The Great Stay-In (Last of a Series)

As we wrap up our multi-part series on the COVID-19 crisis, we turn our attention to the path ahead, as unclear as that is. Or as one economist put it succinctly: “Anyone who thinks we’re going to keep moving up in a straight line is living in La-La Land.”

The good news is that the first phase of the crisis is passing. Markets have fully absorbed the initial shock wave of America stuck at home, and its impact on commercial activity. That is generally reflected in public asset valuations.

The emotional discount in secondary loan trading last month has shrunk. Credit investors are left with higher prices, though fewer bargains. What are the revenue and earnings assumptions behind those new values, we wonder?

Credit managers now have a ring-side seat to deteriorating borrower performance and the issuer-friendly terms characteristic of prior-cycle buyout financings. Expect those dynamics to change.