Data as of October 31, 2019 unless otherwise noted
Performance (total returns)
|Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index (Barclays Agg)||0.30%||8.85%|
|ICE BofAML U.S. High Yield Index (HY Bonds)||0.23%||11.76%|
|S&P/LSTA Leveraged Loan Index (Senior Secured Loans)||-0.45%||6.31%|
Performance data quoted represents past performance and is no guarantee of future results. An investment cannot be made directly in an index.
Leveraged credit was mixed in October: Leveraged credit markets were mixed in October, with HY Bonds posting their fifth straight monthly rise and Senior Secured Loans posting a moderate negative return.1,2 HY Bonds benefited from continued investor demand and below-average new issue volume as HY Bond mutual funds recorded another $2.5 billion in inflows in October.³ After accounting for last month’s inflow, flows into HY Bond mutual funds now total more than $18.7 billion in 2019, marking the largest annual inflow since 2012. Against the backdrop of three quarter-point rate cuts by the Fed this year, investor demand for floating-rate Senior Secured Loans remained muted in October, with outflows from bank loan mutual funds accelerating slightly. Following 13 straight monthly outflows, bank loan mutual fund AUM has declined by roughly one-third from a little over $108 billion to $68 billion.³ While new collateralized loan issuance remains robust and has made up for this decline in demand, Senior Secured Loan price appreciation has been limited by selling from this part of the market.⁴ After declining in September, the Barclays Agg posted a slightly positive return in October.⁵ Benefiting from its high sensitivity to duration, the Barclays Agg has gained this year as Treasury yields have declined across the curve.
High-rated credit continues to outperform: Higher-rated segments of the leveraged credit markets generally outperformed their lower-rated peers during October, continuing a trend that has persisted throughout much of 2019. Last month, BB rated bonds and BB rated Senior Secured Loans returned 0.55% and -0.02%, respectively.6,7 By comparison, CCC rated bonds and CCC rated Senior Secured Loans returned -0.49% and -1.34%, respectively.8,9 For added context, BB rated bonds have generated a year-to-date return of 13.67%, while CCC rated bonds have generated a year-to-date return of 5.61%. The distribution of returns highlights the effect of moderating U.S. economic growth and the increased risk aversion shown by investors in recent months. Following three months of widening, CCC rated bond yields stood at 12.45% as of October 30, 2019, while spreads over Treasuries ended the month at 1,085 bps – near the widest levels of 2019. By comparison, BB rated bond yields and spreads over Treasuries ended October at 4.14% and 254 bps, respectively. The yield premium between CCC rated bonds and BB rated bonds has widened by over 100 bps over the past 10 months and is currently at its widest level since 2016.
- Leveraged credit was mixed in October, with HY Bonds slightly positive and loans slightly negative.
- The duration-sensitive Barclays Agg benefited when rates fell late month, posting a positive return.