Secondary trading softened significantly last week, to the tune of about three or four points, while the telecom sector fared slightly better, only losing two to three points, traders said.


The biggest news came from sneaker company Just For Feet, which plummeted to the low 70s, after being at par a month ago. The firm, which priced a $200 million deal at par in April, came out with disappointing performance numbers last week. One investor said the heyday in the athletic shoes sector is coming to an end, with endorsement campaigns by sports figures like Michael Jordan simply not generating the money game they did a few years ago.

Level 3 Communications, which one trader said is not as representative of the overall market as it used to be, fell about a point and a half last week to 97.75.

Charter Communications widened in the wake of its two acquisitions last week (see story on page 3). The notes were trading at 61.5, down from 68 in mid-April. And Falcon Communications, one of Charter's acquisitions, traded up about four points to par. Traders said they expect it to be upgraded because of Charter's backing, which also would be a gain for investors. Falcon currently carries a rating of B2/B on both its 8.375%, and its 9.285% issues.

Nextlink also gave back some in secondary trading in the wake of its new issue, which had to increase price talk to entice buyers.

And Nextel, the biggest high yield issuer of all, has seen spreads widen about 250 basis points since the beginning of April, after it became clear that the takeover speculation by MCI Worldcom was not going to happen.

Two weeks of fund outflows also have taken their toll on the high yield market, investors said. According to AMG Data Services, high yield funds had outflows of $334.7 million for the week ending May 19, the latest time frame available. And that came on the heels of a loss of $638.4 million on the previous week, according to AMG.