(Bloomberg) Investment-grade corporate debt sales have surged to a record $1.15 trillion this year as the most creditworthy borrowers flocked to the U.S. bond market to take advantage of historically low interest rates.
Apple Inc. (AAPL), Verizon Communications Inc. and Oracle Corp. were among borrowers that helped swell issuance this year. JPMorgan Chase & Co. was the the top underwriter for the fifth-straight year, grabbing 12.7 percent of the deals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd., Asia’s biggest Internet company, led borrowings of more than $126 billion this month that helped sales breach last year’s record of $1.13 trillion. Companies have raced to the market to lock in borrowing costs that remain within 0.5 percentage point of the all-time low of 2.65 percent reached in 2013, Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data show.
Investors purchasing the debt have reaped 7.3 percent gains in 2014, overcoming the 1.5 percent loss last year, index data show. Investment-grade bonds are rated above Ba1 by Moody’s Investors Service and BB+ at Standard & Poor’s.
Apple’s seven-part, $12 billion offering in April was the biggest deal recorded this year as the maker of iPhones and iPads returned to the debt market to raise money for its enhanced shareholder-reward program. The company also debuted euro-denominated bonds earlier this month.