Category Archives:

markets and players


Beware of the pitfalls in US high yield retailers

The fact that commodity-related sectors, like metals & mining and energy, are the highest-yielding and worst performing sub-sectors this year in the broader high yield Index is no surprise. There is a high degree of distressed credits in these sectors suffering on the back of the current low commodity price environment. S&P recently released its summary of sectors with the highest distressed ra…

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US companies are scared of risk

Happy Halloween. Five scary charts that Freddy Krueger would be proud of.

M&G and proudly present the scariest charts on the global economy. Some will make you laugh, some will make you cry. You will be amazed, you will be enchanted, you will be mystified, you will be amused. Of course, the following is not for the faint of heart. You have been warned.

  1. Companies are scared of risk

There has been a glut of corporate bond issuance since the financ…

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BHP turns to the bond markets for help

BHP turns to the bond markets for help

It has been a rough ride for metal and mining giant BHP Billiton. Revenues have come under persistent pressure due to weakening commodity prices. Despite one of the strongest balance sheets in the sector, promises made to shareholders have proven tough to keep.

With these commitments in mind the company turned to a nervous bond market earlier this week for some $6.44bn equivalent of hybrid deb…

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“Something Will Turn Up” by David Smith of the Sunday Times. Video and competition to win a copy of his book.

How did the UK go from a manufacturing powerhouse in the 1950s, to economic destitution in the 1970s?  Is the history of post-war UK economics one of policy mistake after policy mistake?  And are Britain’s political and financial institutions better placed today to make good, long term decisions than they were in the past?  In the latest of our series of interviews with authors of new economic …

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2015-08 blog VJ

The fight for investors rights in the high yield market

The high yield primary market can be a battleground between issuers and investors to determine which covenants (the legal language that protects the right of bondholders) are included or excluded in the bond documentation. For investors, this can offer the opportunity to influence the structure of deals, and include valuable protections in the terms of the offering memorandum, which sets out th…

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Mike Riddell’s work here is done

Mike Riddell, who worked in and around the bond team here at M&G for the past twelve years, has decided to move on. We can’t say where to yet, but it’s to another big bond fund manager and it’s a good move for him. Normally we’d ask the airbrushing team to have him removed from the official histories, but he did a great job for us and we are all sad to see him go.

Mike did a great job running …

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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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The Signal and the Noise – why local weather forecasters get it wrong, and what it means for those big market calls

I’ve finally got round to reading Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise. It’s a brilliant analysis of why forecasts are often so poor, from the man who called every state correctly in the 2012 US presidential election. In short, predictions are often poor because they are too precise (asserting an absolute outcome rather than assigning probabilities to outcomes); there’s often a bias to overwe…

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Not all change is bad: coming reforms to credit default swaps

There is a lot of analysis and conjecture about how much impact the financial crisis has had on the global economy and financial markets. There has been considerably less analysis around the impact of the crisis on bond fund managers. In a small attempt to quantify these impacts, we have dug out a few old photos of members of the M&G bond team pre and post-crisis. The photos show clearly where …

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What is the collapse in the Baltic Dry shipping index telling us about global growth?

The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) is a daily priced indicator of the cost of shipping freight on various trade routes for dry bulk carriers, based on data submitted by shipbrokers to the Baltic Exchange in London. Since March this year the index has fallen by over 50%, and this has made economists worry that the fall reflects a generalized slowdown in global trade – dry bulk goods include cement, coal…

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