This Evening’s Notes

The 6.6 million weekly jobless claims number reported this morning was 10 times the number during the worst week of the 2008 recession. And, lo and behold, stocks finished the day on a high note.

Today’s markets were whipsawed by a Presidential tweet regarding the future of oil production, which, if it turns out as suggested, would be bullish for oil prices, albeit temporarily. At one point WTI was up over 30% during today’s session.

As for equities, I think we can legitimately chalk today’s session up as a technically oversold bounce from the drubbing that began Tuesday afternoon and culminated in a 900-pt down move for the Dow yesterday.

More on credit conditions (I presented some data today in an earlier post): Yum Brands came to market with a 5-year term debt offering yesterday that was oversubscribed, however the yield offered was 1.75% greater than what they’re currently paying on existing 10-year bonds. Today, Carnival Corp came to market with 3-year paper with a coupon of 11.5%; last October they were able to issue debt at 1%.

To put it mildly, and to state the painfully obvious, fundamental conditions have changed dramatically, and in a hurry!

This, from Forbes, echoes (in bold) our messaging beginning early last year on credit, and speaks to what’s in store:

“The Covid-19 pandemic comes at a time of mounting corporate debt. Non-financial companies owe $9.6 trillion of debt in the U.S., double the amount those companies owed 10 years ago. Now, the debts those companies accumulated have become much harder to manage and that is being reflected by rating agency action, further spooking financial markets.

Investors are anticipating the credit downgrades and sending down the price of many corporate bonds, pushing up the yields of $320 billion of investment grade corporate debt rated one notch above junk above 6%, according to Ice Data Services.”

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