Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
November 4 – 8, 2019

US markets led global credit higher this week on the back of strong corporate earnings and positive (if somewhat conflicting) developments on trade.  Investors appear content with the narrative that the US and China have agreed to reduce tariffs on each other’s goods while still on track for a “Phase 1” deal. US credit spreads rallied 5-10 basis points tighter with high beta non-financials outperforming. Global sovereign yields rose substantially with US 10-year Treasury yield up 18 bp this week to finish at a 3-month high. German and Japanese government yields were similarly higher on the week, and the amount of negative yield debt in the world has now fallen 30% from the August highs.

Canadian credit tightened 3-5 basis points amidst a busy week for new corporate bond issuance.  Both Ford and GM launched Canadian dollar deals, and Capital Power printed a 10-year bond at +281 to the government curve. The deal was heavily oversubscribed and finished 10 bp tighter while repricing the secondary spreads.  Canadian government yields rose but lagged global markets after Canadian employment numbers released on Friday disappointed investors

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
Oct 21 – 25, 2019

Global credit continues to enjoy a strong month as investors appear willing to shrug off mixed quarterly earnings and soft economic data. US credit spreads tightened by 3-5 bp while the US 10-year Treasury yield remains range-bound near 1.80%. Trade optimism was the main driver with a possible “phase one” deal between the US and China being finalized. Corporate earnings were in full swing with most guiding for lower earnings in 2020. In Europe Mario Draghi chaired his last policy meeting on Thursday, delivering a weak assessment of the European economy but offering little in the way of new stimulus as he hands off the reigns of the ECB to successor Christine Lagarde.

Canadian credit markets improved as a lack of primary supply and relative cheapness to the US improved investor confidence. The federal election passed without much disruption and credit spreads drifted 2-3 bp lower throughout the week. Canadian National Railway offered the lone new issue in a quiet week, printing a long 30-year bond at +145.

Earnings announcements are set to continue with more than 140 companies reporting this week. The Fed’s next rates decision comes on Wednesday and most pundits expect a 25 basis point cut. European politics remains on the radar as Brexit looks set for another delay and a likely UK general election before year-end.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
October 14 – 18, 2019

Global credit markets rallied last week on the back of the US-China mini trade agreement, a strong start to earnings season and increased hopes of a Brexit endgame. US major banks reported generally strong results, which fuelled a 7 bp rally in 10-year spreads. Treasury yields rose consistently through the week but remain in the upper end of the range established in September.  Overseas, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tabled the latest Brexit deal ahead of the October 31st deadline. Investors grew increasingly hopeful that the PM can overcome significant obstacles and generate the votes needed to pass the deal in parliament. European credit tightened by 5-10 bp while UK banks tightened by up to 15 bp.

Canadian credit was relatively subdued but still managed to tighten 1-2 bp on the back of firm global tone. ENMAX issued its hotly anticipated deal on the back of the month-long marketing campaign. The issuer printed $850mm across three tranches and finished the week about 10 bp tighter. The Canadian election appears too close to call, but impact on credit markets should be limited, barring a shock result.   Canada will continue to take its cue from the global tone with Brexit resolution potentially the most significant development in the coming week.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
October 7 – 11, 2019

Risk assets rallied toward the end of the week as President Trump announced the U.S. and China have agreed upon the first steps to a trade deal while chances of a soft Brexit also increased. US domestic credit tightened by 5 bp as investors expected the new trade deal would lift the US economy out of the doldrums. US Treasury yields shot up as a result of the risk-on tone with the 10-year yield rising by 20 bp for the week while the Treasury curve steepened. Apart from market moves, the Fed also announced that it would start buying US T-Bills next week to further stabilize funding markets and steepen the Treasury curve. Canadian credit generally lagged the rally later in the week while Canadian government bond yields rose in line with Treasuries.

European credit outperformed as unexpected developments on Brexit negotiations surprised investors. Firstly, reports surfaced that PM Johnson and Irish representative Varadkar had a constructive meeting on sticky border points. Further, the European Council’s Tusk mentioned he received promising details from all sides, and that technical talks are taking place in Brussels ahead of the Brexit deadline of October 16th. European credit tightened by 10 bp while UK banks outperformed, tightening by up to 25 bp.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
September 30 – October 4 ,2019

The fourth quarter of 2019 got off to a difficult start as weak US manufacturing data and impeachment headlines spooked risk markets. US credit widened 3-5 basis points after disappointing manufacturing and services data renewed fears of an impending recession. US Treasury yields tumbled with the 10-year falling by 15bp and the rate curve steepening as the market priced in additional rate cuts.  Finally, Friday’s US employment report came in below expectations but suggested the American economy is perhaps not as dire as priced in earlier in the week.  Despite the negative economic and political tone, investment grade credit markets remain orderly as fund flows suggest investors continue to move money out of equities and into fixed income.

 

Canadian credit markets generally followed the global risk-off tone. Primary issuance slowed down with just $2.8bn pricing across four issuers. The Fédération des Caisses Desjardins du Québec ($CCDJ) launched its inaugural bail-in bond, printing $1 billion of a 5-year note at +105bp. Most new deals struggled to perform this week given the volatile environment; generally finishing 2bp wider than issue.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
September 23 – 27, 2019

Global credit leaked wider throughout the week given soft economic data out of Europe, the ongoing Brexit process and finally the impeachment proceedings against President Trump. US credit was generally 2-4 bp wider with energy underperforming while TMT held firm. Treasury yields whipsawed back and forth on conflicting headlines before finishing about 2bp lower. In the UK, the Brexit drama continues with UK’s top court ruling that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament was unlawful. The combination of Brexit headline risk and underwhelming productivity data out of Germany and France left European credit weaker as well.

Canadian credit outperformed its peers, tightening by about 2bp with financials and utilities leading the way. The primary market slowed this week printing about 2bn CAD of paper across four issuers. Of note, Equitable Bank ($EQBCN) issued 200mm of a 3-year deposit note at a spread of G+145bp. The demand for short carry product provided plenty of interest for the bonds, tightening by 11bp over the week.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
September 16 – 20, 2019

North American credit traded with a mildly positive tone amid an eventful week including drone attacks on the oil sector, dislocations in the funding markets, and a 25bp rate cut in the US. Weekend headlines about the attack on Saudi Aramco oil facilities sent crude prices higher and energy credits tighter on concerns that world oil output may be restricted for an extended period.  Oil prices abated later in the week once Aramco announced it would have facilities back online within a couple of weeks.   In the US, central banks were forced to intervene when cash funding rates spiked above the Fed’s target range.  The move sparked temporary concern that a bank failure may be lurking behind the scenes, but rumours proved unfounded and the spike proved to be largely technical.  On Wednesday the Federal Reserve cut the target rate by 25 basis points, a move which was largely expected, and Fed Chair Powell was careful to temper market expectations of further cuts.  Amid this backdrop treasury yields drifted lower while a slower US new issue market allowed credit spreads to tighten by 2-3 bp.

It was a busy week for the Canadian market with six issuers printing a total of CAD 6.8 billion. Waste Management issued its inaugural deal in the Canadian market, and Scotiabank brought its first bail-in bond. In general, most deals this week performed very well, printing with slight concessions and generating significant demand from investors.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
September 9 – September 13, 2019

Global interest rates continued to rebound sharply from August lows last week while risk assets returned to all-time highs.  Modest concessions from both the US and China on previously announced tariffs suggested an easing of trade tensions.  On Thursday the European Central Bank cut its main deposit rate and said it would continue to purchase bonds in the open market for as long as it deems necessary to stimulate the Eurozone economy.  German Bund yields initially fell but rebounded on economic optimism to finish at a 6-week high, and US 10y Treasury yield ended the week nearly 35bps higher.  Higher rates tempered borrower enthusiasm leading to a slower pace of corporate new issues, and allowed credit spreads to tighten.

Canadian credit enjoyed a strong week with tighter spreads and $4.6 billion of new supply across five issuers. One issuer of note was Gibson Energy ($GEICN), which brought a widely anticipated investment-grade deal following their recent upgrade from high yield. The energy firm printed $500mm of a 10y note at G+218 bp which found strong investor demand and finished the week trading 7 basis points tighter than launch.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
September 3 – September 6, 2019

It was an eventful holiday-shortened week for corporate credit with plenty of market-moving headlines and economic releases acting as a backdrop to one of the busiest weeks on record for new issue supply.  Interest rates bounced meaningfully off recent lows following optimism over trade talks and modestly supportive economic data.  US dollar corporate new issues totalled $77 billion across 53 deals, both new weekly records and dramatically exceeding estimates of $40 billion.  While most new issues performed well, secondary bond spreads could only hold their ground given the heavy supply.  In Europe, Brexit headlines dominated markets as the chance of an October 31st “hard exit” fluctuated throughout the week.  Meanwhile Italy moved toward another coalition government, averting a messy election.

Canadian corporate bonds were able to modestly tighten amidst a relatively quiet week where all the action occurred south of the border.  We saw four issuers come to market, printing a total of $1.8 billion. The highlight of the week was the issuance from Caterpillar Inc., printing $300mm of a 3yr bond @ G+83. The deal was well over-subscribed and priced with a generous concession, finishing the day 8 bp tighter.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
August 26 – 30, 2019

Global risk assets rounded out the month on a cautious tone as volumes were light and investors geared up for what is expected to be a busy September. Relations between the Chinese and the US seemed to improve after the Chinese said they would not immediately retaliate on Trump’s newly proposed tariffs going into effect over the weekend. With that said, cash credit spreads finished the week unchanged to 5 bp wider as investors were hesitant to start buying ahead of a busy primary calendar post-Labour Day. Most dealers are now calling for up to $130bn of new paper during the historically busy month, with $40bn expected during the first week. Adding to the supply, investors expect volatility to continue with unresolved trade tensions and Brexit negotiations.

Canadian credit held in relatively well with investors stepping into bank and utility paper while selling higher beta product into bouts of strength. CIBC was the first of Canadian bank to tap the primary market following Q3 earnings. The bank printed $1.5bn of a 5y bail-in with a concession of around 3bp. Given the scarce supply in August and relatively calm markets, the bond tightened nicely ahead of anticipated supply from CIBC’s peers.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
August 19 – 23, 2019

Most of last week had a typical late-summer feel, with little new issuance and a lack of significant headlines allowing spreads to drift modestly tighter.  That all changed on Friday with new tariffs announced by China and retaliatory rhetoric from Trump provoking some risk-off fear into the weekend.  Speaking at the annual Jackson Hole investor conference, Fed Chair Powell walked a careful line, allowing that trade negotiations and global slowdown posed a tangible threat to the US economy, without promising outright that further rate cuts were inevitable. The G7 conference will undoubtedly provide additional headlines to start the last week of August. With liquidity thin and many traders out, any market-moving headlines could provide more volatility than usual.

Canadian credit was subdued with moderate tightening in telecoms offset by widening in autos and energy. Goldman Sachs offered the only C$ new issue, printing CAD 1 billion of a 3y floating rate note at +65 over 3-month CDOR. Although the deal did not offer a significant concession, a small number of large orders ensured the deal was a success.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
August 12 – 16, 2019

Another volatile week for risk assets as trade tensions and fears of a global recession combined for a flight to quality. Credit markets got off to a weak start on Monday as an Argentinian election upset and escalation of tensions in Hong Kong drove equities and Treasury yields lower. Later in the week, weak economic numbers out of China and Germany spurred renewed fears of a global recession. Global interest rates fell significantly with the yield of the 30-year US long bond, dropping to an all-time low below 2%. The combination of severe sovereign bond moves and weak tone pushed credit spreads wider by 5-10 basis points. Investors expect to get some clarity on monetary policy during this upcoming week as global central bankers meet for the annual Jackson Hole event, and an expected slowdown of new corporate bond issuance in the second half of the month should provide some support for spreads.

Canadian credit widened by 5bp last week as recessionary fears gripped the market. Similar to the US, Canadian sovereign yields fell substantially with a tilt toward a curve flattener. Despite the rocky tone, 800mm of new supply was printed across four issuers. In continuation of a recent trend, we are seeing coupon focused sectors such as REITs and Utilities taking advantage of lower all-in yields while focusing less on credit spread.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
August 5 – August 9, 2019

Credit spreads widened last week as US- China trade tensions continue to dominate headlines.  Escalating rhetoric from both sides with threats of new tariffs sent treasury yields to new lows for the year and US investment grade spreads 5-10bp wider across most sectors. Prices on Italian debt fell as the country appears headed for yet another early election. Despite the soft tone, issuers rushed to take advantage of low yields with 22 new corporate bonds priced last week for a total of $36bn. Occidental Petroleum ($OXY) was a highlight of the week bringing a $13bn bond deal to finance its merger with Anadarko Petroleum.  The deal priced with an attractive concession and traded well throughout the week.

Supply was the main driver of Canadian credit markets, with spreads 5-10 basis points wider amid one of the busiest weeks of the year for new corporate bonds.  Issuers focused on attractive all-in coupons and were happy to pay larger spread concessions to get deals done.  Most new deals finished the week hovering near new-issue spread, while secondary spreads pushed wider in anticipation the heavy supply may continue.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
July 29 – August 2, 2019

Global risk assets endured one of the toughest weeks of 2019, highlighted by the FOMC policy decision and renewed U.S. – China trade tensions. The FOMC decided to cut the Fed funds rate by 25bp, but Fed Chair Powell’s comments were more hawkish than expected, citing the move as an “insurance cut” in order to protect against trade tensions while the US economy continues to grow steadily. Following the FOMC decision, President Trump surprised the market with a new round of tariffs on $300bn of Chinese goods. Equities reacted negatively to the news while credit widened by 10-15 bp. Investors piled into Treasuries following the tariff announcement, dragging the US 10y yield down from 20bp to 1.85% by Friday’s close. As a result of the tariffs, the chances of another rate cut increased substantially, putting Fed Powell in a hard place for the upcoming September meeting.

The renewed trade war also affected Canadian credit, although to a lesser degree. Domestic names widened out by 5-8 bp, highlighted by higher beta sectors like REITs and Hybrids. In general, the lack of issuance in our domestic market as well as decent earnings have kept spreads intact compared to the U.S. counterparts.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
July 22 – July 26, 2019

Global risk assets rallied throughout the week as investors cheered earnings while central banks signalled accommodative policies. US credit tightened by about 3-8bp for the week, highlighted by TMT earnings. Equities followed suit with the S&P rising more than 1.6% and reaching record highs. The Treasury curve was relatively quiet ahead of the Fed meeting next week. The 2s10s curve flattened slightly as GDP growth slowed less than expected and reduced expectations of a 50bp cut. Issuers beat expectations on the new-issue front, bringing close to $30bn to market. In general, the primary market has been well-received of late as investors try to place a glut of cash to work. There is another $25bn expected next week as issuers try to come to market ahead of the Fed.

Canadian credit followed suit, tightening by a couple of bp. Energy was the highlight of the week, tightening by up to 10 bp on solid earnings news and recovery in WTI. We saw one sole issuer in the primary market with BMO printing $1.75bn of a 5yr bail-in senior bond that priced at +92 and is trading slightly tighter by week’s end.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
July 15 – July 19

Global credit traded either side of unchanged as dovish Fed commentary balanced out tensions between the US and Iran. US financials outperformed this week as underwhelming supply post-earnings blackout created a technical bid for secondary paper. From an earnings standpoint, results were mostly neutral although issuance was limited to Thursday with Bank of America and Morgan Stanley printing a total of $4.5bn in the US while JPMorgan printed €1.5bn in the Euro market. Energy credit underperformed as WTI sold off by over 8% throughout the week. The fluctuations in WTI were the result of stockpile speculation and threats between the US and Iran.

Canadian credit outperformed with autos and consumer retail names tightening by 2-4 bp. On the data front, retail sales missed expectations of 0.4%, primarily attributed to poor weather. The Canadian 5-year government bond yield fell by 13 bp for the week as dovish commentary, and soft macro data crept into rate expectations. The Canadian primary market proved to be active with four issuers printing a total of $2.35bn. RBC issued $1.5bn of subordinated debt in the largest bond deal of the month so far. The 10NC5 bond printed at +132 and traded up to 3bp tighter on the break as investors continue to chase for yield.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
July 8 – 12, 2019

Global credit continues to advance slowly in July amid higher issuance volumes, steeper yield curves and improving oil prices.  Investors watched closely as Fed chair Powell testified before Congress, looking for greater clarity on US interest rate policy over the next 12 months.   A July rate cut is now all but assured, and Powell appeared to express sufficient concern over global economic strength to suggest additional cuts will follow.  Central Bank dovishness, combined with modestly improving economic indicators pushed 10-year yields higher in North America and Europe.  Credit spreads generally improved though bank spreads languished on due to heavy Japanese bank issuance and expectations of pending issues from US banks once the current earnings blackout is lifted.

Canadian credit outperformed as a relatively strong domestic macro backdrop was supported by a dovish Bank of Canada policy announcement on Wednesday. Credit generally tightened by 2-4 bp, highlighted by high beta sectors like TMT, REITs and Energy. The primary market in Canada was also very active with $2.2bn of bonds priced across issuers National Bank, First Capital Realty and Northern Courier Pipeline.

 

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
July 1 – July 5, 2019

Global credit held firm in light of a generally subdued trading week due to the Canadian and US public holidays. US credit finished the week about 2-3 bp tighter although the strong US jobs number on Friday generated a headwind for credit as chances of a 50 bp rate cut in July diminished drastically. The energy sector was the clear underperformer as WTI retraced most of the gains from the past two weeks on concerns of global growth and stockpiles. The primary market was quiet as issuers took the week off. Looking ahead, investors are expecting about $65bn in supply for the month of July, about 30% lower than this time last year.

Canadian credit was generally a couple bp tighter for the week, capped off by substantial full-time jobs numbers on Friday. Credit outperformers included consumer discretionary and financials, both tightening around 4 bp. Canadian employment for June posted strong wage growth and capped off a hot labour market for the first half of the year. Canadian government bond yields rose by around 10 bp on the news, revealing the confidence in the economy and proving the case for steady monetary policy while other global powers turn dovish.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
June 24 – June 28, 2019

Global markets held firm ahead of the much anticipated G20 meetings over the weekend to cap off one of the strongest June performances in risk assets with the S&P closing the month above 7% while credit tightened by around 20 bp.  US credit was about 5 bp tighter for the week with energy and financials outperforming while pharma/health care faltered. Over the weekend the G20 meetings were interpreted as a success with the U.S. and China agreeing to restart trade talks while Russia and Saudi Arabia struck a deal to extend oil production cuts. Primary issuance was quiet with a couple deals of note including Honda and Charter Communications. The first week of July is expected to be quiet in the primary market with the Fourth of July celebrations keeping issuers on the sidelines.

Canadian credit was also about 3-5 bp tighter for the week on the back of global headlines while investors easily digested a rather busy primary market. Domestic issuers printed just under 5bn CAD of paper across four issuers last week. The highlight was Scotiabank printing 1.5bn of a 5-year NVCC at G+152. The deal was very well received with a decent concession and very little outflows of other NVCC or bail-in bonds.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
June 17 – June 21, 2019

Global risk assets rallied sharply this week on optimism over US-China relations and dovish commentary from the ECB and the Fed. The Fed’s interest rate decision on Wednesday took center stage, keeping rates unchanged while signaling that lower rates could come as soon as next month.  Investors took reassurance that central banks will continue to support global markets causing equities to reach all time highs and credit to tighten substantially. US credit spreads tightened by over 10 basis points following the Fed announcement, led by higher beta sectors like autos and industrials. The primary market proved quiet as issuers are content to wait for lower yields.  Just under $10 billion of new bonds priced in the US, well below expectations.

Canadian credit lagged the rally, tightening by 5 basis points on average. The energy sector was the top performer, rallying by up to 10 bp due to the sharp rally in oil prices as well as the approval the TMX pipeline. The primary market was steady with approximately $4 billion of supply from five issuers. TD Bank and RBC printed a combined total of $3 billion, with both deals performing well on the break.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
June 10 – June 14, 2019

Global credit steadily tightened last week on Trump’s decision to call off Mexican tariffs and rising expectations of a Fed rate cut. US credit finished the week 3-5 basis points tighter, led by industrials and autos, while treasury yields fell after Wednesday morning’s inflation data surprised to the downside. The primary market was busy with $29 billion in new issues printed, once again beating weekly estimates.

It was a busy week for Canadian credit as the new issue floodgates opened on the back of solid macro tone and low yields. Eight issuers combined for a total of $4.8bn including tranches from Laurentian Bank, Fairfax, John Deere and Keyera. Most deals were well received and credit spreads generally traded 3 bp tighter even with the glut of new paper. This week could set the narrative for the months to come with the FOMC, the ECB and the BOJ all holding important meetings. Investors are expecting a very dovish outlook on global central bank policy, thus creating headline risk if any of the countries deviates from expectations.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
June 3 – June 7, 2019

Global credit rebounded from oversold levels last week amid softer trade rhetoric from the White House, dovish Fed expectations and disappointing jobs data. US investment-grade spreads were 5-8 bp tighter led by financials and autos. The strong tone fuelled primary issuance with $25 billion of new bonds priced across 24 deals.  Friday’s US payrolls report severely missed expectations, posting an increase of just 75k jobs compared to estimates of 175k. Treasury yields fell to new lows for the year as the jobs print all but solidified expectations for a Fed rate cut by July.

Canadian credit enjoyed a similarly strong week although indices demonstrated a lag effect by posting negative returns. The Canadian jobs report on Friday was upbeat for the second month in a row, with the unemployment rate falling to the lowest on record at 5.4%. In contrast to the US, the robust picture on the Canadian economy tempered expectations of a near term rate cut and sent the Canadian dollar to a 3-month high.  Three issuers printed a total of $1.25 billion this week, highlighted by the inaugural subordinated note issuance by Canadian Western Bank which printed 250mm of a 10NC5 note at +235bp and traded 3 bp tighter on Friday.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
May 27 – May 31, 2019

Trade wars remained in the headlines last week with China retaliating against US tariffs while the White House initiated new tariffs against Mexico over immigration concerns.  Treasury yields sank to their lowest levels since 2017 on concerns that protracted trade disputes on multiple fronts will take its toll on the US economy.  US credit spreads were roughly 5-10 bp wider with autos widening by up to 30 bp due to the sector’s production integration with Mexico.  In all, May proved to be one of the worst months of the past three years for US credit, with investment grade spreads widening 22 basis points on average.   This has left markets feeling technically oversold, and any easing of negative headlines could lead to a bounce tighter.

 

Canadian credit, which had remained largely insulated from US widening, finally showed signs of breaking down last week with spreads widening by 5 bp across most sectors. On Wednesday, the Bank of Canada held rates unchanged while remaining upbeat about the domestic economic outlook. Government bond yields bounced momentarily on the news but were dragged down by the overwhelming risk-off tone.  TD Bank, Honda Canada and Choice Properties REIT all came to market on Tuesday this week to print a combined $3bn of bonds. The heavy supply proved difficult for the market to digest, contributing to the overall tone of wider spreads.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
May 20 to May 24, 2019

Global markets, including credit, remained on the back foot last week as the trade dispute between the US and China showed no signs of calming. President Trump continues to talk up the billions in Chinese tariffs, even as there was good news for Canada and Mexico with the lifting of US steel tariffs for those two countries. Tensions further escalated when the US administration blacklisted Chinese telecom giant Huawei over spying allegations, later suspended for 90 days to allow US companies to adjust their supply chain.

Credit traders were disappointed by the deteriorating relations and took spreads to a 2-month wide. In Europe, sentiment weakened as UK Prime Minister announced her resignation and separatist parties appeared to make headway in European elections. Italian spreads remain under pressure over concerns their budget deficit exceeds EU guidelines and may lead to significant fines. US 10 year bond yields fell to an 18-month low, despite the Federal Reserve having hiked short rates 5 times in the interim. Canadian yields followed but remain a few bp above the lows set in March. Despite the soft tone, corporate new issue supply remains robust in the US, while Canada saw just two deals price during a holiday-shortened week. The lack of supply continues to help buffer Canadian credit from the global turmoil, although cracks appeared late in the week as dealers moved spreads a few bp wider.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
May 13 – May 17, 2019

Trade rhetoric with China and growing tensions with Iran continued to dominate headlines last week, causing risk markets to lurch back and forth in response. Volatility was less pronounced than earlier in the month, and while we finished the week with moderately wider credit spreads, there is a sense the worst of the selling is behind us. Heightened tension in the Middle East pushed oil prices higher, which were supportive of the US energy sector spreads. It was a busy week for new bond issues with over $30 billion of corporate debt pricing. Spread concessions remain minimal, and after-market performance was mixed. The financial sector, in particular, appeared to be weighed down by hefty supply. Investment grade markets continue to enjoy above-average inflows as investors rotate out of stocks to lower-risk assets, which is providing overall support for credit spreads.

In Canada, supply remains light, which is keeping domestic credit markets positive in May despite falling interest rates and weaker international markets. The knock-on effect of surprisingly strong Canadian employment numbers released on May 10th continues to provide support. In an interview late Friday, governor Poloz cautioned against a presumption that rate cuts were inevitable, saying that the natural path of rates is higher once current headwinds dissipate. Canadian bond yields are opening 5-6bp higher this morning as a result.

 

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
May 6 – May 10, 2019

The US-China trade war dominated headlines last week with both sides accusing each other of broken promises.  Despite attempts to maintain a positive spin, escalating tariffs suggest talks are not going well.  Combined with the heavy new issue supply of the last couple of weeks, global credit struggled to cope, and spreads endured their worst week of 2019.  Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) and IBM ($IBM) both brought $19 billion and $20 billion deals respectively to fund recent acquisitions. Supply expectations continue into this week with Fidelity Information Services and T-Mobile expected to bring sizeable deals. Despite the difficult macro tone, corporate bond funds are still seeing inflows as investors rotate out of stocks into lower volatility assets.

The Canadian credit index finished broadly unchanged for the week as foreign banks and energy/mining widened 2-4 bp while Real Estate paper tightened.  Statistics Canada reported on Friday that 106,000 new jobs were created in April, the biggest monthly gain on record, and the buoyant economic news helped Canadian markets to outperform.  The technical picture remains favourable in Canada with corporate supply struggling to keep pace with bond maturities and inflows. Three new issues priced this week and all were well received.  Friday also saw the first Canadian dollar high yield deal of the year: Cominar REIT ($CUFCN) priced at a 4.5% coupon priced at $100, and quickly traded as high as $101.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
Apr 29 – May 3, 2019

Global credit spreads finished the week generally unchanged as mixed economic data, a rate decision from the US Federal Reserve and a fall in oil prices failed to move markets in a meaningful way.  The Fed reiterated its patient stance on interest rates and downplayed the chance of a “pre-emptive” cut in 2019.  Traders were left marginally disappointed though 2-year treasury yields remain range-bound over the past five weeks.  New issue supply weighed on US markets while European spreads finished the week slightly tighter.  There is a cautious tone to start the week after US-China trade negotiations appear to break down on Sunday.

Canadian credit outperformed on the back of solid earnings and a lack of new issue supply. Spreads generally tightened by about 2 basis points, pushing the Bloomberg Canadian Investment Grade credit index to new tights for the year.  Retail inflows to bond funds combined with a surprisingly quiet new issue calendar contributed to the positive tone for spreads.  Interest rates finished the week higher after domestic economic data came in better than expectations.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
Apr 22 – Apr 26, 2019

Risk assets continued to push higher amidst strong earnings across most sectors, enabling equities to reach record highs and credit spreads to tighten. The auto sector led the way after Ford announced better-than-expected earnings – benchmark spreads finished the week up to 50bp tighter.  Corporate bond issuance was surprisingly light, with many companies in blackout due to earnings releases.  Interest rates fell while yield curves steepened after a surprisingly strong Q1 GDP print was overshadowed by benign inflation numbers.

Canadian headlines were dominated by the Bank of Canada rate decision on Wednesday. Issuance was relatively light with RBC and OMERS continuing the trend of Canadian issuers accessing outside markets. Rogers Communications ($RCICN) was the notable issuer this week, printing $1.25bn of 30yr paper South of the border while also tapping C$1bn in the Canadian market on the same day. Both issues were well received from investors, trading a couple bp tighter by week-end.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
Apr 15 – 19, 2019

Global credit spreads were able to finish out a holiday-shortened week with modest tightening in Canada and Europe while the US was unchanged to slightly weaker. In the US, healthcare bonds came under pressure with concerns that Democrats are looking to reform the industry post-2020 elections. CVS, UnitedHealth and Cigna spreads were all 5-10 basis points wider for the week. New issue activity exceeded expectations as the US banks used solid quarterly earnings reports to springboard new deals. Most deals priced with increased concessions due to softer demand, and were able to close marginally tighter in secondary trading.

Canadian credit continues to catch up to US spread tightening from earlier in the month. Spreads finished the week 3-5bp better on the back of strong inflows into corporate bonds and surprisingly robust retail sales. Bank of America ($BAC) was the sole issuer in the Canadian primary market last week, printing $1bn of 6NC5 bonds. The deal was moderately attractive compared to BAC’s USD paper and finished the week trading 2 bp tighter.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
Apr 8 – Apr 12, 2019

Despite a strong first quarter there has been a growing sense that the pain trade in credit was tighter spreads, and last week saw a strong move to coincide with government yields moving back to the top of the trading range. A lack of bad news provided sufficient catalyst, though improved Chinese economic data, a long extension to the Brexit deadline and lower than expected new issue supply all contributed to the optimism. Spreads were anywhere from 5-10 bp tighter, led by Financials and Energy. Saudi Arabia’s Aramco (A1/A+) provided most of the excitement in terms of new US Dollar deals, issuing $12bn across 5 tranches. A “fear of missing out” mentality undoubtedly led to an order book in excess of $85bn, but in the end the deal priced too far through Saudi sovereign spreads and has struggled to perform in secondary trading.

Canadian credit tightened given positive macro economic developments around the world. Credit spreads tightened by 5 bp on average, led by Maple issuers and Financials. The biggest underperformers were low beta product like Infrastructure and Utilities.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
Mar 25 – Mar 29, 2019

Global credit markets proved resilient in the last week of March, finishing on a positive note despite fears of slowing global growth, yield curve inversion, a lack of Brexit resolution, and ongoing global trade issues. US credit spreads finished the week modestly tighter as the market comes to terms with a lower range for treasury yields and dovish talk from the Federal Reserve. New issue activity was brisk, capped by an $11 billion issue from communications giant Broadcom on Friday.

Stronger-than-expected GDP figures for January helped Canadian credit finish the month on a positive note. The beat sent government bond yields 7 bp higher on Friday while futures prices cut the odds of a 2019 rate cut by 50%. Telus ($TCN) led the way on the new issue front with a $1 billion deal launched on Friday. Attractive pricing and expectations that this would be the only deal from Telus this year drove heavy investor demand, fuelling the largest book of investors for a non-financial deal in Canadian history. The deal performed very well and traded 4 basis points tighter to close out the week.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
Mar 18 – Mar 22, 2019

Global credit outperformed other risk assets given turbulent headlines around the world this week. Fed Chair Powell’s surprisingly dovish tone, fears of a global growth slowdown and a growing fear of a hard Brexit kept investors on their toes. Mr. Powell took all rate hikes off the table in 2019 while guiding its balance sheet tapering on Wednesday, sending Treasury yields significantly lower and triggering fears of a growth slowdown in the US. Weak manufacturing data out of Europe later in the week compounded to the growth fears, triggering a sell-off in equities to close the week. Despite the macro developments, IG credit finished the week either side of unchanged while Financials were 2-3 bp wider due to the fall in interest rates.

Canadian credit finished the week relatively unchanged as REITs and Financials widened out on fears of slowing growth while Utilities and new issues performed well. It was a busy week for the Canadian primary market, printing just under $3bn of credit focused mostly in the long end of the curve. Most of the deals performed well with decent concessions and very small investor fills. Inter Pipeline Inc. was the highlight of the week, issuing their first 60NC10 Hybrid at 6.875% and traded up to 26 bp tighter on the break.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
Mar 11 – Mar 15, 2019

Despite mixed macroeconomic news including Brexit, trade negotiations and slowing economic data, global credit and equity markets proved resilient. The U.S. reported solid retail sales and CPI data early in the week, providing confidence in investors without potentially altering the Fed’s dovish course on rate normalization. It was another active week in the primary market, printing $25bn of paper, $13bn of which was bank issuance. Bank of America, Citigroup and JPM all issued deals that launched with a decent concession and are trading 2-3 bp tighter with little selling on the back of the deals. European credit was well bid given a tumultuous week for Theresa May. After May’s revised deal was defeated earlier in the week, the second and third votes of the week ruled out a “no-deal” Brexit on any future date and an A50 extension was passed.

Canadian credit traded either side of unchanged throughout the week as widening of new issue curves balanced out tightening in front end secondary credit. This week saw $1.5bn of issuance from Ford, Canadian Western Bank and CP Railway. Most of the issues were met with solid demand and pushed out spreads in their respective secondary curves while the new issues were a couple tighter.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
Mar 4 – Mar 8, 2019

The upward momentum in credit markets paused last week as mixed trade headlines, disappointing economic data and heavy new issue supply caused spreads to modestly widen. Investors struggled to digest just under USD 40 billion of new supply last week, well ahead of expectations, and recent jumbo deals such as Pfizer, Merck and Dell all finished the week trading wider than launch. The European Central Bank reacted to a spate of weaker economic data by announcing long-term financing incentives to Banks and suggesting rates would stay lower for longer.

Canadian credit outperformed, but the overall tone was defensive and we finished the week with spreads modestly wider. A late week sell-off in oil prices and a solid slate of new issues kept credit markets on the back foot. Investors received just over C$5 billion of primary issuance balanced across the Financial, Auto and Utility sectors. Bank of Montreal added to recent bank deals with C$2 billion of 5yr bail-in paper. Most of the deals finished the week flat or slightly wider than issue due to general weakness and heavy supply.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
Feb 18 – Feb 22, 2019

Global credit edged modestly higher last week on hopes that US-China trade negotiations will show meaningful progress.  US credit markets lagged other markets as new issue supply combined with a holiday-shortened week stemmed any meaningful rally. European credit, on the other hand, continues to move tighter on hopes the British government will choose to delay rather than face a messy “hard” Brexit.  The new issue market kept up its torrid pace, and with new issue concessions proving elusive investors are forced to be selective.

Canadian credit enjoyed a positive week with Energy leading the way on higher oil prices and REITs performing as recent new issues demonstrate the depth of demand for the sector — two new deals priced for a total of $1.45bn. Enbridge Pipelines issued $1.2bn of 10y and 30y tranches while Artis REIT issued a small 2yr fixed with a large concession to secondaries. Both deals performed well with Artis, in particular, finishing the week 12 basis points tighter from launch spread.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
Feb 11 – Feb 15, 2019

Credit markets maintained a positive trajectory throughout the week as another government shutdown was avoided and US-China trade talks reportedly made progress. A disappointing retail sales number on Thursday, the lowest print in ten years, sent US treasury yields tumbling back towards the lower end of their 6-week range. Credit spreads edged tighter throughout the week but were hindered somewhat by steady new issuance. The investment grade primary market printed just under $40bn of new paper this week, highlighted by Altria’s $11.5bn jumbo multi-tranche deal to finance its acquisition of electronic cigarette company JUUL. The deal managed to build a $50bn book and traded up to 12 bp tighter than issue. Away from Altria however concessions were light and often there was not much value to be found, adding to signs the current risk-rally may be close to running its course.

Canadian credit traded in a narrow range as a solid slate of earnings and repercussions of positive trade talks balanced out surprisingly weak manufacturing sales. Investors continue to await new issue supply to dislodge sleepy markets as some of the usual suspects (i.e. the banks) are finding cheaper sources of funding in foreign markets. Brookfield Properties was the only deal this week, printing 350mm of a 7yr at a very modest concession. The deal was trading 6 bp tighter by the week’s end.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
Feb 4 – Feb 8, 2019

Signs emerged last week that the global risk rally may be running out of steam as macroeconomic unpredictability crept back into investors’ minds. The State of the Union address on Tuesday was deemed underwhelming as Trump was unwilling to allay fears of another government shutdown next week. Suggestions that US and Chinese leaders would not meet until the end of the month increased chances of a prolonged trade war between the two countries. In Europe, growth expectations continue to decline amid signals that Italy may already be in recession. Scotiabank became the second Canadian bank in two weeks to issue a US $ bail-in note. The new 5-year bond priced right on top of the recent BMO issuance and struggled to hold new issue spread given the generally soft tone.

Canadian credit was similarly affected by global events but managed to close the week better given solid technicals. High beta financials and maples underperformed while deposit notes and utilities were mostly tighter. Canadian National Railway was the sole Canadian issuer of the week, printing 800mm between two tranches. The deal priced right on the screws, trading about 1 bp wider at the end of the week.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
Jan 28 – Feb 1, 2019

Decent corporate earnings and a surprisingly dovish US Fed spurred global credit markets to continue the 2019 rally last week. On Wednesday the Fed appeared to acquiesce to White House pressure, holding rates steady and suggesting they would be ‘patient’ with future rate hikes. Chairman Powell went even further in his post-meeting press conference, stating that the current level of interest rates is within the range of neutral policy. That’s a stark contrast to just 3 months ago when Powell declared rates were ‘a long way from neutral’. Post-announcement the US rate curve steepened while credit rallied. Friday’s US jobs report surprised to the upside, and continues to allay fears that the economy is slowing. BMO became the second Canadian bank to issue “bail-in” bonds in the US market, printing a 5y note at +92. The deal was met with a decent buyer base from both US and Canadian investors and traded a few basis points tighter on the break.

Canadian credit continues to perform as strong earnings and a lack of primary supply pushed secondary paper tighter. Spreads tightened 5-7 basis points for the week led by Financials and REITs. Utility company Bruce Power was a notable underperformer as recent issuance from comparable Algonquin Power placed significant selling pressure on the name. Wells Fargo surprised investors on Friday with the first Maple deal of the year, printing $1bn of a 5yr note at +132. The deal priced relatively cheap to US WFC notes and rallied tighter in secondary trading.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
Jan 21 – Jan 25, 2019

Global credit continued to grind tighter last week, buoyed by news on Friday that Congressional leaders reached a temporary agreement to reopen the US government. Credit curves steepened with 10y bonds trading 5 basis points tighter while 3-5y bonds traded up to 15 bp tighter. Investors have been buying secondary paper as new issue supply has underwhelmed expectations, and dealers have seen inventories significantly reduced. JPMorgan led the way on the new issue front last week, with a $2 billion 8-year bond deal that priced at the tight end of expectations but still ended the week 7 bp tighter.

Canadian credit followed the theme with investors reaching for paper and dealers scrambling to cover shorts. Credit spreads were generally 5-10 basis points tighter across all sectors. Three new deals priced, with Algonquin Power earning deal-of-the-week status with a 300mm 10y green bond priced at a spread of +264. The deal generated significant demand from a multitude of clients and finished the week trading 18 bp tighter.

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Highlights from the Week in Corporate Credit:
Jan 14 – Jan 18, 2019

Global markets continued to march upwards as optimism on US-China relations and a solid start to the earnings season kept the momentum going. US credit rallied steadily throughout the week, fuelled by successful new issues, improving liquidity, and tenuous progress on US/Chinese trade relations. The primary market printed just over $25bn of paper this week with major banks like Citigroup, JPM, Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley all launching deals after posting mixed Q4 earnings reports. Across the pond, UK Prime Minister May had a busy week, facing a Brexit vote defeat while surviving a “no confidence” vote the following day. UK banks rallied on the news as traders anticipated a delay of the March withdrawal deadline and increased possibility Brexit might not happen at all.

Canadian credit felt robust despite rising diplomatic tensions with China. Spreads generally tightened by 5 or more basis points, and the positive tone enabled patient issuers to launch some long-awaited deals. Ontario Power Generation printed a 30-year deal that came at a significant concession, ending the week 13 bp tighter as investors appear starved for long-term paper.

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