Investment Grade Weekly Insight 01/12/2018

Investment Grade Weekly Insight 01/12/2018

Fund Flows & Issuance: According to Wells Fargo, IG fund flows for the week of January 4-January 10 were $5.1 billion, the largest inflow in over 3 months. Note that these are total flows across four investment strategies: Short, Intermediate, Long and Total Return. Per Bloomberg, investment grade corporate issuance for the week through January 11 was $25.425bln. As we go to print, the Bloomberg Barclays US IG Corporate Bond Index is trading at an OAS of 90, relative to the 2017 tight of 93.

(Bloomberg) IG Sales May Rise as Banks Begin to Exit Blackouts

  • On the cusp of a long holiday weekend, high-grade issuers may choose to remain on the sidelines to close out the week. Activity has been muted with the week standing at just over $25b, falling shy of estimates calling for at least $30b.
  • Expect an increase in sales next week as more U.S. banks emerge from earnings blackouts.
  • JPMorgan (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) both reported 4Q earnings this morning. Citibank (C) comes Tuesday, Bank of America (BAC) and Goldman Sachs (GS) report Wednesday and Morgan Stanley (MS) is Thursday.

(Bloomberg) Junk Euphoria Unshaken as Funds See Biggest Inflow Since Dec.’16

  • Investors reiterated their confidence in junk bonds by investing in high yield funds. Lipper reported an inflow of $2.65b into U.S. high yield funds, the biggest weekly inflow since Dec. 2016.
    • Investor euphoria led to the return of pay-in-kind notes offering in the primary yesterday, with Ardagh pricing at the tight end of talk with orders of more than $1.25b, about 3x the size of the offering. The Ardagh bonds traded at 102.875 after pricing at par
    • Investors shrugged off aggressive use of proceeds, suggesting risk appetite was strong. Ardagh raised debt to “provide liquidity to shareholders.” CSC Holdings is marketing bonds to fund a dividend to parent Altice USA
    • Recent new issues have been flooded with big orders. Ensco priced through talk and increased the offering size to $1b with orders more than 4x the original size of the offering. Sunoco’s $2.2b 3-part notes got orders for ~$6b earlier in the week
    • Issuance volume was on pace with 2017 with $5.5b pricing MTD
    • While junk yields seemed weary and stalled a bit as they come off 2-mo. lows; there appeared to be no clear catalyst yet that could derail junk bonds in the near term, as stocks climbed to new highs, oil set new 37-mo. high and volatility was still near multi-year lows
    • High yield continued to be backed by an overall supportive environment:Moody’s Liquidity Stress Indicator kicked off 2018 with a new low of 2.5%, suggesting junk issuers were backed by steady economic growth and buoyant credit markets as investors scramble for yield
    • Corporate default rates declined, another critical pillar factor for high yield
    • Steady economy, declining default rates, low volatility, steady oil prices and stocks augur well for high yield
        • Eight deals for $5.5b MTD
        • 510 deals for $275.393b in 2017