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Credit Insights

Corporate Bond Markets Pull Back as Trade Negotiations and Public Posturing Raise Tensions

Investors decided to sell first and ask questions later.

Global asset markets took it on the chin last week as investors decided to sell first and ask questions later. As the Trump administration and the Chinese government traded barbs through the media and over Twitter, the political posturing and rhetoric took its toll on investor confidence. Investors are starting to become concerned that the two countries may not be able to negotiate realistic trade terms in a reasonable time frame, which could lead to global economic weakening. In the U.S. equity market, the S&P 500 fell 2.18% last week. In China, the Shanghai Index dropped 4.52%. European investors were also caught up in the fray as Germany's DAX dropped 2.84%, the French CAC declined 3.99%, and the U.K. FTSE fell 2.40%. In the corporate bond market, the average credit spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index (our proxy for the investment-grade corporate bond market) widened 5 basis points to end the week at +120. The ICE BofAML High Yield Master II Index widened 29 basis points to +401.