President Obama's Reelection Chances

After a run up to an all-time high of 63%, President Obama’s odds of being reelected dropped 60 basis points week-over-week to 62.4%. It’ll be interesting to see what next week’s data holds after the debates. Can Mitt Romney make a daring comeback? We’ll soon find out.


Hedgeye developed the HEI to understand the relationship between key market and economic data and the US Presidential Election. After rigorous back testing, Hedgeye has determined that there are a short list of real time market-based indicators, that move ahead of President Obama’s position in conventional polls or other measures of sentiment.


Based on our analysis, market prices will adjust in real-time ahead of economic conditions, which will ultimately shape voters’ perception of the Obama Presidency, the Republican candidates and influence the probability of an Obama reelection.  The model assumes that the Presidential election would be held today against any Republican candidate. Our model is indifferent toward who the Republican candidate is as the sentiment for Obama and for any Republican opponent is imputed in the market prices that determine the HEI. The HEI is based on a scale of 0 – 200, with 100 equating to a 50% probability that President Obama would win or lose if the election were held today.


President Obama’s reelection chances reached a peak of 63% on September 17, according to the HEI. Hedgeye will release the HEI every Tuesday at 7am ET until election day November 6.


President Obama's Reelection Chances - HEI

Whatever They Want

This note was originally published at 8am on September 18, 2012 for Hedgeye subscribers.

“These guys can do whatever they want, whenever they want.”

-Neil Barofsky


Sounds like the American Dream, right? Right. That, and the Fed proclaiming their mystery of faith this morning that “unemployment would be close to 7%... if it wasn’t for consumer doubt”, will get you a free scratch-and-sniff at the Washington Sticker Institute of fair play.


The aforementioned quote comes from Chapter 3 of Neil Barofsky’s Bailout, where he explains how Hank Paulson and Tim Geithner got a “blank check” to bailout GM, AIG, etc. “Well, the good news is that we didn’t approve an illegal transaction as our first official act…” (page 50)


At the highs, market volumes and equity fund inflows are dead right now because the America’s trust in the political system is. Both Bush and Obama have signed off on giving un-elected central planners like Ben Bernanke un-precedented powers to do Whatever They Want.


Back to the Global Macro Grind


For Obama, evidently that’s working. His probability of winning the US Presidency just hit a new high in our weekly Hedgeye Election Indicator. Week-over-week Obama just picked up another +220 basis points in our model, taking him to 63%. Romney is in trouble.


What does another Obama Administration mean for the US economy? Is there still a chance that Obama loses? How do you dynamically risk manage this binary event if and when the probabilities change in the coming weeks?


Last night, our Director of Research, Daryl Jones, and I enjoyed a dinner with pollster Scott Rasmussen. Daryl will have a more detailed note on Rasmussen’s current election thoughts tomorrow. The bottom line is that he still sees this one too close to call.


What isn’t too close to call is what the rest of the world’s interconnected risks are doing in the face of Ben Bernanke devaluing the US Dollar and ripping inflation higher (India consumer price inflation hit +10.03% this morning) for the sake of short-term political votes.  


Across our durations in our risk management model, here are some key Global Equity market callouts:

  1. Asian Equities continue to make lower-highs versus those established before growth slowing started, globally, in March
  2. Chinese Equities, down 3% in 2 days this wk, continue lower as China won’t “stimulate” during Bernanke commodity inflations
  3. Japanese Equities (down -11% since the March top) continue to languish as their 20yr experiment with Keynesian economics fails
  4. European Equities (EuroStoxx50), down -1.2% this morning, are now making lower-highs versus those established in March
  5. Italian Equities (MIB Index), down -1.8% this morning, are leading today’s decline; no Spanish bailout imminent for them
  6. Russian Equities (like Japan, down -11% from the March top), are getting tagged for a -1.7% decline this morning (Oil down)

Did something bad happen in the last 24 hours; what’s all the economic gravity and commotion about?


It’s called Correlation Risk to the US Dollar. Sadly, those two words are not part of the Washington, D.C. central planning narrative. And yes, dear Keynesian academics, we get that sometimes (like now) causality (monetary policy) perpetuates correlation.


All it took to get things like Oil and Russian Equities down was stopping the US Dollar from going down. The US Dollar Index remains the other side of the Ben Bernanke trade. He can do and say whatever he wants until that massive asymmetric risk goes the other way.


What would happen to stocks and commodities if the US Dollar recovered its last 6 weeks of losses? What if there was political leadership on the fiscal or monetary side to drive the US Dollar Index back to its July high of $84?


I don’t know. What I do know is that $84 on the US Dollar Index is +7% higher than where Bernanke Burned The Buck to yesterday – and that if a +0.14% move off the lows gets you this kind of constipation in Global Equity markets this morning, he may be spending more time in the men’s room than Paulson did in October 2008.


Since the speculation that Bernanke will do Whatever He Wants pre-election has found its way into commodities (and commodity linked stocks and currencies) more so than anywhere else, it’s going to be critical to monitor our immediate-term TRADE duration risk in things like oil in the coming weeks and months.


Across durations, here’s how Brent Oil looks in our risk management model:

  1. Immediate-term TRADE line = $114.69/barrel
  2. Intermediate-term TREND support = $105.85/barrel
  3. Long-term TAIL risk line = $111.47/barrel

In other words, the Ball Under Water trade (Dollar Down) just stopped going down, and Oil’s immediate-term TRADE line of momentum snapped almost instantly. If anything real drives the Dollar up +3-6%, our TAIL risk line for the Oil price comes into play, fast.


That, of course, would be good for Consumers, globally. But, perversely, it will be very bad for the stock market (and Obama’s chances), in a hurry. If you didn’t know Obama has already figured this out, now you know. He’s smart. And for the next 50 days his boys will say whatever they want to tell you Dollar Down, Oil Up is about everything other than what the Fed is doing when you aren’t looking.


My immediate-term risk ranges of support and resistance for Gold, Oil (Brent), US Dollar, EUR/USD, UST 10yr Yield, and the SP500 are now $1739-1785, $112.49-116.86, $78.56-79.99, $1.28-1.31, 1.73-1.87%, and 1439-1474, respectively.


Best of luck out there today,



Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer


Whatever They Want - Chart of the Day


Whatever They Want - Virtual Portfolio


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

As we look at today’s set up for the S&P 500, the range is 21 points or -1.00% downside to 1430 and 0.45% upside to 1451. 













    • Increase versus the prior day’s trading of -658
  • VOLUME: on 10/01 NYSE 672.31
    • Decrease versus prior day’s trading of -19.22%
  • VIX:  as of 10/01 was at 16.32
    • Increase versus most recent day’s trading of 3.75%
    • Year-to-date decrease of -30.26%
  • SPX PUT/CALL RATIO: as of 10/01 closed at 1.68
    • Down from the day prior at 2.01 


TREASURIES – bonds still don’t seem to care about the daily flicker of S&P futures; the 10yr yield hasn’t moved more than a beep in the last 48hrs; long-bond remains in a Bullish Formation as 10yr yields look like they could easily test YTD lows.

  • TED SPREAD: as of this morning 27.42
  • 3-MONTH T-BILL YIELD: as of this morning 0.08%
  • 10-Year: as of this morning 1.63%
    • Increase from prior day’s trading of 1.62%
  • YIELD CURVE: as of this morning 1.40
    • Up from prior day’s trading at 1.39

MACRO DATA POINTS (Bloomberg Estimates)

  • 9:45am: ISM New York, Sept. (prior 51.4)
  • 11am: Fed to buy $1.75b-$2.25b Treasury debt due 2/15/2036-8/15/2042
  • 11:30am: U.S. Treasury to sell 4-week bills


    • House, Senate not in session
    • Obama, Romney make preparations for first presidential debate tomorrow
    • News conference on latest Quinnipiac poll. NPC. 10am
    • SEC hosts discussion on automated-trading technologies. 10am
    • FAA advisory panel holds second day of meetings to review air-traffic control procedures. National Harbor. 8:30am
    • Early voting begins in Ohio


  • U.S. auto sales seen advancing 9.5% in September
  • SEC to investigate high-frequency trading
  • Samsung says Apple iPhone 5 infringes eight patents in lawsuit
  • Former SAC Capital manager tells FBI fund used insider information
  • SAIC loses protest of $4.6b contract awarded to Lockheed
  • Juniper said to cut 500 jobs to reduce costs amid competition
  • U.S. retail sales growth may slow to 4.1% during holiday season
  • Manhattan home inventory falls to 7-yr low
  • Value Investing Congress includes presentations from David Einhorn


    • Mosaic (MOS) 7am, $1.16
    • Acuity Brands (AYI) 8:19am, $0.93


  • Palm Oil Slumps Most Since October 2008 to Lowest in Three Years
  • Rubber Bulls Back as Exporters Cut Most Since 2009: Commodities
  • Soybeans Reach Lowest Price Since July on U.S. Harvest Progress
  • Oil Trades Near One-Week High as U.S. Manufacturing Expands
  • Gold Set to Gain for Second Day After Fed Renews Stimulus Pledge
  • Cocoa Falls as Concerns Ease Over Ivory Coast Industry Changes
  • Iron-Ore Swaps Little Changed as China Holidays Slow Trading
  • Countries Must Refrain From Banning Food Exports, FAO Says
  • Zinc Price Softens in 3Q on Surplus, 9.3% Rise Expected in 4Q
  • Cargill to Stop Using Fuel-Inefficient Ships to Curb Emissions
  • Nuclear Output Seen Falling to 3-Year Low on Refueling Shutdowns
  • Rothschild’s Bashed Bumi Offers ‘Great Trade’: Chart of the Day
  • Rubber May Advance 28% on Ichimoku Chart: Technical Analysis
  • Copper May Gain for Fourth Day on Global Central-Bank Stimulus










EUROPE – after European Equities got slammed last wk (Spain and Italy -6% each), seeing day2 of the bounce; plenty of rumoring going around about when Spain asks for bailouts and reminds the world they’ve been lying about pretty much every number that matters #classy; should end well.






JAPAN – top 3 economy in the world is now seeing both its stock market and economic data collide; after a bearish Tankan yesterday, Nikkei closed down again overnight, taking the draw-down since the global #GrowthSlowing top (March) to -14.3%; #KeyenesianEconomics.










The Hedgeye Macro Team





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This indispensable trading tool is based on a risk management signaling process Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough developed during his years as a hedge fund manager and continues to refine. Nearly every trading day, you’ll receive Keith’s latest signals - buy, sell, short or cover.

Selling Cycle Peaks

“The peak in resource investment is likely to occur next year.”

-Glenn Stevens


Not all central bankers are like Ben Bernanke. Some of them, like the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Glenn Stevens, go both ways.


Last night Stevens and the RBA cut rates by 25 basis points to 3.25%. Unlike Bernanke, who hasn’t raised rates since taking over the Fed in 2006, Stevens hiked when he should have. And baby boomer retirees living Down Under on fixed incomes liked it.


I realize going both ways isn’t for everyone. If you get that dirty little thought out of your mind for a minute and think like hockey players – we have this little saying about grinding at both ends of the ice: ‘Backcheck, Forecheck, Paycheck.’ And we like that too.


Back to the Global Macro Grind


When Cycles Peak, you want to be selling into them; not buying them because they look “cheap.” When Cycles Peak, cheap gets cheaper. A stock like Caterpillar (CAT) is our Pamela Anderson poster for that on the short side right now.


Hardcore Japanese Keynesians have been trying to “smooth” economic cycles since their local Pawn Star Economist, Paul Krugman, told them to “PRINT LOTS OF MONEY” in 1997. With Japan’s Nikkei having made lower-highs for 20 years (down again last night, -14.3% since #GrowthSlowing started in March, globally), it’s a worldwide wonder how they last.


While stamina matters, what we’ve learned from some of these economists is that their weathered old dogmas can hang around political life for longer than we can stand them. At the same time, their population growth goes negative, and their economic incentives go dark.


There’s a common sense (behavioral economics) explanation for this. As Michael Cox, Director of the Center for Global Markets and Freedom at Southern Methodist University, writes in The 4% Solution:


“Economies grow faster when investors choose to put their money into productive assets rather than government bonds or gold… businesses won’t get started, workers won’t get hired, and the economy won’t grow.”


Sound familiar?


Of course it does. So let’s buy the S&P Futures on a rumor that Spain does more of that, requesting another bailout, based on growth, inflation, and employment results that their politicians continue to make up on the fly. Then, let’s do that in the USA, kick the can to the edge of The Cliff, then have Nancy Pelosi save us from it in the nick of election time.


Perfect. Now back to that money printing, metal, and mining cycle peaking…

  1. The world’s largest miners are already cutting project capex
  2. The world’s largest mining equipment companies are already guiding down from peak capex investment numbers
  3. The world’s most credible central banker, Glenn Stevens, is cutting rates because Australia is right levered to #1 and #2

It’s not just the mining cycle that’s peaking (ask for Jay Van Sciver’s long-cycle notes on CAT’s issues), it’s the SP500’s Earnings Cycle that’s peaking.


While sell-side consensus bulls have only been wrong by 45-72% on US GDP Growth in 2012, the guys who are always bullish still say they nailed it. So let’s look at what they’re forecasting on growth and earnings from here:

  1. After cutting their numbers, the slowest revenue growth for the SP500 since 2008
  2. A magical acceleration in revenue growth for the next 12 months from here
  3. NTM earnings as far as the eye can see, with operating margins expanding 100bps, per quarter!

If corporate earnings go flat to negative for the next 2-3 quarters, the “stocks are cheap” crowd better beg Bernanke for “multiple expansion” on lower earnings, because that’s the only way stocks are going up from here.


I wrote an intraday risk management note titled “Buyem!” around 1430 SPX on Wednesday of last week. On this morning’s rally, do yourself a favor and sellem’ on green before Earnings Season starts next week.


My immediate-term risk ranges for Gold, Oil (Brent), US Dollar, EUR/USD, UST 10yr Yield, CAT, and the SP500 are now $1, $108.21-112.98, $79.46-80.35, $1.27-1.29, 1.59-1.70%, $82.13-88.05, and 1, respectively.


Best of luck out there today,



Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer


Selling Cycle Peaks - Chart of the Day


Selling Cycle Peaks - Virtual Portfolio

Once In A Career Short Opportunity: Shipbuilder Valuations

Takeaway: There currently appears to be a once in a career opportunity to short the shipbuilding cycle. Valuation gains in the boom support that view.


Shipbuilder Market Values:  Once In A Career Short Opportunity

  • Mature, Cyclical Industry:  Shipbuilding is a mature, highly cyclical industry.  While the ships have evolved over the years, the nature of the market has not. 
  • Valuation Bubble:  The enterprise value for the four largest South Korean shipbuilders increased over 4x from 2005 to today’s levels, passing a 7x increase along the way.  In mature, cyclical industries, that alone is a significant warning sign.  Samsung Heavy is up 700%-800% from its 1 average share price.  Our cyclically adjusted valuation suggests significant downside from current levels.
  • Falling Utilization:  As deliveries drop steadily in coming years, shipyards will face headwinds not only from reduced capacity utilization, but also from intense price competition and low customer profitability.
  • Once in a Career Opportunity:  Shorting the shipbuilders is an opportunity that only comes around once every 30 years or so.  Assuming our readers retire at a reasonable age, this may be their only opportunity to participate in one of the great capital equipment cycles. 
  • 2035 to 2042:  For speculators who are still trading cyclicals in a few decades, 2035 should be a good buying opportunity for shipyards (most likely Chinese shipyards), when the next replacement cycle is likely to begin.  


Once In A Career Short Opportunity: Shipbuilder Valuations - 1



Long-term View Suggests Short Opportunity


Once In A Career Short Opportunity: Shipbuilder Valuations - 2

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