The Economic Data calendar for the week of the 19th of December through the 23rd is full of critical releases and events. Attached below is a snapshot of some (though far from all) of the headline numbers that we will be focused on.
Keith sold our long position in the gold etf GLD this afternoon at $155.10 for 1.9% gain.
He remarked on the trade, "Buying a distressed situation on Wednesday in Gold was backed by the only thing we know - our process. Selling it here is the same."
GLD is immediate-term TRADE OVERBOUGHT with resistance at $155.66 (0.2% upside); long-term TAIL line support is at $152.16 (2.0% downside). Risk outweighs reward by 10-to-1 at the current price on the immediate-term TRADE duration.
To see the note we published on Wednesday upon opening the GLD position, click the link below:
Here is where we stand on the upcoming earnings season for the big cap US listed operators. MPEL looks like the standout.
With two months of detailed Macau data in hand, we feel pretty good about our Macau projections. Las Vegas, as always, is a wild card but aside from MGM, who really cares? Singapore is also more difficult to predict but we are fairly certain MBS will lose some share when the numbers are tallied. We’re still trying to understand the seasonality but it appears that Genting’s leisure exposure should boost its Q4 share vs MBS.
As can be seen in the following table, we are significantly above the Street for MPEL’s EBITDA, and it’s not just hold driven. Hold is trending a little above normal but below last year and below Q3. We think the biggest delta versus consensus is in the Mass segment where MPEL gained significant MoM and YoY share thus far in Q4. MPEL’s Mass margins remain below the US based operators due to player rebates in its significant premium Mass business. However, a mix shift towards Mass still benefits the company’s overall margin. Remember that MPEL’s exposure to the high-end premium Mass allowed it to emerge unscathed from the opening of Galaxy Macau and will certainly help when Sands Cotai Central – another mid-level Mass property – opens next year.
On the downside, our Q4 EBITDA estimate for WYNN is 6% below consensus, concentrated in Macau. Wynn Macau continues to lose share and growth has been a little disappointing. We are fairly in-line with the Street on LVS, although higher on Macau EBITDA due to junket-related share gains and a little below in Singapore due primarily to seasonality. MGM looks like a beat at this stage of the quarter.
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No Current European Positions in the Hedgeye Virtual Portfolio
Asset Class Performance:
The European week was dominated by three themes:
1.) Credit Rating Agencies downgrades on Sovereigns and Banks post S&P’s CreditWatch Negative rating of 15 Eurozone countries on 12/5:
Hedgeye’s Take: The three major credit ratings agencies are classic lagging indicators, yet their downgrades of sovereigns and banks will move the market. We’ve long said that France will lose its AAA status. Solving for how the EFSF, a facility built on its AAA credit status, will continue to raise money at favorable levels will be one more headwind for Eurocrats to address.
2.) Lending disagreements on an additional €200B loan to the IMF from global central banks for troubled Eurozone states
Hedgeye’s Take: Even under a scenario in which €200 Billion was pledged by contributing members (which we think is highly improbable), it, along with €500B (across the EFSF and ESM) is far short of our $2-3 Trillion estimate to support Eurozone banks and sovereigns. The Fiscal Union proposed in the 8-9 December Summit is far from the Bazooka the market is looking for to support intermediate term gains in capital markets.
3.) Russia’s Cabinet Restructuring:
Hedgeye’s Take: It’s difficult to sift through where we’ll be in the next weeks and the ultimate outcome in a few months time. Opinion seems very split with the extremes being A) Russia is having a ME moment (and Putin doesn’t have a chance at winning the Presidency) and B) Putin will rule with an iron fist for the next 12 years. While the latter seems more likely to become reality, an important alternative view comes from Paul Starobin in that what we’re seeing is a “popular rejection of a strongman who has overstayed his welcome [Putin]—not a rejection of the model of strongman rule.”
The 50k demonstration over the weekend was impressive, nevertheless there’s no indication we’re at a tipping point yet. Prokhorov entering the ring adds another element given his money, western know-how, and large public profile, however if Starobin is right that there’s no real support for Russian Liberalism, Prokhorov too doesn’t have a chance. (http://www.tnr.com/article/world/98370/post-putin-russia)
Further commentary worth noting:
In a scenario of a Putin defeat, or defeat of a candidate backed by Putin, we think the risk of it being viewed as a destabilizing event is outsized…read global investors pulling out and Ruble weakness. There are also many questions about just who is running the Finance Ministry. Returning to the idea of the Ruble as the world’s reserve currency we think it is very improbable. If any is to take over the USD, it’s the Yuan, but well off in the horizon.
Interestingly, the WTO announced today that it is set to accept Russia as a member after 18 years of negotiations.
Interest Rate Decisions:
(12/14) Norges Bank Cut Benchmark Rate 50bps to 1.75%
(12/15) Switzerland SNB 3M Libor Target Rate UNCH at 0.00%
Chart of the Week:
-We’d caution against getting overly optimistic about the one month positive inflection in the 6M forward looking German ZEW Economic Sentiment number for December. Germany’s largest trading partners remain its European neighbors – so as long as the region is mired in this sovereign debt and banking crisis, trade will continue to contract. Germany’s growth outlook may simply be the best of a decidedly contractionary group in 2012.
CDS Risk Monitor:
-On a w/w basis, CDS was largely flat across the periphery. Spain saw the largest pullback at -26bps. On a m/m basis, Spanish CDS is down 52bps and Italian CDS is down 37bps.
Data - The West:
-Dec flash PMIs of Services and Manufacturing came in better than expected, and largely improved M/M, yet remain at or below the 50 line that divides contraction (below 50) and expansion (above).
Eurozone Composite 47.9 DEC vs 47.0 NOV
Eurozone CPI was unch at 3.0% NOV Y/Y vs the previous month
Data - The East:
-ZEW released its December market survey for Eastern Europe (EE). We key off of the 6-month forward looking “Economic Expectations”. Of note is that EE will be held hostage to:
YTD vs EUR:
Polish Zloty -12.0%
Hungarian Forint -8.4%
YTD vs CHF:
Polish Zloty -13.6%
Hungarian Forint -10.0%
Romania Leu -2.7%
Czech Koruna -2.5%
-Alternative View: Could EE and its currencies benefit from capital flows exiting the US and China?
-We’d short the cross at $1.33 for an immediate term TRADE. The EUR/USD remains broken long term TAIL ($1.40) and intermediate term TREND ($1.42) in our models and we think the lack of resolve from the newest proposals for a fiscal union will encourage greater downside.
The European Week Ahead:
Monday: Oct. Eurozone Current Account; Dec. UK GfK Consumer Confidence Survey
Tuesday: Jan. German GfK Consumer Confidence Survey; Oct. Greek Current Account; Riksbank Interest Rate Announcement
Wednesday: Nov. Dec. Eurozone Consumer Confidence; Bank of England Minutes Released; Q3 Italian GDP
Thursday: Q3 UK GDP and Current Account; Q3 Denmark and Netherlands GDP
Friday: Q3 France GDP and Producer Prices; Dec. Russian Money Supply
In November, YoY CPI growth for Food at Home decreased by 30 basis points to +5.9% from 6.2% in October. CPI for Food Away from Home gained 20 basis points to +2.9% from +2.7% in October.
We will be watching this trend carefully as it would be a negative for restaurants, on the margin, if grocery inflation were to come down closer to the level of inflation being seen in restaurant checks. Restaurant margins have been under pressure from increased food costs, as evidenced by Darden’s Olive Garden chain in the most recently reported quarter (2QFY12).
Malcolm Knapp’s Knapp Track data suggested a slowdown in November across the industry and, we would argue that while that may have been unrelated to the narrowing in the spread between CPI for Food at Home and CPI for Food Away from Home, a continuation of this trend would not be a positive for restaurant trends. Despite falling food costs, inventories need to be exhausted and contracts need to be worked through before the benefit of lower costs hits the P&Ls.
THE HEDGEYE BREAKFAST MONITOR
The Consumer Price Index for November came in at +3.4% y/y versus expectations of +3.5%. CPI Ex Food & Energy came in at +0.2% versus expectations of +0.1%. We will have a post up this morning with more pertinent takeaways.
Comments from CEO Keith McCullough
Buy low, sell high – I really think that idea could be back in 2012.
SP500 holding 1206 is constructive. Strong Dollar = Strong American Consumption and Employment.
DPZ: The Al Jammaz family, owners of Domino’s Pizza operator, Alamar Foods, which operates Wendy’s and Domino’s Pizza restaurants in the Middle East, sold a 42% stake in Alamar to The Carlyle Group.
BWLD: Buffalo Wild Wings was raised to “Buy” at Miller Tabak & Co. The twelve month price target is $78. We have not seen the report but have strong conviction that this stock will underperform over the next couple of quarters. We believe there is downside to $45.
DRI: Darden Restaurants reported 2QFY12 EPS of $0.41, as previously announced on December 6th.
MRT: Morton’s Restaurant Group is being bought by Tilman Fertitta, owner of Landry’s Restaurants Inc. in a deal that values the steak-house company at $117 million or $6.90 per share.
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