Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Credit Market Fallout #6 - Bear Stearns and What is Next

From Bloomberg, it now appears official the two Bear Stearn mortgage related funds that failed in June appear to have basically no value. The question is what will happen next in the market. Also what about those hedge funds that invested in Bear Stearns funds? How will they fare? They still need to face their investors.

Bear Stearns Cos. told investors in its two failed hedge funds that they will get little if any money back after `unprecedented declines'' in the value of AAA rated securities used to bet on subprime mortgages.

Estimates show there is ``effectively no value left'' in the High-Grade Structured Credit Strategies Enhanced Leverage Fund and ``very little value left'' in the High-Grade Structured Credit Strategies Fund, Bear Stearns said in a two-page letter. The second fund still has ``sufficient assets'' to cover the $1.4 billion it owes Bear Stearns, according to the letter, which was obtained yesterday by Bloomberg News from a person involved in the matter.

``This is a watershed,'' said Sean Egan, managing director of Egan-Jones Ratings Co. in Haverford, Pennsylvania. ``A leading player, which has honed a reputation as a sage investor in mortgage securities, has faltered. It begs the question of how other market participants have fared.''

Bear Stearns provided the second fund with $1.6 billion of emergency funding last month in the biggest hedge fund bailout since the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management LP in 1998. The losses investors now face underscore the severity of the shakeout in the market for collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, investment vehicles that repackage bonds, loans, derivatives and other CDOs into new securities.

``That has implications for credit weakness in the next several days and weeks,'' said Peter Plaut, an analyst at New York-based hedge fund Sanno Point Capital Management. ``There's going to be more risk aversion.''

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