Monday morning briefing: A new low for high yield

The NFL season wrapped up on February 7th, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in Super Bowl 55. While Super Bowl is always a widely watched event, viewership was down from 102 million in 2020 to 96.4 million this year. Lockdowns also limited viewers at restaurants and bars.

This year’s viewership of the Super Bowl was indicative of a larger trend in our current economy: it was the most livestreamed game ever, which further demonstrates the ongoing move by consumers from cable to streaming services.

Economic/industry news

U.S. inflation rate holds steady at 1.4% on a year-over-year basis: U.S. core consumer prices are unchanged, showing scant inflation

Why inflation should be a concern: Four more reasons to worry about U.S. inflation

Gross domestic product in the U.K. drops 9.9% in 2020: UK suffers worst annual slump since 1709

There is still a place for short selling: Not everyone thinks short selling is dead

Finding income through global dividend ETFs: What to look for in global dividend ETFs

Reasons for hope

Asthma drug may help treat COVID-19: AstraZeneca asthma drug cuts COVID hospitalizations in study

Canada to receive a large shipment of vaccine doses: Deliveries of COVID-19 vaccine doses to Canada set to more than quadruple next week

Coming together to make a difference: Instead of staying home, American youth are answering the call to serve with Americorps

Adapting your business

How customer behaviours have changed in response to the pandemic: How the pandemic has impacted customer expectations

What advisors should expect from insurtech: Delivering value from fintech 

Advisor fees rose in 2020: Fee compression? Kitces finds most advisor fees rose in 2020

Chart of the week: A new low for high yield

The average yield of U.S. high yield bonds fell below 4%, as measured by the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate High Yield Bond Index, for the first time ever last week.

Investors’ search for higher yield, and willingness to take on more risk, could put additional downward pressure on junk bond yields. Low yields may also entice new companies to enter the market, or current issuers to look at selling more debt to take advantage of lower interest rates. How low can yields go? Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Interest in blockchain surging again: Bitcoin bull market is fueling another boom in blockchain startup deals

Hedge funds returned 0.92% in January, according to HFR: Here’s how hedge funds fared in January’s trading frenzy

A new course to understand social security: Advisors have avenue for social security training

Interview with Jean Hynes, the incoming CEO of Wellington: Wellington’s next CEO sees active management regaining clout

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeks: Mutual funds scorecard: February 10 edition

News and notes (Canada)

Allianz takes position in Purpose Financial: Germany’s Allianz takes $53.5M stake in Som Seif’s Purpose Financial

The Toronto real estate market is expected to remain robust in 2021: TRREB forecasts strong demand for real estate in 2021

Understanding the tax consequences of pandemic relief benefits: Proactive tax planning for 2021

Helping self-employed Canadians who received CERB in error: Ottawa scraps demand that some CERB recipients repay funds

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