Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Enough is Enough / PIMCO´s Bill Gross

On top of his monthly comment is here a link via Marketwatch Bond guru sees possible 5%-10% drop in stocks. Click on the headline to read the entire piece with some thoughts on the "rich getting richer".

Zusätzlich zu dem monatlichen Kommentar von Gross hier noch ein weiterer Link via Marketwatch Bond guru sees possible 5%-10% drop in stocks. Klickt bitte auf die Überschrift um zusätzlich noch die Meinung zu den Reichen die immer reicher werden.

Several hundred billion dollars of bank loans and high yield debt wait in the wings to take out the private equity and leveraged buyout deals that have helped propel stocks to Dow 14,000. And lenders…mmmmm, how do we say this…don’t seem to have much of an appetite anymore. Six weeks ago the high yield debt market was humming the Campbell’s soup theme and now, it’s begging for a truckload of Rolaids. Yields have risen by 100 to 150 basis points in response as shown in the Chart

Some wonder what squelched the hunger of potential lenders so abruptly, while in the same breath suggesting that the subprime crisis is "isolated" and not contagious to other markets or even the overall economy. Not so, and the sudden liquidity crisis in the high yield debt market is just the latest sign that there is a connection, a chain that links all markets and ultimately their prices and yields to the fate of the U.S. economy. The fact is that several weeks ago, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s finally got it into gear, downgrading hundreds of subprime issues and threatening more to come. "Isolationists" would wonder what that has to do with the corporate debt market. Housing is faring badly but corporate profits are in their prime and at record levels as a percentage of GDP. Lenders to corporations should not be affected by defaults in subprime housing space, they claim. Unfortunately that does not appear to be the case.

Thanks to Minyanville

As Tim Bond of Barclays Capital put it so well a few weeks ago, "it is the excess leverage of the lenders not the borrowers which is the source of systemic problems." Low policy rates in many countries and narrow credit spreads have encouraged levered structures bought in the hundreds of millions by lenders, in an effort to maximize returns with what they thought were relatively riskless loans. Those were the ABS CDOs, CLOs, and levered CDO structures that the rating services assigned investment grade ratings to, which then were sold with enticing LIBOR + 100, 200, 300 or more types of yields. The bloom came off the rose and the worm started to turn, however, when institutional investors – many of them foreign – began to see the ratings downgrades in ABS subprime space. Could the same thing happen to levered structures with pure corporate credit backing? To be blunt, they seem to be thinking that if Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have done such a lousy job of rating subprime structures, how can the market have confidence that they’re not repeating the same structural, formulaic, mistake with CLOs and CDOs? That growing lack of confidence – more so than the defaults of two Bear Stearns hedge funds and the threat of more to come – has frozen future lending and backed up the market for high yield new issues such that it resembles a constipated owl: absolutely nothing is moving.

.... Covenant-lite deals and low yields were accepted by money managers as if they were prisoners in an isolation ward looking forward to their daily gruel passed unemotionally three times a day through the cellblock window. "Here, take this" their investment banker jailers seemed to say, "and be glad that you’ve got at least something to eat!"

Well the caloric content of the gruel in recent years has been barely life supporting and unhealthy to boot – sprinkled with calls and PIKS and options that allowed borrowers to lever and transfer assets at will. As for the calories, high yield spreads dropped to the point of Treasuries + 250 basis points or LIBOR + 200. Readers can sense the severity of the diet relative to risk by simply researching historical annual high yield default rates (5%), multiplying that by loss of principal in bankruptcy (60%), and coming up with an expected loss of 3% over the life of future loans. At LIBOR + 250 in other words, high yield lenders were giving away money!

>Looks like Homer has also entered the bond and credit market.... :-)

>Sieht ganz so aus als wenn Homer auch den Anleihe und Krdeitmarkt geentert hat... :-)

Over the past few weeks much of that has changed. The mistrust of rating service ratings, the constipation of the new issue market and the liquidity to hedge the obvious in CDX markets has led to current high yield CDX spreads of 400 basis points or more and bank loan spreads of nearly 300. The market in the U.S. seems to be looking towards this week’s large and significant placing/pricing of the Chrysler Finance and Chrysler auto deals to determine what the new level for debt should be. In the U.K., a similarly large deal for BOOTS promises to be the bell cow for European buyers. But the tide appears to be going out for levered equity financiers and in for the passive owl money managers of the debt market. And because it has been a Nova Scotia tide, rising in increments of ten in a matter of hours, it promises to have severe ramifications for those caught in its wake. No longer will double-digit LBO returns be supported by cheap financing and shameless covenants. No longer therefore will stocks be supported so effortlessly by the double-barreled impact of LBOs and company buybacks. The U.S. economy in turn will not benefit from this tidal shift and increasing cost of financing. The Fed tightens credit by raising short-term rates but rarely, if ever, have they raised yields by 150 basis points in a month and a half’s time as has occurred in the high yield market. ...
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

And lenders…mmmmm, how do we say this…don’t seem to have much of an appetite anymore.

They would regain their "appetite" if they felt they could as easily as bisher find others to buy the debt. Which is what has gotten the credit markets to this point in the first place: offloading debt/risk to someone else via the 'greater fool' principle.

People should not get the idea that suddenly these banks have become somehow ethical about the crap paper they will peddle. Recent stories about 'ratings shopping' should put that to rest.

This reminds of The Peter Principle: the markets will roll along until they reach the point of their incompetence -- a situation from which they cannot recover or 'unwind' gracefully.


12:25 AM  
Blogger jmf said...

Moin Eh,

couldn´t have said it better!

3:10 AM  

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