Monday, February 25, 2008

Discrepancies between HY firms' equity and bonds - which is right - from WSJ

-- Goodyear Tire & Co.'s stock climbed14 percent in the past six weeks, while U.S. Steel Corp. gained7 percent. Both shares rallied as their junk-rated bonds dropped. --During the past decade, a retreat in high-yield debt has foreshadowed every decline of at least 10 percent in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index. This time bonds may be wrong, andstocks may prove more prescient, signaling corporate profits canwithstand $162 billion in banks' credit writedowns and a slowingeconomy. --Shares of the 691 U.S. companies with non-investment gradebond ratings have climbed 5.3 percent in the past month,according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with a5.2 percent increase in the yield investors demand to own high-yield bonds rather than U.S. Treasury notes, according to anindex of 892 issuers compiled by Merrill Lynch & Co. --Credit-default swaps, or contracts used to hedge againstthe risk a company will be unable to repay its debts, indicatethat 9 percent of junk-rated companies may default in the next12 months, according to MFS's Swanson, a former high-yield bondspecialist who has worked for the Boston-based company for 22years. That's almost double the rate that Moody's expects in2008.

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