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The Real Test

This note was originally published at 8am on June 13, 2012. INVESTOR and RISK MANAGER SUBSCRIBERS have access to the EARLY LOOK (published by 8am every trading day) and PORTFOLIO IDEAS in real-time.

“The real test is how you behave when the crowd is roaring the other way.”

-George Goodman

 

Question: from an expectations perspective, have markets really changed since George Goodman penned The Money Game in 1968? As the weak whisper and the manic chase, that question has been on my mind for the last few weeks. Just a question.

 

While I’m at it, here’s another question: are you #Fedup yet? This morning’s Most Read (Bloomberg) headline = “US Stocks Gain Amid Speculation of More Fed Stimulus.” That’s awesome, right?

 

Right, right. And so is eating yellow snow.

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

Maybe Bernanke should read something from the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Actually, wait a minute, Fred Kelly wrote in 1930 that “the crowd always loses”, so maybe Bernanke did read that. The man knows the 1930’s!

 

The Real Test in this game is not whether you are a student of one window of history. It’s whether or not you can beat the crowd. If Bernanke thinks he can thread the needle here into and out of next week’s FOMC meeting (June 20th), I say godspeed to him on that. He’s got the crowd right addicted to the drugs at this point, so how this all ends is anyone’s guess.

 

That said, I bought Gold and took my US Equity exposure up from 0% to 6% on red yesterday morning. Heck, why not roll the bones with The Bernank? This guy is a genius. Or at least that’s what the Washington crowd says.

 

Obviously I don’t play this game like roulette. That’s what some other people do (with other people’s money). The moves I make on red and green are based solely on my process. That investment process has 2 big parts:

 

A)     The Research View

B)      The Risk Management View

 

To be crystal clear, research and risk management are two very different things.

 

Quite often, as is the case with evaluating Fed Policy, what our research says Bernanke should do (nothing) and what he might do (something) are opposing thoughts.

 

When that happens, The Real Test is to remain sane and press the right buttons at the right time.

 

Timing? Yep, it matters.

 

In a market that’s being driven by a Correlation Risk that’s going to 1, timing matters, big time. Get the daily direction of the US Dollar right, and you’ll get a lot of other things right. With the USD down -0.35% yesterday, the best performing sector in the SP500 was the commodity heavy Basic Materials sector (XLB) at +1.9%.

 

Here’s an update on that (correlation risk between the US Dollar Index and everything else on a 2-month duration):

  1. SP500 = -0.92
  2. Euro Stoxx600 = -0.94
  3. CRB Commodities Index = -0.93
  4. WTI Crude Oil =  -0.95
  5. Gold = -0.78
  6. Rubber = -0.93

I really hope you haven’t been long Rubber for the last 2 months.

 

Hope, of course, is not a risk management process. Neither is whining about “valuation” while ignoring the Correlation Risk. When it matters, it matters – and your Real Test as a real-time Risk Manager is to solve for that.

 

This is why I have been so hard on Bernanke and Geithner. If we get their dogmas and policies out of the way, we’re making the 1stcritical (causal) step in getting expectations for more USD driven correlation risk out of the way.

 

I know, it makes simple sense. What is not simple is that short-term political career risk (admitting they’ve had this all wrong since going to Qe2) gets in the way of the truth.

 

The truth is that Big Government Intervention policy expectations drive market expectations. That’s not free-market capitalism. That’s just really screwed up.

 

Maybe I’ll be long Gold for an hour. Maybe I’ll be long it for a week. Maybe I’ll be long it to $2,000 an ounce. I have no idea. And I shouldn’t, because I have no idea what this un-elected central market planner is going to do next.

 

What I do know is that if Obama gives Bernanke the political weaponry to debauch the Dollar one more time before the election, Gold and Oil are going to rip, and #GrowthSlowing is going to become the Research View of 2012.

 

My immediate-term support and resistance ranges for Gold, Oil (Brent), US Dollar, EUR/USD, and the SP500 are now $1604-1648, $96.27-99.42, $81.98-82.56, $1.24-1.26, and 1304-1340, respectively.

 

Best of luck out there today,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

The Real Test - Chart of the Day

 

The Real Test - Virtual Portfolio


ECONOMICS LIKELY ATTRACTIVE FOR MPEL IN PHILIPPINES

Media reports of MPEL involvement in Philippines deal are probably accurate.

 

 

We think MPEL may have reached a deal to invest US$200-300 million in an integrated casino resort project already under construction.  The project is a joint venture between local property developer Belle Corp and Leisure & Resorts World, a Philippine bingo operator.  Total project cost may be as high as $1 billion.

 

MPEL would manage the casino and together with its investment, could have rights to over 50% of the cash flow.  This looks like an incredibly high ROI opportunity for MPEL.  We believe that Resorts World Manila, the only integrated casino resort in the Philippines, is generating $250-300 million in EBITDA on its current $650 million investment.  Even if one assumes only $200 million in EBITDA for the Belle Casino, that would generate an ROI of at least 50% to MPEL.

 

Obviously, there are regulatory issues in closing this transaction; not so much with MPEL, however.  The Australian authorities may have issues with James Packer and Crown doing business in the Philippines.  Some foreign regulators have voiced concerns about PAGCOR serving as both an operator and regulator of casinos.  Of course, the Philippines also maintains some notoriety with regards to corruption.


THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK

TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP – June 27, 2012


As we look at today’s set up for the S&P 500, the range is 30 points or -1.06% downside to 1306 and 1.21% upside to 1336. 

                                            

SECTOR AND GLOBAL PERFORMANCE


THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 1

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 2

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 3

 

 

EQUITY SENTIMENT:

  • ADVANCE/DECLINE LINE: on 6/26 NYSE 833
    • Up from the prior day’s trading of -1657
  • VOLUME: on 6/26 NYSE 712.29
    • Decrease versus prior day’s trading of -5.50%
  • VIX:  as of 6/26 was at 19.72
    • Decrease versus most recent day’s trading of -3.24%
    • Year-to-date decrease of -15.73%
  • SPX PUT/CALL RATIO: as of 6/26 closed at 1.55
    • Down from the day prior at 1.86 

CREDIT/ECONOMIC MARKET LOOK:


CLIFF – as in the USA fiscal kind, draws closer as the denominator (GDP) goes lower. Keith wrote in the Early Look note yesterday about the UST 2yr being one of my proxies for sov debt risk. It’s certainly not the only indicator, but how it moves (on the margin) matters. Long-term TAIL support for the 2yr has been 0.28%; well above that at 0.31% this morning – that compresses the Yield Spread too. 

  • TED SPREAD: as of this morning 37
  • 3-MONTH T-BILL YIELD: as of this morning 0.09%
  • 10-Year: as of this morning 1.63
    • Unchanged from prior day’s trading
  • YIELD CURVE: as of this morning 1.33
    • Up from prior day’s trading at 1.32 

MACRO DATA POINTS (Bloomberg Estimates):

  • 7am: MBA Mortgage Applications, June 22 (prior -0.8%)
  • 8:30am: Durable Goods Orders, May, est. 0.4% (prior 0.0%)
  • 8:30am: Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, May, est. 1.7% (prior -1.9%)
  • 8:30am: Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, May (prior -1.4%)
  • 10am: Pending Home Sales M/m, May, est. 1.5% (prior -5.5%)
  • 11am: Fed to buy $1.5-2.2b notes in 2/15/2036-5/15/2042 range
  • 1pm: U.S. to sell $35b 5-yr notes 

GOVERNMENT:

    • House, Senate in session
    • Lawmakers in House, Senate will try to clear transportation funding bill and measure on student loans; may tie them together to win passage
    • House Transportation Committee panel hearing on Jones Act waivers issued last year after strategic oil reserve was tapped in response to supply disruptions caused by the conflict in Libya; DOT Deputy Secretary John Porcar is to testify, 10am
    • House Natural Resources Cmte hearing on hydropower, 10am
    • House Financial Services Committee meets to consider its third semiannual report on the panel’s activities and to mark up a bill that would amend the Electronic Fund Transfer Act to limit fee disclosure requirements
    • House Judiciary holds hearing on international intellectual property rule enforcement, 10am
    • House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will examine how viewing has changed as broadcasting, cable, satellite, Internet and other platforms have evolved, 10am
    • President Obama meets with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed
    • Obama hosts picnic for members of Congress at White House
    • EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski speaks at energy outlook conference held by Bipartisan Policy Center, 9am
    • U.S. Energy Information Administration to discuss agency’s 2012 energy outlook, 1pm
    • Food and Drug Administration will convene advisers for two days to weigh the safety of metal-on-metal hip implants

WHAT TO WATCH: 

  • Microsoft lost an EU challenge to a EU899m ($1.2b) antitrust fine, was cut to EU860m, court said “essentially” upheld penalty
  • Facebook initiated at neutral at Citigroup, buy at Goldman
  • SEC said to authorize lawsuit against Harbinger’s Falcone
  • Best Buy founder Richard Schulze said to consider taking co. private
  • Apple wins preliminary injunction against Samsung Galaxy Tab
  • Stockton, California to file for bankruptcy after talks with bondholders, labor unions failed, biggest U.S. city to seek court protection
  • May durable goods orders forecast +0.5%, probably failed to make up for worst 4 mos. since recession
  • Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he will urge other EU leaders at a summit this wk to take measures to “stabilize markets using the available instruments”
  • Italy sells 185-day bills at 2.957% vs 2.104% on May 29
  • Glencore GBP16.9b ($26.4b) offer for the rest of Xstrata is in doubt after No. 2 shareholder Qatar Holding demanded the bid be increased by 16%
  • Announcement on News Corp. breakup may come by tomorrow
  • Philip Falcone said to face lawsuit from regulators over personal loan
  • SEC money-fund rule said to include capital or floating shrs
  • Monte Paschi to seek EU3.4b in govt. aid
  • Morgan Stanley faces test on ServiceNow IPO after Facebook flop
  • Netflix asked U.S. lawmakers to prevent cable providers from squelching its growth by imposing online-data consumption limits for customers
  • Google said to unveil $199 tablet at I/O conference starting today
  • Lockheed joins EADS lobbying Panetta to help stop budget cuts

 EARNINGS: 

    • Lennar (LEN) 6am, $0.16; Preview
    • McCormick (MKC) 7am, $0.61
    • Commercial Metals (CMC) 7am, $0.37
    • General Mills (GIS) 7am, $0.59; Preview
    • Monsanto (MON) 8am, $1.58; Preview
    • UniFirst (UNF) 8am, $0.99
    • AGF Management (AGF/B CN) 8am, $0.27
    • Paychex (PAYX) 4:01pm, $0.34
    • Progress Software (PRGS) 4:30pm, $0.22 

COMMODITY/GROWTH EXPECTATION (HEADLINES FROM BLOOMBERG)

 

GOLD – get the Dollar right, and you’re still getting Gold right. Gold looking more like the Euro day to day; don’t underestimate how long Paulson is of the ETF (17% of it); liquidity matters and so does the downward pressure on price when an asset is in a Bearish Formation like Gold is. Next support = 1549, but that’s loose. This remains a Bernanke Bubble. 

  • Heat Wave Wilts Corn as Supply Drops Most Since ’96: Commodities
  • Corn Reaches Nine-Month High as U.S. Crop Damage May Worsen
  • Oil Falls as Rising U.S. Stockpiles Outweigh Supply Disruptions
  • Glencore Xstrata Deal Threatened as Qatar Seeks Higher Price
  • Copper Drops as Expanding Stockpiles May Signal Weaker Demand
  • Cocoa Extends Gains on Manufacturing Buying as Sugar Declines
  • Gold Set to Decline on Concern Europe’s Crisis Will Boost Dollar
  • Rosneft Said to Offer 200,000 Tons ESPO Crude for August Loading
  • Billionaire Deripaska Targets China to Expand Russian Food Sales
  • Gold’s $1,520 Support ‘Key’ to Stopping Drop: Technical Analysis
  • South Korea Power Shortages Costing $10 Billion a Year: Energy
  • Iron-Ore Price Forecast Lowered by Australia as China Cools
  • Corn Futures Jump as U.S. Harvest Faces Damage: Chart of the Day
  • Heat Wave Wilts Corn as Supplies Diminish
  • Sinopec to Process 1.6% Less Oil in Third Quarter, Oilchem Says
  • JPMorgan Reduces Second-Half 2012 Oil Outlook on Slowing Economy
  • Iraqi Crude Exports Via Turkey Halted for About 10 Hours 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 4

 

 

CURRENCIES

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 5

 

 

EUROPEAN MARKETS


GERMANY – both German stocks and German Bunds have broken their immediate-term TRADE lines of support (for the DAX, that’s 6249, putting it back into a Bearish Formation – bearish on all 3 of our risk mgt durations). As Growth Slows, GDP falls and risk ratios rise. Germany and Italy actually look like better shorts than Spain now. That’s new.

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 6

 

 

ASIAN MARKETS


THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 7

 

 

MIDDLE EAST


THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 8

 

 

 

The Hedgeye Macro Team


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HedgeyeRetail Visual: NKE: The KING

Lebron James branded Footwear sales growth accelerated through the NBA playoffs and is reaccelerating NKE's share gain in the basketball category (chart 1). Although Lebron branded sales have grown as a percent of the overall Nike basketball portfolio (Nike, Brand Jordan, Converse), NKE appears to be recapturing some of the 400bps of share lost in the category over the past year (chart 2). Share gain in basketball suggests that Lebron branded footwear is adding incremental sales to Nike’s dominant portfolio as opposed to cannibalizing other brands.

 

Interestingly, after scoring 26 of Miami’s 121 points in game 5,  James became only the 5th player in NBA history to register a triple-double (double-digit total in 3 of the 5 basketball stats, i.e. points, rebounds, assists) in a title-clinching game… Good for business.

 

Ultimately, NKE is a $20bn+ Global enterprise and although a single athlete in a single category won’t make or break the company, Lebron James appears to be moving the needle in a category that we estimate accounts for ~36% of footwear sales (note: FW accounts for ~55% of NKE sales globally). 

 

HedgeyeRetail Visual: NKE: The KING - NKE Lebron chart

 

HedgeyeRetail Visual: NKE: The KING - NKE basketball share


Japan is off the hook…for now

Over the past thirty years, Japan has gone through tremendous economic headwinds beginning with the asset price bubble of the early 1990s to the financial crisis of 2008 and into the 2011 tsunami and earthquakes. The lack of growth in the country has been a bitter pill to swallow for investors and the Japanese government as the country struggles to get itself back on its feet and out of stagflation.

 

Japan is off the hook…for now  - JAP3

 

Despite cautious overtones related to the Japanese economy, we think there are four reasons as to why Japan is on the rebound and will not encounter a government bond-related crisis over the next few years.

 

1)      We see a diminished threat of future rating agency downgrades beyond critical levels. On May 22, Fitch was the first of the “Big 3” rating companies to downgrade Japan’s long-term local currency issuer rating to single-A status…

 

2)      On June 17, the Democratic Party of Japan agreed to double the nation’s 5% VAT tax in a two-step process ending on October 2015. While we demonstrated in our April 3 research note titled “DIGGING DEEPER INTO JAPANESE SOVEREIGN DEBT RISK” that hiking the VAT tax will do little for long term fiscal consolidation and debt reduction, positive headline risk associated with the passing of the VAT hike bill will likely buy the government a meaningful amount of time.

 

3)      On June 16, Prime Minister Noda agreed to restart the first two of Japan’s 50 idled nuclear reactors, implying that all political hurdles had been cleared. As a result, Japan should see a reduced need to import fossil fuels. A lack of support from Japanese voters in poll suggests that the decision was politically motivated. Noda’s decision illustrates a new confidence and willingness on the part of the Japanese government to go against popular sentiment – just last month, Japan issued projections for mandated rolling blackouts, which amount to cuts in consumer and corporate energy consumption.

 

4)      The slope of Japan’s 5yr breakeven inflation rate has now inflected after a long period of increasing inflation. This inflection coincides with the Bank of Japan’s unwillingness to give in to political and market pressure to ease monetary policy in pursuit of its +1% inflation target. In conjunction with a predictable compression in global interest rates differentials, this leads us to anticipate a bout of strength for the Japanese Yen in the near future.

 

Japan is off the hook…for now  - JAP2

 

Whether Japan will be able to shed its long-term low rates policy remains to be seen. But it’s making progress on many economic fronts that are important to keep in mind over the next one to three years. Japan also has committed a large amount of money to the International Monetary Fund ($60 billion currently) , making it one of the largest contributors to the fund. Should the European debt crisis rapidly accelerate at an unexpected rate, those commitments and associated collateral calls could prove to be costly. Japan’s economy is a lot like a game of chess. Dealing with it requires a great amount of patience and fortitude.

 


CHART DU JOUR: VIP SLOWDOWN

  • While the Macau stocks have been on a steady downward decline since late April over fears of a hard landing of Macau GGR, Junket VIP volume growth has been decelerating since September 2011
  • Using just historical seasonality trends to project future growth, the chart below illustrates projected Junket VIP volume growth for FY2012 based on the prior two months of actual data.  Using the actual results of July and August 2011, without adjusting for economic slowdown, our seasonality model would have projected a 47% increase in Junket RC volumes in 2012.  However, in each subsequent month as data came in weaker than pure seasonality factors would have implied, the forecast for 2012 continued to calibrate lower to 15% based on May results.
  • Layering in a continuation of decelerating macro factors onto our seasonality model, we are currently projecting that Junket RC volumes will come in at +10% YoY for 2012 and total GGR growth of 14% in 2012.

 CHART DU JOUR:  VIP SLOWDOWN - vip2


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