High-yield bonds and the relevant exchange traded funds are no strangers to liquidity concerns.
The theory often bandied about is that in times of high market stress, when a slew of investors could be rushing for the same exit at the same, junk bond ETFs could subject investors to wide bid/ask spreads, significant deviations from their underlying net asset values and other unsavory circumstances.
In reality, there is an important difference between liquidity and what amounts to no more than poor trading. Sure, that seems obvious, but a real world example appeared today in the $931.5 million AdvisorShares Peritus High Yield ETF (NYSEArca: HYLD).
HYLD, one of the largest actively managed ETFs, is off 1% in late trading on volume that is more than triple the daily average. That is not a big deal. What is noteworthy is that, according to one ETF liquidity provider, a trader moved HYLD 46 cents in a trade of 200,000 shares.
According to that liquidity provider, a 200,000-share trade in HYLD can transact within four cents, underscoring the notion that poor trading not a lack of liquidity moved the ETF 46 cents. Following that poor trade, another trade for 350,000 shares in HYLD was filled at $50.88 only to see the ETF snap back to $51.46 moments, according to the liquidity provider.