Market Size, Investment Performance, and Expected New Supply of Defaulted Bonds & Bank Loans: 1987-1999

33 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2008

See all articles by Edward I. Altman

Edward I. Altman

New York University (NYU) - Salomon Center; New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance

Pierre Masset

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: January 2000


This report presents results and discussion of the investment performance of those bonds and bank loans that have defaulted on their scheduled payments to creditors andcontinue trading while the issuing firm attempts a financial reorganization. Monthly total return measures are compiled based on the Altman-NYU Salomon Center Indexes of Defaulted Bonds and Defaulted Banks Loans, as well as an index that combines bonds and loans. These returns are compared to the total returns of common stocks and high yield corporate bonds. Returns are based on our market-weighted indexes and presented for the past year (1999), as well as for the last 13 years (for bonds) and four years for bank loans.We also estimate the expected supply of new defaulted debt in the United States for thecoming three years. Nineteen ninety-nine was a mixed year for investors in distressed debt securities. Although the Defaulted Public Bond Index increased by a respectable 11.34% in 1999, the positive rate of increase was mainly a function of the excellent performance over a threemonthperiod in the earlier part of the year (February, March and April) when the size ofthe index was comprised of a relatively small number of securities and when the movement of a few issues had a significant influence on the Index. Still, the positive annual performance reversed the negative annual returns that we had observed in the prior two years. On a comparative note, our Defaulted Public Bond Indexâ¬"s return of 11.34% was slightly higher than Salomon Smith Barneyâ¬"s Bankrupt Bond Index return of 8.42%. Defaulted bank loans did not fare as well, recording a slight increase for the year of 0.65%. Except for the initial year (1996) of our Bank Loan Index, performance has been lackluster in the past three years. Finally, the Combined Public Bond and Private Bank Loan Index recorded a positive annual return in 1999 of 4.45%, resulting in a basically flat performance over the four years of the combined index calculation period. Comparative returns for the thirteen-year period (1987-1999), show that common stocks strengthened its number one asset class return/risk position. High yield bonds, while performing relativelypoorly in 1999 (+1.7%), maintained a slight average annual return advantage over defaulted bonds. The two â¬Sbrightâ¬? or positive factors related to the defaulted bond and bank loan markets in 1999 were the enormous increase in the supply of new defaulted issues and the record low average market value to face value ratio of the Index at the end of the year. The size of the Index more than doubled in number of issues and tripled in face and market values over the past twelve months as the default amount of high yield bonds reached arecord high level in 1999 and the default rate went from 1.6% to over 4.0% (see ourcompanion report on Defaults and Returns in the High Yield Bond Market). Based on ourforecast of future defaults, we expect the number and amounts of the issues in both theBond and Bank Loan indexes to continue to grow, albeit at a lower rate, in the next three years. Going forward, we suggest that this increased supply, and the relatively low marketto-face value ratio of defaulted bonds at the end of 1999, may present significant investment opportunities.

Suggested Citation

Altman, Edward I. and Masset, Pierre, Market Size, Investment Performance, and Expected New Supply of Defaulted Bonds & Bank Loans: 1987-1999 (January 2000). NYU Working Paper No. FIN-99-004, Available at SSRN:

Edward I. Altman (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Salomon Center ( email )

44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012
United States
212-998-0709 (Phone)
212-995-4220 (Fax)

New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance ( email )

Stern School of Business
44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012-1126
United States

Pierre Masset

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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