DID MANTEGA JUST GIVE US THE GREEN LIGHT ON BRAZILIAN EQUITIES?

Takeaway: Even though we like them fundamentally, Brazilian equities remain inconclusive from a quantitative perspective.

SUMMARY BULLETS:

 

  • Brazilian equities – particularly the consumer oriented names and industrials names – continue to look interesting to us on the long side with respect to the intermediate-term TREND, aswe continue to anticipate the positive effects of the cumulative stimulus efforts to continue to roll through on a lag(s), setting Brazil up to economically outperform peer economies, at the margins, over the intermediate term.
  • Additionally, we did receive some positive news on the POLICY front in the week-to-date – specifically in that investors should now anticipate some degree of FX stability and reduced capital controls, on the margin.
  • That said, however, we fully understand the lack of investor enthusiasm for this contrarian play (accelerated Big Government Intervention and Bubble #3 popping) and are not surprised to see the Bovespa continue to trade below its TREND line.
  • Is the Bovespa’s recent TRADE breakout a leading indicator of better things to come in Brazilian financial markets or is it merely a beta-driven head fake to be ultimately faded? While we don’t know the answer to that question at the current juncture, we do know what we plan to do if: A) the Bovespa follows through with a confirmed TREND breakout (buy Brazilian equities, unhedged from a FX perspective) or B) the index fails at its TREND line (more of the same = nothing).

 

Brazil has been a country we’ve been hot and cold on in the YTD from an equity market and FX perspective. When we last touched base here in our OCT 24 note titled: “IS BRAZIL’S RECENT BREAKDOWN A HUGE RED FLAG FOR RISK ASSETS?”, we posited:

 

The Bovespa’s TREND-line breakdown diminishes our formerly positive bias and affirms our negative cyclical concerns regarding ‘risk assets’.

 

In the ~3 weeks following that note, the Bovespa traded down -3.1% to its NOV 16 closing low 55,402 and has since rebounded to +91bps higher than the original 10/24 closing price of 57,161. the S&P 500 (as a proxy for “risk assets”) dropped -3.9% to its NOV 15 closing low of 1,353 and has since recovered to the original 10/24 closing price of 1,409.

 

What to do from here depends largely on the quantitative setup, which we will continue to receive from Keith in real time. A confirmed breakout above the Bovespa’s TREND line of 58,498 would be a signal to us to increase our exposure to Brazil on the long side. We especially like consumer oriented names as Bubble #3 continues to pop amid a confluence of noteworthy domestic tax and tariff reductions.

  

DID MANTEGA JUST GIVE US THE GREEN LIGHT ON BRAZILIAN EQUITIES? - 1

 

We would also expect to see some strength in industrials names (particularly within the construction industry) as both FIFA and the IOC have recently come out and flagged Brazil as being “way behind schedule” in both World Cup (2014) and Olympic Games (2016) preparations.

 

We expect President Rousseff & Co. to address the situation with some Chinese-style command economy policies in the coming quarters as she seeks to protect the reputations of both herself and a her country from the scorn of the international community. Finance Minister Guido Mantega appears ready to follow suit at moment’s notice, suggesting his crew is working to increase investments in the country’s “inefficient infrastructure” per his own recent statement.

 

From a top-down perspective, Brazil’s GIP outlook remains robust and is supportive of further equity market and currency gains w/ respect to the intermediate-term TREND. We also like that consensus 2013 GDP estimates have come down to a more realistic +3.9% from a peak of +4.5% as recently as five months ago; +3.9% is in line with the latest projections out of the Brazilian Finance Ministry (+4%) – inclusive of last week’s demonstrable miss on the 3Q12 real GDP print (+0.9% YoY vs. Bloomberg Consensus at +1.9%).

 

DID MANTEGA JUST GIVE US THE GREEN LIGHT ON BRAZILIAN EQUITIES? - BRAZIL

 

While we remain somewhat skeptical of those projections – especially given that aggressive monetary easing (525bps worth of cuts), record low interest rates (7.25% nominal; 1.8% real), subsidized credit (YTD State bank credit up +25.5% YoY vs. only +11.7% for private banks), tax breaks for consumer products and financial services and new tax incentives for various industries have all failed to demonstrably accelerate GROWTH in the YTD – we cannot deny that the Brazilian economy is finally headed in the right direction; everything that matters in the relative world of Global Macro occurs on the margin.

 

Moreover, we continue to anticipate the positive effects of the cumulative stimulus efforts to continue to roll through on a lag(s), setting Brazil up to economically outperform peer economies, at the margins, over the intermediate term.

 

DID MANTEGA JUST GIVE US THE GREEN LIGHT ON BRAZILIAN EQUITIES? - 3

 

As we have stressed all along in our recent work on the Brazilian economy, POLICY uncertainty – particularly the flurried nature of the announcements and notable anti-international investor and anti-private sector bias – has been the key driver of Brazil’s underperformance in the YTD, with the Bovespa ranking 83rd out of the 106 country-level and international sector-specific indices we track across the Global Macro universe.

 

Additionally, fiscal slippage may have also contributed some to weakness, as Finance Minister Guido Mantega recently confirmed that Brazil won’t hit its fiscal year budget targets and will opt to use an accounting ploy to discount public investments to make them less accretive to the deficit. Moving the goal posts mid-game remains a tried and true way to discourage the cross border capital deployment – especially for Latin American economies, which have received a black eye over the LTM as a result of President Fernandez’s (Argentina) aggressive spate of Big Government Intervention and expropriation.

 

We did, however, receive some positive news on the POLICY front in the week-to-date:

 

  • Just days after the central bank intervened in the forex market by selling 21,800 currency swap contracts worth $1.1 billion (designed to strengthen the BRL vs. the USD), the central bank reduced the maturity of international debt capital subject to the +6% IOF tax to one year from two years. This follows yesterday’s move to exempt approved exporters from the tax on qualified borrowings.
  • Both efforts reverse the tide of capital controls in Brazil and are designed to promote capital inflows and cement a base in the BRL exchange rate. We think the unofficial targeted range is ~2-2.10 per USD, w/ the top end of the range ~5% higher from here.
  • In addition, Mantega was out essentially pledging to back away from further measures designed to control/manipulate the price of the BRL, suggesting that the currency is at a level where the market can set prices (finally!).

 

We’ve said it before and we’ll keep pounding the table on this critical point: removing currency translation risk from the perspective of Brazilian companies (whose balance sheets are levered with foreign currency denominated debt) and from the perspective of international investors improves the outlook for both earnings growth and foreign currency denominated returns within the Brazilian equity market.

 

DID MANTEGA JUST GIVE US THE GREEN LIGHT ON BRAZILIAN EQUITIES? - 4

 

All told, Brazilian equities – particularly the consumer oriented names and industrials names – continue to look interesting to us on the long side with respect to the intermediate-term TREND. That said, however, we fully understand the lack of investor enthusiasm for this contrarian play (accelerated Big Government Intervention and Bubble #3 popping) and are not surprised to see the Bovespa continue to trade below its TREND line.

 

Is the Bovespa’s recent TRADE breakout a leading indicator of better things to come in Brazilian financial markets or is it merely a beta-driven head fake to be ultimately faded? While we don’t know the answer to that question at the current juncture, we do know what we plan to do if: A) the Bovespa follows through with a confirmed TREND breakout (buy Brazilian equities, unhedged from a FX perspective) or B) the index fails at its TREND line (more of the same = nothing).

 

Darius Dale

Senior Analyst


Cartoon of the Day: 'Biggest Tax Cut Ever'

President Donald Trump's economic team unveiled what he called last week, "the biggest tax cut we’ve ever had.” Before you get too excited about that hang on a sec. "Trump Tax Reform ain’t gettin’ done anytime soon," Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough wrote in today's Early Look.

read more

Neurofinance: The Psychology Behind When To Sell A Bull Market

"Most momentum investors stay invested too long, under-reacting and holding tight after truly bad news finally arrives to break the trend," writes MarketPsych's Richard Peterson.

read more

Energy Stocks: Time to Buy the Dip? | $XLE

What the heck is happening in the Energy sector (XLE)? Energy stocks have trailed the S&P 500 by a whopping 15% in 2017. Before you buy the dip, here's what you need to know.

read more

Cartoon of the Day: Hard-Headed Bears

How's this for "hard data"? So far, 107 of 497 S&P 500 companies have reported aggregate sales and earnings growth of 4.4% and 13.2% respectively.

read more

Premium insight

McCullough [Uncensored]: When People Say ‘Everyone is Bullish, That’s Bulls@#t’

“You wonder why the performance of the hedge fund indices is so horrendous,” says Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough, “they’re all doing the same thing, after the market moves. You shouldn’t be paid for that.”

read more

SECTOR SPOTLIGHT Replay | Healthcare Analyst Tom Tobin Today at 2:30PM ET

Tune in to this edition of Sector Spotlight with Healthcare analyst Tom Tobin and Healthcare Policy analyst Emily Evans.

read more

Ouchy!! Wall Street Consensus Hit By Epic Short Squeeze

In the latest example of what not to do with your portfolio, we have Wall Street consensus positioning...

read more

Cartoon of the Day: Bulls Leading the People

Investors rejoiced as centrist Emmanuel Macron edged out far-right Marine Le Pen in France's election day voting. European equities were up as much as 4.7% on the news.

read more

McCullough: ‘This Crazy Stat Drives Stock Market Bears Nuts’

If you’re short the stock market today, and your boss asks why is the Nasdaq at an all-time high, here’s the only honest answer: So far, Nasdaq company earnings are up 46% year-over-year.

read more

Who's Right? The Stock Market or the Bond Market?

"As I see it, bonds look like they have further to fall, while stocks look tenuous at these levels," writes Peter Atwater, founder of Financial Insyghts.

read more

Poll of the Day: If You Could Have Lunch with One Fed Chair...

What do you think? Cast your vote. Let us know.

read more

Are Millennials Actually Lazy, Narcissists? An Interview with Neil Howe (Part 2)

An interview with Neil Howe on why Boomers and Xers get it all wrong.

read more