March opened with a modest, but not entirely unexpected pullback following February’s unsustainably strong equity and HY market performance as investors shifted to a decidedly “risk on” bias. (Feb saw the Dow, S&P 500 & NASDAQ indices advance 5.5%, 5.6% & 7.1%, respectively, while benchmark rates rose materially and the HY Master Index yield contracted 67 bps to 5.87%.) Equity markets declined a bit further the 2nd week of March, rallied the following on dovish remarks from Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen regarding the timing of anticipated changes in rate policy, then gave these gains back the final week+ to close lower for the month (Dow –1.97%, S&P 500 –1.74% & NASDAQ -1.26%). Meanwhile, treasuries yields, which recorded YTD highs the 1st week of March in a sharp selloff, contracted to finish just below Feb-end levels, gold and oil moved lower, the dollar continued to strengthen and IV-grade and HY corporate spreads expanded modestly.
Read full pdf here: CapMkts Monthly_March ’15