Valuation advisor Murray Devine is out with a new first-half private equity report, which shows that buyout firms continue to pay up for blue-chip assets but have become gun-shy when it comes to question marks. Key takeaway:

Deal volume and valuation trend lines have begun to diverge, a tendency that's typically more common near the end of a market cycle.

Go deeper: Swiss consulting firm Wellershoff & Partners this week released new research hitting on a similar theme, arguing that the large-cap U.S. private equity market is way over-capitalized when compared to disbursement activity. Moreover, it believes it is understating the problem, given the boom in private equity's shadow capital market of big sovereign wealth funds and others who are diving deep into both private equity directs and co-invests.

Wellershoff suggests one solution would be for large-cap firms to cut existing fund sizes or break them up into smaller sub-funds – something we saw over-capitalized VC firms do in 2001/2002– but acknowledges that such an outcome is highly unlikely.

Go deeper

Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  3. Health: The pandemic is getting worse again New York reports most cases since MayMany U.S. coronavirus deaths were avoidable.
  4. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  5. World: Spain becomes first nation in Western Europe to exceed 1 million cases — France becomes the second.

Biden says he will appoint commission on Supreme Court reform

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden told CBS' "60 Minutes" this week that if elected, he would put together a bipartisan commission to study the federal court system and make recommendations for reform.

Why it matters: Biden has come under pressure to clarify his position on court packing after some Democrats suggested expanding the court if Senate Republicans confirm President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
53 mins ago - Economy & Business

Wall Street still prefers bonds

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Sunset Boulevard/Getty Contributor

Investors' return on U.S. corporate bonds has been falling since its August peak, but buying has only accelerated, especially in investment grade bonds that are offering historically low yields.

The state of play: Since hitting its 2020 high on Aug. 4, the benchmark Bloomberg Barclays U.S. bond aggregate has delivered a -2.2% return. (For comparison, the S&P 500 has gained 3.9% during the same time period.)