U.S. Junk Bond Yields Hit Record Low as Vaccine Hope Fuels Rally
U.S. junk bond yields rode a rally in risk assets to a record low on Monday, as investors buoyed by a Joe Biden presidential victory and progress toward a Covid-19 vaccine poured into the debt of riskier companies.
The average yield for the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. corporate high yield index plummeted to 4.56%, sinking below the previous record of 4.83% set in June 2014.
Biden’s victory, declared by the Associated Press on Saturday, and news that a large-scale study for a coronavirusvaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE prevented over 90% of infections, accelerated a rally that began in the wake of the election last week.
Investors are seekingriskier, higher-paying assets on bets that a Biden presidency and Republican-controlled Senate could mean a smaller stimulus package and heavier reliance on the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy of ultra-low interest rates through at least2023.
Even though the market has already seen a huge rally in high yield, the lack of a “blue wave” means the streak has room to run, said Scott Minerd, chief investment officer at asset manager Guggenheim Investments, on Bloomberg Television on Thursday.
“If you’re a yield-oriented investor, like a mutual fund or an insurance company, the pie at which you can get attractive yields is getting smaller and smaller,” Minerd said. “The more liquidity the Federal Reserve keeps pumping into the system, the more pressure there is for credit spreads relative to Treasuries to contract.”
Read more: High-grade and junk-bond rally to go higher: Guggenheim’s Minerd
Investors are still pouring money back into retail funds that buy junk-rated debt with anestimated inflow of $3.23 billion by Friday’s close, JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts wrote in a note, citing Refinitiv Lipper. The cash influx was led by HYG, the biggest high yield exchange-traded fund, with net incoming cash of almost $1.9 billion. JNK, the second biggest ETF, raked in $511 million.
— With assistance by Gowri Gurumurthy, and Skyler Rossi
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