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Corporate Bond Risk Falls in Europe, Credit-Default Swaps Show

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- The cost of insuring against default on European 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 dropped 19 basis points to 586.5, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. at 7:30 a.m. in London. A decline signals improved perceptions of credit quality.

The Markit iTraxx Europe Index of 125 companies with investment-grade ratings was down two at 134.5 basis points. The Markit iTraxx Financial Index linked to senior debt of 25 banks and insurers declined three basis points to 219.5 and the subordinated gauge was 7.5 lower at 372.5.

A basis point on a credit-default swap protecting 10 million euros ($13.2 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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Shanahan in London at Mshanahan3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Armstrong at Parmstrong10@bloomberg.net

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