Buyer Beware of Companies Carrying Heavy Debt Loads

A decade of historically low interest rates has encouraged businesses to increase leverage and this could prove dicey for investors, says a recent Barron’s article. According to Morningstar fund analyst Kevin McDevitt, companies have been refinancing or borrowing for share buybacks, not necessarily to invest in existing businesses. “The leverage,” he says, “is an added risk not only to the individual companies, but also to the funds that own them.” Morningstar research found that, in the wake of the 2008 crisis, funds with high debt/capital ratios “dramatically underperformed low debt/capital ones and the market, losing about half their value, while […]