Almost Daily Grant's

“Almost Daily” is the end-of-day delectation from Grant’s.

ADG tells you what happened. It speculates on what may happen and tracks and develops Grant’s themes. Look for it after the New York close of trading—almost daily.

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Born on the bayou, Inc.’s Web Services (AWS) unit has been the engine behind the company’s spectacular recent performance, with operating income of $7.2 billion last year, up 68% year-over-year and accounting for 59% of Amazon’s total operating income. The near-consensus cadre of bullish analysts (48 out of 50 tracked by Bloomberg have a “buy” rating on Amazon) call for more of the same.  But will an ongoing government kerfuffle derail the AWS miracle?  
Last Wednesday, the Department of Defense (DoD) cleared itself of wrongdoing following an internal investigation into the forthcoming award of the $10 billion cloud computing Joint Enterprise Defense Initiative (JEDI) program. Yet the Pentagon’s self-exoneration was not comprehensive, as Bloomberg noted that: “The investigation uncovered evidence of unethical conduct that will be referred to the DoD inspector general for a separate review.”
The JEDI contract has been hotly contested among some of the largest cloud-computing companies in the U.S., and for good reason. The winner-take-all award has been narrowed to two contenders, AWS and Microsoft Corp. According to an updated timeline issued by a Federal judge Tuesday, the JEDI mandate will be awarded sometime after mid-July. 
With the stakes high, Uncle Sam’s corporate suitors are pulling no punches. In December, recently-eliminated Oracle Corp. filed suit with U.S. Court of Federal Claims asserting that the JEDI process has been marred by conflicts of interest.  The suit alleges that a pair of Amazon-connected former DoD staffers unduly influenced the proceedings in favor of AWS. One of whom, Deap Ubhi, worked in business development at AWS from 2014 to 2016 before joining the DoD, during which period he continued to praise Amazon from his Twitter account (including tweeting “once an Amazonian, always an Amazonian” in January 2017) while criticizing Oracle, Alphabet, Inc.’s Google and other Silicon Valley firms. 
According to an April 5 report by The Capitol Forum, in January 2017 Ubhi lamented missing a conference call between Defense Department officials and AWS personnel, writing via email: “I am ex-AWS, and would have liked to have been on the call.” Eight months later, when acting as the DoD’s lead JEDI project manager, Ubhi asked DoD higher-ups to name him “the point of contact for all industry conversations.” After reportedly recusing himself from the JEDI procurement process in late October, Ubhi left the DoD, returning to AWS in November 2017.
In March, the Federal News Network reported that the FBI is involved in the DoD inspector general investigation, potentially signaling “some sort of wrongdoing involving DoD civilian personnel and/or DoD procurement procedures.”
In addition to Ubhi, other former DoD officials have seen their actions around JEDI come under scrutiny. In August, Vanity Fair reported that Sally Donnelly, a former senior advisor to Secretary of Defense James Mattis from January 2017 to March 2018, “sold her stake in [consulting firm] SBD Advisors, LLC for $1.17 million two days before she went to work for Mattis.”  But Donnelly continued to receive payments from the company, which counted Amazon as an active client. Two weeks after Donnelly left the Pentagon, SBD was purchased by C5 Capital, “a private equity firm with direct ties to Amazon.”
Anthony DeMartino, Donnelly’s colleague at SBD, who was also named in the Oracle lawsuit, likewise consulted for Amazon before moving to the DoD to serve as Mattis’ deputy chief of staff. 
The close proximity of Donnelly and DeMartino to the Secretary of Defense was a favorable development for AWS, as The Capitol Forum reported on March 15 that Mattis “expressed interest in meeting with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at a dinner” with Donnelly in early 2017, according to emails received via a Freedom of Information Act request. Mattis and Bezos met in Seattle in August 2017. 
As controversy over JEDI continues to swirl, another government agency pivots away from the winner-take-all format. On March 22, the CIA unveiled a new Commercial Cloud Enterprise (C2E) initiative, in which the agency disclosed plans to use “multiple commercial cloud vendors that can provide” necessary services. 
An anonymity-seeking, D.C.-based source believes that the CIA’s move might suggest wider government dissatisfaction with AWS, which commanded 46% of worldwide public cloud infrastructure market share as of year-end 2017 according to the International Data Corporation:
The AWS story, as sold to enterprise customers and the Street, is built upon the intelligence community (IC) reference case and the cash that has come in from that deal. The IC’s movement toward a multi-cloud environment is an admission that use of AWS has not been successful as claimed, increasing the likelihood of massive IC contracts for the other hyperscale cloud providers., Inc. ten-year stock price, 37% compound annual growth rate. Source: The Bloomberg
Continued cloud dominance is crucial to sustaining Amazon’s success. Analyst consensus calls for Amazon’s net income margin to jump to 6.4% in 2019 from 4.3% a year ago, thanks to expected growth in AWS.  But at the same time, the core e-commerce business is showing signs of a slowdown, as Bloomberg estimated last week that gross merchandise volume growth fell to 19% last year from 24% and 27% in 2017 and 2016, respectively. 
While the C.I.A.’s move toward multiple cloud vendors highlights the difficulty in growing AWS’ commanding public cloud market share, legal risks surrounding JEDI represent a potentially underappreciated pitfall to the AMZN bull case. Our D.C.-based observer concludes:
If AWS is found to have committed wrongdoing related to DoD’s JEDI contract, it could be debarred as a government contractor. My prediction: Amazon bulls expecting continued blistering growth from AWS will be in for disappointment. 
Asked for comment on Thursday afternoon, Amazon had not responded by press time. 

QT progress report

A $5 billion sequential decline in mortgage-backed securities holdings left the Fed’s portfolio of securities held outright at $3.744 trillion, a figure which sits $17.6 billion below the trailing four-week average.  Since the Oct. 1, 2017 commencement of QT, total balance sheet assets are down by 11.8%, a 7.7% annualized pace. 

Recap April 18

Stocks traded flat once again to finish the holiday shortened-week little changed, as the Nasdaq 100 Index managed to eke to a fresh closing high while the S&P 500 sits about 1% below its own high-water mark.  Commodities finished mixed with WTI crude and gold finishing at $64 per barrel and $1,275 per ounce, respectively, and Treasurys rallied as the 10-year yield retreated from a near one-month high to 2.56%.  The VIX closed just above 12, near the year-to-date low. 
- Philip Grant

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Grant's credit primer

Hold on loosely
They got a call back.

Recap April 7

Monday, April 6, 2020

Grant's credit primer

Socially distant

(Prospective) deal of the day

Get to the choppa
"Whatever it takes" is the law of the land,

Recap April 6

Friday, April 3, 2020

Debtor in Chief

Lobby horse

Where the rubber meets the road
Mr. Market drinks from a firehose.

Recap April 3

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Grant's credit primer

Nevertheless, they persisted
A bolt from the electronic heavens this morning,

QE progress report

Recap April 2

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

He ain't lying

Rethinking old reliable
The unstoppable force (Canada’s seemingly invincible housing market) meets the immovable object of a global pandemic.

Recap March 31

Monday, March 30, 2020

Volatility chronicles
Hedging ain't easy.

Trickle-down theory
It's alive!

Wet powder
The customer's yachts are in dry-dock.

Recap March 30

Friday, March 27, 2020

They said it

Back to the drawing board
All that shimmers

Dollar tree
The Financial Times reports this afternoon

Recap March 27

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Deal of the day

Home cooking

Other people's money
Here's Uber CEO

QE progress report

Recap March 26

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The howitzer chronicles
Is outright debt monetization coming to the Old Continent?

Credit check

Scales of justice
On Monday, Moody's Investors Service

Recap March 25

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

No backsies
Cough it up.

Physical challenge
A second straight rip in gold took the

Recap March 24

Monday, March 23, 2020

Chaos creates opportunity

The howitzer chronicles
In other words, "whatever it takes!"

The thing itself
The 11% sell-off in gold over the past month

Damage assessment
The recent wipeout in credit

Recap March 23

Friday, March 20, 2020

The howitzer chronicles
This morning,

Cheese grater
Yesterday afternoon,

Recap March 20

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Bazooka Joe
Let's review the latest round of action from the Federal Reserve.

Off the canvas
Yesterday, the Bloomberg Mortgage REIT (real estate investment trust) Index collapsed by 24%,

QE progress report

Recap March 17

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Risk parody
Headline of the day, from The Onion:

He said it
Here's Ed Yardeni,

Ports in the storm
Signs of life from the corporate bond market,

Recap March 17

Monday, March 16, 2020

Recap March 16

Liquidity check
Last Thursday,

Spinal tap
The parade of companies opting

Friday, March 13, 2020

Recap March 13

Now it's getting serious
A headline from the New York Post:

Credit check

Going viral
CoindDesk reports today that

Drifting too far from the shore
Dislocations in the bond market

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Recap March 12

The edge

Credit check

State of nature

QE progress report

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Recap March 11

That 70's Show
A throwback to days of yore:

Credit check

That was then
Bloomberg reports this morning that volatility in the Japanese yen registered its highest level this week since 2008.

CoCo Crisp

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Recap March 10

Paging Sheriff Nottingham

Channel stuff
Time for a re-rating?

Monday, March 9, 2020

Survey says

Credit check

Upside down
As government bond yields

Recap March 9

Friday, March 6, 2020

Keep the Bronco in park
Headline of the day,

Getting warmer
Today, the Markit North American

Bubble bath
The feverish rally in U.S. Treasurys

Getting warmer
Many happy returns?

Recap March 6

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Sour patch
Taking it down a notch.

Not-QE progress report

Recap March 5

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Price taker
The Fed's surprise decision

Better safe than sorry
The c-suite in retreat?

Credit check
Stocks may be solidly red for the year and Treasury yields are diving to record levels, but

Recap March 3

Monday, March 2, 2020

Devalue investing
As China contends with the COVID-19

Recap March 2

Friday, February 28, 2020

Eat and run
The bell is ringing.

Recap Feb. 28

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Under Siege 3
From the Financial Times:

This bond's for you
It's not just stocks.

Not-QE progress report

Recap Feb. 27

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Value-free zone
Today, the S&P Municipal Bond Index rose

Waffle fries
No happy meal here.

Recap Feb. 26

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Recap Feb. 25

Deal of the day

Open house
A reappraisal underway?

Monday, February 24, 2020

Credit chronicles

Private practice
Time for a reset?

Recap Feb. 24

Friday, February 21, 2020

Green(back) shoots
It's an historic day in the Treasury pits,

Recap Feb. 21

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Millennial falcon
From investigative website The Smoking Gun:

Aaron's Judge
This morning, furniture, appliance and electronics retailer

Not-QE progress report

Recap Feb. 20

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Let's review
Time for a second look.

Recap Feb. 18

Friday, February 14, 2020

Down in the bottom
The basement is getting crowded.

Recap Feb. 14

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Like a hurricane
The currency markets have never been so calm.

Not-QE progress report

Recap Feb. 13

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

He said it
Here's Fed chairman

That's Armour-e
To the penalty box.

Recap Feb. 12

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Judge dread
A bombshell.

Recap Feb. 11

Monday, February 10, 2020

Headline of the day
From the Financial Times:

Curb your enthusiasm
Things are looking up for corporate America.

Recap Feb. 10

Friday, February 7, 2020

Sentiment check
On Wednesday

Hut hike
Here comes the sun.

Recap Feb. 7

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Crypto carve-out
From Coinbase:

Credit chronicles
A debtor's delight.

Not-QE progress report

Recap Feb. 6

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

All in the family
The hits keep coming at the Vision Fund,

Go big or go home
At the corner of Wall Street and Main:

Recap Feb. 4

Monday, February 3, 2020

Today in high finance
From the Financial Times:

Bizzle brothers
A downshift in the Valley?

Recap Feb. 3

Friday, January 31, 2020

Real talk
As comfortable with trillions as most of us are with tens and hundredds

Dial tone
On Wednesday, telecom behemoth AT&T, Inc.

Recap Jan. 31

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Circle of trust
The Wall Street Journal reports today on a "bruising" price war

Logan's Run
Time for a higher purpose?

Not-QE progress report

Recap Jan. 30

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

He said it
Here's the newly installed Boeing Co. CEO

Beyond reconciliation
A quick pivot

Recap Jan. 29

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Take two
They're back.

Debtors delight
The parade of landmark bond issues

Recap Jan. 28

Monday, January 27, 2020

Planet crypton
On Jan. 13, hip-hop

Creditor chronicles
Another day, another record.

Play it again Sam
Time to expand the "toolkit."

Recap Jan. 27

Friday, January 24, 2020

Employees-of-the-month Club

Cold fusion
They get an 'A' for timing.

Recap Jan. 24

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Credit chronicles
Let the good times roll.

Not-QE progress report

Recap Jan. 23

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Bubble screen
Football fans traveling to Miami

Lean out
Time to find the off ramp.

Recap Jan. 21

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Did you just say Yutes?
One step closer.

Not-QE progress report

Recap Jan. 16

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Grande central
Today, the U.S. and China signed

Recap Jan. 15

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Let's pretend
Back in the saddle.

Recap Jan. 14

Monday, January 13, 2020

To heel
Some adult supervision for the Wild West of finance?

How the other half lives
It was no December to remember.

Recap Jan 13

Friday, January 10, 2020

Price proppers
You can't accuse them of disorganization.

Recap Jan. 10

Thursday, January 9, 2020

'Nar pow
Not-quite late cycle.

Not-QE progress report

Recap Jan. 9

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Highly unusual
Throw it in reverse.

Recap Jan. 7

Monday, January 6, 2020

Under the hood
A permanently high plateau?

Recap Jan. 6

Friday, January 3, 2020

What makes markets
Two brokerage houses,

Asset lite
Risk-averse buyers get in line.

Recap Jan. 3

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Diet starts tomorrow
A worthy New Year's resolution:

Mission impossible
What can't low rates do?

Low and slow
Long live the bond bull market.

Not-QE progress report

Recap Jan. 2

Friday, December 20, 2019

Damn Yankees
From Bloomberg:

Most important meal of the day
Reuters reports that the winning bidder

While the iron is hot
It's been a banner year for corporate debt,

Recap Dec. 20

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Wild Wild East
It's finally happening.

Recap Dec. 19

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Phone home
The high-stakes lawsuit

98 pound weakling
It's a perfect set-up.

Recap Dec. 18

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

B.S. detector activated
Felix Rohatyn,

Early spring for Europe's banks?
A light at the end of the tunnel, perhaps.

Recap Dec. 17

Monday, December 16, 2019

Candy crush
From the Knoxville News Sentinel:

Turn the page
It’s a new day.

Recap Dec. 16

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

From the clouds
It was a bombshell.

Recap Dec. 10

Monday, December 9, 2019

The sixth sense
A hedge-fund help wanted from

In memoriam
Former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker died yesterday in New York at the age of 92.

Tail wags the dog
A bit of a surprise:

Recap Dec. 9

Friday, December 6, 2019

Buzzfeed's Mark Distefano

Bird is the word
This was one to chirp about

Recap Dec. 6

Thursday, December 5, 2019

A short-lived synergy:

Pivot table
Meet the new boss.

"Not-QE" progress report

Recap Dec. 5

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Truffle shuffle
Yesterday, Sergey Brin and Larry Page

Brave new world
A trio of sightings in financial services:

Recap Dec. 4

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Spin doctor
Bloomberg headline of the day.

Your honor, your honor
To the courtroom.

Recap Dec. 3

Monday, December 2, 2019

The good times continue apace for private equity.

Recap Dec. 2

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Big RxR Blues
Good news from the Great White North this morning,

Recap Nov. 26

Monday, November 25, 2019

Gig factory
Time to pump the brakes?

Open road
This morning,

Liquidity check
Back to the well.

Recap Nov. 25

Friday, November 22, 2019

Last call
It was the best of times, or something.

Recap Nov. 22

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Real vision
Change is the only constant

"Not-QE" progress report

Recap Nov. 21

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Fly trap
Yesterday, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing dubbed:

Recap Nov. 20

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

From Bloomberg:

Bum rush
You just can’t keep a good company down.

Recap Nov. 19

Monday, November 18, 2019

Sitting in limbo
He's set to roam.

Broken arrow
Nevertheless, they persisted.

Recap Nov. 18

Friday, November 15, 2019

Fools' gold
Sound money for the 21st century?

Modern family
Maybe it was just a coincidence.

Recap Nov. 15

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Block chain
This just in:

Falling down

Recap Nov. 14

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Blackout warning

Bumper to bumper
The pile-up continues.

Recap Nov. 12

Monday, November 11, 2019

Hot and sour soup
Trouble in Hong Kong is intensifying:

Recap Nov. 11

Friday, November 8, 2019

Lap of luxury
From the Daily Mail:

Down in the bottom
There's more where that came from.

Recap Nov. 8

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Time share
Forget subscriber counts.

Trend zone
“Passing on at least parts of the negative interest rates to parts of the customers – not to Joe Six-pack or Herman the German obviously.

Not-QE progress report

Recap Nov. 7

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Soft serve
Hindsight is 20/20.

Recap Nov. 5

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Child's play
From CNN:

Block party
The command economy received its orders

Recap Nov. 5

Monday, November 4, 2019

Under the bridge
Will the referees blow the whistle?

Recap Nov. 4

Friday, November 1, 2019

The Daily Beast
On Monday, state-owned

Her cup spilleth over

Recap Nov. 1

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Knife Catchers, Inc.
The space between the basement and penthouse

Not QE Progress Report

Recap Oct. 31

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Ring that bell
The call came through.

Recap Oct. 29

Monday, October 28, 2019

Care bears
Put it on the tab.

Recap Oct. 28

Friday, October 25, 2019

The Snapper
Many happy returns, sort of.

Recap Oct. 25

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Protest chic

When doves fly
A perfect score.

Recap Oct. 24

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

He said it
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

The bold and the beautiful
Back to the drawing board.

Just wing it
Just how dire is The We Co.'s financial state following the pulled IPO?

Recap Oct. 22

Monday, October 21, 2019

Peg leg
Look out below.

Recap Oct. 21

Friday, October 18, 2019

Today in hedging
Here's Mario Draghi,

Manifest destiny
Into the wild frontier.

Recap Oct. 18

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Mystery train
The signal's gone from green to yellow.

Recap Oct. 17

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Is it safe?
The hits keep coming.

Recap Oct. 15

Monday, October 14, 2019

A real headline, from RealClearMarkets:

Porous the spider
Last one out, turn off the lights?

Recap Oct. 14

Friday, October 11, 2019

Space force
From Bloomberg

Dine and dash
The struggles continue for the restaurant industry,

Recap Oct. 11

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The King's Speech
A job opening, on LinkedIn

P.O. Box
It's a gusher

Recap Oct. 10

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

ADG 10/9: How to train your Draghi
A new frontier in "whatever it takes."

Recap Oct. 9

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

QT, we hardly knew yee
This afternoon,

The dreadful wind and rain
A major snowstorm

Recap Oct. 8

Monday, October 7, 2019

He said it
Here's President Trump today, on Twitter:

Put it on the tab

Recap Oct. 7

Friday, October 4, 2019

Now is the winter of our streaming content
Amazon, Inc. and Walt Disney Co. are feuding over terms which the former would carry the latter’s

Discovery channel
The renewed bloodletting in the energy patch has seen West Texas Intermediate crude

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Reach and pull
As bond yields the world over continue to hug the ground, issuers reach for the sky.

Recap Oct. 3

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Utah, get me two

Tandem bicycle
Change is in the air at PMI, the trading division of

Recap Oct. 1

Monday, September 30, 2019

Under the hood
According to research from Morgan Stanley,

Today, troubled U.K.-based closed-end investment fund Woodford Patient Capital Trust plc.

Recap Sept. 30

Friday, September 27, 2019

Say it ain't so
Spotted yesterday in Gramercy

One-stop shop

Recap Sept. 27

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Dead air
The timing could hardly be worse.

Recap Sept. 26

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Sentiment check
Karz for Kidz, 2019 edition.

Ya gotta believe

Recap Sept. 25

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Banks for nothing
He’s positive that rates should be negative.

Recap Sept. 24

Monday, September 23, 2019

If you build it

At least eyeballs are countable.

Recap Sept. 23

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Masa of leverage

Polonius, call your office

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Recap Sept. 17

After the deal
Four years ago, roll-ups were the vogue of Wall Street,

Monday, September 16, 2019

Price gusher

Recap Sept. 16

Friday, September 13, 2019

Everything burns

Recap Sept. 13