Changing TARP Rules - Changing Market Direction

Posted by Bull Bear Trader | 11/20/2008 08:41:00 AM | , | 0 comments »

Changing rules, even when the change may ultimately be good, can be disruptive. As a result of the change in the TARP from buying troubled assets to injecting capital directly into companies, the credit markets have once again reversed course (see Financial Times article). The fact that now there are no buyers for some toxic assets has the value of some mortgage-related securities falling to new lows. Jay Mueller, portfolio manager from Wells Capital Management, said it best:

“Now those markets will go back to being completely illiquid as there will be no price discovery process started by the Tarp. It is tremendously difficult to trade when the rules of the game change.”
Now that the government has realized that it cannot justify and support non-market prices, the banks and other holders of toxic debt will have no choice but to further discount and account for reduced asset values. For the rest of us, this just means more volatility, lower asset values, and a market that continues to suffer under its own weight. At this point, "building a bottom" may be the best we can hope for in the near term.