Reaching for yield: HY spreads positively correlated to treasury yields

By Sober Look

Here is further evidence that in this environment treasuries are driving “risk asset” valuations. Corporate HY bond spreads are now positively correlated to treasury yields. That’s quite unusual because traditionally when treasury yields shrink, spreads rise (negative correlation).

Based on Merrill HY Index

By not allowing treasury yields to rise, the Fed is artificially suppressing HY spreads (as well as other “risky” bond spreads). The corporate market is therefore heavily dependent on stimulus, making any attempt to normalize monetary policy increasingly difficult.

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