High Yield – Priced to Perfection

Note: This article is courtesy of Iris.xyz

By SNW Asset Management

Everyone is in love with credit risk! The high yield credit index returned 13.94% and the investment grade index returned 8.14%, better than the S&P 500 return of 6.74% for the year-to-date that ended in mid-September.

Why such a good showing? Of course the rally in treasuries helped, but we have also seen serious spread compression in the corporate credit markets since the wides of the first quarter. There is just an insatiable hunger for yield as central banks keep rates low, goose demand by purchasing investment grade corporate bonds and keep liquidity, risk appetite and economic outlooks strong.

High yield bond spreads are driven by default expectations, which usually peak during recessions. At this time, the high yield market is only pricing into spreads a 1% chance of recession over the next year, as calculated by market analysts. However, economists peg the risk of recession at 20%. Clearly the markets are pricing in a too rosy economic outlook, in our opinion. We see some of the same overly rosy economic expectations in the investment grade markets, although to a lesser extent than in HY.

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