High Yield: Don’t Throw the Babies Out With the Bathwater

October 23, 2015

This week’s Chart of the Week takes a look at the sell-off over the last month in risk credit as a direct result of global concern over China’s continued slowdown.  Our chart shows the high yield bond spreads for each industry since the beginning of the year.

Not surprisingly, spreads for energy high yield issuers, shown in the purple, and spreads for metals/minerals high yield issuers, shown in the pink, have widened dramatically. In other words, their prices have depreciated significantly, as there is an inverse relationship between bond prices and their spreads.  This widening of energy and metals/minerals high yield bond spreads was due to the financial markets’ recognition of reduced Chinese demand for energy and metals/minerals.

However, all other sectors from chemicals, shown in the red, to utilities, shown in the orange, have seen their high yield spreads widen out as well. In our opinion, this is akin to throwing “the babies out with the bathwater.” In other words, the widening of spreads in all other industries except for energy and metals/minerals appears to be unjustifiably so.  The last two weeks have seen spread tightening across all industries as news of general stabilization has come out of China and Europe.  However, spreads for all other industries except for energy and metals/minerals remain elevated compared to where they were in the spring, suggesting some good value and opportunities in high yield within these industries.

The opinions expressed herein are those of Marquette Associates, Inc. (“Marquette”), and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to purchase or sell any product. Marquette reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs.

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