Credit Market

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DEFINITION of 'Credit Market'

1. The broad market for companies looking to raise funds through debt issuance. The credit market encompasses both investment-grade bonds and junk bonds, as well as short-term commercial paper.

2. The market for debt offerings as seen by investors of bonds, notes and securitized obligations such as mortgage pools and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs).

BREAKING DOWN 'Credit Market'

The credit markets dwarf the equity markets in terms of dollar value. As such, the current state of the credit markets tells us the relative health of a large portion of the financial community if we examine the prevailing interest rates and look at investor demand for various grades of credit - from "riskless" (as in Treasury Bonds) to junk bonds that carry high default risks. More demand from investors will prompt companies and lenders to issue more bonds, the effects of which will spill over into the equity markets.

There are broad classes of mutual funds and ETFs that invest solely in the credit markets, allowing investors to add fixed-income exposure to their portfolios without purchasing individual securities.

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