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Year-to-date, bank loans and high yield bonds have been subject to a variety of market forces similar between the two sectors, but others have impacted each uniquely. While we typically recommend that clients allocate to both sub-investment grade credit asset classes on an equal-weighted basis in order to benefit from each of their strengths as well as the diversification, it is very sound and well-grounded for investors to ask — especially in light of this unprecedented crisis in which we find ourselves — what the unique advantages and disadvantages are from each. Certain investor situations may necessitate maintaining an overweight to one or the other or holding only one.
In this newsletter, we perform a deep dive into the nuances of the performance, technical factors, fundamentals, and valuations between bank loans and high yield in order to make these distinctions. In summary, we determine the merits of a modest overweight of high yield versus bank loans given the current environment due especially to two dynamics — the Fed’s unprecedented purchasing of high yield bonds and weakened bank loan demand as a direct result of weak CLO demand — explored in more detail in the following pages.
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