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For well over a year now the corporate bond market has been signaling a major shift in investor risk appetites from risk seeking to risk aversion. This is exactly how bull markets morph into bear markets. This risk aversion has grown so much that, in certain areas of the corporate bond market, there are literally no bids.

Further evidence of the lack of buyers in the credit markets can be seen in the market for leveraged loans, especially those tied to M&A.

And it’s not just here at home. The leveraged loan market overseas is also suffering from a serious lack of buyers.

It’s interesting to note that at the same time, investors in the secondary market for shares in popular startups were recently hotly competing for shares offered there. Today, just like we are seeing in certain corners of the corporate credit market, there are no bids for shares of these highly-valued private companies.

In order for their investors to cash out, unicorns might normally look to the public markets. The trouble is there are no bids here, either.

All of this confirms the idea that investors are generally becoming more risk averse, an attitude typically seen early in bear markets. And if history is any guide, it’s only just beginning.


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