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European PMIs in the Red

Positions in Europe: Short France (EWQ)

Below we show a table of European Manufacturing PMI figures as reported from Markit/Reuters for November. The call-out here is that month-over-month the majority of reporting countries contracted, and are now firmly under the 50 line that divides contraction (below 50) and expansion (above).  Russia and Italy saw a gain M/M, however Italy is decidedly in negative territory at 44. In an environment of elevated and inflationary commodity prices, we expect Russia to benefit. Oil and gas contribute to low 20% of GDP at these prices.


Our read-through on PMI figures is that they have further room to run on the downside and provide further evidence that growth expectations will need to come in even further over the next months. We think the performance of European capital markets will move based on the political decisions of Eurocrats; within the last months we attribute the negative trend to the inability of Eurocrats to present a credible plan on the key topics of expanding/leveraging the EFSF; a bank recapitalization contingency program; and Greek haircuts. Enhancing the downside risk is the Germany and ECB stance that the ECB will only be a lender of last resorts.


European PMIs in the Red - 1. france


Below we show French Manufacturing and Services PMI (note: Nov. French Services will be released on 12/5). An interesting contribution from our internal meeting today came from our Financials sector head Josh Steiner. He noted that the assets of France’s three largest banks (SocGen, Credit Agricole, and BNP Paribas) represented 240% of French GDP, versus 57% for the US’s top three banks as a % of US GDP. This data point adds one more layer to our short position in France, which we’re currently playing in the Hedgeye Virtual Portfolio via EWQ.


European PMIs in the Red - 2. France


Matthew Hedrick

Senior Analyst


Regional markets not a great place to be.


"Even in this uncertain economic environment, I am confident that we are doing the right things and continuing to refine the type of customer experience that will benefit our business and drive profitability moving forward...We are facing the challenges of increased competition in some of our key markets, the possibility of still prolonged economic hardship, and our need to continue to raise the bar on the customer experience while maintaining fiscal responsibility during a period of uncertainty.  In spite of these challenges, I believe we are moving in the right direction for a future of increased profitability." 


- President and Chief Executive Officer Virginia McDowell 




  • 3 cent a share impact in the Q from flooding. 
  • Capex was $200k for the quarter
  • $28MM was outstanding on the R/C. Leverage was 6.4x for covenant purposes



  • Believe anything that changes the center of gravity in Blackhawk will help them
  • Florida - feel like the existing proposed legislation has put the existing facilities at a big disadvantage.  Want full parity if the bill passes.  Hope to participate should table games and a lower tax rate come to FL. 
  • MA/NH: Always looking at opportunities but there is nothing to comment on.  Most of the MA candidates are well publicized - i.e. they will not be participating
  • Sale in Iowa- still having conversations with the cities' preferred developers but have opened it up to other players recently 
  • They are fully back to capacity post flooding and road re-opening in the Quad Cities
  • Lake Charles - they do get a modest amount of money if the deal doesn't go through.  



  • "Properties in Lula, Natchez and Vicksburg, Mississippi continued to be affected by the impact of Mississippi River flooding earlier in the year as business was slow to return to pre-flood levels.  In Lula, the Company operated with only one of the two casinos until September 2, 2011.  These factors led to both decreased net revenues and increased marketing expenses associated with the effort to return business to normal levels. The Company estimates that the impact on second quarter EBITDA was approximately $2.0 million."
  • "In Black Hawk...Recent renovations to the casino floor, a new Asian-themed restaurant and expanded poker facilities, along with improved marketing efforts led to increased market share and ...increase in EBITDA."  
  • "In Boonville and Waterloo, cost containment efforts led to increased EBITDA"
  • "In the Quad Cities, increased competition caused by the opening of the Des Plaines, Illinois casino, as well as road construction at the entrance of the Davenport casino, led to decreased EBITDA" 
  • "Costs increased in Lake Charles during the quarter due to expenses associated with realigning the casino floor, as well as refurbishments including new carpet and paint throughout the entire facility, which are expected to be substantially complete by the end of the calendar year."
  • "Our spend per customer grew by about 7% during the quarter, as we focused on marketing to our best customers and controlling the things we can control in a tough economy.  While our volumes were down slightly, due in part to conditions in Mississippi, this strategy still had a net positive impact on our revenues, largely driven by more business from our upper segment database customers, partially offset by decreased visitation by customers in our lower segments."
  • "We recently implemented the initial trial of our enhanced customer loyalty program at our property in Pompano.  This new program, which we expect to roll out across the portfolio and have fully implemented by early 2013, will give our customers more control over their rewards, more options for ways to use their points and more incentive for repeat visitation to our properties."  
  • "We will also be introducing a new buffet concept in Boonville that we plan to extend across the portfolio.  We are also currently completing the design for the refurbishment of our Lake Charles hotel.  Lastly, we are beginning the conversion and rebrand our Vicksburg property as a Lady Luck Casino.  The $4.5 million project will be completed in several phases, which we expect to be substantially complete by late spring 2012."
  • Cape Girardeau, Missouri:  "made substantial progress including completion of the primary feeder road to the property, basin and floating floor construction and is currently erecting structural steel at the site. We still expect to open the facility in December 2012."
  • Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Pennsylvania: "Appeal of the award has been filed by a competing party. The plaintiff's briefs have been filed.  The timeline for ultimate resolution of the matter is not known at this time."
  • Lake Charles, Louisiana:  "Relating to the potential sale of the smaller of the Company's two riverboats in Lake Charles, on November 19, 2011 voters in Bossier Parish, Louisiana approved the ballot referendum, which would allow for the construction of a new casino to be built by the potential buyer. Additionally, the Company recently reached an agreement with the buyer to extend the option period to December 30, 2011 from November 30, 2011. If the option is exercised, terms call for the transaction to be finalized within 30 days after exercise."






Initial Claims


Initial Jobless Claims came in at 402k versus survey 390k and a revised 396k the week prior.


THE HBM: GMCR, MCD, DIN - initial claims



Notes from CEO Keith McCullough


Yesterday was not a good day for me. You couldn’t have had a good day if you were having a good month.

  1. CHINA – when China started cutting in SEP 2008, they were serious about a serious slowdown in Chinese demand – this morning’s HSBC PMI print for NOV of 47.7 was awful (worst since 09) and Chinese stocks rallied less than they fell prior to the cut.
  2. ITALY – stocks look much different on the MIB index readings than they do on the DAX – so if you need to get paired off do it that way, but Italy failing at its first line of TRADE resistance (15,460) is a big problem. So is the Euro failing at 1.34 – both remain in Bearish Formations and the NOV PMI data across Europe supports the markets intermediate-term view as well
  3. DATA – plenty of it this morning – UK PMI hits 47.6 (lowest since 09), South Korean inflation rises sequentially to +4.2% NOV vs +3.6% OCT, Brazil cuts rates for the 3rd time in a row, etc – bottom line is that all of this remains much more a policy to inflate than it does equate to bare knuckled economic growth – there’s a difference – inflation slows consumption growth at $110/barrel.


Barring another central plan to blow out our industry’s hedges in the next few hours, US stocks should follow up their down NOV with a down DEC open.







THE HBM: GMCR, MCD, DIN - subsector fbr





GMCR: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is facing a class action lawsuit being filed by purchasers of the company’s publically traded common stock.  The Action alleges that, during the Class period, certain of the defendants systematically manipulated and strategically managed the company’s revenues.


MCD: McDonald’s is running a national discount offer with Living Social.  Living Social is selling a booklet of individual vouchers for five Big Mcas and five French fries worth $26 for $13 on Thursday.  The deal will be capped at one million vouchers.





DIN: Dine Equity’s Applebee’s system-wide comparable restaurant sales were down -0.3% in the most recently reported quarter versus Chili’s company-owned comparable restaurant sales up 1.7%.  Applebee’s is now taking a value-focused approach to driving sales.  We are not confident that offering low prices for beef items will be the optimal strategy in 2012, given the likelihood that beef costs continue higher next year, but the prices are certainly compelling from a value standpoint. Details below:

  • Sizzling Double Barrel Whisky Sirloins: Two 4-ounce steaks flavored with blackened seasoning, garlic and thyme over mashed potatoes topped with red peppers, mushrooms and onions caramelized in bourbon whiskey
  • Sizzling Cajun Steak & Shrimp: A 7-ounce sirloin grilled with blackened seasoning and served over sautéed onions and red peppers, topped with blackened shrimp and Cajun gumbo with okra, with a side of red beans and rice with andouille sausage


The Sizzling line starts at $8.99, a price point company officials say has worked well as the brand strives to combine value and innovation to reverse slumping sales.


THE HBM: GMCR, MCD, DIN - stocks 12 1



Howard Penney

Managing Director


Rory Green



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Initial Claims Rise for the Second Week

The headline initial claims number rose 9k WoW to 402k (up 6k after a 3k upward revision to last week’s data).  Rolling claims rose 0.5k to 396k. On a non-seasonally-adjusted basis, reported claims fell 70k WoW to 371k for the week of Thanksgiving.


We’ve previously identified 375k – 400k as the claims range where unemployment can begin to improve. After coming in within that range for 2 weeks in a row, claims printed slightly above the 400k level. A sustained period below 400k would be meaningful for unemployment.












2-10 Spread

The 2-10 spread widened 15 bps versus last week to 182 bps as of yesterday.  The ten-year bond yield increased 15 bps to 208 bps. 






Financial Subsector Performance

The table below shows the stock performance of each Financial subsector over four durations. 


WEEKLY JOBLESS CLAIMS REVERSE - subsector performance


Joshua Steiner, CFA


Allison Kaptur



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TGT: Apparel/Grocery bifurcation


FYI, Home and hardlines still steady losers, grocery up +mid-teens on top of +MT ly. First qtr in last eight where apparel did not contribute to aggregate comp at TGT.


TGT: Apparel/Grocery bifurcation - TGT Matrix



GIL: A Hot Mess


We dubbed Gildan’s Q3 results a ‘gong show,’ which puts this mornings’ results in the category of a hot mess. It’s actually more about next year’s outlook than the quarter here. GIL isn’t likely to be the only victim, we expect other ‘cotton plays’ HBI and CRI to also see pressure as the ability to maintain selling prices to retailers comes under question.


GIL is guiding F12 down over 40% below consensus estimates next year to $1.30 from $2.26E – so much for looking cheap. With Q1 expected to come in at an EPS loss ($0.40), the company is effectively guiding Q2-Q4 13% below expectations as well.


Here are a couple other notable callouts out the press release ahead of the call:

  • “the combination of weak end-use demand and distributor destocking is projected to result in an approximate 40% decline in Gildan's unit sales volumes in the screenprint market in the first quarter.”
  • “Gildan announced yesterday that it is reducing gross selling prices in the U.S. wholesale distributor channel effective December 5, 2011, and applying the benefit of this price reduction to existing distributor inventories.”
  • "Short-term promotional discounting began to increase at the end of the fourth quarter, and has continued to increase in the first quarter of fiscal 2012.”
  • “Gildan announced yesterday that it is reducing gross selling prices in the U.S. wholesale distributor channel effective December 5, 2011, and applying the benefit of this price reduction to existing distributor inventories.”

Some specifics on projections:

  • “Selling price increases which were recently implemented in the retail market did not reflect the full pass-through of high-cost cotton. Therefore, while gross margins for retail products are continuing to be adversely affected in the first half of fiscal 2012 by the high cost of cotton, it is not currently expected that Gildan's selling prices to retailers will decline when the Company benefits from lower cotton costs in the second half of the fiscal year.”

Hedgeye Retail: Bad now, could be even worse later if prices come down as we expect, this is NOT a conservative assumption.


GIL: A Hot Mess - GIL S


Casey Flavin