High-yield bonds delivered investors a bouquet of roses so far in 2012. But an increase in the default rate has investors questioning high-yield sincerity. Last week, Moody’s Investor Service (Moody’s) reported the global speculative default rate increased to 2.0% in January 2012 from 1.8% in December 2011. Seven companies defaulted in January 2012 versus just one in January 2011. In fact, the number of companies defaulting has been on the rise since November 2011. The Moody’s default rate is a trailing figure based upon the past 12 months of data, so a change in the rate can confirm a trend that may already be in place.
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