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Record Junk-Loan Sales Fuel Dividend Payouts

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U.S. companies have sold a record amount of junk-rated loans to raise money for dividends this year, powered by a recovering economy and investors’ demand for higher-yielding assets.
Nonfinancial companies including insurance provider Asurion LLC and fast-food chain Whataburger Inc. have issued more than $72 billion worth of speculative-grade loans to pay dividends in 2021, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence’s LCD. That is already a full-year record in data going back to 2000, topping 2013’s previous high of $54.4 billion. 

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