January jolt puzzles investors



In the middle of January, spreads on lower-rated credits widened suddenly. The cause is still the subject of debate. The telecoms sector, the best performer in 2003, widened by 10bp to 75bp over the month – the widest the sector had been since early October and the most serious widening for the sector since August.

Bonds in the autos sector were also hard hit. General Motors’ euro-denominated e1.5 billion bond maturing in 2033 was trading at 204bp over asset swaps on January 9. Three-and-a-half

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