The default rate for U.S. high-yield issuers ended 2014 at 2.4%, up from 1.5% a year ago, according to Fitch Ratings. The firm noted that it was the fifth straight year the default rate was below its 35-year average of 4.1%.
Thirty-seven issuers defaulted on $31.7 billion in high-yield bonds during 2014, compared to 36 issuers and $18.5 billion a year earlier. Fitch said Energy Futures Holdings' bankruptcy protection filing accounted for 52% of the volume in 2014.
The firm maintains its expectation for the default rate to remain between 1.5% and 2% in 2015.