Data: Chart: Axios Visuals

The Fed has not yet begun buying corporate bonds through its announced special facilities, but just by announcing plans to take action has sparked rallies in bonds across the spectrum and improved market functioning.

Yes, but: "The Fed’s aggressive actions have benefited the markets in the short term. Longer term, however, we think there will be downgrades, defaults, and bankruptcies, particularly among companies that came into the downturn with high leverage," warns Ruta Ziverte, head of fixed income for William Blair.

  • With corporate debt markets again functioning smoothly, she expects to see a significant increase in bond issuance "as companies see their earnings decrease and sell more debt to raise funds," she says in a blog post.
  • "We expect this to result in more downgrades ... across the full ratings spectrum."

What's happening: More than $120 billion of investment-grade bonds have been downgraded to junk status this year, and approximately $300 billion of the lowest-rated investment-grade bonds are on watch for downgrades or have negative outlooks, Ziverte notes.

  • "We estimate that as much as $200 billion of debt (about 3.7% of the investment-grade market) could be downgraded over the next 12 to 18 months."

Go deeper: Fed commits to "whatever it takes" to help economy vs. coronavirus

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
32 mins ago - Economy & Business

A white-collar crime crackdown

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

America has waited a decade for an aggressive government crackdown on white-collar crime. Now, just before the election, and in the middle of a bull market, it has arrived.

Why it matters: When times are good, investors become more trusting and more greedy. That makes them more likely to put their money into fraudulent or criminal enterprises.

  • After a decade-long bull market, there is no shortage of those frauds to prosecute.
59 mins ago - Technology

Lawyers crystal-ball the Google antitrust case

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Justice Department's antitrust suit against Google is a strong, straightforward monopoly case, competition lawyers and experts tell Axios. But that doesn't mean it'll be an easy journey for the government.

The big picture: Winning any antitrust case is a heavy lift. It's even more of a challenge to pull off victory in a future-looking case that seeks to make room for potential new competition to flourish.

The pandemic is getting worse again

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: Due to a database error, Missouri had a 3 day gap in reporting from Oct. 11-13; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Every available piece of data proves it: The coronavirus pandemic is getting worse again, all across America.

The big picture: As the death toll ticks past 212,000, at a moment when containing the virus ought to be easier and more urgent than ever, we are instead giving it a bigger foothold to grow from.