Building Momentum?

Takeaway: The NAHB Remodeling Index shows a flat reading, but is at its highest level in seven years.

The NAHB Remodeling Index moved to a level of 50 last quarter, which indicates a flat reading. The index, which tracks the number of contractors who are reporting that remodeling activity is high or lower than the previous quarter, is at its highest level since the third quarter of 2005. A reading of 50 shows equal  numbers of respondents reporting activity higher or lower compared to the previous quarter. Below is a chart of the index since its inception in 2003.


Building Momentum? - Josh


Client Talking Points


It’s certainly a difficult time for millions of people impacted by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Our CEO, Keith McCullough, hopes for health and safety to the many in the dark on the East Coast. As Keith says, “Hope isn’t a risk management process.” He is really at a loss for words, so we wanted to offer you a few risk management lines.

  • US Dollar Index immediate-term TRADE breakout line $79.57 (long-term TAIL support=$78.11)
  • SP500 TRADE (1431) and TREND (1419) resistance
  • CRB Commodities Index TRADE (305) and TAIL (312) resistance


It’s the last day of October, which means it’s not only Halloween, but something potentially scarier -- the year-end for many mutual funds. Futures are indicating that we’re going to get a lift thanks to these month-end markups. That doesn’t change the big picture – global growth and corporate earnings both are slowing.


Many are saying that China’s stock market has bottomed. As we say, bottoms are processes, not points and we’re still bearish on a TRADE, TREND and TAIL basis for the Shanghai market. Sure, Chinese stocks rallied off two week lows to close up marginally (0.3%), but China hasn’t bottomed.


Asset Allocation


Top Long Ideas

Company Ticker Sector Duration

Remains our top long in casual dining as new sales layers (pizza) and strong-performing remodels (~5% comps) should maintain sales momentum. The company is continuing to enhance returns for shareholders through share buybacks . The stock trades at a discount to DIN (7.7x vs 9.3x EV/EBITDA) and in line with the group at 7.3x.


Emissions regulations in the US focusing on greenhouse gases should end the disruptive pre-buy cycle and allow PCAR to improve margins. Improved capacity utilization, truck fleet aging, and less volatile used truck prices all should support higher long-run profitability. In the near-term, Paccar may benefit from engine certification issues at Navistar, allowing it to gain market share. Longer-term, Paccar enjos a strong position in a structurally advantaged industry and an attractive valuation.


While political and reimbursement risk will remain near-term concerns, on the fundamental side we continue to expect accelerating outpatient growth alongside further strength in pricing as acuity improves thru 1Q13. Flu trends may provide an incremental benefit on the quarter and our expectation for a birth recovery should support patient surgery growth over the intermediate term. Supply costs should remain a source of topline & earnings upside going forward.

Three for the Road


“All people begging for banker and #oldwall bailouts when people in the dark need them, #reflect.” -@KeithMcCullough


“If the world was perfect, it wouldn’t be.” – Yogi Berra



8 million, the number of American homes without power after Hurrucane Sandy

Investigating Truth

This note was originally published at 8am on October 17, 2012 for Hedgeye subscribers.

“The first duty of a man is the seeking after and investigation of truth.”



Hail Mary end-zone finale to Packers/Seahawks? Last night’s end to the Presidential Debate was not, but Candy Crowley played the role of an NFL replacement ref, turning what I had scored as a tie into a late Obama win.


What is the truth in America? Was the moderator “fact-checking” Romney into the boards at the most critical point of the debate fair? Does it matter? Like many journalists in the manic media, Candy knows where her bread is buttered. Maintaining access to the party in power = priority #1. Sadly, for the country, that included her on-the-fly interpretation of Romney vs Obama truth.


Not surprisingly, the stock, currency, and commodity markets front-ran the momentum swing of the debate. It was a marginal win for Obama, but what happens on the margin in Macro matters most. What’s good (on the margin) for Obama, is bad for the US Dollar. It has been since he took office. Partisan Republicans may disagree with me on last night’s score; the market doesn’t.


Back to the Global Macro Grind


With the SP500 inverse correlation to the US Dollar of -0.95 right now, the truth is that if you get the immediate-term moves in the US Dollar right, you’ll get a lot of other things right. That’s the only reason why I feel compelled to score political momentum right now.


Perversely (even though I think Gold is in a long-term bubble) that’s why I bought Gold in front of last night’s debate. Obama up = Dollar down = Gold Up. Bubbles can remain bubbles for as long as causality (policies to debauch the Dollar) remains intact.


As I investigate other truths this morning, here are some big ones:


1.   #EarningsSlowing – this is our top Hedgeye Global Macro Theme for Q4 2012 (send an email if you want the slide-deck; I did meetings all day in Boston yesterday and we came away with plenty more long-cycle ideas to discuss on peak US Corporate margins). #EarningsSlowing remains very relevant this morning with both Intel (INTC) and IBM reiterating the same.


2.   Tech Stocks (XLK) – if you didn’t know global growth slowing would translate into +/- GDP businesses (semis, hardware, etc.) seeing top and bottom line slowdowns, now you know. Tech is down -2.4% for October.


3.   The sun rises in the East


While Obama, Geithner, and Bernanke continue to believe that they can “smooth” the economic cycle (Keynesian Economics 101), points #1 and #2 are now colliding with point #3 (gravity). The stock market hasn’t been the economy in 2012 but, eventually, they’ll collide.


What’s the market’s truth (last price) telling you this morning?

  1. Lower-highs in stocks (globally)
  2. Higher-lows in bonds (globally)
  3. EUR/USD testing its TAIL risk line of resistance

On that last point, I can’t overstate how important the next currency move is from here.


A)     IF the US Dollar snaps its TAIL line of support ($78.11)

B)      AND the Euro (vs USD) breaks out above its TAIL risk line of resistance ($1.31)

C)      THEN the market is probably telling you that Obama is going to win the Election


Four more years of the same (Big Government Interventions, Spending, and Regulation/Rule-Making on-the-fly) might actually be fantastic for the stock market – but it will continue to crush both real (inflation adjusted) economic growth, hiring, and confidence. I wonder what the 47% think about that?


Collectively, the American people aren’t as dumb as some of the media’s partisans. I highly doubt they’ll trust the stock market anymore today than they didn’t yesterday (stocks at 5yr highs = Equity Fund outflows and Financial Media ratings at YTD lows).


If you didn’t know Candy’s role in the debate was as politically rigged as Bernanke’s has been at the Fed, now you know that too. The truth about America 2.0: your un-elected and un-accountable pundits and politicians are running the gong-show.


My immediate-term risk ranges of support and resistance for Gold, Oil (Brent), US Dollar, EUR/USD, UST 10yr Yield, Russell2000, and the SP500 are now $1734-1766, $112.60-115.26, $79.08-80.07, $1.29-1.31, 1.64-1.76%, 813-842, and 1419-1469, respectively.


Best of luck out there today,



Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer


Investigating Truth - Chart of the Day


Investigating Truth - Virtual Portfolio

Early Look

daily macro intelligence

Relied upon by big institutional and individual investors across the world, this granular morning newsletter distills the latest and most vital market developments and insures that you are always in the know.

Surviving Storms

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

-Charles Darwin


Suffice it to say, from a survival perspective, the last 48 hours have been humbling. As my generator teeters on running out of gas again this morning, I write this Early Look to you under a flickering light with a heavy heart.


We will move forward today. We will adapt and change. We will get through this together.


Yes We Will.


Back to the Global Macro Grind


Today is month-end for October (year-end for many mutual funds). Early morning futures are indicating we’ll get a lift into those month-end markups. Unfortunately, the broader risk management picture of Global Growth and #EarningsSlowing has not yet changed.


From The Bernanke Top (September 14, 2012), US stocks (SP500) and commodities (CRB Index) are down -4.3% and -8.1%, respectively. For October to-date, the SP500 is down -2% and the Tech Sector (XLK) is down -6%.


What will November bring?


I sincerely hope health and safety to the many of us who are in the dark here on the East Coast. But from a stock and commodity market perspective, hope is obviously not a risk management process.


On that score, because I’m really at a loss for words this morning – here are some risk management lines to consider that will be highly influential to US stocks and commodities in the coming weeks:

  1. US Dollar Index immediate-term TRADE breakout line of $79.57 (long-term TAIL support = $78.11)
  2. Euro (EUR/USD) long-term TAIL resistance = $1.31
  3. SP500 TRADE (1431) and TREND (1419) resistance
  4. Russell2000 TRADE (824) and TREND (846) resistance
  5. Tech Sector ETF (XLK) TRADE ($29.62) and TREND ($30.28) resistance
  6. Apple (AAPL) TRADE ($624) and TREND ($640) resistance
  7. US Equity Volatility (VIX) immediate-term TRADE support = 16.61; TAIL resistance = 19.05
  8. CRB Commodities Index TRADE (305) and TAIL (312) resistance
  9. Oil (WTIC) TRADE ($88.32) and TREND ($91.77) resistance
  10. Gold TRADE ($1735) resistance; TREND ($1699) support

At the same time, it will be important to monitor what the US Bond market thinks about risk. The 10-year US Treasury Yield has been as good a leading indicator as any on US growth in 2012 – here are the levels that matter most in our model:

  1. UST 10yr TRADE resistance = 1.81%
  2. UST 10yr TREND support = 1.72%
  3. UST 10yr TAIL resistance = 1.91%

In other words, if the 10yr yield can’t find a way to breakout > 1.91% in the coming weeks and months, the high probability situation in our model is that US growth will remain below 2% in Q4.


All the while, Chinese demand will be an open question. While our research and risk management views currently say that the “China has bottomed” crowd has no confirming data to support that claim, our views are always subject to real-time change.


Across risk management durations in our model, here are the lines that matter most on the Shanghai Composite:

  1. Immediate-term TRADE resistance = 2112
  2. Intermediate-term TREND resistance = 2151
  3. Long-term TAIL resistance = 2294

When an asset class is bearish across all 3 of our core risk management durations, we call that a Bearish Formation (when last price is above all 3 we call that a Bullish Formation). We don’t have to be bullish or bearish. We simply have to embrace uncertainty, change our minds, and adapt as the data does. That’s how we survive storms.


Our immediate-term risk ranges for Gold, Oil (Brent), US Dollar Index, EUR/USD, 10yr UST Yield, and the SP500 are now $1, $106.21-109.97, $79.57-80.45, $1.28-1.30, 1.72-1.81%, and 1, respectively.


Best of luck out there today,



Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer


Surviving Storms - DXY


Surviving Storms - aa. vp


The Macau Metro Monitor, October 31, 2012




Caesars has finally pulled the plug on its failed China casino strategy.  Five years ago, CZR paid $578 million for a golf course in Macau, hoping to use the land for a casino in the industry's biggest growth market.  But Caesars still hasn't received permission to build the casino.  Last month, the company actively began trying to unload the money-losing golf course and leave Macau.  Steven Tight, the company's international executive, says Caesars doesn't have formal offers for the Macau property but there "has been a significant level of interest in the land from a number of potential buyers."


Even as Caesars backs out of Macau, executives say they aren't giving up on Asia.  Caesars is trying to win branding and management contracts for hotels without gambling in Asia—a strategy similar to that of rival MGM Resorts.  Caesars last year said it had a deal to manage a future hotel on China's Hainan island.  Tight says he expects to announce more deals soon.  A typical management contract for a large hotel could generate about $3 million to $5 million in revenue a year, he says.


Caesars also plans to apply for tentative government approval for a casino license in South Korea by early December.  



Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd is planning to build a 10,000-seat area at Galaxy Macau in Cotai  The design plans are due to be submitted for government approval by late December.  The operator hopes to start construction next July.


This will be the third major indoor multi-use arena on Cotai, after the government’s 7,000-seat Macao Dome and the 15,000-seat CotaiArena at The Venetian Macao.  Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd is also planning to include a 5,000-seat multi-purpose entertainment studio in its Studio City casino resort.



The rules for the setting up of smoking areas in casinos were gazetted yesterday.  The casino tobacco ban starts on January 1.  Casinos were offered a part-exemption from the ban because there was a fear that full prohibition would have a drastic, negative economic effect.


According to the rules published yesterday, existing casinos can use one of four options to separate smoking and non-smoking areas: four-metre wide transition areas, air curtain systems, two-metre high walls or special ventilation systems.  Casinos under construction or that have received construction approval are considered existing casinos.  New casinos will have to divide their gaming floor physically and have independent ventilation systems for smoking and non-smoking areas.  If casinos have more than one floor, smoking areas should be located on the upper levels.  Gaming operators must submit a floor plan to the chief executive including all the details on the smoking areas for evaluation and approval.


Although the rules don’t set any ratio for gaming tables between smoking and non-smoking areas, that will be taken into account while reviewing requests, according to the government.



According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Singapore's unemployment rate in 3Q stood at 1.9%, down from 2.0% in 2Q 2012 and 3Q 2011.  However, employment creation moderated in 3Q.  Preliminary estimates showed that total employment grew by 24,900, down from the increase of 31,900 in the same period last year, and 31,700 in 2Q 2012.

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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.