Credit Insights

Escalating Trade War Rhetoric Weighs on Corporate Bond Market

Dave Sekera, CFA

The corporate bond market was hit relatively hard last Monday as the rhetoric between the United States and China escalated. Each party is exploiting the media and social media in an attempt to bolster its respective position while trade negotiations play out. Credit spreads widened significantly last Monday, but the corporate bond market attempted to recover much of the losses by Friday's close. In the investment-grade market, the average credit spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index (our proxy for the investment-grade corporate bond market) ended the week 2 basis points wider at +122 basis points. In the high-yield market, the ICE BofAML High Yield Master II Index ended the week only 6 basis points wider at +407. It was a similar story in the U.S. equity market, where the S&P 500 fell hard on Monday and then clawed back a significant amount of the loss over the course of the week. For the week, the S&P 500 declined 0.74%; in China, the Shanghai Index dropped 1.94%.