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U.S. Company Credit Swaps Fall to 7-Year Low on Jobs Data

A gauge of U.S. corporate credit risk fell to a seven-year low after reports showed signs of improvement in the job market.

The Markit CDX North American Investment Grade Index, a credit-default swaps benchmark that investors use to hedge against losses or to speculate on creditworthiness, decreased 2 basis points to 57.9 basis points at 9:12 a.m. in New York, according to prices compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the lowest intraday level since October 2007. The measure has declined 4.1 basis points this week.

Employers added 217,000 jobs in May, pushing U.S. payrolls past their pre-recession peak, while the jobless rate held at an almost six-year low, figures from the Labor Department showed in Washington today. The job gain beat the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists which had called for a 215,000 increase.

The risk premium on the Markit CDX North American High Yield Index, tied to the debt of 100 speculative-grade companies, fell 5.6 basis points to 300 basis points, or 3 percentage points, headed for the lowest close since June 2007, according to prices compiled by Bloomberg. High-yield, high-risk bonds are rated below Baa3 by Moody’s Investors Services and less than BBB- at Standard & Poor’s.

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