Whatever nickname ultimately gets attached to the now-ending Twenty-tens, on Wall Street and across Corporate America it arguably should be tagged as the “Decade of Debt.”
With interest rates locked in at rock-bottom levels courtesy of the Federal Reserve’s easy-money policy after the financial crisis, companies found it cheaper than ever to tap the corporate bond market to load up on cash.
Bond issuance by American companies topped $1 trillion in each year of the decade that began on Jan. 1, 2010, and ends on Tuesday at midnight, an unmatched run, according to SIFMA, the securities industry trade group…
The corporate bond market has not only gotten bigger, it has gotten riskier.
With investors clamoring for yield in a low-rate world, debt rated only a notch or two above high-yield - or junk - bond levels now accounts for more than half of the investment-grade market, versus around a third at the dawn of the decade.