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Believe The Evidence

This note was originally published at 8am on January 03, 2012. INVESTOR and RISK MANAGER SUBSCRIBERS have access to the EARLY LOOK (published by 8am every trading day) and PORTFOLIO IDEAS in real-time.

“A wise man proportions his beliefs to the evidence.”

-David Hume

 

If there’s one thing that Hume, Hayek, and Hedgeye may have had in common, it’s that free-market pricing bears evidence of the truth. That’s my 2012 Global Macro Strategy - Believe The Evidence.

 

For Global Macro investors managing risk across asset classes in 2011, evidently US Treasuries outperformed mostly everything else. With Global Growth Slowing and the 10-year UST Yield dropping -43% on the year (from 3.31% to 1.88%), America’s long-bond zoomed higher as the MSCI All-World Stock Index and the 19 component CRB Commodities Index dropped -7.2% and -8.1% respectively.

 

In the USA, primarily due to a +9.9% rally in the US Dollar Index (from testing a 30 year low post QE2), the last 8 months of 2011 were very different from the first 4 months of 2011. While US Dollar strength may have been what Keynesians fear-mongered as a “deflationary force” on certain stock and commodity market prices, it provided the tail-wind needed for the largest part of the US Economy – Consumption.

 

Believe The Evidence: C + I + G (EX – IM) = GDP. And 71% of the US GDP number comes from the C, Consumption.

 

From a Q1 of 2011 low of 0.36% US GDP growth (and an unemployment high of 9.2%), US GDP growth recovered to 2.0% by Q3 of 2011 (and unemployment fell to 8.6%). *Note to Bernanke: stay out of the way, it’s working.

 

Therefore, the most contrarian bullish call we can make on US GDP Growth in 2012 is that the US Dollar continues to strengthen. Not to be confused with what the US stock market or commodity markets do, employment and economic growth is what really matters. Any sniff of a QE3 implementation will drive inflation higher and stymie whatever real (adjusted for inflation) growth Americans can look forward to.

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

With 13 consecutive booked gains in the Hedgeye Portfolio into the final day of the 2011, I’m feeling as good as I can feel about our risk management process. The goal in December was neither being bearish or bullish – it was simply to keep moving as prices did and to be right.

 

Rather than give you a reckless wire-to-wire “2012 Outlook” call this morning, I’ll give you our positioning (Hedgeye Asset Allocation Model):

  1. Cash = 61% (down from 70% before last week’s Global Equity and Commodity selloff)
  2. Fixed Income = 18% (Long-term Treasuries and a Treasury Flattener – TLT and FLAT)
  3. Int’l Currency = 12% (US Dollar – UUP)
  4. US Equities = 6% (Consumer Discretionary – XLY)
  5. Int’l Equities = 3% (China – CAF)
  6. Commodities = 0%

FYI: I haven’t worked alongside or know one top performing Portfolio Manager from the 2008-2011 period that deals with his or her Portfolio Strategy on a trivial duration of exactly 12 months starting January 1st.

 

Leading Portfolio Managers of the Wall Street 2.0 era have learned to be:

  1. Multi-duration
  2. Multi-factor

As the evidence changes, they do.

 

Absorbing all that’s new in my trusty notebook this morning, here’s how I think about the evidence in market pricing related to our aforementioned positioning:

 

1.   TLT and FLAT: Whether I look at the Bloomberg Consensus US GDP estimates or the 10-year trading at 1.94% this morning, it’s all signaling the same thing to me again this morning. Consensus has finally appropriately priced in the 2011 Growth Slowdown and now we can deal with Growth’s Pricing Signals day-to-day. A breakout > 2.03% on 10-year yields would have me sell TLT and FLAT.

 

2.   UUP: Strong Dollar = Strong Consumption = Stronger Employment. Rinse and Repeat. Whoever (Obama or his Republican challenger) figures this basic economic relationship out in 2012 is going to have a good shot at becoming the next President of the United States. US Dollar Index is in a Bullish Formation with its first line of immediate-term support = $79.37.

 

3.   XLY: There should be no confusion as to why I had a 0% asset allocation to US Equities in either July of 2008 or July of 2011. I fundamentally Believe The Evidence that debauching the dollar kills US Consumption (and confidence). Strengthen and stabilize the currency of a country and the volatility of its economic cycle (and how markets price it) will break down; equities then break-out.

 

4.   CAF: Pardon? Yep. TimeStamp us as being long Chinese Equities as of 3:19PM on December 29th, 2011. Call us the scions of “valuation” intellect buying a legitimately “cheap” Global Equity market or just call us names, we’ll either not sell this position for a few years or we’ll sell it tomorrow and smile either way. Strong Dollar = Deflating The Inflation (bullish for Chinese Consumption).

 

5.   COMMODITIES: Zero means zero. With the Gold price up for 11 consecutive years and Oil prices up for the last 3 in a row, I have zero problem calling a 0% asset allocation to this asset class as contrarian right here and now.

 

While Cyprus, Greece, and Egypt seeing their stock markets evaporate on the order of -72%, -52%, and -49%, respectively in 2011 has our eyes open to “value” opportunities outside of Chinese Equities, this morning there’s reason to believe that cheap can get cheaper. Poor Cyprus is down -4% to start 2012, and I’m going to Believe The Evidence rather than believing I’m smarter than Mr. Macro Market.

 

My immediate-term support and resistance ranges for Gold (covered our short position last week), Oil (Brent), and the SP500 are now $1580-1594, $107.86-110.26, and 1249-1270, respectively.

 

Best of luck out there this year,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

Believe The Evidence - Chart of the Day

 

Believe The Evidence - Virtual Portfolio



Locking Horns

“No one in our age was cleverer than Keynes nor made less attempt to conceal it.”

-Roy Harrod

 

That quote typifies the best thing I can say about John Maynard Keynes – he was a world class storyteller. This characterization provides context at the start of Chapter 7 in Wapshott’s “Keynes Hayek” for what was undoubtedly the closest time in history that Hayek ever came to taking Keynes down (1931).

 

That’s why Wapshott titles his chapter “Return Fire – Keynes and Hayek Lock Horns, 1931.” This was a unique time in Western Academic History where the “governing ethos at Cambridge was to profit from argument” (page 95).  This was also a very different time than what I’m observing from my office on an Ivy League Campus in New Haven, CT today.

 

Today, there is no legitimate debate between Hayekian and Keynesian thought at either the Whitehouse or in the hallowed halls of the source code that gets paid by it (the Economics Departments of Harvard, Princeton, Yale, etc.). That’s not new. And that’s just plain sad. America is better than that. In order to Re-think, Re-work, and Re-build, our said leaders have to change this.

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

Dominating the debate is what we all wake up thirsting for here at Hedgeye Risk Management. No, that doesn’t mean that we always do – but it provides an excellent compass for us every morning.

 

Expecting to win is a culture. So is being held accountable for our mistakes.

 

We’ve been Locking Horns with Keynesiasn, Sell Side Strategists, and Media Pundits for the better part of the last 4 years on the functional matter that is called the purchasing power of a US Dollar.

 

Yesterday, the US Dollar Index rose another +1.1% to make a new intermediate-term closing high of $80.95 = up +11% since the likes of Bernanke and Geithner have been relegated to basically getting out of the way.

 

Central planners, meet your new King.

 

Now a lot of people (and I mean a lot - almost all of Western Keynesian Academia and mostly every “professional economist” in Washington) will quibble with me on the causality of it all.

 

But to be clear, I don’t want whispering and quibbling – I want to pick a fight.

 

So today, since I am in a bit of a fired-up mood here in the Haven, I am formally challenging anyone and everyone with a Senatorial title in Central Planning to Lock Horns with me on why a Strong Dollar is not great for Americans?

 

Strong Dollar = Stronger Employment, Confidence, and Consumption. Period.

 

You saw that in the US Consumer Discretionary stocks again yesterday with the XLY outperforming the SP500 by another 50 basis points. You saw that in the weekly jobless claims numbers remaining below our critical level of 385,000 resistance. You saw that in the Bloomberg weekly Consumer Comfort Index improving from -47.5 to -44.8 week-over-week.

 

Keynesians, do you see the impact of your being able to do nothing fiscally and monetarily now?

 

Surely, they’ll have some political form of a back-slapping session after whatever this morning’s US Employment Report brings. Heck, they were back slapping when they were providing “stimulus” that didn’t work!

 

What could go wrong from here?

 

A lot; particularly with both Congress and the Fed coming back from vacation.

 

The biggest risk from here is that Bernanke and/or Geithner come back into our lives with the broken promise that their next central plan (like the housing forgiveness thing for Bank of America yesterday) is going to provide us with the elixir of a mediocre life.

 

Recognizing this American Zeitgeist for what it is will either provide President Obama with his greatest opportunity for re-election or it will prove to be his Waterloo.

 

This isn’t a Republican vs Democrat thing – this is an evolution thing. Both parties have had a bi-partisan agreement on 1 thing for the last decade – Keynesian Economics in their policy making. When The People want that to change, what do you do Sirs?

 

Let the Locking of The Horns begin.

 

My immediate-term support and resistance ranges for the Gold, Oil (Brent), EUR/USD, Shanghai Comp, German DAX, and the SP500 are now $1, $111.61-113.96, $1.28-1.30, 2150-2211, 5, and 1, respectively.

 

Best of luck out there today,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

Locking Horns - Chart of the Day

 

Locking Horns - Virtual Portfolio


Daily Trading Ranges

20 Proprietary Risk Ranges

Daily Trading Ranges is designed to help you understand where you’re buying and selling within the risk range and help you make better sales at the top end of the range and purchases at the low end.

THE M3: CHINA LOANS

The Macau Metro Monitor, January 6, 2012

 

 

CHINA'S BIG FOUR BANKS MADE CNY210 BILLION OF NEW LOANS IN DECEMBER 21st Century Business Herald

A representative of a major Chinese bank said the CNY210 BN was higher than expected due to a sharp increase in deposits in the last week of December.  For 2011, new loans by all financial institutions are estimated to total CNY 7.4 TN.


THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK

 

TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP – January 6, 2012

 

Sold my Growth Slowing position in Fixed Income yesterday (US Treasury Flattener – FLAT = +28% gain). I’d held that position for a year and felt all warm and fuzzy about the buy-and-hold on conviction thing. Onto the next - KM

 

As we look at today’s set up for the S&P 500, the range is 19 points or -1.10% downside to 1267 and 0.39% upside to 1286. 

 

SECTOR AND GLOBAL PERFORMANCE

 

For the 3rdconsecutive day, the SP500 holds my long-term TAIL line of 1267 support. Not only did it test that level on the lows of the morning, but its bounce was finally confirmed by some volume. I don’t mean real volume. I just mean +19% more volume that my immediate-term average.

 

Volatility continues to breakdown as the US Dollar continues to breakout. Strong/Stable Currency = Stronger Employment, Confidence, and Consumption. I’ll stay on this until it stops.

 

All 9 Sectors remain bullish from an immediate-term TRADE perspective and I remain long of 2 of them (Consumer Discretionary, which has been a Top 2 Sector in both of the last 2 days, and Utilities, which I bought back on down move – Citi downgraded Utilities today and XLU closed up).

 

If tomorrow’s employment report is a bomb, a lot might change in a hurry. If it’s not, we’ll likely move to Day 4 of a bullish confirmation. - KM

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - hrmsl

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - bpgm1

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - hrmsp

 

EQUITY SENTIMENT:

  • ADVANCE/DECLINE LINE:  -75 (-1734) 
  • VOLUME: NYSE 759.44 (-11%)
  • VIX:  21.48 -3.33% YTD PERFORMANCE: -8.21%
  • SPX PUT/CALL RATIO: 1.69 from 1.99 (-15%)

 

CREDIT/ECONOMIC MARKET LOOK:

 

TREASURIES – let the masses focus on whatever it is they flip to day to day; today, I’ll be focused on 1 line in the sand and that’s the intermediate-term TREND line of 2.03% resistance on the 10yr UST; a sustained close > than 2.03%, combined w/ repeated closes > 1267 for the SP500 will have me doing more of what I have been doing for a month (buying stocks, selling bonds).

  • TED SPREAD: 57.23
  • 3-MONTH T-BILL YIELD: 0.02%
  • 10-Year: 2.02 from 2.00   
  • YIELD CURVE: 1.75 from 1.75

 

GLOBAL MACRO DATA POINTS (Bloomberg Estimates):

  • Eurozone Nov Retail Sales (2.5%) y/y vs consensus (0.8%) and prior revised to (0.7%) from (0.4%)
  • Payrolls may have climbed by 155k workers in Dec. after rising 120k the previous month, economists est.
  • Fed officials are nearing agreement on adopting inflation goal as Bernanke extends his push for improving transparency
  • Eurozone Dec consumer confidence (21.9) vs consensus (21.2) prior (20.4)
  • Eurozone Nov unemployment rate +10.3% vs consensus +10.3% and prior +10.3%

WHAT TO WATCH:

  • 8:30am: Nonfarm Payrolls, Dec., est. 155k (prior 120k)
  • 8:30am: Unemployment Rate, Dec., 8.7% from 8.6%
  • 9am: Fed’s Dudley speaks in N.J.
  • 10:20am: Fed’s Rosengren speaks on economy on Connecticut
  • 12:40pm: Fed’s Duke speaks on economy in Richmond
  • 1pm: Baker Hughes rig count
  • 1pm: Fed’s Raskin speaks on community banking in Baltimore

 COMMODITY/GROWTH EXPECTATION (HEADLINES FROM BLOOMBERG)

  • China Forestry Auditor KPMG Resigns Citing Valuation Concern
  • Gold Traders More Bullish After Bear Market Averted: Commodities
  • Thieves Defy Death to Tap Metal Price Boom as U.K. Cracks Down
  • Resilient Pubs May Appeal to Investors More Optimistic on U.K.
  • Nestle Gains With Heinz as China Fears Local Food Safety: Retail
  • Alcoa to Cut Smelting Capacity by 12% After Aluminum Decline
  • Oil Little Changed as Europe’s Economy Limits This Week’s Gain
  • Stocks Reverse Declines as Banks Rally; Treasuries, Euro Retreat
  • Palm Oil Output in Malaysia Seen at Nine-Month Low on Floods
  • Gold Set for Best Week Since December as Haven Demand Increases
  • BHP’s Ekati Mine May Fetch Less Than $500 Million, Investec Says
  • ENRC to Buy First Quantum’s Congo Assets for $1.25 Billion
  • Oil Heading for Weekly Gain on U.S. Economy, Iranian Tensions
  • Gold to Outperform Dow Index on ‘Fear Trade,’ SICA Wealth Says
  • Rich to Invest More in Commodities, Reduce Cash, Survey Says
  • Copper Trims Weekly Loss as U.S. Data May Lift Demand Prospects
  • Platinum-Gold Ratio Drops to 0.8677, Lowest Since at Least 1987
  • Soybeans, Corn Advance as USDA Seen Paring Stockpiles Estimates
  • Raw Sugar Declines Most Since Mid-September; Coffee, Cocoa Drop

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - dcommv

 

CURRENCIES

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - dcurrv

 

EUROPEAN MARKETS

 

GERMANY – both bunds and stocks starting to act like the fiscal champ Germany has become; no matter what the fanfare and/or finger pointing is here in the US re the Europeans, Germany’s employment and fiscal position is better than USA’s and now the DAX is holding TRADE and TREND lines of support. Haven’t bought it yet, but I will.

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - bpem1

 

ASIAN MARKETS

 

JAPAN – down -1.2% last night puts Japanese Equities into the cellar of the major/liquid markets for the 1st week of the year. Away from being grounded by Keynesian policy, Japan has more issues than Time Magazine – so watch this market (because consensus isn’t). Japan needs to rollover 31.2% of its sov debt in 2012 – that’s 3 TRILLION Yens (a lot of yens = $566B USD)

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - bpam1

  

MIDDLE EAST (HEADLINES FROM BLOOMBERG)

 

  • Sheikh Holding IPad Gazes at Breitling Before Winning Melbourne
  • Obama Returns to Bush Plan for Cutting U.S. Troops in Europe
  • Dana Gas Sukuk Sink on Debt Payment Concerns: Islamic Finance
  • Fewer, Better Nuclear Weapons Can Make the U.S. Stronger: View
  • Mubarak, El-Adli Should Be Executed, Egypt Prosecution Says
  • Japan to Express Concerns to U.S. Over Possible Iranian Oil Ban
  • Oil May Fall Amid Iranian Threat and Rising Dollar, Survey Shows
  • Oil Heading for Weekly Gain on U.S. Economy, Iranian Tensions
  • MTN Drops on Nigeria’s Doubling Fuel Costs, Iran Concern
  • Saudi Arabia Moved 6 Million Barrels of Oil a Day Through Hormuz
  • U.K. Opposes Pre-Emptive Strike on Iran, Will Act If Hormuz Shut
  • Gold Has Longest Rally in 10 Weeks on Iran ‘Fear,’ U.K. Warning
  • European Refiners Seek to Replace Iran Crude as EU Nears Ban
  • Formosa Buys Extra Crude, Naphtha in Case of Iran Supply Cut
  • Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Plan Naval Exercises, General Says
  • Dubai, Fujairah Ports Busy as Usual Amid Hormuz Passage Threat
  • As Currency Crisis And Feud With West Deepen, Iranians Brace for War
  • Italy’s Monti Questions Scope, Timing of EU Ban on Iranian Oil

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - me

 

The Hedgeye Macro Team

Howard Penney

Managing Director


BBBY: Shorting

Keith added BBBY to the virtual portfolio on the short side into the close.

 

The money making call on BBBY was to go long because it looked expensive – for 2 years. But, now the top line is rolling and the Q4 sales/gross margin setup is unfavorable as the company continues to shift into lower margin merchandise. In addition, the quality of earnings is starting to deteriorate with SG&A cuts and a lower tax rate driving the recent beat.

 

BBBY: Shorting - BBBY


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