Guest post by Sober Look.
Greek government debt yields hit another post-restructuring low (14.9%), as the government offered a better than expected price for the bonds. These bonds are now quite popular in the European markets – it’s not every day that one gets a buyback from a sovereign. The minimum price offered in the buyback program is 30 cents on the euro (on the longest maturity, most discounted bonds).
This steep discount is necessary in order reduce the amount of debt outstanding. It looks as though the bonds will trade in the 32-34 range. Greece expects to spend about €10bn of borrowed money in order to reduce the outstanding debt level by roughly €20bn (30bn of face costing 10bn).
NYTimes: – While the buyback had been expected, the prices offered by the government were above what the market had forecast, with a minimum price of 30 euro cents and a maximum of 40 cents, for a discount of 60 percent to 70 percent.
Analysts said they expected that the average price would ultimately be 32 to 34 euro cents, a premium of about 4 cents above where the bonds traded at the end of last week.
Guest post via Marc to Market.
Guest post by Peter Tchir.
Chasing Yield Is Tiring Work – is the Market fit enough to keep going?
Well we got some chase for yield. High yield did well. EM did okay, as did Munis and Investment Grade. Closed end funds on the fixed income side did very well, benefitting from leverage and short memories, where once again investors want these at a premium (image of Homer Simpson repeatedly burning himself).
Treasuries actually had a good week in spite of the “risk on” mentality, but that was “confirmation” from Hilsenrath that the Fed is likely to continue to find ways to buy long dated treasuries once Operation Twist is officially over.
So it was a nice, and surprising combination for treasuries and risky bonds to do well, but this week was the first time in awhile that we saw some confusion in the broader market about corporate bond performance.
If you want to read depressing news, read not more. The unemployment situation in Europe is continuing, and countries like Greece ans Spain are in deep trouble. From Europa.eu.
What are the recent labour market trends?
The economic and employment outlook is bleak and has worsened in recent months and is not expected to improve in 2013, although a more positive outlook for the labour markets is still expected in 2014. The EU is currently the only major region in the world where unemployment is still rising.
The general picture covers a very diverse situation across Member States. There is a growing divergence between unemployment situations. Some MS have weathered the economic crisis well and are recording very low unemployment rates, as low as 4.4% in Austria or 5.4% in the Netherlands and Germany. This is the result of the generally good economic situation in these countries but also because they are reaping the benefits of previous reforms initiated long before the economic crisis hit. In other Member States unemployment is high or rising. Usually these are the countries that were hit hardest by the sovereign and financial crisis, such as Greece or Spain where the unemployment rate is above 25%. But these are also countries with well-identified problems in their labour markets, such as segmentation, insufficiently effective active labour market policies or ineffective links between school and work. These shortcomings have amplified the effects of the crisis though they were not the cause.
Guest post by Sober Look.
China’s retail investors have lost all confidence in the nation’s stock market. In spite of improving economic fundamentals (see discussion), the market continues to plunge. Unlike many other emerging markets, China’s domestic stock market trading is dominated by retail investors. And many feel they have been duped, as the market hits new lows.
JPMorgan: – Of the households with stock market investments, 77% had not made a profit. The stock market has been the worst performing asset class over the last 5 years from various investment instruments available to the retail investor. If a retail investor put Rmb100 into the CSI300 5 years ago and left it, it would only be worth roughly Rmb 47 today…
|Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index (source: Yahoo Finance)|
China’s brokers have spent the last few years hyping the market, with a positive projections each new year. And each year retail investors have been disappointed. Now some are waiting for the government to effectively “bail out” the equity market before they would feel comfortable getting in.
WSJ: – “Local retail investors have lost faith on the stock market over the past three years. How can we expect investors to rush into a market where all expectations for a bottom, say the 3000 and the 2000 level, have proven to be wrong?” said Amy Lin, analyst at Capital Securities.
“The market is likely to stay weak until the government launches significant market-friendly measures, such as more stock buybacks of listed companies and another cut in banks’ reserve requirement ratio,” she said.
Many of China’s retail investors simply left the stock market altogether, preferring property and gold instead.
FT: – The domestic Chinese investors who dominate trading in Shanghai have had plenty of bad news to weigh up over the past couple of years. China’s economy has slowed for seven straight quarters and is on track to record its lowest annual rate of growth for a decade this year. There are concerns, too, that the political paralysis surrounding the country’s once-a-decade leadership transition has delayed needed reforms.
Indeed, many Chinese investors have simply given up on equities and moved to other investments such as property, gold or high-yield wealth management products.
The percentage of dormant brokerage accounts has been rising.
In a market with a more diversified investor pool, one would see this retail capitulation as a bullish sign. But there are very few active institutional players in China’s domestic market (although the government has been trying to change that by increasing foreign investment quotas.) For now it will take either retail investors coming back or a government action to turn it around. And given the change of the guard in China’s leadership, it may take them some time to organize a decisive action. For institutions who do have access to China’s domestic market however, this may be a good time to start testing the waters.
Guest post by Gold SIlver Worlds.
GoldSilverWorlds had the honour to do a Q&A with Dimitri Speck who is the author of the best-selling book “Geheime Goldpolitik”. He is chief financial engineer of Staedel Hanseatic and runsSeasonalCharts.com, offering a wealth of intraday trend charts. He is also one of the people who increased the pressure to create transparency in the German’s gold holdings.
A lot has been written lately about the gold price manipulation and the real amounts of gold reserves of the central banks. There are several views on the same topic, the most rational one being purely statistical. As it’s easy to get caught by emotions, we have chosen in this article to let the figures and the charts tell the story.
As a seasoned mathematician, Dimitri Speck is focused on what the charts are revealing. He looks both into intraday charts as well as seasonal charts, the former being one specific variant of the latter. Based on years of chart analysis, he could clearly pinpoint the manipulation in the gold market. In his book, he explores the subject of gold holdings of the central banks, in particular the Bundesbank. Interestingly, there is a link between all the different topics we just mentioned, which was the topic of our Q&A.
Guest post by Peter Tchir.
There was some chatter about the performance of fixed income ETF’s yesterday. They performed poorly at least relative to stocks and some had a late day sell-off fueling some speculation that credit wasn’t doing well.
That speculation was just wrong, but highlighted so,e problems with existing fixed income ETF’s.
They were trading at a premium and that premium tends to disappear when bonds become easy to source. While HY bonds remained well bid, the investment grade bond market is being flooded with new issues – primarily to enable large one time dividends. Might be worth probing into these companies a little deeper, but that is for another day.
So premium versus bond availability explains some of the noise, but to a large degree that is secondary.
Guest post by Sober Look.
The ISI Group combined four US regional Fed indices with Markit Manufacturing PMI to create a comprehensive US manufacturing index (chart below). A pattern of growth starts followed by fairly sharp corrections emerges. Some have speculated that this volatility, at least in part, can be explained by the Eurozone uncertainty flare-ups: Greece (2010), Italy (2011), Spain (2012). The pattern also exists in the economic surprise indices (see post-1 and post-2).
Business as usual? Bloomberg reports on Chinese hackers, and tactics when it comes to cyber warfare.
During his civil lawsuit against the People’s Republic of China, Brian Milburn says he never once saw one of the country’s lawyers. He read no court documents from China’s attorneys because they filed none. The voluminous case record at the U.S. District courthouse in Santa Ana contains a single communication from China: a curt letter to the U.S. State Department, urging that the suit be dismissed.
That doesn’t mean Milburn’s adversary had no contact with him.
For three years, a group of hackers from China waged a relentless campaign of cyber harassment against Solid Oak Software Inc., Milburn’s family-owned, eight-person firm inSanta Barbara, California. The attack began less than two weeks after Milburn publicly accused China of appropriating his company’s parental filtering software, CYBERsitter, for a national Internet censoring project. And it ended shortly after he settled a $2.2 billion lawsuit against the Chinese government and a string of computer companies last April.
In between, the hackers assailed Solid Oak’s computer systems, shutting down web and e-mail servers, spying on an employee with her webcam, and gaining access to sensitive files in a battle that caused company revenues to tumble and brought it within a hair’s breadth of collapse. (full story here).