But if you understand history, and you are aware of the patterns that immediately preceded previous stock market crashes, then you know how how huge both of those signs are.
During the summer of 2008, junk bond prices absolutely cratered as junk bond yields skyrocketed.
This was a very clear signal that financial markets were about to crash, and sure enough a couple of months later it happened.
Now the exact same thing is happening again.
The following comes from a Wall Street On Parade article that was posted on Tuesday entitled “Keep Your Eye on Junk Bonds: They’re Starting to Behave Like ‘08“…
According to data from Bloomberg, corporations have issued a stunning $9.3 trillion in bonds since the beginning of 2009. The major beneficiary of this debt binge has been the stock market rather than investment in modernizing the plant, equipment or new hires to make the company more competitive for the future. Bond proceeds frequently ended up buying back shares or boosting dividends, thus elevating the stock market on the back of heavier debt levels on corporate balance sheets.
Now, with commodity prices resuming their plunge and currency wars spreading, concerns of financial contagion are back in the markets and spreads on corporate bonds versus safer, more liquid instruments like U.S. Treasury notes, are widening in a fashion similar to the warning signs heading into the 2008 crash. The $2.2 trillion junk bond market (high-yield) as well as the investment grade market have seen spreads widen as outflows from Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and bond funds pick up steam.
And right now we are seeing the most volatility in the junkiest of the junk bonds.
The following comes from Wolf Richter, and my jaw just about dropped to the floor when I first saw this…
This chart of yields at the riskiest end of the junk bond market – bonds rated CCC and below – shows what happened. These bonds have been selling off over the past 12 months, with exception of the sucker rally earlier this year, and their yields more than doubled from less than 7.9% in June a year ago to 16.2% by Thursday evening. And Thursday was a massacre:
On Thursday, yields jumped 2.6 percentage points, from 13.58% to 16.18%, as these junk bonds plunged. Those kinds of single-day vertigo-inducing sell-offs are rare in normal times, and there haven’t been any since the Financial Crisis.
Amazingly, the Federal Reserve is actually thinking about raising interest rates in this environment.