What Lies Beneath? ABX Takes Another Hit

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The Wall Street Journal's MarketBeat reports that the record low the riskiest tranche of the ABX index reached yesterday (44 cents on the dollar) drew attention away from the significant drop in the highest rated tranches. When the highest rated tranches of an index start to come unglued, that usually means "Jenga!" for whatever market the index represents. Yesterday, the AAA tranche of the ABX dropped from 100 to 95, and the AA tranche dropped to 88.
Bloomberg reports today that "All 15 of the so-called ABX indexes, made up of credit-default swaps on subprime mortgage bonds with ratings from AAA to BBB-, fell to records yesterday. They were little changed today."
Insiders are speculating that a fund may be liquidating or some major mortgage-backed investors may be panicking. And when we say liquidation, we mean fire sale, in an 'everything must go!' move across all asset qualities. Was yesterday's move just pre-Merrill release panic and is the ABX hanging tenuously by Merrill's strong results? Anyone have any info? Comment or drop a line to tips at dealbreaker dot com.
Bloodbath in the ABX? [MarketBeat]

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