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ITraxx Suite Bucks Tightening Trend

18 May 2006

Months of spread tightening on the European iTraxx suite reversed this week on the back of players exiting long bond/short credit-default swap positions.

Months of spread tightening on the European iTraxx suite reversed this week on the back of players exiting long bond/short credit-default swap positions. Traders said last week's downturn in the cash equity markets acted as a signal for people to take profit and buy protection on the indices, which drove spreads wider. "People have been trigger-happy calling the chop," said one London-based trader.

The five-year European Main index broadened to 30.5 basis points Tuesday from 26 bps last week, five-year crossover to 252 bps from 225 bps and the five-year HiVol to 54.25 bps from 45 bps over the same period. There was also widening in index tranches, with iTraxx seven-year 3-6% 25 bps wider at 155 bps.

Credit officials, however, don't expect the widening trend to last. "The sell-off will run out of steam," said one strategist ata European house, who noted it was speculative trading pressure driving the blowout and these positions could be reversed again shortly.

18 May 2006