Trump Tries Trade War Saber Rattling; March IG DCM New Issue Madness
March 2, 2018   //   by Mischler MarCom   //   Debt Market Commentary  

Quigley’s Corner 03.02.18 – Weekend Edition: Trump Tries Trade War Saber Rattling; March IG Issuance Madness


Investment Grade New Issue Re-Cap

Today’s IG Primary & Secondary Market Talking Points

Syndicate IG Corporate-only Volume Estimates For This Week and March

The Best and the Brightest” Syndicate Forecasts and Sound Bites for Next Week; CVS Getting Set?

“Knowing the Past for the Future” – A Look at a Decade’s Worth of March IG Corporate and SSA Issuance

Syndicate IG Corporate-only Volume Estimates for Next Week

The “QC” Geopolitical Risk Monitor

NICs, Bid-to-Covers, Tenors, Sizes and Average Spread Compression from IPTs thru Launches

This Week’s IG New Issues and Where They’re Trading

2018 Lipper Report/Fund Flows – Week ending February 28th  

IG Credit Spreads by Rating

IG Credit Spreads by Industry

New Issue Pipeline

Economic Data Releases

Rates Trading Lab


Investment Grade New Issue Re-Cap

What with poor market tone, widening spreads, “chatter” of trade wars from Trump Twitter account, a major Northeast storm on the way and CVS heard rumbling into position for next week’s M&A related financing, it was indeed VERY WISE for the IG dollar DCM to stand down today.  I am once again honoured to have received 100% participation for my Friday “QC” edition, from Wall Street’s Best and Brightest Investment Grade Fixed Income Syndicate sophisticates  I surveyed all of them for next week’s forecast and for March IG Corporate volume.  Strap yourselves in for a humdinger of a week next week and what looks like March IG Issuance Madness. Their thoughtful comments, which add color to their forecast numbers are in-depth and formidable, especially in today’s edition.

Here’s a look at the WTD IG Corporate new issue volume as measured against syndicate desk estimates:

  • The IG Corporate WTD total is 136.89% of this week’s syndicate midpoint average forecast or $36.85b vs. $26.92b.
  • There are now 11 issuers in the IG credit pipeline.

Today’s IG Primary & Secondary Market Talking Points

  • BAML’s IG Master Index widened 3 bps to +104 vs. +101. (It’s post-Crisis low is +90 set on 2/01).
  • Bloomberg/Barclays US IG Corporate Bond Index OAS widened 3 bps to 0.99 vs. 0.96.  (0.85 is its post-Crisis low set on 1/30).
  • Standard & Poor’s Investment Grade Composite Spread widened 3 bps to +138 vs. +135. (+125 represents its post-Crisis low set 2/02).
  • Investment grade corporate bond trading posted a final Trace count of $17b on Thursday versus $23b on Wednesday and $20.1b the previous Thursday.
  • The 10-DMA stands at $18.9b.


Syndicate IG Corporate-only Volume Estimates For This Week and March


IG Corporate New Issuance This Week
vs. Current
WTD – $36.85b
Low-End Avg. $25.72b 143.27%
Midpoint Avg. $26.92b 136.89%
High-End Avg. $28.12b 131.05%
The Low $15b 245.67%
The High $40b 92.13%


The Best and the Brightest” Syndicate Forecasts and Sound Bites for Next Week


I am happy to announce that the “QC” once again received 100% unanimous participation from all 25 syndicate desks surveyed for today’s “Best & Brightest” edition!  Thank you to all of them. 17 of today’s respondents are in the top 18 of the new 2018 League table including 19 of the top 21 according to today’s Bloomberg’s U.S. IG U.S. Investment Grade Corporate Bond underwriting league table.  The 2018 League table can be found on your terminals at “LEAG” + [GO] after which you select (US Investment Grade Corporates).  The participating desks represent 82.87% of all IG dollar-denominated new issue underwriting as of today’s table share percentage which simply means they are the ones with visibility.  But it’s not only about their volume forecasts, it’s also about their comments!  This core syndicate group does it best; they know best; so they are the ones you WANT and NEED to hear from.  It’s a great look at the week ahead.

*Please note that these are Investment Grade Corporates only. They do not include SSA issuance unless otherwise noted.

As always “thank you” to all the syndicate desks that participated in today’s survey.  I greatly appreciate your time to contribute and for making this edition of the “QC” among the most widely read!

“Happy Friday. You can almost hear the rumble of CVS getting into position! I am looking for forecasts for BOTH MARCH and NEXT WEEK today!

All the data you need to know is here. There’s lots to talk about so let’s run through this week’s key geopolitical risk recapas a segue to the big question: What does Wall Street’s Biggest Syndicate Desks Expect re: Next Week’s IG DCM?


The U.S. imposed new sanctions against 28 NOKO ships registered under changing names and under different national flags including China. The ships funnel banned exports into NOKO. The action is another step the U.S. has taken toward a full NOKO blockade. With diplomacy the strongly favored path to resolution, the Trump Administration will agree to a diplomatic resolution to tensions only if NOKO agrees to put denuclearization on the table which it refuses to do. In the interim, the U.S. DoD conducted classified military exercises in Hawaii last weekend and the U.S. is pre-staging equipment and supplies in the Pacific. I reiterate that sources continue to tell me to “watch” mid-March thru April as NOKO will be back to its old tricks and the game will ratchet up with newly announced war games along with a much larger allied force participating together.


Sighting unfair trade practices and bad policy on the U.S. steel and aluminium industries, Pres. Trump invited sector CEOs to the White House on Thursday and when they departed, the current president declared he will impose trade tariffs/quotas on imports amounting to 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium. The announcement, which apparently did not include his sending any advance memos to key White House advisors such as Gary Cohn or TreasSec Mnuchin, was made in the name of “national security,” setting off the fear and tenor of new “trade wars.” The move, coupled with unrelated comments from newly-appointed Fed Chair Powell, weighed heavily on the DOW, which lost 550 points on Thursday and extended declines into Friday’s early trading.

New Fed Chief Jay Powell delivered his testimony before the Senate Thursday. Powell sent jitters across markets on Tuesday following his House testimony and Q&A when he said, “my outlook for the economy has strengthened since December” albeit in the midst of the recent historic though transparent, healthy market correction. The market always likes to be ahead of the curve and is concerned over a tighter monetary policy stance with participants repricing in higher inflation and interests rates. Yesterday Powell said 4 hikes “would be gradual” and sighted that aggressive tightening is challenged with inflation so low.

A poll released today showed that 56% of Germans favor the SPD joining Merkel’s grand coalition or “marriage of convenience” to avoid another vote and further turmoil in the EU’s keystone nation. The SPD Party formally votes therein tomorrow March 2nd. The caveat is the poll surveyed a much wider group of voters whereas the Friday vote includes the actual hardcore Socialist members.

Theresa May delivers a speech on Friday, March 2nd outlining her vision for the U.K.’s future relationship with the EU. Key points were hammered out at the PM’s country manor Chequers with her cabinet ministers on Feb. 22nd. After having drawn so many red lines pre-negotiations with the EU, May & Co. have backed themselves into a corner. Now Ireland and Wales are pushing back on May regarding her hard stance on the customs union. N. Ireland wants to remain under EU customs rules with a UK/EU border demarcation zone in the Irish Sea. Wales subsequently fears reduced trade as a result of EU and Irish ships avoiding British ports. Wales voted to leave the EU but favors some EU alignment.


Italy’s Sunday March 4th election shows the combined right-wing alliance parties running around 37% likely enough for victory. Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia has a narrow lead. The centre-right coalition is projecting sufficient votes to govern without a second ballot.


China’s ruling Communist Party proposed lifting limits on presidential terms, a first step to assuring President Xi remains in power interminably. A vote on the proposal is slated for next month and is expected to pass marking a major departure from rules in place for decades. Power has never been as centralized since the days of Mao. Maybe Xi should contemplate a little red book a la Mao and call it “Xi’s Little Red Book Volume II.”


With no compromise in sight, Spain’s PM Rajoy is challenged by efforts to impose order on the Catalan region. It is highly improbable that self-exiled leader Carles Puigdemont governs de facto from Brussels. Meanwhile, PM Rajoy cannot pass a national budget having lost the support of the Basque party that backs Catalonian independence. This could force new elections. Nationalist parties are subsequently securing more support foretelling new tensions in a nation that was ravaged by civil war from 1936-1939.

Let’s now take a deep dive into the technical data.  Entering this morning’s Friday session – 

  • The IG Corporate WTD total stands at $36.85b. We priced $9.93b more than the week’s average midpoint estimate of $26.92b or +36.89%.
  • February finished the month having priced 105.77% of the syndicate midpoint forecast for IG Corporates new issuance or $94.117b vs. $88.98b.
  • Entering today’s session, the YTD IG Corporate-only volume is $229.452b vs. the $272.358b YoY or <$42.906b> / <18.70%> less than a year ago.
  • The all-in or IG Corporate plus SSA YTD volume is $311.067b vs. $354.608b YoY <$43.541b> or <14.00%> less than vs. 2017. 

Here are the five key primary market driver averages for the 29 IG Corporate-only deals that priced this week.   

o   NICS:  5.36 bps  

o   Oversubscription Rates: 2.52x

o   Tenors: 13.49 years

o   Tranche Sizes: $768mm

o   Spread Compression from IPTs to the Launch: <14.42> bps 

Here’s how this week’s critical primary market data compares against last week’s numbers: 

  • Week on week, average NICs widened considerably by 3.41 bps to an average 5.36 bps vs. 1.95 bps across this week’s IG Corporate-only new issues that displayed relative value.
  • Over subscription or bid-to-cover rates, the measure of demand, decreased by 0.77x to an average 2.52x vs. 3.29x. 
  • Average tenors extended by 1.52 years to an average 13.49 years vs. 11.97 years.
  • Tranche sizes grew by $142mm to $768mm vs. $626mm.
  • Spread compression from IPTs to the launch/final pricing of this week’s 48 IG Corporate-only new issues widened by 2.04 bps to <14.42> bps vs. <16.46> bps.
  • Standard and Poor’s Investment Grade Composite Spread widened 5 bps to +138 vs. +133 week-on-week. 
  • Bloomberg/Barclays US IG Corporate Bond Index OAS thru this morning widened 6 bps to 0.99 vs 0.93 week-on-week.
  • Investment grade corporate bond trading posted a final Trace count of $17b on Thursday versus $23b on Wednesday and $20.1b the previous Thursday.
  • The 10-DMA stands at $18.9b.
  • The VIX widened 5.98 or 36.26% to 22.47 at yesterday’s close vs. last Friday’s 16.49.
  • Week-on-week, BAML’s IG Master Index widened 5 bps to +104 vs. +99.  
  • Spreads across the four IG asset classes widened 4.75 bp week-on-week to 12.75 bps vs. 8.00 bps as measured against its cumulative post-Crisis low.
  • Spreads across the 19 major IG industry sectors gapped out 4.73 bps to an average 13.68 bps vs. 8.95 bps as measured against their average cumulative post-Crisis lows!
  • For the week ended February 28th, Lipper U.S. Fund Flows reported a net inflow of $1.372b into Corporate Investment Grade Funds (2018 YTD net inflow of $20.632b) and a net outflow of $702.879m from High Yield Funds (2018 YTD net outflow of $13.202b).
  • Taking a look at the secondary trading performance of this week’s 48 IG Corporate and 5 SSA new issues, of the 53 deals that printed, 11 tightened versus NIP for a 20.75% improvement rate, 33 widened  (62.25%), 9 were flat (17.00%).  


Entering today’s Friday session here’s how much we issued this week:

  • IG Corps: $36.85b
  • All-in IG (Corps + SSA): $43.10b

And now it’s time for today’s question “what are your thoughts and numbers for MARCH and next week’s IG Corporate new issue volume?”
Thank you in advance for your time and contribution!

Please know that on each and every new issue, the guy-in-the-corner is ALWAYS be in YOUR corner on deal day! If an issuer asks you who some of the best diversity firms are, my hope is that you’ll mention Mischler Financial and the guy-in-the-corner.  Our distribution is high quality, prolific and consistent. On deal day, we perform enough to influence your bid-to-cover rates with REAL high quality and unpadded “sticky” account orders.    

Have a great weekend!

Ron Quigley, Managing Director, Head of Fixed Income Syndicate

The “Best and the Brightest” in Their Own Words

Above is the opening extract from Quigley’s Corner aka “QC”  Friday March 2, 2018 edition distributed via email to institutional investment managers and Fortune Treasury clients of Mischler Financial Group, the investment industry’s oldest minority broker-dealer owned and operated by Service-Disabled Veterans.

Cited by Wall Street Letter in each of 2014, 2015 and 2016 for “Best Research / Broker-Dealer”, the QC is one of three distinctive market comment pieces produced by Mischler Financial Group.The QC is a daily synopsis of everything Syndicate and Secondary as seen from the perch of our fixed income trading and debt capital markets desk and includes a comprehensive “deep dive” with optics on the day’s investment grade corporate debt new issuance and secondary market data encompassing among other items, comparables, investment grade credit spreads, new issue activity, secondary market most active issues, and upcoming pipeline.

To receive Quigley’s Corner, please email: or via phone 203.276.6646

*Sources: Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Bloomberg, Bond Radar, Dow Jones Newswire, IFR, Informa Global Markets, Internal Mischler, LCDNews, Market News International, Prospect News, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, S, Thomson Reuters and of course, a career of sources, contacts, movers and shakers from syndicate desks to accounts; from issuers to originators; from academicians to heads of research, and a host of financial journalists, et al.

Mischler Financial Group’s “U.S. Syndicate Closing Commentary”  is produced daily by Mischler Financial Group. No part of this document may be reproduced in any manner without the permission of Mischler Financial Group. Although the statements of fact have been obtained from and are based upon sources Mischler Financial Group believes reliable, we do not guarantee their accuracy, and any such information may be incomplete.  All opinions and estimates included in this report are subject to change without notice.  This report is for informational purposes and is not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security.   Veteran-owned broker-dealer Mischler Financial Group, its affiliates and their respective officers, directors, partners and employees, including persons involved in the preparation of this report, may from time to time maintain a long or short position in, or purchase or sell a position in, hold or act as market-makers or advisors or brokers in relation to the securities (or related securities, financial products, options, warrants, rights, or derivatives), of companies mentioned in this report or be represented on the board of such companies. Neither Mischler Financial Group nor any officer or employee of Mischler Financial Group or any affiliate thereof accepts any liability whatsoever for any direct, indirect or consequential damages or losses arising from any use of this report or its contents.

Quigley’s Corner 03.02.18 – Weekend Edition: Trump Tries Trade War Saber Rattling; March IG Issuance Madness