The high-yield junk bond ETF (HYG) continues to trend lower, and today’s drop of 0.7% left it at a new multi-year low. As HYG’s price moves lower, its yield moves higher, but at 5.8%, the yield is still half of what it was at the start of the equity bull market in early 2009.
Investors look for the “risky” equity market to trend in the same direction as the junk bond market, but clearly that hasn’t been the case over the last 18 months or so. As “junk” has fallen, the S&P 500 has continued to trend slightly higher. The reason is because of the drop in oil prices. High-yield debt in the Energy sector accounts for a large portion of the drop in the broad high-yield debt market, but stock price drops in the Energy sector haven’t been enough to move the needle significantly lower for the broad S&P 500.
Below is a chart of the price of oil compared to the HYG junk-bond ETF. They have tracked each other very closely recently.
We covered this topic in more detail in today’s Chart of the Day.