Attack of the Zombies

From Bloomberg, 17 Nov 2020, by Lisa Lee and Tom Contiliano:

…many of the nation’s most iconic companies aren’t earning enough to cover their interest expenses ( …zombie status).

Almost 200 corporations have joined the ranks of so-called zombie firms since the onset of the pandemic… In fact, zombies now account for nearly 20% of [the top 3,000] firms.

… they’ve added almost $1 trillion of debt to their balance sheets… bringing total obligations to $1.36 trillion. That’s more than double the roughly $500 billion zombie companies owed at the peak of the financial crisis.

The consequences for America’s economic recovery are profound.

The Federal Reserve’s effort to stave off a rash of bankruptcies by purchasing corporate bonds might very well have prevented another depression. But in helping hundreds of ailing companies gain virtually unfettered access to credit markets, policy makers may inadvertently be directing the flow of capital to unproductive firms, depressing employment and growth for years to come…

A representative for the Fed declined to comment…

 

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