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corporate bonds

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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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Coming to a bond market near you: “A Brave New World: Zero Yield Corporate Bonds”

Picture the scene: a meeting room, 40 floors up, plate glass floor-to-ceiling windows with views of central London in the background. At the polished mahogany table sits Hans Schmidt, the CFO of a major consumer global goods company. In walks Chad “Ace” Jefferson III, the latest in a long line of investment bankers assigned to cover his company. Behind Chad follows an entourage of five impeccab…

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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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EM Asia corporate bonds have outperformed in recent sell-off

After the December rout, where is the value in EM corporates?

It’s this time of the year when banks and other investment research providers have released their outlooks for the coming year. For the EM corporate bond asset class, Asia was forecast to be the best performer in 2015, with most top picks being in India and China.

Most 2015 outlooks were released in late November or early December, when EM USD corporate bonds were boasting a solid 6.1% total re…

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Default case study: “Ave Caesar, morturi te salutant”

“Hail Caesar, those who are about to die salute you” may well have been the gladiatorial epitaph of choice two millennia ago, but the junior creditors of Caesar’s Entertainment Operating Co are unlikely to feel the same way.

In 2008, TPG and Apollo Global Management, two powerhouses of the private equity industry, led a $30.7bn buyout of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc, the US gaming business. This …

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Duration, duration, duration – a review of bond market returns in 2014

This time last year many thought that duration management was going to be the key to success in 2014. Yields were expected to rise as the Fed weaned the market off QE and began to normalise rates. As a result, only the very brave would have been positioned long duration heading into 2014. To be positioned as such would presumably have taken some explaining, particularly when set against what se…

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The Chinese corporate bond market – a video

I was in Hong Kong a couple of weeks ago to find out more about the Chinese corporate bond market. To start with it’s huge, and growing rapidly. But it comes with some well-known challenges – the large weighting towards property debt, the lack of information about issuers (ratings tend to be done only by the domestic ratings agency), and perhaps most worryingly the issue of structural subordina…

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Corporate bond spreads

EM corporate bonds: spreads are attractive compared to developed markets

Emerging market (“EM”) corporate bonds are a fast-growing segment of the fixed income market. The hard-currency (USD, EUR, GBP and CHF) EM bond market has doubled in size since 2010 and is now worth over $1.3 trillion – which makes it as big as the US high-yield market. Including local-currency bonds, the Bank of International Settlements estimated that the EM corporate bond market was worth ne…

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How to find relative value in EUR and USD investment grade credit using CDS

There is more than one way to skin a cat for credit investors. Those looking for credit exposure can do so through either owning the debt issued by an issuer or by selling credit default swap (CDS) protection for the same issuer. The differential in price between the corporate bond and CDS contract can mean the difference between outperforming and underperforming in a world of tight credit spre…

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Bondfire of the Maturities: how to improve credit market liquidity

Liquidity in credit markets has been a hot topic in recent months. The Bank of England has warned about low volatility in financial markets leading to excessive reaching for yield, the FT suggested that the US authorities are considering exit fees for bond funds in case of a run on the asset class, and you’ve all seen the charts showing how assets in corporate bond funds have risen sharply just…

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