Commentary

And Such Small Portions (First of a Series)

Last fall we ran a special series on the size of the middle middle for loans (“How Big is the Middle Market”). This week we re-examine that question with Kelly Thompson, the middle market analyst for LevFin Insights. In a recent report, Kelly discussed both the volume of middle market loan activity in 2017 as

Animal Farm

2018 will be a good year for loans. We know because, according to the Chinese calendar, we will soon begin the Year of the Dog. Seems dogs are auspicious animals. And the last YOD was 2006, an excellent loan vintage. Well, at least for issuers. The Travel China Guide had this to say: “If a

Déjà View

Another year, another fruitcake article. This one from last Thursday’s WSJ. Long-distance hikers are the latest consumer market niche to fall for the oft-abused holiday fare. “Better than energy bars,” one new fan enthused. “We’re just burned out on gorp,” explained another. No less a personage than Appalachian trail guru, Edward Garvey, gave the fruit-and-nut

The Creditors’ Ball

The Who’s Who of leveraged finance showed up for the Wells Fargo Investment Thought Leadership Forum at the Plaza Hotel in NYC last week. In what has become the Davos of Credit, titans of our industry such as Howard Marks, Leon Black, and Larry Fink held forth on broad themes around what the smartest and

Grinding it Out

Last week’s feature on Hershey PA proved to be one of our more popular commentaries. Several faithful Lead Lefters recounted their favorite childhood reminiscences of the American epicenter of all things chocolate. According to one senior banker who grew up in Hershey, Milton Hershey established the town’s K-12 school in 1909. Today the school’s endowment

Sweet Success

Thanksgiving weekend included this family’s first trip to Hershey, Pa. For three little girls HersheyPark and Chocolate World were candy-coated nirvana. Life doesn’t get sweeter than designing your own chocolate bar. Sprinkles? Butterscotch chips? Yum. For adult vacationers the story of Milton Hershey’s entrepreneurial journey was educational. His formal schooling ended in fourth grade. Two

State of the Loan Market (Last of a Series)

In what was the highest price ever paid for a painting, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” sold last week for $450.3 million at a Christie’s auction, beating by a wide margin the $179 million forked over two years ago for Picasso’s “Les Femmes d’Alger.” The price tag also topped the entire building cost of New

State of the Loan Market (Third of a Series)

Besides the Annual LSTA Conference, the other recent industry gathering of note was the Creditflux CLO Conference in NY. The focus here was trends in structured finance, from both issuer and investor perspectives. Collateral loan obligations, as we’ve covered in a special series [link], represent the majority of loan buyers in the broadly syndicated market.

State of the Loan Market (Second of a Series)

The backdrop for US credit got a boost from several corners last week. First, the nomination of Jerome Powell to be the next Fed chief ensured monetary policy would be, if not unchanged, at least in experienced hands. Also, the October labor report – 261,000 new jobs added– came in pretty much where economists expected.

State of the Loan Market (First of a Series)

The French are running out of butter. C’est impossible! Bad weather, falling milk production, and revived global demand for the dairy product have left bare shelves in France, particularly Brittany. This in a nation where consumers eat three times as much butter annually (18 lbs. per capita) as in the US. L’affaire du beurre (a.k.a.