When we earlier discussed the unwillingness of institutional investors to return to the market even as retail investors swing from one mood extreme to another, we showed a chart showing the historical and seemingly relentless selling by virtually every investor class in the past decade, which left just one question for traders: when do the stock buybacks finally stop and put an end to the party?
Answering that question would also require the response to another, far bigger question: when does the bond market stall out, or in other words, when does the endless demand for yield finally fizzle out?
For anyone to claim they have the definitive answer would be folly: after all there have been so many prior occasions in which analysts and pundits declared the end of the all consuming bond bid, only to be mocked by investors gorging on even more corporate debt.And yet based on recent bond sales, it appears that finally investors may be getting full.
But how is that possible? Just two weeks ago there was an unprecedented $100 billion in bids for CVS’s gargantuan9-part $40 billion IG deal?
Well, as Bloomberg reported recently, in a first indication that the saturation point is approaching, there have been far fewer orders coming in for new bonds, relative to what’s for sale. This has resulted in bond-selling companies paying more interest compared with their other debt, according to Bloomberg data, and once the securities start trading, prices have been falling on more than 50% of new issues, an indication that “flipping” bonds for a profit is now only profitable half the time. And flipping for a profit, or loss – as any bond trader knows – is a well-known leading indicator to the overall strength of the bond market.
This, as Bloomberg notes, is also the latest signal following weeks of declining inflows and even occasional fund outflows, that the IG debt market is losing steam and may be approaching its tipping point after years of torrid gains, amid concerns about rising rates and talk of tariffs weighing on corporate profits.