Pro Perspectives 4/29/20

April 29, 2020

The Fed met today.  As we discussed yesterday, they did indeed take the opportunity to recap the response of the past two months.  And it was a big one. 

If there was anything new that came from Powell's press conference, my takeaway was his remarks on protecting against long-term economic damage.

He said Fed policies to protect firms and families from "avoidable insolvencies" comes with a hefty price tag, but would avoid long term damage to the economy

He went on to say "now is not the time to worry about debt, but time to use the 'great fiscal power' of the U.S. to avoid deeper damage to the economy."  

With that, as we discussed yesterday, the Fed has been a buyer of corporate debt (in the secondary market), and that has greased the wheels of the market for new corporate debt issuance of the past month and half — enabling companies to stockpile cash, despite the fact that many (if not all) would be considered high risk for bankruptcy if the economic disruption were to carry on, through the time necessary to get a viable vaccine on the market. 

This should give us clues on the decisions coming from the Treasury and the White House on whether or not the domestic energy industry will be saved, or any other highly levered industry that has been crippled by the demand shock. I think the answer is "yes", they will be given government life support.