It got bumpy out there all of a sudden.
Although I was surprised that Silicon Valley Bancorp (SIVB) lit the fuse, I am not shocked that something blew up. Every time the Federal Reserve has a rate increase cycle, something blows up.
Signature Bank (SBNY) and Silvergate, on the other hand, were not that much of a surprise, as I have been highly critical of all things crypto for a long time.
What I am surprised by is the cries of contagion and fraud surrounding the SIVB blow-up. Silicon Valley Bank made a bet that rates would remain low. It was stupid, but not fraudulent.
Here’s why there’ll be no mass bank crisis.
But if you’re worried, and want to wait this out, here’s how to do that safely while scoring big yields…
A rare set of circumstances specifically related to early-stage venture capital companies and social media panic led to the deposit run that blew up SIVB.
The clickbait crew has been out in full force. I have seen lists of 20 banks that will fail next, containing some of the strongest banks in the United States. People who know nothing about banking are taking data from the headlines and trying to pinpoint the next Silicon Valley Bancorp situation.
There is no next – it was a unique situation.
Anything next will be caused by social media-inspired panic.
On Wednesday, we got some add-on fear from Swiss bank and perennial source of drama Credit Suisse Group AG (CS), when its biggest investor, Saudi National Bank, announced it would not be injecting more capital into the struggling institution.
Again, this is no surprise. I have been negative on the Swiss bank for a long time.
Last year I sent around a report on European banks to buy. Credit Suisse was not on the list.
Management has done so much wrong I would be hard-pressed to think of a single positive comment about Credit Suisse. Its troubles should have little to no impact on a community bank in the middle of America. These banks have been selling off anyway.
So have real estate investment trusts (REITs), business development companies (BDCs), insurance companies, and even energy stocks.
As an aggressive and patient investor, I am buying selected banks that pass my stringent criteria and adding to my stake in financially solid REITs.
Energy stocks and other companies with strong fundamental conditions are also being considered.
I might be making different choices if I were 10 or 15 years older. People more concerned about the return of capital than the return on capital, and those that value a high sleep-tight factor, might look towards the corporate bond market. BB+ and BBB bonds offer a very attractive combination of yield and safety right now.
Prices may fluctuate while you own the bonds, but as long as the company does not fail, you get back full face value at maturity.
Most of the bonds I am tracking trade at less than face value. The bonus here is that if the Fed does start lowering rates before your bonds mature, you could see double-digit price gains on top of the interest payments.
Vici Properties Inc. (VICI) owns one of the largest portfolios of casinos and gaming-related properties in the United States, and produces huge cash flows. Even during the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns, Vici never missed a payment. The REIT has bonds due in each of the next three years that will yield more than 6% if held to maturity.
Advanced Auto Parts Inc. (AAP) has been in business for 95 years. It is a safe bet they will be around to make good on their bonds maturing in 2026 and 2029. The yields range from 5 to 5.5%.
Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC) has bonds available, yielding anywhere from 6 to 7.5% over the next decade.
Radian Group Inc. (RDN), one of the four major mortgage insurance companies left, has bonds that mature in 2028, with a yield to maturity of 7.5%.
Right now, the developing opportunity in financial assets is extraordinary. I talked to a collection of investors and bankers nationwide this week, and they are all excited and active buyers of banks and REITs.
For many people, however, there is a time when being risk-averse and clipping coupons makes a lot of sense. BB-and-above bonds represent an opportunity to lock up high yield for several years.
You still have a potential kicker if the Fed begins lowering rates while you hold the bonds.
Or, in the worst case, you get reliable cash flows and your money back at maturity.