Commentary

Lost in Translation

2018 ended in the high-yield loan and bond markets not with a bang, but with an olufsen. That’s our rendition of “whimper,” borrowed from the Danish audio products company. There are signs 2019 might be off to an upbeat start. But there are contrary signals as well. Volatility caused by rate and trade concerns held

The Price of Everything (Last of a Series)

“US credit markets are grinding to a halt.” So warned the front page of Monday’s Financial Times. Followers of this column will recognize the ensuing list of culprits – money pouring out of loan funds, falling secondary loan prices and resultant choppiness in the primary market, and stalled high-yield bond issuance. Credit markets may be

The Price of Everything (Second of a Series)

Loan prices for the most liquid leveraged names continued to drift lower this week in the wake of continued volatility in the public markets. This despite – or perhaps because of – a Goldilocks-flavored jobs report last Friday. Labor data showed 155k in new jobs for November. Not great, but enough to help ease worries

The Price of Everything (First of a Series)

Being off-kilter made it world-famous, but that condition is slowly being remedied. Almost since it was built in 1173, the Leaning Tower of Pisa has been sinking and slanting. But recent repair efforts by Italian engineers seem to be paying off. The 190-foot celebrated structure has now eased to the vertical by 1.5 inches. Not

Search and Recovery (Last of a series)

As we conclude our special series on leveraged loan recoveries, let’s take a look at one structure that is testing the way credit managers think about loan value. Unitranche financings are so much a part of the middle market buyout landscape today, that it’s hard to imagine a time without them. Yet on the evolutionary

Search and Recovery (Fourth of a series)

For those of you who sensed last Friday was a special day, but couldn’t put your finger on why, we offer this explanation: On November 16, the annual General Conference on Weights and Measures in Paris voted unanimously to redefine the kilogram. For decades metrologists have been in a tizzy since Le Grand K, the

Search and Recovery (Third of a series)

Continuing with our special series on leveraged loan recoveries, let’s turn to one of the most pondered questions on the subject; namely, how will covenant-lite loans fare in the next downturn? At a recent loan market conference, senior S&P analyst Ruth Yang reviewed the lite environment. She reminded attendees that broadly syndicated leveraged loans without

Search and Recovery (Second of a series)

News reached us from Harvard’s Astrophysics Center of an interstellar object of unknown origin spotted passing through our solar system. Named Oumuamua (Hawaiian for “scout”), the cigar-shaped “stadium-size” UFO demonstrated “excess acceleration” on its trek past the Sun and back out into space. Given the unusual trajectory, scientists theorized it could be “a fully operational

Search and Recovery (First of a series)

You know we’re at some kind of inflection point when two former chairs of the Federal Reserve come out in the same week with warnings about risks in financial markets. First, in an interview with the Financial Times, Paul Volcker spoke about systemic risks: “There’s a lot of leverage going on now, a lot of

Third Quarter Report (Last of a Series)

As the year has progressed, there’s been a growing bifurcation between the level of activity from middle market pure loan buyers and that of larger credit managers. Funds with less capacity have limited origination capability. They typically get product from loan syndicators, only able to hold tickets in the $10-40 million range. By contrast, a