Corporate Credit Conditions: Part 3

CMT Association

Contributor:
CMT Association
Visit: CMT Association

By:

Vice President

CMT Association’s Market Insights features timely technical analysis of current global markets by veteran CMT charterholders. Each post appears on www.tradingview.com/u/CMT_Association/ in an effort to explain process, tools, and the responsible practice of technical analysis. Shared content and posted charts are intended to be used for informational and educational purposes only. The CMT Association does not offer, and this information shall not be understood or construed as, financial advice or investment recommendations. The information provided is not a substitute for advice from an investment professional. The CMT Association does not accept liability for any financial loss or damage our audience may incur.

BAMLH0A0HYM2-BAMLC0A0CM FRED:BAMLH0A0HYM2-FRED:BAMLC0A0CM

As discussed in part two (prior installments linked below), the duration mismatch between LQD and HYG renders the ratio useless as a tool to assess credit distress or changes in investor preference. Credit ETFs, must be compared to a duration matched ETF, Treasury security or index to be useful.

There is also the difficulty in comparing spreads across investment cycles. For instance, credit quality across both investment grade (C0A0) and high yield (H0A0) indexes have changed significantly over the last three years. During the pandemic recession over 200 billion of investment grade ( IG ) debt was downgraded to high yield (HY). This improved the quality of IG, making it less susceptible to a downgrade cycle. Additionally, the debt refinancing wave of the last three years left record cash on IG balance sheets, sharply reducing their need to issue new debt into the higher rate environment. In fact, IG interest coverage is at a record high of 12.8 times. The combination should result in significantly less IG spread widening than in past recessions/downgrade cycles.

A way to monitor risk preferences is to utilize the arithmetic difference between HY and IG OAS. The idea is that as investor preferences swing between risk on and risk off, that the spread between the risk premiums will reflect this. If credit conditions are deteriorating, the spread will widen as investors demand a greater risk premium. When the Fed began tightening the spread was 226 basis points (bps). The initial surge peaked in June at +529 bps and has now narrowed to 339 bps, only 113 bps higher than the start of the year. Viewed in this manner, it is again hard to see why the Fed would be overly concerned.

BAMLH0A0HYM2-BAMLC0A0CM FRED:BAMLH0A0HYM2-FRED:BAMLC0A0CM

To place this spread difference into historical context I again plot 1 and 2 standard deviation bands around the regression line. Its not surprising that with both IG and HY OAS at their historical mean (see parts one and two) that the spread would also be at its historical mean. Again there is little in the data that would suggest that the Fed should be alarmed with credit or suggesting that there is compelling investment value.

In the final part of this series we will examine the extremely high all-in-yields of IG bonds and use traditional technical methods to reach an opinion on BBB (the lowest rung of IG ) credit.

And finally, many of the topics and techniques discussed in this post are part of the CMT Associations Chartered Market Technician’s curriculum.

Originally Posted November 14, 2022 – Corporate Credit Conditions: Part 3

Shared content and posted charts are intended to be used for informational and educational purposes only. The CMT Association does not offer, and this information shall not be understood or construed as, financial advice or investment recommendations. The information provided is not a substitute for advice from an investment professional. The CMT Association does not accept liability for any financial loss or damage our audience may incur.

Disclosure: CMT Association

Shared content and posted charts are intended to be used for informational and educational purposes only. The CMT Association does not offer, and this information shall not be understood or construed as, financial advice or investment recommendations. The information provided is not a substitute for advice from an investment professional. The CMT Association does not accept liability for any financial loss or damage our audience may incur.

Disclosure: Interactive Brokers

Information posted on IBKR Traders’ Insight that is provided by third-parties and not by Interactive Brokers does NOT constitute a recommendation by Interactive Brokers that you should contract for the services of that third party. Third-party participants who contribute to IBKR Traders’ Insight are independent of Interactive Brokers and Interactive Brokers does not make any representations or warranties concerning the services offered, their past or future performance, or the accuracy of the information provided by the third party. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

This material is from CMT Association and is being posted with permission from CMT Association. The views expressed in this material are solely those of the author and/or CMT Association and IBKR is not endorsing or recommending any investment or trading discussed in the material. This material is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security. To the extent that this material discusses general market activity, industry or sector trends or other broad based economic or political conditions, it should not be construed as research or investment advice. To the extent that it includes references to specific securities, commodities, currencies, or other instruments, those references do not constitute a recommendation to buy, sell or hold such security. This material does not and is not intended to take into account the particular financial conditions, investment objectives or requirements of individual customers. Before acting on this material, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.

In accordance with EU regulation: The statements in this document shall not be considered as an objective or independent explanation of the matters. Please note that this document (a) has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research, and (b) is not subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination or publication of investment research.

Any trading symbols displayed are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to portray recommendations.

Disclosure: ETFs

Any discussion or mention of an ETF is not to be construed as recommendation, promotion or solicitation. All investors should review and consider associated investment risks, charges and expenses of the investment company or fund prior to investing.  Before acting on this material, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.