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We last reviewed AT&T Inc. (T) on April 23, 2014, prior to its announ­­cement that it intends to acquire DirecTV (DTV). In this note, we update our prior assessment in light of the DirecTV announcement and the uncertainties associated with that transaction. We turn to the U.S. dollar bonds issued by AT&T Inc. and compare its current default probabilities and credit spreads with those on all heavily traded corporate fixed-rate bonds on July 25, 2014.

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International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) and Apple Inc. (AAPL) announced on July 15, 2014 that they would work together to develop business applications for iPhone and iPad users. International Business Machines Corp. ranks 4th and Apple Inc. ranks 1st on the Forbes ranking of the world’s most valuable brands. What is the bond market view of International Business Machines Corp. in light of this blockbuster announcement between two huge brand names?

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Transocean Ltd. (RIG) helps customers find and develop oil and natural gas reserves. On July 15, Transocean Ltd.’s fully guaranteed finance subsidiary Transocean Inc. was the 12th most heavily traded issuer of senior fixed rate debt in the United States bond market. In this note, we turn to the U.S. dollar bonds issued by Transocean Ltd. and compare its current default probabilities and credit spreads with those on all heavily traded corporate fixed-rate bonds on July 15, 2014. A total of 70 trades were reported on 9 fixed-rate bond issues of Transocean Ltd. with July 15 trading volume of $56.1 million.

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The Walt Disney Company (DIS) ranks 17th on the Forbes ranking of the world’s most valuable brands. In this note, we turn to the U.S. dollar bonds issued by the Walt Disney Company and compare its current default probabilities and credit spreads with those on all heavily traded corporate fixed-rate bonds on July 11 and 14, 2014 . A total of 65 trades were reported on 8 fixed-rate bond issues of the Walt Disney Company with trading volume of $28.9 million on July 11. The Walt Disney Company was the 16 th most actively traded corporate bond issuer on July 11. On July 14, there were 45 trades in 10 bond issues for $5.8 million.

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Trading volume in the bond and credit default swap markets, particularly the sovereign credit default swap market, is one of the key drivers of profit for major dealers like Bank of America (BAC), Barclays Bank PLC, BNP Paribas (BNPZY), Citigroup (C), Credit Suisse (CS), Deutsche Bank (DB), Goldman Sachs (GS), HSBC Holdings (HSBC), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Morgan Stanley (MS), The Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS), and UBS AG (UBS). This update adds some details to the nice Wall Street Journal study “Where did Europe’s Sovereign CDS Trading Go?” which analyzes the European Commission’s ban on the short sales of sovereign credit default swaps.

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