Eoin Treacy's view -
Apple Inc. on Wednesday joined U.S. companies including Deere & Co. and Walt Disney Co. in a recent sprint to issue new bonds, taking advantage of the steep decline in benchmark interest rates and a surge in investor demand.
Apple launched its first bond deal since 2017, selling $7 billion of debt. All three companies issued 30-year bonds with yields below 3%, a first for the corporate debt market.
Twenty-one companies with investment-grade credit ratings issued bonds totaling about $27 billion on Tuesday, said Andrew Karp, head of investment-grade capital markets at Bank of America Corp. “That’s equivalent to a busy week for us—in one day,” he said. About 20 more companies were expected to issue investment-grade bonds Wednesday.
The issuance boom is one consequence of a rally in debt that has driven down Treasury yields, which fall as bond prices rise, to near-record lows. Spurred by concerns that slowing growth and a mounting trade conflict will end the decadelong global economic expansion, investors have swept up government bonds around the world, pulling yields in many countries into negative territory. Bonds issued by name-brand corporations give investors a relatively safe alternative that still pays more than government bonds.
Anyone with any sense is either refinancing or issuing debt at these levels. There is a cacophony of people talking about the US following Europe and Japan into negative rates. That is a possibility but the bigger question is when? It does not look likely before the end of the year and in the meantime, there is a wave of corporate and sovereign bond issuance for the market to digest.
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