Credit Market Update: Q2 2017

Sr. Portfolio Specialist Allen Webb and Sr. Investment Analyst Andrew Kerai discuss the credit market for Q2 2017.

  • Downloadable video file - Use this option if you have trouble viewing the embedded YouTube video above or if you would like to save the video to your desktop.

Video recorded 7.11.2017.

Produced by RiverNorth Capital Management, LLC ("RiverNorth" "we" or "us").

Opinions and estimates offered constitute our judgment and are subject to change without notice, as are statements of financial market trends, which are based on current market conditions. We believe the information provided here is reliable, but do not warrant its accuracy or completeness. This material is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument. The views and strategies described may not be suitable for all investors. This information is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered tax, legal, or investment advice. References to specific securities, asset classes, and financial markets are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to be, and should not be interpreted as, recommendations. Opinions referenced are as of the day recorded and are subject to change due to changes in the market, economic conditions, or changes in the legal and/or regulatory environment and may not necessarily come to pass.

Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Diversification does not ensure a profit or guarantee against loss.

Investing involves risk. Principal loss is possible.

CFA® is a trademark owned by the CFA Institute.


A senior bank loan is a debt financing obligation issued by a bank or similar financial institution to a company or individual that holds legal claim to the borrower's assets above all other debt obligations. The loan is considered senior to all other claims against the borrower, which means that in the event of a bankruptcy the senior bank loan is the first to be repaid, before all other interested parties receive repayment.

A credit spread is the difference in yield between two bonds of similar maturity but different credit quality. Widening credit spreads indicate growing concern about the ability of corporate (and other private) borrowers to service their debt. Narrowing credit spreads indicate improving private creditworthiness.

Basis Points are a common unit of measure for interest rates and other percentages in finance. One basis point is equal to 1/100th of 1%, or 0.01% (0.0001), and is used to denote the percentage change in a financial instrument.

A bid is an offer made by an investor, a trader or a dealer to buy a security. The bid will stipulate both the price at which the buyer is willing to purchase the security and the quantity to be purchased.

Risk-on risk-off refers to changes in investment activity in response to global economic patterns. During periods when risk is perceived as low, risk-on risk-off theory states that investors tend to engage in higher-risk investments; when risk is perceived as high, investors have the tendency to gravitate toward lower-risk investments.

The interest coverage ratio is used to determine how easily a company can pay their interest expenses on outstanding debt. The ratio is calculated by dividing a company's earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) by the company's interest expenses for the same period.

A credit cycle is a cycle involving the access to credit by borrowers. Credit cycles first go through periods in which funds are easy to borrow; these periods are characterized by lower interest rates, lowered lending requirements and an increase in the amount of available credit. These periods are followed by a contraction in the availability of funds. During the contraction period, interest rates climb and lending rules become more strict, meaning that less people can borrow. The contraction period continues until risks are reduced for the lending institutions, at which point the cycle starts again.

Default is the failure to promptly pay interest or principal when due.

Yield is the income return on an investment. This refers to the interest or dividends received from a security and is usually expressed annually as a percentage based on the investment's cost, its current market value or its face value.

A covenant is a promise in an indenture, or any other formal debt agreement, that certain activities will or will not be carried out. Covenants in finance most often relate to terms in a financial contracting, such as a loan document stating the limits at which the borrower can further lend.

Par is a term that refers to a financial instrument that is trading at its face value.

Muni is short for municipal bonds.

Duration is a measure of the sensitivity of the price of a fixed income investment to a change in interest rates.

Prime is a classification of borrowers, rates or holdings in the lending market that are considered to be of high quality.

Super-Prime is a classification of borrowers, rates or holdings in the lending market that are considered to be of the highest quality.

Amortization is the paying off of debt with a fixed repayment schedule in regular installments over a period of time.

Coupon is the annual interest rate paid on a bond/loan.

The financial crisis of 2007–08, also known as the global financial crisis and the 2008 financial crisis, is considered by many economists to have been the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Yield curve is a line that plots the interest rates, at a set point in time, of bonds having equal credit quality, but differing maturity dates. The shape of the yield curve is closely scrutinized because it helps to give an idea of future interest rate change and economic activity. There are three main types of yield curve shapes: normal (steep), inverted (negative), and flat. A normal yield curve is one in which longer maturity bonds have a higher yield compared to shorter-term bonds due to the risks associated with time. An inverted yield curve is one in which the shorter-term yields are higher than the longer-term yields. A flat yield curve is one in which the shorter- and longer-term yields are very close to each other. The slope of the yield curve is also seen as important: the greater the slope, the greater the gap between short- and long-term rates.

A collateralized loan obligation (CLO) is a security backed by a pool of debt, often low-rated corporate loans. The investor receives scheduled debt payments from the underlying loans but assumes most of the risk in the event that borrowers default.

LIBOR is the world's most widely-used benchmark for short-term interest rates. It serves as the primary indicator for the average rate at which banks that contribute to the determination of LIBOR may obtain short-term loans in the London interbank market.

JPM US High Yield Index is an unmanaged, market-value weighted index designed to mirror the investable universe of the U.S. high yield corporate debt market.

JPM Leveraged Loan Index is an unmanaged, market-value weighted index designed to mirror the investable universe of the U.S. leveraged loans.

Fixed-Income Closed End Funds calculated based on data from Morningstar, Inc un-weighted closed-end fund peer group indexes.

The BofA Merrill Lynch US Municipal Securities Index tracks the performance of U.S. dollar–denominated investment grade tax-exempt debt publicly issued by U.S. states and territories, and their political subdivisions, in the U.S. domestic market.