America’s Zombie Companies Are Multiplying and Fueling New Risks

by Lisa Lee and Michelle F. Davis
Yahoo! Finance

(Bloomberg) — As the Federal Reserve pulls out all the stops to bolster credit markets, corporate America is gorging on debt.

From Carnival Corp., Marriott International Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc. to Gap Inc. and Avis Budget Group Inc., many of the companies hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak have priced billions of dollars of bonds and loans in recent weeks.

Never mind that profits have been wiped out, and that their business operations aren’t viable right now or likely anytime soon. As long as they’re propped up by the Fed, investors are willing to lend.

Yet as expectations of a V-shaped economic recovery vanish rapidly, more and more industry veterans are starting to express concern about these debt dynamics. Some warn that the Fed is putting credit markets on course for a future wave of defaults that makes the current stretch of corporate bankruptcies look timid by comparison.

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