Securitization Frenzy! Wall Street Repackaging Of Loans, Franchise Agreements, Royalties Surging As Alarm Sounds For Commercial Retail

Alarm!

I remember the surge in securitization of loans, receivables, etc during the housing bubble of the mid-to-late 2000s. Today seems like 2007 all over again.

(Bloomberg) — Bankers are repackaging everything from fast food franchises to fitness-center fees into bonds at the fastest clip since the global financial crisis as investors chase yield and inflation protection.

This year’s sales of U.S. asset-backed securities have already surpassed $300 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg — and more is expected by year-end. Post-crisis issuance records have also been set in private-label commercial mortgage bonds and collateralized loan obligations, which are also seen accelerating.

“Solar, consumer loans, container lease and whole business transactions to some degree all offer attractive yields and spreads,” said Dave Goodson, head of securitized credit at Voya Investment Management. “These so-called esoteric sectors remain well supported with plenty of money to invest.” 

On Monday, Self Esteem Brands, a franchiser of businesses including its flagship gyms Anytime Fitness, priced a $505 million ABS that was backed by franchise agreements, royalties and fees. In whole business securitizations like these, companies mortgage virtually all their assets.

Last month, fried chicken restaurant chain Church’s Chicken sold a $250 million securitization backed by franchise and royalty collateral. Golden Pear Funding recently securitized litigation fees related to financial settlements on everything from personal injury cases to wrongful convictions. And Oasis Financial priced a similar deal linked to payments on medical liens.

Then we have this headline that will send chills through the CMBS market for retail space, particularly at a time when commercial real estate (particularly RETAIL) are trying to recover from COVID lockdowns and the growth of online shopping.

“Retailers Sound Alarm on Organized Theft as States Warn of Rise”

Retailers say shoplifting is getting more brazen in the U.S.: A California Nordstrom store was recently hit by a flash mob of more than 80 people who made off with designer goods, while more than a dozen people pilfered from a Louis Vuitton location in a suburb of Chicago. 

On Tuesday, the impact of shoplifting reached Wall Street, with Best Buy Co. shares plunging after the electronics retailer said widespread theft contributed to a decrease in one gauge of profitability. Last month, Walgreens said it would close five San Francisco stores after theft rates there spiked.

Seemingly, no one learns from history. Or as the zen master Yogi Berra once said “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”

Or “You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”

October Country! US 1-Unit Housing Starts Decline -10.6% YoY As Housing Sentiment Crashes (High Housing Price Inflation Is Hurting)

US housing starts for October were less than expected. A 1.5% increase MoM was expected, but housing starts actually fell -0.7% MoM.

5+ unit (multifamily) starts were up 6.82% MoM. 1-unit single family detached units were down -3.89% MoM. Permits to build were up 4% MoM.

On a YoY basis, 1-unit start declined -10.6% as M2 Money growth continues to fall.

And 1-unit housing starts have fallen with the rapid decline in home buying sentiment.

1-unit starts have slowed to pre-COVID levels, thanks in part to The Federal Reserve’s money printing bonanza which may never end.

As housing sentiment crashes (due to rapid home price growth), we are seeing the demand for multi-family housing rise. 5+ unit (multifamily) starts were up 6.82% MoM in October.

It is October after all as winter sets in.

Thanksgiving Dinner Staples Are Low in Stock Thanks to Supply-Chain Issues And Federal Policies (Foodstuffs UP 36% From Last Year)

Combine vaccine mandates that lower the workforce and the flood of economic and monetary stimulus by the geniuses in Washington DC, and we have a Thanksgiving problem.

The supply-chain crunch is about to hit another part of American life: Thanksgiving dinner.

Supplies of food and household items are 4% to 11% lower than normal as of Oct. 31, according to data from market-research firm IRI. That figure isn’t far from the bare shelves of March 2020, when supplies were down 13%.

For grocery shoppers this holiday season, it means that someone with 20 items on their list would be out of luck on two of them.

Although U.S. supermarket operators started purchasing holiday items early, aiming to avoid shortages, many holiday essentials are already in short supply.

Turkeys are very low in stock. By the end of October turkeys were over 60% out of stock—lower than the same time last year by more than 30 percentage points. A spokesperson for Butterball LLC, one of the largest U.S. turkey processors, said the company has been experiencing similar labor and supply challenges as other organizations and industries.

Even if you can find a turkey, prices on foodstuffs in general are up 36% from last year.

And to get to the grandparents’ house of Thanksgiving, gasoline prices (regular) are up 24.5% from last year.

You can always shop at Neiman Marcus for a half Thanksgiving dinner for … $376 + $32 shipping. Not for the average American, more for NYC and DC elitists like Biden’s OCC nominee Saule Omarova who wants to bankrupt energy companies.

Biden could lower inflation by 1) stop mandating vaccines, 2) stop shutting off energy pipelines and oil exploration, 3) stop spending trillions of dollars other than Social Security, Medicare and defense.

Frankly, Thanksgiving has gotten so expensive due to Biden’s Reign of Error that I am thinking of alternatives to turkey. Like a Jersey Mike’s turkey and provolone sub.

Fed’s Snakejuice And Winners/Losers From T-Curve Flatterning (Winners: Real Estate, Financials, Information Tech, Losers: Industrials, Retail, Metals And Mining)

At the annual Jackson Hole (aka, J-Hole) Economic Symposium, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated that the Fed is in no hurry to either taper asset purchases immediately or aggressively. Additionally he made crystal clear that even when the Fed does eventually start tapering asset purchases (likely November or December), it should not be taken as signaling interest rate hikes will follow on some preset course. Indeed, Fed Chairman Powell continues to claim that inflation is transitory. Finally, he said that part of the mandate (employment) is still far from being achieved. So, expect more SNAKE JUICE.

The shape of the yield curve has been highly influential recently in relative performance trends between various areas of the market. From last summer through May of this year, the steepening of the yield curve coincided with healthy outperformance of cyclical stocks. Since May, the flattening of the curve has coincided with more defensive (or at least high quality) leadership out of the tech and health care sectors. The logic goes, therefore, that a re-steepening of the curve should coincide with a shift back to cyclicals. Indeed, that shift may be in the early innings.

Let’s take a look at the US Treasury 10Y-2Y curve slope over the past twelve months against the Citi Economic Surprise Index for the US. You can see curve fatigue starting in April 2021 as the Citi Economic Surprise Index turns negative.

The the more cyclical and smaller skewed S&P 500 equal weight index has started to outperform the S&P 500 again, right on queue with the yield curve re-steepening.

Industrial stocks are under-performing the broader S&P 500 index as the curve flattens.

Real estate stocks? They are outperforming the broader S&P 500 index.

Mining stocks like gold mines? They are underperforming the broader S&P 500 index.

Financial stocks? Not surprisingly, The Fed’s dovish behavior is causing financial stocks to outperform the broader S&P index.

Likewise, information technology stocks are outperforming the broader S&P 500 index.

So, by Powell delaying any balance sheet slowdown and rate increases, we have clear winners (real estate, financials, information tech) and clear losers on a relative basis (industrials, retail, metals and mining).

Pure snake juice.

The Others! Due to volatility differences, I wouldn’t over-interpret this chart. But Bitcoin as a ratio of the S&P 500 index is “kicking ass!” Gold and housing as a ratio of the S&P 500 index seemingly can’t keep up with the S&P 500 index.