Debt traders are indicating FedEx Corp., after an eight-year drought, is headed for a second 2012 credit upgrade as rising online commerce keeps ground deliveries growing even as the U.S. economy shows signs of faltering.
Credit-default swaps linked to debt of the operator of the world’s largest cargo airline have traded at levels implying it should be graded A3 since May 7, according to Moody’s Corp.’s capital markets research group, one level higher than its Baa1 mark from the company’s rating arm. FedEx’s 8 percent bonds due in January 2019 yield 2.59 percent, less than the 2.85 percent on all A rated corporates due in five to seven years, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data.
The purchase by UPS, the world’s largest package-delivery company, comes as Europe’s economy shrinks toward what the International Monetary Fund predicted in January will be a “mild recession” in Europe this year. It said this week the U.S. economy would experience a “tepid” recovery.
FedEx, which Smith conceived in a 1965 college term paper at Yale, purchased the Flying Tigers freight airline in 1989 to gain routes to 21 Asian countries. More recently, it spent $427 million in 2007 to take over a joint venture with China’s Tianjin Datian W. Group Co.