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TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP - December 28, 2010

As we look at today’s set up for the S&P 500, the range is 16 points or -0.76% downside to 1248 and 0.51% upside to 1264.  Equity futures are trading above fair value after Asia finished mixed and Europe trades flat. Volume low in volume internationally.


Today all eyes are on the Case-Shiller Home Price Index and December consumer confidence numbers.  Home prices are estimated to drop in 0.2% Y/y in October - the housing data will remain a weak.


Other data and events today:

  • Consumer confidence - December estimate is 56.4, prior 54.1
  • Richmond Fed Manufacturing - December estimate is 11 prior 9
  • U.S. to sell $25b 4-wk bills, $35b 5-yr notes  
  • ABC consumer confidence, prior -41


  • ICSC releases weekly sales information; may revise December sales forecast following weekend results curtailed by snow.
  • MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse says total holiday season retail sales (including internet sales) from Nov. 5 through Dec. 24 rose 5.5%, best performance in five years.
  • Travelers and New York commuters face further disruptions as winds hinder efforts to clear roads, runways. Passengers stranded after airlines canceled 6,000 flights face lengthy waits to rebook their trips
  • AstraZeneca stops studies of experimental painkillers on concern they raise risk of joint damage; follows JNJ putting development program for fulranumab on hold last week.


  • One day: Dow (0.16%), S&P +0.06%, Nasdaq +0.06%, Russell +0.43%
  • Last Week: Dow +0.72%, S&P +0.28%, Nasdaq +0.21%, Russell +0.34%
  • Month-to-date: Dow +4.99%, S&P +6.52%, Nasdaq +6.77%, Russell +8.99%
  • Quarter-to-date: Dow +7.11%, S&P +10.19%, Nasdaq +12.61%, Russell +17.19%
  • Year-to-date: Dow +10.81%, S&P +12.77%, Nasdaq +17.54%, Russell +26.7%
  • Sector Performance mixed (5 sectors up, 4 down) - Financials +0.88%, Tech +0.20%, Industrials +0.17%, Materials +0.16%, Utilities +0.06%, Healthcare (0.19%), Consumer Discretionary (0.29%), Energy (0.36%), and Consumer Staples (0.48%)


  • ADVANCE/DECLINE LINE: +320 (+439)  
  • VOLUME: NYSE 467.57 (-24.03%)  - worst snow storm in six decades
  • VIX:  17.67 +7.29% YTD PERFORMANCE: -18.50% (up 13.89% last two days)
  • SPX PUT/CALL RATIO: 2.06 from 1.96 (+5.25%)


Treasuries were mixed, nearly unchanged at the short-end, with 7bps narrowing of the 2/30 spread; 10-yr yield fell 6bps to 3.33%.


The Treasury auctioned $29B in 3-mo bills at 0.18%, up from the prior week, as well as $35B in 2-yr notes at 0.74%.

  • TED SPREAD: 14.76 -2.943 (-16.621%)
  • 3-MONTH T-BILL YIELD: 0.17% +0.02%  
  • YIELD CURVE: 2.65 from 2.74


  • CRB: 329.11 -0.08% (up 1.81% last week)
  • Oil: 91.00 -0.56%  Trading flat in the am - near a two year high
  • COPPER: 428.00 +0.50% Trading up slightly in the AM
  • GOLD: 1,379.60 -0.30% Trading up 1% in the AM


  • EURO: 1.3131 +0.07% - Trading up 0.75% in the AM
  • DOLLAR: 80.366 -0.13% Trading down 0.57% in the AM - a two week low vs the EURO


  • European Markets: FTSE 100: closed; DAX: +0.1%; CAC 40: +0.3%
  • In thin trade again, Europe is trading slightly higher today, with auto stocks dragging on markets as they did yesterday on continued worries about the effects of China's rate hike and Beijing's new limits on cars.
  • The UK remains closed until tomorrow.
  • Basel Committee on Banking Supervision tells banks to be more transparent about pay, bonuses
  • France Q3 GDP revised to +0.3% q/q vs preliminary +0.4%


  • Asian markets were mixed this morning.
  • South Korea went up 0.55% on construction and tech stocks. Hyundai Elevator soared by its 15% daily limit for a second straight day in response to Schindler Deutschland’s raising its stake in the company.
  • Japan fell 0.61% on a stronger yen and weakness in China, though it was supported by strong industrial output data.
  • Securities firms led China down 1.74% on fears that tightening measures are not over.
  • Property stocks and banks fell in Hong Kong, which was closed yesterday, in reaction to the 25-Dec interest-rate rise in China. Carmakers extended their December 24th decline due to Beijing’s announcement that it would limit new-car registrations in the city.
  • Australia and New Zealand were closed for Christmas.
  • Japan November core CPI (0.5%) y/y vs cons (0.6%) - Jobless rate 5.1%, matching consensus and prior - Industrial output +1.0% m/m, matching expectations - Retail sales +1.3% y/y - Household spending (0.4%) y/y - Household incomes +0.5% y/y - Tokyo December core CPI (0.4%), matching expectations.
  • Beijing raises minimum wage rate by 21%




THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - dec 28 s p setup




The Macau Metro Monitor, December 28th, 2010


DSEC reported total visitor arrivals rose by 6.5% YoY to 2,013,188.  Visitors from Mainland China increased by 7.9% YoY to 1,096,865 (54.5% of total), with 437,375 traveling to Macau under the Individual Visit Scheme, up by 13.5% from November 2009.


Visitors from Hong Kong (561,395), Japan (35,897) and Republic of Korea (26,832) grew by 10.8%, 4.6% and 77.2% respectively, while those from Taiwan, China (96,432), Malaysia (34,855), and Singapore (24,987) decreased by 16.5%, 8.2% and 8.3% respectively.




MGM MACAU AT FULL SPEED macaubusiness.com

MGM Macau president Grant Bowie said MGM Macau is currently using all of its 427 gaming tables.  Bowie said previously, MGM was only using 380 tables but a pickup in business in late 2009-2010 allowed it to improve its table utilization rate.

The Calm and The Storm

This note was originally published at 8am on December 27, 2010. INVESTOR and RISK MANAGER SUBSCRIBERS have access to the EARLY LOOK (published by 8am every trading day) and PORTFOLIO IDEAS in real-time.

“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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Europe: Risk does not Cease to Exist

Position: Long Germany (EWG); Short Italy (EWI), Euro (FXE)


European equity indices largely closed in the red today, with negative divergence from the PIIGS; in particular Greece’s Athex fell -2.8% and Spain’s IBEX 35 declined -2.1%.


Below we refresh the charts of 10YR govt. bond yields and 5YR sovereign CDS, which show the continued heightening of risk from Europe’s periphery. Of note is Greece’s 10YR yield, which now stands at a mere 15 bps away from its previous year-to-date high of 12.449% on 5/7, a few days after Greece received a €110 Billion bailout and a few days before the EU and IMF established a €750 Billion aid package for the region to tap into.


Matthew Hedrick



Europe: Risk does not Cease to Exist - h1


Europe: Risk does not Cease to Exist - H2

Storm Clouds on the Market Horizon

“Here’s to the pilot that weathered the storm.”

-George Canning


Conclusion: Below is a summary of some of the key risks we see heading into 2011.  Please email if you would like the 40+ page presentation that supports these ideas.


The stock market year of 2010 was a solid one by many standards.  Despite some unfettered volatility, and assuming nothing dramatic happens in the next couple of days, most major U.S. stock markets will end the year solidly in the positive.  Leading the way were small cap stocks with the Russell 2000 up more than 26%.  While the broader market trailed the small cap index, the SP500, oft considered the benchmark for U.S. equity performance, was still up over 12%, coming in slightly ahead of its long run annual average.  With 2010 in the rearview mirror, it is time to start looking towards 2011.


When contemplating the outlook for the upcoming year, the best place to start is consensus expectations.   Currently, according to a Bloomberg survey of the strategists from 11 of the largest brokerage firms in the United States, the mean consensus target for the SP500 by year end 2011 is ~10.5% above current levels.   Further, every single strategist in the survey is expecting a positive performance out of the SP500 in 2011.  Suffice it to say, Hedgeye is decidedly non-consensus heading into 2011. (I’m sure none of our subscribers are surprised by this fact.)


As it stands, we see a trinity of existent, negative fundamental macro clouds on the horizon that have yet to be properly discounted by the market, and are poised to cast a potentially long shadow over domestic equities heading into next year.  The three key risks we see to these lofty consensus expectations heading into 2011 are: global growth slowing, inflation accelerating, and interconnected risk heightening.


As it relates to GDP growth in the coming year, we believe that growth, both in the U.S. and in certain major emerging market economies, will slow sequentially, though for very different reasons.  Domestically, we believe consumer spending, which is roughly 70% of GDP, will be constrained as consumer confidence erodes alongside a further slide in home prices.  This erosion in consumer confidence combined with a high structural unemployment rate will lead to what we are calling the Consumption Cannonball.  In effect, consumer spending faces tough y-o-y comparisons, which, when combined with deteriorating consumer confidence and a continued tight consumer credit environment, will likely lead to a tough consumer spending environment in 2011.


Globally, the key growth issue is related to inflation.  As we look at some of the major emerging market economies that are fueling global growth, it is obvious that inflation is accelerating.  Most recently, China reported a 28-month high in November CPI at 5.1% and Brazil reported CPI for the same month at 5.6%.  In both instances, these measures for consumer based inflation are well above the targets established by each of the country’s respective central banks. The obvious outcome if this level of inflation is sustained, as we believe it will be, is a tightening of monetary policy, and a subsequent deceleration of growth abroad.


In fact, globally, we are already seeing a number of central banks take steps to tighten monetary policy and slow inflationary pressures.   Some of the data points we’ve been focused on over the past couple weeks include: Sweden raising interest rates by 25 basis points, Chile raising interest rates by 25 basis points, China taking its reserve ratio up by 50 basis points to 18.5%, and Brazil taking its reserve ratio to 20% from 15%.  While these are somewhat muted moves in light of some of the inflationary reports we have seen, we should expect more aggressive action in 2011, especially in light of accelerating commodity prices.  As the Chinese authorities recently foreshadowed, 2011 will be a “prudent” monetary policy year and they signaled such on Christmas morning with a 25 basis point increase on key lending rates.


The final bearish factor we are focused on heading into 2011 is the increase of interconnected risk.  This factor considers rising market and asset correlations in combination with a mispricing of a number of global macro risks.  Increasingly, over the last couple of years we have seen a strengthening correlation between major markets and, really, all major asset classes.  The implication for strengthening cross-market and cross-asset class correlations, particularly in the context of an increasingly interconnected global market place, is that a major dislocation or failure or one market is increasingly likely to reverberate similarly across other major markets.  In the U.S., we saw this manifest itself via the U.S. dollar and European sovereign debt, which served as the key drivers of various major equity markets around the globe.


The key macro risk areas in 2011 that we see looming include: the domestic municipal bond market, European sovereign debt, and the continued implosion of the Japanese economy.  As it relates to the municipal bond market, broadly speaking, we think that many are missing the combination of higher projected spending with a decline in local and state tax receipts.  In terms of sovereign debts in Europe, things will get worse before they get better and we have recently seen CDS spreads in troubled countries like Greece widen to a point that implies a default is becoming somewhat imminent.  Finally, the coming year is poised to be a critical one for Japan, which is buried in a mountain of debt and an aging population that the pension system cannot support.  All this is framed with a volatility index, the VIX, which is flashing signs of complacency at its close to year-to-date lows.


We are not being non-consensus merely for the sake of being branded contrarians, but if the last few years have taught us anything it is that when consensus is solidly leaning one direction we need to seriously consider that to be a contrarian indicator.   Regardless of the consensus of views of major strategists, storm clouds loom on the economic horizon and thus we remain justifiably cautious heading into 2011.


Daryl G. Jones
Managing Director

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 Ajaline.com 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



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