CAM Investment Grade Weekly Insights

CAM Investment Grade Weekly Insights

Fund Flows & Issuance: According to Wells Fargo, IG fund flows for the week were $2.6nln. This brings the YTD total to +$213bln in total inflows. According to Bloomberg, investment grade corporate issuance for the week was just shy of $4bln, as issuers have decided to wait until after Labor Day before coming to market. Through the week, YTD total corporate bond issuance was $932.88bn. Investment grade issuance thus far in 2017 is down 2% y/y when compared to 2016.

(WSJ) Wal-Mart and Google Partner to Challenge Amazon

  • Google and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are joining forces in a partnership that includes enabling voice-ordered purchases from the retail giant on Google’s virtual assistant, challenging rival Inc.’s grip on the next wave of e-commerce.
  • Wal-Mart said Wednesday that next month it will join Google’s online-shopping marketplace, Google Express.
  • While the deal will add hundreds of thousands of Wal-Mart items to Google Express, it will also give Wal-Mart access to voice ordering. The deal won’t alter how consumers receive their orders, because Wal-Mart will fulfill purchases made through Google Express.
  • Wal-Mart said it will share consumers’ purchase history with Google to enable users to quickly reorder items, a primary function of voice-controlled orders for commodity shopping.
  • “How do you help people who are going to be interacting more and more with devices get their weekly shopping tasks taken care of?” Google Express chief Brian Elliott said in an interview, citing a key reason for the partnership.

(Bloomberg) Bayer Faces In-Depth EU Review of $66 Billion Monsanto Deal

  • EU sets Jan. 8 deadline for last in trio of mega-mergers
  • EU flags concerns over higher prices and reduced innovation
    • The European Commission flagged worries that the deal to create the world’s largest pesticides and seeds company risked raising prices for farmers, lowering quality and reducing choice and innovation. It set a Jan. 8 deadline for its merger investigation.
    • Bayer said it had expected an extended review “due to the size and scope of the transaction.” The company said the deal “will be highly beneficial for farmers and consumers” and it will work constructively with the EU.
    • Monsanto said it was committed to working with regulators globally “with a view to receiving approval of the proposed transaction by the end of 2017.” It said it looked forward to supporting growers’ efforts to be more productive, profitable and sustainable.
    • The combined firm will have the largest portfolio of pesticides products and the strongest global market positions in seeds and traits. The EU said it will check if rivals’ access to distributors and farmers could worsen if the company were to link sales of pesticides or seeds to digital services that provide tailored advice or aggregated data to farmers.
    • Regulators’ concerns over innovation for agricultural chemicals saw DuPont Co. offer to sell part of its pesticides business and related research and development operations before it won EU approval to merge with Dow Chemical Co. earlier this year. China National Chemical Corp. also had to make concessions before the EU would clear its $43 billion takeover of Swiss pesticide maker Syngenta AG.

(Business Journal) Airbus to deliver first US-built A320 to Spirit Airlines this week

  • The Miramar-based, low-cost airline touts its fleet as being the “youngest of any major U.S. airline,” operating more than 420 flights to destinations in the United States, Caribbean and Latin America. As of March 31, the airline had 100 aircraft. Orders placed in late December 2016 and renegotiated in the first quarter of 2017 will add 73 aircraft to Spirit’s fleet by the end of 2021, according to documents the company filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

(WSJ) Chevron CEO John Watson to Step Down

  • The transition is expected to be announced next month, although Mr. Watson’s successor hasn’t yet been finalized by the board and plans could change, the people said. Mr. Watson isn’t expected to depart immediately and is likely to remain after the announcement for an orderly transition, the people said.
  • His likely departure underscores the dramatic shift under way at big oil companies as they adapt to a prolonged period of lower prices brought about by the U.S. shale boom. While the companies once favored swashbuckling leaders who bet billions on megamergers and pricey projects in far-flung regions, many are now turning to executives adept at squeezing every last dollar from a barrel through refining, and shorter-term investments that turn a profit faster.
  • The leading candidate to succeed Mr. Watson, 60, is Michael Wirth, 56, a refining specialist who earlier this year was elevated to the position of vice chairman at the oil company, the second largest in the U.S. behind Exxon Mobil Corp. , the people said.
  • Chevron directors see Mr. Wirth’s years of experience wringing costs out of big plants that process fuel and chemicals as a critical need in a new era for oil markets defined by $50-a-barrel crude, the people said.
  • “Big oil is turning toward very disciplined, returns-centric leaders who can manage razor-thin margins in disruptive, volatile markets,” said Les Csorba, who advises energy companies on CEO succession at executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles International , and wasn’t involved in Mr. Watson’s succession. “This is the answer for these companies as low prices continue.”