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Financial markets have been buffeted by changing views regarding the trade dispute between China and the United States. Nevertheless, the direction taken by earnings-sensitive securities will ultimately be determined by the outlook for profits.
Despite today's ultra-low yields, Treasury bonds may still pay off handsomely once recession strikes.
Nothing quite increases the risk of debt repayment like a drop in the income that funds the servicing of outstanding debt.
The corporate bond market has proven to be resilient amid recent equity market volatility. Moreover, despite a slew of bearish headlines, the market value of U.S. common stock's latest low of August 14 was still a huge 20.8% above its low of December 24, 2018, while August 2019's month-long average of 19.0 points for the VIX was well under the 25.0 points of December 2018.
On September 9, the senior unsecured bond rating of Ford Motor was lowered from Baa3 to Ba1, where the downgrade constituted a ratings reduction from investment- to speculative-grade (or high-yield). Because investor mandates often prohibit the inclusion of high-yield bonds in investment-grade portfolios, such a downgrade can quickly lower the prices of adversely affected bonds.
The month-long average for the expected default frequency metric of U.S./Canadian high-yield issuers climbed from August 2018's 2.38% and July 2019's 4.16% to 4.59% in August.