Archive for October, 2011

October 31, 2011

Monday, October 31st, 2011

The bailout doesn’t seem to be doing Italy and Spain much good:

Italian and Spanish bonds fell, while stocks retreated from an almost three-month high, on concern European leaders will struggle to raise funds to contain the region’s debt crisis. The yen sank from a post-World War II record against the dollar after Japan intervened in the market.

Italian five-year yields rose 19 basis points to 5.94 percent, the highest since 1997, at 9:32 a.m. in New York. German bunds and U.S. Treasuries advanced.

China can’t play the role of “savior,” the official Xinhua news agency said yesterday after European leaders agreed last week to boost their bailout fund. U.S. equities rallied Oct. 26 amid speculation China might invest in the fund. Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi said today the government took unilateral steps to weaken the yen.

The Greek referendum will be fascinating:

The Greek government will hold a referendum on a new EU aid package, calling on voters to say whether they want to adopt it or not, Prime Minister George Papandreou said on Monday.

“We trust citizens, we believe in their judgment, we believe in their decision,” he told ruling socialist party law makers.

Nearly 60 per cent of Greeks view Thursday’s EU summit agreement on a new €130-billion ($180-billion) bailout package as negative or probably negative, a survey showed on Saturday.

The Bank of Japan has major losses:

The Bank of Japan has lost more than 22.4 billion yen ($281.7 million) purchasing exchange-traded funds as the Topix Index approaches a 27-year low.

The central bank’s stock holdings have fallen about 4 percent since buying began on Dec. 15, 2010, according to estimates calculated by Bloomberg using government filings. Losses climbed above 67.6 billion yen in September as equities plunged amid concern Europe’s debt crisis would trigger a global recession, the data show.

The purchases are part of a 20 trillion yen BOJ plan to stimulate economic growth and boost investor confidence by buying securities, such as government debt, commercial paper and real estate investment trusts. The central bank expanded the program last week by 5 trillion yen after the country’s currency reached a postwar record against the dollar, threatening the export-led economy.

It will be interesting to see how this is resolved, since we may assume the European Central Bank will be in the same boat in short order, for the same reaons. Ah, say the politicians, it’s all very well thought out: banks = central banks = piggy-banks.

TMX supports the Maple deal:

TMX Group Inc., the owner of the Toronto Stock Exchange, recommended shareholders accept a C$3.73 billion ($3.72 billion) bid from a group of Canadian banks and pension funds, turning an unsolicited offer into a friendly bid.

Maple plans to buy 70 percent to 80 percent of TMX shares at C$50 a share in cash, and the rest of the stock with Maple shares, according to a statement.

Maple, which made an initial unsolicited bid for TMX on May 13, needs 70 percent of the shares of the Toronto-based exchange owner by the offer expiry Jan. 31 for the transaction to succeed. The statement noted that the offer could be extended until April 30 to gain regulatory approvals.

Today’s Interesting Fact concernsrelative returns of bonds and equities (emphasis added):

The biggest bond gains in almost a decade have pushed returns on Treasuries above stocks over the past 30 years, the first time that’s happened since before the Civil War.

Fixed-income investments advanced 6.25 percent this year, almost triple the 2.18 percent rise in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index through last week, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch indexes. Debt markets are on track to return 7.63 percent this year, the most since 2002, the data show. Long-term government bonds have gained 11.5 percent a year on average over the past three decades, beating the 10.8 percent increase in the S&P 500, said Jim Bianco, president of Bianco Research in Chicago.

The bolded sentence shows that that the reporter must have been getting his opinions from a stockbroker, since it appears to be a straight line extrapolation of bond YTD returns to the full year and only a stockbroker would be stupid enough to do that.

Speculation has done in MF Global:

MF Global Holdings Ltd., the holding company for the broker-dealer run by former New Jersey governor and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. co-chairman Jon Corzine, filed for bankruptcy after making bets on European sovereign debt.

MF Global’s board had met through the weekend in New York to consider options including a sale to avert failure, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation. Following a record loss, MF Global was suspended today from doing new business with the New York Federal Reserve, according to a statement on the regulator’s website. Trading in MF Global’s stock was also halted.

MF Global declined 67 percent last week and its bonds started trading at distressed levels amid its disclosures of bets on European sovereign-debt. MF Global held talks with five potential buyers for all or parts of the company, including banks, private-equity firms and brokers, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks were private.

It doesn’t reflect well on Corzine – or the board who hired him (as republished in the G&M):

It was the kind of gutsy trade that helped make Mr. Corzine a star at Goldman in the 1990s. “If it was a good trade for $100, he wanted to make it $1,000 or $1-million”, a former colleague recalled

Too bad. He didn’t have too long until retirement anyway, and could have spent all his time talking about about how smart he was. Now we all know he was just another lucky clown, chanting that if one is good then two is better.

We can gasp and laugh about European debt ratios all we like – but here in North America, we have infrastructure debt:

The disrepair of U.S. surface-transportation systems cost businesses and households about $130 billion last year, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, based in Reston, Virginia. Of that, $32 billion is related to travel delays, it said in a report issued in July.

The average U.S. bridge is 43 years old, while the average useful life is generally about 50 years, according to the highway agency. The agency said in 2006 that it would cost $140 billion to immediately repair every deficient bridge in the U.S. That’s more than three times what the U.S. government receives in taxes annually to pay for road, mass transit and bridge projects.

Trouble is, maintenance isn’t sexy, so no politician anywhere is going to advocate spending money on it until problems get critical. Infrastructure, to a politician, is simply a magic money-hole dicussed only when unemployment becomes an issue. I have no problem with accelerating spending during recessions, when more skilled works and specialized equipment becomes available, but a state of good repair must be maintained at all times.

But, mortgaging the future is good politics:

The elderly will likely be the most vulnerable Americans in Washington’s future budget fights. Right now, their grandchildren may be among the biggest casualties.

With Democrats and the 37 million-member AARP seniors’ lobby working to protect Medicare and Social Security, and Republicans opposing tax increases to curb the deficit, programs for young people may be disproportionate targets if negotiators can’t reach a budget deal and automatic spending cuts kick in.

That’s sparking concern that lawmakers are sacrificing the U.S.’s future investment in children, education, infrastructure and other programs.

Alberta Gas, proud issuer of ALA.PR.A, was confirmed at Pfd-3 by DBRS:

DBRS has today confirmed the ratings on the Medium-Term Notes (MTNs) and Preferred Shares – Cumulative of AltaGas Ltd. (AltaGas or the Company) at BBB and Pfd-3, respectively, both with Stable trends.

The rating actions follow the announcement today that AltaGas has offered to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of Pacific Northern Gas Ltd. (PNG; rated BBB (low) and Pfd-3 (low)) and that both parties have executed an Acquisition Agreement. The takeover offer of $36.75 per PNG share represents a 20% premium over the closing price of $30.50 per share on October 28, 2011. The proposed purchase price of approximately $230 million, including assumed debt of approximately $85 million and preferred shares of $5 million, represents approximately 1.2 times the regulated rate base of $174 million. The regulated assets earn an allowed rate of return of approximately 10.1% with a weighted average equity thickness of approximately 44%. The transaction value equates to approximately 9.6 times PNG’s EBITDA, which is reasonable. AltaGas expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive to earnings and cash flow. Closing is expected on or about December 16, 2011, subject to regulatory and PNG shareholder approvals.

DBRS expects moderate deterioration in the Company’s credit metrics as a result of the acquisition funding through existing credit facilities (plus assumed PNG debt). DBRS estimates that the Company’s total debt-to-capital ratio would rise from 47% to 52% and its cash flow-to-debt ratio would fall from 20% to 17% pro forma the acquisition as at September 30, 2011. As noted previously (see the DBRS press release dated October 4, 2011), DBRS expects some deterioration in the Company’s key credit metrics during its 2011 to 2014 growth phase, with recovery toward the end of the period as expected cash shortfalls are to be primarily funded by debt.

Index figures are very approximate today since TMX Datalinx continues to have serious problems with the concept of providing quote data within five hours of the market close.

It was a good day for the Canadian preferred share market, with PerpetualDiscounts winning 20bp, FixedResets up 14bp and DeemedRetractibles gaining 8bp. Lots of good performers on the positive side of the Performance Highlights table. Volume was average.

HIMIPref™ Preferred Indices
These values reflect the December 2008 revision of the HIMIPref™ Indices

Values are provisional and are finalized monthly
Index Mean
Current
Yield
(at bid)
Median
YTW
Median
Average
Trading
Value
Median
Mod Dur
(YTW)
Issues Day’s Perf. Index Value
Ratchet 0.00 % 0.00 % 0 0.00 0 0.9738 % 2,060.5
FixedFloater 0.00 % 0.00 % 0 0.00 0 0.9738 % 3,098.9
Floater 3.49 % 3.47 % 157,036 18.58 2 0.9738 % 2,224.8
OpRet 4.83 % 2.61 % 63,736 1.52 8 0.0581 % 2,460.7
SplitShare 5.36 % 3.10 % 55,878 0.33 4 0.0546 % 2,499.5
Interest-Bearing 0.00 % 0.00 % 0 0.00 0 0.0581 % 2,250.1
Perpetual-Premium 5.66 % 3.67 % 110,197 0.49 13 0.1360 % 2,137.5
Perpetual-Discount 5.34 % 5.37 % 105,366 14.69 17 0.1987 % 2,261.9
FixedReset 5.14 % 3.11 % 210,405 2.46 61 0.1425 % 2,338.7
Deemed-Retractible 5.06 % 4.47 % 210,755 4.05 46 0.0831 % 2,209.5
Performance Highlights
Issue Index Change Notes
BAM.PR.T FixedReset -1.18 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-31
Maturity Price : 22.90
Evaluated at bid price : 24.36
Bid-YTW : 4.16 %
GWO.PR.H Deemed-Retractible 1.02 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 23.74
Bid-YTW : 5.59 %
BAM.PR.K Floater 1.02 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-31
Maturity Price : 14.82
Evaluated at bid price : 14.82
Bid-YTW : 3.57 %
SLF.PR.H FixedReset 1.03 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 24.60
Bid-YTW : 4.17 %
GWO.PR.J FixedReset 1.04 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2013-12-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.30
Bid-YTW : 3.75 %
IAG.PR.F Deemed-Retractible 1.05 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.00
Bid-YTW : 5.49 %
MFC.PR.D FixedReset 1.28 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2014-06-19
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.87
Bid-YTW : 3.93 %
BAM.PR.N Perpetual-Discount 1.54 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-31
Maturity Price : 22.01
Evaluated at bid price : 22.35
Bid-YTW : 5.36 %
SLF.PR.F FixedReset 1.59 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2014-06-30
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.78
Bid-YTW : 3.41 %
CIU.PR.A Perpetual-Discount 1.63 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-31
Maturity Price : 23.90
Evaluated at bid price : 24.39
Bid-YTW : 4.76 %
GWO.PR.N FixedReset 1.64 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 24.75
Bid-YTW : 3.43 %
Volume Highlights
Issue Index Shares
Traded
Notes
IAG.PR.C FixedReset 101,318 Nesbitt crossed blocks of 50,000 and 45,800, both at 26.50.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2013-12-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.40
Bid-YTW : 3.77 %
RY.PR.D Deemed-Retractible 84,650 RBC sold 10,000 to Nesbitt at 25.03, then crossed 66,500 at 25.00.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2016-02-24
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.02
Bid-YTW : 4.43 %
BNS.PR.Z FixedReset 48,060 Recent secondary offering.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 24.92
Bid-YTW : 3.35 %
CM.PR.E Perpetual-Premium 39,110 Desjardins crossed 16,300 at 25.00.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-31
Maturity Price : 24.68
Evaluated at bid price : 24.98
Bid-YTW : 5.63 %
ENB.PR.B FixedReset 35,815 YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2017-06-01
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.60
Bid-YTW : 3.61 %
BNS.PR.X FixedReset 31,845 RBC crossed 22,100 at 27.00.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2014-04-25
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.92
Bid-YTW : 3.03 %
There were 29 other index-included issues trading in excess of 10,000 shares.
Wide Spread Highlights
Issue Index Quote Data and Yield Notes
GWO.PR.M Deemed-Retractible Quote: 25.74 – 28.58
Spot Rate : 2.8400
Average : 1.5438

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.74
Bid-YTW : 5.52 %

ELF.PR.G Perpetual-Discount Quote: 20.50 – 21.14
Spot Rate : 0.6400
Average : 0.4064

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-31
Maturity Price : 20.50
Evaluated at bid price : 20.50
Bid-YTW : 5.85 %

CM.PR.K FixedReset Quote: 26.25 – 26.75
Spot Rate : 0.5000
Average : 0.3334

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2014-07-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.25
Bid-YTW : 3.45 %

PWF.PR.F Perpetual-Discount Quote: 24.60 – 25.04
Spot Rate : 0.4400
Average : 0.3096

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-31
Maturity Price : 24.29
Evaluated at bid price : 24.60
Bid-YTW : 5.35 %

MFC.PR.C Deemed-Retractible Quote: 21.31 – 21.69
Spot Rate : 0.3800
Average : 0.2592

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 21.31
Bid-YTW : 6.61 %

BAM.PR.T FixedReset Quote: 24.36 – 24.75
Spot Rate : 0.3900
Average : 0.2716

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-31
Maturity Price : 22.90
Evaluated at bid price : 24.36
Bid-YTW : 4.16 %

Research: Security of Income vs. Security of Principal

Friday, October 28th, 2011

I have previously decried the practice of automatic investment in five-year bond ladders and touched briefly in that essay on the importance of differentiating security of income from security of principal. In this effort, I delve more deeply into this question – which is the fundamental consideration in fixed-income portfolio design – and attempt to explain why security of income is much more important than is usually thought.

Look for the research link!

October 28, 2011

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Italy managed to sell some ten year paper:

Italy paid the most since joining the single currency to sell new 10-year debt on Friday in the first euro zone bond auction after European leaders agreed new steps to tackle the debt crisis.

The auction yield on Italy’s March 2022 BTP bond rose to 6.06 percent from 5.86 percent a month ago.

The Treasury managed to sell 7.94 bln euros of medium and long term paper, versus a target range of between 5.25 billion and 8.5 billion euros.

As Assiduous Reader prefhound points out, the big question going forward is: who buys European government debt going forward? I, personally, would be staying away from the peripheral countries and paying extra attention to credit fundamentals; the whole process has been intensely politicized and (in the case of CDS swaps) gamed.

There’s also the question of … who buys European bank paper? The Europeans seem to regard their banks as their personal piggy-banks and the fall-out from a 50% nudge-wink-voluntary write-down remains to be determined.

So is it a credit event?:

European leaders’ agreement on a 50 percent haircut on Greek bonds may create an event of default if investors accept it, Fitch Ratings said in a statement today.

“The 50 percent nominal haircut on the proposed bond exchange would be viewed by the agency as a default event under its Distressed Debt Exchange criteria,” the statement said. While the accord is “a necessary step to put the Greek sovereign’s public finances on a more sustainable footing,” Greece will face “significant challenges” including ratios of government debt to gross domestic product at “well over 100 percent even in a positive scenario.”

“It’s highly likely that all three rating agencies will classify this restructuring as a technical default,” said Padhraic Garvey, head of developed debt-market strategy at ING Groep NV in Amsterdam. “Even if it’s voluntary, investors are left with a product that’s lower in value to what they originally agreed.”

Fitch said in a separate report the Greek debt exchange “would likely result in a post-default rating in the ‘B’ category or lower depending on private creditor participation.”

The International Swaps and Derivatives Association, whose market decisions are binding, hasn’t said whether the $3.7 billion of credit-default swaps linked to Greek government bonds should pay out, though it has indicated the decision hinges on whether investors accept losses voluntarily.

A credit event can be caused by a reduction in principal or interest, postponement or deferral of payments or a change in the ranking or currency of obligations, according to the New York-based trade group’s rules.

ING’S Garvey said Fitch’s announcement probably won’t trigger insurance contracts linked to the debt. “The indications are that ISDA won’t class it as a credit event,” he said.

One can only imagine what kind of pressures are being brought to bear on ISDA!

Feeling victimized by preferred share credit rating cuts? Consider MF Global!:

Bonds of MF Global Holdings Ltd. (MF) declined to as low as 35 cents on the dollar after the futures broker run by Jon Corzine drew on its credit lines and Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings cut the firm’s ratings to junk.

The company’s $325 million of 6.25 percent bonds, issued at par in August, fell 11.9 cents to 50 cents on the dollar as of 5:17 p.m. in New York, for a yield of 25.2 percent, according to Trace, the bond-price reporting system of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

The daily reporting for today will be greatly delayed, as the TSX is having a Disaster Recovery exercise, which may last until Sunday morning. I’ll update this post when I have the data.

Update, 2011-10-28: It took them long enough to get themselves organized, but Datalinx finally had Friday’s prices available late on Monday. No sign of Monday’s prices, though!

HIMIPref™ Preferred Indices
These values reflect the December 2008 revision of the HIMIPref™ Indices

Values are provisional and are finalized monthly
Index Mean
Current
Yield
(at bid)
Median
YTW
Median
Average
Trading
Value
Median
Mod Dur
(YTW)
Issues Day’s Perf. Index Value
Ratchet 0.00 % 0.00 % 0 0.00 0 -1.4234 % 2,040.6
FixedFloater 0.00 % 0.00 % 0 0.00 0 -1.4234 % 3,069.1
Floater 3.53 % 3.50 % 158,004 18.51 2 -1.4234 % 2,203.3
OpRet 4.83 % 2.63 % 64,050 1.53 8 0.1261 % 2,459.3
SplitShare 5.37 % 2.88 % 57,975 0.33 4 0.0311 % 2,498.2
Interest-Bearing 0.00 % 0.00 % 0 0.00 0 0.1261 % 2,248.8
Perpetual-Premium 5.67 % 3.78 % 108,446 1.86 13 0.1922 % 2,134.6
Perpetual-Discount 5.35 % 5.44 % 106,775 14.75 17 -0.0049 % 2,257.4
FixedReset 5.15 % 3.15 % 206,978 2.46 61 0.0691 % 2,335.3
Deemed-Retractible 5.06 % 4.49 % 211,182 3.93 46 -0.0032 % 2,207.7
Performance Highlights
Issue Index Change Notes
BAM.PR.K Floater -2.52 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-28
Maturity Price : 14.67
Evaluated at bid price : 14.67
Bid-YTW : 3.60 %
GWO.PR.J FixedReset -1.96 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2013-12-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.03
Bid-YTW : 4.25 %
CIU.PR.A Perpetual-Discount -1.56 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-28
Maturity Price : 23.53
Evaluated at bid price : 24.00
Bid-YTW : 4.84 %
IAG.PR.F Deemed-Retractible -1.23 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.73
Bid-YTW : 5.62 %
BMO.PR.Q FixedReset 1.01 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.11
Bid-YTW : 3.27 %
IAG.PR.A Deemed-Retractible 1.05 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 23.01
Bid-YTW : 5.71 %
Volume Highlights
Issue Index Shares
Traded
Notes
CM.PR.D Perpetual-Premium 222,291 YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2012-04-30
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.05
Bid-YTW : 5.23 %
BNS.PR.Z FixedReset 134,884 YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 24.85
Bid-YTW : 3.37 %
FTS.PR.E OpRet 100,300 YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2013-06-01
Maturity Price : 25.75
Evaluated at bid price : 26.95
Bid-YTW : 2.26 %
TRP.PR.C FixedReset 60,100 YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-28
Maturity Price : 23.35
Evaluated at bid price : 25.40
Bid-YTW : 3.20 %
TD.PR.E FixedReset 57,976 YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2014-04-30
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 27.02
Bid-YTW : 2.87 %
BMO.PR.P FixedReset 51,090 YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2015-02-25
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.83
Bid-YTW : 2.96 %
There were 34 other index-included issues trading in excess of 10,000 shares.
Wide Spread Highlights
Issue Index Quote Data and Yield Notes
BAM.PR.K Floater Quote: 14.67 – 15.19
Spot Rate : 0.5200
Average : 0.3435

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-28
Maturity Price : 14.67
Evaluated at bid price : 14.67
Bid-YTW : 3.60 %

CIU.PR.A Perpetual-Discount Quote: 24.00 – 24.54
Spot Rate : 0.5400
Average : 0.3944

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-28
Maturity Price : 23.53
Evaluated at bid price : 24.00
Bid-YTW : 4.84 %

SLF.PR.F FixedReset Quote: 26.36 – 26.82
Spot Rate : 0.4600
Average : 0.3420

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2014-06-30
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.36
Bid-YTW : 4.05 %

RY.PR.T FixedReset Quote: 27.01 – 27.40
Spot Rate : 0.3900
Average : 0.2962

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2014-08-24
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 27.01
Bid-YTW : 3.11 %

GWO.PR.J FixedReset Quote: 26.03 – 26.50
Spot Rate : 0.4700
Average : 0.3765

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2013-12-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.03
Bid-YTW : 4.25 %

IFC.PR.A FixedReset Quote: 24.86 – 25.10
Spot Rate : 0.2400
Average : 0.1534

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 24.86
Bid-YTW : 4.03 %

FFH: S&P Assigns Positive Outlook

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Standard & Poor’s has announced:

  • Fairfax continues to successfully leverage its growing insurance business platform and related balance sheet assets to deliver above-average long-term investment performance for the consolidated organization.
  • We believe the company’s consolidated competitive profile is improving and better positioned to drive profitable future growth.
  • Therefore, we are revising our outlook on ultimate parent Fairfax Financial Holdings and its core insurance and reinsurance companies to positive from stable.
  • We are affirming our ‘BBB-’ counterparty rating on Fairfax Financial Holdings and its intermediary holding companies and our ‘A-’ financial strength ratings on its core insurance operating companies.


The positive outlook reflects the 1-in-3 likelihood of a one notch upgrade on FFH’s core insurance and reinsurance operating companies in the next 24 months.

We could lower the ratings on Fairfax Group if its consolidated capital adequacy decreases below a very strong level, if the company reports major adverse reserve development–a development of more than two percentage points of prior year net loss reserves–if earnings volatility increases over a multiyear period excluding the effect of the equity hedge and Consumer Price Index-linked securities, or if its core subsidiaries’ underwriting performance consistently lags the underwriting performance of the industry.

Fairfax has the following preferreds outstanding: FFH.PR.C, FFH.PR.E, FFH.PR.G and FFH.PR.I. All are FixedResets; all are relegated to the Scraps index on credit concerns.

S&P rates the preferreds P-3; DBRS rates Pfd-3.

October 27, 2011

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

BAM is starting a Dubai property fund:

Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and a Dubai government investment arm will start a $1 billion fund to buy real estate assets in the emirate after prices dropped by more than half since 2008.

The eight-to-10-year fund will be started with $100 million each from Toronto-based Brookfield and the Investment Corporation of Dubai, the companies said today in a statement. It will target a “wide class of assets in both freehold and non-freehold areas.” Local, regional and international investors will also be invited to join the fund that will be capped at $1 billion.

The Europeans are now faced with Job #2: persuading people to invest:

Europe’s banks will need to raise 106 billion euros ($147 billion) in fresh capital under tougher rules being introduced in response to the euro area’s sovereign debt crisis, the region’s top banking authority said.

Seventy banks were tested, the European Banking Authority said late yesterday, with Spanish banks needing 26.2 billion euros and Italian banks 14.8 billion euros in core tier 1 capital. The lenders have until Dec. 25 to submit their plans for raising the money to national supervisors. The extra reserves are needed to meet a temporary requirement for lenders to hold 9 percent in core reserves, after sovereign debt writedowns.

European leaders are meeting to hammer out an agreement on bolstering the region’s rescue fund, recapitalizing banks and relieving Greece to avoid contagion spreading to Italy and Spain. The summit is part of an attempt to solve the two-year- old sovereign-debt crisis that has pushed Greece closer to default, roiled global markets and dented confidence in the survival of the euro.

U.K. banks won’t be required to raise extra capital, according to the EBA figures, whereas German banks will have to find 5.2 billion euros.

The Americans aren’t learning anything from all this:

The congressional supercommittee seeking a long-term debt-reduction deal remains at an impasse with a deadline near, and the prospect of failure is prompting concern about further downgrades of the nation’s credit rating.

With the committee heading into what may be a make-or-break week for striking a deal over a package of at least $1.2 trillion in U.S. deficit cuts, members are deadlocked over Democrats’ insistence on tax increases, according to committee aides in Washington who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus proposed a deficit-reduction plan worth almost $3 trillion with about half comprised of tax increases, according to a congressional aide. The remainder would be spending cuts, including in Medicare and Medicaid, as well as fee increases, the aide said. Republicans rejected the plan, which Senate Democrats wanted to pair with extensions of a payroll tax break and jobless benefits scheduled to expire at the end of this year, the aide said.

But the Irish are paying close attention:

Greece’s difficulty paying its debts may turn out to be Ireland’s opportunity.

Greece’s failure to cut spending and boost revenue by enough to meet targets set by the European Union and International Monetary Fund prompted bondholders to accept a 50 percent loss on its debt. While Ireland won’t seek debt discounts, the government might pursue other relief given to Greece, including cheaper interest payments on aid and longer to repay it, according to a person familiar with the matter who declined to be identified as no final decision has been taken.

“There’s a political problem for the government,” said Gavin Blessing, a bond analyst at Collins Stewart Plc in Dublin. “The Greeks, who are seen to be behaving badly, get rewarded, whereas the Irish, the top boys in the class, get nothing.”

Ken Rogoff thinks the whole thing is just another band-aid:

European leaders’ agreement to expand a bailout fund to stem the region’s debt crisis only buys time as the problem worsens, Harvard University economist Kenneth Rogoff said.

“They don’t have any idea what the end game is here,” Rogoff said as a compensated speaker at the Bloomberg FX11 Summit in New York today. “It’s pretty darn clear the euro does not work.”

And there is some confusion regarding just what the plan might be:

A key component of the European program agreed in the wee hours in Brussels on Thursday is getting Greece’s debt down to a manageable 120 per cent of GDP. That effort involves Greek bondholders taking a 50 per cent loss on their investment, up from a previous agreement to take a haircut of 20 per cent.

This constitutes a default by any reasonable definition. But Europe’s leaders are trying very hard to frame these losses as voluntary, which would avoid triggering a broad Greek CDS redemption. The European plan says leaders will “invite” private investors to develop a “voluntary bond exchange with a nominal discount of 50 per cent on notional Greek debt held by private investors.”

So is it nudge-wink-voluntary or is it compulsory? If the former, there would appear to be some opportunity for non-European hedge funds to make a killing by buying Greek debt and refusing the invitation.

Here in Canada, we’re approaching a decision on the latest job creation scheme:

The Supreme Court of Canada appears close to releasing a much-awaited decision on whether the federal government has the authority to create a new national securities regulator.

The top court has asked parties involved in the case for permission to organize a media lock-up to release the ruling, according to information on the court’s web site. The electronic “docket” does not reveal a planned released date, but federal officials expect a decision by the middle of next month.

OSFI has released a NVCC roadshow. It is notable for the first defence I have seen from them for low-trigger contingent capital – indeed, the first acknowledgement from them that I know of that high-trigger contingent capital even exists:

The BCBS considered and rejected Co-Cos for the minimum capital requirements, buffers & Global systemically important bank (G-SIB) surcharge
– Key concern was the unreliability of early triggers
– Early trigger could exacerbate distress & hurt confidence
– Triggers can be subject to manipulation or arbitrage

It would be most interesting to see a full-fledged debate on this, but we won’t get one from the clowns at OSFI. The presentation is also notable for a bare-faced falsehood (emphasis added):

Existing instruments are akin to NVCC because:
– NVCC creates no new regulatory discretion.
– At non-viability, authorities are assessing how best to resolve the failed bank. NVCC is just a new resolution option in the toolkit:
- Liquidation, Assisted Purchase, Bridge Bank, Recapitalization (i.e. Bail-out), NVCC, and others.
– The NVCC triggers are very late and very remote. The decision point is the same as in existing securities, i.e. the PF, or PD, is the same or lower.
– NVCC instruments will likely behave similar to existing sub debt and preferred shares.
– Innovative Tier 1 instruments have similar regulatory triggers

They spout this bilge about “no new regulatory discretion” and then on the very next page they say Canadian authorities would only elect to trigger NVCC where there was a high level of confidence that the conversion plus additional measures would restore the viability of the failed FI. “Elect”. “confidence”. If that’s not discretion, I’d like to know what the hell is.

There’s one element of the presentation that is also a bit fishy (emphasis added):

Can OSFI pull the trigger too early?
- NVCC triggers narrowly defined by design to constrain authorities from acting prematurely
- Non-viability is an expectation of insolvency
- Backstop trigger designed to avoid Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) scenario – Viable FIs cannot be forced to accept a bail-out
- Triggers designed to permit authorities with flexibility to take certain actions (i.e. liquidity assistance) where an FI may require public sector support without triggering NVCC conversion
- Superintendent’s actions can be subject to legal challenge & judicial review
- Importantly, OSFI strongly believes the hierarchy must be respected – therefore, creditors should not be exposed to loss before non-viability

I’d like to see how they work that out: I read the advisory as granting the Superintendent full discretion … but perhaps the “can be subject” is just a weasel phrase. Gravity can be subject to challenge too, but you won’t get too far.

The Financial Stability Board has released a report titled Shadow Banking: Strengthening Oversight and Regulation. Lots of cool charts at the back.

The Globe published a long piece on YLO, How did Yellow Media’s stock go from $17 to 17 cents?. One part echoes my thoughts:

While his online competitors may be giants such as Google, Tellier claims he has a secret weapon: trust. Yellow Media’s bread and butter is still small business owners, many of whom are at a loss when it comes to arcane aspects of online advertising such as bidding on Google keywords. While many advertisers are realizing that Yellow’s books may no longer be the best place for their ads, that doesn’t mean they’ve soured on the company entirely. This is where its sales force comes in—a network of representatives that have established relationships with customers, something Google lacks. “Businesses would prefer to have a single point of contact to demystify this digital universe,” Tellier says. “We think the market dynamic is in our favour.”

There’s also a hopeful thought:

But after Yellow announced the new, more stringent credit agreement with the banks in late September, Tellier admitted the prospects for the company’s transition—whether digital businesses will be able to compensate for declining print revenues—are far from certain. The same might be said of his tenure as CEO.

I don’t have a lot of faith in the man’s competence. What the company needs is somebody with a little operational expertise.

YLO common has been active this week, going from $0.26 on October 21 to $0.495 yesterday to $0.39 today – total volume for the four days this week has been about 70-million shares. Seventy million! That’s more than 13% of the float! Even allowing for the fact that the day traders will have flipping like mad, it’s still impressive. Returns and volumes for the preferreds have been equally dramatic. YLO will report on 11Q3 on November 3.

Preferred shares from CZP, the latest ugly duckling, caught a bounce today – Assiduous Readers may insert the words “dead cat” if they wish, according to taste. All this comes from the DBRS warning of a possible 3-notch downgrade; S&P was less explicit, but just as gloomy. There will be more of this in future, as a few of those junky FixedReset chickens of the past few years come home to roost.

CZP Issues
2011-10-25 to 2011-10-26
Ticker Quote
10/26
Quote
10/27
Bid YTW
10/27
YTW
Scenario
10/27
Performance
10/26 – 10/27
(bid/bid)
CZP.PR.A 13.50-95 14.30-00 8.62% Limit Maturity +5.93%
CZP.PR.B 19.00-40 21.15-38 7.30% Limit Maturity +11.32%

It was a mostly-up day for the Canadian preferred share market, with PerpetualDiscounts down 4bp, FixedResets up 10bp and DeemedRetractibles gaining 12bp. Plenty of skew in those results, with all entries on the Performance Highlights table being positive! Volume was well above average.

HIMIPref™ Preferred Indices
These values reflect the December 2008 revision of the HIMIPref™ Indices

Values are provisional and are finalized monthly
Index Mean
Current
Yield
(at bid)
Median
YTW
Median
Average
Trading
Value
Median
Mod Dur
(YTW)
Issues Day’s Perf. Index Value
Ratchet 0.00 % 0.00 % 0 0.00 0 0.8008 % 2,070.1
FixedFloater 0.00 % 0.00 % 0 0.00 0 0.8008 % 3,113.4
Floater 3.48 % 3.49 % 158,172 18.54 2 0.8008 % 2,235.1
OpRet 4.84 % 2.56 % 66,278 1.53 8 0.0243 % 2,456.2
SplitShare 5.37 % 1.71 % 58,784 0.34 4 -0.1332 % 2,497.4
Interest-Bearing 0.00 % 0.00 % 0 0.00 0 0.0243 % 2,246.0
Perpetual-Premium 5.68 % 4.00 % 107,788 1.86 13 0.0151 % 2,130.5
Perpetual-Discount 5.35 % 5.45 % 107,999 14.71 17 -0.0392 % 2,257.5
FixedReset 5.14 % 3.11 % 204,146 2.45 61 0.1049 % 2,333.7
Deemed-Retractible 5.06 % 4.44 % 213,363 4.07 46 0.1199 % 2,207.7
Performance Highlights
Issue Index Change Notes
BAM.PR.K Floater 1.14 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-27
Maturity Price : 15.05
Evaluated at bid price : 15.05
Bid-YTW : 3.51 %
BAM.PR.R FixedReset 1.18 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-27
Maturity Price : 23.43
Evaluated at bid price : 25.80
Bid-YTW : 4.01 %
GWO.PR.J FixedReset 1.22 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2013-12-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.55
Bid-YTW : 3.26 %
BMO.PR.H Deemed-Retractible 1.25 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2013-02-25
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.00
Bid-YTW : 2.93 %
SLF.PR.B Deemed-Retractible 1.28 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 22.95
Bid-YTW : 5.96 %
SLF.PR.D Deemed-Retractible 1.36 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 21.68
Bid-YTW : 6.31 %
BAM.PR.X FixedReset 1.36 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-27
Maturity Price : 22.70
Evaluated at bid price : 23.90
Bid-YTW : 3.87 %
IAG.PR.A Deemed-Retractible 2.75 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 22.77
Bid-YTW : 5.85 %
Volume Highlights
Issue Index Shares
Traded
Notes
NA.PR.M Deemed-Retractible 152,215 Desjardins crossed blocks of 124,900 at 26.80 and 24,300 at 26.70.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2013-05-15
Maturity Price : 26.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.69
Bid-YTW : 3.80 %
BNS.PR.Z FixedReset 55,811 Recent secondary offering.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 24.70
Bid-YTW : 3.44 %
SLF.PR.G FixedReset 51,404 Nesbitt bought blocks of 20,100 and 17,800 from Scotia, both at 25.00.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 24.85
Bid-YTW : 3.66 %
TD.PR.K FixedReset 41,305 TD bought 10,000 from National at 27.10, then crossed 19,700 at the same price.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2014-07-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 27.14
Bid-YTW : 2.99 %
BNS.PR.L Deemed-Retractible 37,800 RBC crossed 16,800 at 25.19.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2016-04-27
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.19
Bid-YTW : 4.32 %
GWO.PR.G Deemed-Retractible 31,955 RBC crossed 21,200 at 24.75.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 24.77
Bid-YTW : 5.40 %
There were 43 other index-included issues trading in excess of 10,000 shares.
Wide Spread Highlights
Issue Index Quote Data and Yield Notes
FTS.PR.F Perpetual-Discount Quote: 25.12 – 25.94
Spot Rate : 0.8200
Average : 0.4739

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-27
Maturity Price : 24.83
Evaluated at bid price : 25.12
Bid-YTW : 4.94 %

IAG.PR.A Deemed-Retractible Quote: 22.77 – 23.48
Spot Rate : 0.7100
Average : 0.4375

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 22.77
Bid-YTW : 5.85 %

BAM.PR.J OpRet Quote: 25.87 – 26.36
Spot Rate : 0.4900
Average : 0.3464

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Soft Maturity
Maturity Date : 2018-03-30
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.87
Bid-YTW : 4.87 %

BAM.PR.N Perpetual-Discount Quote: 21.86 – 22.26
Spot Rate : 0.4000
Average : 0.2709

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-27
Maturity Price : 21.55
Evaluated at bid price : 21.86
Bid-YTW : 5.48 %

GWO.PR.N FixedReset Quote: 24.26 – 24.70
Spot Rate : 0.4400
Average : 0.3132

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 24.26
Bid-YTW : 3.65 %

GWO.PR.I Deemed-Retractible Quote: 22.37 – 22.70
Spot Rate : 0.3300
Average : 0.2236

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 22.37
Bid-YTW : 5.96 %

Westcoast Issues Long Term Paper at 4.791%

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Reuters has reported:

Westcoast Energy on Tuesday sold C$300 million ($297 million) of notes in two parts, according to a term sheet seen by Reuters.
The sale consisted of C$150 million ($149 million) 10-year notes, due Oct. 28, 2021. The notes have a 3.883 percent coupon rate and were priced at par to yield 157.4 basis points over the Canadian government benchmark.

The sale also included C$150 million ($149 million) of 30-year notes, due Oct. 28, 2041, with a coupon rate of 4.791 percent and were priced at par to yield 182 basis points over the Canadian government benchmark.

Westcoast Energy Inc is a unit of Spectra Energy .

The investment dealer arms of Bank of Nova Scotia, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce were the bookrunning managers of the sale.

The DBRS rating is A(low):

DBRS has today assigned a rating of A (low) with a Stable trend to the following Westcoast Energy Inc. (Westcoast) new debt issuance:

(1) Proposed $150 million of 3.883% unsecured Medium Term Notes (Notes) maturing October 28, 2021.

(2) Proposed $150 million of 4.791% Notes maturing October 28, 2041.

The issues are expected to settle on October 28, 2011.

The Notes will rank equally with all of Westcoast’s other senior unsecured indebtedness. Net proceeds from the issue will be used for general corporate purposes, which may include repayment of outstanding indebtedness, and financing capital expenditures and investments of Westcoast.

This can be compared with Westcoast’s preferred issues, W.PR.H and W.PR.J, both PerpetualDiscounts, currently trading a little under par to yield about 5.60%, which is equivalent to about 7.28% at the standard equivalency factor of 1.3x. Hence, the Seniority Spread for this issuer is about 250bp.

October 26, 2011

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Discussions about Greece are at a familiar stage – nobody wants to take the loss:

European Union talks with banks on bondholder losses as part of a second Greek bailout were deadlocked, an EU official said, dimming the chances for a comprehensive crisis-fighting strategy at tonight’s summit.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel doused expectations of a breakthrough, saying on the way into the meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels that “work’s not been done yet, but everyone’s coming here today with the goal to progress quite a bit.”

Maybe the Chinese will take the loss!

French President Nicolas Sarkozy plans to call Chinese leader Hu Jintao tomorrow to discuss China contributing to a fund European leaders may set up to bolster its debt-crisis fight, said a person familiar with the matter.

The investment vehicle was one of the options being considered by European leaders at a summit tonight to expand the reach of its 440 billion-euro ($612 billion) European Financial Stability Facility.

Sarkozy’s plea to his Chinese counterpart would come the day before a planned visit to Beijing by Klaus Regling, chief executive officer of the EFSF, to court investors.

Italy’s beginning to get serious:

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi vowed to raise 5 billion euros ($8 billion) annually from asset sales, increase the retirement age and relax labor laws to convince European leaders Italy can reach its budget goals.

“We are aware of the need to present a comprehensive plan of reforms,” Berlusconi said in the letter that he presented to European Union leaders at a summit in Brussels. “We are aware that our debt is too high and our growth too limited.” The asset-sales plan will be completed by Nov. 30, he said.

The letter of intent fell short of the comprehensive plan European leaders had sought. Bickering within his Cabinet this week over pensions and other issues prevented the premier from complying with EU requests to deliver a blueprint to boost growth and tackle the euro-region’s second largest debt at the Brussels summit.

Just as this update goes to the server, there is some breaking news:

French President Nicolas Sarkozy estimates the euro region’s bailout fund will be worth $1.4 trillion after European governments agreed on steps to leverage existing guarantees by as much as five times. He spoke to reporters after a summit of European leaders in Brussels.

There are also rumours of a 50% write-down on Greek debt. And, at last minute before I wrap this up:

European leaders persuaded bondholders to take 50 percent losses on Greek debt and boosted the firepower of the rescue fund to 1 trillion euros ($1.4 trillion), responding to global pressure to step up the fight against the financial crisis.

Ten hours of brinkmanship at the second crisis summit in four days delivered measures that the euro area’s stewards said point the way out of the debt quagmire, even if key details are lacking. Last-ditch talks with bank representatives led to the debt-relief accord, in an effort to quarantine Greece and prevent speculation against Italy and France from ravaging the euro zone and wreaking global economic havoc.

SJR.PR.A was confirmed at Pfd-3 by DBRS:

DBRS has today confirmed its ratings on Shaw Communications Inc. (Shaw or the Company) at BBB and Pfd-3.

In terms of Shaw’s financial risk profile, while the acquisition of a restructured Canwest in early F2011 weakened its credit metrics initially, they returned to reasonable levels by the end of F2011, with gross debt-to-EBITDA at 2.67 times, EBITDA interest coverage above 6.0 times and cash flow-to-debt at 0.25 times. This, along with growth in cash flow from operations (expected to cover higher capex and dividend levels in F2012 with free cash flow generation (including on a fully-taxed basis)), should give Shaw the flexibility to make small to medium-sized investments and/or to reduce its leverage to strengthen its financial risk profile within its current rating category.

DBRS believes that Shaw’s business risk profile remains manageable, even though the Company is now battling telcos that are able to compete service-for-service in fixed-line, in addition to offering wireless services. It would likely take a material deterioration in Shaw’s competitive position for DBRS to alter this view. Also, while Shaw retains a financial risk profile that is adequate for the ratings, the Company is currently weaker on this front than some of its peers. Any material changes in Shaw’s business or financial risk profile could result in pressure on the ratings.

LB.PR.D and LB.PR.E were confirmed by DBRS at Pfd-3(low):

DBRS has today confirmed all ratings of Laurentian Bank of Canada (Laurentian or the Bank), including the deposits and senior debt at BBB (high) and the short-term instruments at R-1 (low); all trends remain Stable.

The ratings are supported by Laurentian’s overall business risk profile, which is conservative relative to the larger banks in Canada, with a focus on retail lending funded by retail deposits and an absence of significant involvement in higher-risk wholesale or international strategies. Laurentian’s underlying asset quality profile has strengthened over the past several years as the loan mix shifted to a greater proportion of secured lending. Limitations on the ratings include a modest return on equity and high cost structure. Regional concentration in Québec, while still a potential rating challenge, was beneficial through the downturn as the economic performance of the province was resilient.

CZP issues got hammered again today, continuing their fall after DBRS warned of a possible 3-notch downgrade and S&P was less explicit, but just as gloomy.

CZP Issues
2011-10-25 to 2011-10-26
Ticker Quote
10/25
Quote
10/26
Bid YTW
10/26
YTW
Scenario
10/26
Performance
10/25 – 10/26
(bid/bid)
CZP.PR.A 15.31-80 13.50-95 9.15% Limit Maturity -11.82%
CZP.PR.B 20.10-74 19.00-40 8.16% Limit Maturity -5.47%

It was a modestly good day for the Canadian preferred share market, with PerpetualDiscounts up 5bp, FixedResets gaining 2bp and DeemedRetractibles winning 8bp. Volatility was good and all to the upside. Volume was heavy – Nesbitt wrote a very nice ticket for CM.PR.D!

PerpetualDiscounts now yield 5.44%, equivalent to 7.07% interest at the standard equivalency factor of 1.3x. Long corporates are now at 5.0% (OK, maybe a little over), so the pre-tax interest-equivalent spread is now about 205bp, unchanged from the figure reported October 19.

HIMIPref™ Preferred Indices
These values reflect the December 2008 revision of the HIMIPref™ Indices

Values are provisional and are finalized monthly
Index Mean
Current
Yield
(at bid)
Median
YTW
Median
Average
Trading
Value
Median
Mod Dur
(YTW)
Issues Day’s Perf. Index Value
Ratchet 0.00 % 0.00 % 0 0.00 0 0.4020 % 2,053.6
FixedFloater 0.00 % 0.00 % 0 0.00 0 0.4020 % 3,088.6
Floater 3.50 % 3.50 % 159,411 18.51 2 0.4020 % 2,217.4
OpRet 4.84 % 2.70 % 65,494 1.53 8 -0.0291 % 2,455.6
SplitShare 5.36 % 1.95 % 58,492 0.34 4 0.3118 % 2,500.7
Interest-Bearing 0.00 % 0.00 % 0 0.00 0 -0.0291 % 2,245.4
Perpetual-Premium 5.68 % 3.60 % 108,366 0.50 13 0.1759 % 2,130.2
Perpetual-Discount 5.34 % 5.44 % 108,880 14.74 17 0.0491 % 2,258.4
FixedReset 5.15 % 3.20 % 203,544 2.45 61 0.0239 % 2,331.3
Deemed-Retractible 5.06 % 4.40 % 214,740 4.13 46 0.0814 % 2,205.1
Performance Highlights
Issue Index Change Notes
BAM.PR.T FixedReset 1.04 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-26
Maturity Price : 22.88
Evaluated at bid price : 24.31
Bid-YTW : 4.15 %
BNA.PR.E SplitShare 1.08 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2017-12-10
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 23.30
Bid-YTW : 6.38 %
GWO.PR.N FixedReset 1.16 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 24.48
Bid-YTW : 3.54 %
GWO.PR.L Deemed-Retractible 1.20 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.30
Bid-YTW : 5.59 %
IGM.PR.B Perpetual-Premium 1.26 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2018-12-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.74
Bid-YTW : 5.42 %
IAG.PR.F Deemed-Retractible 1.35 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.20
Bid-YTW : 5.38 %
TD.PR.P Deemed-Retractible 1.45 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2012-11-01
Maturity Price : 26.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.56
Bid-YTW : 2.82 %
Volume Highlights
Issue Index Shares
Traded
Notes
CM.PR.D Perpetual-Premium 943,623 Nesbitt crossed blocks of 811,000 and 100,000, both at 25.00. Nice tickets!
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2012-04-30
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 24.99
Bid-YTW : 5.66 %
RY.PR.E Deemed-Retractible 104,826 Nesbitt crossed 97,300 at 25.10.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2016-02-24
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 24.95
Bid-YTW : 4.49 %
TD.PR.G FixedReset 87,851 Desjardins crossed 21,100 at 27.05; RBC crossed blocks of 15,000 shares, 10,000 and 35,000, all at 27.07.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2014-04-30
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 27.03
Bid-YTW : 2.85 %
RY.PR.X FixedReset 83,303 Scotia crossed blocks of 25,000 and 50,000, both at 27.10.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2014-08-24
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.92
Bid-YTW : 3.23 %
BNS.PR.O Deemed-Retractible 60,301 Nesbitt crossed 50,000 at 26.45.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2013-04-26
Maturity Price : 26.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.45
Bid-YTW : 4.14 %
MFC.PR.A OpRet 54,011 Scotia bought 22.20 from anonymous at 25.00, then crossed 20,000 at 25.25.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Soft Maturity
Maturity Date : 2015-12-18
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.20
Bid-YTW : 4.02 %
There were 44 other index-included issues trading in excess of 10,000 shares.
Wide Spread Highlights
Issue Index Quote Data and Yield Notes
GWO.PR.J FixedReset Quote: 26.23 – 26.76
Spot Rate : 0.5300
Average : 0.3443

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2013-12-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.23
Bid-YTW : 3.86 %

TCA.PR.X Perpetual-Premium Quote: 52.12 – 52.58
Spot Rate : 0.4600
Average : 0.3211

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2013-10-15
Maturity Price : 50.00
Evaluated at bid price : 52.12
Bid-YTW : 3.34 %

GWO.PR.M Deemed-Retractible Quote: 25.45 – 25.75
Spot Rate : 0.3000
Average : 0.2012

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2019-03-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.45
Bid-YTW : 5.61 %

NA.PR.M Deemed-Retractible Quote: 26.62 – 26.95
Spot Rate : 0.3300
Average : 0.2340

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2013-05-15
Maturity Price : 26.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.62
Bid-YTW : 3.97 %

BMO.PR.H Deemed-Retractible Quote: 25.68 – 25.92
Spot Rate : 0.2400
Average : 0.1510

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2013-02-25
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.68
Bid-YTW : 3.90 %

MFC.PR.B Deemed-Retractible Quote: 22.11 – 22.34
Spot Rate : 0.2300
Average : 0.1568

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 22.11
Bid-YTW : 6.29 %

October 25, 2011

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

The Europeans are still trying to square the circle, but at least they now seem to be downplaying the monetization idea:

Boosting the effectiveness of Europe’s bailout fund will require further talks with investors as German lawmakers prepare to vote on its new powers tomorrow, a European Union document showed.

While the European Financial Stability Facility can be bolstered under two models that may be combined and implemented “quickly,” the extent to which the fund is leveraged can only be ascertained after discussions with investors and rating companies, the document provided to German lawmakers said.

The draft underscores the gaps remaining in European Union efforts to address the debt crisis as Chancellor Angela Merkel and fellow leaders prepare to return to Brussels tomorrow for a second summit in four days. Leaders are still jousting with banks over the size of losses they take on Greek bonds while deliberating over leveraging the fund after ruling out tapping the European Central Bank’s balance sheet.

Rumours continue to swirl about the possible output from the summit:

European leaders increased pressure on Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to specify how he will reach budget-reduction targets as German lawmakers prepared to vote on a revamped euro-area bailout package that officials raced to complete before a summit tomorrow.

Italy needs to back up commitments with “specific actions” and come up with “clear timing,” European Commission spokesman Amadeu Altafaj said in Brussels today after a crisis cabinet meeting in Italy late yesterday failed to announce steps to spur growth.

While 27 EU leaders convene before the 17 chiefs of the 17 euro nations tomorrow, a meeting of the 27 EU finance ministers scheduled to precede them was cancelled with no explanation.

The elements of the revamped blueprint may include expanding the reach of the 440 billion-euro ($611 billion) European Financial Stability Facility by turning it into a bond insurer and setting up vehicles to raise outside funds, possibly alongside the International Monetary Fund, and a bank- recapitalization strategy.

At an Oct. 23 summit, the leaders excluded a forced restructuring of Greek debt, sticking with the tactic of enticing bondholders to accept losses to help restore the country’s finances, and ruled out tapping the balance sheet of the European Central Bank.

Euro-area leaders are counting on the ECB to continue buying troubled countries’ bonds, three people familiar with the deliberations said. They are debating how to obtain an ECB signal without appearing to give orders to the politically independent central bank, said the people. The central bank has bought 169.5 billion euros in bonds so far.

Super! Bond insurance! Loan guarantees! It worked out so well for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and all the monolines that it must be good! And doesn’t cost a cent!

I mentioned my fascination with longevity risk for pension plans on June 21. Swiss Re also considers it a fascinating topic:

A number of Canadian pension plans are not putting aside enough money to account for the risk that people will live longer than expected, says a new report to be released on Monday.

Swiss Re, which is hoping to convince pension plans and insurers to buy protection against this risk, clearly has an agenda in publishing the report, which it characterizes as the first comprehensive look at longevity risk in Canada. But the numbers are startling nonetheless. And if the company succeeds in creating an active market for longevity risks in this country, it might ultimately package those risks up into bonds or securities that are sold to investors. The report estimates that between $10-billion and $20-billion of longevity risk will be transferred from Canadian pensions and annuities to reinsurers and investors in the next decade.

Canada’s longevity risk, at roughly five per cent of the total global amount, is relatively high because of the quantity of defined benefit pensions in this country, says George Graziani, a senior vice-president at Swiss Re in Canada.

Elizabeth A Duke, Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, gave a speech titled The Federal Reserve System and individual financial planning:

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas offers a popular financial planning publication, Building Wealth. In it, individuals and families seeking help to develop a plan for building personal wealth will find an overview of personal asset-building strategies that includes setting financial goals, budgeting, saving and investing, managing debt, and understanding credit reports and credit scores. The Dallas Fed makes Building Wealth available online in both English and Spanish, and has created an interactive version of the publication, making it usable as a personal finance education resource for schools, nonprofit community organizations, and financial services providers.

Another valuable online resource is the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Guide to Financial Literacy. This free publication explains what level of financial education is appropriate for a variety of age groups, offers guidance for consumers making key financial decisions at different stages of life, and includes a compendium of financial education resources that address these needs.

Footnotes: Building Wealth can be found at www.dallasfed.org/ca/wealth/index.cfm.

The Guide to Financial Literacy Resource can be found at www.frbsf.org/community/webresources/bankersguide.pdf

The books mentioned in the Resource Guide at the end of the Dallas Fed publication are fascinating:

  • Getting Rich in America: 8 Simple Rules for Building a Fortune and a Satisfying Life
    Dwight R. Lee and Richard B. McKenzie 1999, Harper Business
  • It’s About the Money! The Fourth Movement of the Freedom Symphony: How to Build Wealth, Get Access to Capital, and Achieve Your Financial Dreams
    Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. with Mary Gotschall 1999, Times Business/Random
    House
  • The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko 1996, Longstreet

I’ve heard of “The Millionaire Next Door”, although I’ve never read it. Many things come to mind when I hear the name “Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.”, but I’ll admit that Financial Planning advice isn’t one of them! But it’s listed because of a single quote:

Accumulating wealth—as distinct from just making a big income—is the key to your financial independence. It gives you control over assets, power to help shape the corporate and political landscape, and the ability to ensure a prosperous future for your children and their heirs….

… which is reasonable enough!

OSFI has released the Autumn 2011 edition of the OSFI Pillar. The new Assistant Superintendent is Mark Zelmer, a career civil servant.

S&P affirmed Canada:

  • We are affirming our ‘AAA/A-1+’ long- and short-term sovereign credit ratings on Canada.
  • In our view, Canada has a superior political and economic profile and strong flexibility and performance profile.
  • The outlook is stable. Given Canada’s strong starting position, a combination of increased political uncertainty and weaker fiscal or external outcomes would be necessary for downward pressure to build on the rating.

The BoC was full of cheery news:

The global economy has slowed markedly as several downside risks to the projection outlined in the Bank’s July Monetary Policy Report (MPR) have been realized. Financial market volatility has increased and there has been a generalized retrenchment from risk-taking across global markets

The outlook for the Canadian economy has weakened since July, with the significantly less favourable external environment affecting Canada through financial, confidence and trade channels.

Overall, the Bank expects that growth in Canada will be slow through mid-2012 before picking up as the global economic environment improves, uncertainty dissipates and confidence increases. The Bank projects that the economy will expand by 2.1 per cent in 2011, 1.9 per cent in 2012, and 2.9 per cent in 2013.

The weaker economic outlook implies greater and more persistent economic slack than previously anticipated, with the Canadian economy now expected to return to full capacity by the end of 2013. As a result, core inflation is expected to be slightly softer than previously expected, declining through 2012 before returning to 2 percent by the end of 2013. The projection for total CPI inflation has also been revised down, reflecting the recent reversal of earlier sharp increases in world energy prices as well as modestly weaker core inflation. Total CPI inflation is expected to trough around 1 per cent by the middle of 2012 before rising with core inflation to the two per cent target by the end of 2013, as excess supply in the economy is slowly absorbed.

Several significant upside and downside risks are present in the inflation outlook for Canada. Overall, the Bank judges that these risks are roughly balanced over the projection horizon.

Reflecting all of these factors, the Bank has decided to maintain the target for the overnight rate at 1 per cent. With the target interest rate near historic lows and the financial system functioning well, there is considerable monetary policy stimulus in Canada. The Bank will continue to monitor carefully economic and financial developments in the Canadian and global economies, together with the evolution of risks, and set monetary policy consistent with achieving the 2 per cent inflation target over the medium term.

CZP issues have been hammered in the past two days, after DBRS warned of a possible 3-notch downgrade and S&P was less explicit, but just as gloomy.

CZP Issues
2011-10-21 to 2011-10-25
Ticker Quote
10/21
Quote
10/25
Bid YTW
10/25
YTW
Scenario
10/25
Performance
10/21 – 10/25
(bid/bid)
CZP.PR.A 16.92-07 15.31-80 8.05% Limit Maturity -9.52%
CZP.PR.B 26.87-99 20.10-74 7.69% Limit Maturity -25.20%

It was a mixed day on the Canadian preferred share market, with PerpetualDiscounts gaining 11bp, FixedResets down 1bp and DeemedRetractibles winning 26bp. Volatility was quite good, with BAM issues prominent at both ends of the spectrum – FixedResets on the downside, probably reflecting the new issue. Volume was heavy; RBC scored a lock-out on the reported block trading.

HIMIPref™ Preferred Indices
These values reflect the December 2008 revision of the HIMIPref™ Indices

Values are provisional and are finalized monthly
Index Mean
Current
Yield
(at bid)
Median
YTW
Median
Average
Trading
Value
Median
Mod Dur
(YTW)
Issues Day’s Perf. Index Value
Ratchet 0.00 % 0.00 % 0 0.00 0 2.2260 % 2,045.4
FixedFloater 0.00 % 0.00 % 0 0.00 0 2.2260 % 3,076.3
Floater 3.52 % 3.53 % 159,494 18.46 2 2.2260 % 2,208.5
OpRet 4.84 % 2.61 % 64,363 1.53 8 -0.0678 % 2,456.3
SplitShare 5.38 % 0.62 % 54,167 0.34 4 0.5001 % 2,492.9
Interest-Bearing 0.00 % 0.00 % 0 0.00 0 -0.0678 % 2,246.1
Perpetual-Premium 5.69 % 4.20 % 107,946 1.87 13 0.0303 % 2,126.4
Perpetual-Discount 5.35 % 5.43 % 109,050 14.74 17 0.1105 % 2,257.3
FixedReset 5.15 % 3.20 % 209,915 2.46 61 -0.0138 % 2,330.7
Deemed-Retractible 5.07 % 4.39 % 214,781 4.07 46 0.2555 % 2,203.3
Performance Highlights
Issue Index Change Notes
BAM.PR.T FixedReset -2.20 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-25
Maturity Price : 22.78
Evaluated at bid price : 24.06
Bid-YTW : 4.20 %
BAM.PR.R FixedReset -1.55 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-25
Maturity Price : 23.30
Evaluated at bid price : 25.35
Bid-YTW : 4.11 %
BAM.PR.P FixedReset -1.25 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2014-09-30
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.83
Bid-YTW : 4.52 %
GWO.PR.L Deemed-Retractible -1.19 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.00
Bid-YTW : 5.74 %
BAM.PR.M Perpetual-Discount -1.08 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-25
Maturity Price : 21.72
Evaluated at bid price : 22.07
Bid-YTW : 5.42 %
POW.PR.D Perpetual-Discount -1.06 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-25
Maturity Price : 23.94
Evaluated at bid price : 24.24
Bid-YTW : 5.18 %
GWO.PR.H Deemed-Retractible 1.03 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 23.50
Bid-YTW : 5.71 %
PWF.PR.K Perpetual-Discount 1.04 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-25
Maturity Price : 24.00
Evaluated at bid price : 24.30
Bid-YTW : 5.10 %
ELF.PR.F Perpetual-Discount 1.09 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-25
Maturity Price : 22.21
Evaluated at bid price : 22.21
Bid-YTW : 6.02 %
BNA.PR.E SplitShare 1.10 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2017-12-10
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 23.05
Bid-YTW : 6.58 %
PWF.PR.L Perpetual-Discount 1.21 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-25
Maturity Price : 24.00
Evaluated at bid price : 24.30
Bid-YTW : 5.26 %
RY.PR.G Deemed-Retractible 1.25 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2016-05-24
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.06
Bid-YTW : 4.37 %
SLF.PR.D Deemed-Retractible 1.37 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 21.41
Bid-YTW : 6.46 %
SLF.PR.H FixedReset 1.67 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 24.30
Bid-YTW : 4.30 %
SLF.PR.G FixedReset 1.76 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 24.80
Bid-YTW : 3.68 %
BAM.PR.B Floater 2.18 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-25
Maturity Price : 14.99
Evaluated at bid price : 14.99
Bid-YTW : 3.53 %
BAM.PR.K Floater 2.27 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-25
Maturity Price : 14.86
Evaluated at bid price : 14.86
Bid-YTW : 3.56 %
Volume Highlights
Issue Index Shares
Traded
Notes
IFC.PR.A FixedReset 184,263 RBC crossed blocks of 79,900 and 72,400, both at 25.40.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.31
Bid-YTW : 3.81 %
BNS.PR.Z FixedReset 174,181 Recent secondary offering.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 24.74
Bid-YTW : 3.42 %
ENB.PR.B FixedReset 140,086 Recent new issue.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2017-06-01
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.55
Bid-YTW : 3.63 %
BNS.PR.R FixedReset 128,495 RBC crossed blocks of 47,000 and 57,000, both at 25.75.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2014-01-26
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.87
Bid-YTW : 3.36 %
TRP.PR.C FixedReset 116,541 RBC crossed 100,000 at 25.40.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-25
Maturity Price : 23.32
Evaluated at bid price : 25.30
Bid-YTW : 3.22 %
TD.PR.M OpRet 87,500 Called for redemption.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2012-04-30
Maturity Price : 25.25
Evaluated at bid price : 25.49
Bid-YTW : 2.61 %
There were 43 other index-included issues trading in excess of 10,000 shares.
Wide Spread Highlights
Issue Index Quote Data and Yield Notes
BAM.PR.R FixedReset Quote: 25.35 – 25.80
Spot Rate : 0.4500
Average : 0.3126

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-25
Maturity Price : 23.30
Evaluated at bid price : 25.35
Bid-YTW : 4.11 %

IAG.PR.F Deemed-Retractible Quote: 25.85 – 26.59
Spot Rate : 0.7400
Average : 0.6103

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.85
Bid-YTW : 5.55 %

GWO.PR.N FixedReset Quote: 24.20 – 24.55
Spot Rate : 0.3500
Average : 0.2334

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 24.20
Bid-YTW : 3.68 %

BAM.PR.T FixedReset Quote: 24.06 – 24.45
Spot Rate : 0.3900
Average : 0.2782

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-25
Maturity Price : 22.78
Evaluated at bid price : 24.06
Bid-YTW : 4.20 %

IGM.PR.B Perpetual-Premium Quote: 25.42 – 25.70
Spot Rate : 0.2800
Average : 0.1682

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2018-12-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.42
Bid-YTW : 5.63 %

BAM.PR.X FixedReset Quote: 23.75 – 24.17
Spot Rate : 0.4200
Average : 0.3102

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-25
Maturity Price : 22.63
Evaluated at bid price : 23.75
Bid-YTW : 3.90 %

October 24, 2011

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Assiduous Reader BG sent me a link to a NYT article Bank’s Collapse in Europe Points to Global Risks:

Among Dexia’s biggest trading partners are several large United States institutions, including Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter. To limit damage from Dexia’s collapse, the bailout fashioned by the French and Belgian governments may make these banks and other creditors whole — that is, paid in full for potentially tens of billions of euros they are owed. This would enable Dexia’s creditors and trading partners to avoid losses they might otherwise suffer without the taxpayer rescue.

Whether this sets a precedent if Europe needs to bail out other banks will be closely watched.

This highlights my single largest complaint about the Basel I, II, and III rules: interbank loans are risk-weighted according to the credit rating of the sovereign; the only way this makes sense is if the regulators have taken an explicit view that inter-bank bail-outs will happen.

Note that the regulators’ moronic desire to see centralized clearing for derivatives will simply make matters worse.

Interbank loans should be risk-weighted according to the credit quality of the bank – or the collateral posted – not according to the sovereign. And, what’s more, the regulators should stop their pretense at surprise when this is what happens.

Dexia is also suffering losses on about 11 billion euros ($15.3 billion) in credit insurance it has written on mortgage-related securities, the same instruments that felled A.I.G., echoing that insurer’s troubles. In this business, too, Dexia’s problems have been worsened by aggressive demands by some trading partners for additional collateral. According to a person briefed on the transactions, Goldman Sachs, one of Dexia’s biggest trading partners, has asked for collateral equal to nearly twice the decline in market value of its deals. As was the case with A.I.G., Dexia must provide the collateral when the prices of the underlying securities fall, even if they have not defaulted.

Lucas van Praag, a spokesman for Goldman, said “we have no reason to believe that Dexia will not continue to meet its contractual obligations after it is restructured.”

As for the aggressive collateral calls by Goldman, Mr. van Praag said: “Our dealings with Dexia have been perfectly normal. In an environment of widening credit spreads and increased volatility, collateral calls are to be expected.” The suggestion that Goldman has been more aggressive than Dexia’s other trading partners is “quite odd,” he said, adding: “If collateral is owed, we ask for it.”

This looks like AIG: The Sequel for Lucas van Praag, World’s Greatest Corporate Spokesman. First, Goldman was vilified for needing a bail-out when AIG went bust. Then, when they proved to the Congressional Committe that they had no exposure to AIG because they (a) were collaterallized on most of the deals and (b) had purchased CDS protection on their uncollateralized exposure, they were vilified for creating a cash drain at AIG.

As far as I can tell, Goldman is the only financial institution in the world that behaves as if somebody, somewhere, is thinking about what they’re doing.

Assiduous Reader BG points out:

….problem is the contracts called for double in collateral for the amounts that the fixed interest rate borrow cost went offside when interest rates declined so much. So, while Dexia might have successfully hedged its net interest income spread over a 10-year term, the posting of collateral in the short term seems to have destroyed the bank.

Quite right, but it all seems somewhat peculiar. If Dexia is still solvent, but the overcollateralization has made it illiquid, then this is a classic study in central banking: the ECB should give them a loan at a punitive rate. But my question is: why double collateral? That’s a pretty fierce haircut! So my guess – and it’s only a guess, I haven’t been following the Dexia story closely – is that the collateral is no damn good; that the “double collateral” being talked about is computed according to the face value of the collateral, and that when the collateral is marked to market you arrive at a much more sensible figure. Any commentary from readers more familiar with the saga than I am would be appreciated!

Sadly, the Solvency Fairy did not arrive on the weekend:

Spanish and Italian government bonds fell as Europe’s leaders struggled to convince investors they can craft an effective response to the region’s debt crisis.

“The main disappointment was that there was no agreement on increasing the size” of the European bailout fund, said Alessandro Giansanti, a senior interest-rates strategist at ING Groep NV in Amsterdam. “Spreads will continue to widen ahead of the upcoming supply from Italy.”

Italy’s 10-year yield increased six basis points, or 0.06 percentage point, to 5.95 percent as of 4:56 p.m. in London. The 4.75 percent security due September 2021 lost 0.380, or 3.80 euros per 1,000-euro ($1,387) face amount, to 91.75. Rates on similar-maturity Spanish securities increased seven basis points to 5.55 percent.

… and tempers are fraying:

David Cameron has begun a week of intense political infighting over Europe by becoming embroiled in a furious row with Nicolas Sarkozy over Britain’s role in talks to solve the crisis enveloping the euro.

The bust-up between Cameron and Sarkozy held up the conclusion of the EU-27 summit for almost two hours, with the French president expressing rage at the constant criticism and lectures from UK ministers.

Sarkozy bluntly told Cameron: “You have lost a good opportunity to shut up.” He added: “We are sick of you criticising us and telling us what to do. You say you hate the euro and now you want to interfere in our meetings.”

Being whined at by a petulant Frenchman isn’t going to do Cameron any harm:

Mr. Cameron is in the midst of a potentially destructive political meltdown within his Tory party, whose more right-wing backbenchers are adamantly opposed to Britain’s membership in the 27-member European Union.

On Monday, Mr. Cameron is facing a private members’ bill, proposed by one of his Tory backbenchers, that would ask the government to hold a referendum asking citizens if they want Britain to withdraw from Europe.

This, the Prime Minister knows, would be disastrous: A poll this week shows that almost half of Britons would vote positively in such a vote (the EU has never been popular in Britain).

Assiduous Reader BG also sends me a link to The Little State With a Big Mess:

After decades of drift, denial and inaction, Rhode Island’s $14.8 billion pension system is in crisis. Ten cents of every state tax dollar now goes to retired public workers. Before long, Ms. Raimondo has been cautioning in whistle-stops here and across the state, that figure will climb perilously toward 20 cents. But the scary thing is that no one really knows. The Providence Journal recently tried to count all the municipal pension plans outside the state system and stopped at 155, conceding that it might have missed some. Even the Securities and Exchange Commission is asking questions, including the big one: Are these numbers for real?

Analysts also took a close look at the projected long-term investment return for the pension system: 8.25 percent. Everything rested on hitting that target, but the state’s actuary said there was less than a 30 percent chance that would happen over the next 20 years. The board voted to lower the assumption to 7.5 percent. (Given the recent run in the financial markets, even that figure may seem optimistic.)

As a result of that change, the state’s pension shortfall instantly rose to $9 billion from $7 billion. The unions said Ms. Raimondo had manufactured a crisis.

Then, as if on cue, Central Falls declared bankruptcy. The city’s pension fund wasn’t just underfunded. It was completely out of money. A receiver for the city sought court permission to reduce by as much as half the base pensions of retired police officers and firefighters.

Suddenly the pension crisis wasn’t an abstraction any more. The unthinkable had happened, and the odds were that it would happen again unless the state acted quickly.

Feeling smug? Don’t. Here in Toronto, we like to pretend that a garbageman can lead a nice middle class existence ($22 / hour + pension + benefits, which is not much less than a Registered Nurse gets).

The US Treasury is contemplating floating-rate or reset bonds:

The U.S., seeking to attract investors who might otherwise avoid Treasuries amid a $1.3 trillion budget deficit, is considering the sale of floating- rate notes in what would be its first new security since it began offering inflation-linked debt 14 years ago.

The Treasury Department said this month it asked Wall Street’s biggest bond dealers for recommendations on structuring securities with coupons that rise or fall with benchmark rates. Officials are scheduled to gather with the 22 primary dealers, who include Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., on Oct. 28 as it decides whether to go further during their regular meeting that precedes each quarterly refunding.

PWF was confirmed at Pfd-1(low) by DBRS:

DBRS has today confirmed the ratings on the Senior Debt and Preferred Shares of Power Financial Corporation (PWF or the Company) at AA (low) and Pfd-1 (low), respectively. The rating trends remain Stable.

Given an uncertain economic environment that could limit organic growth, DBRS expects that PWF will take advantage of its strong financial position to pursue small tactical acquisitions in the financial services arena. Pressures on regulatory capital adequacy could conceivably encourage a number of financial institutions to sell certain business lines at opportunistic prices, which would complement and leverage those of the Company. Achieving additional scale in Putnam through the acquisition of incremental AUM with a shared distribution channel, for example, would bring its financial results closer in line with the Company’s original targets for Putnam, while supporting broader growth initiatives. That PWF retains the ability to consider such value-added acquisitions in the current environment is a testament to its conservative financial profile and its long-term perspective.

With a 16.9% total unconsolidated debt ratio at the end of June 2011, the Company’s capitalization remains conservative, with only modest double leverage, exercised through the use of perpetual preferred shares. If such shares are treated as permanent equity, double leverage is close to non-existent. Debt service coverage ratios are strong at over 15 times on an earnings basis and just under 8.5 times on a cash flow basis. Liquidity is also not a source of concern, with close to $525 million in cash and short-term securities at the holding company pro forma the November 1, 2011, dividend payment of close to $250 million and additional stores of liquidity at both GWO and IGM. Such retention of liquid assets in the current uncertain economic environment reflects a unified and consistent approach to risk management across the organization. Financial flexibility is additionally enhanced by the proven access by the Company and its investee companies to capital-market funding should the Company require funding for an opportunistic acquisition.

If they want to make opportunistic acquisitions, they may find themselves bidding against the banks:

Phones are ringing steadily in the offices of Canada’s big banks as capital-starved European lenders seek buyers for assets.

For companies like Royal Bank of Canada and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which want to get bigger in the asset management business, there are plenty of tasty morsels on offer.

And there’s a belief in some of Bay Street’s bank towers that better deals will come to those who wait – that European banks have not cut their prices as much as they will be forced to do, by the time the euro zone mess is cleaned up.

Barrie McKenna has a good piece on milkfare in today’s Globe, All farmers are equal – but some are more equal than others.

It was a day of contrasts in the Canadian preferred share market, with PerpetualDiscounts losing 3bp, FixedResets gaining 11bp and DeemedRetractibles winning 27bp. Volatility was good and skewed to the upside. Volume was heavy.

HIMIPref™ Preferred Indices
These values reflect the December 2008 revision of the HIMIPref™ Indices

Values are provisional and are finalized monthly
Index Mean
Current
Yield
(at bid)
Median
YTW
Median
Average
Trading
Value
Median
Mod Dur
(YTW)
Issues Day’s Perf. Index Value
Ratchet 0.00 % 0.00 % 0 0.00 0 1.2483 % 2,000.9
FixedFloater 0.00 % 0.00 % 0 0.00 0 1.2483 % 3,009.3
Floater 3.60 % 3.60 % 158,814 18.28 2 1.2483 % 2,160.4
OpRet 4.83 % 2.67 % 64,163 1.54 8 0.3940 % 2,458.0
SplitShare 5.41 % 1.41 % 53,858 0.34 4 0.1212 % 2,480.5
Interest-Bearing 0.00 % 0.00 % 0 0.00 0 0.3940 % 2,247.6
Perpetual-Premium 5.69 % 4.81 % 106,557 0.51 13 0.0729 % 2,125.8
Perpetual-Discount 5.35 % 5.43 % 108,444 14.77 17 -0.0328 % 2,254.8
FixedReset 5.15 % 3.23 % 201,450 2.47 61 0.1140 % 2,331.0
Deemed-Retractible 5.08 % 4.45 % 217,284 4.42 46 0.2728 % 2,197.7
Performance Highlights
Issue Index Change Notes
IAG.PR.C FixedReset -1.09 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2013-12-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.41
Bid-YTW : 3.71 %
IAG.PR.A Deemed-Retractible -1.03 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 22.16
Bid-YTW : 6.19 %
NA.PR.M Deemed-Retractible 1.09 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2013-05-15
Maturity Price : 26.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.94
Bid-YTW : 3.15 %
MFC.PR.B Deemed-Retractible 1.11 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 21.93
Bid-YTW : 6.40 %
RY.PR.B Deemed-Retractible 1.16 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2015-08-24
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.30
Bid-YTW : 4.27 %
SLF.PR.F FixedReset 1.27 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2014-06-30
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.28
Bid-YTW : 4.16 %
FTS.PR.H FixedReset 1.54 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-24
Maturity Price : 23.50
Evaluated at bid price : 25.66
Bid-YTW : 3.05 %
BAM.PR.B Floater 1.66 % YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-24
Maturity Price : 14.67
Evaluated at bid price : 14.67
Bid-YTW : 3.60 %
Volume Highlights
Issue Index Shares
Traded
Notes
BNS.PR.N Deemed-Retractible 234,859 RBC crossed five blocks: 33,000, two of 60,000 each, 28,200 and 20,000, all at 25.77.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2017-01-27
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.85
Bid-YTW : 4.52 %
GWO.PR.H Deemed-Retractible 205,521 TD crossed 99,600 at 23.47 and 98,800 at 23.45.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 23.26
Bid-YTW : 5.84 %
BMO.PR.M FixedReset 93,795 Nesbitt crossed 75,000 at 26.10.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2013-08-25
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.11
Bid-YTW : 2.98 %
POW.PR.C Perpetual-Premium 92,701 Desjardins crossed 24,900 at 24.97; Nesbitt crossed 34,100 at the same price.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-24
Maturity Price : 24.69
Evaluated at bid price : 24.95
Bid-YTW : 5.85 %
BMO.PR.P FixedReset 79,978 TD crossed blocks of 50,000 and 25,000, both at 26.94.
YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2015-02-25
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.94
Bid-YTW : 3.23 %
CM.PR.D Perpetual-Premium 62,319 YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2012-04-30
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 24.99
Bid-YTW : 5.60 %
There were 45 other index-included issues trading in excess of 10,000 shares.
Wide Spread Highlights
Issue Index Quote Data and Yield Notes
IAG.PR.F Deemed-Retractible Quote: 25.85 – 26.59
Spot Rate : 0.7400
Average : 0.4682

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.85
Bid-YTW : 5.55 %

ELF.PR.G Perpetual-Discount Quote: 20.70 – 21.24
Spot Rate : 0.5400
Average : 0.3627

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-24
Maturity Price : 20.70
Evaluated at bid price : 20.70
Bid-YTW : 5.78 %

BAM.PR.N Perpetual-Discount Quote: 22.01 – 22.52
Spot Rate : 0.5100
Average : 0.3418

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Limit Maturity
Maturity Date : 2041-10-24
Maturity Price : 21.65
Evaluated at bid price : 22.01
Bid-YTW : 5.43 %

ENB.PR.A Perpetual-Premium Quote: 25.62 – 26.08
Spot Rate : 0.4600
Average : 0.3042

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2011-11-23
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 25.62
Bid-YTW : -14.18 %

IAG.PR.C FixedReset Quote: 26.41 – 26.74
Spot Rate : 0.3300
Average : 0.2176

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Call
Maturity Date : 2013-12-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 26.41
Bid-YTW : 3.71 %

SLF.PR.G FixedReset Quote: 24.37 – 24.75
Spot Rate : 0.3800
Average : 0.2681

YTW SCENARIO
Maturity Type : Hard Maturity
Maturity Date : 2022-01-31
Maturity Price : 25.00
Evaluated at bid price : 24.37
Bid-YTW : 3.89 %

New Issue: BAM FixedReset 4.80% + 296

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Brookfield Asset Management has announced:

that it has agreed to issue 7,000,000 Preferred Shares, Series 30 on a bought deal basis to a syndicate of underwriters led by CIBC, RBC Capital Markets, Scotia Capital Inc. and TD Securities Inc. for distribution to the public. The Preferred Shares, Series 30 will be issued at a price of $25.00 per share, for aggregate gross proceeds of CDN$175,000,000. Holders of the Preferred Shares, Series 30 will be entitled to receive a cumulative quarterly fixed dividend yielding 4.80% annually for the initial period ending December 31, 2017. Thereafter, the dividend rate will be reset every five years at a rate equal to the 5-year Government of Canada bond yield plus 2.96%.

Holders of Preferred Shares, Series 30 will have the right, at their option, to convert their shares into cumulative Preferred Shares, Series 31, subject to certain conditions, on December 31, 2017 and on December 31 every five years thereafter. Holders of the Preferred Shares, Series 31 will be entitled to receive cumulative quarterly floating dividends at a rate equal to the three-month Government of Canada Treasury Bill yield plus 2.96%.

Brookfield Asset Management Inc. has granted the underwriters an option, exercisable until 48 hours prior to closing, to purchase up to an additional 3,000,000 Preferred Shares, Series 30 which, if exercised, would increase the gross offering size to $250,000,000. The Preferred Shares will be offered in all provinces of Canada by way of a supplement to Brookfield Asset Management Inc.’s existing short form base shelf prospectus dated June 7, 2011.

The net proceeds of the issue will be used for general corporate purposes.

Given that BAM agreed on October 19 to take up 30% of the $588-million BIP.UN new issue, I suggest that it’s not too hard to figure out what those “general corporate purposes” might be!

Update: Provisional Pfd-2(low) from DBRS.

Update, 2011-11-14: Finalized Pfd-2(low) from DBRS.