Investment Grade Session:

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US IG and Crossover Outlook: Hurry Up and Wait

Winnie Cisar: Global Head of Strategy, CreditSights
Zachary Griffiths, CFA: Head of IG and Macro Strategy, CreditSights

With cash locked up at the front-end, duration proving painful to portfolios and investors (still) waiting for a recession, corporate credit posted another year of mixed performance in 2023.

The US Strategy team provides their outlook for the US IG and crossover markets in 2024, informed by lessons learned in recent years, expectations for the Fed, and economic forecasts. Topics include the current and future state of corporate balance sheets; the outlook for demand from retail, institutional, and global investors; and top investment recommendations to start the year.

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Election 2024: Survival of the Oldest

Chris Snow, CFA: Global Head of Research, CreditSights
Andy DeVries, CFA: Head of Investment Grade & Utilities, CreditSights
Zachary Griffiths, CFA: Head of IG & Macro Strategy, CreditSights
Pat Luby: Head of Municipal Strategy, CreditSights

  • The 2024 election cycle has implications for Biden’s signature Inflation Reduction Act and the clean energy economy.
  • A world of higher rates brings U.S. fiscal health to the fore as a potential campaign issue and ultimately as a key input to policy in the next legislative cycle.
  • The Tax Cut and Jobs Act has several expiring features in 2025, which has implications for the economy and for investors in Muni Credit.

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Global Financials: All About EVE

Jesse Rosenthal: Head of Banks, CreditSights
Simon Adamson: Head of Financials, CreditSights
Josh Esterov, CFA: Head of Insurance, CreditSights
Peter Simon, CFA: Head of Brokers and Regional Banks, CreditSights

The fastest rate hiking cycle in generations spotlighted the embedded interest rate risk (and opportunity) across Global Financials, even as credit risk remains salient amid the recession watch. We go across the rate and credit-sensitive financials sectors to assess both the current and go-forward environment for banks and insurance investors, touching on topics ranging from Commercial Real Estate to the all-important rate backdrop.

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Reality Bites: New Issue Supply Amid Elevated Rates

Winnie Cisar: Global Head of Strategy, CreditSights
Megan Neuburger: Managing Director – Head of U.S. and Canada Corporate Ratings, Fitch Ratings
Maureen O’Connor: Global Head of High Grade Debt Syndicate, Wells Fargo
Rich Testa: Head of IG Finance, MUFG 

  • As issuers across the rating spectrum face materially higher borrowing costs and maturities pile up, the primary market should provide good opportunities to deploy capital at meaningfully higher yields in 2024.
  • Topics include expectations for new issue supply from capital markets and syndicate teams, the outlook for discretionary issuance, and the potential for a rise in M&A as corporates adjust to the ‘higher for longer’ regime.

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Outlook for Defaults in 2024: The Quant Perspective

Kai Gilkes, Ph.D.: Head of Quantitative Strategy, CreditSights

After a modest increase in default rates in 2023 that was driven largely by idiosyncratic events, what will the trajectory of default rates look like in 2024? We use Risk Products 2.0, our newly launched platform for default risk and credit quality assessment, to help predict the evolution of default rates over the next 12 to 18 months.

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Crossover Trades: Best Ideas Across the IG/HY Divide

Eric Axon, CFA: Co-Head of High Yield, CreditSights
James Dunn: Head of Consumer Goods, Leisure, CreditSights
Chas Johnston, CFA: Head of Energy, CreditSights
Roger King: Head of Airlines, CreditSights
Wen Li, CFA: Head of Metals & Mining, CreditSights

  • We detail our best trade ideas across the IG/HY crossover space, with key contributions from Energy, Leisure, Consumer, Airlines, and Metals & Mining.
  • Trade topics include rising star candidates, best ideas in core HY, and cuspy BBBs where downgrades can be avoided.

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AI and the Data Deluge: Understanding the Digital Infrastructure Theme

Davis Hebert, CFA: Head of Telecom/Media, CreditSights
Jordan Chalfin, CFA: Head of Technology, CreditSights
Andy Li, CFA: Senior Technology Analyst, CreditSights
Hunter Martin, CFA: Head of Media/Cable, CreditSights
Erick Vega, CFA: Senior Telecom Infrastructure Analyst, CreditSights

  • This panel focuses on the “killer app” of generative AI and how investors should position for massive ramp in computing power and data intensity for the better part of this decade.
  • Our well-rounded TMT team focuses on winners and losers across a variety of sectors, including data centers, hardware, chips, equipment, service providers, and media companies.

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Pulse of Industrials: Demand Trends, Supply Chains, and M&A

Matt Woodruff, CFA: Head of Aerospace & Defense/Transports, CreditSights
Andrew Brady: Head of Chemicals, CreditSights
Lauren Holland: Head of Paper & Packaging, CreditSights
Chas Johnston, CFA: Head of Energy, CreditSights
Wen Li, CFA: Head of Metals & Mining, CreditSights

  • Manufacturing sectors have suffered through weak demand and dysfunctional supply chains. Our analysts provide insights on their sectors and credit picks into 2024.
  • Sectors discussed include Energy, Chemicals, Metals & Mining, Paper & Packaging, Aerospace & Defense, and Transportation.

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US Consumer: Eat the Rich or Eat the Risk?

James Goldstein, CFA: Head of Retail, CreditSights
David Bussey, CFA: Senior Leisure Analyst, CreditSights
James Dunn: Head of Consumer Goods & Leisure, CreditSights
Todd Duvick, CFA: Head of Autos, CreditSights

  • Looking For the Cracks: A relatively robust landscape for consumer spending is not without pockets of weakness. What’s in store for 2024?
  • Does the Music Ever Stop? 2023 has seen extremely robust leisure and entertainment demand. Is Taylor Swift a secret stimulative fiscal policy tool? Are we structurally in a “leisure-for-life” world? Where does the goods vs. services mix ultimately shake out?
  • Inflation/Affordability: Rising cost pressure on non-discretionary goods is altering consumer behavior towards more value seeking behavior. On more discretionary/big ticket items, rapidly rising consumer financing costs bring additional pressure… EVs are an interesting case study.
  • That’ll Cost You: Some relief on commodity costs, but labor cost growth persists, and it increasingly feels like “Year of the Union” with successes at UAW, Longshore, Rails, Culinary Union, etc. along with big wins for minimum wage advocates (CA fast food, etc.). How do corporates navigate rising labor costs?
  • How to Play It? Picking the winners/losers in credits.

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Leveraged Finance Session:

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2024 LevFin Primary Market Outlook

Kerry Kantin: U.S. Bureau Chief, LevFin Insights
Winnie Cisar: Global Head of Strategy, CreditSights
Wayne Hosang: Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, Crescent Capital
Frank Ossino: Senior Managing Director, Newfleet Asset Management
Jessica Reiss, J.D.: Head of U.S. Loans Research, Covenant Review 

Will 2024 provide a recovery in new issue supply following a lackluster 2023? We discuss topical issues such as maturity walls, M&A activity, and relative value.

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Private Credit’s Meteoric Rise

Andrew Hedlund: Managing Editor, LevFin Insights
Emily Knickel: Managing Director – Head of Principal Investing, Barclays
Logan Nicholson: Managing Director, Portfolio Manager – Diversified Direct Lending, Blue Owl Capital
Ian Walker, J.D.: Head of Legal Innovation, Covenant Review
Jim Wolf: Managing Director, Co-Head of Private Credit, Brigade Capital Management

Private credit continues to grow and steal market share from banks, particularly in new refinancings. What does this mean for below-investment grade capital markets as a whole? What are the opportunities and risks presented by the explosive growth within the asset class?

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Special Situations: The Trials and Travails of Telecom

Davis Hebert, CFA: Head of Telecom/Media, CreditSights
Anthony Canale, J.D.: Global Head of Research, Covenant Review

It has been a tough year for Telecom. We discuss key developments and share our outlook for the sector and select credits.

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The Liability Management and Bankruptcy Landscape and Outlook

Matt Zloto: Global Head of Leveraged Finance, CreditSights
Hon. James M. Peck: Former US Bankruptcy Judge, SDNY; Chair of Cross-Border and Mediation Practices, Morrison & Foerster LLP
Paul Sheaffer: Partner in the Restructuring and Special Situations Group, PJT Partners
Ty Wallach: Managing Director & Chief Investment Officer of Credit, Atlas Merchant Capital

A panel of experts discusses their observations on and outlook for Liability Management, out of court workouts, and bankruptcy as we head into 2024.

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New from CreditSights

Read about the new tools coming to our platform.

CreditSights Financials

CreditSights Financials, the latest addition to our new platform, provides as-reported financials on nearly all the global bond issuers with public filings.

Risk Products

Risk Products provides quantitatively-based assessments of credit risk for more than 30,000 companies globally.

Core Scores

Our new “Core Scores,” recommendations targeting IG and crossover spaces, reflect analysts’ insights on the issuer’s fundamental robustness for buy-and-hold investors.

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