European Banking Monitor: SMP – Another Goose Egg

Below are key European banking risk monitors, which are included as part of Josh Steiner and the Financial team's "Monday Morning Risk Monitor".  If you'd like to receive the work of the Financials team or request a trial please email .


Key Takeaways:


* Spanish sovereign swaps continue to climb. At 502 bps this morning, they are up 102 bps from a month earlier and are up 38 bps vs. the prior week. Italian swaps stand at 435 bps, up 17 bps week over week and up 80 bps vs. a month earlier. For reference, Spanish swaps just hit an all time high as of this morning, narrowly eclipsing their highs of November last year (497 bps). Italian swaps are still a good bit below their prior highs.


* Both American and European Bank CDS were wider WoW. Bank swaps are reflecting the deterioration in creditworthiness in Spain, an economy roughly 5x as large as that of Greece. Get ready for 2011 all over again as we watch Spanish swaps climb and climb and concerns surrounding that rise escalate. 


* Euribor-OIS has ceased tightening. After steadily falling since the start of the year, the risk measure has essentially flattened out at the 40-41 bps level. This had been a key measure we were using to gauge the perceived risk in the counterparty system.


* High yield rates rose 4 bps last week underscoring increasing risk in the market. 



Euribor-OIS spread – The Euribor-OIS spread (the difference between the euro interbank lending rate and overnight indexed swaps) measures bank counterparty risk in the Eurozone. The OIS is analogous to the effective Fed Funds rate in the United States.  Banks lending at the OIS do not swap principal, so counterparty risk in the OIS is minimal.  By contrast, the Euribor rate is the rate offered for unsecured interbank lending.  Thus, the spread between the two isolates counterparty risk. The Euribor-OIS spread was flat ending the week at 41 bps.


European Banking Monitor: SMP – Another Goose Egg - Euribor


ECB Liquidity Recourse to the Deposit Facility – The ECB Liquidity Recourse to the Deposit Facility measures banks’ overnight deposits with the ECB.  Taken in conjunction with excess reserves, the ECB deposit facility measures excess liquidity in the Euro banking system.  An increase in this metric shows that banks are borrowing from the ECB.  In other words, the deposit facility measures one element of the ECB response to the crisis.  Banks deposited €742.8 billion in the latest reading.


European Banking Monitor: SMP – Another Goose Egg - 11. facility


European Financials CDS Monitor –  Bank swaps were wider in Europe last week for 37 of the 40 reference entities. The average widening was 5.6% and the median widening was 4.8%.


European Banking Monitor: SMP – Another Goose Egg - 11. banks


Security Market Program – For a fifth straight week the ECB's secondary sovereign bond purchasing program, the Securities Market Program (SMP), purchased no sovereign paper for the latest week ended 4/13, to take the total program to €214 Billion.


February-to-date the Bank has purchased a mere €210 Million versus €2.2 BILLION in the week ended 1/20 and €3.8 BILLION in the week 1/12.


The standstill comes as market risk returns.  While there are other channels to suck up sovereign bond issuance, including through funding from the two 36-month LTRO programs, the SMP’s lack of buying may send a negative signal to market participants that are already weary of the sovereign and bank risks bubbling in Spain.


European Banking Monitor: SMP – Another Goose Egg - 11. SMP


Matthew Hedrick

Senior Analyst


Revising April projection a little lower 



Not surprisingly, average daily table revenue (ADTR) increased week over week with the opening of Sands Cotai Central (SCC).  We would’ve expected a bigger week over week increase than 2% as the past week included four days of SCC.  However, we have heard that SCC may have held low in its first few days of operations.  Either way, it’s way too early to make any conclusions about the performance of SCC and its impact on market growth.


We are slightly lowering our monthly projection to HK$23.5-24.5 billion which would represent YoY growth of 18-23%. 




Despite the opening of SCC, LVS lost 60bps of MTD share in the past week but share remains close to trend.  Wynn picked up the most share sequentially, up to 13.2% and well above trend.




The most important meal of the day.










Comments: Keith booked a gain in BWLD on Friday in the Hedgeye Virtual Portfolio. His quantitative model was indicating that the stock was oversold on an immediate-term TRADE duration.  Our bearish fundamental view remains unchanged.





Commentary from CEO Keith McCullough


Bulls were looking for a Monday morning bounce – not happening; inflows are dead:

  1. EUROPE – the DAX is testing an intermediate-term TREND line breakdown of the 6614, so I’ll be watching that line closely as a barometer for what the correction in US stocks could look like (Germany’s jobs and fiscal situation is stronger than in the US); Spain and Italy look awful; we re-shorted France on Thursday as we think mean reversion there is to the downside
  2. COMMODITIES – getting blasted ever since the US Dollar stopped going down (2wks ago); got interconnectedness? We call this Deflating The Inflation, or unwinding Bernanke’s Bubbles (commodity bubble – see our slide deck). Gold and Copper down hard this morning after failing at $1675 and $3.73 levels of support last wk – both are in Bearish Formations (bearish on all 3 of our risk mgt durations)
  3. BOND YIELDS – 10yr UST yields snapping my intermediate-terrm TREND line of 2.03% last wk is very bullish for Treasuries until it isn’t. This happened in conjunction with a spike in weekly jobless claims (380,000) = Growth Slowing.

SP500’s immediate-term risk mgt range = 1.





THE HBM: CMG, DPZ - subsector





CMG: Chipotle was awarded the 2012 GRANDY Award by Creative Artists Agency for its animated short film “Back to the Start”.  “‘Back to the Start’ was never intended to be an ad; it was meant to be a short film to invite people on a journey with us to a more sustainable future,” said Mark Crumpacker, CMO at Chipotle.


DPZ: Domino’s was raised to “Buy” from “Hold” at Miller Tabak & Co.  The 12-month price target is $41 per share, or 15.5% higher than Friday’s close.




YUM: Yum gained on accelerating volume on Friday.  Bulls are buying on the expectation that the US business has improved in 2012.


SBUX: Starbucks also gained on accelerating volume to close the week.


COSI: Cosi declined -4.8% on accelerating volume.







EAT:  Brinker traded higher on strong volume.  The company is our second-favorite casual dining name but we have advised taking a cautious stance on the name given its outsized returns during the last six months and its vulnerability in the context of a slowdown in industry sales.  BWLD is our favorite name on the short side in casual dining, along with CBRL, TXRH, and CAKE on strength.


THE HBM: CMG, DPZ - stocks



Howard Penney

Managing Director


Rory Green



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.

Fiscal Picasso

“My mother said to me, 'If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.' Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.”

-Pablo Picasso


The Spanish painter Pablo Picasso had no shortage of belief in his intrinsic talent as a painter.  His point in the quote above was to basically say that if you are going to do something well, you should endeavor to do it better than anyone.  Something his nation is not currently doing well, let alone better than any other nation, is managing their sovereign debt load.


As we wake up this morning to another week of managing risk in the global macro markets, Spain, as we highlighted in a detailed note last week, is once again front and center.  The leading indicator of an acceleration of sovereign debt woes in Europe is the Euro, which has dropped just below $1.30 versus the U.S. dollar for the first time in two months.


The Euro is moving in anticipation that there are a series of Spanish debt auctions this week that may not go quite as planned.  Specifically, tomorrow Spain will sell 12 and 18-month notes.  This will be followed on Thursday by longer term debt due in October 2014 and January 2022.  Watching these auctions will be critical in determining whether the European Union has the wherewithal to contain the once again accelerating crisis in confidence in the European sovereign debt markets.


To that point, if the debt and CDS markets for Spain are any indication, the Spanish sovereign debt issues are far from contained.  Spanish 10-year yields are now at 6.16% and at levels not seen since December 2010.  Meanwhile, Spanish credit default swaps are, literally, at all-time highs.


As we’ve previously written, Spain is a bigger concern than Greece for many reasons, but most specifically because its economy is almost 5x that of its Hellenic neighbor and is the 12th largest economy in the world.  Clearly, Spain is not an insignificant player on the world stage.


To be fair, Spain’s sovereign debt load is not elevated to a level that would suggest as much stress as we are currently seeing in its debt markets.  In fact, according to Euro Stat, Spain’s federal debt balance as a percentage of GDP was only 69% at the end of 2011.  Many sovereign analysts believe the number is a bit of a misnomer though and when regional debts are included, which are in effect a recourse to the federal government, the total amount of debt is closer to 90%.


Regardless, the more pertinent issue in Spain is the acceleration of debt.  By Spain’s own projections, the nation will add more than 10% to its debt-to-GDP ratio this year, taking that ratio closer to 80% on Euro Stat’s numbers. This will lead the industrialized world in growth in debt-to-GDP.


Spanish unemployment hit 23.6% at the end of February and the unemployment rate for the youngest demographic in Spain is literally at 50%.  Given the structural unemployment issue, Spain is literally unable to grow out of its debt issues.  This lack of growth potential is clearly what the markets are starting to bake in to Spanish yields.  That is, if there is a way out, it is not going to be easy and certainly won’t occur before the nation becomes substantially more indebted. 


This weekend Paul Krugman of the New York Times, in typical fashion, suggested adding more Keynesian stimulus to the mix.  Or, at the very least, Krugman suggests dispensing with the “insane” austerity.  If the United States is any case study, accelerating government spending does not appear to be the path to sustained economic prosperity.  


Krugman may actually get his way in France, where Socialist Francoise Hollande is extending his lead over Nicolas Sarkozy.  Currently, Hollande is expecting to win both the first round (April 22nd) and the second round (May 6th) of French elections.  Sadly, we actually know how Socialism ends as well. 


The other rumor out of Europe this morning is that Spain may re-instate a short selling ban.  That is a little counter intuitive to us.  Even if the markets are not giving you much in the way of confidence votes, changing the rules mid game is not going to increase confidence. 


In other global macro news this morning, we are also seeing increased evidence of growth slowing and inflation accelerating.  On the growth front, Sweden cut its 2012 growth outlook from +1.3% to +0.4% and the Bank of Korea cut its 2012 growth forecast from +3.7% to +3.5%.  Meanwhile, inflationary data from India continued to come in hot as wholesale prices “beat” consensus estimates coming in at +6.9% versus the +6.7% estimate.


Switching gears, and while we wouldn’t normally flag Barron’s as a leading indicator for tail risk, the weekly publication did do a nice job this weekend discussing the next impending debt disaster in the United States, student loans.  In terms of scale, the almost $1 trillion in outstanding student debt is larger than both the auto loan market and credit card market.  The most interesting statistic quoted in the article is that college tuition is up 300% since 1990, which far outstrips the increase in more traditional measures of inflation by a factor of 4x.


At the end of the day, though, the vast majority of the student debt is guaranteed by the federal government, so on some level it has much more security than the typical sub-prime mortgage.  Just make sure you add the $1 trillion asterisk when calculating the debt-to-GDP of the United States. Fiscal Picassos, we are not.


The immediate-term support and resistance ranges for Gold, Oil (Brent), US Dollar Index, Japanese Yen (vs USD), Euro/USD, and the SP500 are now $1, $118.63-122.36, $79.64-80.27, $80.12-82.34, $1.29-1.31, and 1, respectively.


Keep your head up and stick on the ice,


Daryl G. Jones

Director of Research


Fiscal Picasso - Chart of the Day


Fiscal Picasso - Virtual Portfolio

Financial Repression

This note was originally published at 8am on April 02, 2012. INVESTOR and RISK MANAGER SUBSCRIBERS have access to the EARLY LOOK (published by 8am every trading day) and PORTFOLIO IDEAS in real-time.

“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 $1636-1679, $121.94-124.13, $78.74-79.30, $82.44-84.03, and 1404-1416, respectively.


Best of luck out there this week,



Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer


Financial Repression - Chart of the Day


Financial Repression - Virtual Portfolio