EUROPEAN HIGH-YIELD BONDS RETAINED FAVOR - although a narrow one, over a range of investment-grade securities. Disappointing GDP numbers for Germany and the overall euro-bloc weighed upon 'risk-on' trades, as did views of increased French political risk ahead of an upcoming presidential election. Nonetheless, a residual bullish tone after yesterday's resurgence in risk-taking in Europe and 'across the pond' in the U.S. was in play, on the heels of fresh record highs in Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq.
'RISK-OFF' SENTIMENT WAS TONED DOWN relative to yesterday's levels, among a spectrum of European corporates. Investment-grade debt edged out junk bonds in net price gains nonetheless, amid continued attention to political risk emanating from 'across the pond' on the U.S. front. Corporate-bond investors took sector cues from gains in Deutsche Bank AG shares, moving up 2.1% before profit-taking set in. Upbeat views on financials were offset a bit by a 3.4% pullback in Italy's UniCredit SpA, as of 4 PM, London time. However, gains in retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB, Ocado Group PLC, and Alfa Laval AB buoyed the pan-European Stoxx 600, limiting its descent into the shallow red.
North American Investment Grade debt was more than triple the amount of that issued in high yield this week, with investment grade debt totaling $24.85 billion and high yield debt totaling $8.26 billion. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) and The Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) led investment grade deals with JPMorgan having one issue of senior unsecured notes totalling $2.75 billion and Goldman Sachs with three new issues of senior unsecured notes totalling $5.0 billion. This represented 31.2% of total investment grade debt issued this week. Other stocks in the financial sector also had a big week as Capital One Financial Corporation (NYSE: COF) had two new issues of senior unsecured notes totaling $2.0 billion, BB&T Corporation (NYSE: BBT) with three new issues of senior unsecured notes totaling $2.6 billion, Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE: RY) with two new issues of senior unsecured notes totaling $1.75 billion, and SunTrust Banks Inc (NYSE: STI) with two new issues of senior unsecured notes totalling $1.3 billion. International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE: IBM) also had a busy week with four new issues of senior unsecured notes totalling $2.75 billion.
Expansive tone continued to build regarding a spectrum of risk-assets, leading European junk debt to draw a fresh wave of bids along with equities. A strong showing by the banking sector was kindled by upbeat earnings from Santander SA, sending the Spanish bank's shares up 4.7%. The news carried along a range of other European banks as well, including France's Societe Generale SA and Germany's Deutsche Bank AG. A rally in Logitech International SA, posting share gains of over 15.5% as of 4PM London time and supporting the European tech group, provided additional sector cues to corporate-bond traders.
North American Investment Grade debt was more than quadruple the amount of that issued in high yield this week, with investment grade debt totaling $36.55 billion and high yield debt totaling $8.649 billion. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) led investment grade deals with a new issue of unsecured notes totaling $5 billion. This represented 13.7% of total investment grade debt issued this week. Financial sector stocks also had a big week with Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) having three new issues of senior unsecured notes totaling $7.0 billion, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) with four new issues of senior unsecured notes totaling $6.75 billion, and Wells Fargo Securities (NYSE: WFC) with two new issues of senior unsecured notes totaling $5.0 billion.
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