Displaying items by tag: citi
It might seem a bit counterintuitive right now, but that may be exactly why it is a good bet. REITs have been beaten up pretty badly, and on the surface they seem likely to stay that way. Offices, retail, and other parts of the commercial real estate world look to remain weak, but Citi’s private bank thinks there is value in the sector. As to their role in a portfolio, Citi says REITs “are a way to play the U.S. economic recovery and global economic recovery without being too concentrated in the Microsofts of the world, and to add to portfolio yield on top of that while we wait for that recovery”. REITs are yielding about 7% on average and the market has been so beat up that they look underpriced relative to the value of their underlying assets.
FINSUM: The key here is either broad long-term exposure, or shorter tactical exposure to sectors that don’t look likely to be hurt (e.g. industrials, which benefit from growth in ecommerce).
In a recommendation that speaks volumes to clients about the bank’s position on the markets, Citi put out a note to corporate clients this week which instructs them to tap markets for as much funding as they can get right now because the market is totally unrealistic. According to the co-head of investment banking at Citi, “We definitely feel that the markets are way ahead of reality. We really are telling every client to tap the market if they can because we think the pricing now couldn’t get any better”. He continued, “Markets are pricing a V [shaped recovery], everyone’s coming back to work, and this is going to be fine … I don’t think it’s going to be that easy quite frankly”.
FINSUM:A V-shaped recovery is highly unlikely at this point. We think the Nasdaq being where it is isn’t illogical because of how many of its constituents benefit from COVID. But for everyone else, this level of optimism seems disconnected from reality.
According to COVID Loan Tracker, big banks are not doing a good job getting money moving to those who have applied for PPP loans. In their latest update yesterday afternoon, with around 8,000 companies reporting around $3.5 bn of loans from all 50 states, the large majority are getting approved through small and regional banks. In fact, JP Morgan Chase seems to be the only bank getting any applications approved, as Wells Fargo and Bank of America are showing very few approvals on COVID Loan Tracker, with Citi showing none.
COVID Loan Tracker was started by small business owners Duncan and Rita MacDonald-Korth to help their fellow small business owners understand when PPP and EIDL advance money starts flowing. The site works by crowdsourcing knowledge on applications and loan disbursements. Our goal is to help the small business community and empower journalists with the data they need to keep the government accountable.
Small and regional banks have been leading the charge in approvals all over the country. This is reportedly because many small and regional banks were already set up to process SBA loans as part of their normal course of business before the COVID-19 outbreak. This means they were already familiar and connected to the E-Tran system being used to process the loans by the SBA.
Citibank is pitching a convincing and optimistic view of the economy, and it is a refreshing take in an otherwise bleak landscape. The bank says the big influx of tests that will become available may allow the economy to open much sooner than planned. Their argument is that the growth in tests will allow 60% of working-age US individuals to be tested by the end of April, and 95% by the end of May. As workers are tested, they can head back to work, quickly re-opening the economy. Accordingly, by the end of this month 90 million Americans may be back at work. “While potential therapeutic strategies for COVID-19 seize headlines, we believe diagnostics rather than therapeutics are far better positioned to materially change the economic and even medical outlook for the current COVID-19 pandemic”, says Citi.
FINSUM: Honestly, this sounds like more of a plan than a forecast, but it is a very good one, and does lend some useful optimism.
Markets are on a brutal run. At their peak, they were off 15% last week, and the worst news is that it is likely not over. According to Citigroup, the market is still positioned to fall considerably. Despite the big losses, futures are positioned as a net long, which means there is plenty of room for the market to fall. “There is not capitulation yet, not at all”, says Citigroup. According to the bank’s quantitative analysis team, stocks would have to fall 23% for the long bets to be cleared out. “The futures market has got less long [or positive on] equities but it’s still not short and that’s the problem”.
FINSUM: This makes pretty good sense. Markets were very overbought before the fall, and with Bernie in the lead, there is little to calm investors right now.