Pavlov's Bell: SP500 Levels, Refreshed...

POSITION: no position in SPY


I’ve seen bulls and I’ve seen bears. I’ve seen neither survive in perpetuity.


After a 40 point 3-day drop in the SP500 from my “Exhausted” range of 1, I think the “flows” bulls have been reminded of the bearish fundamentals that are associated with Global Growth Slowing as Global Inflation Accelerates.


What was 3 days ago was then, now we have to live in the now. And right now, the SP500 is trying to make up its mind between a  -2.6% correction (1308) and a -6.9% drawdown (1251). If the SP500 closes below 1308, we’ll say a -6.9% intermediate-term peak-to-drawdown is a probable risk.


Managing your gross or net exposure is one way to manage drawdown risk. Another is to be dynamically managing your asset allocation to cash. If we’ve all learning anything from managing risk in the early part of 2008, it’s that cash can be cool – particularly if inflation remains stubborn and sticky.


In terms of an immediate-term TRADE oversold line, 1295 is now our number. If we remain below 1308 on a closing basis, there will be plenty more days like this in the coming weeks. Pavlov may very well have taught everyone to buy every dip – but that doesn’t mean everyone is still going to be a winner.


Volatility (VIX) backing off today is both bullish and bearish all at once. Anytime we see the combination of a bullish TRADE and TREND breakout in any market price, it begs the question as to where that bullish breakout stops making higher-immediate-term highs.


Currently, what was heavy overhead TREND line resistance for the VIX is now support at 18.11 and I see no immediate-term TRADE resistance to north of 23.


If the SP500 can close above 1308, a lower-high of immediate-term TRADE resistance at 1330 is still our line.



Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer


Pavlov's Bell: SP500 Levels, Refreshed... - 1


Good quarter.  Margin story playing out and numbers need to go higher.




"Throughout 2010, Pinnacle developed and adopted a broad range of strategies, focused on further enhancing the best-in-market experiences that we provide to our guests.  At the same time, we undertook initiatives to leverage our development and management skills and solid balance sheet to pursue new opportunities to generate profitable revenue growth.  Going forward, we will maintain our organization-wide focus on best practices, while further positioning Pinnacle to benefit from any lasting rebound in the economy and consumer sentiment." 

- Anthony Sanfilippo, president and chief executive officer of Pinnacle Entertainment



  • "Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA for the 2010 fourth quarter increased 125.9% to $50.4 million, inclusive of $2.8 million in severance and relocation charges."
  • "2010 fourth quarter financial results also benefited from more efficient marketing activities relative to the prior-year period, particularly at its L'Auberge du Lac Casino Resort and Boomtown New Orleans properties."
  • "Pinnacle has further opportunities in 2011 to improve utilization of our personnel and systems to grow hotel yields, optimize our gaming floor layouts and game mixes, revise our approach to marketing and promotional activities, and effect additional corporate and property expense reductions.  Each of these factors contributed to our strong 2010 fourth quarter and full-year results and these areas remain priorities for improvement in 2011."
  • "The implementation of our St. Louis Shared Services structure in late 2010 is resulting in more efficient allocation of operating costs across the two properties and creating opportunities to drive revenue growth through coordinated marketing and player development efforts.  Our goal for St. Louis Shared Services is to drive consistent operating margin improvements and simultaneous market share gains."
  • "In Louisiana, we recently revised our operating approach by creating a Louisiana Shared Services structure to accomplish a similar goal as in St. Louis.  Geno Iafrate, Senior Vice President and General Manager of L'Auberge du Lac, now also oversees Boomtown New Orleans and Boomtown Bossier City, our two other operations in Louisiana."
  • "Beginning in April, we will relaunch mychoice, our guest loyalty program.  We also recently created a national casino marketing department, which focuses on marketing the unique experiences available at Pinnacle's resort facilities to potential guests outside of our immediate markets."    
  • "We plan to have a standardized marketing approach fully deployed later in 2011, and our strategic approach to marketing and branding is expected to enhance our ability to drive profitable revenue across our portfolio."
  • Development updates:
    • In January, PNK "completed the acquisition of River Downs Racetrack in southeast Cincinnati, Ohio"  for $45MM.  "If VLTs become operational, we plan to move quickly to revitalize River Downs and create a new gaming and entertainment facility for the Cincinnati market."
    •  Announced that the opening of its $357MM Baton Rouge Casino originally scheduled December 2011 will be pushed back to 1Q2012
      • "As a result of low Mississippi River water levels, the Company has been unable to move the three completed casino hulls, which together will form the casino itself, from Bollinger Shipyards in southern Louisiana to the project site in order to continue construction on the casino facilities"
      • "As of December 31, 2010, approximately $319 million of the $357 million construction budget (excluding land and capitalized interest) remains to be invested in the planned Baton Rouge facility." 



  • Believe that the Baton Rouge area is under served.   
  • They are committed to thoughtfully growing the company and continue to look at growth opportunities
  • Changed the mix of games at L'Auberge and their marketing strategy changed dramatically, which is why margins were so much better
  • Experienced about 100bps of margin compression in St. Louis due to seasonality. Properties don't perform as well when the weather is cold.
  • Believe that corporate costs will continue to trend down in 2011
  • Cash capex was $33.6MM for the quarter. Baton Rouge was $20MM;
  • January St. Louis market share reached an all time high of 32.6%. In 4Q - shared guests were 16% of rated customers but 39% of all rated play in St. Louis.
  • Belterra - impact from new competitor is easing
  • Seeing good results in their new hotel yield management system. Testing and launch new reward and marketing campaigns


  • Any impact from tornado warnings at the St. Louis properties?
    • On Dec 31st, there was a tornado warning and they needed to move their guests to a safe location. It's good and bad because the weather was warm but gaming was disrupted. Overall, the disruption was not material.
  • Hope to see a lot of the annualization of the cost reductions in 2011. 4Q corporate is the best proxy going forward but they aren't done yet. Hope for some marginal expansion.
  • They are going to use their manager from Belterra to oversee operations at River Downs and are making some improvements to that facility.  Will have the shared services concept at those 2 properties too. 
  • The $2.8MM corporate and severance charge - $1.3MM was in corporate and the balance was at the property level
  • Topline seemed to stabilize across their portfolio. They are optimistic about revenue growth for 2011.
  • Partnership opportunities with a Vegas operator?
    • Think that that idea has merit and are looking at it.
  • 15th license in Louisiana
    • License was issued to a company with very limited resources behind it and no operating experience. Think that in the best case it will take someone 30 months to open their doors
    • By that time, they hope to be a more diversified company with better operating focus
  • Continue to think that they can do a better job in running their company from a marketing and efficiency standpoint. They are very early in the process of developing their marketing engine.
  • Optimism of slots at tracks in Ohio - why?
    • Don't know when, but they do believe that they will become legal at some point in the future
  • Texas?
    • Doesn't think that the recent poll out of TX is particularly telling.
  • Marketing goal is to reallocate their marketing spend towards their best customers so that hey can capture a larger share of their wallet
  • Higher corporate expense is often driven by legal spending
  • They are continuing to work on the dry-side construction while they wait for the MS River to rise between now and mid-April/May.  They need the MS River to rise - otherwise they will not be able to move those hulls. No indication that that won't occur.
  • Doing what they can at Reno - they have a large track of land for sale there... and would entertain appropriate offers for that property but aren't actively shopping it.
  • Atlantic City is the largest portion of discontinued operations - double digit millions for the 2011. Mostly property taxes for AC.
  • There will be a shared loyalty and cost sharing service when Baton Rouge opens
  • Discovered that they weren't using the fully allowable square footage of gaming space at L'Auberge. Found another 5,500 SQFT and are putting in a poker room.




February 24, 2010






  • DLTR noted that the weather had an impact on the company’s quarterly sales results, but that sales momentum picked up with more normal weather patterns.  Additionally, management noted that Valentine’s week was the best sales performance in the company’s history.  Overall February is off to a strong start.
  • Saks noted that the company sold about 70% of its merchandise at full-price in 2010, which takes the selling levels at or slightly higher than pre-recession percentages. 
  • TJX noted that while inventory levels have been down across all divisions over the past couple of years, the bigger changes have come from the company’s smaller divisions.  While still cautious on taking meaningful amounts of inventory out of Marmaxx, it is for this reason that management believes there are still opportunities ahead to improve corporate turns.
  • Contrary to HD’s strong performance in appliances over Black Friday, Lowe’s chose to not be as promotional.  As a result, appliances comped “just above” the overall result of a 1.1% increase.  HD appliance comps increased by double digits in November and added 120 bps to the company’s overall comp in the quarter. 



Nike Unveils Mega-Logistics Center in China - Nike Inc. on Tuesday unveiled its biggest logistics center in Asia in Jiangsu province. The new 200,000 square meter facility is on target to be the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System) accredited warehouse complex in China. Construction of the facility generated 1,800 jobs and is expected to provide up to 1,500 permanent jobs by 2015. The 200,000 square-meter center in the city of Taicang, Jiangsu province, is the company's first such facility in China and the sixth worldwide, after centers in Belgium, Canada, Japan, South Korea and the U.S. <SportsOneSource>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: China remains a key bogey for Nike particularly after reporting flat sales in the region in F10. This center is not a game changer alone, but will certainly help the company further penetrate not only the Chinese but arguably the Japanese market as well over intermediate-term.


Joe Fresh Opens Flagship in New York City - Joe Fresh, an apparel brand sold in Canadian supermarkets, will open a 15,000- to 20,000-square-foot flagship at 510 Fifth Avenue here this fall. The value-driven fashion brand is owned by Loblaw, a chain with more than 1,000 locations. It was created five years ago by Joseph Mimran, founder of Joseph Mimran & Assoc., who launched Club Monaco in 1985 and sold it to Polo Ralph Lauren in 1999. Joe Fresh is sold in 330 Loblaw’s and Real Canadian Superstores. The brand opened its first freestanding store in Vancouver in October and four more stand-alone units are slated for this year. Mimran said he plans to open 30 to 50 additional stores. <WWD>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: The newest fast-fashion concept enters the domestic market with what could be considered perfect timing as higher prices begin to crimp unit consumption. In addition, as the U.S. consumer shifts toward greater value product, the lack of fashionable competition may get Joe Fresh noticed in a hurry.


Keds Entering Sportswear - Keds, the nearly 100-year-old footwear brand owned by Collective Brands Inc., has enlisted the help of sourcing powerhouse Li & Fung to break into the apparel market for spring 2012 with its own take on classic American sportswear.  The line, which will include a broad range of men’s and women’s looks, will cater to Millennials, who are mostly in their 20s. Under the licensing agreement, Keds and the Regatta team at Li & Fung’s LF USA division will develop the collection. Li & Fung will be responsible for marketing and sales to boutiques and better department stores across the U.S.  The casual line will launch with a limited edition collection and expand into more complete offerings in 2012. Keds plans to take a measured approach, setting up a business that can last decades.  <WWD>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: Regatta, known for its proprietary brand development, is a not only an opportunity to expand the Keds brand, but also leverage the store footprint at Sperry. Management has highlighted their interest in collaborating with an apparel brand to enhance the presentation of an expanded portfolio – they’ll now have an opportunity to cross market the brands.


Best Buy Closes Stores in China and Turkey - Best Buy, the world’s largest electronics retailer by sales, is closing all of its branded stores in China, highlighting the resistance of Chinese shoppers to some western-style store experiences.  The retailer, which will continue to run 170 stores in China under the Five Star brand acquired five years ago, is also giving up an attempt to enter Turkey, with the closure of two trial-run stores opened in the past two years. The company said in a statement it would close all nine China stores that carry the Best Buy brand, one of the best-known US retail marques, but one that has failed to catch on in China. It captured less than 1 per cent of the China market, analysts said, struggling to compete against the more agile and aggressive homegrown rivals Gome and Suning, which each have more than 1,000 branded stores in China.  <FinancialTimes>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: BBY’s failure to penetrate the Chinese market may be more an indication of the commodity-like nature of the electronics market than domestic brand preference, but it’s noteworthy nonetheless for the many other domestic brands looking to make concerted efforts to gain share overseas in 2011.


Facebook Reaches Majority of US Web Users - As Facebook continues to solidify its role as the world’s top social networking site, eMarketer estimates that more than half of internet users in the US were logging on to the site at least monthly as of the end of 2010. This year, eMarketer forecasts, 132.5 million US web users will use the site. That increase of 13.4% in the number of users means Facebook will reach almost nine in 10 social network users and 57.1% of internet users. By 2013, 62% of web users and almost half (47.6%) of the overall US population will be on Facebook. <eMarketer>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: 50%+ penetration of all internet users is simply astounding and a rate the company will surely look to leverage when it looks to go public.


R3: TJX, SKS, DLTR, LOW - R3 2 24 11


Lady’s shoes rise 20% in price in China- Retail prices of lady’s shoes increased by 20% during the spring season in Shanxi province, China, sources reported.  Hiking production cost is the major reason for the price increase, according to a local shoe producer. For example, leather prices have risen by 20% over the last two consecutive years, coupled with surging labour costs. Meanwhile, shoes for ladies are made of leather and accessories of higher quality, and therefore they cost more in terms of processing, design and materials in order to met the consumer demand. <FashionNetAsia>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: A comeback for “pleather” in 2011 perhaps?





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Notable news items/price action over the last twenty four hours.

  • JACK reported earnings last night after the close.  EPS came in at $0.61 versus the street at $0.48.  Approximately $0.02 came from a tax benefit. 
  • PZZA gained following its strong results on Tuesday after the close.  Management struck a confident tone on the earnings call yesterday.
  • TXRH held an Analyst/Investor Day in NYC yesterday and outlined aggressive growth and expansion plans.  The company is providing aggressive comp guidance that could be at risk if the company has to take more price than it is currently planning on taking in 2011.
  • SAFM reported weak earnings this morning.  An insightful comment from the press release: “While retail demand for chicken has remained steady, we have continued to see weak food service demand, and we expect this trend will remain until the national unemployment rate improves.  Consumers are simply not dining out as frequently and restaurant traffic has remained under pressure.”
  • TAST reported Q4 EPS of $0.12 versus consensus at $0.19 and announced its intention to split the business into two, separate, publicly traded companies.  Specifically, the company stated in its press release, “The separation of our Hispanic Brand and Burger King restaurant businesses is a natural evolution for Carrols. We believe that the separation will enable each company to better focus on its respective opportunities as well as to pursue its own distinct plan and growth strategy. We also believe that a separation offers the potential for improving shareholder value as each publicly traded company will be better positioned to align its business with its respective shareholders' objectives."
  • RRGB saw one of its holders, Clinton Group, lower its stake to 5.2% from 9.72%.
  • RT, DIN, RRGB, TXRH, and DRI all declined on accelerating volume yesterday. 
  • MRT gained yesterday on strong volume.  The company reports today after the market.
  • DPZ and CMG declined yesterday on accelerating volume.  Both are at risk to commodity exposure.  DPZ is facing a vertical cheese price chart and a difficult 1Q compare versus 1Q2010 and CMG is largely unlocked from a commodity cost perspective.



Howard Penney

Managing Director


Today’s S&P 500 set-up – February 22, 2011


Equity markets continued to slide yesterday as uncertainty surrounding events in Libya mounted.  The VIX gained 6.4% and was accompanied by a spike in oil prices.  Asia traded down overnight and Europe is currently trading slightly down across the board.  As we look at today’s set up for the S&P 500, the range is 24 points or -0.11% downside to 1306 and 1.73% upside to 1330.




  • 08:30 a.m.: Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, January.  Est. 0.09, prior 0.03
  • 08:30 a.m.: Initial Jobless Claims, February 19th, Est. 405k, prior 410k
  • 08:30 a.m.: Continuing Claims, February 12th, Est. 3880k, prior 3911k
  • 08:30 a.m.: Durable Goods Orders, January, Est. 2.8%, prior -2.5%
  • 08:30 a.m.: Durables Ex Transportation, January, Est. 0.5%, prior 0.5%
  • 08:30 a.m.: Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, January, Est. -1.0%, prior 1.4%
  • 08:30 a.m.: Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, January, prior 1.7%
  • 10:00 a.m.: New Home Sales, January, Est. 305k, prior 329k
  • 10:00 a.m.: New Home Sales MoM, January, Est. -7.3%, prior 17.5%
  • 04:30 p.m.: Fed Balance Sheet



  • GM missed estimates this morning, announcing a profit of $0.31 per share versus consensus EPS of $0.44.
  • Oil is approaching $120 in London on concern Libya’s uprising is reducing shipments from Africa’s third-largest producer
  • Angela Merkel is planning to accelerate cuts in borrowing next year as it complies with a legal requirement to shrink debt.  The EU summit on March 24-25 will be interesting to watch as the debate over interest rates on aid and the plan to control Europe’s debt crisis heats up.
  • U.S. railroads’ fuel-efficiency advantage over trucking companies may expand as they boost investments in technology while trucking companies are forced to invest more in personnel.
  • The Bloomberg “Chart of the Day” shows the combined 12-month earnings forecast for companies in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index and outlines the need for earnings revisions as interest rates rise.  Interest rate risk for emerging market economies has been highlighted repeatedly by the Hedgeye Macro Team over the past several months.
  • TGT reported earnings this morning of $1.45 per share versus consensus of $1.40.  However, included in the $1.45 was a $0.07 tax benefit.




We have 3 of 9 sectors positive on TRADE and 9 of 9 sectors positive on TREND.

  • One day: Dow -0.88%, S&P -0.61%, Nasdaq -1.21%, Russell 2000 -1.64%
  • Month-to-date: Dow +1.80%, S&P +1.65%, Nasdaq +0.85%, Russell +2.36%
  • Quarter/Year-to-date: Dow +4.56%, S&P +3.96%, Nasdaq +2.64%, Russell +2.04%
  • Sector Performance: - Materials -0.74%, Energy +2.03%, Consumer Spls -0.24%, Healthcare -0.96%, Utilities -0.22%, Industrials -1.75%, Tech -1.18%, Consumer Disc -1.46%, Financials -0.44%



  • ADVANCE/DECLINE LINE: -909 (-2378)
  • VOLUME: 1330.38 (+1.0%)
  • VIX: 22.13 (+6.4%)
  • SPX PUT/CALL RATIO: 1.34 from 2.40 (-4.4%)



  • TED SPREAD: 19.08 from 18.98
  • 3-MONTH T-BILL YIELD: 0.11% from 0.13%
  • 10-YEAR: 3.43% from 3.49%



  • CRB: 348.5 +1.13%; YTD: +4.56%
  • Oil: 100.60 +2.55%; YTD: +9.09%
  • Copper: 431.55 0.56%; YTD: -2.79%
  • Gold: 1416 0.31%; YTD: +0.31%



  • Oil Surges to $119 on Libya Crisis; Goldman Sees ‘Upside Risk’
  • Platinum to Stabilize at ‘Comfortable’ $1,800, Anglo Says
  • Food-Price Threat Worsened by Government Mistrust of Business, Olam Says
  • Wheat Resumes Plunge as African Unrest Drives Away Speculators
  • Gold Fluctuates Near Seven-Week High on Libya, Inflation Concern
  • Food Inflation Quickens, Adding Pressure on Government Before India Budget
  • Surging Prices From Singapore to Vietnam Herald Higher Rates, Currencies
  • Oil Rises on Libya Disruption; Goldman Sachs Sees ‘Upside Risk’
  • Palm Oil Output in Malaysia to Gain in 2011, Yusof Predicts
  • Wheat, Corn Advance as Demand for U.S. Supplies May Increase



  • EURO: 1.3764 -0.16%
  • DOLLAR: 77.131 -0.36%



  • FTSE 100: (0.36%); DAX: (1.20%); CAC 40: (0.22%)
  • Zapatero Extends Lead Over Socrates in Debt Race: Euro Credit
  • Europe Economic Confidence Reaches Highest Since Late 2007 on German Boom
  • Allianz Raises Dividend After Fourth-Quarter Profit Gains, Target Exceeded
  • Swiss Franc, Yen Climb as Deepening Libya Violence Spurs Demand for Safety
  • Barclays, After Victory, May Face Writedown of Lehman Assets



  • Nikkei (1.19%); Hang Seng (1.34%); Shanghai Composite +0.56%
  • Deutsche Bank Gets Six-Month Trading Ban in South Korea
  • Surging Prices From Singapore to Vietnam Herald Higher Rates, Currencies
  • Lu Pledges to Clean Up Alibaba After Scandal Led to Ouster of Predecessor
  • India's Sensex Falls Most Since November 2009 on Inflation, Oil Concerns

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - levels and trends 224


Howard Penney

Managing Director


Initial Claims

The headline initial claims number fell 19k WoW to 391k (22k after a 3k upward revision to last week’s data).  Rolling claims fell 16.5k to 402k, the lowest print since 2008. On a non-seasonally-adjusted basis, reported claims fell 38k WoW.  NSA claims in 2011 to date have been less volatile than typical. 


We have been looking for claims in the 375-400k range as the level that can begin to bring unemployment down.  If this level is held, we expect to see unemployment improve.  That said, it is worth highlighting an important caveat. This recession has been different in that it has pushed the labor force participation rate down by ~200 bps, which has had a correspondingly positive improvement on the unemployment rate. In other words, the unemployment rate isn't really 9%, it's 11%. So when we say that claims of 375-400k will start to bring down the unemployment rate, we are actually referring to the 11% actual rate as opposed to the 9% reported rate.








One of our astute clients pointed out the relationship between the S&P and initial claims shown below.  We show the two series in the following chart, with initial claims inverted on the left axis.




In the table below, we chart US equity correlations with Initial Claims, the Dollar Index, and US 10Y Treasury yields on a weekly basis going back 3 months, 1 year, and 3 years.




Joshua Steiner, CFA


Allison Kaptur


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