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THE HBM: WEN, YUM, MCD, SBUX, GMCR, DENN

THE HEDGEYE BREAKFAST MONITOR

 

MACRO NOTES

 

Commentary from CEO Keith McCullough


Plenty were hoping for a “China bounce” this morning, nope:

  1. PMI’s – China had two (1 beat, 1 missed – they probably made up both), but the rest of the world’s PMI prints (other than the UK’s, which beat by a 1 pt) were awful. Germany in particular was bad, down to 48.4 vs 50.2 in FEB (France = 46.7 vs 50 in FEB and Spain was nasty at 44.5); India’s missed too. #GrowthSlowing, globally
  2. GOLD – under pressure again this morning which surprises me given that bond yields stopped going down; Gold has had issues when Commodities broadly weaken – both the CRB Index and Gold are trading below their intermediate-term TREND lines of 312 and $1692, respectively. That’s new. Deflating The Inflation = in motion.
  3. BOND YIELDS – they’ve been the front runner in signaling Spanish credit problems and US Growth Slowing – no need to ignore that until they stop calling the broader intermediate-term TRENDS. UST 10yr yields failed at TAIL line resistance of 2.47% 3 weeks ago and are currently trading 2.22% (below immediate-term TRADE resistance of 2.26%).

Welcome to Q2.

KM

 

 

SUBSECTOR PERFORMANCE

 

THE HBM: WEN, YUM, MCD, SBUX, GMCR, DENN - subsector

 

 

QUICK SERVICE

 

WEN: Wendy’s ran advertisements in eight major U.S. newspapers stating that the chain has never used “pink slime” in its products.  CEO Emil Brolick explained the advertising campaign by saying that the company has only used fresh beef in the 40+ years the company has been in existence.

 

YUM/MCD: Yum and McDonald’s were two brands named in a study by India’s Center for Science and Environment which alleged that popular “junk food” brands were misleading the public through “wrong health claims and insufficient labeling, according to Forbes. The companies deny that they are misleading the public with their labels.

 

SBUX: Starbucks is planning a bigger push into smaller cities in China as the world’s largest coffee-shop operator triples stores in the country.  The country is set to become the company’s second-biggest market by 2014, Bloomberg news reports.

 

GMCR: Green Mountain was mentioned in an interview with Howard Schilit, forensic accountant, published in Barron's this weekend.  On the company's accounting practices, he had the following to say: "When you are telling me the business is still booming, but in order to make that assertion, you changed how you are accounting, that's just not fair play. Is it illegal? No. The auditors signed off on it. But the auditors are part of the problem."

 

 

NOTABLE PERFORMANCE ON ACCELERATING VOLUME:

 

COSI: Cosi declined on accelerating volume.

 

 

CASUAL DINING

 

DENN: Denny’s COO Robert Rodriguez left the company for “unexplained reasons after 18 months, effective immediately”, according to a statement from the company.

 

NOTABLE PERFORMANCE ON ACCELERATING VOLUME:

 

BJRI: BJ’s restaurants gained 2.1% on accelerating volume after being rated Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

 

RRGB: Red Robin Gourmet Burgers declined -1.3% on accelerating volume.  The company is reporting 3QFY12 earnings on Wednesday.

 

THE HBM: WEN, YUM, MCD, SBUX, GMCR, DENN - stocks

 

 

Howard Penney

Managing Director

 

Rory Green

Analyst

 


Tranquil Occupation

This note was originally published at 8am on March 19, 2012. INVESTOR and RISK MANAGER SUBSCRIBERS have access to the EARLY LOOK (published by 8am every trading day) and PORTFOLIO IDEAS in real-time.

“It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation, that gives happiness.”

-Thomas Jefferson

 

The first time I made the Inflation Slows Growth call (Q1 of 2008), I was a little stressed out. I was just starting a new company. I had everything to lose. Plenty of people were shooting against me.

 

The second time (Q1 of 2011), I had a much larger research team working alongside me and our confidence was high that consensus was way too bullish. People started to believe in our process.

 

This time (Q1 of 2012), from a fundamental Growth and Inflation perspective, very few factors in our risk management model suggest it’s going to be different. Growth continues to slow, globally, as inflation accelerates.

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

While the calculus associated with how inflation slows real (inflation adjusted) growth is trivial, consensus calculations addressing this very basic real-world relationship are not.

 

Let’s look Credit Suisse’s latest “Reasons To Be Positive On Equities”:

  1. “Bond yields could rise further – this might help equities”
  2. “The Macro environment is supportive – Economic momentum indicators suggest global and US growth is still well above consensus”
  3. “The dovishness of central banks and the synchronized QE as the end game”

I’ll stop with their first 3 reasons as the next 6 have to do with the run-of-the-mill bull market thesis that has had people run right over if they bought Equities at the end of Q1 2008 or Q1 2011 (‘the world is awash with liquidity… stocks are cheap… blah, blah, blah’).

 

First, in addressing reasons 1-3 in order, I always start debates with my analysts with questions:

  1. Does the thesis change if bond yields don’t rise further?
  2. What’s consensus GDP; what’s your outside of consensus forecast; and what track record do you have in making these GDP calls?
  3. What’s different this time about central bank easing that won’t perpetuate inflation and, in turn, slow growth?

So, if you are meeting with Credit Suisse or JP Morgan’s Tom Lee in the coming weeks, see if they can answer those 3 questions.

 

Facts about reasons 1-3:

  1. Bond Yields rising to their YTD highs in Q1 of 2011 were not a buy signal for stocks – they were a huge head-fake
  2. US GDP growth slowed hard in the face of $120 (Brent) oil  in Q1/Q2 2011 to 0.36% and 1.34%, respectively
  3. On the margin, the only central bank of the 3 majors that can cut rates to 0% from here is the ECB

Furthermore, our risk management models suggest that reasons 1-3 need to be contextualized:

  1. 10-year US Treasury Yield TRADE, TREND, and TAIL lines are 2.12%, 2.03%, and 2.47%, respectively
  2. Our “low” and “high” scenarios for US GDP growth in Q1 and Q2 of 2012 are 0.9% and 1.7% (y/y), respectively
  3. The Sovereign Surprise of 2012 could be Japan, resorting to BOJ money printing, which would be US Dollar bullish (hawkish)

In other words, making a call that everyone is going to dog pile into Equities after this compressed smack-down move in Treasury Bonds is not one that is backed by anything that’s actually been happening in the world since 2008.

 

In theory, it makes sense. And in actuality, since Equity “fund flows” and volumes are dead, that’s what the Equity market needs (rotation out of bonds into stocks). But, to be clear, what people need in this business and what’s going to occur, can be two very different things.

 

Because an equity fund manager needs to chase performance or a pension fund needs to target a rate of return, doesn’t mean anything at all really. Markets do not care about what any of us need.

 

No matter what your successes or failures for 2012 YTD, what you need to get right from here are the slopes of Growth and Inflation. How does accelerating inflation infect growth? What pace of Deflating The Inflation could foster sustainable US Consumption Growth?

 

My Tranquil Occupation isn’t perma bull or perma bear – it’s perma process. In order to answer all of the aforementioned questions, you need a process that has proven to be both accurate and repeatable.

 

What would get me on board with some of Credit Suisse’s thoughts on US Equities:

  1. US Dollar Index breakout into the mid-80s (versus $79.81 this morning)
  2. US Treasury Yields (10-year) breaking out > 2.47% and holding there
  3. US Federal Reserve? Get them out of the way

My scenario is at least consistent. The Credit Suisse report wants you to believe that both bond yields and growth expectations can break-out to the upside while maintaining “synchronized QE” from central banks. By definition, all 3 of those things can’t happen at the same time. Unless, of course, the Fed is as conflicted and compromised as the world is beginning to believe it is.

 

My immediate-term support and resistance ranges for Gold, Oil (Brent), US Dollar Index, US Treasury 10-year Yields, and the SP500 are now $1636-1679, $124.69-127.49, $79.55-79.93, 2.12-2.38%, and 1377-1409, respectively.

 

Best of luck out there today,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

Tranquil Occupation - Chart of the Day

 

Tranquil Occupation - Virtual Portfolio


BACCARAT MAY HAVE WEIGHED DOWN STRIP IN FEB

Despite strong airport and taxi traffic, it’s all gonna come down to the Big B.

 

 

With McCarran Airport traffic increasing 6.6% and taxi trips up 10.0% YoY, one would expect blowout gaming revenues for February.  Leap year probably contributed 3-4% of the surge in traffic.  However, with Chinese New Year falling in January of this year and February of last year, the comparison is very difficult.  Remember that with a favorable comparison, the Strip experienced a 163% YoY increase in Baccarat drop in January 2012. 

 

Assuming normal hold – a big assumption – we think baccarat volume needs to be down 20% for gaming revenues to be flat.  Anything worse would result in negative gaming revenue growth.  The problem is that at down 20%, combined January and February baccarat drop would total $2.5 billion, approximately 25% higher than 2010’s record.  We consider this unlikely.  It looks like the Strip will need above average hold for revenues to show growth in February.

 

February could be a disappointment to the MGM and CZR bulls.  Here are our projections:

 

BACCARAT MAY HAVE WEIGHED DOWN STRIP IN FEB - FEB1

 

BACCARAT MAY HAVE WEIGHED DOWN STRIP IN FEB - vegas2


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THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK

TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP – April 2, 2012


As we look at today’s set up for the S&P 500, the range is 12 points or -0.32% downside to 1404 and 0.53% upside to 1416. 

 

SECTOR AND GLOBAL PERFORMANCE

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 1

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 2

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 3

 

 

EQUITY SENTIMENT: 

  • ADVANCE/DECLINE LINE: 473 (1135) 
  • VOLUME: NYSE 966.39 (18.23%)
  • VIX:  15.50 0.13% YTD PERFORMANCE: -33.76%
  • SPX PUT/CALL RATIO: 2.63 from 1.49 (76.51%) 

CREDIT/ECONOMIC MARKET LOOK:


PMI’s – China had two (1 beat, 1 missed – they probably made up both), but the rest of the world’s PMI prints (other than the UK’s, which beat by a 1 pt) were awful. Germany in particular was bad, down to 48.4 vs 50.2 in FEB (France = 46.7 vs 50 in FEB and Spain was nasty at 44.5); India’s missed too. #GrowthSlowing, globally.

 

BOND YIELDS – they’ve been the front runner in signaling Spanish credit problems and US Growth Slowing – no need to ignore that until they stop calling the broader intermediate-term TRENDS. UST 10yr yields failed at TAIL line resistance of 2.47% 3 weeks ago and are currently trading 2.22% (below immediate-term TRADE resistance of 2.26%). 

  • TED SPREAD: 40.20
  • 3-MONTH T-BILL YIELD: 0.07%
  • 10-Year: 2.21 from 2.21
  • YIELD CURVE: 1.87 from 1.88 

MACRO DATA POINTS (Bloomberg Estimates):

  • 10am: Construction Spending (M/m), Feb., est. 0.7% (prior - 0.1%)
  • 10am: ISM Manufacturing., Mar., est. 53.0 (prior 52.4)
  • 10am: Fed’s Bullard’s Tsinghua University remarks from last week will be released
  • 11:30am: U.S. to sell $31b 3-mo., $29b 6-mo. bills
  • 12:35pm: Fed’s Pianalto speaks in Ohio

 GOVERNMENT:

    • Canada’s prime minister, Mexico’s president visit President Obama
    • International Trade Commission announces status of finding that cleared Julius Glatz GmbH of infringing Schweitzer- Mauduit  International patents
    • House, Senate on recess 

WHAT TO WATCH: 

  • Manufacturing probably climbed to 53 in March from 52.4 in Feb., economists said before a report today
  • Express Scripts, Medco may be approved by regulators as early as this week
  • China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 53.1 in March from 51 the previous month, a 1-yr high
  • European finance ministers unveiled a package over the weekend including $667b in fresh bailout funds
  • Euro-area Feb. unemployment rate rises to 10.8%, highest in 14+ yrs, est. 10.8%
  • Pinnacle Airlines sought bankruptcy protection
  • Groupon’s latest restatement heightens concern about the reliability of the company’s financial reporting: analysts
  • Enterprise Products asking federal regulators for the freedom to set rates on its Seaway pipeline
  • Global Payments says card breach affected fewer than 1.5m numbers
  • Republican presidential contests take place tomorrow in Wisconsin, Maryland, Washington, D.C.
  • Yahoo! is preparing to start layoffs of potentially thousands of employees next week: AllThingsD
  • No IPOs scheduled: Bloomberg data  

COMMODITY/GROWTH EXPECTATION (HEADLINES FROM BLOOMBERG)


GOLD – under pressure again this morning which surprises us given that bond yields stopped going down; Gold has had issues when Commodities broadly weaken – both the CRB Index and Gold are trading below their intermediate-term TREND lines of 312 and $1692, respectively. That’s new. Deflating The Inflation = in motion. 

  • Speculators Trimming Wagers as Goldman Goes Neutral: Commodities
  • Corn Rises for Second Day Following Decline in U.S. Stockpiles
  • Copper May Rise as Gauge of Chinese Manufacturing Strengthens
  • Oil Rises a Second Day as China Economy Boosts Demand Outlook
  • Gold May Decline in London as Indian Strike Cuts Physical Demand
  • Robusta Coffee Rises, Lifted by Contract Delivery; Sugar Drops
  • Gold Imports by India Plunge in March After Industry Shutdown
  • S&P 500 Beating Gold Most Since 1999 as Earnings Estimates Rise
  • Palm Oil Rallies to Highest in a Year on U.S. Soybean Forecast
  • Petronas Plans Canadian Acquisition Topping $5 Billion: Energy
  • Molycorp Seen Too Cheap as Rare Earth Lures Deal Talk: Real M&A
  • Petronas Struggles to Replace Iranian Crude for Durban Refinery
  • PetroChina’s Oil Output Trumps Exxon, Rosneft: Chart of the Day
  • Copper May Extend Best Quarter Since 2010
  • Jewelers in India Strike for 17th Day Over Higher Gold Tax
  • Sino-Forest Glimpse Made Buyers Run Away: Corporate Canada
  • Funds Cut Bullish Gas Bets as Supply Glut Grows: Energy Markets

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 4

 

 

CURRENCIES

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 5

 

 

EUROPEAN MARKETS


THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 6

 

 

ASIAN MARKETS

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 7

 

 

MIDDLE EAST


THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 8

 

 

 

The Hedgeye Macro Team

 

 



Financial Repression

“Such policies, known as financial repression, usually involve a strong connection between the government, central bank, and financial sector.”

-Carmen M. Reinhart

 

While Keynesian central planners continue to hope that they can suspend economic gravity, hope is not a risk management process. This morning’s economic data out of Europe continues to show you what Financial Repression looks like. Not good. Not going away.

 

The good news on this front is that it’s not different this time. Co-author of one of the most empirically damning books against Policies To Inflate through currency devaluation and/or sovereign debt pile-ups (This Time Is Different), Carmen Reinhart, wrote an excellent paper on March 11th that was, shockingly, not highlighted by The Ben Bernank in any of his daily Dollar Debauchery speeches last week.

 

Reinhart’s thesis, “Financial Repression Has Come Back To Stay”, is very similar to what we have called The Bernank Tax: “In the US, as in Europe, at present, this means consistent negative real interest rates (yielding less than the rate of inflation) that are equivalent to a tax on bondholders and, more generally, savers.”

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

While the Fed Chairman remains laser-like focused on “laws” that are nothing more than social science stories (Okun’s Law), the rest of the world doesn’t seem so interested in his career risk management. People with real money in the game continue to search for the truth.

 

The truth is that the pace of Global Growth Slowing has picked up, sequentially, in the last month. While plenty a perma-bull was anchoring on 1 of the 2 China PMI prints released this weekend (1 beat, 1 missed – they were both probably made up), here’s the truth about PMI reports around the world in March versus February:

  1. USA 62 MAR vs 64 FEB
  2. China 53 MAR vs 51 FEB (or 48 MAR vs 50 FEB)
  3. India 54 MAR vs 56 FEB
  4. Germany 48 MAR vs 50 FEB
  5. France 47 MAR vs 50 FEB
  6. Spain 44.5 MAR vs 45 FEB

In other words, if you look at 47% of Global GDP (these 6 countries combined = approximately $29.5T in GDP), it’s slowing.

 

Now if you want to be the bull instead of being the perma Risk Manager on this top line matter, you might say ‘well hey, the UK PMI print for MAR was 52 versus 51.5 in FEB.’ And I’ll be the first to agree with you – it’s just a fact - as is Italy missing their PMI and printing a 10-year high in its unemployment rate of 9.3%.

 

Taking a step back, since Growth Slowing around this time last year didn’t wake up a lot of people until it was way too late, it’s important to reconcile why perma-bull pundits don’t get paid to see the obvious. It’s called anchoring – “a cognitive bias that describes the common human tendency to rely heavily, or “anchor”, on one piece of information when making decisions.” (Wikipedia)

 

Anchored: Washington and Old Wall Street based “economists” still think, for example, that US GDP is tracking “around 3%.” Why? Well, because the US GDP report for Q4 of 2011 was, uh, 3%!

 

You’ll find the complexion of the Q4 2011 US GDP report (C + I + G + (EX-IM)) interesting:

  1. GDP = +2.97% (up from 1.81% SAAR in Q311)
  2. Consumer Goods = +1.29% (up from +0.33% in Q311)
  3. Consumer Services = +0.19% (down from +0.9% in Q311)
  4. Fixed Investment = +0.78% (down from +1.52% in Q311)
  5. Inventories = +1.81% (up from 1.35% from Q311)
  6. Government = -0.84% (down from -0.02% in Q311)
  7. Exports = 0.37% (down from +0.64% in Q311)
  8. *Deflator = 0.84%

In other words, if the US Government uses a low enough “Deflator” (you subtract inflation from GDP to get the real (inflation adjusted) GDP number), it can pretty much tell you that US Economic Growth is whatever it wants it to be. In an election year, that’s just great.

 

But is this economy great? I think anyone who drives their own vehicle in it knows that inflation in cost of goods is running at least +300-500% higher than the GDP Deflator of 0.84% (so is the composite of US CPI and PPI).

 

Q: So, what happens to GDP when:

  1. The Nominal GDP growth rate declines sequentially like it just did (Q4 to Q1)
  2. The inflation rate rises sequentially like it just did (Q4 to Q1)

A: Real (inflation adjusted) Growth Slows.

 

Notwithstanding that Consumer Services slowing and Inventories rising in Q4 wasn’t a bad signal in and of itself in terms of Q4 “growth” mix, what you are seeing in Q1/Q2 of 2012 is the other side of Bernank’s War –it’s called Financial Repression.

 

My immediate-term support and resistance ranges for Gold, Oil (Brent), US Dollar Index, Japanese Yen (vs USD), and the SP500 are now $1, $121.94-124.13, $78.74-79.30, $82.44-84.03, and 1, respectively.

 

Best of luck out there this week,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

Financial Repression - Chart of the Day

 

Financial Repression - Virtual Portfolio


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