The Losses are Out of This World–Update

UPDATE–the average $25 baby bond and preferred is now at $16.50/share.

Leave the office for 90 minutes and come back to dramatic destruction–I mean my little bit of New Residential NRZ-C down 40%–yikes!! I had a sell in, but obviously it didn’t trigger.

Utilities preferreds and baby bonds off 20%–the portfolio looks like swiss cheese (no disrespect to the Swiss people).

I would say there are massive bargains out there–but WHO can define todays bargains.

While we are off 10% for the year I feel fortunate–lots of cash on hand in accounts and some very successful hedging (until the last few days) have minimized losses.

Unfortunately the writers on Seeking Alpha are all playing the hero roll and continue to write ‘buy, buy, buy’what fools. Folks that interpreted their (the writers) success over the last few years as skill and wisdom will be down 75% before this is over–it may take a lifetime to recoup their loses–but most will liquidate and never ever invest again–instead opting for a mayonnaise jar in the back yard as a safe haven.

Early this morning I sold some of my VER-F 6.70% preferred and my AMH-F 5.875% perpetual–put the money in the cash stash.

Now I wait–obviously I am still heavily exposed to utility baby bonds, preferreds and CEF preferreds. I want more–but I guess I want them cheap–I mean really cheap.

99 thoughts on “The Losses are Out of This World–Update”

  1. “The 2017-2018 flu season was severe for all US populations and resulted in an estimated 959,000 hospitalizations and 61,099 deaths. This is the highest number of patient claims since the 2009 flu season. 186 pediatric deaths were reported to the CDC.” The CDC estimated that there 45 millions cases of the flu for the 2017-2018 season. How did we ever get through this without all the end of the world hysteria?

    1. Buongiorno TEF, vivo in Italia a Milano. Siamo nel pieno del dramma. Siate prudenti e preparatevi, non si tratta di una semplice influenza.

    2. Can anyone explain why legendary investor, David Tepper, spent $60 million yesterday to sign a backup quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater? Can anyone explain why Indianapolis NFL owner signed aging, 38 year old Philip Rivers to a one year $25 million dollar contract? Why did many other billionaire nfl owners spend hundreds of millions of dollars to sign athletes for the upcoming nfl season starting in July 2020. That’s a lot of confidence that lots of fans will sit in seats, players won’t get infected even though they are not all six feet a part. Even Tom Brady, worth over 250 million personally, is willing to jeopardize his life for a new contract of $30 million a year with no vaccine in site per the experts for a year. I just wonder if there is a drug that fights the virus already on the market that has fought ebola and sars effectively since they are all part of the RNA virus family. Maybe somebody could google the name of a drug that has worked since 2014 before they sell their portfolio in a panic.

    1. Gasoline usage has dropped pretty precipitously recently. Wouldn’t that hit EPD’s revenues at some point?
      The CEO just said they are going to review CAPEX.

  2. I can truly say that I am humbled after today. Down 30% after this downturn, and almost $900,000 in paper losses. I have been selling some sock drawer issues this last week for times like this, and have almost spent all of that today. I really don’t know what to say or type. I am speechless. I prayed for a 10% correction, and got more than that. The market is truly irrational when you have BBB baby bonds like PPX fluctuating in giant swings today.

    The only words of wisdom for myself to keep me going:
    – Never think you have things figured out
    – The market stays irrationally, longer than you think.
    – Invest in sounds companies,, and only invest in ones that you would be happy holding for several years, and I have done that.
    – I have no debt.
    – Be thankful for the opportunity to trade up to other investment grade ones like PPX, and SOJA for 9%, 7% interest payments.
    – I have 16 years until retirement with a pension and another pension in 5 more years (assuming that pensions are still around)
    – Be thankful for my job and current health as many people’s lives are turned upside down in this trying time. I have no idea what some are going through in the hospitals, etc.
    – Be thankful for the time with our families. My kids will all be here shortly as their colleges are wanting them to go home and do remote classes.

    Be safe and keep the light on your investment journey.

  3. Did absolutely nothing these days even didn’t open my terminal. I don’t know how much low I am now since I believe it have no sence. I just collect my divies and wait for a bottom.

    1. Yuriy…that’s probably the best advice I’ve seen to date. Its sometimes harder to resist temptation altogether…not enough will power, so I have limited myself to the last hour of trading and severe limitations on the number of shares purchased. I’ve also been going back and listening to a number of Q4 earnings calls from early March to glean information on 2020 guidance. Nustar, Ready Capital, and Exantas Capital are three names that come to mind as having had very strong Q4s rolling into Q1. Its hard to believe the depressed levels their notes and preferred shares are trading at two weeks later.

  4. I feel much better after reading this thread. I am an owner of UMH.PD and MNR.PC and about fell off my couch when I saw the pricing. Holding for income and ignoring the noise……..! Thanks All.

    1. first time recessioner here, I havent checked my biggest account in four days, I gave up. I was holding 500 shares of mnr.prc @ like 24.86 avg I believe. It had been so steady and MNR had been redeeming issues near their call dates and they been around a while, they had a horrible wager on CBL but other than that, eh. well, I’m assuming the stock is at $9 now? Heck, might even be $6??? Probably not gonna look till the # of confirmed cases level.

      1. I’ve got the opposite problem Smitty…I have to resist the urge to buy everything in sight. I scored some Ally-A @17.93 the other day thinking it was a great deal and now its worth $15.63 and who knows what it trades for tomorrow.

      1. SOHO: Suspending regular quarterly cash common stock dividends and deferring payment of previously declared Q1 dividend that was to be paid April 9, 2020.
        Deferring payment of its previously announced dividend for its series B, series C and Series D of its cumulative redeemable perpetual preferred stock that were to be paid April 15, 2020.

        RLJ cut common to 1¢, and declared the next RLJ-A to be paid. And…
        The Board of Trustees also authorized and declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.4875 on the Company’s Series A Preferred Shares. The dividend is payable on April 30, 2020, to shareholders of record as of March 31, 2020.

  5. Agree, Affinity. I think the distinction is a cut of the common dividend will affect the price of the preferred, but it won’t/can’t affect the distribution. so if you hold, your loss is on paper and the income still comes in. but correct me if i’m wrong.

    1. You’re right. Maybe it wasn’t clear when you said “affect” and exactly how that was taken by me. A cut to the common distro should not affect the preferred distro – but usually affects the pricing of the preferred.

      1. well technically, Affinity, i should have said “effect” not “affect” but now is now time for grammar!

  6. If an A2 rated 1st mortgage bond for like EAB (utility company) at $19.30 (now yielding 6.37%) isn’t a bargain when the treasury is around 1%, then you might as well buy a gun, a 20 year supply of freeze dried food, and a cabin in the mountains far from everyone else.

    1. TEF, I agree with you here. It doesnt sound sexy at 6.3% with all the double digit yields flying everywhere. But the power of a mortgage backed bond in cap stack is just not appreciated enough when protection of income is needed.

    2. I took a nibble on EAB at $24, per recommendations here. Idk, is now the time to pick up more? Not sure I can physically muster the willpower to click the Buy button at the moment.

      1. Smitty, the answer lies inside you, not here. Are you buying for security of interest payment or preservation of capital in terms of stock price? A2 credit ratings such as EAB statistically historically speaking have a 0.19% chance of going bankrupt in a 4 year period. So less than 2 chances out of a 1000.
        Capital erosion from price dropping? Flip a coin who knows… You have to define your goals, expectations, and risk tolerances.
        For me (which means nothing), the price movement can kiss my rear at this point. I know 998 out of 1000 probability Im getting my interest payment on time. And the other 2 ? Well it is senior secured so I am at the table to get most of my money back.
        Despite the high quality, price wise the asymmetric risk lies with the buyer. Entergy decides if it wants to redeem tomorrow or make your children wait to collect at 2052 maturity assuming it is still viable then.

        1. We all think like that Grid, but there’s some research out by the London School of Economics that talks of risk as being quantifiable but uncertainty is another factor which is not. Black swans are in the latter category. Probabilities can’t account for them. I think it was Taleb that said, “Existential risk is not in the past data” (a close paraphrase at least). Still, we have to act as best we can. GLTA.

          1. Qniform, I dont have a clue to what the hell is going on. I just bought more SR’A at $16.30 this morning and my bid was $17. The common stock is up past 5 days and the preferred is down 25%. Its like the preferred could go bankrupt and the common stock will be fine.

            1. Boy that observation, Grid, sure seems to me to be the key to understanding that madness happening in the preferred area….. It seems obvious that what’s most happening is a rush for liquidity in individuals for the most part, probably magnified by forced institutional selling in funds and ETFs investing in the sector as well for individuals that is bringing to light the downside of investing away from the relative mainstream as we do by investing in preferreds. Therefore, selling is indiscriminate for the most part as witnessed by preferreds being down multiple percentage points greater than the underlying common these days. It’s the reverse of what should be happening. That leaves the field open for the brave of heart to pick off the extremes of the extremes…. I’m not one of them though..

            2. I see some nibbling on the downtrodden issues.
              That’s a positive, so far.
              Flipped 1635 shs of Cofprj at 13.50 for a $2.50 gain to raise cash.
              Insider buys are at Super Duper levels.
              We may be bottoming for the short term
              On a down note, Homes for sale are reducing their ask price willy nilly.
              Otherwise, stay safe

            3. Grid,
              same BS with D common and DCUE convertible….why in the heck if the value of DCUE is totally tied to D’s share price – if D is going down, so should DCUE. Nope. Totally inverse – again!

              Same games with SRE and SREA as yesterday. Trading inversely the wrong way.

              1. A4I, Markets are complicated with hedges, leverage, margin calls, liquidation, panic, forced fund selling. The problem has to be with the internal market plumbing somewhere above. Because the common stock is the source of liquidity trading and is the barometer of what is going on. So if they are trading fine its certainly no the fundamentals of the preferred.

                1. A perfect storm over the last few days from serious market liquidity issues coupled with record fund redemptions, causing funds to force sell indiscriminately.

                  Re liquidity: The Fed responded late last evening with a MM facility. Don’t want to go out too far on a limb here, and no one should rely on this, though I believe yesterday was the nadir of the panic selling of preferred. Maybe not a bottom, but an end to the cascading.

                  In a world otherwise lacking yield, it’s been an extraordinary opportunity to acquire high IG at fire-sale prices. I’ve been initiating new positions, averaging-down on others, increasing overall quality and income every day and have sold nothing.

                  My biggest concern is not the capital decline, but not buying enough at the bottom. Been buying daily though went in big at market open today – and in extended hours prior to market open.

  7. One bit of good news for those holding energy stocks. We are replenishing our strategic reserve while oil is at $20/barrel. There was a special emergency order today to do so. I am not sure how much that will prop up the price, if any, but it is a good long term move regardless.

    I am not sure how we will convince the Saudis and Russians to stop pumping though. They really, really want to drive our producers off the market so they can have pricing power again.

    1. I think our strategic reserve was nearly full prior to the order. About 85% full if I recall correctly.

      So, unless they increase capacity of the reserve… it won’t help producers that much.

    2. From what I read, it is approx. One day of the world’s oil purchases to fill it.

      It is public relations nothing else.

  8. I couldn’t stand it when best names Ute notes hit about 30% off and I started buying small amounts. CMSC $17.06 and SOJD $15.16, come on. Room for more if they drop another 30%. SR-A rock star so far today hasn’t broke $20, (yet) lol. On a brighter note the low YTW are no longer my obsession.

    1. Lot of big bounces by eod from the lows early this afternoon. Had an order for SOJD at @15 then jumped up past 17.
      Was trying to buy JSM (Navient preferred) near$7 and then jumped up to $9 and ended at $11.60

  9. I have read here for quite some time just trying to learn as much as possible. I haven’t wanted to stop the conversation with rookie questions. I can’t seem to understand the fall off the cliff of the investment grade preferred. Is it because the bank preferred are not cumulative? Even in the worst case which this looks like to me, is there a short answer that someone can point me to that explains the crash of so many of these investment grade issues? People just dumping everything?

    1. In a panic mode like this liquidity just dries up…no buyers. Then someone one puts in a much lower bid and it gets hit. This creates the new “level” which causes others to wonder if they should sell. The whole thing tends to feed on itself. Combine this with funds getting redemptions (say a preferred stock fund) and they are forced to sell to raise liquidity. A lot of factors but many more sellers than buyers, fear, etc. Stay strong.

      1. Thanks for that Scott. This is especially so on thinly traded stuff.

        I have to think we are near capitulation in the preferred market. Stocks may have a ways to go yet.

  10. Hello, I own preferreds: CFG-D, ATH-B, MET-E and MET-A, BAC-B and PGX etf. THis 20%-30% drop today – is this run for liquidity or are we seeing credit ratings downgrades so that these companies are likely going to go bankcrupt or stop dividends. Can a company just halt dividends on preferreds? I’m sorry for such a basic question

    1. They can. Usually they start with the dividend on the common but there is nothing to stop them from doing the same on the preferreds. Interest payments on bonds issued by companies have priority over dividends but corporate bonds are getting smacked too so there is no place to hide.

      1. A company can’t halt dividends on the preferred until they’ve suspended the common dividend first. They can’t restart paying dividends on common unless the preferred is being paid in full first.

        During the financial crisis, BAC cut their common dividend way down to $0.04, but they never actually halted it, and neither did most banks. So they were always paying full on the preferreds.

        IMO if BAC didn’t halt their dividend back then, they won’t halt it now. If Bank of America goes bankrupt we’ve all got serious problems.

        This is an unprecedented time. I expect things will start to stabilize in a couple of weeks, but we just don’t know what the fallout will be. Black Swan baby.

      2. A company can’t stop paying the dividend on a preferred unless it suspends the dividend on the common. A common stock dividend cut should not affect the preferred. Right now it’s a race to cash that is fueling the selling and while every recession is different the utes should keep paying because the best ones never stopped paying their common dividends during the Great Recession. Banks are a different story but are a lot stronger today than they were then, and unless we head into a depression the big ones are unlikely to suspend common dividends, IMO. If i’m wrong on the facts, let me know.

        1. A common stock dividend cut usually does affect the preferred’s, though. It’s one step towards an elimination of the common dividend and that makes the dividend of the preferred up next. Same thing goes for the baby bonds – at least from what I’ve seen.

          Of course, with things like the common of SRE up today and the subordinated debt down big today (SREA), the whole damned thing is upside down in this market.

        2. With the government doctors in charge of our economy, their goal seems to be that we not go back to work until the last microbe is destroyed. So, do not count on the preferred dividends to be guaranteed except maybe for Food, Biotech, and Health Care. Unless the government bails out everyone else, which they may, the domino effect could easily claim bank dividends. Also, they will choose to pay their employees over the dividend if it comes to it.

  11. Wow no matter what you do you can’t win. Picked up my SCE-PH @ 18.85 only to see it at 16.51 just now. Over 8.50% for a trust preferred ute. We broke the 20,000 on the DJI which I said was a psyhological level. If we close below it, next support my guess is 18,000

  12. If there was ever a time to decrease the limit down to 5% and suspend all trading after `10%, this would be it.

    Plus we need to suspend program trading and re-instate the uptick rule.

    Fed needs to buy junk bonds. Oil price war will bankrupt much of the energy sector.

    I will buy no more for quite awhile.

    1. I just bought some COWNZ at $10. I am now in the process of placing stupid low limit orders on these types of baby bonds and preferreds. You never know, $10 was stupid low yesterday.

      1. the current after hours bid on the COWNZ is $4.00. I wonder if someone will make a mistake and put a market order out there….
        It has been known to happen.

  13. Stock market is trading as if the US and the rest of the world have declared bankruptcy. Stocks, bonds, gold, oil are all down big. Seems like every investor, company and institution is going to cash at any price. I don’t believe this will end until we get news of huge increases in coronavirus cases and New York, L.A. and some other big cities go on lockdown.

    Stocks may be down a lot but this to me is still not a time to be looking for bargains.

    1. Depends on how far down the line you are looking. This will pass. The world will go on. People will need, bread, electricity, insurance etc…

      I don’t think they can stop the virus because it will be like poke the mole. It only takes one person to start a new epidemic, or reignite one. It won’t stop until there is herd immunity, a vaccine, or a cure. At some pt governments will decide to bite the bullet and let everyone out because the world will go broke sitting at home. They are just trying to keep hospitals from being overrun if it hits all at once. It is managed care… I think once the curve comes down, and the sheltering place is over things will turn around quickly — as long as those things don’t happen too far down the line.

      1. The damage to the economy is already done. The question is how deep this recession will be. There will be long lasting effects on globalization and the current supply chain philosophy with pieces scattered all over the world. May well be good for the American worker as more industries re-localize here. As for stocks, this is a bear market and it will take a while to go back to the record highs we saw a couple of months ago, could be a couple of years or more.

  14. Been investing in fixed income only since 2012..so no first hand experience of the 08/09 carnage but had heard all the tales . Holy cow. This is how it feels…
    I have about 100 diff issues prefs/bby bonds right across the spectrum from Sockdraw to Specultive, and another 30 or so Corp bonds.
    On a cost basis now down almost exactly 20% and nearer 30% from the highs of a few weeks ago. Excruciating to watch, but not selling. Divves should keep rolling in. Just nibbling all way down.
    Example: AHL-D. just bought another 50 at 11.36. Invest grade insurer with nearly 7 yrs call protection! 12.32% yield at that price! Plus potential cap gains! It just seems completely insane..
    The common lament..wish had more cash. Only thing thinking of selling is a bond fund PGHY which is for some reason only down 15%. May pay to take loss and put it somewhere else.

  15. I guess I’m a gluton for pain. Picked up more SOJA. A 6% utility now paying 7% due to the downdraft and callable this coming October. Also added more to NEE.N. And took a wild swing at TFC.H (BBT bank) when it dropped 30% to under $16 (yield approaching 8%). Finally picked up more BAC.L when it went under 1100. I’m scared but figure these companies are not going bankrupt

  16. My supposedly safe utility Preferred’s are getting hammered down 30% ,.
    Im not checking anymore until April. I think there is no liquidity and everyone is selling to raise cash . Not pretty but what did the experts at R-da . Seeking Alpha think? The Bull lasts forever?

    I am very surprised at the fixed income blood bath, after all that was supposed to be the stability when stocks go down. Also proves the Boogleheads were wrong also. A lowering tide sinks all boats.

    1. Max, I dont know if you can take comfort in this but their are many market dislocations that arent making sense..A couple examples…
      LNT- down 3.27% today and down 1.84% past 5 days
      IPLDP down 11.71% today and 17.84% past 5 days..
      LNT is the do nothing holding company…It CANNOT survive without its two subsidiaries one which is IPL feeding them cash. So how can the house be holding up without the structural support beams (ala IPL) in place..
      Another example
      SJI—- 3.72% down today and down 0.98% past 5 days..
      Its baby bond SJIJ is down 12% today and 27% past 5 days..
      Common stock cannot get paid until the interest is paid on the bond…So the common which is the bottom rung is hanging in there. Most unusual stuff isnt it.

      1. SJIJ matures in 2079, though who knows if they will call it in 2021.
        it traded below 14.00 dollars today. time to put in a really low limit order and see if it gets filled…..

        1. Justin, yes, I certainly wouldnt call it term dated, ha. I bought 500 shares at $14 today. Wished I had bought more (after the fact it went up of course) About the only thing good today…Oh wait, I had one other one, bought ASRVP yesterday and it is up 23 cents today. If I keep having too many days like this my stash will be hurting as much as Pendragons is.

    2. Max–I know how you feel–my starters positions are all significantly lower in all the utilities. Eida and his group will have all of their follows bk–I am under no illusion that they ‘eat their own cooking’.

  17. Complete capitulation (I think) in the preferred market. Definitely long term value opportunities if you are brave. Bot some VER around 14 and ATT in the 16’s. Very scary time in the market right now. In 2008-09 once the fed signaled the banks would be bailed out much of the uncertainty went away. This time it seems it is everyone but the banks. Good luck, stay healthy.

  18. Back in the day I’m sitting at my computer looking at Key Bank, my bank at that time, preferred at $6 and not having enough guts to pull the trigger. Now I just saw first BB rated bank trade of 2020 in the $10s. Didn’t have enough guts to pull the trigger today either.

  19. Haven’t even checked my accounts this morning. “The beatings will continue until morale improves.” Maybe this afternoon . . . or in October.

  20. Buying NLY, AGNC, NYMT preferreds in large quantities now. If they survive, should see a huge upside

      1. Left a comment yesterday that I was buying NLY, NRZ, AGNC preferreds. Picked up 8,300 shares combined of the three. Probably never again will I be able to buy NRZ-PB at $6.78 (14.37 today), NLY-PB at $8.98 (14.37 today) or AGNCO at $9.86 (17.07 today).

        UBS had to liquidate MORL and MRLL preferred share ETNS. Large quantity of preferred shares went on the market all at once. I didn’t know that when it was happening, wish I did, I would have bought a lot more.

        1. In my mind, it is not unlikely that other funds may liquidate preferreds and continue these crazy valuations. Thus, I am hesitant about buying these “bargains” now. I think times require me to be extra careful.

          This example of a supposedly very solid issue, shows how we can’t know how low things can go:
          After reaching $30 in February, I placed a gtc order to buy IPB at what it seemed to be a good price of $28.xx , and it was filled in the beginning of March. Placed another order to buy more @ $27.
          Yesterday it was filled and I placed an order to buy more at the ridiculous price of $25.50, which got filled shortly after.
          At this point I placed a buy of just a few shares at $24, which in truth, I hope it does not fill….

          Just my 2 cents. Obviously, this is how brave ones can make (or lose) a lot of money….

    1. NLY and AGNC have over 90% agency MBS. They have agency guarantees to get their principle back. I wish I knew what the thinking of the sellers of these preferred’s, do they know something I don’t? I have been legging in and incurring daily losses on everything I have added. I wish I had the guts to double down on what I started.

  21. Oil – WTI is about to go below $23, Down over 15% today. I believe we are reaching a point where even the Saudis are going to have a problem. I wonder who will blink first? USO is at $4.71 down another dollar today.

  22. All of the insurance company preferreds are trading like their dividends are about to be suspended. I don’t get it.

  23. Had a small order in for CBKLP at $90 that was filled but had forgot about.
    Trading out UZA for UZB as there is significant difference today but both dropping.
    Hiding out in Mexico for another week to avoid the immigration lines at DFW.
    Getting destroyed on a few other issues but have been mostly in cash.
    Trying to think about what to do with my kids 529s as they have been in just cash equivalent option – probably put in some market optionin the next couple weeks

  24. So many of my positions have been halved to near single digits, I don’t think tomorrow can be worse than today for me, there just getting too close to zero.

  25. Truly the worst day I have even seen in fixed income. I am curious Tim why you would sell VER-PF and AMH-F at these levels ? If those 2 companies go bankrupt it won’t matter what we are holding. NOT being critical, just trying to understand. Many Thanks !

    1. Gary–because I hope to buy back lower–they are on my buy list, but I got out first thing this a.m. so missed the huge downdraft.

      Sold the VER-F for 21.32–it is now at 14.67–actually I kept a small position. Sold the AMH-F for 21.00–now at 18.50–also kept a small position.

      I want cash for buying at lower prices.

      1. Just curious, at what price do you think VER-F a buy? It made a low of $12.52 down 32% for just today!

        If looking for new buys, what kind? Big banks like WFC have many callable in 2020 still trading in $22-$23s or more of Utility ones like SOJD at $17s or real value one like Ford’s F-C at $9.28?

        1. mSquare–that is always the 100 dollar question–when to buy–that is why I am legging in only. If it remains in this area I may nibble back as early as today–or tomorrow.

          I have focused on all the utilties–baby bonds and preferreds. I have starter positions in many – SOJD at that price is great–although that is not one I have yet.

          I am in no rush–we really need more definition on covid–what is a great bargain today may be better tomorrow.

      2. Tim—portfolio painfully way down, but sold out my positions in T and MPW and picked up these banking preferreds: BAC.M, C.K, KEY.J, and NYCB.A. Average cost was 18.66, average yield 8.40 all with $25.00 call coupons.

        On Sale!!

    1. Scott–simply held SDS (Proshares Ultrashort SP500) at the right time. Over the years as some of us discussed yesterday I have used SDS to sooth me when I was fearful. At one time years ago I would liquidate everything –now I buy SDS instead.

      Over the years I have made NO money doing this–but this time I had some success–obviously not in large enough quantities as you don’t want to go crazy with it–you can get butchered.

      1. I did the same with SDOW, but the swings were more than I could bear to watch. Should have stuck with it.

        So much of the swing happens overnight now that you can’t afford to hold anything until the next day.

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