Empirasign in the Press
About 65 percent of CLO bonds didn’t trade Friday, while 71 percent didn’t change hands on Wednesday, according to Adam Murphy, president at capital markets trading data firm, Empirasign Strategies LLC. Investors eschewed a market that’s been saturated with new deals this quarter and as price swings in equity markets permeated trading for the debt, he said.
The biggest bond is a US$165.1m senior block of a 2007 subprime mortgage deal from Option One Mortgage, one of the largest lenders before the subprime mortgage crisis. Most of the other bonds are being talked around 90 cents and higher, according to Empirasign.
'Investors in every other market get to see what they are buying -- but not mortgage bond investors,' said Adam Murphy, founder of Empirasign Strategies LLC, a trading data firm for mortgage bond professionals. 'I believe in privacy rights, but investors should be able to drive by the properties if they want.'
According to Empirasign, $1 billion of CLO paper was put up for sale last week. About $280 million failed to trade.
The trading started with a flurry on July 7 that included a $78.6 million offering. July 8 and 11 saw bidders pick up some paper out of dealer inventories, with bid lists circulating on the heels of those sales. They included a $130.1 million portfolio on July 13 and a $144.6 million book on July 14, according to Empirasign.
Empirasign Strategies, a New York-based provider of dealer bond offerings and trade color, has added evaluated prices from Interactive Data and Thomson Reuters to its platform, to provide a "second opinion" for traders looking for more context around dealer prices.
On Thursday, a slice of the B/BB rated class from Citibank's last securitization of Prosper Marketplace loans in March saw a cover bid in the 950bp area but didn't trade, according to data provider Empirasign. Three dealers were talking the bond at more optimistic levels in the mid-high 700s range before the auction.
One BWIC on Thursday morning featuring 2.0 BBB and BB CLO tranches saw eight out of the nine items trading, according to data from Empirasign Strategies. Those mezz tranches have been trading about five to 10 points below their previous prints.
A senior slice of the issuer's VALET deal from 2014 was offered at about 60bp over swaps versus 40bp earlier this month, market data provider Empirasign's data showed.
And though 16.8% did not trade, the volume was more than the combined US$7.5bn tally of bonds out for bid during the same week in August 2014, according to data provider Empirasign.
Data from Empirasign showed US$412.7m in student loan ABS paper out for bid in the past week - nearly double the US$219m seen in the week of the Moody's decision on June 22
At USD 653.1m in BWIC volume, student loan ABS trading had its heaviest week since July 2014, buoying a week bogged down by a heavy CMBS pipeline and a looming quarter-end, according to data from Empirasign Strategies.
Empirasign Strategies LLC this month started testing a service in which investors can anonymously post securities they want to buy or sell and potential prices, and then chat online without divulging their names to seal the deals.
The cover, or second-best, bid on the MSAC 2005-HE3 M4 issue, one of the bonds facing an investor vote on a servicing transfer, was in the high 80s on December 3 after trading in the mid 80s in April, according to data from Empirasign.
Buyers pushed back against aggressive pricing for the 112 line items of mostly subprime paper, said Empirasign data president Adam Murphy. At least 50% of the Fortress list received "Did-Not-Trades" from bids wanted in competition. The sale may have been meant as a "pricing exercise," one broker said, requesting not to be named because of client involvement.
According to trading data provider Empirasign, price indications ahead of the deal were 74.28 cents on the dollar for the US securities and 91.72 cents on the euro for the European assets.
Freddie Mac saw strong bids for its roughly US$1bn list of pre-crash senior RMBS bonds offered Wednesday, with 12 of the 13 lots trading, according to market data company Empirasign.
Those securities were among the largest holdings of that type in Pimco’s $3.6 billion Total Return exchange-traded fund, according to data compiled by Empirasign Strategies LLC and Bloomberg. Banks are also circulating a list of $77 million such bonds for sale today that match the fund’s remaining holdings, the data show.
Price talk on the first subprime list offered at 10am runs from a high 90s dollar price for a US$12.1m slice of an ACE 2005-HE7 deal to low-single digits on a US$4.5m mezzanine slice of a CBASS 2006-CB1 bond, according to data from Empirasign, a market data service provider.
Bondholders last week sought to sell the most government-backed mortgage derivatives known as interest-only securities and inverse IOs through auctions in four months, according to Empirasign Strategies LLC, which tracks securitization trading.
Yesterday’s offering was the largest widely marketed auction of non-agency securities sold in a single block since at least 2010, according to Empirasign Strategies LLC, which tracks securitization-market trading. Including sales where bonds could be bought individually or in smaller groups, it was the 10th-largest since then.
"Tomorrow's sale will be the biggest all-or-nothing RMBS list since we began tracking these things back in March 2010," said Adam Murphy, president of Empirasign Strategies, a capital markets trade database.
MyData is available for free to existing clients of Empirasign's web platform. Users can upload Microsoft Excel spreadsheets containing lists of the bonds they typically query to Empirasign's website. Empirasign's platform then parses each spreadsheet to turn every row of data into a record, identifying each record by recognizing its CUSIP or ISIN number, and displaying data from vendors and internal sources alongside each identifier.
The percentage of do-not-trades on non-agency RMBS in the U.S. secondary market has hit the highest mark in a month, adding to earlier signs that the space is weakening. Last week, DNTs in prime and Alt-A paper hit 51.7%, 73.7% and 50% over three consecutive days beginning on February 20. Three weeks ago, the highs were barely above 30%, tables from data provider Empirasign show.
Price talk on the majority of the bonds appears to be in the mid-to-high 90 cents on the dollar range, according to Empirasign, which runs a trading database of securitized debt.
”The market could really use all the price points, especially at year-end, to correctly mark their books so that shareholders and investors can effectively assess the jobs their banks, hedge funds, and mutual funds have done for them this year.”
New York-based Empirasign Strategies, a provider of dealer offerings and “trade color” for mortgage and asset-backed securities, has expanded its database with the addition of data on Agency Fixed Rate Specified Offerings, to complete its coverage of mortgage securities.
Bond investors have bid up the Freddie Mac notes since they were sold. One slice traded on Sept. 23 at a price of more than 101 cents on the dollar, or a spread over the one-month London interbank offered rate of less than 2.90 percentage points, according to data provider Empirasign Strategies LLC. That’s down from a spread of 3.4 percentage points at issuance.
Now, trading is a slog in the market for mortgage debt not backed by government agencies, say investors and traders. Only 69.5% of such bonds put up for sale through lists circulated through and by Wall Street dealers changed hands in June, according to trade database Empirasign Strategies, down from 89.2% in the previous month.
Credit Suisse was said to take down Picard Funding 2009-1, while Morgan Stanley was said to buy Picard Funding 2009-2 and 2009-3, according to three traders familiar with the matter. Goldman Sachs was said to buy Picard Funding 2009-4 and Bank of America Merrill Lynch was said to buy Picard Funding 2009-5, according to the people. That makes Morgan Stanley's purchase the biggest. Picard Funding 2009-2 and 2009-3 have current face values of $3.26 billion and $1.35 billion, respectively, according to information obtained by SI and data provided by Empirasign Strategies.
The bid list of private-label mortgage bonds -- known as a bid wanted in competition, or BWIC -- was divided into five groups: Credit Suisse bought Group 1, Morgan Stanley bought Groups 2 and 3, Goldman Sachs took Group 4 and Bank of America bought Group 5, according to Adam Murphy, president of Empirasign Strategies, a capital markets trade database.
The auction is the biggest widely marketed sale of securitized debt since at least March 2010, according to Empirasign Strategies LLC, a New York-based provider of data on securitization-market trading. Eight of the 10 largest auctions were sales by the Federal Reserve of debt acquired from Bear Stearns Cos. and American International Group Inc. during the crisis.
Weekly trading in BB-rated bonds shot up as high as $2.4 billion in October, second only to April, when the New York Fed was unwinding a massive portfolio of crisis-era assets, according to Empirasign Strategies. It has averaged $1 billion a week this quarter, twice that of the third quarter, the firm's data said.
Investors have sought bids on $4.25 billion of debt linked to everything from skyscrapers to strip malls the past week, 64 percent more than the average weekly volume in 2012, according to Empirasign Strategies LLC, a New York-based data provider.
"The actions of the NY Fed really do not square with those who are anticipating a QE3," said Adam Murphy, President of Empirasign Strategies. "The Fed's unwinding of Maiden Lane is effectively quantitative tightening, not easing, because it's taking money out of the system not putting it in," he added.
"It basically guarantees lower proceeds and plays into the hands of the big dealer, because they are the only ones that have the capital to take down a larger trade," said Adam Murphy, president of Empirasign Strategies in New York, which tracks trading in securitized debt.
In general, sellers are also accepting lower overall prices for their pools because they are placing more constraints on buyers, said Adam Murphy, president of Empirasign Strategies, which tracks trading in securitized debt.
Adam Murphy, President of Empirasign, said the AON restriction should be lifted. "It reduces the average execution price because it limits the number of buyers," he says.
Secondary securitized-product flows have been much lighter this week. There has only been US$96.8m in prime and Alt-A RMBS traded in the secondary market today, according to Empirasign Strategies, a capital markets data provider.
"The Fed clearly does not want to be in the mortgage market any longer than they have to," said Adam Murphy, President of Empirasign Strategies, "but the most important factor is the Fed wants to do right by the American taxpayer. And selling these bonds at distressed levels is doing a disservice to the taxpayer and the market."
It completed auctions for $6.1 billion of securities through last week, accepting bids on $5.3 billion. The weighted average price was at least 49.27 cents on the dollar, according to Empirasign Strategies LLC, a New York-based data provider that tracks the second-best bids that dealers share with investors. Winning bids aren't typically disclosed.
"This list seemed to trade at, or above, most of the price guidance we saw," said Adam Murphy, president of Empirasign Strategies, a capital markets data provider. "There's a lot more product to sell, so it's hard to make a strong argument that subsequent lists will trade snugger. I think they'll trade wider because of the volumes involved, but not much wider because of the deliberate nature of the selling."
The Japanese crisis had the most impact on CMBS secondary market activity versus all other securitization sectors tracked by capital markets data provider Empirasign Strategies. "I think in terms of standard deviation away from the mean, the most action has been seen in CMBS," Adam Murphy, president of Empirasign said. "The story that's being pushed is Japan." Although generally prices have been weaker, in CMBS there has been a dramatic change in the "did not trade" (DNT) percent to around 40% from around 10% to 20% on both Tuesday and Wednesday this week, Murphy said. There has been a surge of lists out for bid, with sellers only getting their reserve price about half the time.
Brokers last month conducted open auctions for almost $14 billion of home-loan bonds lacking guarantees from government- supported Fannie Mae and Freddie Mae or federal Agency Ginnie Mae, according to Empirasign Strategies LLC. Since the start of July, the amount of securities offered through the process has totaled $75 billion, with at least $11.5 billion failing to be sold, according to the New York-based data provider.
According to Empirasign, the two sectors saw bonds with a combined face value of $3.7 billion go out for bid via 161 offerings last week. That was followed by $3.5 billion of securities in 147 bid lists over the first three days of this week.
Price talk ranged from more than 75 cents on the dollar to mere pennies on some of the bonds out for bid, according to trade data company Empirasign.
According to data provider Empirasign, it was the biggest day of bid list activity for SFR bonds since October 2015.
Investor demand for AAAs is still evident in the secondary. One May 2015 vintage AAA tranche covered at 143 bps on Friday after previously covering at 159 bps in late May, according to data from Empirasign Strategies.
One buyer picked up a US$2.7m sliver of a senior Ally Financial auto bond from 2012 after it fetched a cover bid of 60bp, or 10bp more than a dealer was offering two days prior, according to trade data provider Empirasign.
Prosper loans that were packaged into bonds by Citigroup Inc. and sold to investors fell by 4 cents on the dollar to 93 cents over the last week, according to bond data firm Empirasign Strategies.
All told, CLO notes with a face value of $444 million changed hands from Jan. 12 to Jan. 20. That’s out of a total offering volume of $611 million, according to Empirasign.
One dealer was offering a slice of the original Hooters A2 bond on Wednesday at a spread of Swaps plus 375bp - a full 30bp beyond its offer of 345bp on a similar parcel at the end of September, according to market data provider Empirasign.
Wednesday saw US$930m of ABS up for sale, according to data from Empirasign. Some $635m hit the market on Thursday.
In the secondary market, the total volume of CMBS out for bid has dropped 31% in the past 15 days of trading versus the prior three-week period, according to data from Empirasign.
The $532 million Zohar I, assembled in 2003, comes due starting in November. The $1 billion Zohar II matures in January 2017, and the $1.01 billion Zohar III in April 2019. Pieces of the third Zohar CLO were recently trading at about 71.5 cents on the dollar, according to Empirasign Strategies.
The BWIC includes 156 non-agency bonds with a current face value of $1.6bn, according to data from Empirasign. The notes are broken up into three pools, which are scheduled to trade at 10am on Friday and settle on March 24.
It’s easy to see the attraction for investors. Yields on the highest rated slice of the Santander bond were 1.02 percent, compared with the equivalent Treasury bond yield of 0.12 percent, according to Empirasign Strategies, a market data firm.
“The DNT numbers in ABS have been creeping up into the 20% and 30% range,” Murphy said, referring to bonds that do not trade. “I think people are trying to find liquidity, but people are just not there to take risk in December.”
A US$3m slice of a mezzanine H tranche of pre-crash JP Morgan deal JPMCC 2005-LDP2, for example, saw talk of just 27.30 cents on the dollar in September, according to Empirasign, an ABS and MBS bond trading data provider.
This week's auction is the largest sale from a European-based bank since a year ago, and it closes in on a record-sized auction from Lloyds Bank, which in May 2013 offloaded $8.9 billion in vintage U.S. mortgage-backed securities, according to data firm Empirasign Strategies president Adam Murphy.
The Wednesday BWIC is drawing increased scrutiny compared with some other recent large sales that have sailed through on the tailwind of improved housing fundamentals and favorable technicals. It is the largest non-agency BWIC since a USD 1.51bn offering in early September, according to DW ABS and Empirasign data.
A US$66.3m 1A slice of a subprime FHLT 2006-B bond, for example, is talked at just 48 cents on the dollar, according to Empirasign data, a market data company.
Approximately US$135m in risk-sharing bonds was out for bid in each of the past two weeks, the highest levels by far since the programme started in July 2013, according to Adam Murphy, president of market data company Empirasign.
The average price talk from five dealers was US63.73 cents for the first lot and US57.63 cents for the second, according to Adam Murphy, president of Empirasign, a data service provider.
The offering was the largest widely marketed auction of non-agency securities sold in a single block since Empirasign Strategies LLC began tracking the data. Including sales where bonds could be bought individually or in smaller groups, it was the 10th-largest since then.
Tomorrow’s offering is the largest widely marketed auction of non-agency securities being sold in a single block since at least 2010, according to Empirasign Strategies LLC, which tracks securitization-market trading. Including sales where bonds could be bought individually, it would be the 10th largest since then.
“We have a lot of experience of taking data from many sources, cleaning it, and giving people a picture of what’s going on in the marketplace. We’ve had an API from the beginning, but not everyone has the time to figure out how to use it,” Murphy says. “Almost everyone has some kind of internal database of positions, etc., but the functionality and accessibility of those can be a headache. So, by us doing the ‘schlepping’ for them, that becomes our headache, and they can see all their holdings and trade history, along with our data on one screen.” For example, he says, firms can use Enterprise to spot dealer auctions that yielded favorable trades, then identify similar securities and link that to clients who hold these securities and might be seeking to trade.
One dealer was offering to sell top-rated notes from the Blackstone transaction for about face value today, according to Empirasign Strategies LLC, which tracks securitization-market trading. Some riskier slices were being offered by JPMorgan Chase & Co. for less than par last month, people with knowledge of trading said then.
IMD: What factors will drive/hamper innovation in the market data industry in 2014? Murphy: As the enterprise becomes more accepting of the "bring your own device" paradigm, market data providers should look to embrace and extend this to "bring your own market data." Lightweight client installs (e.g. web apps) and HTTP delivery will make this paradigm more amenable to IT management. Individual end-users driving product adoption can only speed up the rate of innovation in the marketplace.
The auction is the largest widely marketed sale of its type since May, when Lloyds Banking Group Plc auctioned off $8.7 billion of such securities, according to Empirasign Strategies LLC, a New York-based provider of data on securitization-market trading.
“The Structured Products Securities market is one big disjointed mosaic,” said Adam Murphy, President and Founder of Empirasign Strategies LLC. “Empirasign and its customers now have a clear view of more tiles than anyone.”
Fidelity Investments and BlackRock Inc. (BLK) have been purchasing such debt, according to fund disclosures and auction lists compiled by data provider Empirasign Strategies LLC
A paltry US$217.3m in prime and Alt-A non-agency RMBS traded in the secondary market on Monday morning, along with only US$446.3m in ABS bid lists and US$453.7m in CMBS, according to Empirasign Strategies, a capital markets trading database.
The auction is the biggest widely marketed sale of securitized debt since at least March 2010, according to New York-based data-provider Empirasign. Eight of the 10 largest auctions were sales by the Federal Reserve of debt acquired from Bear Stearns Cos. and American International Group Inc. amid the credit crisis.
The auction -- mostly securities backed by ALT-A loans, a type of mortgage that typically didn’t require documentation such as proof of income -- is the biggest widely marketed sale of securitized debt in at least three years, according to data provider Empirasign Strategies LLC.
May is set to be the busiest month of the year for trading in AJ bonds, said Empirasign Strategies, a trade database.
Asset-backed securities trading in the secondary market is poised to bounce back following wider disruptions in the wake of Hurricane Sandy this week. The U.S. bond market was closed for a day and a half and some buyside and sellside firms were operating on truncated manpower, all but squashing secondary trading volumes last week. "It looks like we’re back to about two thirds of a normal trading session, or 85% when you look at today’s trading versus a normal Monday," said Adam Murphy, president of Empirasign Strategies.
Dealers circulated 278 lists of non-agency securities last week in auctions for investors known as “bids wanted in competition,” totaling $21.3 billion in face value, the largest amount of debt and fourth-most lists this year, according to New York-based Empirasign, a provider of trading information.
Morgan Stanley and at least three other dealers are seeking bids on $1.5 billion in collateralized debt obligations backed by commercial real-estate bonds for the owner, UBS AG (UBS, UBSN.VX), according to Empirasign Strategies, which tracks securitized-debt trading, and a UBS spokeswoman. The sale comes just days after the Federal Reserve Bank of New York captured the market's attention by auctioning $7.5 billion of similar securities.
The central bank this week is also probably accepting bids on a pool of $672 million of home-loan bonds being held by its first Maiden Lane vehicle, according to Empirasign Strategies LLC. The New York-based provider of data on securitized-debt trading based the assessment on a list of securities being auctioned and Fed disclosures on the vehicle’s holdings.
Trading in non-agency mortgage bonds averaged $15.6 billion per week in the first six periods of this year, compared with $6.6 billion in the final 20 weeks of 2011, according to data reported to regulators and compiled by Empirasign Strategies LLC, a New York-based provider of information on securitization trading.
If the portfolio is sold to an individual investor or group assembled by dealers in an “all-or-nothing” process, that may obscure bids on specific securities and “a lack of price discovery is inherently not good,” said Adam Murphy, president of Empirasign Strategies LLC, a New York-based provider of data on securitization-market trading.
The potential for ABS/MBS sales resulting from the unwind would be bad for U.S. securitization spreads. "If their are any more Dexias that will mean further, albeit non-forced, selling pressure," said Adam Murphy, President of Empirasign Strategies. " What's French for Maiden Lane? Funny enough, it's the same in either language."
Moreover, some bid lists up for trade today contained so-called "call options on clawbacks," meaning that buyers of these bonds will have the option to receive a portion of the settlement that goes through the cashflow waterfall on the legacy Countrywide bonds. "Sellers could be looking to recognize some money for this optionality," said Adam Murphy, president of Empirasign Strategies LLC, a capital markets data provider.
"This could be an acceleration of the 'pre-hiking' that the Fed started with its AIG sales," Adam Murphy, Empirasign's president, said, referring to actions by the central bank that represent a tightening of monetary policy before an increase in benchmark interest rates.
For example, the second-place bidder in a Feb. 8 auction of pieces of a bond backed by home-equity lines of credit offered 46.5 cents on the dollar, according to information compiled by Empirasign Strategies LLC. A month later, a second-place bid on the same debt was in the mid 50-cent range, according to the New York-based data provider.
This is indicative of shaky markets: Bid lists are being cancelled or postponed across ABS and CMBS amid increasing BWIC volume,
Sept. 14 was last week's busiest trading day for Non-Agency bonds, with dealers seeking bids on almost $1.3 billion of the debt excluding subprime mortgages, according to New York-based data provider Empirasign Strategies LLC. Buyers purchased 83 percent of the debt offered, according to Empirasign.
The notes saw talk from four dealers on Wednesday that averaged 240bp over Swaps. That compared to just 205bp on average from an August 18 list, according to Empirasign.
... a $6 million piece of a deal Bank of America issued in 2004 changed hands on June 6 after hitting the secondary market at an above-par price, according to Empirasign. It is among the transactions on which Wells is withholding payments, leaving the buyer’s capital stranded
According to Empirasign, the combined volume of outstanding asset-backed securities, mortgage bonds and CLOs offered for sale over the first three days of this week totaled $4.3 billion.
The sale is the biggest auction of non-agency mortgage bonds since October 2014, when banks sold a US$5bn list, according to trade data provider Empirasign Strategies.
New York-based bond data provider Empirasign Strategies hired two new staffers this week to support its technology and business development functions.
Amid light trading this week, spreads widened marginally, but most issues were still trading near par. For example, a $5 million batch of bonds from a deal Citigroup issued in October changed hands at 99.5 cents on the dollar, according to Empirasign. A week earlier, the same paper was trading at par, one trader said. The 2.2-year bonds, with a “Baa3” rating from Moody’s, are backed by consumer loans originated by Lending Club rival Prosper Marketplace.
On Oct. 20, for example, a mere 10.7% of the CLO paper offered on the secondary market failed to trade. That’s down from 19.5% on Oct. 15, 33.3% on Oct. 14 and 28.6% on Oct. 13, according to Empirasign.
Six dealers distributed price talk averaging a price of around 52 for the equity piece for the post-crisis mezzanine of one manager, according to data from Empirasign Strategies. In mid-August the same equity tranche received price talk from seven dealers averaging about 65.
As a sign of this alarm, a virtual blackout took hold in a CLO bid list trading between Monday 2pm and Wednesday 1pm New York time, according to data provider Empirasign.
A series of large BWICs were sold entirely, including one totalling around $635m, according to data from Empirasign. A $1.22bn list of interest-only legacy non-agency paper was also sold in full, by a syndicate of 17 dealers.
As of midday on Tuesday, some 35 BWICs that were placed on Monday and Tuesday remained outstanding for securities issued off of Santander’s SDART shelf, according to data from Empirasign.
Overall volumes of non-agency RMBS out for bid have been particularly intense this week, according to data provider Empirasign. Some US$863.4m in these bonds were out for bid on Tuesday, a 167% increase in bid list volume versus the daily average for March. And there was little let up today with US$575.39m showing up on lists.
About a third of the $2.7 billion of those notes included in widely marketed auctions from the day of the FHA announcement through yesterday were described by dealers as failing to trade, showing potential disagreement among investors on the appropriate values, according to Empirasign data. Trade information wasn’t available for an additional 17 percent.
A senior A1 tranche on a SASC 2006-S1 deal last covered at 90.01 on August 26, according to data from Empirasign.
The list of almost 60 bonds sold Tuesday fetched a weighted average price talk of US$56.41, according to Empirasign, a trading data provider, with most seeing price talk from an average of five to six dealers.
Talk reached an average US$74.28 dollar price on the US list, according to Empirasign, an ABS and MBS bond trading data provider that had talk on 99% of the list. For the European parcel, talk across five dealers averaged US$91.72, according to Empirasign.
But many of this week’s bid lists were never sold. Some 67% of the $409m of CLO bid lists in the market on Wednesday, for example, did not trade, according to data from Empirasign.
Trading volumes of auto ABS were normalising this week, after some $1.17bn of paper changed hands the week before last, according to data from Empirasign.
Bond investors are backing off the securities as competing investments such as high-yield corporate bonds cheapen. Holders sought bids through dealers on about $80 million of existing rental-home notes in widely marketed auctions Friday, according to data from Empirasign Strategies LLC, which tracks securitization trading.
Next week's batch will likely attract a broader base of buyers than the first, as it includes floating-rate, fixed-rate and adjustable-rate securities, including Option-ARMs - adjustable-rate mortgage bonds - according to Adam Murphy, president of trade database company Empirasign Strategies.
"The question is, how much is Credit Suisse left with after filling client orders?" said Adam Murphy, president of Empirasign Strategies, a capital markets trade database.
Empirasign clients can now access Informa's US ABS Commentary and US CMBS Commentary─covering asset-backed securities and commercial mortgage-backed securities, respectively, and both part of Informa's Structured Finance Watch service of news, commentary and deals data─at no additional charge via a tab on its menu bar marked "IGM."
In the first two weeks of February, investors purchased a net $368m of non-agency RMBS. That pales in comparison to the $3bn sold over the two months previous, data from Empirasign show.
In September, a senior bond of the subprime RMBS titled SACO 2006-5 - from issuer Bear Stearns, which JP Morgan bought during the crisis - was trading in the low 40 cents on the dollar, according to Empirasign, which operates a database of trading prices for securitised products.
The additional datasets will result in increased volumes of data available to clients─particularly for securities issued in the UK and Europe, where the data is expected to increase five-fold per day.
With liquidity ever more critical, Empirasign says it automates the collection of highly fragmented pricing data, providing an independent view into where asset-based securities are trading.
"The daily offer sheets distributed by dealers this week show spread widening versus tightening in a 5 to 1 ratio for last-cash-flow CMBS bonds," said Adam Murphy, president of Empirasign Strategies, a capital markets data provider that closely tracks securitized-product secondary trading.
Only 10 of the 57 line items on the $1.99 billion list from Fannie were on reoffer from dealers after the original trade date last Wednesday, according to data Empirasign. "Given the low number of reoffers on the list, it looks like the lion’s share of the bonds traded direct into customer orders," said Adam Murphy, Empirasign president and founder in New York.
The share of non-agency bonds reported by dealers as not trading after being included in widely marketed auctions rose to 44 percent in the first half of June, up from 18 percent last month, according to data from New York-based Empirasign Strategies LLC, which tracks the information. A total of $9.5 billion of the debt was offered, about the same pace as in the first four months this year, after $32.3 billion in all of May.
Thursday's sale was already unusually large for the nonagency mortgage bond market, which this year has seen a daily average of about $1 billion in bonds offered, according to Empirasign Strategies, a trade database.
The assets are a mixture of risky residential mortgage-backed securities issued by Wall Street banks before the financial crisis, according to Empirasign Strategies, a trade database.
May is on track to be the busiest month for mezzanine CMBS trading since February, said Adam Murphy, CEO of Empirasign Strategies, which compiles trading data across securitized products. "Higher prices are drawing out the fast money sellers. Sell in May and go away has not worked in stocks. Maybe it will work in CMBS mezzanine trading," he added.
More than $7.87 billion of CDO liquidations across 33 lists have taken place this year, according to data provided by Empirasign Strategies. In 2011, $12.55 billion in CDO liquidations were offered up, across 57 lists.
Activity has been lighter this week, but there are a lot of compounding issues: Greece headlines, the holiday weekend and the Fed. I also think JPMorgan's [credit default swap] exposure may be hanging over the market, making people more risk averse,
Bid lists for "AJ" and slightly safer "AM" CMBS since April 16 has dropped to as little as $12 million in a day in the past week, compared with $100 million to $300 million per day earlier this month, according to Adam Murphy, president of Empirasign Strategies, which tracks trading in CMBS.
The firm probably sold more than $1 billion in face value of the securities last week, according to Empirasign Strategies LLC in New York. The provider of information on securitized-debt trading based that assessment on auction lists from dealers and public reports on the firm’s holdings.
“I fail to see how running a limited participation, secret auction is any way beneficial to the owners of these bonds, the U.S. taxpayer,” Murphy said. “Not to mention these bonds are now trading 15 to 25 cents” on the dollar “cheaper compared to when they were last auctioned in a more public manner.”
In the past five weeks, dealers have conducted auctions for $14.8 billion of non-agency debt, down from $26.1 billion in the first five weeks of the year, according to data from Empirasign Strategies LLC. Investment banks reported completed sales of $4.4 billion of the bonds offered in the most recent period, according to the New York-based provider of data on securitized-debt trading.
"CMBS bid lists that are DNT -- or did not trade -- are pretty high right now," said Adam Murphy, president of capital markets data provider Empirasign Strategies. "Funding pressures are hitting all sectors. And DNTs are much higher than we can observe because distributed color has been very light. So it's a safe bet that a lot of these lists that just go into the ether did not trade."
"Our view is that this spring's spread-widening is a function of more than just ML2 supply weighing on the market," Murphy said. "The double dip in housing and spreads being too tight at the beginning of year are the main factors, as well as general risk aversion. It also does not help that Europe continues to play 'kick the can down the road' with Greece.
Commenting on Thursday's list, Adam Murphy, President of Empirasign Strategies LLC, said the list traded about at expectations with some items lower than price talk and others above it. "I am not seeing any re-offers yet," Murphy said, "but my guess is this list had better investor sponsorship because all the items were round lots and with the reduced line item count as compared to Wednesday it was easier to spend more time analyzing each bond."
"This fundamentally changes that equation," he added. "Another way to look at these sales is as a pre-hiking by the Fed." But on positive side, Murphy said the sales will bring "much needed transparency to the Non-Agency market" if Blackrock conducts these auctions in the "same open manner" Treasury has sold its Agency MBS holdings. "More transparency will bring in more market participants and that can't be anything but good for spreads," he said.
Wall Street brokers conducted open auctions on $4.9 billion of option-ARM securities this month, the most since October, according to Empirasign Strategies LLC. The 59 percent increase from January's $3.1 billion compares with a gain of 11 percent in the entire non-Agency market aside from subprime debt, the New York-based data provider said.