Commentary

Half-Time Report (Second of a Series)

“July 4th is the worst holiday,” one of our friends declared as our families sat watching the jaw-dropping fireworks display last Wednesday evening in Newport, RI. Huh? “Think about it,” he explained. “Now the summer will zoom by. Kids back in school last week of August. Then Labor Day. A month later, Halloween. Before you

Half-Time Report (First of a Series)

“2018 will be a good year for loans.” Back in January, that was the way we characterized what to expect in leveraged loan land for the year ahead. At the half-way mark, our forecast seems to be holding true. According to Thomson Reuters LPC, volume for the entire loan syndication market in the US hit

Terms They Are A-Changing

There’s nothing that takes the froth off an issuer-friendly market faster than a growing pipeline. Absent some kind of global galactic event like a meteor strike or Iceland winning the World Cup, it’s good old-fashioned supply that impacts demand. In part, it’s a matter of band-width. Loan underwriting, even for liquid, on-the-run, broadly syndicated names,

Squeezed in the Middle

It’s ironic. Just as the economy seems to be picking up steam and the Fed is ratcheting up rates to stay ahead of inflation, the prospect of additional tariffs and trade wars risks putting a damper on the whole party. A recent survey of middle market dealmakers by Antares Capital (and featured by our friends

You Can Take it With You

Years ago the humorist Robert Benchley was traveling in Italy on summer vacation. Upon arriving in Venice, he cabled his agent: “Streets flooded. Please advise.” In a similar vein, leveraged loan investors should not be surprised at effects of ample liquidity flowing through credit markets today. As we head into the second quarter’s final weeks,

What Inning Are We In? (Last of a Series)

Confusion over where we are in the cycle was clarified a bit last week. The chief of JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, said at a NYC investor conference, “We’re probably in the sixth inning. It’s very possible you’re going to see stronger growth in the U.S.” Mr. Dimon’s bullish view was supported by Friday’s job

What Inning Are We In? (Second of a Series)

In a move that’s bound to suggest we’re late in some kind of cycle, the US Postal Service announced last week it would soon be issuing the first-ever “scratch-and-sniff” stamps. “Frozen Treats Forever” are designed as popsicles in ten flavors including kiwi and watermelon fruit bars, as well as chocolate and root beer ice cream

What Inning Are We In? (First of a Series)

That’s the perennial question that leading direct lenders addressed last week on a panel moderated by your correspondent at the 25th Annual Atlantic Conferences Middle Market Symposium. As the event was technically closed to the press, we can’t report on what was discussed. Instead, let’s cover the broad themes confronting market observers as they focus

Fast Food

McDonald’s reported surprisingly strong earnings for the first quarter. An RBC piece last week said the burger giant’s results were driven by better sales in international markets, as well as the addition of value-priced options on its menu. Bank analysts did not mention Don Gorske. The retired prison guard from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin just