Merrill

Merrill

Distressed-Debt Losses Worst Since 2008 - "It's Not Just Energy, It's Everything"

When buy the dip doesn't work. "Most distressed situations have not worked out in 2015," exclaims one distressed hedge fund manager facing significant losses on the year, "It wasn’t just energy. It was anything with loads of leveraged debt on it." As Bloomberg reports, distressed hedge funds dropped 5% in 2015 through October, putting them on pace for their worst year since 2008, when they lost 25%... and November isn’t looking like it will be much better.

"This Isn't Going To End Well" - Junk Bonds Under Pressure

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.

Global Trade (Still) In Freefall: Imports Collapse At Largest Three US Ports

For the latest bit of evidence that global trade is indeed in free fall, look no further than the container terminals at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Calif. and around New York harbor which handle more than 50% of seaborne freight coming into the US. As it turns out, “peak” season turned out to be anything but.

The Next Level of John Law Type Central Planning Madness

The cries for going totally crazy are growing louder... the lunatics are running the asylum. One shouldn’t underestimate what they are capable of. The only consolation is that the day will come when the monetary cranks will be discredited again (for the umpteenth time). Thereafter it will presumably take a few decades before these ideas will rear their head again (like an especially sturdy weed, the idea that inflationism can promote prosperity seems nigh ineradicable in the long term – it always rises from the ashes again). The bad news is that many of us will probably still be around when the bill for these idiocies will be presented.

Thousands Of Shorts Royally Crushed After Activision Acquires King Digital

Call it an example of an abbreviated public lifecycle. After IPOing at $22.50 just last March and then promptly tumbling, Candy Crush maker King Digital was stuck in no man's land: demand for its products was promptly waning and the organic growth its underwriters had promised was nowhere to be found. The fundamentally savvy hedge funds sniffed this out and promptly jumped on board what seemed like a royal flush slam dunk to zero. And then, overnight, out of nowhere Activision decided to crush the Candy Crush shorts, who had built up a short stake amounting to 25% of the float, when it announced it would acquire the company for $5.9 billion or $18/share, a 16% premium to the previous day closing price... and also a 20% discount to the IPO price.

NatGas Crashes To April 2012 Lows On Weather, Inventories

For once, blaming the weather is not a 'joke'. Natural gas futures fell to the lowest since April 2012 as traders reacted to near-record inventories and mild weather that’s pushing back the start of winter demand for the heating fuel.

John Thain Quits As CEO Again, This Time Without Blowing Up His Company First

The last time John Thain departed as a CEO under some duress, it was just after Merrill had received a taxpayer bailout (which was used among other things to pay for Thain's bonus) and also after Thain had spent $1.22 million of corporate funds to renovate two conference rooms, a reception area, and his office, $131,000 for area rugs, $68,000 for an antique credenza, $87,000 for guest chairs, $35,115 for a gold-plated commode on legs, and $1,100 for a wastebasket. Moments ago, the 60-year-old quit for the second time in the past 7 years, this time as CEO of CIT which he joined in February 2010, and luckily no bailouts have been required. Yet.

Dell Buys EMC In Record $67BN Deal: Creates "World's Largest Private Integrated Tech Company"

Just when you thought the M&A boom is over after a surge in bond yields that Goldman has repeatedly dubbed as "recessionary", and which will make the debt cost of any funding so high that there is barely any room for execution error, moments ago as had been extensively leaked previously, private Dell announced it would acquire tech giant EMC in a deal valued roughly $67 billion, while maintaining VMWare as a publicly-traded corporation. Good luck with raising the tens of billions in debt the deal will require: our best wish to Barclays, BofA, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, RBC who will all be underwriting the required debt financing to Dell.

Frontrunning: October 9

  • Global stocks eye biggest rally in four years on Fed relief (Reuters)
  • FOMC Minutes Sap Confidence in Fed's 2015 Rate Hike Resolve (BBG)
  • Glencore to cut annual zinc production by a third (FT)
  • Tea Party wave that lifted Republicans threatens to engulf them (Reuters)
  • Why Kevin McCarthy Came to Quit Speaker Race (WSJ)
  • A U.S. Recession Just Got a Little More Likely (BBG)

Weekend Reading: Capacious Cognitions

With the Federal Reserve still hinting at raising interest rates, but trapped by weak economic growth, will the next big move by the Fed be another form of monetary accommodation instead? Or, are the underlying dynamics of the economy and market really strong enough to shake off the recent weakness and continue its bullish ascent?

This Is When Junk Bonds Go Kaboom!

We have been warning for months that high-yield bonds have decoupled from equity markets, just as they did in 2007/8, and the credit cycle's turning will inevitably flow through to crush the only thing left supporting stock valuations - the irrational non-economic corporate buyback-er. However, as we detail below, time's running out and it’s getting tougher out there for our QE and ZIRP-coddled corporate junk-bond heroes.

FBI Recovers Personal Emails Allegedly Deleted From Hillary Clinton's Personal Server

The FBI has recovered the personal and work-related e-mails from the private computer server used by Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state, and which had allegedly been wiped clea. The FBI obtained Clinton’s server from the Colorado-based company managing it. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s success at salvaging personal e-mails that Clinton said had been deleted raises the possibility that the Democratic presidential candidate’s correspondence eventually could become public. The disclosure of such e-mails would likely fan the controversy over Clinton’s use of a private e-mail system for official business.