Beach Time?

“I’m going to lie on the sand and watch the world go to hell.”

-William Bullitt Jr.


That’s not a very nice thing to say now is it? Young Yale men can get pretty emotional when they go out into the real world and get told they are wrong. In 1913, William Bullitt was voted the “most brilliant” man at Yale. I am not sure what that means, but trying to do a deal with Lenin probably changed his classmates’ minds on that, eventually.


Brilliant is as brilliant does. Yesterday may have been one of the best days to sell everything and go to the beach for the rest of the summer. I doubt it, but we’ll see. Every morning we reserve the right to change our mind. That’s the upside to not working for the government. Poor Bullitt (he was a rich kid from Philadelphia actually) didn’t share our self-deterministic luxury.


In 1919, “Bullitt and Steffens spent a wonderful week in Moscow: accommodation in a confiscated palace, piles of caviar, nights at the opera…” etc. Life was indeed #brilliant, until he came back to Paris and Wilson bagged his idea to appease the Bolsheviks. Lenin later recalled that the young American diplomats were “useful idiots” (pages 78-81, Paris 1919 by Margaret Macmillan).


Back to the Global Macro Grind


I don’t do beach. At least not now. I have work to do, a family to feed, and a firm to build. It’s mid-June and its really only the 2nd day in the last 6 months where I woke up thinking, wow – the world might actually start going to hell again.


When I say I “think”, I mean the Global Macro market’s interconnected signals are making me think. When I was Bullitt’s age (28 years old at the Paris Peace Conference) I wasn’t yet married and I thought in very different ways!


I was a lot more bullish on US Consumption oriented Equities < 1601 in the SP500 last week than I was 50 handles higher yesterday. At 11:02 AM EST I wrote a note titled “Sell Some: SP500 Levels, Refreshed.” The research view didn’t change; my risk signals did.


To review the what on that (which is usually more important than the why):

  1. SP500 signaled it’s 1st lower-high in my model in months (1662 resistance vs YTD closing high of 1669)
  2. US Equity Volatility (front month VIX) signaled a higher-low at 13.77
  3. US Dollar signaled immediate-term TRADE overbought on the open versus the Japanese Yen

Get the Dollar right, and you’ll get other things right. You don’t have to be brilliant to embrace the uncertainties associated with that. When I make big moves in either Real-Time Alerts or the Hedgeye Asset Allocation Model, it almost always starts with a USD signal.


Since we’ve already beached our asset allocations to both Fixed Income and Commodities (0% on both), our only risk management exercise this summer is deciding how big we get (and when) on this US Consumption LONG versus Commodities SHORT position.


For now, the intermediate-term TREND ranges for US Equities and volatility are as follows:

  1. SP500 = 1
  2. VIX = 13.77-18.98

Again, you’ll note that what’s new in that 2 factor model is:


A)     Lower-highs for US stocks

B)      Higher-lows for US equity volatility


Plenty will quibble with how my models work, and that’s perfectly fine with me. I don’t have time to do anything other than what we are already doing here at the firm. So my own risk is going to be doing more of that.


The beauty of operating from the opposite perspective as brilliant central planners who promise you certainty (Obama just called his freshly minted Keynesian, 42 year old Harvard boy, Jason Furman, “one of the most brilliant minds of his generation”) is Embracing Uncertainty. We have no idea what tomorrow is going to tell our model.


Here’s all I am certain about as of this morning (this could change by tomorrow, but probably not):

  1. Japan’s Weimar Nikkei is now bearish TREND (resistance = 13,849)
  2. Japanese Yen (vs USD) remains bearish TREND (resistance = 96.05)
  3. US Dollar Index remains bullish TREND ($81.21 = support)
  4. South Korea’s KOSPI is back to bearish TREND (resistance = 1968)
  5. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is bearish TREND (resistance = 22,438)
  6. India’s BSE Sensex is bearish TREND (resistance = 19,692)
  7. Germany’s DAX is bullish TREND (support = 8112)
  8. UK’s FTSE is bullish TREND (support = 6281)
  9. Spain’s IBEX is bearish TREND (resistance = 8361)
  10. Russia’s RTSI is bearish TREND (resistance = 1472)
  11. Brazil’s Bovespa is bearish TREND (resistance = 56,191)
  12. Commodities (CRB Index) remain bearish TREND (resistance = 296)
  13. Gold remains bearish TREND (resistance = 1581)
  14. Old (Brent) remains bearish TREND (resistance = 108.31)
  15. Copper remains bearish TREND (resistance = 3.51)
  16. Japanese Government Bond yield (10yr) is bullish TREND (0.79% support)
  17. US Treasury Bond yield (10yr) remain bullish TREND (1.83% support)

And it goes on and on and on …


Multi-factor, multi-duration. That’s how we roll. And as you’ll quickly note, there are plenty of places to be bearish in this world. The problem with consensus US stock market bears in 2013 is that they weren’t bearish enough on many of these things – primarily because they weren’t bullish enough on US #GrowthAccelerating.


Gold and Sovereign Credits (Japan and USA) loathe growth. And while the Japanese won’t get real (inflation adjusted) economic growth in the end anyway, at least their Keynesian duo of Abe/Aso will get plenty of beach time. We can only pray that they lose their jobs fast. Never mind the beach, dealing with their and Furman’s “brilliance” every morning might just drive me to the bottle.


Our immediate-term Risk Ranges Gold, Oil (Brent), US Dollar, USD/YEN, UST 10yr Yield, VIX, Nikkei, and the SP500 are now $1, $100.21-105.04, $81.21-82.42, 96.05-99.55, 2.14-2.26%, 14.07-17.69, 129, and 1, respectively.


Best of luck out there today,



Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer


Beach Time? - Chart of the Day


Beach Time? - Virtual Portfolio






Ho Tram Project Co announced that its first resort, "The Grand Ho Tram Strip" in Ho Tram, Vietnam, will open on July 26. The casino will be operated by Ho Tram Project Co itself.


The first phase of The Grand Ho Tram Strip includes 541 five-star rooms, gaming facilities, meeting and convention space, ten bars and restaurants, a spa, three swimming pools and luxury retail shops.


Ho Tram Project Co announced last October that it had broken ground on the second phase of the project, which will include a second tower of 559 rooms and additional leisure facilities.



The Court of Second Instance has sided with lawyer Vong Chong Kio in his request that the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau disclose which casinos two junket operators are doing business with.  He had requested the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau to disclose the information but the bureau denied the request, saying Vong had no cause to have access to the information, which was restricted.


Vong first appealed to the Administrative Court, which sided with the regulator.  Now, the Court of Second Instance has ruled in his favor.  The court says “there is nothing restricted, confidential, intimate or secret” about which casinos junket operators work with.

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TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP – June 11, 2013

As we look at today's setup for the S&P 500, the range is 38 points or 1.14% downside to 1624 and 1.17% upside to 1662.         










  • YIELD CURVE: 1.94 from 1.90
  • VIX closed at 15.44 1 day percent change of 1.98%

MACRO DATA POINTS (Bloomberg Estimates):

  • 7:30am: NFIB Small Business, May, est. 91.5 (prior 92.1)
  • 7:45am: ICSC weekly sales
  • 8:55am: Johnson/Redbook weekly sales
  • 10am: Wholesale Inventories, April, est. 0.2% (prior 0.4%)
  • 10am: JOLTs Job Openings, April, est. 3.900m (prior 3.844m)
  • 11am: Fed to buy $1.25b-$1.75b notes in 2036-2043 sector
  • 11:30am: U.S. to sell 4W bills
  • 1pm: U.S. to sell $32b 3Y notes
  • 4:30pm: API weekly inventory data


    • Obama meets w/ President Ollanta Humala of Peru to discuss proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, other issues; will also give remarks on Senate immigration bill
    • ITC holds hearing on probable economic effect of duty-free treatment for imports in TPP free trade agreement, 9:30am
    • Senate Appropriations subcommittee hears from Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel, Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey, 10am
    • Senate Finance Committee votes on nomination of Michael Froman to become U.S. trade representative, 10am
    • Senate panel holds hearing on Puerto Rico’s status, 10am
    • Senate scheduled to hold cloture vote on motion to proceed to immigration legislation, 2:15pm


  • Softbank raises Sprint bid by 7.5% to $21.6b to counter Dish
  • Paulson, #2 Sprint holder, to vote for Softbank deal
  • Bank of Japan left unaltered 1-yr fixed-rate loan facility
  • News Corp. holders to OK plan to spin off publishing unit
  • Sony unveils PlayStation 4 console pressing fight w/ MSFT
  • Nestle’s Nespresso to face new copycat from Mondelez
  • MSCI to announce mkt classification review after 5pm
  • Goldman to expand in Poland even as economy slows
  • ANA says it canceled Boeing 787 flight yday to check engine
  • Safety net scaled back as Senate passes agriculture bill
  • EU seeks air-traffic charge cuts, challenging controllers
  • Most banks expect salary increases to offset EU bonus cap


    • Oxford Industries (OXM) 4pm, $0.78
    • Ulta Salon Cosmetics (ULTA) 4pm, $0.62


  • Copper Touches a Five-Week Low on Concern About Stimulus Curbs
  • Record U.S. Soybean Crop Seen Extending Bear Market: Commodities
  • Wheat Drops a Fifth Day on Prospects for Better Crop Conditions
  • WTI Crude Declines a Second Day on Forecast of U.S. Supply Gain
  • Gold Falls to Lowest in More Than Two Weeks on Stimulus Outlook
  • Coffee Declines on Outlook for Growing Production; Sugar Climbs
  • Shale Boom Curbing OPEC’s Grip as Saleri Sees a $120 Oil Cap
  • Iraq Plans to Boost Wheat Output, Become Exporter in Three Years
  • Oil-Tanker Demand Seen Falling 5% as Bookings and Distances Slip
  • Gold ‘Triangle’ Signals Price Drop to $1,250: Technical Analysis
  • Australia 2013 Wheat Crop May Be 25 Mln T, Grain Trade CEO Says
  • Commodities for Rest of 2013 Seen by UBS Heading for 1994 Redux
  • Car Carriers Fill Up as Global Trade Expands to Record: Freight
  • Iron Ore Seen Rebounding as China Restocks in Year’s Second Half






















The Hedgeye Macro Team













LULU: Meaningful Margin Risk

Takeaway: LULU needed to shore up confidence after 1Q product issues. They blew it. There's margin risk. Maybe not a short. But definitely not a long.

Conclusion: LULU had to do one thing and one thing only this qtr -- instill confidence in the investment community that the recent product issue was a one-off, and it that management is on offense. Unfortunately, LULU blew it. Its quarter was hardly squeaky clean, the outlook is cloudy, and the CEO tendered the most surprising resignations we've seen in retail in a while. This remains a great global growth story in retail -- one of the best, actually. But there's margin risk to the downside. That matters at 33x earnings. It might be a lousy short. But we'd avoid it long.



In the wake of the Luon pant fiasco throughout the first quarter, there was one thing and one thing alone that LULU needed to do with this print -- and that's instill confidence with the investment community that the right team is steering this ship, and that the issues that caused the stumble are temporary and not a sign of more systemic issues at the company. Unfortunately, the company dropped that ball with the announcement that Christine Day is resigning her post of CEO after 5 1/2 years on the job.


Quite  frankly, we were stunned by the announcement. For investors, this is the corporate equivalent of being bitten by your Golden Retriever. There was no warning. Usually when something happens so suddenly, it is the Board's decision, but this one sounds like it was all Christine. Could it be that the Luon pant debacle took its toll on her? Perhaps. But she already canned LULU's Chief Product Officer in April, and the company is in the process of broadening its executive team.  We'd be surprised if her departure was due to this issue alone.


Our sense is that Ms. Day -- who is held in extremely high regard by the investment community -- simply sees that the next leg of growth will be tougher to come by. To her credit, she saw the company through the period in '09 when it was a $3 stock and drove it up to $80. That's $11.2bn in value creation -- or a 27-bagger for those keeping score.


While LULU had several wins this quarter, like golf, tennis, men's and e-commerce, in the end, this quarter was hardly squeaky clean. Aside from the Luon issue, the company noted certain misses from a styling perspective, higher expected landed costs in 2H due to factory/production issues, SG&A deleverage through 2H14 as LULU ramps up its East Coast distribution center, and difficulty in finding store locations to facilitate Hong Kong expansion.


We still think that LULU is one of the few iron-clad brands in retail that can put up 20%+ organic top-line growth on a consistent basis for the next 3-5 years (the others are RH, FNP, UA and KORS). But unlike these other brands, we think that LULU has risk to the downside in its mid-20s margin as the company spends more to facilitate its growth. If we compare it to UnderArmour (or FNP or RH), for example, we see that UA has only an 11% margin, and even it is stepping up spending on the margin to maintain top line growth. We think that LULU will maintain a significant premium to UA, NKE, RH and FNP. But in doing so we still think that the risk is to the 20% range as margins (and even high teens) look to find a final resting place.


This still nets us a respectable 20%-ish EPS growth rate by any stretch (25% top line growth less 500bp due to margin erosion). But with the stock trading at 33x earnings (per the after-hours sell-off) we find it really tough to get excited about on the long side.

Sell Some: SP500 Levels, Refreshed

Takeaway: Every time this US stock market corrects we get a whole new bear case and each bear case is different than the one prior.

This note was originally published June 10, 2013 at 11:02 in Macro



Sell Some: SP500 Levels, Refreshed - bullbear


Ok, I sold more than some. I actually sold ½ my long positions this morning. But not because I am all beared up or anything like that – it’s just process. We bought the oversold signal well last week < 1601, and now the SP500 is 50 handles higher!


I usually don’t use exclamation marks but, this year deserves one. Every time this US stock market corrects we get a whole new bear case. Each bear case is different than the one prior, but it feels equally as tough to buck up and buyem when you should.


Across our core risk management durations, here are the lines that matter to me most:


  1. Immediate-term TRADE overbought = 1662
  2. Immediate-term TRADE support = 1624
  3. Intermediate-term TREND support = 1583


In other words, now we’re just trying to manage the risk of the intermediate-term TREND range (1582-1662). If you want to think about where I’d be as a % of a full intermediate-term TREND position in US Stocks, I went to 97% of my max allocation last week.


If we test 1583 again this summer, I’ll probably do that again.


Keep moving out there,



Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer


Sell Some: SP500 Levels, Refreshed - SPX large

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