The Fed is watching very carefully risk appetite. Their removal of policy accomodation, whether it is low rates or liquidity facilities, will be driven just as much by a pick up in market risk appetite as by traditional economic indicators such as production and employment. It makes sense to think the Fed is watching the effect on risk appetite and potential asset inflation of the liquidity it is pumping in the system given that it is a just about universal worry that has triggered a lot of animosity towards the US's monetary policy. However what is interesting is to think right now the Fed views risk appetite as subdued. Is it really?
A week after the roll into new indices (HY13 and IG13) there was quite notable action in CDS land. Net notional change across all sectors was substantially negative to the tune of $282 billion, which however consisted primarily of matured transactions accounting for $330 billion of this number, implying the adjusted number was around positive $50 billion and a notable derisking. There likely has been a corresponding netting out on the New Transaction side over the past month as accounts were rolling existing positions.
Matt Taibbi has put together a very informative piece on Goldman's lobbying attempts, specifically in the context on the upcoming discussion over naked short selling. The contention here by the majority is that naked short selling, or NSS, promotes bear raids on crippled companies which tend to feed upon each other, with CDS traders also joining in the fray. The argument is a dramatic oversimplification and has little substantiation by facts. "Bear raids" occur only and exclusively in financial stocks: why can't you have a bear raid on a firm like Coke or Johnson and Johnson, or even some leveraged behemoth like Hertz.
Spreads were tighter in the US as all the indices improved (though were unable to break Friday's tights and closed wider than Thursday's close). IG trades only 8.1bps tight (rich) to its 50d moving average, which is a Z-Score of -0.7s.d. At 105bps, IG has closed tighter on only 8 days so far this year (192 trading days). The last five days have seen IG converging to its 50d moving average.
Yet another amusing media interlude. Zero Hedge appreciates the gossip pages' attempt at profiling our zany cause. Even if, as the case may be, these particular gossip pages are in fact owned by the very same Establishment that our "conspiratorial" disclosures attempt to represent for the motivated and deeply embedded wealth redistribution enterprise it is. And while it is very late on a Sunday, here are some of our preliminary thoughts...
Spreads pushed wider today with HY actually starting to shiver a little after holding its gains in the face of equity and IG weakness so far this week, as high beta names finally underperformed low beta. IG12 modestly underperformed IG13 once again as the tail names underperformed and HY underperformed IG. Breadth was more negative today in CDS land with wideners outpacing tighteners by around 7-to-1 and a noticeable flattening in the IG12 curve.
Spreads widened for the second day in a row, as weaker than expected existing home sales trumped a headline beat for initial claims swinging risk assets from a good start to a weak middle. Stocks drifted further down most of the day except for a late day cover rally (for the daytraders) which credit hardly took part in as IG went out near its wides and SPY dropped close to its low after-hours as RIMM lowered its Q3 revenue outlook (so much for top-line growth coming to the rescue).
Spreads were tighter again in the US today as post-roll activity picked up in IG leaving HY to charge tighter still (though not managing to make it back below 600bps) as roll re-positioning and tranche technicals seem to be dominating index activity. The ongoing compression in the widest and riskiest credits saw high beta names dramatically outperform low beta today, single-names outperform indices across the board and HVOL, XO, and HY all outperform IG.
It is good that the long discussed on Zero Hedge topic of prop versus flow trading at Goldman is finally starting to gain some attention. Today, it comes courtesy of former CEA Chair and Nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz: "The main problem that Goldman raises is a question of size: 'too big to fail.' In some markets, they have a significant fraction of trades. Why is that important? They trade both on their proprietary desk and on behalf of customers. When you do that and you have a significant fraction of all trades, you have a lot of information. That raises the potential of conflicts of interest, problems of front-running, using that inside information for your proprietary desk... If you're going to trade on behalf of others, if you're going to be a commercial bank, you can't engage in certain kinds of risk-taking behavior."
Spreads were tighter in all the major indices today as new 2009/contract tights were seen everywhere with the high beta compression, roll compression, and curve steepening trend continuing - although HY and IG both ended well off their best levels of the day (even as stocks closed at their highs). IG12 moved back above Par and HY12 was below 600bps intraday. The drop in dispersion among single-names seems to signal traders are unwilling to step in to the high beta screamers pre-roll and we feel stringly that the steepening/roll compression has moved index curves in the off-the-runs way rich and way steep compared to intrinsics and offer some pretty cheap options for those who are not buying the recovery in refi risk.
The CDX IG12 5s10s curve has just hit a high since the March lows, following to the equity market drum beat. The popular flattener trade has now unwound as more accounts start shifting into corporate steepeners. As we have noted in the past, IG new issuance has likely peaked, and in the face of dropping new commercial paper issuance, the supply overhang is muted, forcing managers to play with the corporate curve. The 5s10s trade was one of the most popular ones in the halcyon days of late 2006 and early 2007. With near-term refi risks effectively eliminated the corporate steepener seems the place to be, especially as equities continue indicating heightened inflation pressures, yet contrary to what the Treasury market demonstrates. Nonetheless, the upcoming roll in CDS should be one to watch.
Spreads were mixed in the US with most indices tighter (reaching 2009 tights) as ExHVOL underperformed as high beta compression smashed low beta names. IG trades 15.2bps tight (rich) to its 50d moving average, which is a Z-Score of -1.5s.d.. At 104.25bps, IG has not closed tighter this year (184 trading days) and is back to mid June on-the-run levels for IG. The last five days have seen IG diverging from its 50d moving average.
A year after Lehman collapsed, what have they learned on Wall Street? Absolutely nothing. That's pretty much what I see on Wall Street and at the large "sophisticated" Canadian public pension funds. Behind the rhetoric, it's business as usual. Who needs risk management when the markets are on fire and you're looking to shoot the lights out?
Spreads tightened significantly from last Friday's close with HY massively outperforming IG as equities reversed their short-term losses to storm over 2.5% higher (close-to-close). This rally in risky assets was accompanied by a major drop in the dollar which shifted gold and oil higher and somewhat confusingly a rally in Treasuries - a flight to safety and risk. HY closed within 10% of its spread tights for the week while IG was more than 20% off its tights, but skews were cruished in IG and HVOL this week (especially the latter).
Spreads were tighter in the US as all the indices improved (with IG and HY at their tightest closes since 08/10 and rallying for the fifth day-in-a-row for the first time since the Dec08 roll). IG trades 10.4bps tight (rich) to its 50d moving average, which is a Z-Score of -1s.d.. At 111bps, IG has closed tighter on only 4 days so far this year (181 trading days). The last five days have seen IG diverging (bullishly) from its 50d moving average. Indices typically underperformed single-names with skews narrower with HVOL the most notable and talk of some index arb and tail hedge unwinds was heard.