Bond Buyers Demand Record Downgrade Protection: Credit Markets
(Bloomberg) — Bonds with built-in protection against rating cuts are making up a record share of debt issues as investors hedge against a slowdown in the economic recovery.
Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the brewer of Budweiser and Stella Artois, is among companies issuing so-called step-up bonds, whose interest increases if a borrower is downgraded. Sales surged to $37.3 billion in March, or 12.4 percent of all debt issued, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Most of the notes are sold in the U.S., where almost half of bonds rated as so-called junk or on the cusp of non- investment grade include the protection.