Interesting to see the down spiral going on with exxon, and why shareholders put up with it. In 2007, the second year on the job for the current ceo, the company had $34b in cash over just $7b of debt, and generated over $37b in fcf. Fast forward to y/e 2015 and they had $3.7b cash over $19b of debt, and fcf $8b. Granted $8b might be less than a normalized number of roughly $15b, but destroying value nonetheless. Over that period his primary allocation decisions have been buying XTO at the top of a cycle, and buying back 1.5b shares. Now at the bottom of a cycle with a relatively strong stock price and a couple billion of treasury shares he's got his hands in his pockets?
There's a more simple reason for the uptick in bond prices. As some bonds are exchanged out the remaining will have an increased claim on either cash flow or assets. And I agree with your term desperate.