Press Releases Archives: August, 2010

Bloomberg writes "Google Leading a Revival in Commercial Paper" It says, "Google Inc., owner of the most popular Internet search engine, and Germany's Merck KGaA are leading a revival in commercial paper as nonfinancial companies grab the biggest share of the $1.1 trillion U.S. market from banks since 2002 amid lower borrowing costs. Industrial borrowers have $151 billion of debt typically due in 270 days or less, up 47 percent this year and 14 percent of the total outstanding, seasonally adjusted Federal Reserve data show. Google, based in Mountain View, California, started a CP program last month for as much as $3 billion, while Merck helped fund its acquisition of Millipore Corp. in July with the debt." The article quotes Barclays Capital's Chris Conetta, "There's a sense of confidence in the market. It's just so cheap for non-financial borrowers that it's attracting some back to the market." Bloomberg also writes, "Money-market investors are buying more CP because rates are double the 0.1 percent that the 100 biggest funds make on average across their holdings, according to Peter Crane, president of Crane Data LLC, a money-fund research firm in Westborough, Massachusetts." The piece quotes Crane, "Any uptick in issuance is a sign of health. The demand side has firmed."

The Associated Press writes "Moody's: Crisis left money fund industry reeling", which says, "At least three dozen money-market mutual funds were at risk of failing during the financial crisis, besides one that did end up collapsing, Moody's Investors Service said Tuesday. The report shows how shaky the nearly $3 trillion money-fund industry was after Lehman Brothers' September 2008 collapse. Around the time that a soured Lehman investment triggered the demise of the $64 billion Reserve Primary Fund, Moody's says at least 36 other U.S. money funds were also at risk of 'breaking the buck' -- failing to ensure clients could get back at least a dollar for each dollar they put in." The AP piece, written by Mark Jewell, adds, "A researcher with another firm tracking the money-fund industry, Peter Crane of Crane Data, said the $12.1 billion in pretax expenses cited by Moody's as having been spent to prop up funds far overstates the long-term costs. Many fund companies that tried to shield clients from losses by purchasing failed portfolio investments ended up selling those holdings later, sometimes without big losses, Crane noted. Money from those sales could eventually absorb some of the upfront costs to prop up a fund. Crane said fund companies typically have systems in place to quickly rescue a fund if one investment in its portfolio sours, and the value of the fund's assets is in danger of sinking below the $1-per-share safety benchmark. So it's unlikely many of the 36 funds that Moody's cited would have ultimately broken the buck, he said." "It was bad, but this makes it seem a lot worse than it really was," the AP quotes Crane, publisher of the newsletter Money Fund Intelligence.

Today's WSJ writes "'Breaking the Buck' Was Close for Many Money Funds". It says, "At least 36 of the 100-largest U.S. prime money-market funds had to be propped up in order to survive the financial crisis, according to a report from Moody's Investors Service.... The report shows how much the money-market world was rocked by the financial crisis. The chaos deepened in September 2008, when Reserve Primary fund's net-asset value dropped to 97 cents a share because of its holdings of battered Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. debt.... Moody's warned that mutual-fund companies might be less willing to bail out troubled money-market funds next time. With rock-bottom interest rates putting severe pressure on management fees and profit margins, 'there's a lot less at stake' for firms that decide not to rescue imperiled money-market funds, Mr. Shilling said." The Journal quotes J.P. Morgan Asset Management Robert Deutsch, "For most large managers, this is a very good business and has acceptable profit margins even in this market. Most major money-fund managers 'see the long-term opportunity.'" The WSJ piece also adds, "Other money-fund experts said the new rules impose restrictions that should reduce the need for future bailouts." "The willingness to bail funds out likely will be restricted or reduced in the future, but the necessity should be reduced as well," it quotes Peter Crane, president of Crane Data LLC.