The Money Market "gates" which we predicted in January 2010 are coming, have finally arrived.
The high-yield bond market has been "extremely overvalued" for a record nine consecutive months, according to Martin Fridson, a money manager at Lehmann, Livian, Fridson Advisors LLC. As Bloomberg Brief's Matt Robinson notes, the streak breaks the previous record of eight months set in October 2006 to May 2007. As Fridson notes, "overvaluation (whether extreme or non-extreme) has put together an unbroken streak of 25 months, nearly double the previous record." It appears Yellen was right about something as Frisdon warns "the pressure to find yield is causing investors to rationalize investing in paper that is subject to major price risk... this has to be a concern to those who believe, as I do, that the market distortions of 2007 aggravated the subsequent dislocations experienced in 2008."
Those keeping track and hoping the second default would finally hit have to hold their breath again after yet another last minute bailout has now made a complete mockery of China's "deliberate" intentions to clear up the rot plaguing its bond market. As Reuters reports, Huatong avoided a "landmark bond default at the last minute on Wednesday, raising enough funds to pay off both principal and interest on a 400 million yuan ($64.51 million) bond." Who bailed it out? Why the same government which continues to say one thing and do something totally different.
Despite yesterday's lackluster earnings the most recent market levitation on low volume was largely due to what some considered a moderation in geopolitical tensions after Europe once again showed it is completely incapable of stopping Putin from dominating Europe with his energy trump card, and is so conflicted it is even unable to impose sanctions (despite the US prodding first France with BNP and now Germany with the latest DB revelations to get their act together), as well as it being, well, Tuesday, today's moderate run-up in equity futures can likely be best attributed to momentum algos, which are also rushing to recalibrate and follow the overnight surge in the AUDJPY while ignoring any drifting USDJPY signals.
In the Golden Age of the Central Banker it is impossible to distinguish fundamental economic reasons for asset class price movements from politically-driven strategic reasons. When words are used for strategic effect rather than a genuine transmission of information you create a virtual stalking horse. It’s a focus on how something is said as opposed to what is described. It’s a focus on form rather than content, on truthiness rather than truth. It’s why authenticity is as rare as a unicorn in the public world today.
It is quite clear that Bernanke achieved his goal of inflating asset prices by expanding the Federal Reserve's balance sheet by 371.64% since the end of the financial crisis. However, was he as successful in fulfilling his other objectives? The following charts perform the same cost/benefit analysis on real economic health... Did the Fed's monetary intervention programs keep the economy from sliding into a much deeper recession? Probably. Have the programs been effective in achieving Bernanke's stated goals? Not really.
Day after day, headlines from Argentina implore Judge Griesa to do the "fair, responsible" thing and lift his judgment that holdouts get paid before current bondholders receive their payments... and day after day Argentina's demands are met with silence or denials. Today, though, with 1 week left until Argentina must put up or shut up, Judge Griesa has come out swinging...
*U.S. JUDGE SAYS OF ARGENTINA RULINGS: 'JUDGMENTS ARE JUDGMENTS'; ARGENTINA'S 'INCENDIARY` RHETORIC `UNFORTUNATE,'
*U.S. JUDGE URGES 'SENSIBLE STEPS' TO AVOID ARGENTINA DEFAULT
While CDS spreads have surged once again, bonds trade with default probabilities around only 50% which, according to Jefferies "are expensive on underestimating the risk of default."
- EU Works to Punish Russia as MH17 Bodies Leave Rebel Area (BBG)
- Bodies From Malaysia Airlines Flight Begin Long Trip to Netherlands (WSJ)
- Israel pounds Gaza as Kerry arrives (Reuters)
- U.S. judge dismisses Republican lawsuit over Obamacare subsidy for Congress (Reuters)
- Israel Soldier Missing Amid Assault on Hamas in Gaza (WSJ)
- Detroit Retirees Vote in Favor of Pension Cuts (WSJ)
- Russia Axes 1st Bond Sale in 3 Months as Ukraine Drives Up Yield (BBG)
- Wall Street Cut From Guest List for Jackson Hole Fed Meeting (BBG)
- Credit Suisse to Exit Commodities, Posts Big Quarter Loss (BBG)
- Draghi Cedes Euro Control to Yellen on Fed Rate Wagers (BBG)
Today we’re going to explain what the “final outcome” for this process will be. The short version is what happens to a cancer patient who allows the disease to spread unchecked (death).
They call them ‘junk bonds’ for a reason. They now constitute an offence against linguistic decency: ‘high yield’ no longer even is. “By sacrificing quality an investor can obtain a higher income return from his bonds. Long experience has demonstrated that the ordinary investor is wiser to keep away from such high- yield bonds. While, taken as a whole, they may work out somewhat better in terms of overall return than the first-quality issues, they expose the owner to too many individual risks of untoward developments, ranging from disquieting price declines to actual default.” - Ben Graham, ‘The Intelligent Investor’.
In the absence of any major economic events, it will be another day tracking geopolitical headlines out of Ukraine (lots of accusations, propaganda and fingerpointing on both sides, zero actual evidence and facts - expect more European sanctions to be announced today to match last week's latest US-led round ) and Israel (where the death toll has now risen over 500, almost entirely on the Gaza side), and then promptly spinning any bad news as great news. For now, however, futures are modestly lower from the Friday close pushed down by the AUDJPY which has rebased around 95.00. We expect the momentum ignition correlation algos will promptly take of that as soon as the US market opens, a market which has now been described as bubbly by the BIS, the Fed and the IMF.
It has been over six months since we first highlighted the growing deterioration in the quality of auto loans and mentioned the 's' word (subprime) as indicative that we learned nothing from the financial crisis. Since then, auto loans (and especially subprime in the last few months) have surged to record highs; and most concerning, recently has seen delinquencies and late payments spike. The reason we provide this background is that, thanks to The NY Times, this story is now hitting the mainstream media as subprime-quality car buyers (new and used) realize the burden they have placed on themselves thanks to exorbitantly high interest rates (and a rapidly depreciating 'asset'). As one car 'owner' exclaimed, "buying the car was the worst decision I have ever made."
A dispassionate look at the issues and events shaping the investment climate in the week ahead.
At some point there is going to be a sea change in bonds. The question is does the last week in July finally cause the Sea-Change in Bonds?
With U.S. rates higher than those of major foreign markets, investors are provided with an additional reason to look favorably on increased investments in the long end of the U.S. treasury market. Additionally, with nominal growth slowing in response to low saving and higher debt we expect that over the next several years U.S. thirty-year bond yields could decline into the range of 1.7% to 2.3%, which is where the thirty-year yields in the Japanese and German economies, respectively, currently stand.