Latest Stories

Oil Beta Percolates Under the Market’s Surface

By Greg Zappin | April 27, 2017

Oil prices were the big story in the credit markets from the fall of 2014 through the fall of 2016 as the 40% decline in benchmark WTI helped drive a… Read More

Stocks Rally on French Election

By David O'Malley | April 24, 2017

The results of the first round of French elections sent stocks around the world higher in early trading on Sunday. Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen will advance to the… Read More

Quiet but Risky Market for Investors as Low Volatility Persists

By Zhiwei Ren | April 20, 2017

The equity market has been very quiet so far in 2017. Year-to-date, the S&P 500 has posted a daily decline greater than 1% only once (on March 21), and the realized volatility for S&P 500 has reached the lowest point in the last 50 years.

The backdrop for the low volatility is widely recognized: the U.S. economy is growing a little above trend, a new pro-growth president was elected, inflation is rising but still remains low, the risk for a hard landing in China is lower, Europe and Japan are growing at the fastest pace post-crisis, and most importantly, low inflation allows the Federal Reserve (Fed) to intervene whenever we have some volatility in the market.

Geopolitical Risks Upset Markets

By David O'Malley | April 17, 2017

Geopolitical issues took center stage last week as stocks fell again and Treasury bond yields dropped to their lowest level in 2017, as tensions surrounding North Korea and with Russia over the U.S. attack in Syria had market participants worried about the impact of the Trump administration’s domestic agenda.

High Interest in CMBS Interest-Only Securities

By Jennifer Ripper | April 13, 2017

In today’s tight spread and low interest rate environment, the search for relative value opportunities can be challenging. The commercial real estate market has experienced strong growth in recent years as evidenced by continued property price appreciation, rising occupancies and rent growth across major property types.

The Odds of Trump Tax Reform are Tied to This Area of the Stock Market

By Penn Mutual Asset Management | April 12, 2017

Penn Mutual Asset Management CIO Mark Heppenstall contributed an article to The Hill where he outlines how the “Trump Trifecta” of taxes, regulation and infrastructure stand to impact markets. Despite the recent failure of Trump’s healthcare reform plan, Mark notes the stock market continues to look past headlines and toward the president’s pro-growth policies. He expects the financial sector will be best positioned to benefit from the new administration’s economic agenda.

PMAM CIO Mark Heppenstall on Safe-Haven Plays with CNBC “Closing Bell”

By Penn Mutual Asset Management | April 12, 2017

PMAM Chief Investment Officer Mark Heppenstall appeared on CNBC “Closing Bell” last Friday amid the day’s breaking news of a surprisingly weak March employment report and unexpected geopolitical news. He offered his thoughts on safe-haven plays, noting the markets have been quick to shake off politically-driven news from Washington D.C., but investors are still looking for safety. He points to treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPs) as an option for investors, since they pay a current income and are especially attractive as inflation pressures build.

Disappointing Employment Report Clouds Economic Picture

By David O'Malley | April 10, 2017

Last week’s March employment data release disappointed market expectations as the economy added 98,000 jobs–about 100,000 less than estimates and the average gains experienced over the last six months. Average hourly earnings remained stable at a 2.7% year-over-year gain. On the positive side, the unemployment rate fell by 0.2% to 4.5% in March, which is the lowest rate since 2007.

Gross Leverage Shifts into High Gear

By James Faunce | April 6, 2017

Over the last several years, there has been a rather large shift in the amount of gross leverage corporate credits have been willing to endure. Today’s chart shows over 50% of investment-grade corporate debt in the JPMorgan non-financial universe had gross leverage under two times EBITDA* at the end of 2012. By the end of 2016, this fell substantially to 20% of the universe. At the other end of the spectrum, this period saw debt levered over four times EBITDA go from 11% to 25%.

PMAM CIO Mark Heppenstall on Where to Find Value in Q2 with Fox Business

By Penn Mutual Asset Management | April 4, 2017

On Friday, PMAM’s Chief Investment Officer Mark Heppenstall appeared on Fox Business “Countdown to the Closing Bell with Liz Claman” to discuss the market’s resiliency throughout the first quarter despite setbacks, such as the failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He also shared his outlook for the second quarter, noting the financial sector stands to benefit from the “Trump Trifecta” of taxes, regulation and infrastructure, as well as rising interest rates.