Bill Gross Telegraphs QE2 Green Light: Buys MBS On Margin

Who cares what Benny and the Inkjets blink in morse code when you have the one and only Bill Gross. As we said last month, the best necessary and sufficient tell to decide what the Fed will do on November 3 is to keep track of the Total Return Fund's composition. Today, TRS just released its updated September holdings, and for all those hoping to see that Pimco Billy is betting the farm on QE2 - that's a bingo. Pimco has just increased its MBS holdings to the highest since July 2009, when Gross was already dumping MBS on the tail end of QE1. The biggest tell however, is that just like before QE1 abd QE Lite were announced, Bill has once again gone on margin, reducing his net cash exposure from $5 billion to ($7.6) billion. And keep in mind this is September: we are certain that once the October results come out, a few weeks after QE2 is effective, TRS will have a material margin position of more than $20 billion, and will have pumped up its MBS holdings up to $100 billion. So now that we are certain that Gross just telegraphed that QE2 is imminent, that leaves us with two questions: 1) why MBS and not USTs? Is Gross saying that Bernanke will once again be forced to come out and buy MBS in addition to USTs? or 2) did Gross just get screwed on his doubling down MBS? With fraudclosure forcing such reputable MBS managers as Gundlach to claim that it will have no impact on their business model, we are also certain that the entire Fashion Island campus is sweating bullets currently. If the entire MBS model is indeed unwound as some speculate, this could well be the end of PIMCO (and how poetic that would be). Yet these are considerations for the future. For now - anyone who may have had an ounce of doubt as to Bernanke's FOMC announcement intentions, can now put it away.

TRS portfolio updated through September. Note the MBS holdings and the dotted net margin exposure.

TRS duration distribution. No doubt the drop is predicated by the ramp in MBS holdings.