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Record Junk-Bond ETF Inflows Belie Still-Raw Credit Nerves

  • Biggest high-yield ETF added $1.8 billion last week, most ever
  • Put open interest has soared even as junk rallies this year

A record inflow into the largest high-yield debt ETF can’t mask lingering nerves among investors.

The $14.8 billion iShares iBoxx High Yield Corporate Bond exchange-traded fund absorbed nearly $1.8 billion last week, the highest amount ever, as U.S. junk-bond spreads tightened the most in 10 years. That’s after the market lost more than 2 percent in 2018, notching its worst performance since 2015 as stocks and oil were pummeled in December.