In the past week alone, two companies completed distressed exchange offers--US-based Liz Claiborne and Canada-based Cinram International.
This brings the total number of corporate defaults so far this year to six, including four based in the US, according to Standard & Poor's.
Don't despair. The overall default trend is way down from recent year.
Last year at this time, 30 global corporate issuers had already defaulted. Of that total, 21 were US-based issuers.
For all of 2010, 81 global corporate issuers defaulted. This was way down from the record high of 265 in 2009.
None of the 81 companies that defaulted in 2010 began the year rated investment grade.
Of the six companies that defaulted so far this year, two entities have defaulted because of distressed exchange offers, and another four defaulted because of missed interest or principal payments, according to S&P.
In 2010, 28 of the defaults resulted from missed interest or principal payments, 25 resulted from Chapter 11 and foreign bankruptcy filings, 23 from distressed exchanges, three from receiverships, one from regulatory directives, and one from administration.
Of course, if the commodities rally causes the economy to slow down dramatically, this could also cause additional companies to suffer and place highly leveraged companies in danger of defaulting.
But, I think we are a long ways away from that scenario.