Global stocks surge to 18-month high

Updated 12 December 2012
0

Global stocks surge to 18-month high

NEW YORK: US stocks advanced and European shares rallied to an 18-month high yesterday after
German investor sentiment rose sharply in December and on expectations the Federal Reserve will keep pumping money into the US economy.
The euro gained versus the dollar, as investors steered clear of the US currency ahead of the Fed's meeting yesterday and today, while US government bond prices fell.
Morale among German analysts and investors improved sharply in December, jumping to 6.9 against expectations of -12.0, fanning hopes that Europe's largest economy will avoid recession this winter.
"We've been getting a lot of the beginning of our day from seeing what Europe has been doing and I think that's going to hold true today," said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.
The lack of progress in negotiations about the US "fiscal cliff" has kept investors from making aggressive bets in recent weeks, though most expect a deal will eventually be reached.
While the pace of talks in Washington to avert impending US tax hikes and spending cuts quickened, senior politicians on both sides cautioned that an agreement on all the outstanding issues remained uncertain.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 61.56 points, or 0.47 percent, to 13,231.44. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 7.13 points, or 0.50 percent, to 1,425.68. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 23.71 points, or 0.79 percent, to 3,010.67.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.3 percent to 1,138.14 points, having hit its strongest since June 2011. The MSCI global stock index edged up 0.5 percent to 336.51 points.
The US central bank is expected to announce a new round of Treasury securities purchases at the end of its meeting today, according to a Reuters poll. The program would replace its "Operation Twist" stimulus, which expires at the end of the year.
Many economists believe the Fed will announce monthly bond purchases of $ 45 billion, although some think it could be more.
"We anticipate the Fed will announce Treasury purchases and as that depresses yields it will have a negative impact on the dollar and that supports the euro," said Jane Foley, senior currency strategist at Rabobank.
The euro rose 0.4 percent to $ 1.2989, while the dollar was little changed at 82.34 yen.
Markets had been rattled on Monday by Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti's announcement he would step down some weeks early.
But the upbeat ZEW data helped lift shares and the euro from their gloom.
Expectations of more easing drove the dollar index down 0.3 percent, and pushed the Canadian dollar to a two-month high, while the New Zealand dollar hit a nine-month high of $0.8369.
Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were trading 9/32 lower in price to yield 1.65 percent, the highest in over a week and up from 1.63 percent late Monday. Investors were also
pushing for price concessions heading into $ 66 billion of US government debt auctions this week.
In the oil market, Brent crude rose 52 cents to $ 107.85 a barrel after OPEC said its production declined in November, while a weaker dollar and Middle East unrest also supported prices.
US crude gained 19 cents to $ 85.75.
Gold was steady near $ 1,710 an ounce, with more US stimulus expected to support gold's appeal as a hedge against inflation.


Abu Dhabi said to study restructuring options for $1.2bn Etihad-linked bonds

Updated 19 September 2018
0

Abu Dhabi said to study restructuring options for $1.2bn Etihad-linked bonds

  • Bonds issued through SPV with other airlines
  • Etihad asks Abu Dhabi government for help

DUBAI: The government of Abu Dhabi is looking at proposals to restructure some $1.2 billion of troubled bonds that were issued by Abu Dhabi state-owned carrier Etihad Airways in partnership with other airlines, sources familiar with the matter said.
Etihad issued $700 million of bonds through a special purpose vehicle (SPV) called Equity Alliance Partners (EAP) in 2015, and $500 million in 2016. Proceeds of the paper went to Etihad and other airlines it partially owned at the time, including Alitalia and Air Berlin, which are now both insolvent.
The notes were seen as strengthening Etihad's partnerships with those airlines after it spent billions of dollars in acquisitions.
The EAP bonds have been trading at a significant discount for over a year, however, after Alitalia entered special administration and Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy.
Etihad has no legal responsibility to bail out the portion of the bonds which benefited the two European airlines as the notes have no cross-default provision.
But with over $500 million of the paper held by United Arab Emirates investors, it has asked the Abu Dhabi Department of Finance to find a way to reduce losses for investors and limit any damage to the reputation of the local debt market, sources familiar with the matter said.
The department is now working with a financial adviser to find restructuring solutions, said the sources. One option being discussed could involve adjusting the structure of the paper to obtain a better credit rating. Rating agency Fitch has been involved in some of the discussions, the sources said.
Etihad declined to comment while a spokesman for the Abu Dhabi Department of Finance did not respond to a request for comment. Fitch declined to comment.
Any type of restructuring would require bondholders’ approval.
Etihad agreed to cover Alitalia’s portion of the debt, equivalent to around $230 million, at maturity through an agreement between the airlines which was signed before Alitalia entered special administration. But Air Berlin’s portion, of roughly the same amount, has no such guarantee.
Any intervention by the Abu Dhabi government, which could materialise before the end of this year, might see Abu Dhabi inject around $200-300 million into the issuing vehicle, said the sources.
This amount would be applied towards a partial early redemption of the notes at a discount of around 15 percent to par value for note holders seeking an early exit, the sources said. That would imply a write-off of Air Berlin’s obligation under the structure, while Alitalia’s debt would be honoured.
Creditors unwilling to exit at a discount might swap their notes into new instruments with a higher credit rating. The notes could feature a credit enhancement in the form of a guarantee of the obligations of Air Serbia and Air Seychelles, which are part of the borrowing structure, the sources said.
The first tranche of the notes, due 2020, is rated CC by Fitch, while the second tranche due 2021 is rated C.
With an Abu Dhabi intervention, the notes would become investment grade because of the oil-rich emirate's strong credit profile, so any capital injection by the government could be partially offset by a reduction in interest payments.
Last month, the SPV said it received a bid of just over $4 million in cash for the debt obligations of Alitalia and Air Berlin across the two EAP bond tranches.
The bid included around $6 million that would become payable to the SPV in case of recovery of an equivalent amount from the obligations, and a payment of 60 percent of money recovered after a 35 percent recovery threshold was reached.
The bid had an expiry date of Aug. 31; the SPV asked the bidder to extend the deadline to give note holders time to review terms. Since then, the SPV has given no update on the bidding process.