2020 Hindsight

Remember your summer internships in high school? Neither do we. There’s a vague recollection of delivering mail for a financial advertising agency on Wall Street. (It’s also where we first encountered the term “Lead Left,” but that’s another story).

Wolf Cukier’s stint at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center last summer could have been equally tedious. The Scarsdale, NY teenager began by scouring reams of satellite data, searching for anomalous star patterns.

But instead of mailing it in, he focused. On his third day he noted an odd image near a binary star system. It turned out to be a planet, now labeled TOI 1338 b. “It definitely colored the rest of the internship,” recalled the seventeen-year old of his discovery.

Observers are scanning for similar signs of life in the leveraged loan universe. 2019 volume in the overall market slumped 35% from the previous year, from $1.2 trillion to $808 billion, according to Refinitiv LPC (see Chart of the Week).