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Consumer Discretionary : Specialty Retail | Mid Cap Blend
Company profile

AutoZone, Inc. is a retailer and distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories in the United States. The Company operates through the Auto Parts Locations segment. The Auto Parts Locations segment is a retailer and distributor of automotive parts and accessories. As of February 10, 2018, the Company operated through 6,088 locations in the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Brazil. The Company's stores carry product lines for cars, sport utility vehicles, vans and light trucks, including new and remanufactured automotive hard parts, maintenance items, accessories and non-automotive products. The Company's other operating segments include ALLDATA, which produces, sells and maintains diagnostic and repair information software used in the automotive repair industry, and E-commerce, which includes direct sales to customers through

Closing Price
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Bank debt leads corporate bond rally sparked by COVID-19 vaccine rollout

4:39 pm ET December 22, 2020 (MarketWatch)

By Joy Wiltermuth

Bank debt has been a hot commodity in the near two weeks since the Food and Drug Administration authorized the first COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in the U.S.

Bonds issued by Bank of America Corp. (BAC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Citigroup Inc. (C) on Tuesday topped the list of 40 most-active U.S. corporate bonds traded since Dec. 11, when the FDA greenlighted the first COVID-19 vaccine for distribution in the U.S., according to BondCliq data.

That is when BioNTech (BNTX) and Pfizer Inc.'s (PFE) COVID-19 vaccine was waved through to start distribution in the U.S., while a shot developed by Moderna Inc.'s (MRNA) is quickly becoming a second option as the nation races to gain control of the pandemic.

Here's a chart showing the top 40 most actively traded U.S. corporate bonds since the vaccine rollout.

The broad rally, led by bank debt, comes after shares of financial companies were pummeled in 2020, with investors initially shunning segments of the economy viewed as vulnerable to the pandemic's shocks and its aftermath.

Banks not only hold consumer deposits, but they also make real-estate loans and arrange financing, mergers, acquisitions and equity deals for major U.S. corporations, or a direct link to the health of the economy.

In a hopeful sign this fall, debt investors started to change their tune, at least when making shorter-term bets on major banks.

See: Debt buyers are betting on big banks -- over the short term, at least (

BondCliQ data for December shows the rally in bank debt now has expanded to bonds due in 10 years and beyond, indicating that investors have become more hopeful that a successful vaccination program will help drive economic recovery and reduce credit losses.

"Banks were as much in the crosshairs during the initial stage of the COVID outbreak as anything," Brian Levitt, Invesco's global market strategist, told MarketWatch, adding that the big fear in any recession is that stress will find its way into the banking system.

But those concerns subsided after the Federal Reserve stepped in with a raft of emergency lending facilities, including buying up corporate debt for the first time ever this spring.

Read: Here's how a dispute over the Fed's emergency powers almost sank the stimulus package (

Now there's optimism around the vaccine rollout to help markets see further economic recovery as the most likely option to play out in 2021, Levitt said, adding that the expectation is that the 10 year U.S. Treasury yield will also likely move higher, helping banks which lend based on the benchmark. .

"That type of environment favors cyclical assets, and that's largely the banks," he said.

Bank shares closed lower Tuesday, but rallied to kick off Christmas week (, after the Fed on Friday gave lenders the green light to start buying back stock again in 2021, a reversal of restrictions put in place in June amid concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 200 points Tuesday, pressured lower by concerns about a new strain of the coronavirus in the U.K. that curbed travel ( the nation to swaths of the globe.

Bank bonds issued by Morgan Stanley (MS), Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) also were among the top 10 most actively traded debt since Dec. 11.

Bucking the broader rally was debt issued by a handful of companies, including Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) , Ford Motor Co. (F) and Apple Inc. (AAPL).

-Joy Wiltermuth; 415-439-6400;


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 22, 2020 16:39 ET (21:39 GMT)

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