MORNING BID – What’s all the Yellen about?

Jul 15, 2014 12:51 UTC

Rants from TV commentators aside, the market’s going to be keenly focused on Janet Yellen’s congressional testimony today, with a specific eye toward whether the Fed chair moderates her concerns about joblessness, under-employment and the overall dynamism of the labor force that has been left somewhat wanting in this recovery. The June jobs report, where payrolls grew by 288,000, was welcome news even as the economy continues to suffer due to low labor-force participation and weak wage growth.

Inflation figures are starting to show some sense of firming in various areas, for sure, but still not at a point that argues for a sharp move in Fed rates just yet. Overall, a look at Eurodollar futures still suggests the market sees a gradual, very slow uptick in overall rates – the current difference between the June 2015 futures and June 2016 futures are less than a full percentage point – not as low as it was in May of this year, but still lower than peaks seen in March and April 2014 and in the third quarter of 2013, before a run of weak economic figures and comments from Fed officials themselves scared people again into thinking that the markets would never end up seeing another rate hike, like, ever again.

Now the expectations for Fed moves have coalesced around late in the first half of 2015 for at least the first token rate rises, and it might even be a bit sooner depending on what happens with employment and inflation figures. On this front, Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab points out that some of the leading and coincident indicators for the labor market look promising – noting that the jobless rate overall and the payroll figures are lagging indicators.

She points out that private-sector employment is up 9 percent since the end of the recession, outpacing the economy’s overall 5.9 percent growth rate – and that’s clearly due to a lot of local and state government austerity that was forced upon municipalities and other localities due to diving tax revenues and weak growth. Government employment didn’t finally trough until mid-2013, and has since started to come up a bit more, but it’s still down 3 percent from the end of the recession; the gains in private employment don’t completely obviate whatever need there is for government jobs and services – particularly if federal and state employment tends to be middle-class labor.

Job quits and layoffs figures are improving.

Job quits and layoffs figures are improving.

Other factors pointing to strength – the improvement in the JOLTS data, the job openings labor turnover survey, which shows job openings rising to levels consistent with the 2007 area – still not at the same level as it was in 2001 during the end of the tech boom, but much better than what’s been happening of late.

The “quit rate” also measured by JOLTS points to more people voluntarily leaving jobs – again, the 2.1 percent rate for private payrolls falls short of the 2.5 to 2.6 percent level during the end of the last boom and far from the 2.8-2.9 percent level back in 2001 – but it’s important enough that Yellen may modify some of her language. Given she’s learned pretty quickly to try to bore people to death after the “six months” remark that set people off, those looking for lots of news may be disappointed. But if there is to be any, it could be here.

MORNING BID – Minute by minutes

Jul 9, 2014 13:44 UTC

The bond market remains pretty much tethered to the 2.50 percent to 2.60 percent range that’s prevailed for the 10-year note for quite some time now, with the primary catalyst being today’s release of the Federal Reserve’s minutes from its most recent meeting. The relevant data that investors are probably paying most attention to – the jobs report last week, the JOLTS jobs survey, shows some more things that is meant to keep the Fed engaged rather than moving toward an imminent increase in rates. The quit rate – the rate at which people leave jobs for others – is still historically a bit on the low side, not at a level that would make the Fed more comfortable that the kind of labor-market dynamism needed for the Fed to shift to raising interest rates. Fact is, the central bank just isn’t there yet.

And with that in mind, that means those investors clamoring for higher rates are probably going to continue to see their expectations unmet for a longer period of time, and with sovereign buyers from Europe and Japan wandering outside those halls, there’s an ongoing bid in the market that continues to thwart short-sellers who are just waiting for that right moment to bet against the bond market. That’s been a lonely trade of late – or rather, a popular trade, just a big loser as trades go.

Players in the markets may also be looking to see whether the Fed discusses the other exit strategies it has — reverse repos and the like — making that another thing to watch for in the late release. Dealers have been divided on whether the Fed will raise rates merely to 25 basis points or direct to 50 — our most recent polls are split on this, but a move to 50 would probably assuage a few of those who think the Fed is getting behind the curve.

Earnings play a factor in this equation as well however. The decline in earnings estimates has actually been subdued in the second quarter, compared with the first quarter, according to Goldman Sachs, which suggests a pickup in activity after the weak first quarter. Earnings don’t really get going for another few days, but the signs of growth will be what investors worried about valuations are looking for. The current valuation situation, as Chuck Mikolajzcak wrote in a story yesterday, points to some measures that are worrisome – the Case Shiller PE figure, for instance – while a couple of others like operating P/E, suggest only slightly expensive levels. With more strategists starting to worry of a correction, earnings would go a long way toward supporting equities.

MORNING BID – Next for Puerto Rico, Argentina and the Fed

Jul 8, 2014 13:02 UTC

The market’s recent chatter has revolved specifically around whether the strength in the jobs figure from last week moves forward the expected timing of the first interest-rate hike from the Federal Reserve.

The answer: yes, but probably by not that much. Jobs growth of 288,000 for June was better than expected, and that 6.1 percent unemployment rate looms large for those who figured the Fed would be ready to start raising rates after at least 6.5 percent was surpassed. So we’re there on that, but as Kristina Hooper of Allianz points out, the wage growth seen hasn’t been terribly strong, and the types of jobs being created – a lot of which are in lower-paying industries like retail – don’t portend the same kind of economic strength that might have been manifest by now in other iterations of U.S. recoveries.

So there was some hoopla on Monday over a prominent economist like Jan Hatzius shifting his “first rate hike date” figure dramatically. In moving from early 2016 to late 2015, he’s really only joining the consensus here on this. With the Fed meeting minutes due out on Wednesday, considerable attention will be paid to how the Fed is now viewing the economic situation, particularly given their penchant for a go-it-slow approach.

High rates are the hallmark of the increasingly bizarre debt situations engulfing both Puerto Rico and Argentina. The two nominally couldn’t be more different – one a sovereign nation that defaulted 12 years ago and yet still has created enough drama to fill a lifetime of Chekhov, the other a commonwealth and a territory of the United States.

The former for years was a no-go zone for anyone who likes their debt holdings boring. The latter was a celebrated gathering place for muni buyers because all of the island’s debt was tax-free, so New Yorkers and Californians alike could jump into the fray there.

What’s notable as well is the way in which there are bifurcations now in both situations.

In Puerto Rico, debt that had been expected to have a quasi-guarantee from the government or the Government Development Bank of Puerto Rico, like its electric company or sewer utility bonds, are now cast adrift. They are floating in the wind and seeing their bond prices drop to somewhere around 35 to 40 cents on the dollar, while the more protected general obligations are trading at something more normal (but still not all that awesome) 80 to 85 cents on the dollar.

The recent passage of a law that lets the corporations “restructure” has now brought in distressed players and hedge funds – kind of the exact people the Argentines found themselves in bed with after their restructuring took place and led to the imbroglio that they’re now involved in. They can’t pay their restructured holders, but send money to the custody bank anyway to seem like they have the intention to pay were it not for a meanie of a judge (nobody has used the word “meanie,” and he’s probably a lovely man who likes dogs and kids). And if they do pay the holdouts too, they open another can of worms, a $15 billion can of worms (their numbers). The latest development is that the Argentines asked a mediator to stay the judge’s ruling, which is kind of their 20th run at this.

Has Puerto Rico created a similar mess here? The Barclays Muni High Yield Index suggests so. Or as Dan Burns, Reuters Americas markets editor, points out, it was up 9.5 percent year-to-date on June 11, and now it’s just up 5.7 percent, with all but 0.2 percentage point of that retracement having taken place since the restructuring laws surprisingly passed about two weeks ago. The stock market has taken notice too, as MBIA Inc, one of the guarantors of Puerto Rico’s “corporation” debt, has seen its stock fall more than 19 percent since the law’s passage on June 25, while Assured Guaranty, considered a bit less exposed, is down 11 percent in that time period.

MORNING BID – Speculating on a Hypothesis

Jun 23, 2014 13:18 UTC

A few thoughts as the market heads into a relatively quiet week featuring mostly Federal Reserve speakers and a few other random events that aren’t likely to knock the market to its knees:

  • Bear markets don’t just start “because,” as Dan Greenhaus of BTIG puts it. Usually there are a few factors, but most often it’s some combination of speculative excess, tightening rates, and a reduction in that bit of froth in an area that’s crucial to the bull market or economic expansion in question. When technology investing money dried up and the companies that sold shares to the public foundering on a lack of earnings, the tech bubble was unwound pretty quickly. The financial crisis came about as banks became unable to handle the volume of debt that had been sold and as the Fed raised rates, sapping demand in the “greater fool” housing market, and as the banks ate themselves under synthetic products that weren’t anything underlying. So with that in mind, what’s the speculative excess now? Probably the overall thing is ultimate low rates, because when that does go, the market is going to view growth differently.
  • The expectation for higher rates is a primary underpinning for overall investor nervousness. If rates are higher, the expansion is threatened, and inflation becomes an issue. It’s not that those conditions exist now, but the prevailing view for rising rates explains in many ways why this bull market is as loathed as it is. People remain wary of making bets in this market, even if retail investors would have been handsomely rewarded by getting in at any morn, so that’s point in favor of them rather than against.
  • Higher rates often do end up killing a lot of bull markets – and economic expansions – so the inflation figures and the Fed members’ beliefs related to the threat of rising prices are all important, and we’ll attempt to make sure of the chatter coming from the likes of Charles Plosser, Jeff Lacker and John Williams. So that’s the second team when it comes to Fed speakers (Bill Dudley also speaks, but the Puerto Rican economy is the topic) in terms of influence, but still, those views remain important.
  • Complacency isn’t a “thing.” As Luciana Lopez and Jennifer Ablan wrote about late last week, the VIX being low isn’t a workable assessment of the concerns thousands of investors have about the equity market and economy, particularly when the VIX really only reflects expectations for volatility in the coming couple of weeks and not in any long-term kind of way. So yes, the VIX around 10 doesn’t make a lot of sense until you remember it’s been about 45 cays where the index hasn’t even hit a 1 percent change – so realized volatility has been in the 4 percent range.

MORNING BID – Be not afraid of more bond-market rallies

Jun 6, 2014 13:38 UTC

After the world’s most boring jobs report in history (seriously, misses consensus by 1,000, unemployment and wage growth in-line with expectations, and revisions over the last two months amount to a total decline of 6,000 jobs, which is a pittance), the bond market is catching a bit of a bid again. That shouldn’t be a surprise given the way this market is still taking its cues from the European bond market, which is soaring on what would otherwise be a quiet Friday. (Those of you who read Richard Leong’s story yesterday noting the likely rally in bonds post-jobs would have been all over this – just sayin’.)

It’s not going to be long before Spain’s 10-year yield falls through the U.S. 10-year yield – the spread has narrowed to about 6-7 basis points and at one point was around 3 basis points before the jobs figures. Even though the in-line figures could argue for higher rates, the report doesn’t change the consensus on the economy all that much and allows fixed income to concentrate on supply and relative valuation issues – and those point to yields remaining under pressure. Mark Grant of Southwest Securities lays it out well on a lot of issues in a comment this morning, but very specifically, he points out that “money from Asia and the Middle East is going to come pouring into the American market because of the yields here versus all of Europe. When the French 5 year yield is 304% less than the American one something is going to give and the ECB will not permit that answer to be a higher French yield.”

Lower European yields are pressuring U.S. yields.

Lower European yields are pressuring U.S. yields.

Supply and demand remains part of the equation as well. Headed into this week, issuance of U.S. debt was down 14 percent from this time a year ago and overall worldwide debt issuance was down 5 percent; US corporate debt issuance has been relatively steady, down 2 percent from this time a year ago. Couple that with the big run for yields coming from banking institutions around the world, other funds and insurance institutions worldwide, and U.S. private pension funds, and that imbalance is also contributing to an ongoing bull move in the bond market. (BofA-Merrill notes that first-quarter private pension fund purchases did slow from the second half of 2013.)

Treasury issuance is down, municipal bond issuance has declined, and the Federal Reserve is still holding a lot of debt overall. “Higher prices and falling yields can be caused by a number of things and this time around the cause is not a financial debacle,” Grant writes, and it’s hard to disagree on this one. Merrill notes that for the year-to-date, fund flows into all fixed income come to about $55.6 billion, about on a par with the $58 billion into equities – so the “everything is awesome” rally continues.

Where’s that leave other markets? Well, savers are going to continue to get hit on this – which encourages more risk taking, be it in stocks, real estate, credit or what-have-you. The lower rates may help offset some of the softness that the housing market has endured over the last few months, seeing as how it takes mortgage rates lower. Then again, several more strong economic reports are going to create a bit of a conundrum – it’s hard to see how real growth of 5 percent (that is, nominal growth of about 3 to 3.5 percent in the second quarter, plus inflation in the range of 1.7 to 1.8 percent) supports a 2.5 percent 10-year yield, but we may be about to find out.

MORNING BID – The Fed, on the minutes

May 21, 2014 12:55 UTC

Investors will get a look at the Federal Reserve’s thinking later on Wednesday in an otherwise quiet week when the Fed releases minutes from its April get-together. There may be a bit in the way of more up-to-date thinking in some of the scheduled Fed speeches, notably Bill Dudley of the New York Fed, along with Fed Chair Janet Yellen later in the week.

The minutes from February’s meeting were instructive – they clung to the Fed’s typical modus operandi in suggesting that economic difficulty early in the year was largely due to weather-related issues and pointed to improved outlooks in various areas, while still noting weakness in housing and consumer spending.

Whether the Fed alters that guidance in this go-around will be interesting to see. They tend to be overly optimistic on the economy and inflation, and slowly come in line with reality as conditions remain somewhere short of what they’re expecting.

With the Fed months away from ending its extraordinary stimulus program, you could get the impression it’s trying to run out the clock on QE before even turning to the greater manner of managing the federal funds rate and all the other attendant rates that the Fed will tweak using various tools it has brought into being in the last few weeks.

As Richard Leong noted in a recent Reuters article, the Fed is using a term deposit facility, reverse repos and the overnight interest on excess reserves to vacuum money out of the banking system.

What’s unclear is if the Fed can do what it intends to do, which is to draw down the massive $2.5 trillion in excess reserves without causing major market hiccups, freak-outs, panics or collapses.

So far (and it’s early – very early), the Fed’s done okay, but the real test has to come at some point down the road – to expect that we’ll be able to leave and “assume it all went to plan,” to cite Austin Powers’ Dr. Evil, is farcical.

MORNING BID – Inflation isn’t as benign as it seems…

May 13, 2014 12:49 UTC

The monthly inflation indicators have been forgotten men in recent years, notable only when investors engaged in their brief freak-outs about deflation that accompany weak economies from time to time. This week’s release of wholesale and retail inflation figures is getting a bit more attention as the Federal Reserve closes in on the day when it will no longer be buying bonds on a monthly basis and turns its attention to interest-rate increases.

The 10-year note’s yield has hovered around 2.65 percent in recent weeks, and the rapid removal of stimulus suggests markets are pretty unclear when it comes to the inflation outlook, in that, well, they don’t see much. The Fed doesn’t see it either – they talk about how they expect price normalization, probably hoping that at some point during Janet Yellen’s tenure that the past experience of rising prices in a late-cycle economy comes to pass here as well. Yet it hasn’t happened — and so the Fed revises its inflation forecasts lower, always sure to maintain some consensus estimate in the far-off future of that coveted 2 percent inflation level.

This brings us to Wednesday’s figures on producer-level inflation and Thursday’s data on consumer level inflation. Various other related signs are still not encouraging of price growth; consumer credit, particularly revolving credit levels, remain low, which suggests not much in the way of a flush consumer doing more spending; slack in various parts of the economy, and low labor force participation rates.

Of course not everybody agrees, with Tom Teles, head of Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s fixed income duration strategy, writing in a report that “US Treasuries are priced for a scenario where the economy has so much slack that inflation remains low for an exceptionally long period of time. We are not so certain and see a plausible scenario where the market and the Fed are overestimating the amount of slack in the economy and underestimating inflation risk.” For their part, they note temporary factors – like the weather, of course – but also distortions caused by the Affordable Care Act, Washington’s “sequestration” deal that supressed spending. They also see reduced rental vacancies – lowest in a decade – as a motivating factor for higher prices before long. (See this chart provided by Reuters economics and markets chief Dan Burns.)

rentvsunemploymentThe disruptions that hit health care inflation in April of 2013 are notable and sure to be a big part of Thursday’s consumer price data. RBS economist Omair Sharif points out that patent expiration in 2012 ended up hitting the CPI’s consumer drug index in the first half of 2013. This won’t be repeated. In addition, the 2 percent cut in Medicare payments in April 2013 was a one-time deal, and won’t be repeated again. Putting that together, there’s going to be more inflation in medical care costs – RBS estimates a 0.3 percent in April and May, which would boost that year-over-year cost to about 2.87 percent from 2.17 percent in two months, and bump core CPI up about one-tenth of a percentage point to around 1.75 percent, pretty close to what the Fed wants. Not enough for rate increases, but there are a lot of other factors.

If that occurs, long dated bonds will turn to a more corrective mode; certain factors like pension fund buying and a desire for safety after a big year in 2013 for equities could keep a lid on the bond market’s moves, but the fear of disinflation will rapidly diminish.

MORNING BID – Inflation situation, what’s up with that?

Apr 30, 2014 13:21 UTC

The Federal Reserve faces a relatively easy decision at the end of the day – it is going to continue to reduce its monthly bond buying, this time to $45 billion a month, and truth be told the action in the bond market of late has made things a bit easier for them when it comes to worrying about slack in the economy – long-term rates have not skyrocketed to nowhere as some had thought might happen, so that’s encouraging – mortgage rates are actually down by about 20 basis points on the year (yes, they rose dramatically last year, but they were somewhere in the realm of nothing early in 2013).

The tougher aspect of this to reckon with for the Fed is stubbornly low inflation that’s going to mean the Fed will be more than likely to be raising rates at a time when the economy is not doing what they want – prices aren’t really going up, and economic growth will struggle to get to that 3 percent rate for the rest of the year that the Fed is hoping for. Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren has suggested keeping rates low until we see 2 percent inflation and the economy is within a year of full employment – something others, like Dallas Fed head Richard Fisher, disagrees with.

Either way inflation expectations really haven’t advanced all that much for all of the time that the Fed has been underwriting risk-taking, be it through moving further out in the yield curve, buying corporate bonds or high yield bonds or more esoteric assets altogether. The five-year/five-year forward rate for inflation expectations is currently about 2.41 percent per the St. Louis Fed’s massive website of awesomeness (seriously); it has gotten as high as about 2.9 percent over the last five years, which again isn’t exactly pointing to a major outbreak of inflation, but still, that’s more like what you’d expect after all this. And in 2013 when the Fed started to point to a taper people built in greater inflation expectations, moving that rate from 2.2 percent in May to 2.8 percent late in the year.

With the situation remaining relatively persistent — that is, mediocre economic growth but relatively high confidence that it will improve — that’s forced a lot of money, be it overseas or in various types of funds, into credit. Investors keep going there even though they believe its overvalued, according to Bank of America/Merrill Lynch strategists, because inflows keep coming. “Inflows are also why sell-offs are short and, and getting shorter over time. Again, investors accumulate money that eventually needs to be put into the market. That dynamic becomes self-fulfilling, as even investors that are able to time selloffs early on, struggle to make money as they are unable to repurchase bonds before it’s too late,” they wrote. They warn that this will change, violently, when rates truly rise sharply.

When does this change occur? When the Fed starts raising rates – and that depends on the economy. Today’s Fed meeting isn’t the issue – it’s the jobs data, and forthcoming lending data, and spending

MORNING BID – Dot Matrix

Apr 10, 2014 12:52 UTC

The Federal Reserve did it again, giving back to the markets at a time when it wasn’t expected, and showing once again that the early months of a new Fed chair’s tenure are fraught ones, in terms of interpreting monetary policy.

Janet Yellen probably didn’t mean to suggest rate hikes could come as soon as six months after the bond-buying program ends for good. And the release of the Fed minutes also demonstrated that the Fed – even in discussing projections – worried about how it would all look, specifically the “dot matrix” that showed several Fed members saw higher rates before long, and really, that it was all just kind of overstated. (Yellen even said this at her press conference – that the dots did not mean what you thought they meant).

Either way, that’s wreaked some havoc on expectations for policy, with the market shifting back towards thinking this is all going to come down a bit later than expected. This comes just after the most recent Reuters primary dealers’ poll that suggested major strategists were finally getting comfortable with the idea of possible rate hikes in the first half of 2015 rather than later – there were 8 who saw that happening out of 18, compared with just 4 in the previous poll. CME Fedwatch data shows now the chances of a rate increase before July at 42 percent, down from 52 percent on Tuesday.

“The latest round of minutes highlighted a Fed that in the interest of being ever-more transparent really continues to muddy the waters even more,” wrote Tom Porcelli, fixed income strategist at RBC. But honestly? Early in a Fed chair’s run, that’s just not unusual, and difficult for the market to take after spending several years getting used to someone’s tendencies.

So that happened. Really, on some level we’re still talking about developments scheduled to take place more than a year from now, and markets can only discount so much.
Either way, it helped unwind some of the selling that the market had seen in the short end of the curve, steepening the curve once again and reducing some concern about the front end and the effects of the higher short-term rates and the flattening of the yield curve. It also sparked some life in the biotech and other momentum names as well, though for how long is another question.

Markets will keep an eye on the 30-year bond sale later today, the last of three auctions in the quarterly refunding. Lately, Treasury auctions have been a complete wild card, with bidding by direct bidders – those who aren’t going through the 22 primary dealers in Treasury securities who directly deal with the Treasury and New York Federal Reserve – all over the map.
Direct bidding was high in some recent auctions, especially in the three-year auction on Tuesday, and then fell off again on Wednesday. Coupled with the recent spike in bank buys of five- and seven-year paper, there are a lot of questions around the dynamics in the Treasury market right now.

We’ll be looking at this phenomena later in the day and the market gets the third of its three auctions this week, the 30-year bond sale that shapes up to be relatively attractive given the release of Fed minutes that showed the Fed’s whole deal about being more aggressive in rate cuts? Never mind all that stuff or what not, we’re going at the same pace that we’d been going.
Concern over what was to happen with the Fed minutes (just one hour after the auction) may have kept buyers cooling their heels with the 10-year note sale on Wednesday. Still, much remains unclear about activity in the Treasury market where long-dated yields remain at relatively attractive levels and the short end saw yields drop to their lowest in weeks as prices rallied after the Fed minutes.

MORNING BID – The same-store situation

Apr 9, 2014 13:36 UTC

Same-store sales figures may be enough to inspire some investors to resume paring portfolios of some consumer discretionary stocks that have underperformed in the last five or six weeks.

Equities rebounded on Tuesday, but the overall feeling is that the market hasn’t yet finished with the bout of selling infecting the high-volatility, high-beta names that dominate conversations.
Most consumer names aren’t in this rarefied air (they don’t trade at price-to-sales ratios of a gajillion) but they’ve still been a target for some time on bad news.

The ones to watch are the likes of Costco, expected to come in strongly, while teen apparel retailers face some pressure, even with easy comparisons to a year ago. Gap, Zumiez and Buckle all look to post worse year-over-year results for March, and Shoppertrak data has shown how mall visits have changed over time. People no longer wander the mall for hours, but find deals online, shop at a few stores, and get outta there. That’s not a weather thing, that’s a “how I run my life” thing.

This data is likely to be bad news. Excluding the drug store sector, same-store sales are expected to have grown at a 1.5 percent rate for March, down from the 2.7 percent growth rate for the ex-drug sector last year, according to the Thomson Reuters outlook.

Investors hope retailers see a pickup in the next few weeks and that the group’s earnings reports point to underlying demand that was at least seen in the car-sales figures and some signs of home-buying activity. That might revive some demand for that sector, which is down 5.4 percent since March 7.

Hedge funds seem to be still reducing positions in this area even as they don’t drop out of the market entirely; ETF flows this past week show more reduction in buying in consumer cyclical shares, according to Credit Suisse, though it hasn’t been terribly pronounced.

BUYING WHAT AND WHERE?
There’s been a bit of strange activity here and there in some of the official Fed and Treasury data.
First, a number of weeks ago, someone either sells or moves about $100 billion in holdings that had been custodied with the Federal Reserve – the biggest ever such move.

It has since been restored, and yet it remains a mystery; speculation had focused on Russia as the culprit, but no proof is there. Monday, new data showing who the buyers were of the most recent Treasury auctions (two weeks ago) showed a big buy by banks and other similar institutions of five- and seven-year notes. They accounted for about 15 percent of the auction, compared with about 0.11 percent of the February auctions of five- and seven-year paper.

Again, there’s not much in the real facts here and a lot of speculation – quarter-end positioning wouldn’t seem to make sense, as banks looking to shore up their balance sheets could just buy lots and lots of bills. Is it mortgages? Unclear.

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