Displaying items by tag: fed
Anyone who has been looking at the bond markets is likely to be shocked at the recent moves in the space. Many “high yield” bonds (it is now necessary to use quotes) are yielding what very high quality investment grade bonds were just months ago. A recent sale saw $1 bn of new issuance for a BB+ company at a 3% yield. The huge move downward in bond yields is the result of the Fed’s unprecedented stimulus action, and in particular, their mandate to backstop corporate bonds.
FINSUM: The Fed’s actions have been so warping that they have called into question the very definition of a high yield bond. If every bond is backed by the Fed, then it makes perfect sense that their yields would equalize. In this way the market’s reaction is entirely predictable.
JP Morgan’s head of research, famed analyst Joyce Chang, published some very interesting views this week. She argues that the pandemic has forever changed financial markets, and highlights what she says are four “paradigm shifts” that COVID has caused. The biggest of those from a market direction perspective is about the Fed. She contends that the huge and extraordinary measures central banks have undertaken in the last few months have fundamentally changed the role of central banks towards financial stability (something they were arguably already focusing on).
FINSUM: In our mind it has become very obvious over the last few years, and especially during the pandemic, that the Fed’s most important mandate is financial stability.
Muni bonds are seeing yields way above average right now even as Treasury bonds linger near all-time lows. The reason why is that it is increasingly apparent that there has been a huge erosion in municipal credit quality alongside the lockdown. Costs have surged at the same time as revenues have plummeted, leading to a significantly deteriorated financial picture for municipal issuers. The has been exacerbated by the fact that municipalities have largely been unsupported by the Fed as opposed to corporate issuers. But the sell-off has created opportunity, as even AAA issuers are seeing big discounts and much higher than usual spreads to Treasuries.
FINSUM: This is all about careful credit selection, as there are big opportunities, but there may also be major pitfalls.
After falling nearly 3% last week markets went off like a rocket ship today. From well before the main trading open, futures had been jumping on rising optimism. The big gains seemed to be centered on three critical aspects. Firstly, the Fed made a strong statement of support for how it would continue to help the economy. Secondly, there was good news about a new potential vaccine. Thirdly, despite broad reopening across the country, there has been little sign of a “second wave”.
FINSUM: As of the time of writing, today’s gain had already exceeded last week’s losses. Is it time for another big push higher?
The Fed announced an unprecedented monetary stimulus package this morning. The central bank declared that its new bond buying program was unlimited, and that it would immediately start buying hundreds of billions of different types of bonds in an effort to unclog credit markets. They also extended lending facilities to new markets such as municipal bonds.
FINSUM: The Fed has been far from shy to in reacting to this crisis, but nothing it is doing seems to be helping markets much. Post-announcement, the Dow is already down over 3%.