The cost of insuring against default on European sovereign and corporate debt fell, according to traders of credit-default swaps.
Contracts on the Markit iTraxx Crossover Index of 50 companies with mostly high-yield credit ratings decreased five basis points to 749 at 11:30 a.m. in London. A decline signals improvement in perceptions of credit quality.
The Markit iTraxx Europe Index of 125 companies with investment-grade ratings fell one basis point to 171 basis points.
A basis point on a credit-default swap protecting 10 million euros ($13.1 million) of debt from default for five years is equivalent to 1,000 euros a year. Swaps pay the buyer face value in exchange for the underlying securities or the cash equivalent should a borrower fail to adhere to its debt agreements.