Commentary

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.

Of Bubbles and Gum

Her name was Lola. At least that’s what Danish archeologists are calling the female whose DNA was discovered in birch bark she had chewed 5,700 years ago. The sticky resin was used prehistorically to fix broken tools, for medicinal purposes, and for gum. The discovery was notable because no other remains of this ancient inhabitant

“The Best Place to Be” (Last of a Series)

The name George Laurer may not be familiar to our readers. But his invention certainly is. Mr. Laurer, who passed away two weeks ago at the age of 94, created the bar code. The UPC is now a universal feature of consumer products, but prior to its adoption in 1974, cashiers had to manually input

“The Best Place to Be” (Third of a Series)

A dictionary of Latin words, called the “Thesaurus Linguae Latinae,” was begun in 1893 by a team of German researchers. So far their successors have reached the letter R. With extraordinary luck and effort, “zythum” (an Egyptian beverage) will be reached circa 2050. For a so-called “dead language,” that seems like a lot of work

“The Best Place to Be” (Second of a Series)

As a long-term observer of (and participant in) the credit markets, we’ve learned the most interesting times are not when things are going swimmingly for issuers or investors. Life becomes intriguing at the inflection points, when established trends begin to shift. These moments are often apparent only in hindsight. The Great Recession, for example, ended

“The Best Place to Be” (First of a Series)

Earlier this month your correspondent traveled to Tokyo and Seoul, in part to assess how institutional investors view private debt there today. One highlight was serving on a panel at the Private Debt Investors Forum with several other experienced asset managers. The panel headline was “Global Debt Under the Microscope.” Andrew Hedlund, PDI’s top reporter

Finding the Line: Senior Stretch vs. Unitranche (Second of Two Parts)

Speaking of long flights [link], news reached us of an overweight passenger punished for traveling in the main cabin. Or more precisely, the passenger’s owner was penalized. Viktor, a 22-pound cat of uncertain breed, was smuggled aboard Aeroflot in Latvia heading to Vladivostok – an eight-hour trip. Knowing his pet was over-the-limit, Mikhail Galin swapped

Whitecaps in Large Caps

Issuers in leveraged lending today are divided into three categories: the haves, the have-nots, and the wish-they-hads. As the 2019 loan calendar heads into its final six weeks of activity, the differences between the first two categories are becoming more pronounced. In the broadly syndicated market, as we covered last week, the combination of triple-C

Deal, No Deal (Last of a Series)

Tracking data in our market is often a challenge. As we’ve said in other contexts, there are three levels of fabrication: lies, damnable lies, and leveraged loan statistics. Yet when a variety of metrics point in the same direction, we suspect a semblance of truth is buried somewhere. Such is the case with data showing