by Wolf Richter
And since stocks follow junk bonds….
Junk bonds started to decline in June 2014, and earlier this year threatened to implode. Contagion was spreading from the collapsing energy sector to the brick-and-mortar retail sector, telecom (Sprint), the media (iHeartRadio), and other sectors. It was really ugly out there.
As junk bond prices got beaten down, yields soared. The average yield of bonds rated BB, the top end of the junk-bond scale, according to the BofA Merrill Lynch index, went from 4.2% to 7.07% between June 2014 and February 11, 2016. For CCC-and-lower-rated junk bonds – the bottom end of the scale, deemed to be within uncomfortable proximity to default – the yield of the BofA Merrill Lynch index shot up from around 8% to 21.5% between June 2014 and February 12, 2016.