Americans today are blissfully distracted by their iGadgets, plotting out their holiday shopping strategies, leasing new cars, eating out, and buying advance tickets to the new Star Wars movie. They don’t see the wicked winter squalls ahead which will try their souls. We are experiencing the lull before the storms, but the storms are surely coming. The potential for catastrophe is high and burying our heads in the sand is not a strategy.
With at least 83 percent of these companies' operating cash being spent on debt repayments - the highest on record - the renewed collapse in crude oil prices of the last month has renewed focus on the tidal wave of defaults that the credit market is increasingly pricing in (and stocks not).
"On The Cusp Of A Staggering Default Wave": Energy Intelligence Issues Apocalyptic Warning For The Energy SectorSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/27/2015 21:24 -0500
The US E&P sector could be on the cusp of massive defaults and bankruptcies so staggering they pose a serious threat to the US economy. Without higher oil and gas prices — which few experts foresee in the near future — an over-leveraged, under-hedged US E&P industry faces a truly grim 2016. "I could see a wave of defaults and bankruptcies on the scale of the telecoms, which triggered the 2001 recession."
"This is legal?" Stephanie Ruhle on CDS after watching "The Big Short" (Bloomberg TV)
There are seemingly always “good reasons” why troubles in a sector of the credit markets are supposed to be ignored – or so people are telling us, every single time. Some still recall how the developing problems in the sub-prime sector of the mortgage credit market were greeted by officials and countless market observers in the beginning in 2007. Meanwhile, the foundation of the economy continues to look rotten (the newest round of Fed surveys has begun with another bomb and other manufacturing-related data continue to disappoint as well). This isn’t going to end well, if history is any guide.
Amid souring bets on Brazil and the general malaise across EM, PIMCO has been dethroned as the king of emerging market bonds. A fund run by Ireland-incorporated Stone Harbor has overtaken PIMCO's EM Local Bond Fund as the world's largest emerging market fixed income fund by AUM as rollercoaster bets on Brazil and the departure of both El-Erian and Gross weighs on investor sentiment.
“If they end up doing nothing to address this budget issue ... Houston could be facing the same problem Chicago is now."
In what sounds like the plot of a McCarthy-era propaganda spy novel, the Socialists and Communists have overthrown the government in Portugal. That means it's time for the troika to start pushing back against the undesirables by threatening the country with financial ruin. Just call it "tough love."
Having told the world that it will borrow billions (and cut capex) to "return all free cash to investors," it appears ratings agency S&P just needed to remind McDonalds that Shareholder-friendly releveraging no longer comes for free...
*S&P LWRS MCDONALD'S RTG TO 'BBB+' ON SHR BUYBACK PLANS
Who could have seen that coming?
At the height of the financial crisis, the unprecedented decline in swap rates below Treasury yields was seen as an anomaly. The phenomenon is now widespread, as Bloomberg notes, what Fabozzi's bible of swap-pricing calls a "perversion" is now the rule all the way from 30Y to 2Y maturities. As one analyst notes, historical interpretations of this have been destroyed and if the flip to negative spreads persists, it would signal that its roots are in a combination of regulators’ efforts to head off another financial crisis, massive corporate issuance (which we are seeing), China selling pressure (and its impact on repo markets) and "broken" wholesale money-markets.
- S&P 500 Futures Slip as Aussie Gains on Rate Outlook; Oil Rises (BBG)
- Xi Says China Needs at Least 6.5% Growth in Next Five Years (BBG)
- Ben Carson Vaults to Lead in Latest Journal/NBC Poll (WSJ)
- World's Biggest Banks Still Not `Truly Resolvable,' FSB Says (BBG)
- Keystone XL's builder faced darkening prospects (Reuters)
- Merkel Says Germany Must Step Up World Role in Refugee Crisis (BBG)
So far today's trading session has been a repeat of what happened overnight on Monday, when following a weak start on even more weak Chinese data, US equities soared on the first trading day of the month continuing their blistering surge since that dreadful September payrolls report, which as we showed was mostly catalyzed by a near record bout of short's being squeezed and covering, which accelerated just as the S&P broke the 2100 level.
"While traditional bank loans are not Chu’s prime focus -- she looks at the wider picture, including shadow banking -- she says her work suggests that nonperforming loans may be at 20 percent to 21 percent, or even higher."
Having watched the credit markets grow more and more weary of the major US financials, it should not be total surprise that ratings agency S&P just put all the majors on watch for a rating downgrade:JPMORGAN, BANK OF AMERICA, WELLS FARGO, CITIGROUP, GOLDMAN SACHS, STATE STREET CORP, MORGAN STANLEY MAY BE CUT BY S&P. Despite all the talking heads proclamations on higher rates and net interest margins and 'strongest balance sheets' ever, S&P obviously sees something more worrisome looming. S&P blames The Fed's new resolution regime for its shift, implying "extraordinary support" no longer factored in. This comes just hours after Moody's put Bank of Nova Scotia on review also (blaming the move on concerns over increased risk appetite).
It was 77 years ago this week that Orson Welles struck terror into the hearts of Americans with his live radio broadcast of the HG Wells classic War of the Worlds. What struck me while watching the PBS retrospective were the similarities between then and now. The gullibility of the masses, the power of fear, the overreaction by the media, busy bodies calling for the government to do something, and the effectiveness of propaganda are all commonalities between that Fourth Turning and today’s Fourth Turning.