Large MLP Global Partners (NYSE:GLP) has priced a new fixed-to-floating rate issue with an initial coupon of 9.75%—WOW. After 8/15/2023 the issue will trade with a coupon of 3 month Libor plus a spread of 6.774%. This coupon is much higher than we thought it would be and one wonders why it is this high.
Regardless we will do some more due diligence and consider a purchase of this issue.
Thus far no OTC Grey market has been announced.
The issue is cumulative and the distributions will NOT be qualified distributions. A K-1 will be issued for this issue at tax time.
According to the Spark Energy (NASDAQ:SPKE) website the company should announce earnings late Thursday or early Friday and I wanted to make sure investors were positioned correctly for the release in case of ‘surprises’.
Recall that Spark announced earnings which were not well received by investors last quarter and shares of the Spark Energy 8.75% fixed to floating rate preferred shares fell sharply as shown on the chart below.
The company has given no forewarning of poor earnings and has declared both preferred and common dividends for next quarter already on 7/19.
We do note that the common shares fell by 8% today although the preferred shares closed at $23.77–up 7 cents.
As we had previously conveyed we had owned a very large position in the preferred shares (NASDAQ:SPKEP) which we cut back to normal weighting when we were able to exit some shares with a 3-4% profit.
In our opinion investors should not be overweight these preferreds going into the earnings as any upside to preferred price is likely extremely limited–but downside could be great if there are negative surprises.
Last week the only ‘excitement’ in the bond markets was when a ‘rumor’ of Japanese changes to their quantitative easing program spooked investors sending the yield on the U.S. 10 year treasury up 6-8 basis points to the 2.98% area. Simply put if Japanese interest rates rise investors will buy more bonds in Japan and cut back on U.S. purchases.
Well the governor of the Bank of Japan has pretty much put that rumor to rest today announcing that the QE program will go on for the next year.
Of course Japan has a huge problem in that they can’t juice the economy no matter what they try—the rapidly aging population of Japan simply won’t do what the government wants–spend. Of course this is a cultural issue that has been in play for many years. So with no inflation and thus no rising wages it is pretty hard to get the economy moving.
As all readers know we love term preferreds from CEFs –in particular those from Kayne Anderson MLP Investment Fund (NYSE:KYN) and Tortoise MLP Fund (NYSE:NTG) which have issued solidly investment grade senior securities (preferred stock and all debt are senior securities in the closed end fund world) over the years.
Over time the term preferreds from these issuers have ‘matured’ with their mandatory redemption feature leaving us with only 1 lonely issue with a mandatory redemption on 4/15/2020. The remaining issue is the Kayne Anderson MLP Investment Fund 3.50% Series F Mandatory Redemption Preferred Shares (NYSE:KYN-F). The issue became optionally redeemable in 2016. Dividends are qualified and are cumulative. The company is required to have an asset coverage ratio on the senior securities (debt and preferreds) of 200% and most recently the coverage ratio was 294%.
Why would you as an investor be interested in a piddling 3.50% coupon? It is simply the safety the issue provides as it pays a very reliable 3.50% in monthly payments. Call it a cash proxy if you would like.
KYN-F is now selling right around $25 for the first time in over 2 years–in fact today a large sell order dropped the price to $24.76 before it recovered to close at $25.02.
The price of this preferred should be pegged right at $25 for the next 20 months–no matter the level of interest rates or the strength of the economy.
The price action of the issue has been as it would be if the issue was going to be redeemed–and maybe it will be, but there is little–if any–chance of financial loss if an investor buys shares in the $25 to $25.05 area as the monthly dividend is 7.3 cents/share and holding them all the way to redemption (whenever it shall come) will provide a modest–but ultra safe return. Any price below $25/share should be bought if possible by ultra conservative investors and those looking for a super safe home for cash potentially for the next 20 months.
We should note that Kayne Anderson is trying to merge the Kayne Anderson MLP Fund with the Kayne Anderson Energy Development Fund and the recent price action of the term preferred may be because of this potential merger.
Disclosure–we are overweight a bunch of this with a holding of 1942 shares.
So we got through the last week without much excitement at all–the most excitement being provided by rumors of Bank of Japan tweaking their QE program which sent the 10 year up by 6-8 basis points. GDP Friday at 4.1% was apparently about what was expected as it didn’t do much of anything to the stock or bond markets. The 10 year treasury traded in a range of 2 basis points on Friday–as we expected there were excuses for traders to credit “one offs” for the strong growth numbers and thus the strong number was somewhat ignored. Apparently strong soybean shipments to China accounted for near 1% of growth getting ahead of the Chinese tariffs–I guess if that is the case it would signal a shortfall next quarter (or so it would seem).
This week we have Pending Home Sales on Monday–month over month is expected to be up a tiny bit and year over year is expected to be down 6%. Tuesday we have Personal Income released–it is expected at .4% month over month and the Case/Shiller Home Price Index which is expected to be up 6.8% year over year–of course we know it will be plenty high, but our bet it is at/near the peak as potential buyers are running out of juice to fuel these increases–not enough income growth. On Wednesday we have the ISM (Institute of Supply Management) Prices Paid which will give us an indication of potential inflation moving through the manufacturing sector. Also we have the Purchasing Manager Index being released. On Thursday we have Factory Orders being released and on Friday we have all the Employment Reports being released. Consensus is looking for 195,000 new jobs being created with an unemployment rate of 3.9%. Year over year hourly earnings are expected to be up 2.7%–which is part of the reason housing is softening as those in the middle and lower income simple don’t have the money to get into houses.
We don’t think that any economic reports will have the ability to move markets this week (much) until the employment reports on Friday–and even those numbers likely won’t move markets for longer than 6 hours or so–since that seems to be how long it will take before a new topic will capture the moment.
The Fed Balance Sheet fell by a fairly large $14 billion last week which is an above average “run-off” of government bonds and mortgages. This serves to help keep interest rates from falling much from current.
Last week we had 2 new income issues priced. 1st off regional banker KeyCorp priced an investment grade issue (per Moodys–1 notch below IG from S&P) with a coupon of 5.65%. Now trading on the OTC Grey market with a ticker of KYYCP. Shares are trading quite weakly at $24.72 as we thought it might.
AT&T sold an issue of baby bonds with a coupon of 5.625%–with a maturity date out in 2067. The new issue sent the older TBB issue which carries a 5.35% coupon tumbling.
The ticker for the new issue has not yet been announced.
The average share price of a $25 preferred fell last week by 8 cents to $25.17–we didn’t analyze this move lower, but it is possible that ex-dividend dates played a role. There are 161 issues now trading below $25/share.
Lastly we had 2 calls by Bank of America of preferreds. The BML-I issue, left over from the Merrill Lynch acquisition, with a coupon of 6.375% has been called and the BAC-D issue with a coupon of 6.20% was also called. Also Wells Fargo has finally called the WFC-J issue which carried a 8% coupon–this issue was left over from the Wachovia merger and was 1st redeemable 12/2017.
Well the time has arrived for the release of the only economic number of the week that could have moved the markets–but it has now been talked about so much that it is likely to be a minor blip, at the most, on stock and bond markets.
Predictions have ranged from growth of 3.5% to over 5%. Almost everyone who predicts these things says this is a ‘one off’ show of strength.
Seems to us that only a very large miss from the expected range is likely to be meaningful–a 2% growth rate or a 6% rate for instance would probably move markets but something in the 3.5% to 5% range will be a big yawn.
The 10 year is trading at 2.98% this morning so a number in the high end of the range could push rates over 3%, but since every prediction includes the statement that this is a one off we think the likelihood of a big move is quite remote at this time.
Business Development Company (BDC) Saratoga Investment (NYSE:SAR) has a newer investor presentation which was recently released.
We highlight this presentation because Saratoga has had baby bonds outstanding which many income investors have had in their portfolio. Currently they have 1 issue outstanding with a coupon of 6.75% and a maturity date in 2023–ticker symbol is SAB and it can be found here. This issue has an early redemption starting in December, 2019.
Finally after more than 25 days of being stuck in the 2.80s the 10 year treasury note finally jumped today to close at 2.96%. It only took unconfirmed reports that the BOJ (Bank of Japan) would consider toning down the Quantitative Easing program in that country.
Of course the QE program in Japan makes the Fed QE program look like child’s play. The BOJ owns near 100% of their GDP in government and corporate bonds, ETFs, REITS and other sorts of assets. If the FED balance sheet looked like the BOJ balance sheet it would have near $16 trillion in assets instead of $4.3 trillion.
Of course comparing the central banks of Japan with the U.S. is an exercise in silliness. Their 10 year bond hit a high of .09% today—and in the past the BOJ would begin asset purchases if the 10 year hit .10 or .11%. This is really silliness since there is little inflation in Japan and the ability of the BOJ to stimulate economic growth is near non existent in a county where the median age is near 47—savers not spenders.
Regardless of the minimal level of interest rates in Japan any increase in Japanese interest rates is likely to drive U.S. rates higher as the Japanese investor is more likely to desire to buy Japanese bonds instead of U.S. bonds.
Since this entire ‘story’ was from ‘unnamed sources’ we will watch in the days ahead to see if any official news comes from the BOJ.
KeyCorp has priced a new fixed rate preferred issue with a somewhat miserly coupon of 5.65%.
The new issue will be non-cumulative, but dividends will be qualified for preferential tax treatment. The issue will be optionally redeemable in 12/2023.
The new issue permanent ticker symbol is KEY-J when big board trading begins. In the meantime the issue will trade on the OTC Grey Market under the temporary ticker symbol of KYYCP.
My best guess is that investors will be able to buy the issue on the OTC market for $24.85-$24.90. It is likely the issue will trade in the $25.25-$25.50 area once the issue trades on the NYSE for a month.
KeyCorp is a large regional bank with assets of over $137 billion. They are headquartered in Cleveland and serve a 15 state area.
Banking company Keycorp (NYSE:KEY) will be selling a new fixed rate preferred issue. Of course being a banking company the new issue will be non-cumulative. The new ticker is KEY-J. The OTC Grey Market ticker will be KYYCP.
Details of the new issue have not yet been announced.
The company has a fixed-to-floating rate issue outstanding right now that has a coupon of 6.125% and is not redeemable until 2026. These shares are trading very strongly in the $26.88 area.
The ‘dog days of summer’ continue with the DJIA trading in a range of just over 200 points last week. With super earnings being reported by many companies in the 2nd quarter there have been individual movers, but overall equity markets are pretty quiet. Even quieter than the equity markets has been the 10 year treasury market with the yield on this note trading in a range of 2.83% to 2.90% with a weekly close of 2.89%. It has now been 2 months since the 10 year treasury closed at 3% or higher.
For the coming week we have a limited number of major economic reports being released. Today we have Existing Home Sales and on Wednesday we have New Home Sales. As usual neither of these reports will have any impact on markets, but they could be interesting as last week we had Housing Starts and Building Permits reported and both were weak numbers. On Thursday we have Durable Goods Orders being reported. Friday we have the 1 potentially market moving report being released and that is the 1st read on 2nd quarter GDP. This is forecast at a very strong 4%, although the Atlanta Fed GDPNow forecast is at 4.5%. Seems to us that if these numbers are attained they may well move the 10 year treasury somewhat higher–in a more traditional/normalized economy the movement would be large–in this global economy buyers continue to love the 10 year yield so the affect is likely to be muted.
The Fed Balance Sheet remained dead flat last week with no runoff nor purchases to speak of–less than a billion.
Last week Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) sold a new fixed rate non cumulative preferred issue and we believe they will use the proceeds to call one of their older higher coupon issues–most likely BML-I which is a 6.375% issue which is from the Merrill Lynch acquisition and has been redeemable since 2010. The other older issue is the 6.20% issue BAC-D which became redeemable in 2011. The new issue is large enough to call 1, but not both issues. The new issue is trading on the OTC Greg Market under ticker BKAML and closed Friday at $25.07.
The new BAC issue has a coupon of 5.875% and will have a permanent ticker of BAC-K. It is not of interest to us, but for conservative investors it would be a reasonable holding.
Energy Transfer Partners (NYSE:ETP) sold a new fixed-to-floating rate preferred last week with an initial coupon of 7.625%. As one reader noted they felt as though they were ‘thrown’ under the bus as the MLP had just sold a 7.375% fixed-to-floating rate preferred in April and the older issue fell from $25.60 to $24.80 on the news of the new issue.
The new issue is trading on the OTC Grey Market under the ticker ETPZF and closed Friday at $25.00. We did take a small position at $24.80 in personal accounts and the Enhanced High Yield Portfolio.
The average preferred share closed at $25.25 last week which was a couple pennies higher than the week before. There are 149 issues trading at $25.00 or below which is 4 issues more than the week before.
As noted by some of our readers Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) has sold a new con-cumulative preferred issue with a fixed rate coupon of 5.875%.
As is usual with Bank of America (or any of the massive banks) the issue is large with 34,000,000 shares being offered.
The terms are the normal banking terms–non-cumulative, qualified dividends and quality payments. The issue begins the optional redemption period in July, 2023.
The issue is trading on the OTC Grey Market under the temporary ticker of BKAML and was recently priced at $25.10
The company has stated they may call other preferred issues with the proceeds and this issue is large enough to call either the BML-I issue which carries a 6.375% coupon or the BAC-D issue which has a 6.20% coupon. Both are now redeemable and trading at slight premiums to call prices ($25 plus accrued dividends).
Wow–talk about flying. MLPs today as a group are up 3% and some of the pipeline companies are up over 20%.
While we don’t hold much in terms of energy we do have a few hundred shares of the Alerian MLP ETF (NYSE:AMLP) and it is up a nice 3%. We also have a small position in Enbridge Energy Partners (NYSE:EEP) which is up 7%.
The Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC), which had changed a rule in March from allowing to disallowing pipeline MLPs from adding a fee to their services for income taxes (which meant MLPs were slaughtered at that time), has now reversed the ruling. Pipeline companies can now add a reasonable fee to recapture taxes.
Sometimes an investor just gets ‘lucky’—sometimes luck is better than any skill.
Well the 10 year treasury has spent the whole month of July in he 2.80’s% and we would not be surprised to see the trend continue, although rates are trading at the 2.88% level right now.
I think it is becoming pretty obvious that interest rates in the U.S. will stay fairly low–until they don’t. As silly as this sounds when you are competing against foreign securities that are essentially still yielding nothing certainly there should be reasonable demand. I mean the German 30 year is at 1.01%–who the heck wants to lock in 30 years for 1%?
As we mentioned on Monday individual economic news items used to have the power to move markets, but that seems to no longer be the case. Yesterday we had housing numbers that were really lousy–no huge surprise. It isn’t interest rates, but when there is very little in the way of wage increases for a large chuck of the population something has to give. If the “haves” want to build a new custom house they need to sell their current house–a typical buyer being the “have nots”. Housing prices are too high for many to purchase–in spite of high employment and solid consumer spending paying $180,000 for a small 1,300sf rambler in our little town is out of reach for most folks. We believe that generally speaking housing prices have peaked–not everywhere likely, but in the midwest.
The Philly Fed manufacturing report today came in very strong–the overall economy is still ramping up a bit. The Philly Fed report also showed a good bit of inflation—and inflation as measured by the CPI is one item that could move markets. Thus far CPI has been tame and may well continue to be tame, but a surprise 3% year over year print would throw markets (equity and bonds) for a loop.
For now we continue to sit back and collect dividends and interest since we are so busy at our ‘real work’ that we have no choice. We look forward to January when I have decided to start drawing my social security (and Medicare in November) and will have the option to do what I love (writing and publishing) instead of what I feel I have to do given the cost of our health insurance.
Once again we are having a day without much noise–at least in the equity and bond markets.
Today no matter which channel we turn on for background noise all we hear is Trump/Putin talk. We don’t really care to hear this ongoing drone from everyone–we just turn the channel–or better just turn the tube off and crank up some music.
We do notice some individual issues getting smacked around–like Netflix. Once again it makes no difference to us. We so seldom own common shares that we are becoming hardened to movements in common shares—we only care about those 500 or 1000 point moves in the DJIA that have the potential to drag down all issues–including the issues we own.
We did make a tiny purchase of the new Energy Transfer Partners 7.625% fixed-to-floating rate preferred (OTC:ETPZF)–and by tiny we mean 100 shares. We could add in the future, but as most know we are not really buyers of perpetual preferreds, although we are becoming more open to tiptoeing into a few.
Interest rates today are doing absolutely nothing. The 10 year treasury has traded in a range of less than 2 basis points today. The dog days of summer are certainly here.
As anticipated and noted by readers Energy Transfer Partners (NYSE:ETP) has priced their new fixed-to-floating rate preferred with an initial coupon of 7.625%.
The coupon will be fixed until 2023 after which it will float at a rate of 3 month Libor plus a spread of 4.738%. While the initial coupon is fine the spread on the floating portion could be a bit higher–but it is what it is.
The issue will trade with the permanent ticker of ETP-D. The issue will start trading today under the temporary OTC Grey Market ticker of ETPZF.
Giant MLP Energy Transfer Partners (NYSE:ETP) has announced intentions to issue a new Fixed-to-Floating rate preferred stock issue.
Details of the issue have not yet been announced.
ETP had just sold a f-t-f issue in April with an initial coupon of 7.375% which can be found here. The issue had been trading strong at $25.60/share until the new issue was announced this morning and it is now trading at $25.00.
Last week was a relatively positive week with the DJIA having a low of 24,518 and a high 25.043 — with a close near the high of 25,019 with shares moving higher based on optimism for announcements of higher earnings in the weeks ahead. Interest rates didn’t act in the manner that would normally be expected (would expect higher rates with positive stocks) as the 10 year interest rate traded in a range of 2.83% to 2.87% before closing the week at 2.83%.
For the coming week we have the Trump-Putin summit happening on Monday. We don’t think this has much meaning economically speaking. Retail Sales are also announced Monday. Tuesday we have Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization. On Wednesday we have Mortgage Applications, Housing Starts and Building Permits – none of which on their own have the ability to move markets, but may give some economic hints for the next few months. Also on Wednesday is the release of the Fed Beige Book and this may be somewhat enlightening for the future–but it isn’t going to move markets. Thursday brings the Philly Fed Manufacturing Survey as well as the weekly jobless claims. It is interesting that I can remember a time when any one of these items could have moved markets, but for the most part those days are gone. With the 24 hour news cycle and political considerations on a global basis there are so many items to digest that no single item of economic data any longer dominates markets–all of which are fine with us. We are always most happy to simply collect dividends and interest as markets remain in Goldilocks mode.
Last week the Fed balance sheet grew by $2 billion so there was no added pressure on interest rates from run off which had been running quite strong the last few weeks.
Last week we didn’t have any new income issues announced–the dog days of summer are upon us in many ways and new issuance is one of them. We did have 1 new issue start trading and that was the Priority Income Fund term preferred issue. The issue should be trading today under the permanent ticker (PRIF-A) after closing last week at $24.45.
The average $25 preferred stock last week was off 1 penny with 145 issues now trading under $25/share compared to 140 the prior week.
So with the dog days upon us we will be most likely passively watching the markets. We continue to be buried with our real estate work, although normally it would be quite slow as August approaches–we would be most happy to have a break from 7 day a week appraisal work.
We have disliked the company since they came public back in 2014. What we have most disliked about the company was the pricing of the shares (over valued) and the carnival barker like management team–in particular Paul Pittman.
Whether the accusations on Seeking Alpha are true or not is for others to worry about as we have no dog in this fight.
We had pondered purchases of the FPI-B preferreds if it reached a current yield of 7% or so, but that is now no longer a possibility. The only move we see here is a quick flip of the common or preferred for those that are nimble and don’t mind the risk. In these types of situations the initial reaction is almost always overdone.
In spite of trade tensions ramping up income securities are steady as interest rates are steady with stock prices falling off a bit. Thus far the tariffs announced are mostly just announced with just a small portion actually in effect, but we really need to see some progress in negotiating with China and the European Union.
We still believe that it is possible in the next month that we will get a sizable stock selloff because of the trade tensions–nervous nellies selling as more tariffs occur. Massive selling has already occurred in the ag markets, which we watch closely since we live in the midwest–there will be liquidations of farmland occurring at a faster and faster clip if prices don’t turn around by fall. We already are seeing some liquidations, but they are at prices that are fairly high for this type of a sale–investors remain in the hunt for land at a reasonable price and they are keeping values at levels which are lower, but only by a few percent.
The economy has now ramped up further as we see consumers stepping up to take down huge amounts of debt–this happens when consumers are overly confident of the future for their own financial situation.
The redemption will be $10,000,000 of the $46,000,000 outstanding so the majority of the issue will remain outstanding. The redemption will occur on 7/31/2018. It is likely that holders will receive a notice of a partial redemption of their shares.