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Bearish: SP500 Levels, Refreshed

POSITION: Short SPY

 

In the last few SP500 Levels notes, I’ve labeled them “Less Bearish” – in the last 48 hours, I’ve moved back to Bearish Enough. We get that US Retail Sales were up in November (driven by gas prices, but who cares about the details) and that it’s bonus season on Wall Street (reminding your boss that you were bearish isn’t cool). That and the reality that most of the Fed’s policy to inflate finding its way into the storytelling about sustainable “growth” is what it is -  yesterday’s news.

 

Have we seen this movie before? VIX in the teens and SPY at 2-3 month highs? Of course we have. That’s why, in the face of Global Growth Slowing, Global Inflation Accelerating, and Interconnected Risk Compounding, that I have no problem making sales up here. For the first time since November, I’m back to running with more SHORTS than LONGS in the Hedgeye Portfolio. This is new as of yesterday.

 

Fed Fighting is now fashionable (USD up, Bonds down), and will become more fashionable if the SP500 breaks its immediate term TRADE line of support at 1233. There’s a long way down to intermediate term TREND line support (1157), and I think we’ll see that print in the new year.

 

Sell slowly, my friends.

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

Bearish: SP500 Levels, Refreshed - 2


TALES OF THE TAPE

Looking at the table, below, it is clear to see that the restaurants’ rip in equity prices is slowing into year end.  Some notable items:

  • QSR volume was light yesterday with all stocks besides PEET and KKD generally flat or down
  • An article on Nation’s Restaurant Review titled “NPD forecasts modest recovery” highlights unemployment among the young adult age cohort as being a particular concern for QSR
  • Additionally, short interest in the QSR space is particularly low, 6.6% on average.  If we exclude the coffee concepts, it stands at 4.3%.  Over the course of 2010, these stocks have risen an average of 44%
  • CMG has also slowed and was downgraded last week
  • MCD is planning massive expansion in China – boosting investment by 40% in 2011, according to media reports.  This is certainly relevant for YUM
  • In casual dining, following a downgrade, BWLD declined on volume slightly up versus trailing 30-day average volume.  It is also interesting to see insider selling having picked up in BWLD over the past 60 days (with roughly equal proportion of selling over the period)
  • CAKE underperformed the space on high volume following a downgrade

TALES OF THE TAPE - stocks 1215

 

TALES OF THE TAPE - casual dining selling 60 days

 

TALES OF THE TAPE - casual dining selling 30 days

 

Howard Penney

Managing Director


CHART OF THE DAY: The Pig's Ugly Head

Chart of the day.

 

CHART OF THE DAY: The Pig's Ugly Head -  Chart of the day


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The Ber-nank's Pig

“For many people the “long run” quickly becomes the short run.”

-Ludwig von Mises

 

It’s both amazing and frightening that some US-centric investors can call rising European bond yields “pigs” and, at the same time, call the current breakout in US sovereign bond yields bullish because it’s all about US “growth.” If you are being forced to chase your “long run” stock ideas here into the short run of year-end, be forewarned – feeding The Ber-nank’s Pig comes with globally interconnected risk.

 

In hedge fund speak, we call a position that goes straight down a pig. Although I have never managed risk on a long only desk, I’m hearing that they call charts that look like Spanish Equities (EWP) and short-term Treasury Bonds (SHY) iggy little piggies too.

 

Obviously there is a confirmation bias embedded in US markets to lean bullish. As a result, not being wrong 82.6% of the time on the short side (Hedgeye’s batting average on shorts since 2008) isn’t easy to do. Sometimes however, the perma-bulls start to trip all over themselves painting every bearish and bullish data point as, well, bullish. This little piggy has a funny way of making its way to the market AFTER stocks have moved.

 

This morning’s Institutional Investor Bullish to Bearish Survey marked a new cycle-high in terms of the spread between de Bulls and da Bears:

  1. Bullish sentiment ramped to 56.8%
  2. Bearish sentiment dropped to 20.5%
  3. The spread (bulls minus bears) = +36.3%

In the short-run, we have finally bumped up against the widest bullish bias the US stock market has seen since April 2010. This may or may not matter to the “buy stocks for the long run” bulls, but we think the April peak to July trough drop of -15% left a mark.

 

In the long-run, the Bullish/Bearish Spread has never sustained a level north of 40. Historically speaking, never is a long time. The last time we saw the +40 handle raid the bears to the upside was at the beginning of 2008. Not exactly the best buy-and-hope signal that was…

 

Last night on Kudlow, I attempted to remind one of the 2008 bulls (Don Luskin) what the confluence of a pending slowdown in global growth and rising global inflation means for stocks in the intermediate term. He didn’t like that reminder.

 

This morning, in hopes of not being labeled one of the “world is awash with liquidity” 2008 dudes, I’m going to make sure that I am crystal clear on this – the rise in sovereign bond yields from Portugal (who printed 3 MONTH bills this morning at 3.4% versus 1.81% in the last auction!) to California is NOT a bullish leading indicator for 2011 “growth.”

 

No, that doesn’t mean I’m suggesting that last month’s US Retail Sales number wasn’t good. Neither am I saying that last month’s breakdown in domestic and emerging bond markets was either. We, as risk managers, aren’t tasked with trumpeting the +83.6% US stock market move that’s already behind us. We need to play the risk management game that’s in front of us.

 

So let’s strap on the multi-factor, multi-duration, global macro pants and take a walk down the path of what’s new out there this morning other than Portuguese pigs getting plugged:

  1. China and Hong Kong equities closed down another -0.54% and -1.95% overnight, respectively. Both remain broken on our immediate term TRADE duration. Growth in Asia will slow, sequentially, until Q2 of 2011.
  2. Indian equities closed down another -0.76% and remain bearish on both our immediate and intermediate-term TRADE and TREND durations.  The trajectory of India’s 2011 growth could slow materially against very tough 2010 compares.
  3. Spanish and Italian stocks markets are getting crushed again after rallying to lower intermediate-term highs as European bond yields continue to rise in the face of sovereign debt and inflation risks.
  4. Sweden’s Riksbank raised interest rates on its 7-day repo rate to 1.25% in order to proactively protect against inflation.
  5. Turkish equities (a hot spot in the buy everything emerging markets land of nod) continue to underperform and are down another -1.3% this morning as local inflation pushes towards the double digit zone (yes, inflation is bad for emerging markets – it starves their people).
  6. Brazil was down another -0.55% yesterday and traded back below its intermediate-term TREND line of support for the Bovespa = 69,005. Brazil’s GDP growth slowed to 6.7% in Q3 vs. +9.2% in Q2 and inflation just ticked up again, sequentially, to +5.6% in November.

Notwithstanding that everything that I just wrote equates to a real-time read through on Global Growth Slowing in the in the next 3-6 months, what’s most interesting here is that every US centric stock market news service hasn’t mentioned any of them!

 

US tax cuts are good for short-run spending and political popularity (unless you are long Best Buy), but what have they done to the world’s long run expectations of American fiscal resolve? Have we learned nothing about the short-termism associated with begging for “shock and awe” easing in early 2008? Or are we, sadly, just feeding the pig until we get to year-end and collect our high/low society bonuses?

 

My immediate term lines of support and resistance for the SP500 are now 1230 and 1246, respectively. I’m early in being short the US stock market here – I get that. I was in late 2007, too. But don’t forget that I was also early buying the US Dollar (UUP) in November and shorting US Treasuries (SHY) and Munis (MUB). This globally interconnected game of risk is no longer all about buying US stocks for the “long run.”

 

Best of luck out there today,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

The Ber-nank's Pig - 1


THE M3: LAND LAW; S'PORE AIRPORT DATA; RUSSIA VISA; ANGELA LEONG

The Macau Metro Monitor, December 15th, 2010


GOVERNMENT SAYS NO MORE DIRECT LAND GRANTS TO CASINOS Macau Daily Times, Intelligence Macau

According to the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) director Jaime Carion, there will be no more land plots granted for casino projects without a public tender once the new Land Law comes into effect.  The second public consultation for the law revision begins today and will continue until the end of January.

 

The new Land Law will focus on "economic diversification". Carion said,  “We are looking for integrated family-friendly resorts, where the whole family can come and have fun together.  It is believed that the plots of land already granted to SJM, WYNN, and MGM, were awarded without a public tender and will not be affected by this decision.  But IM believes unless a Cotai project has a clear non-gaming focus, it would be difficult to approve that project anytime soon.

 

José Pereira Coutinho, a lawmaker, believes the new Land Law will be enforced in 2012, at the earliest. 


NOVEMBER PASSENGER DATA Changhi Airport Group

The number of passengers arriving into Singapore's Changhi airport rose 7.7% to 3,623,080 in November. It is a sequential slowdown from October's 7.9% YoY growth in number of passengers.

 

MSAR, RUSSIA MULL VISA EXEMPTION Macau Daily Times

On December 7, the Macau government held a discussion with the Russian Federation Delegation led by director of the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Andrey Karlov, in regard to the text of the mutual visa exemption agreement.  During a 2011 Policy Address session, Secretary for Security, Cheong Kuoc Vá, announced for the first time that the SAR was planning to relax the visa rules to Russia, as well as to loosen rules for Russian passport holders to enter Macau.  The agreement is expected to be reached in 2011.


NO.4 GENS 4BN Intelligence Macau

Stanley Ho gave all of his direct shares in SJM to his fourth wife, Angela Leong On-kei.  The shares are valued around HK$4BN, which would raise her stake in SJM to 8%.


THE DAILY OUTLOOK

TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP - December 15, 2010

As we look at today’s set up for the S&P 500, the range is 16 points or -0.93% downside to 1230 and 0.36% upside to 1246.  Equity futures are trading below fair value in the wake of yesterday's late session pull back which saw early gains on some strong data erased after Treasury yields rose again following comments from the Fed it would maintain its $600B asset purchase program.  News that Moody's put Spain's Aa1 rating on review for possible downgrade has knocked European and Asian markets. Japan's Tankan Large Manufacturer sentiment index reported its first decline since March 2009. Today's macro highlights include Nov CPI, Dec NY Empire Manufacturing Survey and Industrial production numbers

  • Boston Beer (SAM) raised 2010 EPS forecast to $3.30-$3.60 from $2.85-$3.15, vs adj. EPS est. $3.20
  • Broadcom (BRCM) sees 4Q net rev. ~$1.9b vs previous guidance $1.8b-$1.9b, est. $1.85b
  • Cubist Pharmaceuticals (CBST) cut 2010 rev. forecast to $634m-$640m from $645m-$650m, vs est. $625.3m
  • First Solar (FSLR) sees 2011 EPS $8.75-$9.50 vs est. $8.51
  • WD-40 Co. (WDFC) said it may buy back as much as $25m shares in the next year

PERFORMANCE

  • One day: Dow +0.42%, S&P +0.09%, Nasdaq +0.11%, Russell 2000 (0.06%)
  • Last Week:  Dow +0.25%, S&P +01.28%, Nasdaq +1.78%, Russell +2.70%
  • Month-to-date: Dow +4.28%, S&P +5.17%, Nasdaq +5.18%, Russell +6.14%;
  • Quarter-to-date: Dow +6.38%, S&P +8.80%, Nasdaq +10.94%, Russell +14.13%;
  • Year-to-date: Dow +10.05%, S&P +11.34%, Nasdaq +15.80%, Russell +23.39%
  • Sector Performance: Telecom +1.6%, Healthcare +1.1%, Industrials +0.5%, Consumer Spls +0.4%, Utilities +0.3%, Tech +0.1%, Materials +0.04%, Consumer Disc (0.01%), Energy (0.3%), Financials (0.9%)                

 EQUITY SENTIMENT:

  • ADVANCE/DECLINE LINE: -368 (-131)  
  • VOLUME: NYSE 953.01 (-1.05%)
  • VIX:  17.61 +0.34% YTD PERFORMANCE: -18.77%
  • SPX PUT/CALL RATIO: 1.10 from 1.26 -12.40%  

CREDIT/ECONOMIC MARKET LOOK:

  • TED SPREAD: 16.70 -0.304 (-1.790%)
  • 3-MONTH T-BILL YIELD: 0.15% +0.02%  
  • YIELD CURVE: 2.83 from 2.68

COMMODITY/GROWTH EXPECTATION:

  • CRB: 319.51 -0.11%
  • Oil: 88.28 -0.37%
  • COPPER: 420.90 +0.05%
  • GOLD: 1,403.45 +0.64%

CURRENCIES:

  • EURO: 1.3412 +0.22%
  • DOLLAR: 79.367 +0.10%

OVERSEAS MARKETS:

 

EUROPEAN MARKETS:

  • European markets trade lower led by the periphery as European debt contagion fears returned after Moody's put Spain's Aa1 ratings on review for possible downgrade.
  • Portugal is due to hold a T-bill auction today.
  • Economic data also weighed following a cautious assessment of the US economy by the Fed yesterday, as Japan's manufacturers sentiment worsened, though less than expected, for the first time in two years and UK unemployment data disappointed.
  • The Swedish Central Bank raised its benchmark interest rate by 25bps to 1.25%.
  • Declining sectors lead advancers 14-4 with banks the worst performers down (2.2%).
  • UK Nov claimant count (1.2K) vs con (3K)
  • UK Oct ILO unemployment +7.9% vs con +7.7%
  • EuroZone Q3 employment due at 5ET
  • The pound and the euro are trading at $1.5695 and $1.3305 respectively
  • Pound was pressured as the number of people out of work rose for the first time in six months  

ASIAN MARKTES:

  • Asian markets were mixed today, though losing markets fell more than rising markets gained.
  • Australia gave up early gains to finish flat.
  • Exporters rose to help Japan finish flat despite a downbeat tankan.
  • China fell on profit-taking and lower commodity stocks.
  • Cathay Pacific dropped 7% to lead Hong Kong down on IATA’s saying airline profits may be hurt next year by slower economic growth and higher fuel costs.
  • Japan Q4 large manufacturer tankan +5 vs consensus +4 and prior +8. October tertiary industrial activity +0.5% m/m.

Howard Penney
Managing Director

THE DAILY OUTLOOK - levels and trends

 

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



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