Tuesday, March 11, 2008

This liquidity injection is a bailout.

A 200 billion dollar liquidity injection was announced today. The Fed and other central banks are essentially willing to lend on mortgage backed securities (MBS). This includes agency backed (the stuff Annaly / NLY, holds) and AAA private label (the stuff Thornburg / TMA, holds). While NLY, TMA, and the like cannot directly borrow from the window, companies like Bear Sterns (BSC) can.

This is the capitalist version of nationalizing MBS. The Fed is essentially willing to be a buyer of last resort for these securities for a discount.

The market reacted with an incredibly strong rally. I am guessing it is a combination of short covering, bouncing of January support, and this bailout.

Leverage works both ways and this 3-4% across the board gain is a gift. While I believe the rally has legs, I took the opportunity to unload a bunch of positions into the rally. I need to de-leverage my portfolio and I am not going to give up such a chance. I closed my front month Mar 33.50 ADSK puts, Apr 33 GE puts, and Apr 35 WAG puts. Nothing wrong with those companies per se. Closed ADSK and WAG for the margin. Closed GE because it broke its long term 33 support and there might be a chance to grab it lower.

Given that there is P/E compression across the board, I am revising the price at which I am willing to take assignment of stock lower. So as a risk management move, I am closing many puts that have too little reward for the risk taken. Fading the rally, so to speak.

The 14% gain in Wachovia (WB) was great since that is the stock that is causing me margin calls. My strategy right now is to recover margin and stay in the game until March options expiration. Then I am going to sell some calls against the WB that I will likely be assigned.

1 comment:

Jimmy said...

Yeah, I was a bit disgusted when I heard this too. I mean, everyone loves the appreciation in the short-term... but sometimes I feel that it is better to have Banks cut their losses to ensure that risky business is limited in the future... so that they don't always expect big brother fed reserve to save their souls every time they slip up.