Expand chart
Data: ICE BofA Corporate and High Yield option-adjusted spreads; Chart: Axios Visuals

The V-shaped recovery is starkest in the stock market, where the Nasdaq has overtaken its pre-virus highs and where the S&P 500 is back to its frothy levels of last November.

The big picture: The health of the stock market provides reassurance that our current crisis will pass without the major loss of wealth that we saw in 2008-09.

Why it matters: There is still a lot of fear that a "tidal wave of bankruptcies" is about to swamp the economy, sending it back into another downward spiral. But for all that U.S. corporations are operating with unprecedented amounts of debt, the financial markets remain sanguine.

By the numbers: While high-profile "mega-bankruptcies" such as Hertz and J. Crew make headlines, the total number of bankruptcies involving more than $100 million in debt is likely to be substantially lower this year than we saw during the last recession. That's according to NYU business school professor Edward Altman, who sees 192 such filings in 2020, compared with 242 in 2009.

  • Flashback: One of the great surprises of 2009 was how few companies ended up filing for bankruptcy. The same might well end up being true in 2020.
  • Insolvent companies do not always file for bankruptcy protection. Often, their creditors allow them to roll over their debts, betting that they'll make a better recovery that way compared with their likely outcome in bankruptcy court.

Corporate credit spreads — the market's gauge of the riskiness of corporate debt — are elevated right now, but nowhere near their levels during the last recession. They're even lower than the spike we saw in 2016.

The bottom line: The good news in the current crisis is that it isn't a credit crunch. If you're holding corporate debt, you can be at least a little bit reassured that a lot of equity needs to be wiped out before you lose a penny.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Sep 2, 2020 - Economy & Business

Here comes the real recession

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Economists are warning that the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic is now creating another recession: mass job losses, business failures and declines in spending even in industries not directly impacted by the virus.

Why it matters: The looming recession — a possible recession within a recession is less severe than the coronavirus-driven downturn. But it's more likely to permanently push millions out of the labor force, lower wages and leave long-lasting scars on the economy.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Sep 2, 2020 - Health

Half of Americans fear a health-related bankruptcy

Data: Gallup; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of Americans who worry about bankruptcy if they have a serious health issue has spiked over the last year and a half — particularly among men, people of color and young adults, according to a new survey from West Health and Gallup.

Between the lines: Health care costs were a huge issue even when the economy was good and we weren't in a global pandemic. Now, millions of people have gotten sick, lost their jobs, lost their health insurance, or all three.

Updated 38 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:15 a.m. ET: 30,539,903 — Total deaths: 952,629— Total recoveries: 20,800,482Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:15 a.m. ET: 6,726,353 — Total deaths: 198,603 — Total recoveries: 2,556,465 — Total tests: 92,163,649Map.
  3. Politics: In reversal, CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people.
  4. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19 — Massive USPS face mask operation called off The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine.
  5. Business: Unemployment drop-off reverses course 1 million mortgage-holders fall through safety netHow the pandemic has deepened Boeing's 737 MAX crunch.
  6. Education: At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable.