Record Week for Corporate Bond Issuance

October 29, 2001 ( - Companies sold a record $29.8 billion of high-quality U.S. bonds this past week, as low interest rates and pent-up investor demand for higher yields took hold. The old weekly issuance record was $26.3 billion, set in the second week of May.

This past week, 20 companies sold bonds, according to Reuters data, in what has been a record year for issuance. The weekly bonanza included a $9.4 billion issue by Ford, the second-largest ever by a US firm.

On Friday, the finance arm of General Motors sold $6 billion of bonds. Both the Ford and GM issues included high-grade 30-year bonds yielding more than 8%, while 30-year Treasuries now yield about 5.3%.

Also coming to market in the past week were issues from:

  • BellSouth – $2.75 billion
  • Tyco International – $1.5 billion
  • Honeywell International – $1 billion.

Through Thursday, firms had sold $483.3 billion of US investment-grade corporate bonds, smashing last year’s record $353.2 billion, according to Thomson Financial. Topping that list was an $11.9 billion issue from WorldCom in early May.