Morningstar

"There Is A General Softening In The Consumer's Ability To Pay" - Why Credit Card Companies Are Crashing

On the day in which the government reported modestly stronger than expected retail sales for the month of May, signalling a return to strength for spending and the US consumer - the driving force behind 70% of US GDP - a far more ominous statistic was revealed by credit card company Synchrony Financial, which earlier today announced in a regulatory filing that it expects write-off rates to climb 20 to 30 basis points over the next 12 months, and will increase reserves for soured loans beginning this quarter.

The New Millennial Dream: Make Over $200,000 And Retire At 90

Faced with an economy that is creating lower paying jobs, millennials are making less, piling up more debt, and more than any other time since the Great Depression, are returning home to live with their parents. In a video produced by Morningstar's U.K. unit, millennials discussed what their career aspirations are, and what they expect from their financial future. There were certainly some interesting, if not telling, responses as to the confused state of expectations vs. reality that millennials are dealing with at the moment.

"This Is The Most Crowded Trade in History"

"Instead of looking for manager’s and investment opportunities to beat the market, investors are opting to be the market and are likely creating the most crowded trade in historyStagnant monetary policy fosters a groupthink outlook.  The Fed Put prompts the same positioning.  Computerized programs trade correlations and relationships established during an extended period of abnormal policy.  Active managers continue to retrench as the market diverges from the fundamentals, but the blind buyers continue to participate - it does not matter if the market is 10x, 15x, or 20x earnings, they buy for one reason, it is the market."

"It Been Horrendous" - Investor Tries To Pull Cash From Valeant-Heavy Fund, Gets Shares Instead

When Tom Bentley tried to pull his money from a mutual fund troubled by its large stake in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., he instead received shares in a Springfield, Mo. auto-parts retailer. Sequoia Fund Inc. sent the retired computer hardware engineer about 5% of his money in cash and the rest was stock in one company–O’Reilly Automotive Inc. Mr. Bentley said he sold the shares as soon as they appeared in his account on April 7, but they had already dropped in value. "It has been pretty horrendous," Mr. Bentley said.

Crushed By The Record Oil Squeeze, This Is How Energy Bears Are Shorting Crude Now

The result of the recent mega short squeeze in oil, has been a significant revulsion to shorting oil directly or indirectly, either by way of the underlying commodity or energy stocks, many of which have soared in tandem. And yet the shorts remain, and continue to press their bets on the troubled energy sector. However, instead of directly shorting crude and various first-derivative oil and gas companies, short sellers - burned by the recent squeeze - have changed their strategy and shifted their sights to secondary exposure, namely those regional banks that do business with the industry.

Here Are The Four Reasons Why Investors Never Believed This Rally

The "smart money" have been net sellers of US stocks for the ninth consecutive week.
Investors are positioning for a market reversal based on leveraged positions in volatility funds.
Oil bulls never jumped on board the latest rally. 
The CS Fear Barometer remains elevated

In "Very Unusual" Move, Avenue Capital's Junk Bond Fund Stops Reporting Asset Levels

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.

Unmanageable Money: Hedge Funds Keep Losing (And Closing) - Why It Matters

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.

2015 Year In Review: "Terminal Phase" Excess & Peak Cognitive Dissonance

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.

A "Witch's Brew" Bubbling In Bond ETFs

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.

Unicorn Mauling: Fidelity Slashes Valuation Of Startup Superstar Uber By 7.5%

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%.