Athletes in next year's Summer Olympics here will be swimming and boating in waters so contaminated with human feces that they risk becoming violently ill and unable to compete in the games. An AP analysis of water quality revealed dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria from human sewage in Olympic and Paralympic venues — results that alarmed international experts and dismayed competitors training in Rio, some of whom have already fallen ill with fevers, vomiting and diarrhea.
Moments ago we got the latest BofA client flow update in which we were expecting to find that the "smart money", flush with cash, and taking advantage of the Greek "deal" would jump in on last week's biggest weekly market surge since October 2014 when Bullard hinted at QE4 and unleashed a buying surge. To our surprise we find that not only did "smart" money continue selling, but they were joined by the "smartest" money of all, hedge funds. And who did they sell to? Why retail investors of course... and corporate buybacks but that should go without saying.
"Moody’s, which in 2013 began using a lower rate than governments do to calculate future liabilities, has estimated that the 25 largest U.S. public pensions alone have $2 trillion less than they need", Bloomberg reports.
Moody's and Fitch are taking a hard look at student loan-backed ABS and they don't necessarily like what they see. Fortunately, Citi has some pointers on how the ratings agencies might go about avoiding downgrades.
It was not today's IMF (non) repayment that traders, if not eurocrats and economists, are concerned about but tonight's maturity of a JPY 20 billion (about $160 million) Samurai note sold in 1995 and which matures on July 14. The reason why this paltry, in the grand scheme of things, payment is critical is that while continuing to repay the IMF is not an event of default if only purely technically, and for the rating agencies, a non-payment on the Samurai bond would start a cross-default cascade.
It’s happening. As expected, dynastic politics is prevailing in campaign 2016. After a tease about as long as Hillary’s, Jeb Bush (aka Jeb!) officially announced his presidential bid last week. Ultimately, the two of them will fight it out for the White House, while the nation’s wealthiest influencers will back their ludicrously expensive gambit. And here’s a hint: don’t bet on Jeb not to make it through the Republican gauntlet of 12 candidates (so far). After all, the really big money’s behind him.
The fact that Moody's and Fitch are beginning to reevaluate student loan ABS is indicative of an underlying shift in the market. Between the proliferation of IBR and the Department of Education's recent move to open the door for debt forgiveness in the wake of the Corinthian collapse, financial markets are beginning to see the writing on the wall. Perhaps Bill Ackman said it best: "there's no way students are going to pay it all back."
Corporate executives offer three main reasons for share repurchases: 1. Buybacks are investments in our undervalued shares signaling our confidence in the company’s future; 2. Buybacks allow the company to offset the dilution of EPS when employee stock options are exercised or stock is granted to employees; or 3. The company is mature and has limited investment opportunities, therefore we are obligated to return unneeded cash to shareholders. The logic behind each of these explanations is in the vast majority of cases is flawed, to be kind, and deceptive to be blunt.
Last month, Chicago saw its debt cut to junk at Moody's, triggering billions in accelerated payment rights and jeopardizing efforts to improve the city's finances in the face of a budget gap that's set to triple over three years. Citi has more on the dreaded "downgrade feedback loop."
While yesterday most markets were closed and unable to express their concerns at the very strong showing of "anti-austerity" parties in Spain's municipal election from Sunday, then today they have free reign to do just that, and as a result European stocks are broadly lower, alongside the EURUSD which dripped under 1.09 earlier today, with Spanish banks among the worst performers: Shares of Banco Sabadell, Bankia, Caixabank and Popular were down 1.8 to 2.3% earlier this morning, and while the stronger dollar was a gift to both the Nikkei and Europe in early trading, after opening in the green, Spain's IBEX has since slid into the red on concerns of what happens if the Greek anti-status quo contagion finally shifts to the Pyrenees.
The only remarkable macroeconomic news overnight was out of Japan where we got the Q1 GDP print of 2.4% coming in well above consensus of 1.6%, and higher than the 1.1% in Q4. Did it not snow in Japan this winter? Does Japan already used double, and maybe triple, "seasonally-adjusted" data? We don't know, but we do know that both Japan and Europe have grown far faster than the US in the first quarter.
Following an Illinois Supreme Court ruling that struck down a pension reform plan aimed at closing a $100 billion funding gap, Moody's downgrades Chicago to junk, giving the city the dubious distinction of being the only major city "in recent history" to carry such a low rating other than Detroit. Chicago now faces accelerated payments to creditors of more than $2 billion.