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Bonds & Interest Rates

Obama: Massive Tax Hikes & still $1.33 Trillion Deficit

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Posted by Mike Shedlock - Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis

on Wednesday, 15 February 2012 08:33

stock-vector-wheelbarrow-of-cash-retro-clip-art-59394709

Obama Proposes Massive Tax Hikes, Still Comes Up With $1.33 Trillion Deficit


President Obama made a pledge to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. Instead it exceeded a trillion dollars for four straight years.

Indeed, the president could not even make a pledge made in September to reduce the deficit to $956 billion. Finally, just to keep the deficit at $1.33 Trillion, look at the tax hikes Obama proposes.

Details below summarized from the Bloomberg article Obama Sends $3.8T Budget to Congress

Obama Proposed Tax Hikes

  • Expiration of Bush-era tax cuts for couples earning $250,000 or more a year
  • Limiting the value of itemized deductions to 28 percent couples earning $250,000 or more a year
  • Imposing a minimum tax for individuals with annual incomes of at least $1 million
  • Raise taxes on dividends received by the wealthy to 39.6 percent from the current 15 percent
  • $61 billion "Financial Responsibility Fee" imposed on banks
  • Increase in the terrorism-security fee charged to airline passengers

It takes all that just to hold the deficit to $1.33 Trillion. Chance of passage would appear to be about zero percent.


....read more : Republicans Miss Golden Opportunities on "Hard Choices"






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Bonds & Interest Rates

Greek Bonds And PSI - Beware The Ides Of March

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Posted by TF Market Advisors

on Monday, 13 February 2012 07:24

So what is happening with PSI?  Here is a chart of the Greek bonds due on March 20th.  They have allegedly been trading up.  I use the term “allegedly” because the bonds are supposedly quoted 2 to 4 points wide, on a million up.  So not exactly a liquid market.  But let’s assume the chart is reasonably close.

 

Greek-March-20

 

The March bonds are up a couple of points today.  The May bonds trade at 33 and after that, all of the Greek bonds trade between 20 and 30, largely depending on coupon with a slight bias towards better prices for nearer term maturities.

 

So what is the PSI meant to do?  Is the PSI meant to treat all bonds equally?  If so, then it makes no sense for the March bonds to be trading at a significantly higher price.  The ECB may own some of these bonds, and may be getting paid out at par, but that shouldn’t affect the price of non ECB held bonds.  The payments and PSI aren’t pro-rata.

 

By all indications, PSI will chop the principal amount in half, and leave you with a small notional of long dated, low coupon bonds.  Most estimates put the value of those long dated, low coupon bonds, between 50% and 70% of face.  So the “NPV” loss shows up as around 70%.  Maybe the percentage of people participating is high enough, the austerity is enough, and the EFSF kicker is enough to give the new bonds a value of closer to 90% of par, then a price of 45 for old bonds would be justified.  But it would be justified for all bonds.

 

In the real world, bonds would exchange par plus accrued for the new bonds.  So each bond would have a “claim”.  So the bonds with the most accrued interest would have the most value.  That is not the case here.  Bonds with the shortest maturity have the most value.  Is it possible that the PSI that has been cobbled together gives better payouts for bonds closer to maturity?  That is possible.  The IIF and Greece may have decided to pay more to shorter term bonds.  It wouldn’t be standard, but on the other hand, the IIF isn’t exactly known for their bond restructuring expertise and experience.

 

So what else is happening here?  Do investors hope to buy these bonds and guilt Greece into paying them out at par?  Is the hope that the Troika will give Greece money, and Greece out of fear of default will use some of that money to pay holdouts from the PSI at par?  That makes some sense, but isn’t the Troika supposed to wait for PSI before releasing money?  Will they release the money if there are a lot of holdouts, particularly in this March bond?

 

Maybe it is simply a bet on the ineptitude of the politicians.  Betting that they won’t finalize a PSI in time for the March 20th deadline, so will have to pay these off at par (remember, they just paid some bonds off at par in December).  That bet also makes some sense.  In “holdout” trade, you rely on Greece flinching and paying you out in spite of the message it sends to those who agreed to PSI.  Under the “incompetence” trade you just need them to screw up enough that the PSI isn’t done and voted on before March 20th.

 

In any case, watch these short dated bonds both on an outright basis and versus the longer dated bonds.  Right now, it looks like they are signaling some more monkey business coming up.  Either the PSI is maturity weighted, or a decent number of investors are willing to bet that it will be profitable to holdout.  Hopefully we see the PSI details soon and can make an assessment.  It is possible the longer dated bonds are cheap, and I view increasing prices in the short-term bonds as signs of another round of headlines where the Troika gets mad at the private sector and it provides them with another reason to stop the bailout.

 

Main and IG have both drifted off their morning tights, but HY17 is still pretty much up there.  Makes sense given resilience of that market. HYG caught up to HY17 on Friday and with the bounce in the actual bond market late day, actually closed “cheap” to fair value for the first time in recent memory.  Given how illiquid the HY bond market is, it probably is technically still a bit rich, but worth watching this.

 

Read More Articles at TF Market Advisors



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Bonds & Interest Rates

3 Reasons To Short U.S. Treasuries

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Posted by Simon Moore via Seeking Alpha

on Friday, 10 February 2012 09:04

(The first powerful chart shows Interest Rates collapsing while Inflation continues to rise)

 

Below I show 3 charts that make the case for shorting US government bonds, specifically I'm using the 10 year Treasury. I believe that shorting US debt or 5 year+ duration is a sensible trade based on the current rate of inflation and an improving economic outlook compared to historically low Treasury yields.

1. Yields out of step with current inflation
Inflation excluding food and energy (red line - right axis) is now lower than the yield on the 10 year (blue line - left axis). Note the scales on the axis are different, but the 2 generally move together, and inflation is currently 30 bps higher than the 10 year yield. This suggests either falling inflation or an increase in yields, because it is unlikely investors will accept negative real returns on bonds for long.

434482-1328854866090312-Simon-Moore origin

 

2. Disconnect between the S&P and bonds
Since late 2011, the S&P 500 (red line) has risen significantly, whereas bond yields (blue line) have remained flat. It is likely that either the stock market or bonds will decline to correct this.

434482-13288550392209163-Simon-Moore origin

3. Declining dollar may drive domestic inflation
The dollar shown below on a trade-weighted basis, is flat to declining, this matters because the exchange rate determines the relative price of domestic goods vs. imports. As the dollar falls, domestic goods become relatively cheaper, raising demand for domestic goods. More money causing the same amount of goods is generally considered inflationary. Of course, one way for the dollar to strength is for yields on US debt to rise.

434482-13288554600998-Simon-Moore origin

 

A lot of this thinking is predicated on continued economic recovery through 2012 into 2013. If that were to change, perhaps if Europe's decline deepens, many of the relationships above would unravel. I am highlighting imbalances which can be brought back into balance from either side i.e. bonds could fall OR alternatively the S&P could fall back and inflation could fall too (which is pretty much what one would expect if the economy loses steam).

In addition, the value of bonds are their diversification from equities, in shorting treasuries you are giving up that hedge and if the stock market falls, a short treasury bet would likely decline with it providing no diversification benefit. Of course, we should also not ignore the Fed and Operation Twist, which is looking to aggressively lower yields on longer term debt, however there comes a point where the Fed's desire to lower longer term rates is overtaken by economic trends, just as the Fed cannot directly set the exchange rate.

Let me leave you with one final point, the average inflation rate in the US from 1914-2010 has been 3.4% with the current 10 year yield at 2%, we are, broadly speaking, forecasting inflation to be below average for the next 10 years. That's not to say it can't happen - deflation has happened before, but it's against the run of the long-term trend.

Operationalizing the trade
This is not the easiest trade to implement and certainly not for the risk averse. Though there are plenty of inverse bond ETFs and ETNs, I am personally a little sceptical of them given short track records and relatively high fees. Personally, I prefer to short the larger more liquid bond ETFs directly, such as TLT.

Disclosure: I am short TLT.



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Bonds & Interest Rates

BlackRock, Fidelity Bullish on Corporate Bonds

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Posted by Wes Goodman: Bloomberg

on Thursday, 09 February 2012 10:25

BlackRock Inc., Fidelity Investments and Charles Schwab Corp., which together manage more than $5 trillion, are all bullish on corporate debt.

 

The Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep interest rates at a record low through late 2014 means investors should take advantage of the extra yield, or spread, offered by asset-backed securities, commercial mortgage-backed debt and high-yield bonds in the U.S., according to BlackRock. It’s favoring securities due in five years and less, said Rick Rieder, chief investment officer for fundamental fixed-income portfolios for the company, which has $3.51 trillion in assets.

 

“One of the ways to take advantage of fixed income is to buy spread assets,” Rieder said yesterday in an interview from London. Yields on short- and medium-term Treasuries are “going to be very low for a long time.”

 

Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index

 

Corporate bonds (Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index chart above)  are outperforming U.S. government securities this year as the world’s biggest economy shows signs of growth. Treasuries have returned 0.3 percent, versus 2.4 percent for company debt, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch indexes. 

 

....read more HERE



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Bonds & Interest Rates

SIGNS OF THE TIMES

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Posted by Bob Hoye - Institutional Advisors

on Wednesday, 08 February 2012 13:17

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The following is part of Pivotal Events that was

published for our subscribers February 2, 2012.

SIGNS OF THE TIMES:

"Take Federal bailout money, watch your company's stock fall 90%, become a Co-Chair of Davos"

– Bloomberg, January 20

The headline was referring to Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit.

"Junk-bond trading volumes are rebounding to the highest levels in 11 months – optimism."

– Bloomberg, January 27

"Societe General SA and Credit Agricole SA were among French banks to have their credit grades cut by Standard & Poors."

– Bloomberg, January 24

"The IMF cut its forecast for the global economy as Europe slips into recession."

– Bloomberg, January 24

*   *   *   *   *

STOCK MARKETS

The best January for the stock markets in years has restored their popularity. Bullish comments include low P/Es and attractive dividend yields as well as favourable comparisons to bond yields. Not to overlook outstanding earnings gains.

In our dispassionate approach this is considerably different to conditions in early October. Choppy action, but rising until around January was possible and couple of weeks ago we thought it could continue into February.

The February 24th ChartWorks "Complacency Abounds Oh-Oh!" outlined the probability of a top within the next four weeks.

The surge out of mid-December has been exciting enough to register some cautionary alerts and last week we were looking for some "key" technical excesses. The S&P has since reached 73.3 on the daily RSI and this compares to 70 reached with the high of 1370 at the end of April. That was on the speculative surge that out proprietary Forecaster expected to complete in that fateful April.

Stock markets are poised to roll over. If so, the latest rally is a test of the April high which we considered the cyclical best of the first bull market out of the crash.

Credit Markets

The demand for risk continues with favourable action in corporate and municipal bond markets. Yields for the Italian ten-year keep going lower and after registering scary headlines last week even the Portuguese bonds are declining in yield.

Sub-prime mortgage bonds have rallied in price from 38 in October to 51.6 – that's up a little more than half a point from last week.

Money market stuff such as the Ted-Spread started to narrow at the end of December.

To Ross's "Complacency Abounds" in stock market volatility we would add that it is abounding in the credit markets as well.

Fortunately, we may have an exit indicator.

The action in municipals (MUB) has been good enough to register an Upside Exhaustion. The price could roll over within a couple of weeks and the change could be part of a general reversal in risk products. This will likely show up in the reversal in the stock market VIX.

Long-dated treasuries are working on a big top. Within this the final rally has been likely to occur as the excitement in stocks and commodities fades.

This has taken the bond future from the 140 level to the 145 level. The high was 146 in December.

Currencies

Ross targeted the decline in the US dollar index to around 78.8 and so far it has bounced off this level a number of times. With this, the Canadian made it up to 103 (briefly). It is now vulnerable to a decline in commodities.

 

 

Link to  February 3, 2012 ‘Bob and Phil Show’ on TalkDigitalNetwork.com:

http://talkdigitalnetwork.com/2012/02/jobs-boom-stocks-pop/

 

 BOB HOYE,   INSTITUTIONAL ADVISORS

E-MAIL  bhoye.institutionaladvisors@telus.net">bhoye.institutionaladvisors@telus.net



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