Carl Icahn’s bold warning about… Carl Icahn?

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn reiterated his warnings about high-yield bond ETFs in a wide-ranging video released on his website overnight, complaining that these so-called junk bonds "are being sold en masse to the public" by companies such as BlackRock, whose high-yield bond ETF (HYG) holds about $13 billion worth of assets.

"People are buying these not really understanding what they're buying," Icahn said in the video, referring specifically to BlackRock's "junk bond" ETFs.

Ironically, nearly 1 percent of what those people are buying is debt issued by Icahn's company itself.

The HYG ETF holds four separate bonds issued by the investor's company, Icahn Enterprises. These four bonds cumulatively make up 0.7 percent of the ETF — for a total notional value of $91 million, according to data available from BlackRock's ETF arm, iShares.

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It is worth noting that BlackRock does not have any say in the holdings of its ETF; the HYG simply tracks the Markit iBoxx USD Liquid High Yield Capped Index. Nor is the presence of Icahn Enterprises bonds in the ETF new; various Icahn Enterprises securities can be found in it going back to April 2012.

Icahn's broader point about high-yield debt is that stimulative Federal Reserve policies have created a stock and bond bubble that will be resolved messily, due to a lack of willing buyers and hence loss of liquidity. BlackRock, for its part, contends that ETFs can provide liquidity and improve market stability

Icahn's office did not immediately respond to a call for comment.


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Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

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