.- Mother Of All Bubbles Pops, Mess Ensues (Testosterone Pit, July 9, 2013):
The asset bubbles the Fed’s money-printing and bond-buying binge has created are spectacular, the risk-taking on Wall Street with other people’s money a sight to behold. Among the big winners were mortgage Real Estate Investment Trusts – and those who got fat on extracting fees. But now the pendulum is swinging back, and the bloodletting has started.
Mortgage REITs are highly leveraged. They borrow short-term in the repo market at near-zero interest rates, thanks to the Fed, then turn around and buy long-term government-guaranteed mortgage-backed securities issued by bailed-out Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. Along the way, they issue more stock and borrow even more. By distributing 90% of their profits, they avoid having to pay income taxes. Hence double-digit dividends. A phenomenal business model. Instead of getting their hands dirty in the real economy, they manufacture dividends, fees, and all sorts of goodies for insiders – while the party lasts.
But now the Fed, leery of the risks these drunken partiers were taking on, knocked on the door of that party and threatened to crash it. Annaly Capital Management, the largest mortgage REIT with $126 billion in assets as of March 31, dropped 34% from its September high to $11.53 on Wednesday; most of it since mid-March. American Capital Agency, the second largest, is even better: its entire history is linked to the Fed’s zero-interest-rate policy and money-printing binge.
Continue reading »
Tags: Ben Bernanke, Bonds, Bubble, Collapse, Debt, Economy, Fed, Federal Reserve, Global News, JPMorgan, Quantitative Easing, U.S.