In a historic first, three days ago, South Africa's Rand Merchant Bank, a division of FirstRand Bank Limited, announced it would issue the FirstRand Gold Bond, or a bond denominated in South African Krugerrand gold coins. In other words, for the first time "holding" gold will pay a dividend (or in this case, interest). Sound odd? Maybe because it is.
As President Obama tees off in Martha's Vineyard, The State Department has decided that its diplomats should not be allowed to have fun (for a good cause). As AP reports, US Diplomats have been barred from undertaking the #IceBucketChallenge ... there goes CNBC's ratings...
- FTW: Europe Stocks Rise as Data Signals Need for Stimulus (BBG)
- More de-escalation: Dozens die in Ukraine in street battles, Donetsk shelling (Reuters)
- Calm largely holds in Missouri after grand jury opens shooting investigation (Reuters)
- Attorney General Eric Holder Vows Thorough Probe of Ferguson Shooting (WSJ)
- World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Slows Emerging Market Investment (BBG)
- Market Chilly to Argentine Debt Proposal (WSJ)
- Israeli air strike kills three Hamas commanders in Gaza (Reuters)
- Retooled Hamas Bloodies Israel With Help From Hezbollah (BBG)
- Investors Pour Into Vanguard, Eschewing Stock Pickers (WSJ)
- Fed Debates Early Rate Increases (WSJ)
Presented with little comment... because if this doesn't wake people up to the unreality of the stock 'market', nothing will. Hertz has ripped higher 8 days in a row, surging over 18% in that period as analysts and talking heads piled on proclaiming how wonderful it is.. and then:
*HERTZ HAS DECIDED TO WITHDRAW 2014 FINANCIAL GUIDANCE
*HERTZ EXPECTS TO BE WELL BELOW LOW END OF 2014 GUIDANCE
Must be a one-off idiosyncratic issue right?
Mainstream media business 'entertainment' appears to have been taken over by the #IceBucketChallenge, as they name-drop from CEO to CEO in the interests of ratings (as opposed to raising money for ALS). However, things took a much more serious turn today as not only did Alan Greenspan show us how he 'cools off' the economy but actor Vin Diesel issued the ultimate challenge to none other than Michelle Obama and Vladimir Putin...
Traders and market participants are pretty bad at decision making as it is, the last thing they need is inaccurate information via sensationalized and overhyped TMZ Style News reports to base their decision making process on.
This weekend’s “Things To Ponder” is comprised of a variety of readings that cover a fairly broad spectrum from educational to informative and even a little bit sarcastic.
"You give me this office, and in turn, my fears, doubts, insecurities, foibles, need for sleep, family life, vacations, leisure is gone. I am giving myself to you. The American people should have no patience for whatever is going through your head because you have a job to do. You don't make that decision unless you are prepared to make that sacrifice, that tradeoff. Those who make mistakes in the president's office make them because they haven't fully thought through the dimensions of that choice."
- Barack Hussein Obama
While Hillary explains that Obama is “thoughtful” and “incredibly smart,” the unannounced 2016 Presidential candidate had a few less than supportive words for the current Iraq-bomber-in-chief. In an interview in The Atlantic magazine, Bloomberg reports Clinton warns Obama lacks a specific doctrine, adding "great nations need organizing principles, and "don't do stupid stuff" is not an organizing principle."
Any Bond Idiot Can Buy into Fear, but they are Forced to Sell into ‘Good Times’!
What will it be this time? Grab your popcorn and tune in.. and don't forget, he "will not rest" until whatever 'it' is, is fixed...
Japan’s QE was large enough that no one, not even the most stark raving mad Keynesian on the planet, could argue that it wasn’t big enough. Which is why the results are extremely disconcerting for Central Bankers at large.
Alarm bells in the European banking system have been ringing for quite a while but nobody seems to be listening. The roaring capital markets are just too loud. But we have been keeping track of a few things.
As every 'real' corporate bond manager knows (as opposed to playing one on television), forecasting from historical defaults is a fool's errand as the process is entirely cyclical and non-stationary. The fact that default rates have been low for 4 years (thanks to an overwhelming flood of liquidity-driven demand for yield) is of absolutely no use when pricing discounted cashflows into the future. However, as Fitch warns, a jump in US high-yield default rates looms. There have been 10 LBO related bond defaults thus far in 2014, compared with nine for all of 2013. While most sectors remain relatively clam, the utilities and chemicals sectors are seeing huge spikes in defaults... which explains why the market is starting to price that in.
After an exuberant day in Argentine bond and stock markets, we are nearing a decision. With a handful of hours left until it's all over, various 'deal's have been proposed today from Argentine bankers as a last-minute rescue package. S&P has already decided that it's a done deal:
- *ARGENTINA CUT TO SD FROM CCC- BY S&P
- *ARGENTINA DEFAULTED ON $13B IN FOREIGN DEBT, S&P SAYS
- *ARGENTINA MISSED $539M BOND PAYMENT, S&P SAYS
And now, Argentine Economy Minister Axel Kicillof will speak in a press conference at country’s consulate in Manhattan (ironically a block from the holdouts' office).