Posts filed under “Think Tank”

Status of the Clunker plan

According to (the auto consumer info website), “the rush of automotive sales activity brought on by the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program is fading fast. They said auto purchase intent is down 31% from its peak in late July. “Now that there is plenty of money in the program and the most eager shoppers have already participated, the sense of urgency is gone, and the pace of intent decline is accelerating…Inventories are getting lean and prices are climbing, giving consumers reasons to sit back,” according to CEO. They claim the purchase intent has “proven to be a reliable leading indicator of sales to come in the following 90 days.”

Category: MacroNotes

Federal Reserve Releases “Real” FOMC Statement

James Bianco is founder and CEO of Bianco Research in Chicago.  He has been producing fixed income research with a circulation of hundreds of portfolio managers and traders since 1990. Jim’s commentaries have a special emphasis on: money flow characteristics of primary dealers, mutual funds, hedge funds, futures traders, banks, and institutional investors. Prior to…Read More

Category: Federal Reserve, Think Tank

S&P 500 Market Review

Kevin Lane is one of the founding partners of Fusion Analytics, and is the firm’s director of Quantitative Research. He is the main architect for developing their proprietary stock selection models and trading algorithms. Prior to joining Fusion Analytics, Mr. Lane enjoyed success as the Chief Market Strategist for several sell side institutional brokerage firms….Read More

Category: Quantitative, Think Tank


July Housing Starts totaled 581k, 18k less than expected and down from 587k in June while Permits were 17k less than the consensus and 10k below the prior month. The drop in starts and permits was solely in the multi family category as single family starts and permits rose to the highest since Oct ’08….Read More

Category: MacroNotes

The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

“The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades,” sang Timbuk3 but helps to sum up the much better than forecasted German ZEW figure which measures the expectations of future economic growth within the next 6 months. It was 56.1 vs the estimate of 45, up from 39.5 in July and is at the highest level…Read More

Category: MacroNotes

Some Thoughts About the Pullback in Equities

Good Evening: Global equities suffered a broad retreat today, with most of the damage centered in Asia. China in particular has been a standout to the downside of late, a situation I tried to call attention to last Wednesday. Including Monday’s 6% drubbing, the major Chinese indexes have declined 15% or more (the CSI 300,…Read More

Category: Markets, Think Tank

C&I loans

On the question of whether or not banks are lending and also where the level of demand is for loans, weekly Commercial and Industrial loan data (out on Friday) can be a helpful gauge. C&I loans outstanding for the week ended Aug 5th fell by $4.6b to $1.475t, the lowest since the week ended Feb…Read More

Category: MacroNotes

August NY Fed survey

The August NY Fed survey, the first August industrial number out, was a much better than expected 12.1 vs the consensus of 3 and up from -.6 in July. It’s the first positive reading since April and the highest since Nov ’07. The number however does not measure the degree of the improvement, just the…Read More

Category: MacroNotes

Foreigners’ Cumulative 12-Month Net Purchases-Sales of U.S. Assets

Foreigners have been scaling back their investments in U.S. assets since the summer of 2006. Increasingly, corporate bonds and stocks have borne the brunt of pressure. > – Michael Panzner

Category: Fixed Income/Interest Rates, Think Tank

Moody’s, Munis & Cousin BABs

David R. Kotok co-founded Cumberland Advisors in 1973 and has been its Chief Investment Officer since inception. He holds a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, an M.S. in Organizational Dynamics from The School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Masters in Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Kotok’s articles and financial market commentary have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, and other publications. He is a frequent contributor to CNBC programs. Mr. Kotok is also a member of the National Business Economics Issues Council (NBEIC), the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), the Philadelphia Council for Business Economics (PCBE), and the Philadelphia Financial Economists Group (PFEG).


Moody’s, Munis & Cousin BABs
August 16 2009

In their August 13 “Special Comment” Moody’s outlined the current condition of the state budgets and of the various revenue sectors like airports, toll roads, higher education facilities, and hospitals. Nearly two years into a recession, the report is not pleasant reading.

Expenditure budgets are being cut. Tax receipts continue to arrive below projections, which necessitates further budget cuts. A downward spiral seems to be underway. The Muni sector appears to be in a depression.

In part, the damage to state and local budgets has been blunted by huge federal stimulus. This is viewed as temporary by government finance officers, since they must attempt to balance their budgets and may only count on federal assistance that is funded. The term “funded” means that they have the money in hand or will definitely receive it so that they can pay the bills. Thus unfunded items do not count even though they may be anticipated.

Forward-looking projections for municipal bond issuers are truly bleak. They show reduced revenues based on the most current projections of economic weakness. Tax receipts are forecast at extreme recession levels. These budgets do not include any unfunded federal help. Projections are based on all federal programs expiring as determined by present law. Credit ratings by Moody’s and other agencies are based on these worst case scenarios, which is why so many issuers are on credit watch or have been downgraded.

Direct payments are one form of help from the feds to the states and locals. Indirect forms are another. Build America Bonds (BAB) are an example of the indirect form. When certain qualifications are met, the federal government will reimburse the state or local issuer 35% of the interest cost on BABs issued in 2009 and 2010. The current law that authorized BABs expires after 2010. No one knows if Congress will extend it; hence, local government savings from using BABs is not projected after 2010.

In 2009, between $60 billion and $80 billion of BABs will be issued as taxable fixed-income securities; these are substitute issues for what would normally be tax-free Munis. Buyers of these new instruments include tax-deferred accounts like pensions or IRAs in the US and various foreign investors who find the yields on BABs attractive. Neither of these bond-investor groups would be interested in lower-yielding tax-free Munis, since they are not paying taxes to the US government. But they are seizing the opportunity to own BABs.

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Category: Fixed Income/Interest Rates, Think Tank