The Macau Metro Monitor, January 5, 2012




Singapore visitation hit 1,084,189 in October 2011, up 10.9% YoY.  Mainland China visitors rose 44% YoY and accounted for 12% of total visitation.




NEW YEAR BROUGHT 324,000 TOURISTS Macau Daily Times, Macau Business

A total of 324,394 tourists visited Macau over the New Year holidays, an increase of 8.1% YoY.  The Border Gate remained the busiest checkpoint with 414,000 arrivals (including visitors and residents), followed by the outer harbor ferry terminal with 71,000, and the Taipa temporary ferry terminal with 29,000. 


Natural Remedy

“The market has its own logic and contains its own natural remedy.”

-Nicholas Wapshott


That was an excellent paraphrasing of Hayekian thought by Nicholas Wapshott in his recently published “Keynes Hayek.” But who is Hayek and what does Hayekian thought mean?


I’m going to make a concerted effort to educate our audience throughout the US Presidential Election on the answers to those very simple questions. Keynesian Dogma is pervasive in our Western education. It has also brought Japanese, European, and US governments to their knees in the last 10 years…


Good news: the young people in American who are allowed to Re-think, Re-work, and Re-build this country get that. That’s why you’re seeing a groundswell of a “young” vote for Ron Paul. It may not be as big as Obama’s was – but it’s based on the same American principle of progress – change.


To be crystal clear, this doesn’t mean I am some brainwashed disciple of Hayekian economics. It simply means that I have been educated in its alternative and have concluded (like Milton Friedman and Margaret Thatcher did) that it doesn’t work.


After the Keynesian experiments of the late 1920s and early 1970s ultimately failed in America, Hayekian thought became a very popular alternatives in both 1931 and 1974.


Ultimately, this is why Hayek won (shared) the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1974 and why Milton Friedman went on to become so popular in the 1970s and 1980s (Friedman won the Nobel in 1976).


Timing Matters.


Hayek: “When I was a young man, only the very old men believed in the free market system. When I was in my middle ages, I myself and nobody else believe in it. And now I have the pleasure of having lived long enough to see that the young people believe in it again.” (Keynes Hayek, pg 258)


This time, will not be different.


Back to the Global Macro Grind


What I have enjoyed most about this stabilization of both volatility (VIX) and US stock market performance in the last few weeks is that it has been driven by the Top Natural Remedy for a country and her economy – the strength and stabilization of her currency.


With the US Dollar Index up +0.6% on the day yesterday (up +9.5% since Bernanke signaled the end of Quantitative Easing), the SP500 held flat and Consumer Discretionary stocks (we’re long XLY) closed up +0.8% on the day.


Strong Dollar = Strong Consumption. Period.


As a reminder, my solution to this mess is to get both the fiscal and monetary central planners out of the way. Big Government Spending (fiscal) will come down via The People’s vote and Easy Money Policy (monetary) that starves conservative US Savers of their hard earned fixed income will come under fire for what it’s been – a short-term policy to inflate.


Strong Dollar = Deflates The Inflation. Period.


That’s a functional reality in the Post-Keynesian economy, primarily because it’s globally interconnected. Most liquid commodity markets trade/settle on some underpinning of a US Dollar. It’s still the world’s reserve currency.


More Good News: the Correlation Risk born out of Congress and Bernanke devaluing the US Dollar to all-time lows twice (2008 and 2011) is NOT perpetual. In other words, get big fiscal and monetary “stimulus” plans out of the way and the correlations in the big stuff that matters start to burn off.


What does that mean in English? Let’s use numbers…


After having 80-90% inverse correlations to the US Dollar throughout the May-November period of 2011 (Dollar UP = Everything DOWN), here are the latest immediate-term TRADE correlations as of last night:

  1. Gold = -0.93
  2. Copper = -0.69
  3. CRB Commodities Index = -0.69
  4. EuroStoxx Index = -0.57
  5. US Equity Volatility = -0.57
  6. SP500 = -0.02

In other words, the Natural Remedy that convinces the world that we are no longer implicitly trying to devalue our currency lends credibility to the US Dollar and a lower valuations for competing currencies like the Euro and Gold.


Additionally, as the US Dollar stabilizes and strengthens:

  1. Commodity Inflation continues to deflate
  2. US Stock Market Volatility starts to fall!
  3. US Stocks that aren’t levered to easy money and/or debt go u

Keynesian Quacks can quibble with me about this all they want – but they’re most likely to do it behind closed doors. Like Keynes vs. Hayek in 1931 or Arthur Burns (Fed Chief) vs. Friedman in 1976, these people are very afraid of the debate – as they should be.


As the facts change, America does. Lead, follow, or get out of our way.


My immediate-term support and resistance ranges for Gold, Oil (Brent), EUR/USD, VIX, and the SP500 are now $1, $111.61-113.37, $1.28-1.30, 20.35-24.11, and 1, respectively.


Best of luck out there today,



Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer


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TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP – January 5, 2012


Fascinating to watch the Correlation Risk in Global Macro markets start to burn off as consensus keeps focusing on stale indicators - KM


As we look at today’s set up for the S&P 500, the range is 16 points or -0.81% downside to 1267 and 0.45% upside to 1283. 




Bullish is as bullish does – yesterday was a reminder of that as the SP500 rallied from her intraday lows and successfully closed > my long-term TAIL of support (1267) for the 2ndday in a row. Three days in a row and a close above the Oct 29th closing-high of 1285 would confirm this very short-term price move as credible. Volume has not confirmed it yet. Volatility has.


What I liked most about yesterday’s action was that US Dollar UP = Consumer Discretionary UP. This remains my core long-term thesis – without a Strong/Stable Dollar, the purchasing power of the 71% (US Consumption as a % of GDP) gets taxed.


From a TRADE and TREND perspective, 9/9 Sectors are bullish TRADE and 7/9 TREND (with Financials and Basic Materials remaining the 2/9 bearish on intermediate-term TREND – and I think that confirms pending strength in USD too).


I’m long 2/9 Sectors: Consumer Discretionary (XLY) and Utilities (XLU). No SPY or S&P Sector Shorts - KM









  • ADVANCE/DECLINE LINE:  -75 (-1734) 
  • VOLUME: NYSE 759.44 (-11%)
  • VIX:  22.22 -3.27% YTD PERFORMANCE: -5.04%
  • SPX PUT/CALL RATIO: 1.99 from 1.88 (+6%) 


  • TED SPREAD: 57.23
  • 3-MONTH T-BILL YIELD: 0.02%
  • 10-Year: 2.00 from 1.97   
  • YIELD CURVE: 1.75 from 1.70

GLOBAL MACRO DATA POINTS (Bloomberg Estimates):

  • Eurozone Oct industrial orders sa y/y +1.6% vs consensus +3.3% prior +1.6%; Eurozone Oct industrial orders sa m/m +1.8% vs consensus +2.4% prior revised to (7.8%) from (6.4%)
  • Eurozone Nov producer prices index y/y +5.3% vs consensus +5.2% prior +5.5%; Eurozone Nov producer prices index m/m +0.2% vs consensus +0.1% prior +0.1%
  • UK Dec services PMI 54.0 vs consensus 51.5 and prior 52.1
  • France Dec Consumer Confidence Index at 80 vs November reading of 80 – INSEE
  • 7:30am: Challenger Job Cuts (prior -12.8%)
  • 8:15am: ADP Employment, est. 178k (prior 206k)
  • 8:30am: Jobless Claims, Dec. 31, est. 375k (prior 381k)
  • 9:45am: Bloomberg Consumer Comfort, est. -46.0 (prior -47.5)
  • 10:00am: ISM Non-Manufacturing, est. 53 (prior 52)
  • 10:30am, EIA natural gas storage change, Dec. 30
  • 11am: DoE inventories, Dec. 30


  • TechCrunch reports that rumors about Microsoft (MSFT) buying Nokia's smartphone division have been revived
  • Kraft Foods and SodaStream enter strategic co-branding deal
  • US congress looking into quality of credit-ratings companies' views on MF Global (MFGLQ) - WSJ
  • Greek Prime Minister says country could default in March - BBC
  • France sells 10-year bonds at 3.29% yield vs 3.18% on Dec. 1. Sells 30-year bonds at 3.97% yield vs 3.94% Dec. France sold EU7.96b of total debt today with borrowing costs rising.
  • President Obama announces results of Defense Strategic Review in speech at Pentagon
  • SEC holds closed meeting on enforcement matters, 2pm


  • Alcoa Earnings Estimates Plunge After Aluminum Drop: Commodities
  • Oil Trades Near 8-Week High as Iran Threat Counters Europe Debt
  • Gold May Advance on Demand From Asia as Gartman Turns Bullish
  • China Seen Boosting Oil Imports on Capacity Gain: Energy Markets
  • U.K. Warns Iran Over ‘Illegal’ Threat to Close Strait of Hormuz
  • U.S. Container Trade Rebounding at Fastest Pace Since May
  • Schweppes Losing Australia Summer Sales in Fizz Shortage: Retail
  • Rio Declares Force Majeure on Two Canada Aluminum Smelters
  • Base Metals to Rally in 2012, Credit Suisse’s Deverell Says
  • Mosaic CEO Says Phosphate Has Bottomed Ahead of Spring Planting
  • Cattle Top Gold as Safest Commodity Return by Volatility Measure
  • Copper Advances After Biggest Drop in Three Weeks Spurs Buying
  • Soybeans May Climb to Near $13 on Fibonacci: Technical Analysis
  • Stocks Erase Early Drop as 10-Year Treasury Yield Touches 2%
  • Five Rare Earths Crucial for Clean Energy Seen in Short Supply
  • Harita Said to Plan Singapore IPO of Nickel Mining Division
  • Commodities Had Net Outflows of $11.4 Billion, Citigroup Says
  • EU Moves Closer to Iran Oil Ban as Greece Lifts Objections
  • Cotton Harvest in India Seen Missing Estimate on Lower Yield





EUR/USD – is the Euro getting blasted to a 15 month low because of Unicredit or b/c a Romney win in NH is a big time stabilizer for the USD? Or both? Markets don’t move on a 1-factor model – I think this Presidential debate is going to be USD bullish inasmuch as insolvent European banks blowing up is bearish.






DAX – can I get a live quote/recap of a European Bond Auction? Cmon. That mattered 12 months ago when few were focused on it – now, every time European equities have a downtick my tweet-stream lights up w/ the same known knowns. What isn’t obvious yet is how strong German stocks and bonds act on these down moves. DAX holding 5 range of support is bullish. Period.






ASIA – Growth Slowing at a slower rates as a Deflating The Inflation is starting to slow the pace of declines on Asian Equity market down days; India’s Services PMI 54.2 for DEC (vs 53.2 NOV) was a positive surprise and Thailand reporting lower sequential inflation for DEC at 3.5% vs 4.2% in NOV was more of what we are seeing across Asia.




  • Oil Trades Near 8-Week High as Iran Threat Counters Europe Debt
  • Iran Central Bank Moves to Rescue Rial as Allies Tighten Net
  • U.K. Warns Iran Over ‘Illegal’ Threat to Close Strait of Hormuz
  • Dana Board Considered Updates on Project Financing, Mol Stake
  • Hard-line U.S. Policy Tips Iran Toward Belligerence: Vali Nasr
  • Dana Gas $1 Billion Sukuk Yield Rises to Record on Debt Risk
  • Land Bill Boosts Indonesia Debt Rating Outlook: Islamic Finance
  • JX Energy in Talks With Saudi Arabia to Replace Iran’s Crude
  • BAE to Get $780 Million Cash Boost From Saudi Order, UBS Says
  • Monti Says Any Iran Sanctions Must Allow Repayment of Eni Debt
  • Iran to Reduce Record Oil Premiums for Asia After Saudi Decrease
  • EU Moves Closer to Iran Oil Ban as Greece Lifts Objections
  • Al Futtaim HC Securities to Shut U.A.E. Brokerage Operations
  • Oil Price Would Skyrocket if Iran Closed the Strait of Hormuz
  • Iran Oil Ban by EU May Send Brent Crude to $125, SocGen Says
  • RTS Futures Rise as Oil Gains on Iran Dispute: Russia Overnight
  • Oil Falls in New York as Europe Crisis Counters Iran Concern
  • Gold Rises to Two-Week High as European, Iranian Tensions Mount



The Hedgeye Macro Team

Howard Penney

Managing Director



Commodities, in general, went higher over the last week as economic concerns eased.  Weaker-than-expected post-holiday demand for beef led cattle prices lower but corn, chicken wings, and coffee all gained.





Commodity costs are front-and-center for the restaurant space in 2012, particularly 1H12, with some companies expected to see abatement in inflationary pressures while for others it is only beginning.  Below, we take you through some of our thoughts by commodity.


Chicken Wings – BWLD


When we first turned negative on Buffalo Wild Wings in October, it was largely due to what we saw as looming margin compression due to chicken wing price inflation coming back into the picture in 4Q11 or 1Q12 at the very latest.  Our timing was not spot on; BWLD took advantage of its last quarter of favorable wing prices to lower price and increase traffic, all-the-while experiencing only a minimal impact on margins.  In October, our view was also predicated on wing prices estimates for 4Q11 and 1Q12 of $1.20 and $1.40, respectively.  Now, with wing prices at $1.60 and processors still looking to cut production in the face of growing demand for chicken within the food service industry, those estimates seem like they could be conservative. 


We expect a revision to management’s previous guidance of only “modest” inflation heading into 2012” on the next earnings call (likely 2/8/12).  The company’s comparable-store sales growth has depended less on price and more on traffic, along with the rest of the industry, in recent quarters.  The company will likely not be able to sustain traffic trends and maintain margins in the first quarter of 2012. 





Beef prices declined week-over-week as demand for beef after the holiday period was softer than excepted.  Consumer demand is a key driver of beef prices at this juncture with much of the supply concerns having been priced in over the last six months.  Changing emerging market diets and fading BSE-related restrictions on U.S. beef are bullish tailwinds over the longer-term.  For the first half of 2012, at least, beef should remain a headwind for WEN, TXRH, JACK, and CMG.  This is especially true for WEN as beef represents 20% the company’s spend.





Coffee costs are down slightly year-over-year but, despite significant price declines in the fourth quarter of 2011, climate- and market-related fears are keeping prices supported.  The euro-zone crisis will be a key driver from a market perspective, while weather in Latin America will also be monitored closely by coffee speculators.  Reports from Brazil are suggesting that there will be no significant increase in the size of the planted area in 2012 but that growers are investing in “improving yields”.


SBUX and DNKN are trading well today as DNKN was upgraded from Sell to Hold at Goldman Sachs because the stock price is reaching the analyst’s Price Target.  We remain unconvinced by the company’s business plan, particularly as it relates to growth and the ability of the company to grow its backlog on schedule, and retain our bearish view on the stock. 
































Chicken – Whole Breast


WEEKLY COMMODITY CHARTBOOK - chicken whole breast



Chicken Wings















Howard Penney

Managing Director


Rory Green





VIP hold was normal but lower than last year which held back growth by 5%.


December gross gaming revenues (GGR) increased 25% YoY to $2.95BN.  As we discussed in our November detail note, December faced a tough hold comparison which negatively impacted growth this month.  Total direct play this month was 6.5% of the market, compared to 7.1% last year.  The total market held at 2.97% vs. 3.13% in December of 2010.  Accounting for direct play and theoretical hold of 2.85% in both months, December revenues would have increased 30% YoY or 5% better than actual.  More important than the overall deceleration of growth in December which everyone expected, was the acceleration in high margin Mass business which increased 47%, above the 40% growth we’ve seen during the last 6 months.


Macau faces a slightly difficult hold comparison in January although we expect YoY growth to accelerate nicely from December due to the timing of Chinese New Year.  We are projecting 32-40% growth for January.


Other observations from December include:

  • LVS and MPEL generated the highest same store revenue growth in December – both up 24%
  • MPEL’s growth was generated by a whopping 54% increase in Mass revenue which should be good for margins
  • Despite its focus on VIP, LVS still grew Mass 29% but lower hold kept VIP revenue growth at 20% with VIP volume growth at 35%
  • All of LVS’s VIP revenue growth was concentrated at Four Seasons (new junket rooms) while VIP revenues fell at both Venetian and Sands
  • Wynn’s Mass growth was solid at 30% but trailed the market.  VIP revenues actually declined 5% YoY despite a 16% increase in VIP volume.
  • VIP revenue also fell YoY for MGM despite higher volumes
  • In terms of market share gainers, MPEL and LVS were the big winners while Wynn also improved from November.  Galaxy, MGM, and SJM all lost share sequentially.


Y-o-Y Table Revenue Observations

Total table revenue growth slowed to 25% YoY this month, on top of 68% growth last December.  December Mass revenue growth accelerated to 47% - the best YoY growth print since we’ve been tracking the data.  VIP revenues grew 18% while Junket RC rose 25% - with both posting the slowest growth rate since August 2009. 



Table revenues grew 24% YoY, showing a continuation of the pickup from the opening of junket rooms at Four Seasons.

  • Sands was up only 2% YoY despite high hold
    • Mass as up 11%
    • VIP was down 2%, off of a tough comp of 63%.  Assuming 15% direct play (in-line with 3Q11), hold was 3.9% vs. 3.7% last December assuming the same level of direct play (also in-line with 4Q10)
    • Junket RC was down 9%
  • Venetian was up 11% YoY, driven by a Mass increase of 35% and somewhat offset by a 5% decline in VIP
    • Junket VIP RC increased 8%
    • Assuming 23% direct play in the quarter (just below the 24% we saw in 3Q11), hold was 2.6% compared to 3.0% hold in December 2010 assuming 19% direct play (in-line with 4Q10)
  • Four Seasons grew 216% YoY, driven by a tripling (309%) of YoY VIP revenue and to a much lesser extent, 54% increase in Mass revenues. 
    • Junket VIP RC increased 3.4x YoY
    • Four Seasons is clearly seeing a benefit from LVS’s recent initiatives plus an easy YoY hold comparison.  If we assume that monthly direct play volume was in the neighborhood of recent trends - ~600MM, that implies a direct play percentage of 19% and a hold rate of 2.33%.  In comparison, if December 2010 direct play was in-line with the rest of 4Q10 at 54%, then hold was just 1.25%.


Wynn table revenues were up just 0.3%, exhibiting the slowest growth of the 6 concessionaires, despite high hold (although hold comparisons were even higher to be fair).  December’s growth was also Wynn’s slowest growth month since August 2009.  As we’ve written about in “Macau Observations” on 11/16, Wynn is in a bit of pickle given LVS’s recent initiatives, the general continued shifts of play to Cotai, and the general constraints at the property.

  • Mass was up 30% and VIP declined 5% (December was actually the 4th month in 2011 where VIP growth was negative)
  • Junket RC increased 16%
  • Assuming 10% of total VIP play was direct (in-line with 3Q11), we estimate that hold was 3.3% compared to 4.0% last year (assuming 11% direct play – in-line with 4Q10)


Table revenues grew 24% - driven primarily by 54% growth in Mass and 19% growth in VIP

  • Altira revenues increased 10%, due to a 9% increase in VIP and a 20% lift in Mass growth.  VIP revenues benefited from high hold and easy comparisons.
    • VIP RC decreased 18%
    • We estimate that hold was 3.3% vs. 2.6% last year (direct play is not material at Altira)
  • CoD table revenue was up 32%, driven by 61% growth in Mass and 24% growth in VIP
    • Junket VIP RC grew 36%
    • Assuming a 15.5% direct play level, hold was 3.1% in December compared to 3.2% last year


Revs grew 10%

  • Mass was up 31% and VIP was up just 1%
  • Junket RC was up 4%


Table revenues continued its 7-month streak of triple-digit gains, +137%; Mass soared 299%, while VIP gained 117%

  • StarWorld table revenues grew 5%
    • Mass grew 66% and VIP grew just 0.6%, negatively impacted by a difficult hold comparison
    • Junket RC grew 10%
    • Hold was 2.8% compared to normal hold of 3.1% hold last December
  • Galaxy Macau's total table revenues were $281MM, 17% lower than October’s seasonal high and $1MM below November
    • Mass table of $61MM, up 8% sequentially and $2MM above October's high
    • VIP table revenue of $220MM, a 2% MoM decrease, despite high hold of 3.3% - although hold was even higher in November at 3.5%.  
    • RC volume of $6.7BN compared to $8.3BN in October, $6.5BN in November and $7.0BN in September


Table revenues only increased 0.5% YoY, impacted by a difficult hold comparison

  • Mass revenue growth was 39%, while VIP fell 6%
  • Junket RC increased 19%
  • Assuming a direct play level of 8%, we estimate that hold was 2.9% this month vs. 3.7% in December 2010, assuming direct play of 8% 


Sequential Market Share



LVS gained 90bps in December to 16.6%. This compares to 6 month trailing market share of 14.7% and 2011 average share of 15.7%.

  • Sands' share increased 90bps to 4.9%
    • VIP rev share increased 1.3% while Mass share fell 70 bps
    • RC share decreased 50bps
  • Venetian’s share remained flat at 8.1% share for the 3rd month in a row
    • VIP share declined 120 bps to 5.6%, compared to the 2011 average of 6.6%
    • Mass share improved 2.6% sequentially to 15.1%, recovering most of the 3% share loss last month
    • Junket RC ticked up 20bps to 4.9%
  • FS share improved 10bps to 3.1%
    • VIP share increased 10bps to 3.5% the best share since January 2011
    • Mass share increased 40bps to 2.1%
    • Junket RC improved 90bps to 3.9% - an all-time high for the property (in-line with Dec 2009)


Wynn’s share ticked up 40bps to 13.8% above its 6 month trailing average share of 13.6% but well below its 2011 average share of 14.1%.  Wynn’s share should continue to struggle with the opening of Sands Cotai Central in March.

  • Mass market share recovered 90bps to 10.2%
  • VIP market share increased 40bps to 14.9%
  • Junket RC share increased 90bps to 13% - below Wynn’s 6 month trailing average of 13.8% and 2011 average of 14.2%


MPEL was the largest share gainer in December (following a month of being the biggest loser).  Market share improved 1.5% points to 14.4%.  This compares to their 6 month trailing share of 14.6% and 2011 share of 14.8%.

  • Altira share ticked up 10bps to 4.3%, but was still below the property’s 2011 share of 5.3%.  Mass share fell 40bps while VIP share improved 40bps. 
  • CoD’s share improved 1.5% to 9.9% driven by share gains in VIP that were partly offset by share loss in Mass
    • Mass market share decreased 70bps to 9.6%
    • VIP share recovered its share losses in November, improving 2.2% to 10.0%
    • Junket RC improved 40bps to 8.7%


SJM lost 0.8% share in December to 26.4%, which is below their 6-month trailing average of 27.7% and below their 2011 average of 29.2%.

  • Mass market share decreased 1.6% to 35.9%
  • VIP share decreased 90bps to 24.1% - the lowest share for SJM since August 2009
  • Junket RC share was flat at 28.4%


Galaxy lost the most share in December, dropping 1.1% to 19.1%. December share compares with an average share of 15.7% in 2011 and a 6 month trailing average of 19.1%.

  • Galaxy Macau share declined 20bps to 10.0%
    • Mass share declined 30bps to 8.0%
    • VIP market share ticked down 10bps to 10.7%
    • RC share ticked down 10bps to 10.3%
  • Starworld lost 1.1% share to 7.7%, 1.4% below its TTM share of 9.1% pre-Galaxy Macau level.


MGM lost 90bps to 9.7% due to share losses in VIP share.  December share compares with an average share of 10.5% in 2011 and a 6 month trailing average of 10.3%.

  • Mass share was flat at 7.1%
  • VIP share fell 1.3% to 10.3%
  • Junket RC fell 1.0% share to 10.4% – in-line with MGM’s 6 month trailing average


Slot Revenue

Slot revenue growth accelerated to 37% YoY, hitting an all-time record of $135MM and improving $20MM sequentially.

  • As expected, GALAXY slot revenues grew the most with 393% YoY to $15MM
  • MGM slot revenues had the second best growth at 54% YoY to $22MM – a record for the property
  • LVS slot revenues grew 30% YoY to $33MM –flat with the last 2 months
  • SJM slot revenues grew 22% YoY to record $19MM
  • MPEL slot revenues grew 20% YoY to $24MM
  • WYNN slot revenues grew the slowest at 10% YoY to $23MM







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