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Adapted from S&P Global; Chart: Axios Visuals

More than 30% of debt from U.S. companies is trading at distressed levels, ratings agency S&P Global reports.

The state of play: "The U.S. distress ratio grew considerably to 30.2% as of April 10 from 24.9% as of March 16, with the highest proportion of distressed credits held by oil and gas issuers and financial institutions," analysts said in a recent note to clients.

  • Almost 70% of all debt in the oil and gas sector is trading at distressed levels and four other sectors have a distress ratio higher than 35%, including retail and restaurants (44.6%), transportation (43.2%), automotive (36.7%) and midstream and merchant power (36.5%).
  • Bond spreads for U.S. companies have "widened at unprecedented levels, especially at the speculative-grade level, where issuance has all but disappeared," S&P notes.

What it means: Distressed debt refers to bonds trading at significant discounts because a company has or is likely to file for bankruptcy or default.

Go deeper: How to deal with debts in a pandemic

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Aug 6, 2020 - Economy & Business

The continued rise of retail stock trading

Data: The Block; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Small investors are playing a larger role in the stock market than at any time this century.

The big picture: Whatever the reason for small investors' rise — lots of free time thanks to the pandemic, zero-dollar commissions, addictive and gamified apps, enticing volatility — retail investors have become a driving force behind many individual stocks and maybe even the market as a whole.

Biden to stress U.S. does not seek new Cold War in UN speech

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

President Biden will use his first address before the UN General Assembly to lay out his vision for an era of "intensive diplomacy" with allies and "vigorous competition" with great powers — without a Cold War with China.

Why it matters: Biden will take the podium in New York on Tuesday with his own international credibility in question after the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. His administration also is struggling to build international momentum to fight climate change, the pandemic and rising authoritarianism.

4 hours ago - Health

Biden administration to lift travel ban for fully vaccinated international travelers

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients announced on Monday that the Biden administration will allow fully vaccinated travelers from around the world to enter the U.S. beginning in November.

Why it matters: The announcement comes as President Biden seeks commitments from countries to donate vaccines to the global COVAX initiative. He is expected to host a COVID summit on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this week, and many of the countries attending have expressed frustration with the travel ban.