Just the Facts

By: Doug Noland | Sat, Nov 29, 2008
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For the week, the S&P500 jumped 10.7% (down 39% y-t-d), and the Dow increased 8.9% (down 33.4%). The broader market rallied sharply. The small cap Russell 2000 surged 14.1% (down 38.2%), and the S&P400 Mid-Caps jumped 14.2% (down 40%). The Morgan Stanley Cyclicals rallied 14.3% (down 53%), and the Morgan Stanley Consumer index rose 6.8% (down 26%). The Transports gained 11.1% (down 23.2%), and the Utilities added 3.8% (down 28.7%). The NASDAQ100 gained 8.4% (down 43.1%), the Morgan Stanley High Tech index 8.8% (down 46.7%), and the Semiconductors 9.1% (down 51.4%). The Street.com Internet Index rose 8.7% (down 38.1%) and the NASDAQ Telecommunications index 9.3% (down 43.7%). The Biotechs rallied 8.8% (down 24.2%). The Broker/Dealers surged 27.4% (down 62.6%) and the Banks 22.9% (down 46%). With Bullion rallying $19, the HUI Gold index gained 14.0% (down 39.6%).

One-month Treasury bill rates ended the week at .01% and three-month yields at .02%. Two-year government yields dropped 11 bps to 0.985%. Five-year T-note yields fell 9 bps this week to 1.92%. Ten-year yields sank 27 bps to 2.92%, and long-bond yields dropped 25 bps to 3.44%. The implied yield on 3-month December '09 Eurodollars declined 9 bps to 2.07%. Benchmark Fannie MBS yields collapsed 47 bps to 4.83%. The spread between benchmark MBS and 10-year T-notes narrowed 19 to 191 bps. Agency 10-yr debt spreads narrowed 44 to 117 bps. The 2-year dollar swap spread increased 2 to 108.25 bps, while the 10-year dollar swap spread declined 1.5 to 20.25 bps, and the 30-year swap spread declined 4.25 to negative 41.5 bps. Corporate bond spreads were mixed. An index of investment grade bond spreads narrowed 30 to 240 bps, while an index of junk bond spreads widened 89 to 1144 bps.

Investment-grade debt issuance included JPMorgan Chase $6.5bn, Morgan Stanley $6.75 TN, Goldman Sachs $5.0 TN, Dominion Resources $600 million, Burlington Northern $500 million, and Public Service E&G $275 million.

I saw no junk or convert issues.

International issuance this week included million.

German 10-year bund yields fell 13 bps to 3.25%. The German DAX equities index rallied 13% (down 42.1% y-t-d). Japanese 10-year "JGB" yields were unchanged at 1.39%. The Nikkei 225 jumped 10.5% (down 44.4% y-t-d). Emerging markets rallied. Brazil's benchmark dollar bond yields sank 73 bps to 7.88%. Brazil's Bovespa equities index surged 17.1% (down 42.7% y-t-d). The Mexican Bolsa rose 12.5% (down 30.5% y-t-d). Mexico's 10-year $ yields dropped 65 bps to 7.44%. Russia's RTS equities index gained 13.4% (down 71.3% y-t-d). India's Sensex equities index gained 2.0%, with y-t-d losses down to 55.2%. China's Shanghai Exchange declined 5.0%, with y-t-d losses of 64.4%.

Freddie Mac 30-year fixed mortgage rates dropped 7 bps to 5.97% (down 13bps y-o-y). Fifteen-year fixed rates added one basis point to 5.74% (down bps y-o-y). One-year ARMs declined 11 bps to 5.18% (down 25bps y-o-y). Bankrate's survey of jumbo mortgage borrowing costs had 30-yr fixed jumbo rates 25 bps lower this week to 7.29% (up 66bps y-o-y).

Bank Credit dropped $59.5bn to $9.854 TN (week of 11/19). Bank Credit has expanded $641bn y-t-d, or 7.7% annualized. Bank Credit posted a 52-week rise of $647bn, or 7.0%. For the week, Securities Credit declined $24.4bn. Loans & Leases droped $35.1bn to $7.148 TN (52-wk gain of $421bn, or 6.3%). C&I loans fell $14.0bn, with y-t-d growth of 11.3%. Real Estate loans declined $11.1bn (up 5.5% y-t-d). Consumer loans were little changed, while Securities loans increased $12.3bn. Other loans sank $22.5bn.

M2 (narrow) "money" supply jumped $22.5bn to $7.929 TN (week of 11/17). Narrow "money" has expanded $467bn y-t-d, or 7.1% annualized, with a y-o-y rise of $522bn, or 7.0%. For the week, Currency added $0.7bn, while Demand & Checkable Deposits declined $3.7bn. Savings Deposits rose $23.6bn, and Small Denominated Deposits increased $4.6bn. Retail Money Funds dipped $2.6bn.

Total Money Market Fund assets (from Invest Co Inst) increased $33.0bn to $3.714 TN, with a y-t-d expansion of $601bn, or 21.4% annualized. Money Fund assets have posted a one-year increase of $641bn (20.9%).

The Asset-Backed Securities (ABS) market was light. Year-to-date total US ABS issuance of $130bn (tallied by JPMorgan's Christopher Flanagan) is running at 24% of comparable 2007. Home Equity ABS issuance of $351 million compares with 2007's $232bn. Year-to-date CDO issuance of $31bn compares to the year ago $306bn.

Total Commercial Paper outstanding increased $26.1bn this week to $1.640 TN, with CP down $145bn y-t-d. Asset-backed CP rose $5.8bn, with 2008 posting a decline of $26.0bn. Over the past year, total CP has contracted $214bn, or 11.5%.

Federal Reserve Credit dropped $85.0bn to $2.093 TN, with a historic 11-wk increase of $1.206 Trillion. Fed Credit has expanded $1.220 TN y-t-d (151% annualized) and $1.224 Trillion y-o-y (141%). Fed Foreign Holdings of Treasury, Agency Debt last week (ended 11/26) declined $3.0bn to $2.498 TN. "Custody holdings" were up $442bn y-t-d, or 23.3% annualized, and $467bn y-o-y (23%).

International reserve assets (excluding gold) - as accumulated by Bloomberg's Alex Tanzi - have dropped a notable $213bn over the past six weeks. During the past year reserves were up $745bn, or 12.4%, to $6.734 TN.

Global Credit Market Dislocation Watch:

November 24 - Bloomberg (Mark Pittman and Bob Ivry): "The U.S. government is prepared to lend more than $7.4 trillion on behalf of American taxpayers, or half the value of everything produced in the nation last year, to rescue the financial system since the credit markets seized up 15 months ago. The unprecedented pledge of funds includes $2.8 trillion already tapped by financial institutions in the biggest response to an economic emergency since the New Deal of the 1930s, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The commitment dwarfs the only plan approved by lawmakers, the Treasury Department's $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. Federal Reserve lending last week was 1,900 times the weekly average for the three years before the crisis."

November 24 - Bloomberg (Bradley Keoun): "Citigroup Inc., facing the threat of a breakup or sale, received $306 billion of U.S. government guarantees for troubled mortgages and toxic assets to stabilize the bank... Citigroup also will get a $20 billion cash injection from the Treasury Department, adding to the $25 billion the company received last month under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. In return for the cash and guarantees, the government will get $27 billion of preferred shares paying an 8% dividend."

November 26 - Wall Street Journal (Jessica Holzer): "U.S. banks posted net earnings of just $1.7 billion in the third quarter of 2008, the industry's second lowest since 1990, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reported... Mounting expenses for credit losses and soured investments dented bank profits during the quarter, pushing nearly one in four banks into a loss. All told, nine banks failed during the quarter, the most since the third quarter of 1993... Third quarter net income of $1.7 billion marks a decline of 94% from the $28.7 billion banks earned in the third quarter of 2007."

November 26 - Bloomberg (Alison Vekshin): "The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said banks categorized as 'problem' institutions increased 46% in the third quarter to the highest level in 13 years... The FDIC identified 171 problem banks as of Sept. 30, up from 117 in the second quarter and the highest since December 1995, the regulator said... 'We've had profound problems in our financial markets that are taking a rising toll on the real economy," FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said..."

November 28 - The Wall Street Journal Europe (Fredrik Erixon and Razeen Sally): "World leaders have sounded alarm bells against a repeat of the 1930s, when tit-for-tat protectionism followed hard on the heels of the Wall Street crash. But they are fighting the wrong enemy. Current events suggest a different, but still vexing, scenario: the creeping protectionism of the 1970s, rather than the spiraling protectionism of the 1930s. In the 1970s, oil-price hikes and other shocks triggered inward-looking, mercantilist policies, including in Europe and the United States. Immediate policy responses were not overly protectionist: There was no equivalent of America's 1930 Smoot-Hawley tariff. But escalating domestic interventions on both sides of the Atlantic exacerbated economic stress and prolonged stagnation. Not least, they spawned protectionist pressures. Industry after industry, coddled by government subsidies at home, sought protection from foreign competition. The result was the 'new protectionism' of the 1970s and 1980s."

November 26 - Bloomberg (Michael Shanahan): "The cost of hedging against losses on U.S. Treasuries surged to an all-time high after the Federal Reserve's new $800 billion effort to combat the financial crisis raised concern about ballooning government debt. Benchmark 10-year credit-default swaps on U.S. government bonds jumped six basis points to 56... The contracts have risen from below two basis points at the start of the credit crisis in July 2007. 'There is a lot more money to be spent and it is not clear how it is going to be financed,' said Tim Brunne, a... strategist at UniCredit SpA."

November 26 - Bloomberg (John Glover): "Financing costs for high-risk, high- yield companies in Europe rose to a record for a fourth day amid concern the recession will deepen, driving up defaults... The value of high-yield loans used to finance leveraged buyouts held close to record lows... 'Things can get worse as the economy weakens and defaults rise,' said Chris O'Hare, who manages about $1.5 billion of high-yield debt at Investec Asset Management..."

November 25 - Bloomberg (Tasneem Brogger): "Iceland's economy will contract 9.3% next year as the failure of its banks and the collapse of the currency lead to a slump in spending and investment, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said."

November 24 - Bloomberg (Alex Nicholson): "Russians withdrew 6% of bank deposits last month, Interfax said."

November 25 - Bloomberg (Christopher Swann): "The International Monetary Fund this month lent more money to cash-strapped governments than it has in the past five years combined. The IMF agreed this month to $41.8 billion in loans, approving $16.4 billion for Ukraine, $15.7 billion for Hungary, $2.1 billion for Iceland and $7.6 billion for Pakistan. Financing is in the works for Serbia, Turkey, Belarus and Latvia, turning eastern Europe into a regional ward of the IMF the way Southeast Asia was a decade ago."

November 25 - Bloomberg (Rebecca Keenan): "BHP Billiton Ltd. abandoned its year-long pursuit of Rio Tinto Group, blaming the rout in commodities prices and the credit-market squeeze for derailing the biggest hostile offer. Marius Kloppers, ceo of the world's largest mining company, said the combination of $40 billion in new debt and regulatory hurdles made the $66 billion bid too risky at a time when the slowing world economy reduced demand for raw materials."

November 25 - Bloomberg (Anthony DiPaola): "Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley are advising Dubai as the Persian Gulf state aims to bail out its financial services industry, the London-based Times reported..."

Currency Watch:

November 25 - Bloomberg (Ron Harui and Mike Schneider): "The U.S. dollar will be 'devalued' as policy makers seek to weaken it, undermining the greenback's role as an international reserve currency, said Jim Rogers... 'They think that if you drive down the value of your money, it makes you more competitive, now that has never worked in history in the long term,' said Rogers... The dollar is 'going to lose its status as the world's reserve currency,' Rogers said... 'It will be devalued and it will go down a lot. These guys in Washington, they want to debase the currency.'"

The dollar index declined 1.9% to 86.52. For the week on the upside, Brazilian real increased 7.0%, the South African rand 4.2%, the Australian dollar 3.6%, the Swedish krona 3.3%, the British pound 3.0%, the New Zealand dollar 2.4%, the Norwegian krone 2.3%, the Canadian dollar 2.2%, the Euro 0.8%, and the Swiss franc 0.8%. In the so-called emerging currencies, the Russian ruble declined 1.5%, the Argentine peso 1.2%, the Iceland krona 0.8%, and the Thai baht 0.6%.

Commodities Watch:

November 26 - Bloomberg (Subramaniam Sharma and Glen Carey): "The global oil industry requires $6 trillion in investment to develop 64 million barrels a day of new oil production by 2030, Abdullah Jum'ah, Saudi Aramco's president and chief executive officer, said..."

Gold rallied 2.4% to $819, and Silver gained 7% to $10.33. December Crude recovered $5.15 to $55.62. December Gasoline jumped 10.7% (down 52.4% y-t-d), while December Natural Gas slipped 0.6% (down 13.4% y-t-d). March Copper gained 4.8%. December Wheat rallied 8.3% and Corn 3.2%. The CRB index recovered 4.7% (down 32.5% y-t-d). The Goldman Sachs Commodities Index (GSCI) rallied 7.0% (down 35.4% y-t-d).

China Watch:

November 26 - Bloomberg (Li Yanping and Nipa Piboontanasawat): "China lowered its key lending rate by the most in 11 years, extending efforts to prevent an economic slump less than three weeks after unveiling a 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus plan. The key one-year lending rate will drop 108 bps to 5.58%, the People's Bank of China said..."

November 26 - MarketNews International: "China's State Council, the cabinet, said it will launch more policy measures to help Chinese companies overcome their difficulties and promote economic growth. A State Council meeting on Wednesday, chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao, also reviewed plans to reform the pricing system for refined oil and implement a fuel tax... 'We must stabilize production and employment, help companies to overcome difficulties...and maintain stable and fast economic growth,' the Cabinet statement said."

November 28 - Bloomberg (Stephanie Wong and John Liu): "Shanghai, already home to two of the world's five tallest skyscrapers, is building a tower that's even bigger... Groundbreaking for the 632 meter (2,074 feet) tall Shanghai Tower will take place tomorrow, with completion of what will likely be the world's second-tallest skyscraper scheduled for 2014. The building, which will cost about 14.8 billion yuan ($2.2 billion), will stand above and across the street from the Shanghai World Financial Center and the Jin Mao Tower, both of which are currently among the world's five tallest."

Japan Watch:

November 28 - The Wall Street Journal (Toru Fujioka and Jason Clenfield): "Japan's recession deepened last month as companies cut production, consumers spent less and fewer people looked for work. Factory output fell 3.1% from September... Houssehold spending slid 3.8%, the eighth consecutive drop. Companies surveyed said they plan the sharpest production cuts in 35 years..."

November 28 - Bloomberg (Taku Kato): "Morimoto Co., a property developer, filed for protection from creditors with 162 billion yen ($1.7 billion) of debt, bringing the number of bankruptcies among publicly traded companies in Japan to a postwar record."

November 28 - Bloomberg (Mari Murayama): "Japan's Government Pension Investment Fund reported a market investment loss of 4.24 trillion yen ($44.5 billion) for the three months ended Sept. 30, more than double the loss a year earlier..."

Latin America Watch:

November 26 - Bloomberg (Andre Soliani and Camila Fontana): "Brazil's annual inflation rate accelerated to the highest in more than three years this month on food costs, topping the upper limit of the central bank's target band. Consumer prices... rose 6.54%..."

November 25 - Bloomberg (Carlos Caminada): "Coffee farmer Joao Carlos Terra says his trees will yield about a third less than planned next year because he can't get a big enough loan to buy fertilizer and pesticide as the global credit crunch bites in Brazil... 'It's kind of impossible to keep going like this,' said Terra... who grows arabica coffee on about... 25 acres... I don't know what will happen.'"

Unbalanced Global Economy Watch:

November 26 - Bloomberg (Svenja O'Donnell): "U.K. consumer spending dropped the most since 1995 and investment fell in the third quarter as the economy slid into a recession, crippled by the financial crisis. Gross domestic product dropped 0.5% from the second quarter..."

November 26 - DPA: "The Woolworths retail chain in Britain, which has had a presence on the High Street for nearly 100 years, is to file for administration, company sources said... The collapse of the retail empire, which employs more than 25,000 staff in 815 outlets across Britain, came after last-minute efforts to save the company failed Wednesday, the BBC reported."

November 28 - The Wall Street Journal (Fergal O'Brien): "European confidence in the economic outlook fell to a 15-year low this month even after radical interest-rate cuts and government stimulus measures aimed at battling the impact of the financial crisis."

November 24 - Bloomberg (Gabi Thesing): "German business confidence slumped to the lowest level in almost 16 years in November as the global financial crisis sapped demand for exports."

November 26 - Bloomberg (Helga Kristin Einarsdottir): "Iceland's inflation rate jumped to 17.1% in November, the highest since 1990, after the failure of the country's banking system led to the collapse of the krona... 'Historically the currency fluctuations have had a significant impact on inflation, so in the near term the prospects for inflation are not promising,' said Henrik Gullberg, a currency strategist at Deutsche Bank..."

Bursting Bubble Economy Watch:

November 26 - Washington Post (Jane Black): "Fueled by rising unemployment and food prices, the number of Americans on food stamps is poised to exceed 30 million for the first time this month, surpassing the historic high set in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina... 'We soon will have the most food stamps recipients in the history of our country,' said Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center..."

November 26 - Bloomberg (Shobhana Chandra): "Spending by U.S. consumers dropped in October by the most since the 2001 contraction, signaling the economy is sinking into a deeper recession. The 1% decline in purchases followed a 0.3% drop in September... A separate report from Commerce showed business investment also tumbled last month. The biggest consumer spending slump in three decades is likely to persist as home prices fall and job losses mount..."

November 24 - Dow Jones: " National retail sales continued to slow in the first half of November, furthering a trend started in September, according to MasterCard Advisors LLC's SpendingPulse... The professional services arm of MasterCard Worldwide said eCommerce showed the most modest declines, falling 7.5% from the year-earlier period."

November 26 - Bloomberg (Timothy R. Homan): "A measure of U.S. business activity contracted in November at the fastest pace since April 1982... The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago said today its business index decreased to 33.8 this month..."

November 26 - Bloomberg (Shobhana Chandra): "New-home sales in the U.S. fell in October to the lowest level in 17 years as the credit crunch deprived potential buyers of needed financing."

November 26 - Bloomberg (Lindsay Fortado): "Salaried lawyers at top New York law firms last year got bonuses of as much as $115,000. This year they may only get a quarter of that. Cravath, Swaine & Moore, the second-most-profitable U.S. law firm and one of the pace-setters for the top tier, opened the bonus season last week, awarding some associates 27% of what they got in 2007... Simpson Thacher & Bartlett yesterday followed Cravath's lead, announcing maximum payouts of $32,500 compared with $115,000 in 2007, a 72% difference... The most-profitable U.S. firms, which rely heavily on business from financial institutions, are struggling as some clients go bankrupt, get bought out or receive government bailouts. Deal work is down 36 percent this year..."

Central Banker Watch:

November 25 - Bloomberg (John Fraher and Jennifer Ryan): "Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said U.K. financial institutions may still need more capital and the 'single most pressing challenge' facing policy makers is to revive the flow of credit through the economy. 'We may not have come to the end of recapitalization,' King said... 'We should not shy away from that if that proves to be necessary.'"

GSE Watch:

November 26 - Bloomberg (Emma Moody): "Freddie Mac, seized by the government two months ago, said the U.S. Treasury gave it $13.8 billion after a record quarterly loss caused its shareholders' equity to fall below zero."

MBS/ABS/CDO/CP/Money Funds and Derivatives Watch:

November 25 - Bloomberg (Hui-yong Yu): "The value of U.S. commercial real estate sales this year will fall to $142 billion, 70% less than last year's record $467 billion... according to Reis Inc., a... real estate research firm. Office, apartment, retail and industrial property transactions totaled $110 billion through the third quarter, Reis said..."

November 25 - Bloomberg (Michael McDonald): "The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority expects to spend an additional $2 million a month after bets it made using financial derivatives went awry. The agency, at the center of protests over a proposed doubling of tolls, says the cost of repaying $800 million in debt will soon increase because of wagers made with UBS AG on future interest rates. The authority... sought earlier this month to double tolls to $7 on some downtown Boston highway tunnels as it struggles with rising maintenance and debt costs."

Real Estate Bust Watch:

November 26 - Bloomberg (Timothy R. Homan): "House prices in 20 U.S. cities declined in the year ended in September at the fastest pace on record... The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index dropped 17.4% in September from a year earlier... The gauge has fallen every month since January 2007, and year-over-year records began in 2001."

Speculator Watch:

November 28 - The Wall Street Journal (Saijel Kishan): "Satellite Asset Management LP, founded by former employees of billionaire George Soros, stopped client withdrawals from its three largest hedge funds... after losses reduced the firm's assets to about $4 billion this year. Satellite Overseas Fund Ltd., Satellite Fund II LP and Satellite Credit Opportunities Ltd. have declined as much as 35% in 2008..."

November 25 - Bloomberg (Saijel Kishan): "Parkcentral Capital Management LP, an investment firm that manages money for the family of former U.S. presidential candidate H. Ross Perot, is liquidating a fixed-income hedge fund because it's 'no longer viable.' Parkcentral Global Hub Ltd.'s assets fell as much as 40% to $1.5 billion this year through October."

Fiscal Watch:

November 25 - Wall Street Journal (Jonathan Weisman, Deborah Solomon, and Jon Hilsenrath): "Aides to President-elect Barack Obama and President George W. Bush are rushing to craft measures to shore up financial markets and prevent a policy vacuum from further harming the economy during the transition of power between the two men. Mr. Obama's team is putting together a new economic stimulus plan containing more than $500 billion in federal spending and tax cuts over the next two years, Obama aides and advisers said... That package would be far more aggressive than anything envisioned during the campaign."

Muni Watch:

November 28 - The Wall Street Journal (Michael Aneiro): "Despite the federal government's continuing efforts to thaw frozen lending markets, states and municipalities are still feeling left out in the cold. Municipal-debt issuance is down sharply in 2008, particularly during the past few months... Overall issuance of municipal bonds has dropped by 9.1% in 2008 to date. Since September, muni issuance has plunged by 41% compared with the same period last year, according to Municipal Market Advisors. Since investor demand has fallen sharply, the bonds' prices have sagged."

New York Watch:

November 24 - Bloomberg (Henry Goldman): "New York may lose as many as 225,000 jobs and $6.5 billion in securities industry-related tax revenue over the two-year period ending in October 2009, state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said."

November 25 - Bloomberg (Michael Quint): "New York Governor David Paterson told the state's 700 school districts they should plan on deeper reductions than he previously proposed in aid for next year after lawmakers failed to approve cuts for this year. The $1.9 billion, or 8.8%, increase in state aid projected for the year beginning April 1 'is a level of funding we simply cannot afford,' Paterson said... Earlier this month, he proposed cutting that amount by $844 million and this year's by $585 million."

California Watch:

November 25 - Bloomberg (Daniel Taub): "Single-family home sales in California more than doubled in October as price cuts of foreclosed properties spurred purchases, the California Association of Realtors said... The median home price in the most populous U.S. state dropped 40% to $311,060 from $517,240 a year earlier."

November 26 - Bloomberg (Michael B. Marois and William Selway): "California's Republican lawmakers defeated a $17 billion plan to shrink a yawning budget deficit, prolonging an impasse in the state suffering most from a fiscal crisis battering local governments nationwide..."

Crude Liquidity Watch:

November 25 - Bloomberg (Fiona MacDonald): "Kuwait's inflation rate accelerated to a record 11.6% in August from 11.1% in July."

November 25 - Bloomberg (Camilla Hall): "Qatar M2 money supply growth, an indicator of future inflation, eased to an annual 42% in August from 45.3% in July."

November 25 - Bloomberg (Ladane Nasseri): "Iran's annual inflation may accelerate to 50% if a plan to introduce cash payments for the poor is implemented, Sarmayeh reported, citing a parliamentary deputy."

 


 

Doug Noland

Author: Doug Noland

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