Monday, August 4, 2008

Profit opportunities for Silas: oil and GM

Back to the two most frequently discussed topics on this blog.

First, let's talk about oil. Though by the end of the day, this may change, the spot price temporarily went below $120. Time to strike when the iron is hot? If I bought the double-oil-return ETF discussed last week (DXO), and it were to return to its previous high, that would be a nice 46% return. (Btw, y'all oil options traders are accurately factoring oil's massive volatility into the implied volatility term in your options pricing, right? Okay, just checking.)

Second, let's talk about GM. I have been claiming, since studying GM's history back in '05, that a bankruptcy was near, and so my brother and I have been discussing an even odds bet that would pay off if bankruptcy happened, or some other even of equivalent lameness, such as: defaulting on any bond, PBGC takeover of legacy obligations, refusal to pay legacy obligations, or government bailout. I'm not sure if we ever agreed to a bet value and a time frame, but a few weeks ago I emailed my brother some news about GM, and he reiterated his position that there would be no bankruptcy, so if we haven't agreed to something, I could still get an even odds bet in.

While I did post some news about GM's lameness last Friday, I have some more. Here's a Reuter's article detailing GM's rising defaulting insurance premiums and falling bond prices. Right now, you must pay 47% of the amount insured, so $47 to insure $100 of debt. And you know what? Most people, facing that much to insure something, just don't buy it, and bear the risk themselves. Heck, that's what hospitals do for their liability insurance, which can get that high.

It also lists the prices of GM bonds, but strangely, Reuters prefers to list the cents on the dollar (click on "first vlog post") price, and never the yields, neither the current yield, nor the yield to maturiy. But my own calculations give about 12% current yields for short term bonds and 18% for long term bonds based on the numbers there

But strangely, the prices of GM bonds that I found on my Scottrade account gave a different story. (I can't seem to find a free no-hassle source for bond prices I can link.) I don't remember the current yield, but it listed GM bonds maturing in December of this year as trading with 9.3% yield-to-maturity, and bonds maturing in 2011 -- 3 years from now! -- as paying, and make sure you're sitting down, 29% YtM. Twenty-nine percent!!! There are banana republics right now that pay lower interest on their debt! There are reckless shoppers right now with lower credit card interest rates!

No comments: