Market: Both BDC common stocks and publicly traded unsecured debt have been in rally mode for three weeks now. For this preview of the week ahead, we will be looking out for any faltering in the blistering pace of the rebound in leveraged debt values. From the lowest point on Christmas Eve to the close on Friday BDC common stocks have moved up 11%. Less spectacularly, BDC Fixed Income has crossed back over par – using the median of the 41 issues we track – from a low of $24.30 in December, when nearly every issue out there had dropped below the $25.00 level. We’ll be focused on whether BDC common stock prices can make their way back – at least – to the late November level before the markets got into full dramatic mode as investors sold everything that was not nailed down, and some that was. Investors climbing that wall of worry have more than the usual number of challenges ahead including the well worn list of the government shutdown; the uncertainty over tariffs; concerns about a slowing economic environment – or worse; and the endless debate about what the Fed will or won’t do. Moreover, having climbed so high and so quickly investors have – metaphorically speaking – that much further to fall. The week ahead will be a useful test of the breadth and thrust of this rally. We take nothing for granted, and assume the next direction could just as easily be down or up. The best BDC investors might hope for in the short run is a modest pause two weeks ahead of earnings season.
Aimbridge LBO to take out unitranche debt held by Bain Capital Specialty Finance, Golub
Download: LFI BDC Portfolio News 1-14-19
We’re back to writing a preview of the week ahead in the BDC sector after a two week holiday break when not much was happening except wild swings in BDC common stock and bond prices, neither of which do we pretend to have any definitive insights as to their short term behavior. With the new year, though, we’re eager to get back to penciling out what we might expect to be reading about in the days ahead, and what the BDC Reporter might need to tackle in greater depth. In our most recent BDC Common Stocks Market Recap we boldly stated to our Premium subscribers that 2019 promises to be “the most important for the BDC sector in the last 10 years”. Let’s see how that goes, starting right away.
Loan market participants enter 2019 looking back at a miserable December. Senior secured loans traded off the most since early 2016. BB-rated loans were trading below $96.00 for the first time in the three-year span and nearly all loans fell below par.
Primary market yields on first lien middle market loans rose to their highest levels since Q1 2017 with increases in each quarter of 2018. This movement was driven heavily by the steady increase in LIBOR of over 100 bps throughout the year along with modest increases in coupon spread, most notably in the fourth quarter. First and second lien coupon spreads widened 35 and 33 bps respectively in the quarter, marking the largest quarterly spread widening in 2 years.
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