Signs of Life

NASA announced last Friday that Curiosity has finally arrived at its destination. The Martian rover took two years to drive from its landing spot to Mount Sharp – a distance of about ten kilometers – where it will begin the bulk of its scientific experiments.

We’ve calculated that this leisurely pace, roughly 0.0003 miles per hour, is about the speed we ran our most recent 10-K.

At first glance, ‘sluggish’ would also seem to describe the movement of deals along this quarter’s leveraged loan landscape. As reported by S&P/LCD, total new issuance looks to fall below $100 billion for the first time since 2Q of 2012 (see our Chart of the Week).

Clearly, as borrowing spreads have firmed, the number of opportunistic re-financings, both re-pricings and dividend recaps, has fallen. Over the past nine months, new-issue yields-to-maturity have risen from 4.6%, to almost 5.75%.

Similarly, middle market yields (per Thomson Reuters LPC) are up almost one percent since March – from 5.25% to 6.16% last month.