“Hope is nature’s veil for hiding truth’s nakedness.”
In one of the more ironic moments of 2011, Professor Tom Sargent from New York University won the Nobel Prize of Economics. Sargent was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on rational expectations. In effect, this is the theory that postulates that policy makers cannot systematically influence the economy via predictable policy changes.
This idea, of course, flies in the face of the current philosophy of the leading central bankers around the world and, in particular, Chairman Bernanke. In the guise of transparency, not only does Chairman Bernanke foreshadow most of his moves, but he now also holds a quarterly press conference to further alert the market as to his future intentions. Undoubtedly, wherever he is now, Alfred Nobel is finding this moment in economic history somewhat ironic.
The concept of “too big to fail” has now wholly pervaded the economic landscape. Sargent, as the key proponent of rational expectations, has some interesting thoughts related to failure. His views likely do not reflect “the conscience of a liberal”, like those of his Nobel Laureate counterpart Paul Krugman, but they do offer some interesting counterpoints to the current debates in economic policy circles. In a June 2010 interview with the Minnesota Fed, Sargent made a number of noteworthy comments relating to the European debt situation, specifically:
“Remember that under the gold standard, there was no law that restricted your debt-GDP ratio or deficit-GDP ratio. Feasibility and credit markets did the job.
Here is what went haywire. In the 2000s, France and Germany, the two key countries at the center of the Union, violated the fiscal rules year after year.
So, a number of countries at the European Union economic periphery—Greece, in particular—violated the rules convincingly enough to unleash the threat of unpleasant arithmetic in those countries. The telltale signs were persistently rising debt-GDP ratios in those countries.
The banks located in the center of the euro area, France and Germany, hold Greek-denominated debt, so a threat of default on Greek government debt threatens the portfolios of those banks in other European countries. Because it is the lender of last resort, now it is the ECB’s business.
France and Germany stay “holier than thou” from beginning to end, and always respect the fiscal limits imposed by the Maastricht Treaty. They thereby acquire the moral authority to lead by example, and the central core of euro-area countries are running budgets that without doubt are balanced in a present-value sense. Therefore, the euro is strong. The banks of the core countries, so the banks in France and Germany are not holding any dodgy bonds issued by governments of dubious peripheral countries that have adopted the euro but that flirt with violating the Maastricht Treaty rules.
In this virtual history, the ECB could play tough and let the Greek government default on its creditors by renegotiating terms of the debt. For the euro, letting the Greek bondholders suffer would actually be therapeutic; it would strengthen the euro by teaching peripheral countries that the ECB means business.”
In Sargent’s models the threat of failure is critical, whether it be for institutions, countries, or individuals, because it is exactly this threat that will shape future behavior and reform.
Relate to Sargent’s comments, one of the more surprising global macro moves since the start of October has been the sharp rally in the EUR-USD going from a low of 1.31 in early October to 1.39 this morning. This is an expedited move of more than 6% in about three weeks. In the highly correlated world of global markets, this expedited move has had an impact. In the same period,
- Brent Crude Oil is up +11.9%;
- West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil is up +21%;
- Copper is up +14.1%;
- SP500 is up +14.1%; and
- Euro Stoxx 50 is up +12.1%
One of our key three themes for Q4 is Correlation Crash. So far, on the expedited move up in the Euro, and down move in the dollar, the crash has been to the upside this quarter. The more accelerated the move to the upside, though, the more increased the risk for an eventual correction to the downside. A risk that heightens every day in our notebooks.
Our view has been that the recent surge in the EUR-USD is a function of both short covering, which obviously builds upon itself, and also Irrational Expectations as it relates to outcomes in Europe. The best fundamental support we can point for our views is in comparing yields on Italian 5-year government bonds versus the comparable duration German bunds. Given this spread is at its widest point in the last decade, the read-through, despite some recent manic moves in global markets, is that the European situation is far from solved.
The theory of rational expectations would suggest that by bailing out Europe in ever-growing increments, market participants will begin to expect ever-growing bailouts, which, over time, should negatively impact the EUR-USD. Further, the continued safety net created by European officials won’t adequately underscore the fiscal sobriety that is ultimately required in Europe for a truly healthy currency. It is akin to bringing a drunk friend water and comfort food every morning after his drinking binge. In doing so, you are not exactly encouraging his or her sobriety.
In the short term, market prices can bring us hope, but they are often “hiding truth’s nakedness.”
Daryl G. Jones
Director of Research
This note was originally published at 8am on October 20, 2011. INVESTOR and RISK MANAGER SUBSCRIBERS have access to the EARLY LOOK (published by 8am every trading day) and PORTFOLIO IDEAS in real-time.
“Patterns replicate through time and manifest on each level because it is a grand unified manner in which all things move.”
While I am certain that there are plenty Market Practitioners who have adapted to their ecosystem in the last 5 years, uncertainty in Global Macro markets continues to reign supreme.
This is actually a good thing – whoever thinks that they can be certain about a central planner’s ability to suspend economic gravity is probably feeling more uncertain about that by the day.
Chaos Theorists Embrace Uncertainty. It’s what drives our process. No matter what you think about Nassim Taleb, Martin Armstrong, and Ray Dalio, I’m fairly certain that they don’t particularly care. These gentleman have capitalized on proactively preparing for tail risks by simply not allowing themselves to be certain of anything until both Time and Patterns make whatever that is obvious.
Yesterday, it became fairly obvious that 56 exotic animals running down a man’s driveway in Zainesville, Ohio was a risk. There were 18 tigers, 17 lions, and 8 bears. The owner of the fancy pets had shot himself after his wife left him.
In response, a politician in Ohio stated, “this was an accident waiting to happen.”
Exotic Tails of “risk” in Global Macro markets? What we see on the screens today, they are not. Like this whacko with his “pets”, the risks are plainly obvious to anyone who isn’t paid to be willfully blind. They have been since mid-July and early August (see Chart of The Day – when Copper’s TAIL broke).
Up until that intermediate-term 2011 point, these TAIL risks had been becoming more obvious for years. Since October 2007, the SP500 has lost 22% of its value and would need to rally +28.2% “off the lows” to get back to the Perma Bull Breakeven.
Time and Patterns
They take time to manifest and you need to do a tremendous amount of cycle research, across risk management durations, in order to appreciate that at any given time things can blow up.
The US stock market is in the process of either bottoming or blowing up. I could go either way with this really (that’s why I’m hedged; 12 LONGS and 10 SHORTS in the Hedgeye Portfolio). There are no rules against changing your mind. There’s just time and space.
From a timing perspective, the situation in Europe could blow up any day. If it does, no one should be surprised. The monkeys you see swinging from their journalistic rumor trees throughout the trading day are compounding systemic risk for the sake of their short-term careers – and if it suddenly goes bad out there, as Jack Hanna said yesterday in Ohio, “you can’t tranquilize attack monkeys in the dark.”
Short-term vs Long-term
A Keynesian’s answer to accepting responsibility for policy recommendation is that “in the long-run, we are all dead.” Well, unfortunately, for those of us who have successfully managed 5 down US stock markets in the last 12 years (2000, 2001, 2002, 2008, 2011), and seen net US jobs added over the span of this past decade = ZERO, in the short-run, people die too.
What would have happened if these Bengal tigers found a way to survive the night and hit the Streets of Ohio? Ask the monkey who didn’t make it past the end of the driveway…
This is the point. We have all of this Global Macro risk all compartmentalized in cages now. Or at least we think we do. No one can get out. So no one gets hurt.
No one loses their political life. Everyone gets fed their “fair share.”
Until someone opens the cages…
And, then… since no one saw any of this coming – we’ll be on the precipice of another Great Depression again unless we all huddle back into captivity, take our commoner’s wage, and like it.
Yesterday I raised our US Equity position in the Hedgeye Asset Allocation Model to 6% from 3% (we’ve upped our beta by going long Consumer Discretionary, XLY, and selling Utilities, XLU).
I’m bullish on the US Dollar and, in the end, I believe that Americans are smart enough to realize that a Strong Dollar = Strong America.
In the long-term, Time and Patterns agree with me on this. Martin Armstrong says that it’s “the reason life perpetuates through what is called a system of self-referral.” George Soros calls it “reflexivity.” We call it Mr Macro Market.
No matter what you want to call it, it is all based on the most relevant mathematical discovery since relativity. So don’t let the Keynesians call what you see out there today, tomorrow, or the next day, an Exotic Tail.
My immediate-term support and resistance ranges for Gold (bearish TRADE and TREND), Oil (bullish TRADE; bearish TREND), German DAX (bullish TRADE; bearish TREND), and the SP500 (bullish TRADE; bearish TREND) are now $1621-1664, $80.09-89.11, 5605-6194, and 1201-1221, respectively.
Best of luck out there today,
Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer
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THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK
TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP - October 25, 2011
What a difference a few days of Fed heads whispering about policies to inflate makes. As we look at today’s set up for the S&P 500, the range is 35 points or -2.81% downside to 1219 and 0.00% upside to 1254.
SECTOR AND GLOBAL PERFORMANCE
Yesterday, Keith shorted the SPY today for the first time in October. He did that because it was immediate-term TRADE overbought and still broken from a long-term TAIL perspective (1266 is TAIL resistance). "If 1219 holds, I have no problem covering the short position and getting longer again."
TRADE: all 9 sectors are now bullish from an immediate-term TRADE perspective. That’s not new as of today – it was new last week. The only thing that was new today was that Healthcare (XLV) joined 4 other Sectors in the Bullish TRADE and TREND camp (XLY, XLU, XLK, and XLP).
TREND: for the YTD, the Top 3 Sectors are 3 that we like on the long side: Utilities (+10.8%), Consumer Discretionary (+6.7%) and Healthcare (+6.7%). On a pullback I’d be buying all 3 of those Sectors and continuing with the Short Financials and Cyclicals (XLF, XLB, and XLI).
- ADVANCE/DECLINE LINE: 1991 (-248)
- VOLUME: NYSE 927.32 (-22.09%)
- VIX: 29.26 -6.58% YTD PERFORMANCE: +64.85%
- SPX PUT/CALL RATIO: 2.24 from 2.12 (+5.63%)
CREDIT/ECONOMIC MARKET LOOK:
- TED SPREAD: 41.52
- 3-MONTH T-BILL YIELD: 0.02%
- 10-Year: 2.25 from 2.23
- YIELD CURVE: 1.95 from 1.93
MACRO DATA POINTS (Bloomberg Estimates):
- 7:45 a.m./8:55 a.m.: ICSC/Redbook Retail sales
- 9 a.m.: S&P/Case-Shiller 20 City MoM% est. 0.1% from 0.05%; YoY est. (-3.5%)
- 10 a.m.: Consumer Confidence, est. 46.0, prior 45.4
- 10 a.m.: House Price Index, M/m, est. 0.2%, prior 0.8%
- 10 a.m.: Richmond Fed, est. 0, prior -6
- 11:30 a.m.: U.S. to sell 4-week bills
- 1 p.m.: U.S. to sell $35b 2-year notes
- 4:30 p.m.: API inventory
WHAT TO WATCH:
- Banks are pushing back against European leaders on the size of losses they are ready to accept on Greek bonds.
- Apple TV project is being led by Jeff Robbin, the software engineer who built iTunes, according to 3 people with knowledge of the project
- President Obama in S.F., appears on Tonight Show with Jay Leno
- Rick Perry announces plan to reform tax code
- House Speak Boehner speaks on U.S.-Russia relationship, 1:30 p.m.
INFLATION – does a 24 hour +6.1% move in the price of oil matter heading into Halloween and Thanksgiving weekend? Don’t ask Dudley – this is the most singular factor in my model that slowed US GDP growth in Q111, so watch this and the policy rhetoric that backs it very closely. I don’t think it holds as the US Dollar has a ton of support at its TREND line of 75.37. But in the land of the Fiat Fools, anything can happen.
MOST POPULAR COMMODITY HEADLINES FROM BLOOMBERG:
- Inflation Peaking in U.S. With Most Prices Tumbling: Commodities
- BP Profit Drops Less Than Expected as Dudley Boosts Asset Sales
- Uranium Deals Prove Most Lucrative on Nuclear Demand: Real M&A
- Thai Floodwaters Rise Near Bangkok, Testing City’s Defenses
- Bangkok River Swells to Record as Floods Reach Thai Capital
- Oil Rises to 12-Week High as Demand Signals Spur Bull Market
- Ivanhoe Mines Calls Lure Traders Speculating on Buyout: Options
- Car Carriers Profit on Record Demand as Shipping Falls: Freight
- Gold Advances for a Third Day as Europe’s Debt Woes Spur Demand
- Copper May Rise on Indications Demand Remains Steady in Asia
- Oil Supplies Climb From 20-Month Low in Survey: Energy Markets
- BlackRock Says Gold Takeovers May Gain on Price Outlook
- Caterpillar Earnings Top Estimates as Economy Recovers
- AngloGold Says Gold Can ‘Easily’ Rise to $2,200 an Ounce
- Nestle Investigates Report It Shortchanges Farmers in China
- Australia Says Mining Tax Laws to Match Deal With Industry
- Copper Gains as Much as 1.4% to $7,742.25 a Ton, Reversing Fall
- Copper Extends Biggest Two-Day Gain Since January 2009
- Caterpillar’s Earnings Signal Exports to Boost U.S. Expansion
- Corn Gains for Second Day as Demand Rises After Price Decline
EUROPE – still no resolution on the 2 things that matter – timing and sizing of the bazooka – and time is running out. Every European equity market has failed at TREND line resistance again this morning. On a positive note, Greece isn’t down another -5% this morning. Euro resistance huge 1.39-1.40 and while there were plenty of hedge funds short Euros, the last 21 days has had to shake plenty of people out.
CHINA – after getting smoked last week (-4.7%), posts its 2nd day “off the lows”, leading gainers in Asia alongside Thailand, closing +1.7%, but unable to capture 2424 TRADE line resistance. Hong Kong posted its worst export # in 2 years (down -3% y/y for SEP, nasty).
The Hedgeye Macro Team
Conclusion: Recent action(s) and expectations regarding both money (currencies) and monetary policy are creating intra-regional divergences across Latin American financial markets.
In contrast to Asian stocks, Latin American equity markets finished higher last week, closing up +0.8% wk/wk on a median basis. A solid degree of intra-regional disparity is noteworthy (Argentina, Chile, Venezuela all up over +3%; Brazil and Mexico up less than +1%). Latin American currencies all declined against the USD wk/wk, closing down -1.4% on a median basis. The Mexican peso (MXN), a currency we’ve been negative on for several months, led the way to the downside (-3.2% wk/wk).
Like equities, Latin American sovereign debt markets were mixed as well, highlighted by Brazil’s -10bps wk/wk decline and Colombia’s +21bps wk/wk gain on the short-end of the maturity curve (2yrs). From a credit risk perspective, Latin American 5yr sovereign CDS broadly widened last week, closing up +4.7% on a median basis. Percentage gains were led by Colombia (up +11bps or +7.2% wk/wk).
Looking at 1yr on-shore interest rate swaps, marginal shifts in interest rate expectations were mixed throughout the region (Brazil -8bps wk/wk; Mexico +8bps wk/wk).
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The Least You Need to Know
- In case you missed it, Brazil’s central bank lowered its benchmark SELIC interest rate last week by another -50bps. This marks the second-straight cut and was in-line with their commentary, consensus expectations, and our outlook for both Brazilian inflation and growth to trend lower from current levels over the intermediate term. Still, with CPI at a six-year high, the central bank continues to receive heat from the more-hawkish members of the Brazilian populace. Refer to our 10/20 note titled, Brazil: A Case Study in Sticky Stagflation for more in-depth analysis.
- As of the latest reporting period (10/10), foreign investors increased their holdings of fixed-rate peso bonds to a near record high of 674.6 billion pesos ($50.2B) or 39.8% of the total amount outstanding. As we’ve penned in the past, lax capital controls and high foreign investor participation in Mexico’s capital markets will remain a headwind to the Mexican peso over the intermediate-term TREND – particularly if our views regarding Europe’s Sovereign Debt Dichotomy are realized. Easy inflows make for easy outflows when the tide reverses. The peso, is down -13.1% vs. the USD over the last three months – good for fifth-worst among all currencies globally.
- As of the latest count (40% of total votes) incumbent president Cristina Fernandez has garnered 53% of the votes in this weekend’s Argentine presidential election. This is not a surprise; she had been leading by a substantial margin in the polls leading up to Sunday’s vote and her policy of seizing state assets and central bank reserves to help increase social spending all but assured her of the popular vote. The passage of this catalyst now puts a potential currency devaluation in play – something we’ve been highlighting the risk of for a few months now. Declining central bank reserves (FX intervention), a rising cost of capital (30-day benchmark deposit rate at a 34-month high of 19.7%), and 12mo non-deliverable peso forwards (-17.9% discount to spot rate) are all suggesting the same thing.
In preparation for BYD's Q3 earnings release tomorrow, we’ve put together the recent pertinent forward looking company commentary.
YOUTUBE from Q3 earnings call
- “We expect our wholly-owned business will continue to show improvements throughout the rest of this year.”
- “We have also begun to see initial signs of growth from unrated play in our stronger performing Midwest and South properties.”
- “As we predicted on our last call, Convention and Meeting business revenue increased more than 20% during the second quarter, in-line with the growth we saw in the first quarter. We expect that run rate to continue.”
- “The promotional environment in the Locals region remains elevated. We believe, however, that we have the right mix of promotional activities in place and remain disciplined in our marketing efforts.”
- “Starting in October, we will convert to a Boeing 767 on our Hawaiian charter route. This will allow us to offer our Hawaiian customers a flying experience as competitive as anything currently offered in the Las Vegas to Hawaii route. As important, this new aircraft will be more efficient on a per seat basis while providing us with a 12% increase in available seats, allowing us to transport 6,200 more customers annually based on our current five flight per week rotation.”
- “We expect wholly-owned EBITDA, which includes corporate expense, to be in the range of $65 million to $70 million versus $61 million reported in the third quarter last year. We expect Borgata to generate EBITDA of $52 million to $55 million. With that range of EBITDA, adjusted EPS for the third quarter is expected to range from breakeven to $0.03 per share. This guidance assumes no contribution from IP during the third quarter.”
- “Clearly Atlantic City is in a lot of increased competition, and I think what we’re seeing over the summer is the same thing that we’ve seen for the last couple of quarters in terms of an elevated promotional environment. And as Paul indicated in his remarks, we’ve responded in kind to make sure that we retain the customer base. As we move forward, obviously, we’ll start to cycle through the Pennsylvania table games in the third quarter. So when those started to open in late July of last year, and so we’ll start to have some better or maybe easier comps as we move forward and I think Atlantic City is just going to continue to slug it out over the next couple of quarters. And we’re focused on margins there also, trying to operate as efficiently as possible. But it’ll continue to be a battle as we look forward over the next couple of quarters.”
- “The rule of thumb you can use is a 1% increase in revenue is a 2% increase in EBITDA.”
- [Capex spend] “I think we are probably on a run rate to spend $15 million in each of the next two quarters.”
- “With respect to the Lake Charles market, we’ve said for a long time the more people you put on I-10 heading into Lake Charles given our position in the market and being first into the market, we certainly like our position. We’ve got a great asset there. So that property obviously is a number of years off from being developed, and we’ll continue to grow our property to reap the benefits of more people being on I-10, crossing from Houston into the Lake Charles area. We’re positive about there being additional traffic.”
- [Borgata renovation] “The project will include all the rooms in the original Borgata Hotel, to be completed between generally the fourth quarter – the fall of this year and the spring of next year. We’d expect all those rooms to be completely remodeled before Revel opens. It is a pretty complete renovation. We’ll be touching all of the parts of the room, from the furniture to the carpet and wallpaper and the likes. So it’s a comprehensive overhaul of the rooms, and we will be done by the time Revel opens.”
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