“Better to preserve capital on the downside rather than outperform on the upside”
A month after we first noted the major redemptions at Avenue Capital Group's credit fund (note this is a different fund from Third Avenue), and just one trading day after CEO Marc Lasry strolled arrogantly on to CNBC and told the public that "I don't think it's a time to panic, I think it's actually a time where you've got opportunities out there," Morningstar reports the Avenue Credit Strategies Fund has failed to report asset levels since about mid-December.
Main Street is vulnerable to leveraged trading algorithms and Brazilian bonds because it’s not just exotica that is overleveraged. Risk-off, in short, is no longer just a temporary swing of the pendulum, guaranteed to reverse in a year or two. As amazing as this sounds, we’ve borrowed so much money that as hedge funds go, so goes the world.
Ever since it started making complicated bets against some leveraged ETFs, Miller’s Catalyst Macro Strategies Funds has since grown from $500,000 in assets at the start of the year to about $170 million. It achieved a more than 50 percent return this year, placing it far ahead of its competitors.
Important pillars of the bull case evaporated throughout 2015. Global price pressures weakened, the global Credit backdrop deteriorated and the global economy decelerated. The huge bets on central bank policies left markets at high risk for abrupt reversals and trade unwinds – 2015 The Year of the Erratic Crowded Trade. Indeed, a global bear market commenced yet most remain bullish. Serious and objective analysts would view this ominously.
We believe the Credit Cycle has turned and with it will come some massive unexpected shocks. One of these will be the fall out in the Bond Market, centered around the dramatic growth explosion in Bond ETFs coupled with the post financial crisis regulatory changes that effectively removed banks from making markets in corporate bonds. It is a ‘Witch’s Brew’ with a flattening yield curve bringing it to a boil.
In a move that will surely raise even more eyebrows if not launch a shockwave across Palo Alto just yet, Fidelity Investments said in its monthly holdings report that it has slashed the valuations of even more unicorns, starting with the biggest one of all, Uber, when it lowered the value of its stake in the company's Series D shares by 7.5% from Oct. 30-Nov. 30, while adding more pain to Dropbox investors when it lowered its value of the cloud service company by another -2.2%.
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...
News that billionaire Marc Lasry's Avenue Credit Strategies Fund open-ended mutual fund has been slammed with redemptions in recent weeks will hardly ease fears about a capital outflow from the junk bond which has sent junk ETFs down 12% for the year and has become the main topic of discussion over the past week following a flurry of reports about panic among holders of below-investment grade bonds.
"Templeton Global Bond ($100bn in total; $59bn in mutual funds) – BEN’s largest fixed income fund – has seen meaningful outflows YTD (-$7.6bn from retail; -13% annualized rate) and could persist given the deterioration in excess performance (-460bps vs. benchmark YTD)."
Now that the first casualty in the junk bond space has spilled its blood in the water, the hungry sharks are circling. And perhaps the best place to look for the chum is where Third Avenue itself was discovered: dead last in the morningstar list of worst (and best) performing High Yield funds of 2015...
The Next Leg Of The Junk Bond Crisis: Third Avenue "Focused Credit Fund" Liquidates, Gates RedemptionsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/10/2015 15:48 -0500
"Third Avenue is extremely disappointed that we must take this action"...
"...the only thing worse than a market with collapsing valuations is a market with no valuations and no liquidity. If stock in a company is worth what somebody will pay for it, what is the stock of a company worth when there is no place to sell it?"
Valeant Fiasco Hits Biggest Holder: Sequoia Suffers Largest Outflow Of The Year, And Why It Could Get WorseSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/11/2015 09:23 -0500
Ruane Cunniff & Goldfarb, the investment firm that runs the Sequoia Fund, was Valeant’s largest shareholder as of June 30, with VRX shares growing to 29% of Sequoia’s portfolio at midyear. The latest outflow is a continuation of previous redemptions: "in the first 10 months of 2015, Sequoia Fund’s outflows totaled about $213 million, Bloomberg data show, after investors withdrew more than $500 million in 2014."
Unicorns Dropping Like Flies: First Dropbox; Then Square; Now Fidelity Cuts Snapchat Valuation By 25%Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/10/2015 12:21 -0500
First it was Dropbox. Than it was Jack Dorsey's "other" company, Square. Today, it's the turn of Snapchat, the fourth most highly valued private tech start up: "Fidelity, the only fund manager to have invested in the four-year-old company best known for disappearing photos, wrote down the value of its stake by 25 per cent in the third quarter."