News Archives: October, 2007

Federal Reserve Board Lowers Fed Funds Target Rate 1/4 to 4.5 Percent. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System lowered its benchmark Federal funds short-term rate target to 4.5% from 4.75%, its second reduction in two months. The Fed said, "Economic growth was solid in the third quarter, and strains in financial markets have eased somewhat on balance. However, the pace of economic expansion will likely slow in the near term, partly reflecting the intensification of the housing correction. Today's action, combined with the policy action taken in September, should help forestall some of the adverse effects on the broader economy that might otherwise arise from the disruptions in financial markets." We expect money fund yields to fall over the coming weeks by an equivalent 0.25%, so our Crane 100 Index should ease from its current 4.79% to approximately 4.54% over the next five weeks. Markets appear to be discounting the odds of any additional future cuts. The full text of the Fed's statement may be seen here.

Big Money Fund Companies Address SIVs, Say Still "Minimal Credit Risk". In the most recent case of a fund company correcting media misinformation, Fidelity Investments has released, "A Discussion of the Structured Investment Vehicle Marketplace and Fidelity's Money Market Funds". The brief discusses SIVs, M-LEC, SIFMA and Fidelity's support of these. "The SIV market is a small part of the trillion-dollar-plus money market mutual fund industry that investors utilize every day as a source of stable, high quality investments for their cash management needs.... We can state unequivocally that Fidelity's money market funds have continued to provide safety and security for our clients' cash investments.... Importantly, we have been -- and will continue to be -- proactive in keeping our money market funds safe and protecting the $1.00 net asset value (NAV), which has always been our #1 objective when it comes to managing money funds.... We believe our holdings of SIV debt securities ... continue to represent minimal credit risk," says the brief. SIVs accounted for 3.6% of assets of Fidelity's prime money funds. SIVs held include: HSBC's Asscher and Cullinan Finance; Citi's Beta Finance, Centauri and Dorada; Dresdner's K2, BMO's Links Finance, AIG's Nightingale Finance, and Gordian Knot's Sigma Finance.

Federated Enters Super Institutional Market, Exits Enhanced Cash. Standard & Poor's just rated Federated Money Market Management AAAm. The fund is Federated's oldest, introduced in 1974. Today it launched a new 13 basis point expense class, Premier Share, with a $100 million minimum investment. Federated joins Wells Fargo, UBS, and soon Fidelity in the latest move towards "super-premium," low-expense, high-yield money funds. (See our July Money Fund Intelligence "How Low Can Expenses Go?" and the pending November MFI Wells Fargo profile.) On Friday, Federated also revealed a $4.9 million capital loss on an "enhanced reserve private placement short-term investment option" (not a money fund), and said it is withdrawing from the enhanced cash sector for now, putting this product into "incubation". The fund "did not reach critial mass" and there were "no client losses in the product" said the company on its recent quarterly earnings conference call.

Money Funds Make Front Page of Boston Globe (Along With Red Sox). Today's Boston Globe features an article entitled "Credit crunch highlights risks in money markets", which asks "How safe is your money fund?". Like many recent articles, the title is much scarier than the actual text. The Globe piece mentions SIVs (structured investment vehicles) and Wachovia's $40 million buyout of securities from its Evergreen funds, and discusses the minor historical SIV holdings of Fidelity and Columbia. It also briefly explores the history of money fund credit events, mentioning Community Bankers US Government Money Fund (though incorrectly stating its liquidation at 94 cents instead of 96 cents). The Globe says, "Moody's knows of 145 serious cases of money-market fund problems since 1972," while failing to mention that no individual has ever lost money on any of these. It also quotes Peter Crane on the recent asset surge to $3 trillion and mentions cranedata.us.

Will Five Percent Money Market Yields Soon Become a Thing of the Past? With the Federal Reserve Board of Governors meeting next week (Oct. 30-31) to discuss the economy and short-term interest rate policy, futures markets are expecting the Federal funds target rate to be cut to 4.5% from 4.75%. Given that, most of the time, money market fund and money market deposit accounts follow the Fed, the handful of remaining yields over 5% may quickly become history. However, Crane Data likes to be contrarian; we're going with the minority view that the Fed doesn't cut, resisting the market's attempt at blackmail. (Isn't it funny how credit market problems pop up just ahead of each meeting?) We think the Fed should stick with the belief that the economy is fine and that recent market turmoil is artificial, and subsiding. Either way, though, money fund and MMDA yields should continue inching lower in coming weeks.

Money Mkt Fund Assets Hit $3 Trillion (Rounded Up) on Flight to Safety. ICI reports that money market mutual fund asset rose by $44.5 billion to a record $2.970 trillion in the week ended Oct. 24. Investors flooded institutional funds with $43.6 billion in cash in anticipation of a cut in the Federal funds target rate next week by the Federal Reserve. Assets of money funds have risen an astounding $588 billion, or 24.7%, year-to-date, and $716 billion, or 31.8%, over the past 52 weeks. Treasury and Government money funds are seeing a resurgence of "flight-to-quality" money while Prime money funds are also seeing longer-term "enhanced" cash and direct investment money move to the safety of funds.

Vanguard Cuts Expense Ratios to 0.24 Percent on Money Market Funds. The Vanguard Group has reduced expense ratios on its Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund, Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund, and Vanguard Treasury Money Market Fund to 0.24% from 0.30%, and has reduced the expense ratio on Vanguard Admiral Treasury MMF to 0.10% from 0.13%. Vanguard Prime MMF Institutional continues to have an expense ratio of 0.09% and the Vanguard Tax Exempt Money Fund ratios also remain unchanged at 0.13%. "Vanguard has a long history of lowering costs as funds grow," says spokesman John Woerth. Vanguard has seen its Prime money fund yields decline relative to other funds due to the absense lack of asset-backed commercial paper. Vanguard Prime MMF had been the No. 1-yielding Individual money fund for the first half of 2007, but it has dropped down to No. 5 since the August ABCP market turmoil hit. Normally, expenses are the main determinant of money fund performance, accounting for over half of returns. But security and maturity selection have recently risen in importance.

The Credit Crunch Will Continue Says Survey at AFP's Boston Conference. A survey at the Association of Financial Professionals (AFP), the world's largest corporate treasury event, found that 62% of respondents think the "turmoil in the credit markets will continue for some time". Seventy-six percent expect the Federal Reserve to continue to lower interest rates before the end of 2007 with 66% expecting a 25 basis point cut. AFP's 2007 "Liquidity Survey", conducted earlier this year, found that treasurer's currently hold 30.9% of their organizations' short-term investments in money market mutual funds, the largest allocation. They also hold 27.1% in bank deposits, 9.4% in commercial paper, 6.3% in repo, and 5.1% in auction-rate securities. Electronic, multi-family trading portals were used by 23% of treasurers or short-term investments. While this year's AFP conference was short on money market content, over 20 fund companies exhibited.

Standard and Poor's Reaffirms AAA Money Mk Fund Ratings Over Cheyne. S&P issued a release last night entitled "No Rating Actions On Principal Stability Rated Funds Exposed to Cheyne and Rhinebridge". The ratings agency also put King County Investment Pool's AAAf rating on "CreditWatch Negative" due to distressed Cheyne Finance LLC (1.2%), Rhinebridge LLC (1.2%) and Mainsail II LLC (1.4%) holdings. S&P lowered its ratings on CP, MTNs, and capital notes issued by Cheyne to 'D' (default) on Oct. 19, but the NRSRO hasn't downgraded any funds due to the "potential sale of the entire investment portfolio to The Royal Bank of Scotland plc. The strength of the underlying collateral "has also forestalled any ratings actions on our part" says an S&P release. S&P currently rates nearly 500 money funds, and says approximately a dozen with half a dozen managers have limited exposure to Cheyne (none have Rhinebridge) and are expected to receive full payment.

Federated Investors' Debbie Cunningham on SIVs and New Super Conduit. In a recent commentary, money fund veteran Deborah Cunningham describes the M-LEC and SIVs. She says, The "master liquidity enhancement conduit (M-LEC) will serve as a back-up liquidity facility for structured investment vehicles.... SIVs are special-purpose corporations that issue highly-rated commercial paper and medium-term notes. They then invest the proceeds in highly-rated securities. SIVs, some of which have existed for nearly twenty years, are important because they underpin an estimated $320 billion in consumer and corporate borrowing.... The underlying assets and management of most SIVs -- the four in which Federated participates, for example -- are very strong. The majority of the SIVs have minimal or no U.S. subprime mortgage exposure. Even so, in the current environment, SIVs have encountered some difficulty in rolling over their debt."

Money Funds Bracing for SIV Inquiries and, Paradoxically, Inflows. Following the August panic in the asset-backed commercial paper market and last week's concerns about SIVs, or structured investment vehicles and the launch of a "super-conduit" to back them, money market mutual funds are undoubtedly preparing to again launch a series of communications to shareholders in an attempt to explain why funds and especially fund investors should remain sheltered from these problems. Expect letters and conference calls shortly. In a continued paradox, we should also expect a continued flood of assets into money funds as institutional investors attempt to delay the impact of an increasingly likely Halloween interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve. Funds have also benefited from a surge of corporate, financial and "conduit" cash moving into the big, safe, diversified pools. Money funds have averaged inflows of 3.4% a month during periods of falling rates, and have averaged inflows of 5.1% over the past two months.

The Wall Street Journal Asks "Is Your Money Fund SIV Burdened?" Structured investment vehicles, or SIVs, are "threatening trouble in a seemingly unlikely place: money market funds," says Saturday's WSJ. Some funds "were holding 10% to 20% of their portfolios in debt issued by SIVs", including funds from Columbia, Credit Suisse, and Federated, reports the piece. However, it adds, "Significant money-fund losses are unlikely for several reasons. Only a handful of SIVs are thought to be in real danger and money funds typically own senior notes ... money-market funds are subject to strict investing rules that limit how much they can keep in individual holdings. Many funds already have begun drastically trimming SIV-related purchases ... [and] allowing securities to mature without rolling them into new debt from the issuer." Finally, the WSJ says, "Most important for money-fund investors, fund companies would almost certainly take steps to prevent losses from reaching shareholders -- such as ... purchasing the money-losing securities from the fund at their full price.

SIVs Cheyne and IKB Defaults Raising Concerns Over Money Funds. Bloomberg reports that structured investment vehicle Cheyne Finance Plc and IKB Deutsche Industriebank AG's Rhinebridge Plc SIV are now in default on over $7 billion of commercial paper. Any money funds unlucky enough to still own either of these, and who haven't already, will likely seek backing, protections, or buyouts while awaiting payment from the asset liquidation. These defaults cap off a week in which the money markets suffered a significant setback on their road to recovery. Concerns resurfaced last weekend following the proposal of a "super-conduit" to support the $320 billion SIV market, and ended with another flight to Treasuries Friday. Money market funds as a whole continue to attract assets and to maintain $1.00 share prices. But this most recent round of problems, centered around SIVs without full liquidity backstops, may cause another handful of bailouts, or purchases of troubled securities, by advisors to protect portfolios. Nonetheless, money fund investors should continue to remain unaffected by this most recent bout of market turmoil.

Explosive Money Fund Asset Growth Continues, At Record $2.92 Trillion. The Investment Company Institute's weekly money fund asset totals show an increase of $11.5 billion in the week ended Oct. 17, to a record $2.92 trillion. Money funds have risen by $538.4 billion, or 22.6%, year-to-date, and by a massive $660 billion, or 29.2%, over the past 52 weeks. The third quarter is likely to be a record-breaker for money fund managers, judging from BlackRock's earnings. Money funds as a whole gained $332 billion, or 13.0%, from July 3 through Oct. 3, according to ICI's weekly numbers. Crane Data's Money Fund Intelligence Distribution Survey shows huge gains among the largest money fund firms in Q3. The 5 biggest gainers: BlackRock's money fund assets rose by $45.5 billion, or 29.6%, in the quarter; Columbia's rose by $32.9 billion, or 25.8%; Goldman Sachs rose by $31.8, or 35.2%; JPMorgan's rose by $28.8 billion, or 16.4%; and, Fidelity's rose by $23.8 billion. On a percentage basis, HSBC (103.2%), Janus (40.1%), Reserve (39.2%), Goldman (35.2%) and Lehman/NB (34.2%) scored the biggest percent gains among the 30 largest fund families.

No. 1-Yielding Russell Money Market Fund Gets Moody's Aaa Rating. Moody's Investors Service has assigned its Aaa credit rating to the currently No. 1-ranked (by most recent 7-day yield) Russell Money Market Fund, managed by Russell Investment Management Co, a subsidiary of The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Group. "The Russell money market fund is led by a seasoned and cohesive portfolio management team that is supported by a cadre of independent, highly experienced credit research analysts," says Moody's VP Dagmar Silva. "The portfolio management function is further supported by a sound operations infrastructure and a set of regulatory compliance programs designed to ensure the integrity of the firm's money market fund product offerings." Moody's press release adds, "The fund's ABCP exposure is comprised entirely of bank-sponsored programs."

Peter Crane To Host Webinar "Is Your Cash and Money Market Safe?" Crane Data President Peter Crane will host an AFP Webinar entitled "Is Your Cash and Money Market Safe?" on November 15 from 3:30-5:15 p.m. Join our money market mutual fund expert to hear about the recent turmoil in the money markets. Crane will discuss regulations and protections surrounding money market funds, securities money funds invest in, and the timeline of crisis events and problems in the asset-backed commercial paper market. Issues with auction-rate securities and enhanced cash funds will also be discussed. Visit AFP to sign up or for more information. Crane Data hopes to see you at the AFP Annual (Treasury) Conference in Boston starting this weekend too.

Treasury Strategies Says Record Corporate Cash Turning Conservative. The "investment portfolios of large U.S. corporations took a sharp turn for the conservative as a result of recent turmoil in financial markets," says Treasury Strategies in a recent survey. A press release issued yesterday said over half of treasurers "reported implementing more cautious investment policies in the few months" and actions include "eliminating asset backed commercial paper, eliminating money fund investments that include asset backed obligations, shortening investment maturities, and investing in higher quality instruments, including government securities, AAA rated money market mutual funds and A1-P1 commercial paper." Corporate cash and short-term investments "recently increased modestly to a record $5.5 trillion" said the treasury consulting firm. Results of Treasury Strategies' full annual Corporate Liquidity Survey should be available in November.

New M-LEC SIV "Superconduit" Elicits Yawns From Money Market Funds. The announcement yesterday of a new "superconduit" fund, Master-Liquidity Enhancement Conduit, or M-LEC, which will purchase only high quality SIV (structured investment vehicle) assets has us wondering "Why bother?" While attempts to clean up remaining problem pockets of the asset-backed commercial paper market are appreciated, this plan appears too limited, too vague, and too slow to matter much (to money funds at least). The high-quality SIVs, which this fund would buy, aren't where the problems are, and the SIVs don't want to sell assets at a discount anyway. The troubled SIVs are now primarily a matter for the banks backing them, and not too big an exposure area for the money market funds, which had been reducing their exposure. As today's Wall Street Journal article, "Call to Brave for $100 Billion Rescue", says, the plan is welcome but the details need to be worked out.

"Superconduit" To Back Structured Investment Vehicles, Bail Out Banks. Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal (with chart of 10 largest SIVs), and The New York Times report that the Treasury department, Citigroup, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase have announced the creation of a $100 billion "superconduit" designed to support other SIV "conduits". The new Master-Liquidity Enhancement Conduit, or M-LEC will sell commercial paper to purchase assets of troubled SIVs, or structured investment vehicles, and MTNs, or medium term notes, and hold them to maturity, thereby sparing banks the full pain of supporting this $300 billion market. The Treasury Department "is pleased with the response by the private sector to enhance liquidity in the short term credit markets. The joint efforts of domestic and international financial institutions, broker dealers, and investors have resulted in a potential structure to improve liquidity in the asset backed commercial paper markets." SIVs remain a trouble spot in the ABCP market, but today's announcement should assist in the recovery. Money market funds, though protected from most troubles by bank backing or other features, have undoubtedly been cutting back their exposure to SIVs over the past two months. Also, see Oct. 13 "Link of the Day".

Double-Whammy Hits Online Banks: Rate Chasers and Falling Yields. Online banks got hit by a double-dose of bad news today -- the New York Times reveals the rate sensitivity of the online banks' customer base in "Rate Chasers Are Online and Moving Cash Quickly", and leading bank blog BankDeals announces yet more rate cuts by banks. The anonymous blog, which reviews recent cuts, says E*Trade has dropped its Complete Savings Account APY (annualized percentage yield) from 5.05% to 4.70%. The Times article discusses the history of online banking including the first (now bankrupt) high-yield online bank NetBank, then ING Direct, Emigrant Direct, and recent high-yielder FNBO Direct. It is a history temporary deals and of "bait-and-switch". Buyers beware!

New Batch of Fund Filings From Fidelity, Dreyfus, ING, Bishop Street. Another batch of new money fund launches is imminent with Fidelity Institutional MM about to add Class IV (0.70% expense) shares to its existing I, II, and III class offerings for Treasury, Treasury Only, and Prime money funds. New super-premium Fidelity Institutional Money Market - Institutional and FIMM Prime MM Inst, with expense ratios of 0.14% and $10 million minimums, are also poised to launch. Other new filings, brought to us by Strategic Insight's Simfund Filing, include: ING Institutional Prime MM IS (0.20% expense, $10 mil. min.); the internal Dreyfus Inst Preferred MM Institutional (0.14% expense), Reserve (0.16%), Hamilton (0.19%), Agency (0.29%) and Premier (0.44%) classes (possibly in preparation for a BNY Hamilton fund merger); and, First Hawaiian Bank-affiliated Bishop St. Tax Free Money Market.

Commercial Paper Starts Arduous Climb Back Towards $2 Trillion Level. For the second week in a row, commercial paper outstandings showed a modest increase, rising $4.9 billion to $1.865 trillion (seasonally adjusted), according to the Federal Reserve's weekly statistics. Last week, CP inched up by $4.5 billion, following a $260 billion freefall in August and a $55 billion decline in September. CP outstandings fell almost 15% from their high of $2.149 trillion in July. It should take some time to regain the $2 trillion level, but we're happy to see the numbers again going the right direction. CP represents the largest category of money market mutual fund holdings, accounting for 31% of taxable assets, according to the ICI's Mutual Fund Fact Book. Commercial paper is short-term, high quality debt. See Bloomberg's new CP supply article here.

Looking Long-Term: Ranking Top Money Market Funds by 10-Year Return. Too often, investors choose funds based on recent performance. While money funds are different due to the predominance of expense ratios in returns and due to their rapidly changing investments, long-term performance still means something, especially when current yields are shifting as fast as they are now. Below, we list the top-performing money market mutual funds ranked by 10-year annualized returns through Sept. 30, 2007. At No. 1 is a three-way tie between American Beacon MM Select, Janus Institutional MMF Inst, and Vanguard Prime MMF Instit with 10-yr returns of 3.95%. The Crane Money Fund Average returned 3.49% and the Crane 100 Money Fund Index returned 3.65% over this period. Tied at No. 4 are Prudential Instit Liq Port MM Ser I and Russell Money Market Fund S with returns of 3.94%, followed by AIM STIT Liquid Assets Inst, Citi Institutional Liquid Reserves A, Federated Prime Value Oblig IS, Phoenix Insight MMF I, and Evergreen Institutional MM I, all tied at No. 6 with 3.93% returns.

OppenheimerFunds Enters Institutional Money Market Fund Business. While they've been running money market funds almost as long as funds have been around -- the company runs the $20+ billion Centennial Money Market Trust -- OppenheimerFunds has made a recent push into the institutional money market fund sector. Observers of our daily Top 5 ranking have no doubt noticed the yield on the $6 billion Oppenheimer Institutional Money Market Fund E (IOEXX). Our pending issue of Money Fund Intelligence interviews SVP and veteran portfolio manager Carol Wolf and VP Mike Walsh about Oppenheimer's investment strategies, recent market events and the company's entry into the institutional money market mutual fund business. Oppenheimer's conservative investment strategy and experience kept them sheltered from the recent market turmoil. The article also discusses why some investors are having second thoughts on "portals" in the current environment.

Money Fund Report Publisher iMoneyNet Launches Revamped Website. iMoneyNet, Inc., the "leading provider of money-market information and analysis", has revamped its website at http://www.imoneynet.com. The new site continues to feature weekly Money Fund Report Averages and tables of the top-yielding Retail, Institutional and Offshore Money Market Funds. The site's look-and-feel has been enhanced with new News, Conferences, and featured Data Tables. iMoneyNet has published Money Fund Report since 1975 and is owned by Informa Plc. Disclaimer: Peter Crane, founder of Crane Data LLC, previously worked for iMoneyNet, and Crane Data competes with iMoneyNet in certain segments of the money fund information business.

Additional Fed Cut Expectations Discounted by September Jobs Growth. Payroll employment grew by 110,000 in September and was revised upwards to 89,000 in August (from a decline of 4,000). This news reduces the liklihood of additional short-term interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve. The Chicago Board of Trade's 30-Day Federal Funds Futures contracts show that traders still expect the Federal funds target rate to drop another 1/4-point cut by year-end (to 4.5%). But the odds of a cut at the Fed's Oct. 31 meeting have fallen below 50% (44%), and the odds of additional cuts have also fallen. (To calculate percentage odds, take 100 minus the CBOT Close price for a date, subtract this number from the current funds target, 4.75%, and divide the result by 0.25.) Money fund yields continue inching downwards in reaction to the Fed's recent 1/2-point cut, but the decline has been diluted by stubbornly high ABCP and LIBOR rates. Crane Data's outlook is that the economy will stengthen further and that additional Fed cuts are unlikely in 2007.

Money Market Asset Surge Continues, Funds Close in on $3 Trillion Mark. ICI reports that money market mutual fund assets increased by $37.14 billion to a record $2.892 trillion in the week ended October 3. MMMFs have increased by an eye-popping $646 billion, or 28.7%, over the past 52 weeks and by $510.2 billion, or 21.4%, year-to-date, and are just $108 billion away from the $3 trillion barrier. Fund assets posted their biggest monthly increase on record in August, rising by $162.5 billion. Institutional assets, which now account for a record 62.4% of all money funds, continued to lead the surge, rising $32.68 billion to a record $1.804 trillion. Companies, fiduciaries, and financial institutions are attempting to delay and defray the impact of the latest Federal funds target rate cut, and are seeking the safety of funds' diversity and management expertise in the current perilous market.

Bloomberg Adds Crane 100 Money Fund Index and Crane Averages. Starting today, users of the Bloomberg Professional service now may access current and historical data on the Crane 100 Money Fund Index, Crane Data LLC's flagship average yield benchmark measuring the 100 largest taxable money market mutual funds. Bloomberg users will also have access to monthly performance data on the Crane Money Fund Average, which tracks a broader universe of 780 taxable money funds, and the Crane Tax Exempt Money Fund Index, which tracks 405 tax-free and municipal money funds. The list of indexes and data points available may be seen by Bloomberg users that enter "ALLX CRNI", and the Crane 100 is ticker "CRNI100D". Contact Pete for a listing of all indexes and for sample of our monthly Crane Index product.

SEC Finalizes Exemption for Bank Sweep Account From Brokerage Rules. As expected, the SEC recently published its final "Definitions of Terms and Exemptions Relating to the 'Broker' Exceptions For Banks" amendments to section 3a-4 of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934. The "sweep exception" exempts a bank from the definition of "broker" if it "effects transactions as part of a program for the investment or re-investment of deposit funds into any no-load, open-end management investment company registered under the Investment Company Act that holds itself out as a money market fund." The SEC's "Proposed Rule 740" defines the terms "no-load" and "money market fund" to "provide guidance on the sweep exception".

Funds Closed Columbus Day, But Competition Is Spurring Longer Hours. With the Federal Reserve and banking system closed on Monday, October 8, for the Columbus Day holiday, money funds won't be trading. While money funds and the money markets will be closed, stock funds and stock markets will be open. Fewer and fewer funds have been closing early on Fridays prior to holidays recently. There appears to be a clear push towards longer trading hours among institutional money funds. Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers will be closing early, but almost all other institutional funds who have declared so far will be open all day Friday. Recently, Barclays joined Reserve in announcing a "no early closings" prior to holidays policy.

Almost Half of Commercial Paper Declines Due to Seasonal Adjustments. The Federal Reserve's weekly commercial paper outstandings statistics have unsurprisingly attracted attention recently due to recent market turmoil. But headlines have focused on the Fed's "seasonally adjusted" series, which make the market declines appear much worse than the "not seasonally adjusted" series. Adjusted CP totals showed a $259.6 billion, or 12%, decline in August vs. a $241.2 billion, or 11%, unadjusted decline. The past 4 weeks' adjusted numbers show a $124 billion decline, or 6.2%, vs. a 43% lower $71.1 billion decline, 3.6%, when not adjusted. The week ended Sept. 12 even showed an unadjusted gain of $4.1 billion and the most recent week showed a decline of a mere $6.2 billion, with the non asset-backed component rising modestly.