What Do High Yield Bonds Know That No One Else Does?
Wizened old market participants are often heard mumbling into their cups of green tea that "credit anticipates, and equity confirms" and so it is once again that the credit markets - fresh from the exuberance of endless technical flows, CLOs, and PIK-Toggles - has made a rather abrupt U-Turn in recent weeks. As Barclays points out, the ratio of High-Yield bond spreads to Investment-Grade bond spreads is its highest in three years as IG has been dragged lower by QEtc's impact on MBS and rotation up the spread spectrum. Typically, this kind of push would mean high-beta credit would outperform but far from it as cash bond markets have gapped out very recently. With call constraints (thanks to ZIRP) on high-yield bonds, the extreme price dislocation (given HY's inability to rally 'enough') will likely drag IG credit out - and that is a very crowded trade. Just one more unintended consequence from the Fed.
HY bond spreads are pricing in considerably more pain than IG bond spreads - what do they know?
CDS markets are not moving as much - having short-squeezed recently and just reracking with stocks. Bonds - real money accounts - are in trouble here...if this differential remains... but it seems that the crap-end of the credit quality spectrum remains active with new issuance.