R3: ADI, WRC, Facebook, and Snow


December 27, 2010





  • Facebook has now become the leading driver of web video traffic behind none other than Google taking over the #2 spot from Yahoo according to a recent Video and Media Industry report from Brightcove and TubeMogul. While certainly notable, so too is the gap between the top spot and Facebook’s new post, which refers 9.5% of all video traffic compared to more than 50% for Google.
  • Don’t be surprised when asked to present your driver’s license when making holiday returns this year. According to NRF’s latest return fraud survey, retailers lost nearly $4Bn to fraudulent returns last year and approximately $14Bn per annum. This added step is far from fool proof, but one thing is for certain – return lines will be longer this year as a result.
  • With 50%+ deals more rule than exception the day after Christmas, it appears that some retailers are extending offers into the week given disruptive storms along the east coast yesterday/today. In fact, some deals may get even better as retailers look to recover lost sales for those still looking for a deal.



Post Christmas Demand Strong Despite Storm - Even as concerns remain over the consumer mood in 2011, retailers have entered the last leg of the holiday season — the week between Christmas and New Year’s — expecting another wave of spirited shopping and feeling good about the outcome so far. And that’s particularly true in apparel and accessories. This past weekend, retailers and analysts concluded those categories performed the best during holiday 2010 after several years when the sector lagged in favor of electronics and toys. Skyrocketing online and mobile shopping, robust gift card sales, tax cut extensions, rebounds in luxury goods and men’s wear, and free shipping of online orders also spurred sales growth this year.  No doubt, Sunday’s storm blanketing the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions and reaching 10 to 12 inches in some locations deterred traffic at many malls and put a dent in sales. Yet the blizzard did little to dampen the mood. The day after Christmas is traditionally one of the biggest volume days of the year, leading to a bustling retail week characterized by returns and exchanges, gift card. “The day after Christmas is a very important day,” said Brendan Hoffman, president and chief executive officer of Lord & Taylor. “It looks like today [Sunday] is starting out strong. Maybe people were getting out early to beat the snow, but the storm will certainly affect the malls. You can’t control the weather, but we’ll get through it. Up until today, we were up double digits. I don’t know what the storm will do, but the customer has been continuing to respond. This season, gains were across the board. For Lord & Taylor, it’s been the best Christmas in a number of years — five years for sure.” <WWD>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: Largely considered a Top 5 shopping day for retailers (and #2 last year), it appears that sales early in the day were strong as usual before shopping ceased. While sales activity will be aided by increasing temps over the next few days, the storm will undoubtedly leave its mark on season ending sales, the extent to which remain unknown for now.


Adidas Outdoor to Launch Stateside at OR Next Month - Adidas is preparing to roll out its outdoor collection in the U.S. market — an initiative it first embarked on five years ago with limited success. This time around the effort is part of a worldwide push and a seven-year business strategy. Building on the outdoor category’s strength in Europe, where Adidas has been sold for the past two years, the athletic brand plans to unveil the new collection at next month’s Outdoor Retailer show. Adidas Outdoor has also made inroads in Asia and in Russia, under the guidance of Rolf Reinschmidt, senior vice president and global head of operations for Adidas Outdoor. The Stateside debut in stores is slated for July. “We knew we had to earn our way,” Reinschmidt said. “We are approaching the market from a different product focus and with a deeper integration into the outdoor community. Growth will come from doing things right and not through heavy advertising and marketing.” Adidas Outdoor is expected to be sold in 350 to 500 domestic retailers, as well as through Adidas’ seven freestanding stores and its Web site, he said. The U.S. market will have about 90 percent of what is sold in Europe. The label should face off against competitors such as The North Face, Arc’teryx and Salomon, Thomsen said. <WWD>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: What’s notable here is Reinschmidt’s specific commentary regarding the brand’s success riding on the authenticity of the product, not the marketing spend behind it (a la Easy Tones). While the company proved successful in the later over the past year, authenticity requires a polar opposite approach and one that’s considerably slower to materialize. We’ll see what the response is out of OR (Jan 23-26).  


New Flash-Sale Jewelry Site Launching in 2011 - Ajaline, a fine jewelry flash-sale Web site set to launch on Feb. 1, wants to adapt a model crafted by online retailers such as Gilt Groupe and Rue La La. Co-founder Meeling Wong, a former president of John Hardy, said she is curating to cater to brand concerns about how items will be sold. Only three to five will be featured each week, and each flash sale will be open for three days, with a 24-hour preview. Discounts will range from 30 to 70 percent off retail, with prices from $500 to $50,000. The first sales will spotlight designs from Buccellati, Lagos and Temple St. Clair. Fine jewelry has been slow to embrace e-commerce, but Wong said she tells companies, “You guys think you can control the Internet. You can’t. You can control where you are and the way you’re presented.” <WWD>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: A natural extension of flash-sale pioneer sites that have incorporated jewelry offerings, but not in any consistent way – this isn’t just a me-too concept. Given Wong’s experience and more importantly connections within the industry – Ajaline will likely have more popular and desirable brands than exist in this channel currently.


Cost Excerpt from Interview with WRC's CEO Joe Gromek - "I would suspect 2011 will continue to be an excellent year for intimate apparel, and consumers will continue to be back in the shopping malls. But one of the challenges in 2011 will be in terms of rising costs.…We will pass along 70 percent of rising costs through a combination of price increases and product expense reduction and margin out as good or better.…We are positioned for the first half of 2011, but we have not gone to market yet with fall 2011. We’ll do that in January. The second half will be the challenge." <WWD>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: The fact that the company expects to absorb some portion of impending cost increases in the 1H of 2011 is more forthcoming than what we’ve heard from most in retail on the matter.


Polyester Yarn Prices on the Decline - Indian spinners have already further slashed the yarn prices by around Rs 8 per kilogram over the last few days, hoping to stop the government’s imposition of a ceiling on polyester yarn exports. Members of the textile body urged the Textile Ministry to put a ceiling on polyester yarn exports in the same way as it was done for exports of cotton yarn to make the domestic market stable, following the unprecedented hike in polyester yarn prices after November. The members also asserted that the demand for synthetic yarn, by textile manufacturers, particularly from China and Pakistan after the shortage of cotton supply, had raised the export orders from the country. <FashionNetAsia>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: With cotton prices escalating sharply during the 2H of 2010, the halo effect across alternative materials was to be expected. Still, on a relative basis, these materials will lead to greater use of alternative materials in 2011 as producers look to mitigate cotton cost inflation.


Shoe Alliance Formed in Wenzhou - The first Chinese Footwear Cooperative Alliance has recently been established in Wenzhou, the shoe production capital of China. The alliance, which was jointly launched by Aokang Group and some 50 shoe companies, aims to build an industrial and trading chain operation model for footwear, similar to retailers Gome and Suning in the household appliance sector. Aokang Group said the alliance urges shoemakers to work together to create a franchise store brand for footwear, adding that further cooperation and investment will be needed to be discussed. Although Wenzhou is known for shoemaking, competition has been getting more intense, causing Wenzhou shoe producers to look for ways to create a new outlet channel. <FashionNetAsia>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: It’s a start, but the beginning of a long and costly road to pull together resources in an effort to stem production outflows to inland and neighboring alternatives. While these efforts may prove successful in the long-run, the question is just how long it will take the alliance to make a meaningful impact on the decision of companies actively looking to shift resources elsewhere.


Social Media Continues to Climb - Email marketers have been warming up to social media for the past year, using social elements like “share with your network” and buttons to connect with brands on Twitter and Facebook in email campaigns. Email and social media also go together in another way: They are the top tactics marketers worldwide expect to increase budgets on in 2011. According to a November 2010 survey of business executives around the globe by StrongMail, nearly two-thirds of companies will increase spending on email marketing, and 57% will put more dollars toward social media marketing. Search took a distant third place with 41% of respondents indicating they would spend more. Budgets will be increasing, but the biggest challenge for email marketers will be a lack of resources and staff—the same problem affecting social media marketers. Email and social will continue to get closer as more marketers integrate the two channels with each other. More than a quarter of respondents said they had already formulated and implemented a strategy for making email and social work together, and another 43% plan to make efforts toward integration in 2011, though some are more prepared than others. <emarketer>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: A clear indicator of how companies value the social media channel – it stands at #2 behind only email marketing.


R3: ADI, WRC, Facebook, and Snow - R3 1 12 27 10



Bearish: SP500 Levels, Refreshed



It’s hard to believe, but the SP500 is vying for its 2nd consecutive down day for the 1st time in December. That said, it’s not doing so without a fight. Despite the VIX breaking out above our immediate-term TRADE line of 16.82 today, the SP500 is holding our immediate-term TRADE line of support at 1248.


In order for the SP500 to close in the red for 3 consecutive down days, we’ll likely need to see 1248 violated on the downside. If that were to occur, I don’t see any meaningful support down to the 1218 level. Ultimately, if you’re short the US stock market here, that’s what you should be playing for in the immediate term. The bulls are as complacent as they’ve been since April, and they will not sell until they have to.


In terms of upside resistance, up at 1263 I’m still registering higher-highs versus the prior YTD closing high of 1258. That’s a bullish risk management signal and so is holding 1248, until it doesn’t.




Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer


Bearish: SP500 Levels, Refreshed - spTT


Total gaming revenues for December trending between HK$17.5-18.0 billion



Macau gaming revenues decelerated a touch in the past week.  Based on the current run rate of HK$570 million in table revenue per day, down from HK$585 through the 20th, we are now projecting total gaming revenues (including slots) of HK$17.5-18.0 billion.  That level of revenues represents 59-64% growth over last year.  As always, our estimates take into account the number of weekend and weekdays and for December, only 30 days are counted.  Note that New Year’s Eve is included in the January number.


Below are the market shares.  LVS lost another half a point since our last update while SJM gained.



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TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP - December 27, 2010

As we look at today’s set up for the S&P 500, the range is 16 points or -0.86% downside to 1246 and 0.42% upside to 1262.  Equity futures continue to trend below fair value as the rate increases out of China over the weekend are contributing to heightened tightening concerns following a similar move by Russia (only deposit rates) on the 24th.


Commodities are showing a mixed reaction to the hikes as the prospect of slower economic growth weighs against the likelihood that the rate increases will continue to pressure the dollar - gold has reversed modest early weakness and is slightly higher, while crude has given back early gains and is now slightly lower.


Little activity on the corporate and economic calendars and little is anticipated throughout the week.

  • Amkor Technology (AMKR) will redeem all $100m of its 6.25% convertible notes from Chairman James J. Kim and his family.
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), BJ’s Restaurants (BJRI), Panera Bread (PNRA) and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (RRGB), may be poised to decline 20% or more if “aggressive” 2011 earnings expectations aren’t met, Barron’s reported, citing analysts.
  • Cisco Systems (CSCO) may gain as demand for the equipment grows and the company initiates a dividend, Barron’s reported.
  • Dean Foods (DF) settled an antitrust lawsuit with Northeast Dairy Farmers
  • Goldman Sachs (GS) said it may grant bonuses that depend on future earnings in addition to stock performance amid pressure from regulators to design pay packages for top employees that would discourage excessive risk-taking.
  • Mylan (MYL) agreed to pay $65m to settle a lawsuit from the U.S. government and Texas related to Medicaid reimbursements
  • Netflix (NFLX) may fall as higher charges for acquiring movies hurts profitability, Barron’s reported.
  • Sierra Wireless (SWIR) may rise as growth in 4G and other mobile devices boosts demand for its technology, Barron’s said
  • WSJ is negative on MCD


  • One day: Dow +0.12%, S&P (0.16%), Nasdaq (0.22%), Russell (0.21%)
  • Last Week: Dow +0.72%, S&P +0.28%, Nasdaq +0.21%, Russell +0.34%
  • Month-to-date: Dow +5.16%, S&P +6.46%, Nasdaq +6.70%, Russell +8.52%
  • Quarter-to-date: Dow +7.28%, S&P +10.13%, Nasdaq +12.54%, Russell +16.69%
  • Year-to-date: Dow +10.98%, S&P +12.70%, Nasdaq +17.47%, Russell +26.15%
  • Sector Performance: Materials +0.36%, Energy +0.28%, Utilities +0.06%, Healthcare +0.00%, Consumer Staples +0.04%, Tech (0.17%), Industrials (0.22%), Consumer Discretionary (0.42%), and Financials (0.72%)          


  • ADVANCE/DECLINE LINE: -119 (-797)  
  • VOLUME: NYSE 615.47 (-21.52%)
  • VIX:  16.47 +6.60% YTD PERFORMANCE: -24.03%
  • SPX PUT/CALL RATIO: 2.75 from 1.54 (+78.64%)


  • TED SPREAD: 17.30 0.203 (1.187%)
  • 3-MONTH T-BILL YIELD: 0.14%  
  • YIELD CURVE: 2.74 from 2.75


  • CRB: 329.38 +0.39% (up 1.81% last week)
  • Oil: 91.51 +1.14%  (up 3.28% last week)
  • COPPER: 425.85 -0.39% (up +2.39% last week)
  • GOLD: 1,383.72 +0.32% (up +0.88% last week)


  • EURO: 1.3122 +0.10% (down -0.50% last week)
  • DOLLAR: 80.474 -0.03% ( up +0.13% last week)



  • European Markets: FTSE 100: closed; DAX: (1.28%); CAC 40: (1.11%)
  • In thin trading, Europe is weaker this morning, following declines in Asia; following the December 25th surprise rate hike in China.
  • Also on December 24th Russia’s decision to charge more on ruble deposits, another move to cool inflation, also damped market sentiment.
  • The UK is closed until 29-Dec.
  • On fears of tightening policies, car-makers are trading lower as people take profits for 2010


  • Asian Markets: Nikkei +0.75%; Hang Seng (closed); Shanghai Composite (1.9%)
  • Asian markets started higher today, as participants felt China’s raising interest rates had already been priced in, but they finished mixed.
  • Commodities fell on the rate hike, but quickly pared their losses.
  • In the lowest trading value since the first trading day of the year, export-linked shares led Japan to a modest gain up 0.75%.
  • Taiwan edged up 0.35%. Shin Kong Financial jumped 6% on expectations, leading financials higher on expectations that Taiwan’s central bank will follow China’s rate hike with one of its own.
  • South Korea fell 0.37% - car-makers fell 3-4% on Beijing’s limits for new car registrations announced last week, as well as the fear that China’s higher interest rates will reduce demand for new cars. Shippers fell 2-5% on a lower Baltic Dry Index. Banks rose, since China’s rate increase means South Korea may follow suit to combat inflation.
  • China rose in the morning on the thought that uncertainty about policymakers’ next move had now been cleared up, but dropped in afternoon trading as property, financial, and energy shares got dumped.
  • Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand were closed for Christmas/Boxing Day.
  • Japan November corporate services price index (1.1%) y/y, +0.1% m/m. November housing starts +6.8% y/y vs cons +4.9%.







The Calm and The Storm

“They sicken of the calm, who know the storm.”

-Dorothy Parker


While it’s tempting for a man with an Arctic Cat Pantera snowmobile parked outside his front door to poke fun at Americans wearing dress shoes in NYC this morning, I’ll just roll with a quote from a self proclaimed “wisecracker” poet from New Jersey. Dottie Parker was a beauty.


Whether you are observing global financial markets from the Big Lake they call Gitche Gumee this morning or from a window on Madison Avenue, you’ll find that plenty has changed in the last 72 hours:

  1. China raised interest rates.
  2. American shoppers have been grounded on the East Coast.
  3. Canada beat Russia 6-3 at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Buffalo.

Now, some things, like Canadian demand for gold on ice, are expected. Other things, like China funding deficit-financed American hopes for a continued stock market rally, aren’t…


In fact, China’s Premier, Wen Jiabao, made an important statement to China’s citizenry on Christmas Day that “inflation expectations are far more dire than inflation itself.” FDR-esque.


When it comes to the global inflation on your screens this morning, China’s leadership using the word “dire” wasn’t misrepresented. If you don’t want to use the all-time high price for something like copper (up another +2.4% last week to $4.24/lb) as a leading indicator for inflation, just use the price moves in the CRB Commodities basket (19 different commodities) and look at what they’ve done across the following 3 durations:

  1. Weekly = +2.8% week-over-week (last week)
  2. Monthly = +6.5% for the month-to-date (December)
  3. Quarterly = +15.5% for the quarter-to-date (Q410)

The word “expectations” wasn’t misused either. As Shakespeare said, “expectations are the root of all heartache” and I have no reason to believe that the last price of a commodity that represents a large part of a human being’s buying power isn’t the same.


Whether it’s the price to warm your home in Connecticut (oil $91.34/barrel this morning is trading at a 26-month high) or the price to feed your family in Asia this morning, the Chinese aren’t sitting on their hands while the US Federal Reserve opts to Quantitatively Guess (QG) about how this all ends.


While He Who Sees No Inflation (Bernanke) does his best to extend and pretend the Fiat Fool experiment, the calm (US stock market investor complacency) that’s come before every emerging market storm (inflation) is finally rearing its ugly head.


Before you get a bull to try to tell me that this storm is actually great for US “growth” let’s look at what effect the force majeure of China tightening interest rates has had on the Shanghai Composite Index:

  1. Down -1.9% overnight to 2,781
  2. Down for 7 out of the last 8 trading sessions
  3. Down -15.1% for 2010 to-date

Again, if you’re one of the bulls that’s in the US “growth” is back camp and you’re willing to tell me that Chinese growth slowing as inflation accelerates plays no part in your global risk management model, I don’t know what to say in response other than good luck in the New Year with that…


In US equity market action, the low-volume and low-volatility calm may very well be a reality for revisionist stock market historians, but the break-downs in US Treasury and emerging debt markets look eerily similar all of a sudden. They look like they are both staring into the same storm of global inflation.


In the eye of the NYC storm this morning, UST yields continue to breakout to the upside with 2-year and 10-year yields hitting 0.67% and 3.44%, respectively. If the bulls want to tell me higher-highs in yields are “growth” signals this morning, I’ll just call that out for what it is – a smoke signal that The Calm and The Storm of Wall Street story-telling remains.


My immediate term TRADE lines of support and resistance for the SP500 are now 1246 and 1262, respectively.


Best of luck out there today,



Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer


The Calm and The Storm - BlizELL

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