While the high-yield market may rest on slightly wobbly legs for the short term, a Salomon Brothers Inc. analyst sees it standing tall for the long run.
"Short term, I'm a little nervous about the market," Joseph Bencivenga, Salomon's director of high-yield research, said of the secondary market yesterday. But he added, "You can't help but be long-term positive on this market place."
Recent press reports have incorrectly characterized his market views as overly bleak, Mr. Bencivenga said. Though he has some short-time jitters, it is "not to a major magnitude," he said.
Mr. Bencivenga's short-term butterflies stem from an ownership switch to mutual funds, the possibility of a sck market correction, the market's dramatic rise this year, and its statistically poor third-and fourth-quarter performances in recent years.
With traditional junk bond buyers -- insurance companies and thrifts -- sidelined largely by regulatory pressures, mutual funds have filled the void, he said. While the traditional investors bought to hold, mutual funds tend to switch investments more quickly.
Any stock market correction that makes stocks appear cheap could cause investors to switch out of high-yield funds investments and into stock funds, he added.
Mr. Bencivenga sums up his concern over the market's sharp rise this year with one word: "Gravity." What comes up, he said, eventually comes down.
Also, a spate of expected new issues -- $2 billion to $3 billion -- will steal some of the secondary market's shine, Mr. Bencivenga said.
But for the long-term, Mr. Bencivenga sees the market strengthening with the improved economy, improved credit quality of the securities, and strong flow of securities out of the market.
Some 45% of the market currently trades at par and 75% trades at 85 cents or more on the dollar, he said. Fifty high-yield companies have done stock offerings this year, and the improving economy continues to bolster high-yield companies.
In addition, between 1991 and 1994 about $72 billion of supply will exit the high-yield market through upgrades, sinking funds, calls, maturities, and repayments, he said.
Rowan Companies Inc., another in the parade of companies refinancing high-cost debt, yesterday announced it had filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue $200 million of senior notes due 2001, a company spokesman confirmed.
The petroleum drilling services company said it will use part of the offering's proceeds to redeem its 13.75% senior notes due 1996 for $128.8 million. It will use the rest for general corporate purposes, the spokesman said.
The original 13.75% offering totaled $125 million and was issued July 15, 1986, he said.
Underwriters for the offering are Wasserstein Perella Securities, Merrill Lynch & Co., and Citicorp Securities Market Inc., the spokesman said.
The high-yield market over all was up about 1/4 to 1/2 point yesterday following the upswing in the Treasury and stock markets.
The high-grade market rose 1/4 point to a point yesterday. PepsiCo Inc., Oryx Energy, and CIT Group each tapped that market.
PepsiCo issued $300 million of 7.625% notes due 1998. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.758 to yield 7.67% or 48 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the notes A1, while Standard & Poor's rates them A. Lehman Brothers sole managed the offering.
Oryx Energy issued $100 million of 9.50% notes due 1999. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.426 to yield 9.604% or 230 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Standard & Poor's Corp. rates them BBB-minus. First Boston Corp. lead managed the offering.
CIT Group issued $100 million of 8.375% notes due 2001. The noncallable notes were priced at 99.831 to yield 8.4% or 87 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Moody's rates the notes A2, while Standard & Poor's rates then A. Salomon Brothers lead managed the offering.
Also yesterday, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. issued $150 million of 6.970% debentures due 1996. Noncallable for a year, the debentures were priced at par to yield 18 basis points over comparable Treasuries. Lehman sole managed the offering.