High-Grade Borrowers Take Advantage Of US Credit Conditions

Date : 12/05/2011 @ 1:45PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Noble Energy Inc. (NBL)
Quote : 28.64  -0.38 (-1.31%) @ 4:00PM

High-Grade Borrowers Take Advantage Of US Credit Conditions

Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC)
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With the U.S. credit market continuing to improve, at least six corporate issuers are taking their chances to meet investors Monday and beat the holiday period, including at least four deals of more than $1 billion each.

The diverse range of issuers includes Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), Ford Motor Co.'s (F) Ford Motor Credit Co., Senior Housing Properties Trust (SNH), Noble Energy Inc. (NBL), and Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. (TAQA.AD).

Janney Capital Markets noted that investment-grade and high-yield credit spreads improved by 12 basis points and 36 basis points last week, respectively, and with spreads expected to keep improving--unless volatility from Europe resurfaces--the primary market should be active all week.

"Anybody who has been ready to go has been given the all-clear signal so they are jumping in," said a syndicate source in New York. "I don't know if it's a huge pipeline and I don't know how long it will last--it might be a one-week or a two-week kind of thing--but the deals that got through last week really gave guys confidence to come to the market."

A benchmark index of the U.S. corporate-bond market, Markit's CDX North America Investment-Grade Index, was recently up 4% on the day.

Among the larger issues, Wells Fargo is marketing $1.5 billion in five-year notes featuring a spread of 175 basis points to comparable Treasurys, a person familiar with the deal said.

Abu Dhabi National Energy, also known as TAQA, is marketing $1.5 billion in a two-part deal evenly split with five-year notes offering a spread of 330 basis points to Treasurys and 10-year notes offering a spread of 390 basis points.

Duke Energy Carolinas, a regulated utility subsidiary of Duke Energy Corp. (DUK), is marketing $1 billion of bonds--$350 million of five-year bonds with a spread to Treasurys of 85 basis points and $650 million of 30-year bonds with a spread of 125 basis points.

Additionally, Houston-based Noble Energy is marketing $1 billion of 10-year notes with a spread of 210 basis points to Treasurys.

"Should conditions improve from here, we wouldn't be surprised to see $45 [billion] to $50 billion in December supply, in line with historical averages," said Ryan Newth, director of syndicate at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. "However, if we see a pullback from risk, some of the pipeline will be pushed into 2012 and, in that scenario, December could see an underwhelming $25 [billion] to $30 billion, which would be the lightest in 10 years."

The investment-grade corporate-bond market digested nearly $16 billion of new supply last week, Newth added.

-By Patrick McGee, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2382; patrick.mcgee@dowjones.com

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