustainability is becoming a need more than a choice – for society and investors alike.

In my view, an ESG lens can help monitor qualitative risks …

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The Rise of Emerging Market Corporate Bonds

Few investors would have bet on emerging market (“EM”) corporate bonds fifteen years ago. In 2004 the EM external (also known as hard-currency) corporate bond universe was relatively small at approximately US$ 270bn. By 2009 the asset class had more than doubled to US$ 600bn driven by strong economic expansion across developing economies notably the BRIC countries. Since the global financial cr…

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Panoramic Weekly: Bonds take a bath

The bond sell-off that started last week with the publication of strong US data continued over the past five trading days, even if Friday’s job report came in below expectations and a slew of global data and events only confirmed a worsening momentum: the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut this year’s world economic growth forecast to 3.7%, down from 3.9%, citing challenges to trade; Italian…

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Panoramic Weekly: Stars and Strikes

Global bond markets reacted sharply to Wednesday’s release of US Services data, which struck its best mark in 21 years: US 10-year yields spiked to 3.2%, the highest since 2011, while the dollar reversed a gloomy September to recover its August level. The usually less reactive 30-year Treasury yields surged, leading some investors such as M&G fund manager Richard Woolnough to argue that the mar…

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