Category: Investment Grade Weekly

01 Mar 2019

CAM Investment Grade Weekly Insights

CAM Investment Grade Weekly

The investment grade credit markets are barreling toward year-to-date tights as the week comes to a close.  The OAS on the corporate index closed at 121 at the end of February, which marks a new low for spreads in 2019.  Risk assets continue to perform well even as Treasuries have inched higher.  The 10yr Treasury is 9 basis points higher as we go to print and sits just a few basis points lower than the 2019 high water mark.

In what seems to be a recurring them, it was yet another solid week of issuance as companies raised nearly $25bln in new debt during the last week of the month.  Concessions on new issuance remain thin as most order books are well oversubscribed to the tune of 3-5x deal sizes.  $98.21bln of new corporate debt was priced during the month of February, bringing the YTD total to $202.573bln.

According to Wells Fargo, IG fund flows during the week of February 21-February 27 were +$5.6 billion. This brings YTD IG fund flows to +$35.345bln.  Flows at this point in the year are modestly outpacing 2018 numbers.



22 Feb 2019

CAM Investment Grade Weekly Insights

CAM Investment Grade Weekly

The investment grade credit markets look to end the week on a positive tone, but spreads are largely unchanged for the third consecutive week.  The OAS on the index closed at 125 on February 4th and has traded within just a 2 basis point range since then and most of that time was spent within a 1 basis point range.  The OAS on the index was 125 at the market close on February 21st and we remain wrapped around that number as we go to print this morning.


It was another solid week of issuance as companies raised over $25bln in new debt during the holiday shortened week.  Investor demand for new deals remains very strong and concessions on new debt have continued to grind lower.  As far as basis points go, mid-single digit new issue concessions are the name of the game in the current environment.  Over $73bln in new bonds has come to market in February and the YTD total is now $178bln.

According to Wells Fargo, IG fund flows during the week of February 14-February 20 were +$1.6 billion. This is a more modest pace of flows compared to prior weeks and it brings YTD IG fund flows to +$30bln.  Flows at this point in the year are modestly outpacing 2018 numbers by the tune of 2%.

A Blurb about BBB’s – CAM is significantly structurally underweight and quite cautious when it comes to BBB credit.  However, we can pick and choose the credits that we would like to own so we are not nearly as worried as some market commentators and those in the financial press seem to be with regard to the growth of the BBB portion of the index.  Here are a few interesting recent developments that show that not all the growth in BBB credit should be viewed as negative and that there are some very large BBB-rated issuers who may become A-rated in the near term.

  • HCA 1st lien debt was upgraded to investment grade by Moody’s in January. HCA was previously the single largest issuer in the high yield index.  As a result of receiving its second BBB-rating, $13.2bln of HCA debt moved from junk to investment grade with low-BBB ratings.
  • Also in January, payment processor Fiserv, Inc. announced that it would be acquiring First Data. Junk rated First Data is one of the 50 largest issuers in the high yield index.  The deal is structured in a manner so that Fiserv will retain its mid-BBB investment grade ratings.  Fiserv plans to re-finance $5.31bln of junk rated debt – and the new debt will be BBB rated.  The NewCo will have more BBB debt, but it is largely the result of refinancing junk rated debt while creating a larger company with more scale, better growth prospects and greater free cash flow generation.
  • On February 21st, Verizon held an investor day. Verizon has been actively paying down debt in recent quarters and its CFO highlighted this when talking about its capital allocation plans.

    “Our long-term leverage target is to have net unsecured debt to adjusted EBITDA between 1.75 and 2.0….This metric improved by 0.3 times last year to 2.1. …. And we believe this target is consistent with a low-single-A credit profile.”

Verizon already has an A- rating at Fitch and it is high-BBB at both Moody’s and S&P so it needs only one of them to upgrade it to single-A before it is “officially” an A-rated credit.  An upgrade is a distinct possibility if the company remains on a deleveraging path.  Verizon is the second largest BBB-rated bond issuer in the corporate index and an upgrade would result in over $73bln of index eligible debt leaving the BBB-rated portion of the index and entering the A-rated portion.

Bottom line, headlines about BBB-rated credit are just that –to get the real story one must dig into the details.

(Bloomberg) ‘Disastrous’ Kraft Heinz Quarter Foments Street Doubt on M&A

  • CAM NOTE: This is yet another example of a highly levered BBB-rated company impairing shareholders in order to pay down debt. It is our view that equity holders are the ones most at risk when it comes to BBB-rated credit, as bond holders have priority in the capital structure waterfall.  CAM has no exposure to Kraft Heinz.
  • Kraft Heinz Co.’s “disastrous” earnings announcement prompted analysts to question the packaged-food giant’s growth prospects and its capacity to move ahead with plans for a significant acquisition.
  • The shares plummeted as much as 28 percent to $34.70. Kraft’s plunge erased about $16 billion in market value. For perspective, that’s more than the entire value of packaged-food peers JM Smucker Co. or Campbell Soup Co.
  • Analysts at Goldman Sachs, Barclays, JPMorgan, Stifel, Piper Jaffray, Barclays and UBS cut their ratings on the stock following what Stifel described as a “barrage of bad news:” Quarterly profit missed estimates, the outlook for 2019 was disappointing, and Kraft Heinz cut its dividend, lowered profit-margin expectations and took a $15.4 billion writedown on key brands.
  • “The dividend cut and the margin rebase reflect serious balance sheet concerns,” Robert Moskow, an analyst at Credit Suisse AG, wrote in a note detailing his decision to slash his price target to a street-low of $33 from $42. The update “also pokes an enormous hole in management’s contention that it can execute a meaningful acquisition any time soon.”



15 Feb 2019

CAM Investment Grade Weekly Insights

CAM Investment Grade Weekly

Investment grade spreads tightened modestly throughout the first half of the week before a deluge of new issue supply led the market to take a breather on Thursday.  While the tone is positive on Friday morning, the corporate index looks like it will finished the week relatively close to unchanged.



The real story this week was the aforementioned new issue supply.  Over $38bln of new debt priced in just three trading days, through Wednesday while no deals priced on Thursday or Friday.  Altria led the way this week as it priced $11.5bln on Tuesday and then AT&T came with $5bln on Wednesday.  3M Co, Goldman Sachs, Boeing and Tyson Foods were among the other companies that printed multi-billion dollar deals during the week.

According to Wells Fargo, IG fund flows during the week of February 7-February 13 were +$2.9 billion. This brings YTD fund flows to +$13.312bln.

As far as new supply is concerned, monthly volume projections for February are still calling for ~$90bln of issuance during the month.  As we roll past the mid-month mark, we have seen just over $48bln in new supply.

08 Feb 2019

CAM Investment Grade Weekly Insights

CAM Investment Grade Weekly

It was a mixed week for Investment Grade Credit. The spread on the Corporate Index marched tighter on Monday and Tuesday before closing wider on both Wednesday and Thursday. The wider close on Wednesday snapped a remarkable streak of 22 straight trading days where the index closed tighter than the prior day. Still, even with two days of slightly wider spreads, the index remains one basis point tighter than where it opened the week and investor sentiment in the corporate credit space remains strong.

The market tone to start the day on Friday is, like the two prior days, somewhat softer. All told, we view this as healthy after the unabated “student body left” tightening that we experienced for 3+ weeks. Ebbs and flows in the market tend to create opportunities for patient investors with longer time horizons.

According to Wells Fargo, IG fund flows during the week of January 31-February 6 were +$5.9 billion. This was the largest inflow since October 2017 according to the data that is tracked by Wells Fargo, bringing YTD fund flows to +$10.759bln.

Issuance slowed this week compared to last, as $10.350bln in new corporate bonds were priced, bringing the year-to-date total to $114.713bln. Monthly volume projections for February are calling for ~$90bln of issuance during the month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. New issue concessions continue to hover in the low single digits as investor demand for new issues remains robust.


(Bloomberg) Greed Is Back as Debt Markets Face an $8.6 Trillion Hangover

  • Prayers for a sudden return to dovish monetary policies have been answered, and now investors are living with the aftermath: a world awash with $8.6 trillion in negative-yielding debt.
  • That’s one reason money managers are wading once more into the fringes of fixed-income markets across the globe.
  • Consider the action over the past week: Serial defaulter Ecuador managed to sell $1 billion in new bonds even as the government is in talks for International Monetary Fund financing. Crisis-prone Greece received blockbuster orders for its 2.5 billion-euro ($2.9 billion) sale. And the decidedly frontier republic of Uzbekistan, encouraged by risk-on markets, is meeting investors for a debut international offering.
  • No wonder the world’s largest funds are betting the explosive rally in developing-economy debt still has legs.
  • Meanwhile, U.S. high-yield is in the throes of a rebound, as traders bet easier monetary policy will prolong the business cycle. Lower-rated borrowers are in vogue after the asset class posted the biggest monthly gain in seven years.


(WSJ) The Bond and Stock Markets Need to Talk

  • Investors buying bonds should start checking what their colleagues in the stock market are doing.
  • Yields on 10-year U.S. government bonds hover below 2.7%. This is extremely low considering that sovereign debt tracks where the central bank is expected to set interest rates—which the Federal Reserve now pegs between 2.25% and 2.5%—plus a premium for locking up the money long term.
  • The Treasury yield is even more strikingly at odds with the S&P 500, which has climbed back from its December lows during the fourth-quarter earnings season. The technology-heavy Nasdaq is even close to exiting its recent bear market.
  • In the U.S., it is likely bond investors who have got too pessimistic: Derivatives markets price in a 98% chance that interest rates will be at their current level or lower in a year’s time, according to CME Group. Only three months ago, they predicted that the Fed would tighten policy at least twice this year.
  • One possibility is that the legendary pessimism of fixed-income investors is correct and stocks are treading on perilous ground because the U.S. economy is in worse shape than it looks.
  • Yet if January’s improvement in economic data is pointing in the right direction, writing off rate rises with such certainty is perilous. Fed chairman Jerome Powell’s transformation from hawk to dove in January is likely explained—at least in part—by the equity rout late in 2018. If stocks keep rallying, he may very well nudge rates up again at least once.
  • European stock investors, by contrast, should heed the advice of the bond market: The region’s equities have slightly outperformed U.S. ones in recent months, glossing over Europe’s greater vulnerability to the Chinese slowdown. And with rates already at record lows, the European Central Bank has little ammunition left.
  • Treasurys aren’t in for a dramatic selloff, because inflation is being kept in long-term check by weak labor bargaining power. However, investors’ confidence that the Fed will sit on its hands for a full year looks misplaced.


31 Jan 2019


It was another strong week for IG credit. The OAS on the Bloomberg Barclays Corporate Index opened the week at 147 and tightened to 143 through the close on Thursday evening. The tone remains positive in the market this Friday morning as the 2019 risk rally continues. The OAS on the index finished 2018 at 153 and closed as wide as 157 on January 3rd, during the first holiday shortened week of 2019. Since January 3rd, the spread on the corporate index has closed tighter 8 of the last 10 trading days, moving from 157 to 143. For historical context, the three and five year average OAS for the index is 124 and 126, respectively, while the average since OAS since 1988 inception is 134.

According to Wells Fargo, IG fund flows during the week of January 10-January 16 were +$547mm. Per Wells data, YTD fund flows stand at +$2.7 billion. To recap 2018’s action, flows during the month of December were the second largest notional outflow on record at -$26bln and the largest since June of 2013 when -$27.4bln flowed from IG funds.

The primary market is alive and well, as $25.65bln in corporate bonds were printed during the week. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, borrowers are paying less than 5bps in new issue concession, down from as much as 25bps at the beginning of the year. Narrowing concessions support the thesis that the market is wide open and investor demand is robust. Corporate issuance in the month of January has now topped $77bln.

07 Dec 2018


It was another volatile week in the credit markets with wider spreads and lower rates. Through the close on Thursday evening, the Bloomberg Barclays Corporate Index was 8 basis points wider on the week while the 10yr Treasury is 9 basis points lower on the week as we go to print on Friday morning. The corporate index has now reached its widest levels year to date and is trading at an OAS of 145, its widest level since August of 2016. To put this into perspective, the index has had an average OAS of 108 over the past 12 months and 125 over the past 5 years. The long term average OAS is 133 dating back to 1988.

According to Wells Fargo, IG fund flows during the week of November 29-December 5 were +$0.5 billion. Per Wells data, YTD fund flows are +$82.665bln.

Investment grade borrowers printed a mere $4bln during a week where spreads inched wider day by day. The credit markets were also closed on Wednesday as a national day of mourning for formal President George H.W. Bush. According to Bloomberg, YTD corporate issuance has been $1.070 trillion.  Issuance is now down 11% YTD when compared to 2017 numbers.

30 Nov 2018


Credit markets are struggling to find footing, as the Bloomberg Barclays Corporate Bond Index opened Friday at an OAS of 135 which is the widest level of 2018. Investment grade credit has drifted wider since November 8, when the index closed at an OAS of 113. The move wider in credit over that timeframe has almost entirely been offset by rates, at least for the intermediate portion of the curve, as the 10yr Treasury has moved from 3.23% to 3.01%. Note that the front end of the yield curve has flattened substantially during the month of November and the spread between the 2yr and 5yr Treasury is down to a mere 3.3 basis points as we go to print. The investment grade corporate bond market currently has little appetite for idiosyncratic risk and we are seeing that reflected in the spreads of bonds for companies under duress, like General Electric, which continues to trade wider, seemingly day after day. BBB credit too has underperformed relative to single-A credit. Since November 8, the Corporate Index is 22 wider, while the BBB-rated portion of the index is 28 wider. The A-rated portion of the index has outperformed over that time period, having moved 17 wider.

According to Wells Fargo, IG fund flows during the week of November 22-November 28 were -$3.2 billion, which was the second largest outflow YTD. Per Wells data, YTD fund flows are +$82.148bln.

The IG primary market was fairly active this week and the primary market remains open to issuers of all stripes even in the face of widening spreads. According to Bloomberg, new corporate issuance on the week was $30.325bln while issuance for the month of November topped $84bln. YTD corporate issuance has been $1.066 trillion.



(WSJ) Bond Indexes Bend Under Weight of Treasury Debt

  • The surge in U.S. government borrowing is beginning to warp bond indexes, posing a challenge for investors looking for the best returns when interest rates are rising.
  • The problem: Treasurys tend to offer investors lower yields and produce weaker returns than other kinds of bonds, such as high-quality company debt or securities backed by mortgage payments. Yet as the government steps up borrowing to fund last year’s tax cuts, index funds end up holding more Treasurys, squeezing out the securities that pay higher rates of interest.
  • The U.S. government is borrowing $129 billion this week, up 28% from the same series of note auctions a year ago. The increased borrowing means Treasurys now amount to almost 40% of the value in the leading bond market investment benchmark—the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. aggregate index—which fund managers use to gauge their success. That is up from around 20% in 2006, before the start of the financial crisis.
  • Some analysts said investors should consider the growing weight of Treasurys in indexes before purchasing mutual funds. Actively managed bond funds have performed better than their index-tracking peers recently, a trend some analysts credit to their efforts to pare back Treasury holdings. Rising rates erode the value of outstanding bonds, because newly issued debt offers higher payouts. And Federal Reserve officials have penciled in additional increases into 2020.
  • “The value from active management is going to be more important,” said Kathleen Gaffney, director of diversified fixed income at Eaton Vance , who bought dollar-denominated corporate bonds in emerging markets because U.S. corporate yields remain low by historic measures. “You’re not going to want market risk.”
  • Through the first six months of this year, active managers topped indexes in five of 14 categories including municipal bonds and short- and intermediate taxable bonds, according to data from S&P Dow Jones Indices. That is coming off a 2017 in which actively managed funds had their best year since 2012, when active managers beat passive funds in nine of 13 categories the firm then measured.
  • Should yields continue to rise, advocates of active portfolio management say investors would be better served by a human being shielding them from the parts of the bond market most likely to suffer losses versus an index which includes all bonds, without regard to their potential risks. “Most of the stuff I own’s probably not in the agg,” said Jerry Paul, who has recently purchased preferred stocks for his ICON Flexible Bond Fund, which has returned 0.3% this year, beating the Bloomberg Barclays index.
  • Many expect to persist. The Treasury Department projected to run trillion-dollar deficits for the foreseeable future. As issuance increases, funds that use the Bloomberg Barclays aggregate index as a guidepost for portfolio composition will wind up owning increasingly large amounts of Treasury debt. Independent bond analyst David Ader predicts Treasurys will make up half of the U.S. bond market and the indexes that track it by 2028.
  • Still, because many individuals invest in bond funds to protect against losses in their stock portfolios, there are advantages to indexes that reflect the constituency of bond market borrowers instead of optimizing returns, said Josh Barrickman, who manages Vanguard Group’s bond index fund. While corporate bonds, for example, offer higher yields than Treasurys, U.S. government debt tends to post high returns during periods when investors shun risk, he said.
  • The changing composition of bond market indexes can exert a powerful force over what resides within their bond mutual funds without their becoming aware of it, according to fund managers and analysts. Treasury Department data shows that the category of investors that represents mutual funds bought about one half of the $2 trillion of U.S. government notes and bonds sold at auction last year. That is up from about one-fifth of the $2.2 trillion sold in 2010.
  • As the supply of Treasury debt rises, the government will have to spend more to pay interest. Some investors say the rising supply of bonds has also helped push yields higher, which can pressure stocks by offering investors a way to get more yield with less risk.
  • “It’s going to reflect itself as a drag on the economy and on potential equity market returns,” said Craig Bishop, a bond strategist with RBC Wealth Management.
  • Should slowing growth lead business conditions to worsen, corporations have the option of borrowing less. Not so the U.S. government. Because legally mandated spending on unemployment insurance and other safety net programs tends to rise when growth slows, wider budget deficits and more Treasury debt could ensue. That means many bond investors could face conditions where there is no alternative to holding a rising share of government debt.


(Bloomberg) Salesforce Soars as Management Mutes Market Skepticism


  • Inc. rose as much as 9.5 percent Wednesday, the most since February 2016, after third-quarter sales and a top-line beat report muted some of Wall Street’s concerns about the broader demand environment. Several analysts raised their price target on the stock, including Alliance Bernstein, who believes the report should help lift software stocks. Meanwhile, Raymond James cut their bullish target as shares “aren’t immune from broader macro trends.”


(Bloomberg) Ford Digs Further Out of Trump’s Doghouse as GM Takes Its Turn


  • Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. both need to overhaul their U.S. manufacturing base to cope with consumers’ drastic switch to SUVs from sedans. Only one is poised to make that adjustment without ticking off the president.
  • In a significant rework of its U.S. production plans, Ford will eliminate shifts at factories in Trump country. But it plans to retain all the 1,150 workers affected by shifting their jobs to Michigan and Kentucky plants making big SUVs or supplying transmissions to pickups. That’s fortunate not only for employees, but for Ford’s relations with a touchy White House.
  • GM, on the other hand, is caught with way too much capacity to make out-of-vogue sedans, so it has little choice but to go the more painful route of shuttering factories and firing workers. Inevitable or not, the decision has infuriated Donald Trump. He’s renewed a threat to slap auto imports with 25 percent tariffs and enlisted federal agencies to look for ways to cut the carmaker’s subsidies.
  • “Ford has been in Trump’s cross-hairs before, and this should help keep them out,” said Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst with researcher Autotrader. Ford “had their time in the barrel” in 2016, when Trump lambasted its plans to move small-car production to Mexico. The company abandoned that strategy last year and canceled a new car factory it was building there.
09 Nov 2018

CAM Investment Grade Weekly Insights

CAM Investment Grade Weekly

Credit spreads look to finish the week tighter, as the Bloomberg Barclays Corporate Bond Index opened Friday at an OAS of 114 after starting the week at 117. As we go to print, the 10yr Treasury sits at 3.223%, which is 1 basis point higher relative to its close a week prior.

According to Wells Fargo, IG fund flows during the week of November 1-November 7 were +$2.7 billion with short duration funds posting a record +$3.6 billion inflow. Per Wells data, YTD fund flows are +$98.796bln.

According to Bloomberg, new corporate issuance on the week was $22bln. YTD corporate issuance has been $1.011 trillion.



(Bloomberg) Oil Teeters Near Record Losing Streak After Entering Bear Market

  • Oil extended a run of declines after falling into a bear market, heading for its longest losing streak on record.
  • Futures in New York fell for a 10th day, extending a dramatic plunge that’s dragged prices down more than 20 percent from a four-year high reached in early October. In London, Brent sank to a seven-month low below $70 a barrel. The drop comes days before the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries meets with partners in Abu Dhabi, having signaled it may cut output next year.
  • Oil’s decline has been exacerbated by a U.S. decision to allow eight countries to continue importing from Iran, which it slapped with sanctions earlier this week. That decision, as well as pledges by Saudi Arabia and other producers to pump more and gains in American supply and stockpiles, have turned fears of a supply crunch into talk of an oversupply.

(Bloomberg) California Wildfire Quadruples in Size, and PG&E Falls


  • A wildfire in Northern California’s Sierra Nevada foothills quadrupled in size late Thursday as winds threaten to make it spread faster. The state’s largest utility, PG&E Corp., fell 10 percent in early trading.
  • The blaze near Chico has left more than 23,000 homes and businesses without power, according to PG&E’s website. Residents in several towns were evacuated. The National Weather Service warns flames will spread rapidly as high pressure across the region has parched the air and fueled gusts of up to 65 miles per hour.
  • As of 8 p.m. Thursday, the foothills fire had grown to 20,000 acres up from 5,000 earlier in the day. Two fires have broken out in Ventura County, just north of Los Angeles, consuming about 12,000 acres, and causing residents there to flee the flames.
  • PG&E is struggling to cope with losses from deadly fires last year that could cost the utility as much as $17.32 billion in liabilities, according to a JPMorgan Chase & Co. estimate. Investors are still waiting on the state’s investigation into the Tubbs fire, the deadliest of last year’s wine country fires.


(Bloomberg) Lithium Giant Staying Nimble in Fickle Car-Battery Market


  • The world’s largest lithium producer is planning to expand production in Australia, chasing the market for a form of the metal increasingly being used by the makers of electric car batteries.
  • Albemarle Corp. will halt plans to expand its lithium carbonate production in Chile, the company said on Thursday. Instead, it will plow funding into a Western Australia project that produces lithium hydroxide, a rarer form of the metal that’s growing in use and currently sells for higher prices than the carbonate form.
  • Lithium hydroxide works better with cathodes containing higher levels of nickel, helping cars go further on a single charge. Global demand for lithium overall is expected to almost triple by 2025, according to Bloomberg NEF, as carmakers such as Tesla Inc. look to boost sales of battered-powered vehicles.
  • Lithium miners, meanwhile, have struggled to meet demand, and prices for the metal have tripled in just four years.
  • “The challenge at this point in the cycle is that lithium companies must ramp their capital spending amidst a backdrop of some uncertainty around lithium pricing,” Chris Berry, a New York-based analyst and founder of research firm House Mountain Partners LLC, said by phone on Thursday. “For Albemarle to maintain its market share with such robust lithium demand growth, the company needs to execute their capacity expansion plans perfectly.”
  • Albemarle is planning to boost its overall production of lithium across its operations in Chile, China and Australia to 225,000 tons per year in 2025 from 65,000 tons in 2017, the company said in its earnings report. In just four years, lithium has gone from being Albemarle’s least important product to representing 44.5 percent of the company’s revenue in 2017.
  • On Thursday, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company posted mixed third quarter results that sent shares down 2 percent at 4:15 p.m. to $105.57 in New York trading. Capital expenditures were up, reaching record levels, but Albemarle missed estimates for sales.



06 Nov 2018

CAM Investment Grade Weekly Insights

CAM Investment Grade Weekly

It was another week of volatility in risk assets, but the tone improved throughout, and was cemented by an above-consensus monthly employment report on Friday morning. Credit spreads are at 3-month wides as the Bloomberg Barclays Corporate Index sits at an OAS of 119. As we go to print, positive economic data has sent the 10yr Treasury to its highest level of the week, at 3.17%.

According to Wells Fargo, IG fund flows during the week of October 25-October 31 were a mere $192 million. Per Wells data, this extended MTD outflows to -$7.4bln and marks the first monthly outflow for IG credit funds since January of 2016. Even still, IG fund flows remain firmly positive YTD at +$96.150bln, with short duration funds garnering the lion share of those flows.

According to Bloomberg, new corporate issuance on the week was $17.55bln. YTD corporate issuance has been $989.109bln.


(Bloomberg) General Electric Cut by Moody’s on Weakness in Power Unit

  • General Electric’s long-term and senior unsecured rating was cut to Baa1 from A2 by Moody’s as the rating agency cites “the adverse impact on GE’s cash flows from the deteriorating performance of the Power business.”
    • Impact from power business will be considerable and could last some time
    • Weaker than expected performance of power business also due to co.’s “misjudgment of financial prospects and operational missteps”
    • Outlook stable predicated on Moody’s view that co. will be able to contend with the challenges posed by its power business

(Bloomberg) California Utilities to Reach 50% Renewable Power Target in 2020


  • Three large utilities in California are ahead of schedule to hit their targets under a law requiring them to source 33 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2020, according to a California Public Utilities Commission report.
    • All three investor-owned utilities beat the state-mandated target of 27 percent for 2017
      • PG&E: 33%
      • Edison: 32%
      • Sempra: 44%
    • Renewable power contract prices, which peaked at more than $160/MWh in 2007, fell in 2017 to an average of $47/MWh, the report found
  • NOTE: Utilities are required by California law to derive 60 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030


(Bloomberg) Exxon, Chevron Surprise Wall Street as Permian Boosts Results


  • Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. delivered their strongest third-quarter results in four years, capping a week in which Big Oil enjoyed profits not seen since the days of $100 crude.
  • Exxon shares climbed as the American supermajor appeared to emerge from years of production setbacks after failed bets on Russia and Canada that undercut its previously gold-plated reputation among investors. Chevron’s stock also pushed higher.
  • Exxon’s oil and natural gas output surpassed expectations for the first time in 10 quarters, rebounding from a decade-low reached in the second quarter. Earnings climbed 57 percent. At rival Chevron, record production combined with higher crude prices to double profit to $4 billion. Both companies cited growth in the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico as key.



29 Oct 2018

CAM Investment Grade Weekly Insights

CAM Investment Grade Weekly

Amid the backdrop of a volatile equity market, corporate credit spreads are meaningfully wider on the week as we go to print, with credit spreads at least 5 wider across the board. On Friday afternoon, the 10yr Treasury stood at 3.08%, which is 11 basis points lower on the week.

According to Wells Fargo, IG fund flows during the week of October 18-October 24 were -$1.6bln. Per Wells data, this was the fourth consecutive weekly outflow for a cumulative total of -$7.2bln over that time period.  IG fund flows are now +$96.342 billion YTD.

According to Bloomberg, new corporate issuance on the week was less than $6bln. This was an underwhelming issuance figure relative to market expectations of $15-20bln, with the weak tone of the market keeping issuers at bay.  Issuance for the month of October stands at $75bln while YTD issuance is $971.559bln.




(Bloomberg) AB InBev Cuts Payout in Half as Rising Rates Squeeze Debtors

  • Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world’s largest brewer, cut its dividend in half as it seeks to pay down its $109 billion debt mountain, much of it taken on to acquire rival SABMiller Plc in 2016.
  • The Budweiser maker justified its move by pointing to the plunge in emerging-market currencies, which is crimping its cash flow. Third-quarter profit missed analysts’ expectations and sales growth slowed to the weakest pace in more than a year. The stock plunged as much as 9.2 percent amid a global selloff.
  • The most generous dividend-payer in the food-and-beverage industry is pulling back to protect itself as the U.S. Federal Reserve increases borrowing costs. The move comes as a number of payments are increasingly in doubt, including that of General Electric Co. Consumer-goods makers with the highest dividend yields include Kraft Heinz Co. and General Mills Inc. Such debt-laden companies are struggling to reduce leverage amid competition from small upstarts.
  • AB InBev said the new dividend policy will make it easier to reach its goal of reaching a debt level that’s equivalent to two times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. The brewer may be trying to strengthen its finances in case acquisition opportunities arrive, wrote Nico von Stackelberg, an analyst at Liberum.
  • “ABI needs a strong balance sheet to have the debt market’s confidence to do big deals,” he wrote, saying it could allow the brewer to bid for assets from the Castel family if they come on the market. Bordeaux-based Castel Group owns beer assets in addition to businesses in wine and soft drinks.
  • The Budweiser maker will use the entire $4 billion it saves to pay down debt, Chief Financial Officer Felipe Dutra told journalists on a call. AB InBev has $1.5 billion of borrowings maturing this year, $3 billion next year and $6 billion in 2020, he said.

(Bloomberg) Japan’s Insurers Aren’t Hedging Their Foreign Bonds Anymore: RBC


  • Japanese life insurers are holding more unhedged foreign bonds and their hedge ratios are falling, according to RBC Chief Currency Strategist Adam Cole, supporting his bearish view on the yen.
    • Notable participants are Nippon Life, Meiji Yasuda and Mitsui, Cole wrote in note; main exception is Kampo
    • The trend was “instrumental in turning us bearish” on the yen and is only becoming “more entrenched”
    • Life insurers will ramp up purchases of unhedged bonds when the yen is strong
    • RBC sees long-term USD/JPY target of 125; pair traded at ~111.95 as of 9:50am ET
    • The desire to cut hedges on existing foreign bonds holding is probably why dips in USD/JPY have been shallow lately, even in severe risk-offs