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THE M3: VISITOR ARRIVALS; S'PORE INFLATION; MALAYSIAN GAMBLERS

The Macau Metro Monitor, November 22nd, 2010


 

VISITOR ARRIVALS FOR OCTOBER 2010 DSEC

Total visitor arrivals rose by 7.5% YoY to 2,092,343.  Visitors from Mainland China increased by 6.7% YoY to 1,124,061 (53.7% of total), with 479,516 traveling to Macau under the Individual Visit Scheme (up 3.9% YoY).  Visitors from Hong Kong (629,233), Malaysia (27,454) and Republic of Korea (21,931) grew by 14.0%, 5.9% and 59.8% respectively, while visitor arrivals from Japan (29,637) held stable compared with that of October 2009; however, those from Taiwan (98,674) decreased by 6.8% YoY.    

 

THE M3: VISITOR ARRIVALS; S'PORE INFLATION; MALAYSIAN GAMBLERS - macau111

 

OCT INFLATION HITS 3.5% Strait Times, RTT News

Oct CPI of 3.5% was lower than the market's forecast of 3.7%.  Month-on-month, CPI rose 0.5%.

 

S$96M 'LOST' IN SINGAPORE Asia One

MCA national organizing secretary Tee Siew Kiong believes Malaysians gamble away about RM230 million (S$96 million) a month.  His calculation is based on 3,200 people crossing over in buses or cars to gamble in the two S'pore IRs, spending an average of S$1,000 (RM2,400) every day.  The casinos have been giving free meal vouchers and free return trip for those who bought a minimum token of RM240 to gamble.  Also, transport operators get a RM900 bonus if they bring in a busload of passengers to the casinos.


THE DAILY OUTLOOK

TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP - November 23, 2010

As we look at today’s set up for the S&P 500, the range is 51 points or -2.16% downside to 1172 and 2.10% upside to 1223.  Equity futures are trading lower as uncertainty prevails over the Irish bailout and following reports of North Korea firing artillery shells on a South Korean island.

 

In important MACRO data today: Q3 GDP (first revision), Oct Existing Home Sales and Nov FOMC Minutes.

  • Brocade Communications Systems (BRCD US) sees 1Q adj. EPS, rev. below est.
  • Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) boosted FY adj. EPS forecast above est.
  • La-Z-Boy (LZB) 2Q sales missed est. 
  • Oxford Industries (OXM) prelim. 3Q adj. EPS above est.
  • China Xiniya will start trading today on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker XNY. Zogenix will list on the Nasdaq
  • Stock Market under the ticker ZGNX.

 PERFORMANCE

  • One day: Dow (0.22%), S&P (0.16%), Nasdaq +0.55%, Russell +0.41%
  • Month-to-date: Dow +0.54%, S&P +1.23%, Nasdaq +0.98%, Russell +3.41%
  • Quarter-to-date: Dow +3.62%, S&P +4.96%, Nasdaq +6.9%, Russell +7.57%
  • Year-to-date: Dow +7.2%, S&P +7.42%, Nasdaq +11.58%, Russell +16.3%
  • Sector Performance: Tech +0.59%, Consumer Discretionary +0.33%, Utilities +0.24%, Materials +0.16%, Healthcare (0%), Consumer Staples (0.08%), Telecom (0.31%), Industrials (0.33%), Energy (0.39%), and Financials (1.41%)

 EQUITY SENTIMENT:

  • ADVANCE/DECLINE LINE: 58 (-476)  
  • VOLUME: NYSE: 918.82 (-16.60%)
  • VIX: 18.37 +1.83% - YTD PERFORMANCE: (-15.27%)
  • SPX PUT/CALL RATIO: 2.21 from 1.09 +102.44%

CREDIT/ECONOMIC MARKET LOOK:

  • TED SPREAD: 15.56 -0.406 (-2.544%)
  • 3-MONTH T-BILL YIELD: 0.15% +0.01%
  • YIELD CURVE: 2.31 from 2.36

COMMODITY/GROWTH EXPECTATION:

  • CRB: 298.02 -0.29%
  • Oil: 81.74 -0.29% - NEUTRAL
  • COPPER: 376.20 -2.09% - BEARISH
  • GOLD: 1,358.43 +0.33% - BEARISH

CURRENCIES:

  • EURO: 1.3588 -0.62% - NEUTRAL
  • DOLLAR: 78.682 +0.23%  - BULLISH

OVERSEAS MARKETS:

European markets:

  • FTSE 100: (0.62%); DAX (0.19%); CAC 40 (0.95%)
  • Indices are trading firmly lower as concerns over the state of the European debt crisis and North Korea shelling South Korean positions triggers risk aversion.
  • A stronger dollar keeps Basic Resources shares lower, while banks stay below the gain line reeling from uncertainty amid the economic crisis.
  • Eurozone Nov preliminary Manufacturing PMI 55.5 vs consensus 54.4 and prior 54.6
  • UK Oct mortgage approvals for home purchases 30,766 vs consensus 31,000 and Sep 31,058
  • Germany Nov Flash Manufacturing PMI +58.9 vs consensus +56.8 and prior +56.6
  • Germany Nov Flash Services PMI +58.6 vs consensus +56.0 and prior +56.0
  • Germany Q3 Final GDP +3.9% y/y vs preliminary +3.9%
  • France Nov preliminary Manufacturing PMI 57.5 vs consensus 55 and prior 55.2
  • France Nov preliminary Services PMI 55.7 vs consensus 54.8 and prior 54.8.
  • France Nov Business Climate +100 vs consensus +102 and prior +102
  • Spain sells €2.09B 3-mth t-bills, bid-to-cover ratio 2.3 vs 2.8 in last auction, average yield 1.743% vs 0.951% last auction  

Asian markets:

  • Nikkei (closed); Hang Seng (2.7%); Shanghai Composite (1.94%)
  • Asian markets went down today on worries about European debt. Sentiments were further dampened when news broke of military hostilities on the Korean peninsula just after South Korea closed. The news caused investors to run to the US dollar, adding pressure to commodities prices and resource shares.
  • In sluggish trading, South Korea fell. Hyundai fell 3% on worries about labor disputes; Kia Motors declined 2% in sympathy.
  • Australia weakened on concerns about European debt and weaker demand for metals from China. Banks and miners fell.
  • Commodities stocks were the biggest drag on China, though the market did recover more than a third of its loss in the late afternoon. Energy and mining shares were hit when the National Development and Reform Commission ordered coal miners to stabilize their prices after recent rises.
  • Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing fell 3% despite announcing it will extend its trading hours in March. Li & Fung fell 2% after saying it would buy Oxford Apparel. Large property stocks gave up 2-3%, and CNOOC lost 3%.
  • Japan was closed for Labor Thanksgiving Day.

Howard Penney

Managing Director

 

THE DAILY OUTLOOK - setup

 

THE DAILY OUTLOOK - S P

 

THE DAILY OUTLOOK - VIX

 

THE DAILY OUTLOOK - DOLLAR

 

THE DAILY OUTLOOK - OIL

 

THE DAILY OUTLOOK - GOLD

 

THE DAILY OUTLOOK - COPPER

 


Global Shakedown

“No matter what you do I'm gonna take you down.”

-Bob Seger

 

Bob Seger is a 65-year old American singer-songwriter from Detroit, Michigan. In 1987, he released “Shakedown.” It eventually became a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Most movie-soundtrack buffs will recall this song from Beverly Hills Cop.

 

This morning the Fun Cops of global risk management have apprehended the perma-bulls. Lest the bulls who don’t do mean-reversion forget that the SP500 is still up +77.1% from the March 2009 lows and, as Seger sings, “everybody wants into the crowded line.”

 

This morning’s headlines are multi-factor, multi-duration, multi-risk:

  1. Korea sees both civil and military casualties overnight as a 27-year old boy-king in the North makes a statement to the South.
  2. Asian stocks continue to breakdown with China closing down another -1.9% overnight, taking its cumulative decline since 11/8 to -10.5%.
  3. Sovereign yields 3-mth Spanish debt rocket to the upside in a terribly received bond auction yielding 1.74%! versus 0.95% prior.

What does this mean? What do we do? I think those of us who have seen the confluence of the following Top 3 global macro factors colliding for the last month are already positioned:

  1. Global growth is slowing
  2. Global inflation is accelerating
  3. Interconnected risk is compounding

There are plenty of other risk factors causing a Global Shakedown in the immediate term TRADE lines across our interconnected global risk management model (Quantitative Guessing, Financials freak-out, Yield Spread compressing, etc.),  but before we revisit the aforementioned Top 3, let’s look at those breakdown lines in some of the major country indices:

  1. SP500 Index = 1,997
  2. Dow Jones Industrial Avg = 11,199
  3. China’s Shanghai Composite = 3,008
  4. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng = 23,902
  5. India’s BSE Sensex = 20,386
  6. UK’s FTSE = 5,792
  7. Spain’s IBEX = 10,591
  8. Italy’s MIB = 21,181
  9. Brazil’s Bovespa = 70,929

In risk management speak, we call this Geographical Risk Factoring. Weakness in one country doesn’t always interconnected risk make in others. However, sustained weakness across geographies on our most immediate-term risk management duration (TRADE) is usually a very early signal for global risks to compound. These risk factors include: Style Factoring, Size Factoring, Liquidity Factoring, etc…

 

I’m not saying this market is going to crash today. I’m simply saying that the probability of a correlated and compressed-crash continue to climb. To a degree, this has already happened in Chinese and Spanish equities (down -10.5% and -9.5%, respectively, from their recent peaks in very short order). Again, these are equity market signals. But the equity bulls will have a hard case to make that the Mr. Macro Bond Market has been flashing anything bullish for the last three weeks.

 

Back to my Top 3 fundamental risks:

  1. Global Growth Slowing – After seeing broad based slowdowns in Asian Q3 GDP reports yesterday (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand), this morning South Africa reported a sequential slowdown in Q3 GDP to +2.6% (vs +2.8% last quarter).
  2. Global Inflation Accelerating – The good news here is that post Bernanke’s QG = INFLATION experiment taking plenty of commodity prices at or above all time highs, prices have come down in the last 2 weeks. The bad news is that the global inflation genie is out of the bottle and she’s hard to stop. Consider this Bloomberg News quote from a Chinese noodle shop dude this morning: “Standing near his 12-table noodle shop on Beijing’s Yonghegong Avenue, ower Liu Heliang says meat and vegetable prices have climbed 10% in a year and staff wages are up 40%.”
  3. Interconnected Risk Compounding – review all of the factoring I have gone through so far. In the US we think it all equates to Jobless Stagflation.

Now a bull could say that Germany’s GDP growth of +3.9% for Q3 was outstanding on both a relative basis to the EU (and the US) and on an absolute basis as the Germans continue to drive exports into a friendly Chinese relationship (Exports up +2.3%). I’ll agree with that. That’s why we have a 6% position in our Hedgeye Asset Allocation Model to German Equities (EWG).

 

While we have plenty of short positions to express the Global Shakedown risk (see my Early Look Note from November 8th titled “Tightly Squeezed” where we published our top 15 short ideas across asset classes), there are some things that we really like on the long side (alongside Germany) on a day like today:

  1. Long the US Dollar (UUP)
  2. Long the Chinese Yuan (CYB)
  3. Long Gold (GLD)

From yesterday’s price levels, I also think a 64% position in Cash is the right position to be in. Most asset managers will quibble with that for obvious reasons that are structural to their business models, but I really think the better benefit of the doubt this morning should go to the Thunder Bay Bear.

 

“Shakedown… Breakdown…Takedown… Everybody wants into the crowded line…”

 

My immediate term support and resistance lines  for the SP500 are now 1172 and 1197, respectively.

 

Best of luck out there today,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

Global Shakedown - fire


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JACK - IN A DEEP HOLE WITH NO LADDER

Conclusion: While the company conference call may shed some light on how management is going to turn things around, right now what JACK is doing is not working.

 

For 4QFY10 Jack in the Box company same-store sales declined 4.0%, with the same excuse of the concept continuing to be impacted by high unemployment in key markets for the key customer demographics.

 

One a two years basis same-store sales improved only 20bps as the company strategy of quality improvements to signature products are not gaining traction.  The strategy for 2011 will include a substantial completion of the restaurant re-imaging program, which will continue to penalize EPS in 2011.  The company is currently guiding to same-store sales of -1% to +1% at Jack in the Box company stores for 1QFY11, which implies things get worse on a 2yr basis from 4QFY10.

 

Yet management hopes that these initiatives will increase the customer appeal of the Jack in the Box brand and provide a catalyst for sales growth when unemployment and consumer spending begin to improve.  Additionally, getting the system to look good is getting incrementally more expensive too.  Diluted earnings per share guidance of $1.41 to $1.68 (consensus at $2.01) includes approximately $0.10 to $0.12 of incremental re-image incentive payments to franchisees in fiscal 2011 as compared to fiscal 2010.

 

It’s expensive to hope and pray things get better?

 

Consolidated restaurant operating margin was 12.5% in 4Q10 versus 15.8% last year - sales deleverage negatively

impacted margins by approximately 110 basis points in the quarter. 

  1. Food and packaging costs were 90 bps higher - overall commodity costs were approximately 3% higher, driven by higher beef, cheese and pork costs which were partially offset by lower costs for poultry, shortening and bakery products.
  2. Payroll and employee benefits costs were 29.9% vs. 29.6% the same quarter one year prior. 
  3. Occupancy and other costs increased 210 bps primarily to sales deleverage, higher depreciation resulting from the company’s ongoing restaurant re-image program, increased repairs and maintenance, and additional costs relating to guest service initiatives.

I completely understand why the company wants to refranchise the store base down to 20% company owned, but getting from A to B continues to be a struggle.  The 4Q10 gains on the sale of company-operated restaurants included the sale of an entire market with lower-than-average sales and cash flows.  To get the sales done, the company provided $23.1 million in financing during the quarter for two of the six refranchising transactions, including the entire market sale.  Importantly, $18.7 million has been repaid thus far in the first quarter of 2011.

 

The penalty the company is paying right now to fix the business and get the business model is a big drag on EPS and the confidence level that things will improve is low.  To make my point I have included the matrix chart for JACK and for MCD.  When there is any expectation that JACK can get to Nirvana, with positive same-store sales and expanding operating margin, the stock will move accordingly.

 

JACK - IN A DEEP HOLE WITH NO LADDER - jack sss

 

JACK - IN A DEEP HOLE WITH NO LADDER - JACK MATRIX

 

JACK - IN A DEEP HOLE WITH NO LADDER - MCD MATRIX

 

Howard Penney

Managing Director

 

 


No Timeouts

This note was originally published at 8am this morning, November 22, 2010. INVESTOR and RISK MANAGER SUBSCRIBERS have access to the EARLY LOOK (published by 8am every trading day) and PORTFOLIO IDEAS in real-time.

“I think I have a natural ability to lead."

-Mark Sanchez

 

Some people confuse a young winner’s conviction with their own insecurity. Most of those people can’t do what it is that winners repeatedly do at the highest levels of American life. We need to embrace our young Americans who have a natural ability to lead. They are our future.

 

Yesterday, after seeing his New York Jets blow a 16-point lead in the 4th quarter, 24-year old quarterback Mark Sanchez found himself an opportunity to be accountable. His team was trailing the Houston Texans 27-23. There were 49 seconds left on the clock. No timeouts.

 

He didn’t pout or point fingers. He didn’t blame depression or deflation either. He tied up his chin strap, marched the ball 72 yards down the field in 45 seconds, and stuck the ball in the end zone for the winning touchdown. Jets 30, Houston 27. That’s the kind of American leadership we can believe in.

 

Never mind the Pretended Patriotism and obfuscation of facts that we hear from conflicted and compromised politicians. Whether they be Irish, Greek, or American, they are embarrassing their last names. There never was a depression in this country. There will be if we continue to let a failed old-boy political network intervene in our markets.

 

These are early days, but last week showed continued progress. Closing up +0.54% week-over-week, the US Dollar was up for the 3rd consecutive week. As a result, the commodity inflation that’s starving the world’s middle and lower-class abated.

 

That’s right Mr. Protectionist, we are the world’s free-market leader until we bow down to crony-socialism. We hold the world’s reserve currency in the palm of our hand. It’s time to start wearing the Strong Dollar American jersey with some pride.

 

With the US Dollar up on the week, here’s what went down week-over-week:

  1. CRB Commodities Index = -1.7%
  2. Oil = -3.4%
  3. Volatility = -12%

For most Americans, these are good things. Playing a game of global chicken (Quantitative Guessing) with inflation isn’t.

 

Over the course of global economic history there’s never been a world power that’s devalued its way to prosperity. With each and every incremental government intervention attempt (printing money and incurring debt), Japanese, European, and American consumers see:

 

A)     Shortened economic cycles

B)     Amplified levels of volatility

 

Normal Americans who hate everything about socializing the losses of Big Auto and Big Banker may not have a sophisticated charting system to show this with a picture rather than prose, so Darius Dale will do that for you this morning in the Hedgeye Chart of The Day. Look at what the VIX (Volatility Index) has done since Ben Bernanke took over the wheel at the Fed in 2006. How’s that for upholding his said objective of “PRICE STABILITY!”

 

Since Bernanke pandered to the political wind and cut interest rates too early in 2007, this humble looking man has overseen both the highest and most sustained levels of US stock market volatility in American history. Maybe he looks humble when it comes to understanding real-time markets for a reason.

 

Thankfully, both Americans and the world are figuring this out. This is the advantage of YouTube, Twitter, and a 24-hour news cycle that is starting to hold decision makers accountable.

 

Better late than never: The Economist spent a very large amount of newspaper space this weekend attempting to teach people what both American and Japanese style Keynesian experiments have turned into. On page 87 of The Economist was a small but important introduction to a question Hedgeye asks every day: “Why is the Austrian explanation for the crisis so little discussed?”

 

While hope is not an investment process, I can only hope that America’s youth climbs ambition’s proverbial ladder of knowledge and grounds this Heli-Ben of failed academic dogma for good. The debt clock is ticking. The entire world is watching. America, like Ireland, has no more timeouts.

 

My immediate term support and resistance levels for the SP500 are now 1192 and 1225, respectively. If 1192 holds, that’s immediate term bullish. If it doesn’t, that’s bearish. We are neither short nor long the SP500 as of this morning’s US market open.

 

Best of luck out there today,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

No Timeouts - bernankeprice


BARRONS AND THE CONSUMER - JUMPING THE GUN

Here I am addressing an article written by the respected Jacqueline Doherty of Barron’s this past weekend.

 

Dear Jackie,

 

I can appreciate the value in a non-consensus view as much as the next guy, but having read your article in Barron’s titled, “Off to the Mall” this weekend, I have a few points I’d like to make in defense of the consensus view that consumer deleveraging is due to continue for a while.  In fact, it will continue for longer than consensus expects.  The data presents a gloomy picture but I also believe that recessions such as this take a toll on the mindset of consumers in a way that less severe downturns do not.   

 

The crux of your argument, as I understand it, is that following “two painful years of retrenchment”, there is pent-up demand and data relating to household financial obligations are – currently – better on the margin and this points to “an end to the deleveraging process” and a boost to retail sales and the broader economy in 2011.  Respectfully, I disagree.  On the contrary, deleveraging has a ways to go.

 

Firstly, the Consumer Discretionary sector (XLY) is the best-performing sector so far this year and the S&P performance of late seems to suggest that positive news for the consumer is being priced in.  Corporate profits are also being well-received by the markets.  In spite of the upward trajectory of the stock market and corporate earnings, unemployment is still not improving sufficiently.  Corporations, nervous about the economic outlook, are retaining earnings in the form of liquid assets rather than hiring of investing in long-lived assets.  The Great Recession had an impact on the psychology of corporations that should not be underestimated. 

 

Likewise, the impact on consumers should also not be underestimated.  Job uncertainty and continuing economic weakness is imparting an unprecedented degree of frugality on today’s Americans.  The drawdown in credit card balances is one example.  Since credit card debt stands for a very small portion of total household debt outstanding, I believe that the 16% decline says more about the shift in mindset of the consumer than any completion of the deleveraging process.

 

BARRONS AND THE CONSUMER - JUMPING THE GUN - credit card debt

 

The chart above illustrates an unprecedented change in consumers’ mindset.  Furthermore, private sector borrowing as a whole is dragging on the economy.  Total private sector borrowing amounted to almost 30% of GDP in 2007 and by2009 it had fallen to less than minus 15% of GDP.  That constitutes roughly a 45% of GDP swing in private sector borrowing over a two-year period.  This was a traumatic hit, to say the least.  I’m not expecting a rebound to the good old levered up days any time soon!

 

As the Reinhart and Reinhart study you fairly allude to in your article describes, the tectonic shifts in the financial sector, housing market, and subsequent (and ongoing) consumer deleveraging pose drastically difficult obstacles for the economy to surmount.  Unlike slowdowns that are associated with monetary policy being tweaked in order to address inflation concerns, downturns triggered by the financial sector tend to take result in longer and more sluggish recoveries. 

 

While the rise in equity prices over the last 18 months may help the consumer via higher 401(k) values this holiday season, inflation and the higher interest rates across the globe are causing slower growth on an international basis.  The emergency interest rate that the Federal Reserve has held for two years now may be viewed by Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mersirow Financial, as “an unqualified boon to borrowers”, but where are the lenders?  As of the most recently reported quarter, banks are tightening lending standards.  Most importantly, mortgage rates are heading higher, not lower, and that will certainly not encourage any consumer re-leveraging.

 

BARRONS AND THE CONSUMER - JUMPING THE GUN - willingness to lend

 

BARRONS AND THE CONSUMER - JUMPING THE GUN - demand loans

 

I don’t have access to James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital, work but I would be very interested to see how he gets to 3-4% GDP growth for next year.  Here are my main concerns with his bottom line:

  • The inventory cycle is going the wrong way in the first part of 2011; moving to net-neutrality towards impact on GDP growth.  (I recently posted that inventory accounted for 2.6%, 0.08% and 1.4% for the first three quarters 2010, respectively)  As a side note, the sequential improvement in GDP in Q3 was unintentional as some firms were caught out by the slump in demand during the summer and unintentionally built up inventories in Q3 - a trend that will reverse itself in Q4 and the early part of 2011. 
  • The Recovery Act, despite the controversy, added 2%+ to GDP in 1H10.  By design the act was to have all the money “out the door” by the end of September and succeeded in doing so.  Going forward, the cost of the Recovery Act will be net neutral and eventually as it ramps down and, eventually – in terms of cash flow – will be net negative to GDP growth.
  • The final factor is state and local deficits which are projected to be $100 to $150 billion a year for the next two tears.  Going forward, a much smaller share of which will be offset by federal subsidies, therefore a much larger share will need to be closed through tax increases and spending cuts at the state and local level.  

Taking points two and three, together that added a net 2% to GDP in 1H10 and will be a negative 2% to growth in 1H11.  If you then add the positive inventory cycle in 1H10 of 3.4% and you get the total contribution to GDP growth from the three factors of 5.4% in 1H10.  Depending on your view of the inventory cycle, we are looking at a potential year-over-year swing in GDP in 1H11 of around 5.4%, which becomes a headwind in the next 12 to 24 months.  At best, we are looking at flat to 1-2% GDP for the next 12-24 months.       

 

What does all this mean for the consumer and the unemployment rate?  Under a good scenario, it’s going forward it’s going to be a hard slog of 1-2% GDP growth, which will prove to be inadequate in an effort to reduce the unemployment rate.  Your article cited an improving outlook for jobs.  Is the outlook really improving enough?  If it is improving, I don’t believe that the data supports more than a miniscule improvement.  Certainly, a far greater rate of improvement will be necessary to ease concerns about the job market on a wider basis.

 

Last week the headline initial claims number rose 20k to 457k (23k net of revisions)!  Rolling claims came in at 456k, an increase of 2,000 over the previous week.  This wiped out last week’s improvement, and claims still remain in the same band they’ve occupied for the year. We're still a solid 50-75,000 above where we would need to be in order to see the unemployment rate fall.  

 

As you noted, one leading indicator of the consumer's health is the default rate on loans; it peaked in the past year in several key loan categories, and has been declining since. The S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices, a measure of changes in U.S. consumer-credit defaults, fell 3.6% in October.

 

We at Hedgeye have a much different point of view.  We see consumer deleveraging going on for years to come.  Here are a few key components of out thesis:

  • From 2004 to 2Q08, total household debt rose 31.6%.  From 2Q08 through 2Q10, it declined 5.1%.  There is likely more to come!
  • Looking at the year-over-year change in total household debt is even more lucid an indicator; total household debt is declining and it is declining at an accelerating rate.  The decline in 2Q10, of 3.4%, was the steepest of the recession.
  • In terms of mortgage debt, despite the decline in home values from the peak (approximately 33%), mortgage debt has only declined 5%.  Loan to value ratios are in the 80’s – expect further deleveraging, not releveraging.
  • Until LTV’s come into a more historically-normal range, it is unlikely that consumer spending will return to its former glory.  Without housing prices appreciating (highly unlikely), our financials team estimates that it would take 10-15 years for the current LTV ratio level to be worked down through amortization.  Housing is the key hurdle for stronger consumer spending in the U.S. and forms a key part of the Hedgeye view on this topic.
  • Mortgage debt matters for commercial banks; 27% of the $10.6 trillion in household mortgage debt outstanding is held by commercial banks. That’s $2.86 trillion.  
  • Credit card debt is a small piece of the picture, 6.4% of total household debt.  Year over year change in revolving credit has recently ticked up but, at this rate, would take 10 years to stop shrinking.
  • The reduction of credit card debt since 2008 (chart earlier in the post) is unprecedented; clear shift in consumer mindset.

BARRONS AND THE CONSUMER - JUMPING THE GUN - mortgage debt

 

BARRONS AND THE CONSUMER - JUMPING THE GUN - ltv ratio

 

The consumer is certainly not dead and there are segments of the consumer space that are tied to wants and not needs (or maybe less unnecessary needs) that may continue to perform well.  Starbucks may continue to sell an addictive product well, car sales may perform well also, but considering that housing is the ultimate ball around the ankle of the consumer, there is a long way to go until Americans can once again lever up and splash some cash.

 

Sincerely,

 

Howard Penney


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