A couple of interesting points on MF Global by Tavakoli.
MF Global imploded this week due to proprietary “repo-to-maturity” transactions that are in substance total return swaps, a type of credit derivative. MF Global failed to meet margin calls on credit derivatives linked to risky fixed income debt. Regulators haven’t learned much from American International Group’s (AIG) and Long Term Capital Management’s (LTCM) debacles. Like the “repo-to- maturity” transaction, a total return swap is an off balance sheet transaction treated as a sale, but the total return receiver, MF Global, is long both the price and credit default risk of the reference assets. The total return payer, not MF Global, is technically the legal owner of the reference assets. The attraction of this arrangement is financing and leverage. Naturally, ratings downgrades will trigger increased margin calls. This is all business as (un)usual.
Full MFG reading.
Another set of charts below. After the extreme short squeeze we saw some days ago, markets have reversed, but still “hanging” in there. Major indices are trading within the negative trends, but still making both bulls and bears nervous. The last chart shows the Italian MIB indexe, the “leader” going forward.
Dax and MIB charts below.