It should come as no surprise that companies which has taken on too much debt over the last three years will start to fail and have to file for Chapter 11. Some of the signs that this process is about to accelerate are starting to show up.
"High-yield debt sales have sputtered so far in 2008 and are off to their weakest start in 17 years thanks to an anemic U.S. economy, a worldwide credit crunch and a pronounced absence of investor appetite for risky assets," according to Reuters.
While there is no saying which companies might face severe problems certainly several firms with widely traded stocks are at risk. This would include newspaper companies McClatchy (MNI) and Journal Register (JRC) which have high debt and rapidly falling revenue. Cable company Charter (CHTR) is saddled with $19 billion in long-term debt. Level 3 (LVLT) has a shaky balance sheet and extremely modest cash flow. Shares sold short in the firm are higher than those of any other stock listed on Nasdaq.