Morning Report – Its raining money 02/27/13

Vital Statistics:

  Last Change Percent
S&P Futures  1493.5 1.1 0.07%
Eurostoxx Index 2581.6 11.1 0.43%
Oil (WTI) 92.45 -0.2 -0.19%
LIBOR 0.287 0.001 0.17%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 81.73 -0.137 -0.17%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 1.85% -0.03%  
RPX Composite Real Estate Index 194 0.0  

Markets are flattish this morning on no real news. Italian Sovereign Yields are slightly lower after the sell-off of the last two days.  Mortgage Applications fell 3.8% last week. Durable Orders dropped 5%, which was a disappointment, but most of that looks to be due to Boeing and their battery problem.  Strip out Boeing, and orders were up 6.3%, which is a signal that businesses are starting to spend on CAPEX.  Fed Chairman Bernake will address the House Financial Services Committee today.  Bonds and MBS are rallying. For those that follow technicals, it looks like the 10 year has broken out of its bear trend of the last 4 months. 

The Bernank spoke in front of the Senate Banking Committee yesterday and seemed to tamp down speculation that the Fed intended to end QE any time soon. Remember the December minutes seemed to indicate that there was a consensus forming that purchases of MBS and Treasuries would end sometime this year.  This accounts for the 15 basis point rally we have seen in the 10 year over the past few days. He also urged the government to find a way to kick the sequester can down the road and replace it with more gradual cuts, while at the same time playing down the “fiscal armageddon” predictions.  

Bernake assured the Committee that the Fed was monitoring the unintended consequences of low interest rates and said that the risks of new bubbles were offset by companies using low interest rates to lock in low borrowing costs for a long period. Almost on cue, Bloomberg has a story regarding this exact issue, where the yield pigs are feasting on junk bonds, which “trade like dot coms.” As an aside, Radian (remember them?  the mortgage insurer left for dead in the depths of the crisis?) They just priced a convert deal, 2 1/4s up 25. Its raining money out there..

Jamie Dimon said yesterday that banks are accumulating more capital than regulators require and will not know what to do with it in two years.  “Lend it” is the obvious answer, but if you can lock up long term capital in the bond market for less than your dividend yield, what are you going to do as a CFO?  

The jumbo market is coming back. While still nowhere near pre-crisis levels, jumbo origination is up 60% from last year. While still hard to get, the loans are priced aggressively, at about a 23 basis point spread to conventionals.  A pick up in jumbo activity may well foreshadow the return of the private label market.

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