This is something I’ve been pondering for some time. I think the next crisis will reveal how little liquidity there is in the credit markets, especially in the high-yield, lower-rated space.
Dodd–Frank has greatly limited the ability of banks to provide market-making opportunities and credit markets, a function that has been in their wheelhouse for well over a century.
However, when the prices of massive amounts of high-yield bonds that have been stuffed into mutual funds and ETFs begin to fall, and the ETFs want to sell the underlying assets to generate liquidity, there will be no buyers except at extreme prices.
My friend Steve Blumenthal says we are coming up on one of the greatest buying opportunities in high-yield credit that he has ever seen. And he has 25 years of experience as a high-yield trader.
There have been three times when you had to shut your eyes, hold your breath, and buy because the high-yield prices had fallen to such extreme levels. That is going to happen again.
But it is going to unleash a great deal of volatility in every other market. As the saying goes, when you need money in a crisis, you sell what you can, not what you want to. And if you can’t sell your high-yield, you end up selling other assets (like equities), which puts strain on them.
But that is not just my view. Dr. Marko Kolanovic, a J.P. Morgan global quantitative and derivative strategy analyst, has written a short essay called “What Will the Next Crisis Look Like?” and it’s this week’s Outside the Box (subscribe to this free weekly publication here). He sees additional sources of weakness coming from other areas, too.
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