"Moody's downgrades Noble Group to Ba1; outlook negative.... "The downgrade of Noble's ratings reflects Moody's concerns over the company's liquidity," says Joe Morrison, a Moody's Vice President and Senior Credit Officer. The Ba1 ratings also reflect low levels of profitability and consistent negative free cash flow from core operating activities, which exclude proceeds from asset sales."
The winners from a $5 trillion M&A bubble: Wall Street bankers will make hundreds of millions in M&A fees. The losers: hundreds of thousands of workers who are about to be laid off, pardon, "synergized."
The S&P 500 closed at 2052 on November 18,2014. That was 405 days ago, and despite the rips and dips in the interim the broad market average has gone nowhere.
There has been a "continued shunning of fixed income" with over $25 Bn of outflows from bond funds in three weeks, of which $6.4 Bn took place in the past week, resulting in outflows in 6 of past 7 weeks.However, the biggest outflow risk is not to Junk but to investment grade, that main funding source for trillions in corporate stock buybacks: it was the IG space that took another beating with largest outflows ($3.5bn) in 17 weeks!
And so Wall Street has set its sights on the next junk bond fund casualty, a name which is well-known to most equity market participants: none other than Waddell and Reed (WDR), the fund which rose to infamy in the aftermath of the May 2010 Flash Crash, after it was initially blamed by the SEC as the culprit behind the Dow's 1000 point crash...
The Fed is now - for the first time in adult memory for half the world’s traders and money managers - tightening rather than loosening monetary conditions. A quick look at financial history is all it takes to lead anyone with leveraged money at risk to lighten up. Equally important - and vastly more strange when you think about it - this tightening comes at a time when major parts of the global economy are either grinding to a halt or imploding.
The Senate and House passed the spending bill this week, which the President signed into law on the same day. Embedded in the law is a provision to lift the 40-year old crude export ban. The lifting of the crude export ban is a historic milestone, but seemingly less relevant for US E&Ps, Midstream and Oilfield Services as compared to a year and a half ago when WTI-Brent spreads were close to $9.00/bbl vs. the current spread of $0.80/bbl. Nevertheless, there is still a negative long-term impact on refiners should spreads re-widen.
Weak earnings performance in marketing operations below the current EBIT guidance of $2.4-$2.7 billion could place negative pressure on the Baa3 ratings in the absence of any mitigating measures. A weakening of the company's liquidity position, delays with the planned divestments in 2016 or a material reduction in its working capital funding capacities by the banks, as well as sustained high leverage with adjusted debt/EBITDA exceeding 4x, will also put negative pressure on the Baa3 ratings."
As new investor liquidity evaporates and as billions are redeemed first from the junk bond universe, then investment grade and then loans, the debt crisis which was unleashed in anticipation of the Fed's rate hike, is about to get much worse, and lead to even more prominent hedge fund "gates" and liquidations.
"The irony in this year’s batch of outrageous predictions is that some of them are “outrageous” merely because they run counter to overwhelming market consensus. In fact, many would not look particularly outrageous at all in more “normal” times – if there even is such a thing!"
The sell-off in credit over the past week has led many investors to ask what it means for equities. Credit spread widening usually has negative implications for equity but as Goldman notes, it is critical to estimate the degree to which the equity market has already priced the weakness to determine the potential risks to equity going forward. Interestingly, Goldman finds the weakness in high yield credit was foreshadowed by weakness in the equities of high yield companies (like for like), but the weakness in Investment Grade credit spreads relative to their corresponding equities represents a new divergence suggesting meaningful downside for S&P 500 investors.
Soaring junk bond redemptions; rising investment grade (and high yield) yields pressuring corporate buybacks; record corporate leverage and sliding cash flows; Chinese devaluation back with a vengeance; capital outflows from EM accelerating as dollar strength returns; corporate profits and revenues in recession; CEOs most pessimistic since 2012, oh and the Fed's first rate hike in 9 years expected to soak up as much as $800 billion in excess liquidity. To Wall Street's strategists none of this matters: as Bloomberg observes, virtually every single sellside forecasts expects "no end to the bull market."
"Yeah but it's junk credit... who cares! I am invested in solid megacaps and even solider FANGs - what can go wrong?" Well, this...
Jim Cramer - of all people - warned about this in 2007: watch the video inside!