Displaying items by tag: rates

Monday, 29 June 2020 16:33

BoA Says High Yield to Outperform

(New York)

While some are saying that we are in “TINA” mode with equities (i.e. there is no alternative), high yield bonds have been seeing a big influx of demand. Because dividends are drying up in the stock market, high yield bonds are becoming increasingly attractive, and Bank of America thinks they are going to do well. They point out that yields in some bonds are much higher than similar yields on equities in the same sector and they expect spreads to tighten in the coming quarter. “While the easy money was last quarter, we still see many tailwinds to nudge high-yield spreads tighter in Q3...Markets should be treated to plenty of positive data surprises now that economies are exiting their lockdown hibernation…an essential ingredient for leveraged credit to perform.”


FINSUM: This seems like a reasonable call, but we think the positive data surprises might be a stretch. That said, yield-hungry investors will likely keep the high-yield space humming along.

Published in Bonds: High Yield
Monday, 22 June 2020 12:49

Alarm is Spreading in the Muni Market

(New York)

There is alarm growing among muni bond investors as credit quality continues to deteriorate. During COVID there has been a widening gap in pension deficits among municipalities, and investors are keeping a close eye because it is leading to deferred pension payments. This is troubling for a number of reasons. Firstly, it digs municipalities into a bigger hole because they must pay interest on deferred payments; and secondly, it spooks bond markets and makes it harder for them to access liquidity. In other words, deferred pension payments, such as the nearly $1 bn one New Jersey elected to do in May, dig muni issuers into a deeper and deeper hole.


FINSUM: Pension recipients are very likely to be considered senior to bondholders, so this is a very alarming situation for investors.

Published in Bonds: Munis
Friday, 12 June 2020 13:44

Investors are Piling into the Riskiest Debt

(New York)

Big debt investors are pouring dollars into risky debt markets and products, such as CLOs and their subprime-backed assets. Why you may ask? (as anyone might right now) The answer is that the riskiest borrowers are surviving this downturn much better than anyone expected. Spreads between subprime-backed products and US Treasuries have narrowed sharply, while new deals have seen big demand. According to an analyst at Loomis Sayles “What is surprising is how strong credit performance has been … Fiscal policy is really keeping the subprime borrower afloat”.


FINSUM: Regardless of whether or not you are involved in this market, it is good news that the demand for these securities is actually being driven by fundamentals. It is both a sign of economic resilience, and also of market rationality.

Published in Bonds: High Yield
Thursday, 11 June 2020 11:09

The Best Muni Funds Right Now

(Chicago)

You might not pay much attention to them—most don’t—but closed end muni funds are an excellent deal right now. They are offering high yields relative to other fixed income peers. For example, you can readily get 5% yields on CEF muni funds, equivalent to an 8.45% taxable yield if you are in the top tax bracket. And to be clear, these are not junk muni bonds. The reason yields are so strong is leverage gained from borrowing money at short-term interest rates and buying longer-term bonds. That usually creates a risk that short-term rates could rise, causing losses. However, given the Fed’s position right now, that seems highly unlikely.


FINSUM: This is an ideal time to by CEF muni funds given the low rate risk and solid overall yields. Check out BlackRock’s MFT (5.39% yield), Putnam’s PMM (5.18%), or BNY Mellon’s LEO (5.56%).

Published in Bonds: Munis
Wednesday, 20 May 2020 10:55

Huge Trouble Looms in Munis

(New York)

Muni bonds are seeing yields way above average right now even as Treasury bonds linger near all-time lows. The reason why is that it is increasingly apparent that there has been a huge erosion in municipal credit quality alongside the lockdown. Costs have surged at the same time as revenues have plummeted, leading to a significantly deteriorated financial picture for municipal issuers. The has been exacerbated by the fact that municipalities have largely been unsupported by the Fed as opposed to corporate issuers. But the sell-off has created opportunity, as even AAA issuers are seeing big discounts and much higher than usual spreads to Treasuries.


FINSUM: This is all about careful credit selection, as there are big opportunities, but there may also be major pitfalls.

Published in Bonds: Munis
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