Massive Preferred Stock Volume Last Week

It was amazing to note the massive volumes of preferred stocks being traded last week. Obviously a lot of re-balancing going on with funds.

We have a page where we watch volume of preferred issues and we highlight those with 3X the normal average volume Normally there are 5-10 issues each day with more than 3X normal average volume. On Friday there were 124 issues with over 3x normal volume.

We witnessed huge re-balancing going on back in December and prices moved sharply lower—this time values moved higher.

The volume page can be seen here until Monday morning when volumes will reset.

So Many Opportunities, So Little Time

It has been another amazing month for income investors (or flippers or dividend capture folks). We spend so much time working on this website that we can’t participate like we would like–oh well, I have fun just the same.

Preferreds and baby bonds just kind of keep creeping up–not always 25 cent jumps, but a few cents a day and then it is real money after a month.

The lousy European economy (and accompanying low interest rates) and what appears to be a softening U.S. economy have folks looking for a better yield with a decent amount of safety–partially explaining why all these new issues coming out mostly trade strongly–even though the coupons in many instances are pretty damned meager.

We had started the month of March off with 6 positions that we planned to hold only until today, but 5 of the 6 were sold prior to today and we locked down 1-2% gains on each of those issues. We don’t advocate or concentrate on ‘trading’ but the markets have brought all of us an opportunity to knock down some quick gains so why not take advantage of a situation that presents itself on a platter. It is likely that this ‘easy money’ will go away soon.

For some newer investors we want to outline-quickly and briefly, one method that we use to lock down some short term gains, while also fulfilling our ‘sock drawer’ (Gridbirds term I believe for a long term safe hold) needs.

NextEra Energy–the largest utility in the world recently sold a $25/share subordinated debenture issue with a coupon of 5.65%–maturity date in 2079 (data on the issue is here). Given that the company had other similar issues with much lower coupons (i.e. 5.25%) trading in the $25.40 area before the announced new issue the new issue seemed like a bargain. Given our best guess it seemed like the issue would have upside during the 1st month–thus we bought 200% of our normal position at $25.15. Today we sold 1/2 half the position for $25.50 and committed the balance to the ‘sock drawer’. This is how we ‘trade around’ a base position. Given the Goldilocks market we have been in this was an easy one–sometimes they don’t work so well–but this was a low risk move.

On another note over 100 issues (preferreds and baby bonds) went ex-dividend yesterday and today—maybe there is opportunity for those that have time to peruse these issues to see if some fell too much and are ‘on sale’.

Our ex-dividend calendar has been a God send in the regard–it allows some quick research on these things all in one place–we update it daily (or multiple times a day) so data is pretty fresh.

The ex-dividend calendar page is here.

The link on the above page will open a spreadsheet which you can have right in your own google account if you desire. If one wants their own copy that is fine–but we have to manually update this data so if you take a copy you will be responsible for your own updates.

IberiaBank Prices New Fixed-to-Floating Rate Preferred

IberiaBank (NASDAQ:IBKC) has priced their new fixed-to-floating rate preferred with an initial coupon of 6.10%.

The coupon will be fixed until 5/1/2024 after which it will float at a rate of 3 month Libor plus a spread of 3.859%.

The issue will pay semi-annual dividends until 5/1/2024 and once the issue reaches the floating rate period will pay dividends quarterly—the 1st dividend on the issue won’t be paid until 11/1/2019.

Dividends will be non-cumulative, but they should be qualified for preferential tax treatment.

The issue is rated BB by Standard and Poors and is unrated by the other ratings agencies.

The issue will trade immediately on the OTC Grey market under the temporary ticker symbol of IBBRL.

The permanent ticker once the issue moves onto NASDAQ will be IBKCN, but of course this can change if the exchange rejects the suggested ticker.

The pricing term sheet can be read here.

IberiaBank to Sell Fixed-to-Floating Preferred

Louisiana banking company IberiaBank (NASDAQ:IBKC) will sell a new issue of fixed-to-floating rate preferred stock.

Pricing and size of offering have not yet been released, but we know it will be non cumulative (since it is a bank) and the dividends will be qualified for preferential tax treatment.

We also know this issue will pay dividends just 2 times per year. While this is unusual for a $25/share preferred it is not unprecedented. IBKC had previously sold a preferred issue with semi-annual dividends. That issue can be seen here.

We note that dividends on the new issue will go to quarterly payments once it enters the floating rate stage. This is also true of the older issue noted above.

The preliminary prospectus on the new issue can be seen here.

The issue will not be rated as far as we can tell.

Oxford Square Prices Baby Bonds

Oxford Square Capital Corp (NASDAQ:OXSQ) has priced their new issue with a 6.25% coupon. The company has sold 1.7 million shares (bonds) with 255,000 available for over allotment

The notes will mature 4/30/2026, but the company will have a early call available to them starting 4/30/2022.

The issue is expected to trade under the permanent ticker of OXSQZ when it begins to trade on the NASDAQ–there will not be any OTC Grey market trading.

This issue is rated A- by Egan-Jones (for what it is worth).

While the SEC pricing document can be read here.

The company has 1 other baby bond outstanding with a coupon of 6.50% coupon which is trading in the $25.50 area. This issue can be seen here.

Reader xerty noted the pricing this morning at 3 am (our time CST)–thats pretty early.

Oxford Square to Sell Baby Bonds

Business Development Company (BDC) Oxford Square (NASDAQ:OXSQ) has announced they will sell a new issue of baby bonds.

The new notes will have a maturity in 2026 and will have an early call available to the company starting in 2022.

Final details have not been released, but the company expects to list the bonds under permanent ticker of OXSQZ (although these sometimes change).

The preliminary prospectus can be seen here.

Interest Rates Still Falling

With weak growth in Europe and most of the globe and economic numbers that are weakening in the U.S. interest rates continue to fall.

The 10 year has traded down to 2.36% today and is currently trading around 2.37%. It was only 10 days ago that we wrote that it looked like rates would be falling into the 2.50’s%—and the ‘smart people’ on the financial news said rates would not be falling much if any further and likely would head higher. Only goes to show that no one knows with any certainty what rates will do.

These falling interest rates have made all of us income investors look like genius’s. Preferreds and baby bonds keep creeping higher–a few pennies here and a few pennies there. BUT we all know that these interest rates likely means that any company that is at least mid-quality are preparing prospectuses to head into a new ‘refinancing’ period–we will need rates at these low levels for a month or two before we see this occur, but you can be certain it will occur.

We don’t see anything unusual in the income markets today. The usual suspects are moving around – the junky CBL preferreds are trading down (of course) on high volume. We see the Arlington Asset Investment 8.25% new preferred trading near a new low at $23.08–think someone screwed up on pricing this one-you can see it here. Also the new term preferred from Priority Income Fund is not getting much traction and is trading in the $24.70 area–it is here.

NGL Energy Prices Preferred Issue–UPDATED TICKER

The OTC Grey market ticker of NGLPP has been assigned.

Midstream MLP NGL Energy Partners (NYSE:NGL) has priced a new fixed-to-floating rate preferred units with an in initial coupon of 9.625%.

The issue will pay the fixed coupon rate until 4/15/2024 after which it will float at a rate of 3 month Libor plus a spread of 7.384%.

The pricing term sheet can be seen here.

Being a MLP this issue will generate a K-1 at tax time and the distributions will not be qualified for preferential tax treatment.

The issue is unrated.

This issue will trade under the permanent ticker of NGL-C when it begins to trade on the NYSE, but in the meantime will trade on the OTC Grey market although the ticker has not been announced.

NGL Energy Partners Selling Preferred Units

Master limited partnership, NGL Energy (NYSE:NGL) will be selling an issue of fixed-to-floating rate preferred units.

The units will have an early redemption date starting in 4/2024 which also serves as the date the issue will begin the have a floating rate coupon.

The preliminary prospectus can be found here.

NGL Energy has another high yield fixed-to-floating rate preferred unit series outstanding and that is the 9% series B which has a spread of 7.213% which is added to 3 month Libor starting in 7/2022. You can see it here.

This issue will generate a K-1 for owners. Additionally the issue will be unrated.

Dynagas Partners Earnings

Dynagas LNG Partners (NASDAQ:DLNG) reported earnings late last week for the quarter and year ending 12/31/2018 and I had a chance to briefly look over the report.

Dynagas LNG is an owner of LNG ships for the transportation of liquified natural gas. The company runs a small fleet relative to competing ship owners such as GasLog Partners. DLNG runs a fleet of just 6 ships as compared to the 14 ships owned by GasLog Partners.

Dynagas LNG showed falling revenue in 2018 as compared to 2017 and anytime revenue is falling, these ship owners, which typically carry pretty massive debt, are going to run into trouble. DLNG started 2018 with a common quarterly distribution of 42 1/4 cents/share which was lowered to 25 cents/share and finally slashed to 6 1/4 cents/share–with the severely reduced distribution the company was able to cover the total distributions (common and preferred).

I am happy to observe that if the company can maintain present revenue levels coupled with the reduced distribution they will readily cover the dividends for 2019. Of course this still leaves this company with a large debt load – and they will pay a heavy price for having over $700 million in debt when the company has an annual run rate of revenue of just $130 million. The company has about $250 million in debt coming due this year.

It is noted that on 12/31/2018 the company had over $100 million in cash on the balance sheet and with the greatly reduced distribution the company will likely be ok in 2019.

DLNG has 2 preferred stock issues outstanding which have taken a pounding in the last couple of months.  DLNG-A which carries a 9% coupon is trading at about $19.63 with a current yield of 11.46%.  DLNG-B, which is a floating rate issue carrying a current 8.75% coupon is trading with a current yield of 11.56%

Investors with a high risk tolerance can look at the above – personally I will pass on issues with this level of risk.

The company press release on earnings is here for those that have not seen it.

Duke Energy Prices Perpetual Preferred-UPDATE

The OTC Grey market ticker is changed to DUEKL.

Giant utility Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) has priced a new offering of preferred stock with a fixed coupon rate of 5.75%. The early redemption period start in 6/2024.

The company is offering a massive 40 million shares (a cool billion dollars worth).

The OTC Grey market ticker is DUEK–and it is trading now on that marketplace–we see 104,000 traded today but at an unspecified price.

The pricing term sheet is here.

The preliminary prospectus is here.

As we expected the issue is rated investment grade – Baa3 by Moodys and BBB by S&P. Fitch assigns it a BBB-.

It is likely this will be a popular issue–and we are considering a small amount, but we need to consider whether the baby bonds at 5.625% (DUKB) would be a better buy being slightly higher rated and trading at $25.15 right now.

Duke Energy to Sell Perpetual Preferred

In a new twist for Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK), the giant utility, will sell a new perpetual preferred issue.

In recent time Duke has issued a couple of baby bonds, but they do not have any perpetual preferreds outstanding.

In September, 2018 the company issued a baby bond with a coupon of 5.625% (ticker DUKB) which has traded above $25 recently. The issue which can be seen here.

Previously the company sold a baby bond issue with a coupon of 5.125% back in 1/2013. This issue, which can be seen here, trades in the $24 to $25 range.

The new perpetual preferred stock should be rated investment grade. Moodys has a rating of Baa3 and S&P will likely rate it BBB or BBB-, although they have not yet published their rating.

Ticker symbols have not yet been published.

The preliminary prospectus can be read here.

If this issue prices in the 5.75% to 5.875% range it will likely be a popular preferred stock issue.

Monroe Capital Corporation Reopens Baby Bonds

BDC Monroe Capital Corp (NASDAQ:MRCC) has reopened a previously sold issue of baby bonds, which have a maturity date in 2023.

The reopening is the 5.75% notes.

The ticker on this issue is MRCCL and it is now trading around $24.87 although it could dip down with the new shares being offered. The IPO offered 2.4 million shares.

This issue has a maturity date in 2023.

Data on the issue can be found here.

Monday Morning Kickoff

Last week brought a plunge in the 10 year treasury yield as the yield started the week at 2.60% before plunging all the way down to 2.42% based primarily on further weakness in the European economy.

The average preferred stock rose again by 8 cents as the slow creep higher continues. There are now 192 $25 preferred stocks trading at $25 or below which is 3 issues fewer than the week before.

The FED balance sheet fell by $9 billion last week which continues the runoff. The smart folks seem to think we will see the runoff continue until the fall of this year–I guess we shall how the economy performs as the months go by.

Last week we had 3 new income issues announced.

Insurer Brighthouse Financial (NASDAQ:BHF) announced a new fixed rate perpetual preferred stock with a coupon of 6.60%. The issue is now trading on the OTC Grey market under ticker BHFLL and last traded at $25.25. This issue is investment grade (just barely) per S&P. Moodys and Fitch have it below investment grade.

Asset manager Affiliated Managers Group (NYSE:AMG) priced an issue of baby bonds with a maturity date in 2059 and a fixed rate coupon of 5.875%. The issue is investment grade. We do not see this issue trading as of yet.

Lastly American Finance Trust (NASDAQ:AFIN), a REIT, priced a new issue of fixed rate perpetual preferred stock with an coupon of 7.50%. The issue is trading on the OTC Grey market under ticker AFINP and last traded at $24.46–obviously the markets don’t think much of this issue. This issue is not rated.

In addition to the newly announced income issues, OFS Credit (NASDAQ:OCCI) announced pricing for their new Term Preferred issuance. The issue carries a coupon of 6.875% and pays monthly dividends. The issue is trading on the OTC Grey market under ticker OCCIP and last traded at $24.80.

Also Merchants Bancorp (NASDAQ:MBIN) priced their previously announced preferred issue with a coupon of 7%. The issue is set to trade on the OTC Grey market under the ticker MRBPP.

RiverNorth Marketplace to Go Public

RiverNorth Marketplace Lending, which has a term preferred stock outstanding, has decided to take their closed end interval fund to the public markets

The closed end fund, which invests in loans made in the peer-to-peer marketplace, has been quoted (but not traded) on a daily basis  up to now–and has traded on a ‘direct purchase’ basis.

The fund has had  a minimum investment of $1,000,000 required (which is a aggregate amount of client accounts at the advisor level).

The company has around $232 million in assets–$190 million on a “net asset” basis (on 2/28/2019) as they have a little of $40 million of the term preferred outstanding which they use as leverage.

The term preferred issue is an ‘ok’ issue, but we have not owned it as it holds level 2 and level 3 assets–and our preference is for level 1 (i.e. assets that trade on exchanges) CEF preferred issues.

Of course the fund must hold a 200% asset coverage ratio, which give some safety to any CEF preferred issue.

The term preferred issue can be seen here.

The announcement on the stock exchange listing can be seen here.