Daily Credit Summary: April 14 - Ain't No Stopping Us Now

Spreads were broadly tighter today with HY outperforming IG as equities got a boost from retail sales, Bernanke's low-and-long comments, and Beige book headlines. JPM's earnings (along with CSX's beat and INTC's smash) also helped as financials outperformed in equity and credit. The psychological break of several critical levels in equity and credit indices seems relevant for the moment (despite the survivorship bias inherent in these long-run indices reducing the real worth) but there was no arguing with the breadth today as tighteners outpaced wideners by over 8-to-1.

Retailers, REITs Celebrate Michelle's New Red Outfit

Anyone notice that Michelle C-Squared has been gradually dolling up for the inevitable Dow 11,000? Hate to sound like a broken record, but it appears that each day we have another round of breakouts in the retail and REIT sector, as if fund managers are giddy at the prospect of Michelle losing a few buttons on her blouse on Monday.

"Battling Brains" at PIMCO Must Be Sweating Bullets

Last weekend The Los Angeles Times featured a story about the war room discussions at PIMCO. Now with over $1 trillion under management and bonds teetering, the pressure must be huge to start chasing equities and other risk assets.

March Records Fastest Ever CMBS Delinquency Deterioration In History According To TREPP

On top of the previously announced record delinquency rate for Fannie, here comes some even worse news out of commercial real estate, which together with record high downtown vacancy rates, should be enough to push all REITs to 1052 week highs tomorrow. RealPoint has just released its March CMBS delinquency data, according to which delinquencies hit an all time high 6%. Not to be ignored, according to TREPP this number is even worse, at nearly 8%, after the single biggest monthly spike in 30 day + delinquencies.

Downtown New York Office Vacancy Rate Spikes To 9/11 Levels

Surely this must be worth a strong buy upgrade of the REIT sector by someone (too bad most banks already have these in the "conviction buy to the grave" category). Bloomberg TV reports that the office vacancy rate in downtown NY has dropped to September 11th levels, and is about to pass 14%. In other words short reality, long hopium and office REITs, and presto - 100% P&L overnight. Who needs such boring things as cash flows when you have record vacancies and guaranteed, undipsuted bailouts.

Are Pig Farmers Doing All The Trading? "The Top Five Prop Desks Are Buying And Selling Securities With Leverage ... To Each Other!"

A suitable follow up to our earlier post on domestic equity fund flows (which have been negative year to date), and our conclusion that Primary Dealers are merely taking advantage of the ZIRP carry trade, is Rosie's observation that the only entities doing any relevant trading are the prop desks of the Big Five TBTFs. If that is indeed the case, the market, which Rosenberg concludes optimistically is 25% overvalued will certainly face a Black Monday-type correction as soon as the elusive "unpredictable" occurs and the Prop desks as always scurry for cover, with no volume consolidation to the upside. It would be such a wonderful time to truly implement the Volcker Rule as the bank's prop desks, if David is correct, are about to cause some major damage to the market... Of course, it is these very prop desks that are the staunchest opposition to the Volcker Rule and its negative implication on prop trading.

Goodbye QE

Excess marginal dollar liquidity is gone and the USD is spiking in value. Commodities (particularly oil & the energy sector in equity) are rolling over and are ready to sell off big. Equities may follow soon. In the FX arena, long USD is best, especially against EUR (PIIGS), GBP (just another pig), NOK (CEE exposure), HUF (see NOK), AUD, and JPY.

Today's Chartblast

As the PIIG crises went into full swing again, it was a "Risk Off" day today. Except when in fear of a market correction, it is time to buy mortgage insurers, homebuilders and REITs.

The Greatest Central Banker of All Time

It is irrefutable. The Bernanke Fed will go down in history as the most wildly successful ever. Nobody in financial history has been able to re-sky stocks in one year after the two largest banks in the country were within a hairsbreadth of imploding. No doubt, he will be trumpeted and hailed as a national hero, for orchestrating the fastest run in retail stocks in world history.

One Very Tragic Death

Even as the Lehman scapegoating campaign is on in full force, there is little doubt that the man who somehow was in the middle of virtually everything, was not Dick Fuld, or any of the bevy of rotating Lehman CFOs, but Lehman's very much under the radar Global Product Controller, Gerard Reilly. Reilly was the point man on Repo 105, the point person for E&Y's "investigation" into the Matthew Lee whistleblower campaign, Lehman's Level 2 and Level 3 asset valuation, the brain behind the idea to spin off Lehman's commercial real estate business, Lehman's Archstone investment, and likely so much more. Reilly stayed on at Lehman, solid as a rock, even as the CFO's above him rotated one after another. Tragically, on December 29, 2008, a 44-year old Gerald [sic] Reilly died while skiing alone on New York's Whiteface mountain, while on a trip with his wife, 4 small children, and two other families.

Banks Stifle First Amendment, Attempt To Create A Tiered Market Of "Clients" And "Everyone Else" As Is Blocked From Instant Stock Research Reporting, which is a news aggregator service (much like most of the blogosphere these days, but without the snarky commentary), and is hosted on Zero Hedge, has just seen a major driver of its business model cut off, after several banks just won an injunction that blocks Fly from notifying its clients when a bank may have issued a research event such as an Upgrade or, on those extremely rare occasions nowadays, Downgrade. The banks who feel violated by everyone getting access to information about their sellside detritus contemporaneously, not just wealthy accounts and wire services, are Barclays, Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley. As Bloomberg reports, "U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in New York today granted a request for an injunction sought by the three banks. They argued at a March trial that, a Summit, New Jersey- based firm with about 30 employees, wrongfully obtains and sells reports on changes to the banks’ stock evaluations." This is merely a case of picking on the weakest: the next ones to lose their First Amendment right will be, in order of importance, StreetAccount, Thomson Street Events, Briefing, and, ultimately Bloomberg. The reason: keep the market as two-tiered as possible so that clients of the above three banks (which list will likely expand promptly as more banks join in) have an upper hand over all the slower retail and algo operations. With this forced lag in information (which is a joke because anyone who cares, knows the second a research report goes public anyway), and with the ever increasing transaction times courtesy of nanosecond collocation facilities, soon the self-cannibalizing market will only rely on stealing money from those accounts who are still willing to participate in a market that is now split into two distinct groups: those who make money, and are clients of MS, ML and Lehman (and the rest of Wall Street), and everyone else. This is a huge hit for not just traditional media, but for the blogosphere as well, which revels in the freedom of not just ridiculing banks' (Merrill Lynch) upgrades of horrendously shitty companies (REITs), but enjoys doing so in real time. We expect that the next step is that any blog or medium that has any negative things to say about Merrill, MS or Barclays (pretty much most independent media), will be served with a summons as soon as any criticism is made public.