|Bid||170.52 x 0|
|Ask||170.52 x 0|
|Day's range||168.50 - 172.28|
|52-week range||131.04 - 173.30|
|Beta (3Y monthly)||0.81|
|PE ratio (TTM)||16.90|
|Earnings date||13 Feb 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||0.07 (4.12%)|
|1y target est||221.84|
(Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. agreed to pay $20 million to settle an investor lawsuit accusing traders at the bank, along with 15 other financial institutions, of rigging prices for bonds issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.As part of the settlement, disclosed Friday in a court filing, Goldman Sachs will cooperate with investors in their case against the other banks. The firm also agreed to make changes to its antitrust-compliance policies related to bond trading. A federal judge in Manhattan must approve the settlement before it can take effect.Investors sued after Bloomberg reported in 2018 that the U.S. Department of Justice was investigating some of the world’s largest banks for conspiring to rig trading in unsecured government bonds.Goldman Sachs has turned over 71,000 pages of potential evidence, including four transcripts of chat-room conversations among its traders and some from Deutsche Bank AG, BNP Paribas SA, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch & Co., according to court papers filed Friday. The bank agreed to provide additional help, including deposition and court testimony, documents and data related to the bond market.Goldman Sachs isn’t the first to resolve the civil claims. In September, Deutsche Bank agreed to settle for $15 million. First Tennessee Bank and FTN Financial Securities Corp. agreed to a $14.5 million settlement later in September.Among the firms remaining as defendants in the case are Credit Suisse AG, Barclays PLC and Citigroup Inc.The case is In re GSE Bonds Antitrust Litigation, 19-01704, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in federal court in Manhattan at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at email@example.com, Steve StrothFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The global bond market rallied for a second consecutive day on Thursday in an awkward development for the growing chorus of voices that have cropped up the last few weeks contending that the synchronized global slowdown was over. From China to Germany, and from Cisco Systems Inc. to freight shipments, the latest data show it’s too soon to turn optimistic.In China, industrial output rose 4.7% in October from a year earlier, below the median estimate of 5.4%. Germany did post a surprise expansion in its gross domestic product for the third quarter, but that came with plenty of caveats. For one, the increase was only 0.1%, and the contraction for the second quarter was deeper than initially reported — negative 0.2% versus negative 0.1%. In the U.S., economists were passing around the latest Cass Freight Index for October, which fell 5.9% to mark its 11th consecutive year-over-year decline. This gauge has been around since 1995 and tracks freight volumes and expenditures by hundreds of companies in North America conducting $28 billion of transactions annually. More important, the compilers of the index noted in the latest survey that the index “has gone from ‘warning of a potential slowdown’ to ‘signaling an economic contraction.’” Cisco is not in the freight business, but comments by Chief Executive Officer Chuck Robbins late Wednesday after the computer company released fiscal second-quarter results echoed the sentiment in the freight industry. “Just go around the world and you see what’s happening in Hong Kong, you look at China, what’s happening in D.C., you’ve got Brexit, uncertainty in Latin America,” he said on a conference call with investors and analysts. “Business confidence suffers when there’s a lack of clarity, and there’s been a lack of clarity for so long that it’s finally come into play.”Maybe the global economy isn’t worsening, but it’s too soon to say an upswing is underway. Despite the sell-off in the bond market since September, yields are still showing caution. Yields on bonds worldwide as measured by the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index stand at 1.45%, which is closer to its all-time low of 1.07% in 2016 than last year’s high of 2.27% in November.AWASH IN MORE DEBTThe Institute of International Finance came out with its quarterly look at the mountain of global debt, concluding that it rose by about $7 trillion in the first half of the year to a record of just more than $250 trillion. That increase is more double the $3.3 trillion expansion for all of last year. It pegs global debt, which it sees expanding to $255 trillion by the end of the year, at a lofty 320% of global GDP. It’s no surprise that the world is awash in debt, but yields show there seems to be a dearth of it for the public because of massive purchases by central banks. As of October, the collective balance-sheet assets of the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, Bank of Japan and Bank of England stood at 35.7% of their countries’ total GDP, up from about 10% in 2008. Still, this is no time to be complacent. The IIF points out that much of the growth in debt has come in emerging markets, which is generally considered riskier than that of developed economies and where central banks are not doing things like quantitative easing. This could become an issue relatively quickly; the IIF pointed out that $9.4 trillion of bonds and syndicated loans from emerging markets come due by the end of 2021.CORPORATE CASH SHRINKSThe latest doubts about the strength of the economy kept the S&P 500 Index little changed for a second consecutive day. Perhaps that’s for the better because falling interest rates and bond yields are perhaps the single-biggest reason equities are up 23.4% this year in the absence of earnings growth. The second is probably share repurchases. But a new report from Societe General SA raises concern that the cash companies use to fund those buybacks is being depleted. “A boon for U.S. share buybacks” has left companies with less cash in their coffers, Societe Generale strategists Sophie Huynh and Alain Bokobza wrote in a report. Cash and money-market investments held by companies in the S&P 500 peaked in 2018’s first quarter on a per-share basis before falling 5.3% through the third quarter of this year, according to Bloomberg News’s David Wilson. S&P 500 companies have bought back the equivalent of 22% of their market value since 2010, the Societe Generale strategists noted in their report.CHILEAN CRISIS ENTERS NEW PHASEThe chaos in Chile, long known as the safest bet in Latin America, has become so bad that not even direct intervention by the nation’s central bank was able to reverse the slide in the peso. The currency fell about 1% Thursday, bringing its slide to 11.4% since mid-October. That’s the worst of the 31 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg and more than five times the next biggest loser, the Hungarian forint. What should have investors worried is that the peso depreciated even after the central bank announced a $4 billion currency swap program to ease liquidity in the market amid the worst civil unrest in a generation. “I don’t think it will help stop the sell-off in any way,” Brendan McKenna, a currency strategist at Wells Fargo, told Bloomberg News in reference to the swaps program. “There has to be some breakthrough on the political front for the currency to stabilize.” Foreign investors have been especially rattled since the government said Sunday that it backed plans to rewrite the constitution in response to four weeks of riots and protests in support of better pensions, wages, education and health care. If that were to happen, it’s possible the government would swing too far to the populist left to the detriment of the economy. FOLLOW THE CLIMATE CHANGE MONEYDespite the overwhelming evidence about climate change, there is still an alarming number of deniers. But if it was really all a big hoax or overblown, then why are the world’s biggest, most influential investment firms steering away from areas that are likely to be hit the hardest, such as the coasts? Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is considering real estate markets including Denver; Austin, Texas; and Nashville, Jeffrey Fine, a managing director at the firm’s merchant-banking division, said Thursday at a conference hosted by the NYU School of Professional Studies. Fine may not have specifically cited climate change, but according to Bloomberg News’s Gillian Tan, he did note that more companies and young people are moving away from the coasts. The Fed held its first conference on climate change last week in San Francisco, with one central bank official saying it has the potential to “displace people permanently” amid damaging wildfires in California and storms punishing the Eastern Seaboard. About 3 billion people — or some 40 percent of the world’s population — live within 200 kilometers (124 miles) of a coastline, according to Bloomberg News. It’s projected that by 2050 more than 1 billion will live directly at the water’s edge.TEA LEAVESThe idea that the U.S. consumer was strong and carrying the economy took a hit a month ago when Commerce Department data showed that retail sales in September fell unexpectedly. The 0.3% decline from August was directly opposite the 0.3% advance expected based on the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. That’s why Friday’s update from the government on October retail sales is so critical, especially heading into the holiday sales season. Economists are calling for a 0.2% rebound. Bloomberg Economics isn’t so optimistic, saying that decelerating wage growth suggests household demand will moderate. It is forecasting no change in spending. Although the headline number will get the attention, the smart money will be looking at sales among a control group that are used to calculate GDP and exclude food services, auto dealers, building-material stores and gas stations. By that measure, sales are seen rising 0.3% from no change in September.DON’T MISS Stock Investors Could Use a Refresher on the Basics: Nir Kaissar You Care About Earnings? The Stock Market Doesn’t: John Authers Too Many Young American Men Still Aren’t Working: Justin Fox Brazil’s Politics and Economics Are Growing Apart: Mac Margolis Matt Levine's Money Stuff: You Can Buy Almost All the StocksTo contact the author of this story: Robert Burgess at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Niemi at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Robert Burgess is an editor for Bloomberg Opinion. He is the former global executive editor in charge of financial markets for Bloomberg News. As managing editor, he led the company’s news coverage of credit markets during the global financial crisis.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Explore what’s moving the global economy in the new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Apple Podcast, Spotify or Pocket Cast.Mexico’s central bank cut the benchmark interest rate in a split vote among board members after inflation slowed to target and growth stumbled.The central bank, led by Governor Alejandro Diaz de Leon, voted 3-2 to reduce the key rate by a quarter point to 7.50%, in line with the estimate of 17 of 26 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The other two board members sought a half-point cut to 7.25%, in line with nine economists’ forecasts.Banxico, as the central bank is known, has every reason to extend its easing cycle, according to economists, amid very subdued inflation and growth and a stable peso. The only debate is over how quickly and how extensively it will cut, and today’s quarter-point reduction points to a more conservative stance.“They’re being prudent,” said Marco Oviedo, chief Latin America economist at Barclays. “The discussion isn’t about whether to cut but by how quickly.” Oviedo sees another rate reduction in December.Banxico said in the statement accompanying its decision that both inflation and growth for this year and next will likely be below previous forecasts, although core inflation has remained persistent.Interest rate cuts may be more important than ever now, as Mexican growth continues to disappoint both investors and the nation’s president. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has brandished the strong peso as a weapon against critics who worry he’s scaring investors. But an easing cycle that weakens the exchange rate and makes exports more attractive could help Mexico’s economy even more.“Banxico is being relatively dovish and signaling it will keep cutting rates, but in a cautious manner,” Delia Paredes, an economist at Grupo Financiero Banorte, said before the decision.In the previous decision, board members Gerardo Esquivel and Jonathan Heath, both nominated by Lopez Obrador, had voted for a deeper half-point cut than the majority.(Updates with analyst comment starting in fourth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Nacha Cattan in Mexico City at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Cancel at email@example.com, ;Juan Pablo Spinetto at firstname.lastname@example.org, Robert JamesonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Explore what’s moving the global economy in the new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Apple Podcast, Spotify or Pocket Cast.Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell stuck to his view that interest rates are probably on hold after three straight reductions, while signaling that the U.S. central bank could resume cutting if the growth outlook falters.“We see the current stance of monetary policy as likely to remain appropriate as long as incoming information about the economy remains broadly consistent with our outlook,” Powell told the congressional Joint Economic Committee Wednesday in Washington. “However, noteworthy risks to this outlook remain.”Powell, whose comments largely echoed his message on Oct. 30 after the Fed’s third rate cut this year, said slowing global growth and trade developments pose “ongoing risks.” He added that persistently low inflation could lead to an “unwelcome” slide in the public’s longer-run expectations of inflation.Powell said the Federal Open Market Committee cut the policy rate, which is now in a range of 1.5% to 1.75%, to support growth and move inflation back to the 2% target. He said the committee was prepared to respond to a “material reassessment” of its outlook, and the tone of his remarks suggest that downside risks for now outweigh the possibility of economic overheating.Explaining why wages haven’t moved up with the unemployment rate at 3.6%, Powell said it could be a sign that there is still slack in the labor market. “It also may be that the neutral rate of interest is lower than we have been thinking and that therefore our policy is less accommodative than we have been thinking. We are letting the data speak to us.”The comments suggest that the rate cuts this year weren’t entirely about insuring against a global slowdown, but also recalibrating interest costs to an economy where inflation has remained stubbornly low.High Bar“We continue to hear from him that they can run the economy with lower rates of unemployment than they thought they could,” said Michael Gapen, chief U.S. economist at Barclays Plc. “That underscores that they expect there to be a high bar to raising rates.”Asked if he meant to signal that policy was on hold through next year, Powell responded “I wouldn’t say that at all” before repeating the line from his opening remarks on policy likely to remain appropriate as long as the economy stays on track.“We do think monetary policy is in a good place, but we’re going to be watching very carefully incoming data,” he said.Yields on 10-year Treasury notes were steady around 1.87% following the testimony while U.S. stocks were higher in New York trading.Powell and the Fed have been relentlessly criticized by President Donald Trump, who has blamed the central bank’s policies, rather than the U.S.-China trade war, for a slowdown in the U.S. economy as he ramps up his 2020 re-election campaign.“We’re paying actually high interest. We should be paying by far the lowest interest,” Trump said Tuesday in New York, complaining that by shunning the negative interest rates deployed by other central banks, the Fed “puts us at a competitive disadvantage.”Negative RatesPowell told lawmakers that politics played no role whatsoever in the Fed’s policy decisions, which were based on the analysis of the data, adding that negative rates “would certainly not be appropriate in the current environment.”U.S. economic data have continued to show strength among households and financial conditions have eased with stocks touching record highs on Wall Street this month. Consumer sentiment improved for a third month in November, according to the University of Michigan’s preliminary sentiment index, while employers added 128,000 new jobs in October. Powell said the Fed expected some easing in the pace of job gains after last year’s strong pace.Manufacturing and business investment continue to lag. A gauge of U.S. manufacturing signaled the sector contracted for a third straight month with the weakest production level since the last recession.“The outlook is still a positive one. There is no reason this expansion can’t continue,” Powell said. “There is a lot to like about this rare place of the 11th year of an expansion and we’re certainly committed to doing what we can to extend it.”\--With assistance from William Edwards and Christopher Condon.To contact the reporter on this story: Craig Torres in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alister Bull at firstname.lastname@example.org, Vince GolleFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Former South African Reserve Bank deputy governor Daniel Mminele will be appointed chief executive of Absa, the BusinessDay newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing anonymous sources. Absa spokeswoman Phumza Macanda said the bank would not comment on speculation. Mminele, who retired as second-in-command at the central bank in June after serving more than 10 years there, would be Absa's first black chief executive if appointed.
Harvey Jones says these two banking stocks are very different in scale, but have one thing in common, a low, low valuation.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- A crown jewel of President Xi Jinping’s Made in China 2025 plan is faltering.Tsinghua Unigroup Co. is the business arm of the prestigious Tsinghua University, Xi’s alma mater. The company has been trying to establish itself as a leader in China’s nascent memory-chip industry since 2015, when it famously tried to acquire stakes in U.S. rivals Micron Technology Inc. and Western Digital Corp. Both advances were rejected amid concerns that U.S. regulators wouldn’t approve the deals on national-security grounds. Rebuffed abroad, Unigroup resolved to become a domestic champion and poured its resources into developing flash-memory technology. One of its subsidiaries, three-year-old Yangtze Memory Technologies Co., is already bringing its know-how to production. It’s impressive how fast the unit has developed despite lagging behind rivals in efficiency, Bernstein Research notes.Yet credit investors are getting nervous: Unigroup’s dollar bond due in 2023 has tumbled in recent days, and is now yielding more than 10%. Last week, the chipmaker hurriedly arranged a conference call to reassure investors that its finances were in good order. Surely an asset of such national strategic importance shouldn’t be trading like a junk-rated firm bordering on bankruptcy, management reasoned. A big question hanging over Unigroup is: Who’s its real daddy? As part of China’s university reform, which aims to separate academic institutions from business endeavors, Unigroup’s controlling shareholder Tsinghua Holdings Corp. has attempted to disentangle itself from the company multiple times. The latest rout comes amid a protracted custody battle.Naturally, debtholders shudder every time speculation swirls about Unigroup’s ownership. Last year, its bonds tanked after Tsinghua agreed to sell its shares to an obscure state-owned entity in the second-tier city of Suzhou, only to recover a month later when the university opted for the cash-rich Shenzhen government instead. The bonds plummeted yet again in recent months when Tsinghua abandoned the Shenzhen deal. Then in a conference call last week, Zhao Weiguo, the holding company’s chairman, said Unigroup should remain under the Tsinghua University umbrella, making multiple references to the wishes of the “paramount leader.” For anyone in doubt, that’s Xi.Figuring out who’s holding the purse strings is particularly important for Unigroup, because like all chipmakers it needs billions of dollars in capital outlays. Industry leader Samsung Electronics Co., for example, splashed out about $25 billion annually in capital expenditure over the past five years. Yangtze Memory, Unigroup’s flash-memory business, has already spent more than 20 billion yuan ($2.86 billion) on a new plant in Wuhan and earmarked $30 billion in total spending there. The key difference is that, unlike Samsung, the Yangtze subsidiary is behind on technology and unlikely to break even until 2022 at the earliest, estimates Barclays Plc. Money has to come from the outside. Sure, Unigroup is getting financial support from China’s various venture-capital-like guidance funds and has a big credit line from China Development Bank. But investors worry that’s not enough. Obscure state-owned entities, and even Tsinghua University itself, don’t have pockets deep enough to bankroll Unigroup as it ramps up production, they wager. Revenue at Unigroup rose 7.5% from a year earlier in the first half, but its Ebitda earnings tumbled 27% to a peanut-sized 1.5 billion yuan, driven by a sharp increase in research expenses. As of June, the company sat on 39 billion yuan of cash but had 58 billion yuan of interest-bearing debt due in the year ahead. By now, conspiracy theories abound explaining Tsinghua's decision to scrap its deal with Shenzhen, often considered China’s Silicon Valley. One explanation could be ego: Why would Xi allow his alma mater’s prized asset to be controlled by a mere local state-owned entity?Investors also question whether geopolitics is at play. If Tsinghua offloaded its stake to Shenzhen, Unigroup would become a bona fide state owned enterprise, making it vulnerable to operations restrictions — from intellectual property transfer to preferential taxation — if China strikes a broader trade deal with the U.S. If Unigroup remains under the umbrella of a non-profit university, on the other hand, it could still develop its chip capacity within a gray zone. The naive might argue that Beijing can’t possibly let Unigroup go under. That may well be the case; but as I’ve written, an unhealthy undercurrent is forming in China’s bond market. Increasingly, distressed companies are pushing for quiet deals with institutional investors to delay repayment dates. This is perhaps why investors got even more nervous when news surfaced that Unigroup had asked Credit Suisse Group AG for its help to amend and extend some bank loans. Pinched by the trade war, China is now eager to become self-sufficient, and semiconductors are certainly a good place to start. Last year, China’s trade deficit in chips continued to widen to $228 billion, more than double levels from a decade earlier. But if you think Tsinghua Unigroup will emerge a clear winner from this, think again. As we’ve seen in the past, national service doesn’t necessarily get you a glittering credit score, with local government financing vehicles and regional banks alike now languishing with junk ratings. Unigroup investors would do well to remember that they can't take Xi’s school spirit to the bank. To contact the author of this story: Shuli Ren at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachel Rosenthal at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Shuli Ren is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Asian markets. She previously wrote on markets for Barron's, following a career as an investment banker, and is a CFA charterholder.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The global stock market drifted lower on Monday, posting its biggest decline in more than three weeks. Yes, there’s still plenty of time for equities to recover and gain for a sixth consecutive week, which would match their longest winning streak since they advanced for 10 consecutive weeks over the course of late 2017 and early 2018. But doing so may hinge on a critical event Tuesday. Even with the modest decline, the MSCI All-Country World Index is still up 19% this year. The surge in recent weeks is due largely to optimism that the U.S. and China are close to reaching an agreement on “phase one” of a broad trade deal. It doesn’t matter that the details are likely to be modest; what matters is that it would signal that the trade war isn’t worsening. That’s why President Donald Trump’s address to the Economic Club of New York on Tuesday is so critical. No one is quite sure which Trump will show up. Will it be the one who in recent weeks has trumpeted progress in trade talks, or will it be the one who has said that the U.S. hasn’t agreed to a rollback of tariffs on China, which is what the markets truly want? This is no small matter for investors. Various surveys have shown that trade uncertainty is the primary risk facing markets. In that sense, whatever Trump says on Tuesday has the potential to either ratify the rally or bolster the case that it’s built on little more than hope. And as everyone in markets learns on their first day in the business, hope isn’t a strategy. “Markets have been skittish waiting for any concrete information about the trade talks,” Matt Forester, the chief investment officer at BNY Mellon’s Lockwood Advisors, told Bloomberg News. At 15 times forecast earnings for the following year, the MSCI is trading at its most expensive level since the start of 2018.Trump’s talk is not the only big event for markets this week. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will address the Joint Economic Committee of Congress on Wednesday, the same day as the start of public impeachment hearings against Trump. The U.S. Labor Department will also provide an update on inflation for October. The week ends with data on U.S. retail sales for October, which economists hope will be a reversal from September’s big miss to the downside. But as already stated, hope has no place in markets.THE BOND GAME ISN’T OVER YETThe bad news for the bond market is that November isn’t even halfway over and it’s already the worst month for fixed-income investors since April 2018, with the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index down 1.40% as of Friday. The good news is that there’s plenty of time for the bond market to rebound. And just as with the stock market, Trump’s appearance at Economic Club of New York — along with Powell’s testimony — may determine whether the recent sell-off in fixed-income assets is overdone. That’s the short-run prognosis. In a nod to John Maynard Keynes, bonds are dead in the long run anyway. Well, at least according to Moody’s Investors Service they are. The credit ratings company put out a research report Monday saying the rising tide of populism spreading round the world has caused it to turn “negative” on global sovereign credit for 2020. Unpredictable domestic and geopolitical risks along with a push for populist policies that weaken institutions, help slow growth and boost the risk of economic and financial shocks means governments will struggle to address credit challenges, Moody’s wrote. That’s scary, but the major ratings companies aren’t known for their astute political science observations. Yields on 10-year Treasury notes are lower now than when S&P Global Ratings stripped the U.S. of its AAA rating in August 2011.GO BIG OR GO HOMEThe thing about bond sell-offs in recent years is that have tended to be short-lived, thanks largely to central banks. The collective balance sheet assets of the Fed, European Central Bank, Bank of Japan and Bank of England rose to 35.7% of their countries’ total gross domestic product in October from about 10% before the financial crisis, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. And judging by some of the latest moves made by the ECB, bond traders can be a little less worried about a lack of buyers. The ECB started its second round of corporate bond purchases by acquiring in a week an amount that analysts expected it to buy in a month, according to Bloomberg News’s Tasos Vossos. The central bank bought almost 2.8 billion euros ($3 billion) of company debt securities in the week to Nov. 8, according to data released Monday. It was the second-largest weekly purchase figure since the ECB first adopted the strategy, known as quantitative easing, in June 2016. The bank suspended the program last December and restarted it at the beginning of this month as growth flagged across the euro area. It’s unknown whether the faster pace of purchases is in response to the big drop in bond prices and corresponding jump in yields, but it should be comforting to know that the ECB is doing its part to stem the weakness.CHILE GIVES INIt’s becoming routine to see the Chilean peso leading the list of biggest losers in the foreign-exchange market on any given day, and Monday was no exception. The peso weakened 1.72% to a record low, bringing its depreciation since Oct. 18 to 6.39%. To put that into context, the next biggest loser among the 31 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg, the Argentine peso, has dropped just 2.48%. It’s well known by now that the populist movement that Moody’s warned about on Monday has erupted in Chile, where a wave of protests has disrupted the economy and government. The latest move lower in the peso came as the administration of President Sebastian Pinera said it would overhaul the constitution drawn up during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet to calm three weeks of mass protests. So why did the peso and Chile’s equity market, which fell 1.52%, take it so harshly? Many people regard the constitution, drawn up under the dictatorship of Pinochet, as the foundation of an economic system that privatized pensions and much of health care and education, a chief grievance of protesters, according to Bloomberg News’s Javiera Baeza and Eduardo Thomson. It also enshrined the strict legal safeguards to private property that are behind Chile’s water privatization, a controversial subject in a country struggling with severe droughts.NATURAL GAS STUMBLESThe natural gas market cares little about trade wars or populism. To traders there, it’s all about the weather. Natural gas futures slid the most since January as forecasts showed that a cold snap descending on the U.S. would peter out by the end of the month, curbing demand at the time of year when consumption of the heating gas usually surges, according to Bloomberg News’s Christine Buurma and Naureen S. Malik. Gas was the worst-performing major commodity Monday, tumbling as much as 6.1%. Temperatures will probably be mostly normal in the eastern half of the country Nov. 21 through Nov. 25 as an autumn chill fades, according to Commodity Weather Group LLC. Beyond the weather, the slide in natural gas underscores how record production from shale basins continues to weigh on the market even as exports soar and the power industry becomes more reliant on the fuel. Without a sustained Arctic chill this winter, stockpiles will remain above normal for the time of year, pressuring prices lower, according to Buurma and Malik. As they point out, hedge funds are adding to the bearish momentum, holding the largest short position since 2015 for the time of year.TEA LEAVESWhen the National Federation of Independent Business said a month ago that its small-business sentiment index for September fell to near the lowest level of Trump’s presidency, it noted that the part of the gauge measuring “uncertainty” plunged to its lowest since February 2016. “More owners are unable to make a statement confidently, good or bad, about the future of economic conditions,” the group said, with 30% of respondents reporting “negative effects” from tariffs. Don’t expect much improvement when the group provides an update on Tuesday. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg is for a reading of 102 for October, little changed from 101.8 in September. Bloomberg Economics points out that small-business activity has been moderating since the last report. Most notably, the ADP private employment survey indicated recently that net hiring has shrunk to half the pace that prevailed last year, to the slowest since 2011.DON’T MISS Buying Stocks at Records Works Until It Doesn’t: Robert Burgess Investors’ Global Turn Depends on Policy Hopes: Mohamed El-Erian Delaying the IPO Process Weakens Capitalism: Stacey Cunningham U.S. Economy Has Recovered, But Labor Market Hasn’t: Karl Smith The 2020 Economy Should Feel a Lot Better Than 2019: Conor SenTo contact the author of this story: Robert Burgess at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Niemi at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Robert Burgess is an editor for Bloomberg Opinion. He is the former global executive editor in charge of financial markets for Bloomberg News. As managing editor, he led the company’s news coverage of credit markets during the global financial crisis.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Demand for defensive stocks helped European shares recover from early losses on Monday as investors grappled with issues ranging from violent Hong Kong protests to an inconclusive Spanish election and weak data from China. After falling nearly 0.5% at one point, the pan-European STOXX 600 index closed flat, helped by a turnaround in bank shares and gains for sectors considered safer bets during times of economic uncertainty, such as food and beverage and real estate. London's FTSE 100 led declines among the major regional indexes with a 0.4% drop, while stocks in Frankfurt fell 0.2% and Paris rose 0.1%.
(Bloomberg) -- Recent losses in Treasuries, which crescendoed Thursday into one of the worst days since Donald Trump was elected president, look like a buying opportunity for many investors who have a grim view of the economy’s prospects.And it appears some are pouncing, with traders cashing out bearish wagers and buy-the-dip buyers rushing in. The rekindled interest in the safety of bonds nudged yields on the 10-year, which had climbed to a three-month high of 1.97% on Thursday, down to as low as 1.89% in early European trading Friday before bouncing back to around 1.94%. European bonds rebounded after French and Belgian yields had climbed above 0% Thursday.Signs of progress in U.S.-China trade talks have thrashed bonds for days, and the two countries agreed Thursday to roll back tariffs on each other’s goods if a deal is reached. The Treasury market has seen a huge turnaround since August, when fears that global growth is slowing prompted the biggest monthly rally since 2008.“Sentiment factors have shifted the needle quite quickly from, ‘Oh, it’s the end of the world,’ to ‘Wow, there are no problems,’ and that’s a massive overreaction,” Aberdeen Asset Management’s James Athey said in an interview this week with Bloomberg Television. The sell-off has “absolutely, without question” created a buying opportunity, particularly if the 10-year yield hits 2%, he said.The U.S. is the most attractive government-bond market to own, given that the dollar remains the world’s reserve currency and the Federal Reserve has the most room to cut rates before it gets to zero, “if you believe like I do that we’re headed to a recession,” Athey said.Athey was joined by Barclays Plc, which recommended investors enter long positions in five-year Treasuries, and JPMorgan, who said traders should bank the profits made by shorting their three-year counterparts.Money manager Raymond Lee at Kapstream Capital also expects the sell-off to be contained, saying there’s value in developed markets with positive bond yields such as the U.S.“I don’t expect to see two or three years of rates backing up in a sustained way,” he said in an interview in Singapore. “Yields may bounce around on headlines a bit, but inflation is still contained and rates are likely to stay low.”Option TradersFor some Treasury options traders, the sell-off was reason to scoop up profits on lucrative one-week bets that called the recent climb in yields. The trades were struck last week when the 10-year yield was around 1.70% and netted a profit of more than $40 million as the level breached 1.90% on Thursday.Diminished appetite for government debt is pushing the 10-year yield toward 2%, a level it hasn’t surpassed since Aug. 1. It’s also sent yields on French and Belgian 10-year securities above zero for the first time in months.Some are suggesting the sell-off hasn’t gone far enough. Bond valuations “still look rich,” particularly in Europe where negative yields are pervasive, said Scott Thiel, chief fixed-income strategist for BlackRock Investment Institute.As Athey sees it, trade policy wasn’t the biggest factor behind broader worldwide weakness in the past 12 to 18 months. Instead, China is undergoing a secular shift in the pace and make up of its growth that leaves the country “less impactful” on the global economy. There’s “really not much left in the engine of global economic growth at this stage,” he said.(Updates yield levels.)\--With assistance from Ruth Carson and John Ainger.To contact the reporters on this story: Vivien Lou Chen in San Francisco at email@example.com;Edward Bolingbroke in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Benjamin Purvis at email@example.com, Nick Baker, Boris KorbyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Standard Chartered joined some of its British rivals in cutting its chief executive's pension allowance on Friday after protests from shareholders, putting pressure on other banks such as Lloyds to follow suit. Standard Chartered said its CEO Bill Winters and Chief Financial Officer Andy Halford had agreed to have their pension allowances cut to 10% from 20% of their salary from January, putting them in line with the rest of its workforce in Britain. The bank's definition of 'total salary' includes both base salary and a fixed pay allowance paid in shares.
(Bloomberg) -- Treasuries tumbled Thursday as optimism about the prospect of a trade deal dented demand for bonds globally and led investors to trim bets on further Federal Reserve rate cuts.Signs of progress in U.S.-China trade talks helped push the 10-year Treasury yield up as much as 14 basis points, at one stage putting it on track for its biggest daily jump since Nov. 9, 2016. The yield reached 1.97%, a level unseen since early August, before paring its climb to around 1.92%. The 30-year rate topped 2.44%, also a three-month high, as the government auctioned $19 billion of the maturity.At the short-end, traders now doubt that the Fed will ease again at any point in the next two years. Policy makers have been signaling a pause after cutting rates for the third straight meeting in October, but traders had still been factoring some degree of easing as trade friction festered.Now, with apparent relief on that front, “we have a big shift in the 2020 outlook,” said Tom Simons, a money-market economist at Jefferies. “Long-end yields are blowing up, but look at fed funds futures too -- cuts aren’t in the picture any more.”In Europe, rates on benchmark 10-year French and Belgian securities climbed back above 0% for the first time in months, while globally the stock of bonds with sub-zero yields has shrunk to around $12.5 trillion, from about $17 trillion in August.The current mood is a stark contrast to a few months ago, when investors were willing to accept negative yields to insulate their portfolios from the economic harm of the trade war.With yield curves steepening of late, the market is signaling optimism that progress on the trade front and this year’s Fed rate cuts may have helped stave off a U.S. recession.The cheerier economic outlook is a threat to the Treasury market’s top-performing trade. U.S. government debt due in a decade or more has returned about 16% this year through Nov. 6, on pace for its biggest annual gain since 2014, according to a Bloomberg Barclays index. But the performance is now faltering, with the measure extending declines to a third straight month.\--With assistance from Tasos Vossos, James Hirai and Benjamin Purvis.To contact the reporters on this story: John Ainger in London at firstname.lastname@example.org;Katherine Greifeld in New York at email@example.com;Vivien Lou Chen in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Dobson at email@example.com, William Shaw, Mark TannenbaumFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Banks and fund managers want the European stock trading day shortened by 90 minutes in a radical move they say would improve market efficiency and staff wellbeing - but exchanges are split. The Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME), a banking industry body, and UK-based Investment Association (IA), which represents asset managers, said Europe had some of the longest trading hours in the world at 8-1/2 hours.
(Bloomberg) -- Explore what’s moving the global economy in the new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Pocket Cast or iTunes.Lebanon received some of the starkest warnings yet that a default and a deeper recession are increasingly a possibility as protests rock the nation.Moody’s Investors Service on Tuesday downgraded Lebanon deeper into junk for a second time this year, reflecting “the increased likelihood” of what may constitute a default under its definition. The World Bank, which earlier projected a small recession in 2019, now expects it “to be even more significant due to increasing economic and financial pressures.”Lebanon is in dire financial straits just as it succumbs to political paralysis and protests grip the country for a third week. The outcry already prompted the resignation last month of Prime Minister Saad Hariri. But the president has yet to set a date for the start of binding parliamentary consultations to name a new premier, raising concerns the country will be unable to implement measures urgently needed to avert economic meltdown.“The politics has the most attention, but economy has the most risks,” Saroj Kumar Jha, the World Bank’s regional director, said after a meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Wednesday. “With every passing day, the situation is becoming more acute and this would make recovery extremely challenging.”Lebanon has never defaulted on its obligations despite straining under one of the world’s biggest debt burdens, but the country has seen its credit risk soar as confidence crumbles in the government’s ability to cope with distress.Investors have turned away from Lebanon’s debt despite a package of emergency measures rolled out in October. Its Eurobonds are the world’s worst performers this year after those of Argentina. Their average yield has doubled to 21% since the start of 2019, according to a Bloomberg Barclays index.The nation’s currency peg, in place for more than two decades, is also coming under pressure as local businesses struggle to access dollars from banks at the official rate. After reopening last Friday following two weeks of closures, banks tightened informal restrictions on money transfers that were in place prior to the unrest, in an effort to curtail capital flight.Moody’s lowered Lebanon’s credit rating one level to Caa2 -- the fourth-lowest junk grade -- and said it remains on review for downgrade. Lebanon’s central bank retains a “usable foreign exchange buffer” of only about $5 billion to $10 billion, according to Moody’s. Just over a month ago, the rating company said its usable holdings were no less than $6 billion.Without new net inflows, the stockpile is now likely to be depleted by the government’s looming payments on external debt, estimated at $6.5 billion this year and next, Moody’s said.In an effort to boost liquidity and stave off possible downgrades, Lebanon’s central bank this week instructed local lenders to raise their capital by 20% by next June.Earlier, it also agreed to slash $2.9 billion in interest payments on its holdings of local currency-denominated government debt by waiving coupon payments. The proposal was part of a sweeping package of reforms that aimed to lower the budget deficit to 0.6% of gross domestic productProtesters are meanwhile keeping up the pressure on government officials as students led the demonstrations Wednesday, especially in the capital and outside state entities including the Education Ministry, the Judicial Palace and the electricity company. Thousands have been on the streets, demanding the resignation of a political class that they say has left the country on the verge of bankruptcy.The World Bank warned of the steep cost the crisis could inflict, saying poverty could rise to 50% should there be no immediate solution and if the economic predicament worsens. A third of the Lebanese were estimated to have been in poverty in 2018.“In the absence of rapid and significant policy change, a rapidly deteriorating balance of payments and deposit outflows will bring GDP growth to or below zero, further stoking social discontent, undermining debt sustainability and increasingly threatening the viability of the peg,” Moody’s analyst Elisa Parisi-Capone said.\--With assistance from Paul Wallace and Dana El Baltaji.To contact the reporters on this story: Justin Villamil in Mexico City at firstname.lastname@example.org;Dana Khraiche in Beirut at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Carolina Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org, Paul Abelsky, Amy TeibelFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Investors could make a million with the Barclays share price and the FTSE 100 if they have a long-term investment horizon, believes Rupert Hargreaves.
France's Societe Generale raised its capital ratio on Wednesday, giving its shares a lift despite a profit fall and some parts of its trading business lagging rival banks. SocGen shares were up 5% to 28.3 euros at 1102 GMT, making the bank's stock one of the top performers on France's CAC40 index, as investors focused on progress in areas such as the balance sheet. "We have achieved results very much in line with our objectives and priorities," Chief Executive Frederic Oudea said in a statement as SocGen said its common-equity tier-one ratio rose to 12.5% at the end of September.
Today, we'll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We'll look at Barclays...
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. regulators are investigating whether Barclays Plc violated securities laws after a former trader at the firm raised concerns about its marketing practices for certain bonds, according to legal filings.From September 2018 until this June, Barclays provided documents to the Securities and Exchange Commission in response to the agency’s probe, according to legal paperwork seen by Bloomberg News. The examination is preliminary and may not lead to any allegations of wrongdoing, said a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be named because the SEC review isn’t public.A Barclays spokesman in New York and an SEC spokeswoman declined to comment.The bank has previously attracted scrutiny from U.S. authorities over the way it sold bonds. Its role in selling securities backed by residential mortgages in the run-up to the financial crisis led to a $2 billion settlement with the Justice Department last year.The latest probe, involving bonds backed by commercial property sold in 2018, started after a complaint from a Barclays trader who was later fired from the bank. In a lawsuit filed in U.S. federal court in April over his termination, Brian La Belle, the former head of commercial real estate trading and distribution, alleged that the lender aggressively marketed a deal for bonds backed by hotels in a way that “could amount to securities fraud.”‘Improperly Altered’At Barclays, La Belle “witnessed a culture in which basic risk management and risk controls were flagrantly disregarded” and “serious compliance issues were ignored,” according to the lawsuit.According to legal filings, La Belle’s colleagues ignored his misgivings and feedback from potential investors that the debt load for an unnamed client was too large. He raised concerns that an independent report on the cost of upgrading hotels tied to the loan in 2018 “may have been improperly altered” following pressure from the bank to make the financing deal appear less risky, according to the lawsuit.La Belle defied the wishes of Barclays bankers and shared his views with investors, one of whom said the deal was “complete garbage,” according to his submissions to the court. The bank ultimately went ahead with the transaction.After raising the issues with Barclays, La Belle made complaints to several authorities including the SEC, legal documents show. La Belle was fired in August 2018 and is seeking $10 million in lost pay, arguing that his termination was a result of his whistle-blowing.Barclays has expanded its asset-backed offering under Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley, who has led the firm since 2015. The bank has recently assembled a team of over 140 to sell more securitized products, according to reports.(Adds date of deal in 5th paragraph and background on Barclays strategy in final paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Stefania Spezzati in London at email@example.com;Matt Robinson in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ambereen Choudhury at email@example.com, Marion Dakers, Keith CampbellFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- In the bond market, it can sometimes feel as if the more things change, the more they stay the same.Consider the following two articles about the massive amount of triple-B rated corporate debt:“A $1 Trillion Powder Keg Threatens the Corporate Bond Market” by Bloomberg News. The takeaway: “A lot of these companies might be rated junk already if not for leniency from credit raters. To avoid tipping over the edge now, they will have to deliver on lofty promises to cut costs and pay down borrowings quickly, before the easy money ends.”“Bond Ratings Firms Go Easy on Some Heavily Indebted Companies” by the Wall Street Journal. The takeaway: “Amid an epic corporate borrowing spree, ratings firms have given leeway to other big borrowers. … The buildup has fueled one of the most divisive debates on Wall Street: Will higher debt loads cause big losses when the economy turns?”The first one is from October 2018 and the second from a couple of weeks ago. That alone isn’t what’s most interesting — financial-market themes tend to repeat themselves, after all. Rather, it’s the fact that market appetite for those bonds on the brink of junk couldn’t be any more different between then and now, even though it’s clear that fears about ratings inflation and a huge wave of downgrades haven’t gone away.Around this time last year, Scott Minerd, global chief investment officer at Guggenheim Partners, made headlines by tweeting that “the slide and collapse in investment grade credit has begun,” starting with General Electric Co. No one seemed to want to own bonds rated just a step or two above junk — the Bloomberg Barclays triple-B corporate-bond index trailed the broad market in 2018 for just the second time since the financial crisis. I was willing to be contrarian after his comments, writing that investors shouldn’t fear a doomsday that everyone seems to think is coming.Still, the rapid change in sentiment through the first 10 months of 2019 has been nothing short of astounding. While there were signs of the tide starting to turn earlier this year, triple-B bonds have now returned 14.4% through Oct. 30, better than any other rating category. If the gains hold through the end of the year, it would be the triple-B market’s strongest performance since 2009, when it bounced back from its worst annual loss on record amid the financial crisis. Investors have either made peace with the risk of mass downgrades when the credit cycle turns, or they’ve just decided to ignore it and reach for yield when the Federal Reserve is cutting interest rates. Neither seems to be sustainable.It’s not as if the Wall Street Journal’s recent article is an outlier — CreditSights said in an Oct. 30 report that about $70 billion of triple-B corporate debt is at risk of falling to junk within the next 12 months, including household names like Kraft Heinz Co., Macy’s Inc. and Ford Motor Co. It’s not a question of whether so-called fallen angels become more prevalent, according to the analysts, it’s “when and how fast.”As for the “debt diet” that was supposed to happen this year, which would make triple-B companies less leveraged? In the aggregate, it’s been exactly the opposite. Fitch Ratings, in an Oct. 31 report, noted that triple-B corporate issuance is on pace to reach a record in 2019 after accounting for almost two-thirds of the $515 billion in bonds sold through the first nine months of the year. Triple-B securities make up half of the $5.8 trillion investment-grade corporate bond market, Bloomberg Barclays data show.But perhaps the most telltale sign of just how little investors seem to mind the “ratings cliff” between investment- and speculative-grade is how they’re gobbling up double-B bonds just as voraciously as triple-Bs. In fact, on Oct. 28, the spread between the two dropped to 43 basis points, a new low, according to Bloomberg Barclays data. At the start of 2019, it was as high as 172 basis points. Even though triple-B corporate bonds are having their best year in a decade, double-B debt isn’t far behind. This trend isn’t going to end overnight. Investors poured $2.3 billion into investment-grade bond funds in the week through Oct. 30, and an additional $940 million into high-yield funds, according to Lipper data. The sub-2% yield on 10-year Treasuries is probably still causing sticker shock to some investors, given that until a few months ago it hadn’t breached that level since President Donald Trump’s November 2016 election. For those in Japan and Europe, buying U.S. corporate bonds rather than Treasuries is sometimes the only way to avoid negative currency-hedged yields. Global and structural forces keep investors slamming the buy button in credit markets.Eventually, though, something has to give, as it always does. For now, corporate-debt buyers are content to just avoid triple-C rated securities. That includes Guggenheim investors led by Minerd, who said in a note this week that “now is not the right time” to add the riskiest junk debt, given the downside potential of more than 20%.The reasoning makes sense — triple-C rated companies are the most prone to default in an economic downturn. But in such a slump, triple-B companies would be vulnerable to downgrades. If investors were so sure last year that rating cuts would be too much for the high-yield market to bear, why wouldn’t they also stay away from triple-B bonds at this point?There’s no obvious answer. It’s just a reminder that total returns aren’t everything. Even though triple-B securities are the belle of the ball in credit markets this year, nothing much has truly changed.To contact the author of this story: Brian Chappatta at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Niemi at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Brian Chappatta is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering debt markets. He previously covered bonds for Bloomberg News. He is also a CFA charterholder.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.