This note was originally published
at 8am on February 14, 2011.
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“And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”
While the Greeks may disagree with Italians on this, Roman mythology tells the story of Cupid being the son of Venus, the goddess of love. In Latin, “cupido” means desire. And for America’s valentine this morning, this Hedgeye desires a strong US Dollar.
If you look at last week’s price action in Global Macro markets, strength in the US Dollar Index showered some love on some of the major global economic risks we’ve been pounding on for the last 3-6 months. While our call for Global Inflation Accelerating hasn’t adversely affected the US stock market, it’s hammered both bond and emerging markets since November.
Importantly, last week’s price action in the US Dollar Index was positive for the first time in the last 4 weeks. On a week-over-week basis the Burning Bone was up +0.54%, and while that’s not the type of long-term love you should get married to, in the immediate-term look what it did:
1. CRB Commodities Index – deflated inflation by -0.3% week-over-week, and while that may not be by a lot, short-term love needs somewhere to start. This was the first week since the 1st week of January that the 19 component CRB Index didn’t close at a new intermediate-term high.
2. Oil Prices – deflated big time with West Texas Intermediate crude oil losing -3.9% of its value on a week-over-week basis and breaking our intermediate-term TREND line of support at $86.98/barrel. While The Ber-nank’s driver probably didn’t talk this up on the way home Friday night, I can assure you this put some extra change in the hands of many American boys looking to buy roses after putting gas in their cars.
3. 2-year US Treasury Yields – inflated another +12% week-over-week to close out the week at 0.83%. This is good for the short-term rates of return on American savings accounts. Again, strong US Dollars find a funny way of empowering the gentleman in this country who is living on a fixed income to maybe buy an extra rose for his sweetheart today.
Albeit with a very short leash, even I found the love in my heart to invest some of the Cash in the Hedgeye Asset Allocation Model as the US Dollar rose throughout the week. On Wednesday February 9th, I hit my lowest Cash position of 2011 at 49%. C’mon little bulls out there, pucker up – I should get at least a little peck on the cheek for that…
While it’s sometimes hard for a US-centric stock market investor to hear anything from me other than I’m not levered-long everything US Equities here, I think we’ve been crystal clear that there are many ways to be Bullish On Inflation in your Global Macro portfolios.
Whether it’s leaning long in the S&P Sector exposures (last week we we’re long 2 of the 9 US stock market sectors and didn’t have anything on the short side) or leaning short in emerging market equities and US Treasury bonds, there’s plenty out there for we men and women of the risk management gridiron to fall in love with. In the Hedgeye Portfolio 14 of the last 15 positions I’ve closed have been gains.
That’s not to say you should love me. I have a hard enough time convincing my wife that that’s a good idea when my alarm clock blares in her room every weekday at 4AM. It’s just to say that being a risk manager means not losing money and, for those of us who still remember the wealth destruction of 2008, that’s the risk management face that more than just our mothers can love.
The bad news about Cupid’s Bone is that it can start burning again. Before we get too lovy-dovy with everything that benefits from a strengthening US Dollar, remember that President Obama is on deck to release his Burning Budget this afternoon. While we’d love to hope that our Big Government Interventionists will cut spending this Valentine’s Day, we are reminded that hope is not an investment process.
With the US Dollar Index’s rise to close out the week at $78.46, this is where it’s trading relative to our 3 core risk management durations:
- TRADE (immediate-term) line resistance = $78.72
- TREND (intermediate-term) line resistance = $78.98
- TAIL (long-term) line resistance = $81.67
Yes, tragically, love’s reach has its resistance levels too. And while we really want to believe that professional politicians in America will put the long-term health of this country and currency ahead of their short-term job security, that’s just a benefit of the doubt they don’t deserve.
On Friday I did a lot of selling in the Hedgeye Asset Allocation Model and some of it was in Fixed Income where we fortuitously covered our shorts on the lows and capitalized on a nice bounce on the long side for a trade. Versus last Monday’s Cash allocation of 52%, this morning we’re back up to 61% and here’s the complexion of the mix:
- Cash = 61%
- International Currencies = 24% (long Chinese Yuan and Canadian Dollars – CYB and FXC)
- US Equities = 6% (long Healthcare – XLV)
- International Equities = 3% (long Sweden – EWD)
- Commodities = 3% (long Oil – OIL)
- Fixed Income = 3% (long Treasury Inflation Protection – TIP)
As a reminder, my view of asset allocation is what I would be doing with my entire net wealth, not what someone with an institutional mandate to be fully invested is doing. Stylistically, we understand the differences. If you look back at what Hedgeye was doing 2 years ago, we were investing our cash position as Wall Street was cutting theirs. Now we’re in harvest mode, picking our spots.
My immediate term support and resistance levels for the SP500 are now 1316 and 1332, respectively. If the US Dollar Index were to hold its bid and look more American rather than Cupid’s Bone, I’ll definitely get more constructive on a lot of things.
Happy Valentine’s Day to my Laura, Jack, and Callie and best of luck out there today,
Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer