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In preparation for LVS's 3Q earnings release tomorrow, we’ve put together the recent pertinent forward looking company commentary


Post Earnings Commentary - DB AG/ UBS/ CLSA Conferences and LVS Investor Day



  • “There was a general consensus that the company should consider – seriously consider paying a dividend in 2012. We would expect to make any announcements regarding a dividend sometime in 2012."
  • “A significant amount of capital requirements were going out over the last number of years...are going down.  We do have an annual cash requirement of somewhere around $300 million to $400 million for maintenance of our buildings and things like that to keep them competitive, which we now have the cash to do.”


  • “We haven’t seen any indicators of any slowdown in Macau.  Obviously, it’s hard to say that business is going to continue to go at 45% to 50% growth rates.”
  • [Typhoon impact] “It had absolutely zero negative impact on our business.”
  • “The Conrad and Holiday Inn will open sometime by the end of the first quarter of ‘12.  That will be 600 Conrad rooms and 1,200 or so Holiday Inn rooms, and one casino and a full complement of VIP space with about 100 some-odd tables in VIP, a little bit more than that.  The second phase will open at the end of the third quarter, which will be 2,000 Sheraton rooms.  And that would be with another casino, the second casino on the plan.  And then the next stage, sometime early ‘13, will be the last 2,000 rooms of the Sheraton complex, the Sheraton Tower building.  And that is on schedule to open as we speak; no changes have been made in that.”
  • “We’re going to have approximately 450 junket tables by the completion of Sands Cotai, which means it’s an extraordinary amount of tables to have.  And so the goal is to first sit down with the top-tier junkets.  We’re trying to stay focused.  There’s a lot of junkets in Macau.  Our first goal is to resurrect those relationships and convince them we’re sincere about this.”
  • [Four Seasons Co-op] “We believe that we will get an approval on a co-op basis.  In other words, a share basis and then a strata basis that we will be required to put a percentage of the rooms into a hotel pool.  If I had to guess today, I would guess at about 10% and we are asking for permission to take the top four floors of the Four Seasons and convert them to VIP space.  So, when you look at the business model, it’s really the best of all worlds in that we not only get a recurring cash stream on the VIP rooms, but we get to monetize about two-thirds of the building in terms of the assets through a co-op share purchase program.  The 10% of the rooms, which would be probably about 30 rooms, we will need those in any event to service properly the VIP rooms that we’re adding to the Four Season’s top floors.”
  • [ROIC on Cotai projects] “We really target a return on invested capital on most of our development projects north of 20% ($800MM)”


  • “There is no capacity issue in the VIP segment of our business in Singapore.  There’s plenty of tables and there’s plenty of room to accommodate people.”
  • “Capacity is in play on the mass slot side, probably three shifts a weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  So there is capacity in the sense we get that 80% occupancy on the slot machines, which in essence is truly a capacity constraint situation.  There are days when you’re winning $2.5 million in slot machines in Singapore that capacity is certainly a concern – ETG and slot.  There is no problem in the mass table side, which is the other huge piece of our business.”


  • “We’ve added a 300-room hotel there, a shopping mall that will open this fall and an event center that will open next spring.”


Q4 Conference Call:


  • “The opening of lot 5 is still on target for the end of quarter one next year...The property will also open with a variety of retail offerings, more than 300,000 square feet of meeting space, 11 food and beverage establishments, along with 106,000 square foot casino and VIP gaming areas.  The opening of what we are calling lot 6A... is on track for the third quarter of 2012.  Along with its casino, the opening of lot 6A will include most of the 13.7 million square foot complexes remaining dining, entertainment, retail and meeting facilities.”
  • [VIP initiatives in Macau] “Together with those ongoing efforts, we have now accrued and are embarking on a $125 million capital expenditure campaign, which will help us complete the hardware part of the process.  These capital investments will be used for a variety of projects, several of which will be completed ahead of Chinese New Year in 2012.”
  • “Our mix doesn’t change a lot, we’re still running, the great majority obviously is about four to one in favor of junket.  But as our goal is to not be our direct business but not soften the junket side as a result of favoring VIP.  In the past, we were premium focused.  We want very badly to encourage strong relations with the major junket people in Macao.  We are trying to emphasize if a customer wants to come direct, they can.  I think David figured out that if we want to service both ends of the spectrum, we don’t want to lose our junket perspective." 
  • [Promotional environment after Galaxy Macau] “I think there is more end-up competitions in the town in general.”
  • [Tables in sites 5 & 6] “I think you can estimate comfortably 200, 200 in each and that about 120, 130 in the Plaza for now.”



  • “Demand is quickly starting to outpace supply at Marina Bay Sands, and ADR and occupancy are continuing to rise.”
  • “We still have a couple of more big events coming with Louis Vuitton opening in September and two more nightclubs and about another 30 or 40 retail stores.  So, we’re not a 100% open even yet and we don’t have the subway coming as well, which comes in January or February of ‘12.”
  • “So, essentially, whoever submits for one property will -- the junket of that will be able to work essentially for both properties”


  • “We’ve got a good convention calendar the rest of the year.  That allows us to manage those cash and comps a little better.  I think there is still some upside for us in that area.”
  • “I think generally Vegas market in July, in total, has been pretty good.  I’m hearing from the other competitors that it’s been pretty good.  And I think our performance in July will be above what the expectation levels is for what people are saying about Las Vegas.”


Commodities were mixed over the last week; as the dollar moved lower, grains, dairy and proteins were varied in their respective reactions.  Corn, wheat, coffee, beef, milk and chicken wings all went higher while broilers, cheese, soybeans and pork all declined. 





Coffee prices gained over the last week but have largely been coming down quarter-to-date which has improved investor sentiment for coffee retailers like SBUX, PEET, DNKN, THI, and MCD.  While prices are down almost 20% quarter-to-date, coffee retailers are going to take some time to work through inventory purchased at higher prices so in-store prices will likely remain high for consumers.


Wheat and corn prices going higher is a negative for companies exposed to protein costs – particularly beef as other supply/demand dynamics continue to support price.  In particular, WEN, TXRH and RUTH continue to experience pressure from elevated beef prices.  The trend could last for at last another year, according to some analysts (see “summary” below).


SAFM and TSN, and the broader food processing space, would benefit greatly from a prolonged step-down in grain prices.  We know from the SAFM Investor Conference last week that the company purchased 30-50% of their corn and soybean meal needs through March 2012 during the recent dip.


Chicken Wing prices resumed their move higher and, per our note published on Monday, we expect significant inflation in wing prices starting in 1Q for BWLD.













  • Coffee has risen over the last week as speculation mounts that rains in producing regions of Central America and also Vietnam will impact exports.  Rain in Vietnam has pushed back the schedule for the crop while downpours in Central America may result in crop losses of as much as 1 million bags, according to Archer Consulting, a Brazil-based firm.
  • The gain last week in wheat prices was partially driven by the dry weather in the most drought-affected areas of Texas and Oklahoma that some believe will lessen the prospects of newly planted U.S. crops before winter.  At the same time, Russian competition and concerns over the global economy are weighing on prices today.
  • Corn traded lower over the week as positive reports from the harvest in Illinois came back positive.  Across the growing regions of the U.S., though, yields are highly variable and demand has been reacting to recent dips quite quickly.  Finally, data from the CFTC shows that speculators increased their net-long positions during the week ended 10/18.
  • Cattle herds are likely to continue to shrink for at least another year, according to Cattle-fax analyst Kevin Good, cited on cattlenetwork.com.  This year’s drought has exacerbated the declined and, should this trend continue next year it would be bullish for beef prices.
























Chicken (Broilers)





Chicken Wings















Howard Penney

Managing Director


Rory Green





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In preparation for RCL's 3Q earnings release tomorrow, we’ve put together the recent pertinent forward looking company commentary.






  • “At the same time, our operating groups have been working diligently and effectively to control our costs. In previous calls, I've noted that we are seeing inflationary pressures in selected areas such as food and transportation expenses.  Unfortunately, I have to report that those pressures have not abated, and they continue to be a costly factor for us.  But our operating teams have been extremely effective in reducing our costs in other areas, which has allowed us to reduce total costs for the year by about 100 basis points.”
  • “Eastern Mediterranean itineraries will account for 18% of our total capacity in the third quarter and are unfortunately weighing down stronger yield performance by most of our other products.  Western Mediterranean sailings, in contrast, are expected to have slightly higher yields than last year, which is still encouraging, giving the large capacity increases in the region.”
  •  “The Caribbean, which represents our largest capacity allocation, will have yield improvements approaching double-digits.  We continue to make good progress in the southern hemisphere, which includes South America and Australia.  The Baltic and Alaska are the clear stars this year and likely benefited from some of the weakness in the Eastern Mediterranean.  Asia is the only other product in our portfolio that is expected to show declines this year. The redeployment effects resulting from the events in Japan are expected to linger through October, but the environment is clearly stabilized, and we remain very bullish on this region’s long-term prospects.
  • “Looking to our 2012 deployment, with the departure of Voyager of the Seas from the Mediterranean to China and Australia, and the arrival of Serenade of the Seas in the Baltic, we will somewhat shift the balance of our European presence from south to north.  While we would have done this irrespective of this year’s events, one implication of this set of moves will be to further diversify our product range, and lessen our exposure to any ongoing geopolitical risks that may affect the Mediterranean.”
  • “Later this year, we will revitalize Splendour of the Seas, and we are planning on continuing our revitalization program throughout the next several years.  With 15 ships in our Voyager, Radiance, and Vision classes, and a slower rate of new capacity coming online, we are committed to offering an outstanding and up-to-date Royal Caribbean experience on our older ship classes.”
  • “We’ve actually seen higher year-over-year bookings in July than we did before albeit it’s the new discounted rates that we implemented in late May and early June.”
  • [Mediterranean] “What we had said is that the pricing actions that we’ve taken have stimulated demand and the guidance that we’re putting out today is our best estimate of what’s going to happen in the market as we go forward.  But we have seen a nice pick-up in demand as a result of the pricing that we have there today.  We don’t particularly really care for the pricing, but we have seen a nice pick-up in the demand."

3Q 2011

  • “For all of our other major product groups, we are seeing very strong demand.  The Caribbean, Alaska, and the Baltic are all performing significantly better than last year and are all forecasted to generate solid double-digit yield improvements in the third quarter.”

4Q 2011/FY11/1Q 2012


  • “Interest expense for the year is currently expected to be between $355 million and $365 million, which is an increase of approximately $44 million, or $0.20 per share due to the new amortization schedule.
  • “Looking ahead, we’ll have all four Solstice-class ships operating in the Caribbean in this fall and winter, and we’ll have over 60% of our capacity in this market during this time period.  Since our cruises to the Caribbean book closer in than those to Europe and Alaska, we have less visibility to performance for this time period, but we are on pace to finish ahead of where we finished in Q4 2010 and Q1 2011.”
  • “Our non-Caribbean products, which represent 40% of our capacity for the period, are also performing well.  We are particularly pleased with the performance of our South American products and our soon-to-be Solsticeized Infinity, as well as the reintroduction of our brand in the Australia and New Zealand markets.”


  • “Based on current interest rates, our current fixed floating ratio in our existing loan structures, 2012 would also be approximately 4.4%.  Earnings per share for the year are now expected to be between $2.85 and $2.95.”
  • “It is very early in the selling cycle, and slightly less than a quarter of our inventory is sold at this point.  Our APDs and load factors are running ahead in all four quarters, but it is too early to provide any definitive yield guidance other than to say we expect improvements.”
  • “Early bookings for Europe are showing better load factors and APDs, but there is very limited visibility at this point.  It is encouraging to see the early order book, though, especially when you consider our comparables are prior to the turmoil in the Eastern Med.”
  • “Indications are, as Richard mentioned, next year that the pricing looks better, but we are still very, very early days when it comes to 2012 at this point.  But, I do want to stress that the Western Med has held up nicely, and we’ve actually seen some price increases.  It’s just that area that Brian described in the Eastern.”

AMZN: Buying On Sale

Keith doing some bargain hunting on AMZN. There’s clearly a lot of warranted concern about the cost side of the house. But when we see the market beat up a company with blue-sky growth opportunity that is investing in future, we get interested. Tack on a bullet proof brand name, huge barriers to entry, and the conceivability that incremental Retail Sales over the next 10 yrs could = AMZN’s sales growth, and we get downright excited.  The stock is a long way from its $191 TAIL line of support.

AMZN: Buying On Sale - AMZN 10 26 11

Booking It: SP500 Levels, Refreshed

POSITION: Long Consumer Discretionary (XLY), Short Consumer Staples (XLP)


After a 30 handle drop in the SP500, I’m booking it.


That doesn’t mean I’m bullish. It doesn’t mean I’m bearish. It doesn’t mean I can’t re-short it either. It just means that we’re holding my most immediate-term TRADE line of support at 1217.


Across our 3 risk management durations, here are the lines that matter most: 

  1. TAIL = 1266
  2. TREND = 1254
  3. TRADE = 1217 

So the intermediate-to-long-term picture still supports selling all rallies that extend themselves toward 1. And, until the immediate-term TRADE is no longer bullish (1217 support), I’ll respect whatever it is that the market sees coming next. As the Keynesian central planners have proven in the last 3 weeks, anything can happen.


If 1217 snaps, there is no support to 1182. So that’s where you’ll see me get as active as I was up at 1258. I’m comfortable being neutral right here and now with 1 Sector ETF on each side.




Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer


Booking It: SP500 Levels, Refreshed - SPX

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