“I only take Viagra when I am with more than one woman.”
Obviously Jack Nicholson doesn’t trade Oil or Gold futures. All you need to bid up the futures curve of inflation expectations are a few Washington whispers and some dovish Bernanke Blue Pills – and, oh baby, will some of the old boys in Chicago chase!
With time, trading losses, and substance abuse, I’ve seen some men in this business get dumber, faster. Yesterday, one of my Senior Analysts on the Hedgeye Macro Team, Christian Drake, reminded me why: “Keith, neuro-plasticity and de Novo brain cell creation are generally fixed by the time you enter adulthood… except for one notable exception:”
“The hormonal milieu present in pregnant women works to create new neural circuitry and further develop parts of the brain responsible for reasoning and problem solving. So, if you’re a female and need a cerebral kick-start, get pregnant. If you’re gender deficient (i.e. male) you have to resort to more nuanced methods of warding off cognitive deflation.”
Back to the Global Macro Grind…
“Cognitive Deflation”. Bro, that’s what I’m talking about. I love that stuff!
On Twitter, I affectionately call some of the people I do not know, “bro.” If I’m really in a good mood, I might call one of these beauties something like “princess.” But that’s a special name that usually calls for very special circumstances.
When it comes to fading consensus, you need to pay attention to where the bros are at all times. If Bernanke understood how markets trade, he’d pick up on this pretty quickly.
Toning down the raging net long position of over +325,000 contracts in Oil futures and options contracts (and giving Americans a long awaited Tax Cut at the pump), would be easy. Just have Obama tell the bros that Bernanke is out of pills.
A version of that happened yesterday. Since the last thing Bernanke actually wants is for Gold Bond bulls to crash again, the shift in expectations was at first very subtle – then it happened all at once.
Viagra really should be sponsoring C-SPANs Congressional testimony coverage at this point. Here was the play-by-play:
- Bernanke’s testimony said nothing new (he wasn’t incrementally more dovish than when he spoke last time)
- The US Dollar Index immediately went from red to green
- And both Gold and Oil futures went from green to red
Both Gold and these bastardly looking Gold Miners (GDX) then started going really red – and my contra-stream of bros on Twitter were quick to say “buy the dip, he’s going to say something else.”
He didn’t. Then there was more red, the bros turned into crickets, and the blue pill rally was over.
I know. It’s so anti-climactic at this point that it could make you cry. But why should it? Why do we need the entire world to wake-up every morning with the hope of a false dawn? Why has this game turned into purely front-running the Fed?
As Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets) said to his dog Verdell, “Don’t be like me. Don’t you be like me!” And since we aging men don’t have much upside left, we need to switch it up from time to time anyway.
The upside to the Hedgeye plan for Cognitive Deflation (i.e. getting it through the thick skulls of the bros that Bernanke is done and Oil could go to $65), would be the most exciting bull market catalyst for US stocks of the year – sustainable growth!
Think it through. Both Reagan and Clinton did:
- Average Price of Oil 1 = $22.16/barrel
- Average Price of Oil 1 = $18.63/barrel
Both Presidents signed off on massive #StrongDollar Tax Cuts that drove US Consumption growth through the roof:
- Average US GDP Growth 1 = +4.31%
- Average US GDP Growth 1 = +3.84%
So what say you to leader of the bros, President Obama?
I say it’s time to get rid of this un-elected academic. The bros can handle it. They are big boys who can always find something else to chase. Buying into any gold rally lasting for more than 4 hours requires medical attention anyway.
Our immediate-term Risk Ranges are now:
UST 10yr yield 2.46.-2.75%
Best of luck out there today,
Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer
This note was originally published July 17, 2013 at 12:24 in Macro
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Best news of the day is that Bernanke wasn’t dovish enough to satisfy the begging from Gold Bond bulls. #StrongDollar is holding support, and that, ultimately, is a good thing for what’s been working for 6 months – long US Growth.
Across our core risk management durations that matter, here are the lines that matter to me most:
- Immediate-term TRADE resistance = 1701
- Immediate-term TRADE support = 1661
- Intermediate-term TREND support = 1602
Higher-lows of support and higher-all-time-highs of resistance will continue to be bullish until they are not.
- We want to be buying growth on red days (bought TSLA and NKE on red yesterday)
- We want to be shorting bounces in bearish growth trades (Gold, Bonds, etc) on green days
Staying with our 2013 process because it’s still working,
Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer
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As highlighted in the two charts below, WEN short interest has risen from 7.9% at the end of 1Q13 to 13.97% today. In addition to the high short interest, 19.0% of analysts currently rate WEN a Sell compared to 23.8% of analysts that rate stock a Buy.
We were previously of the view that the run in WEN was over and the stock was likely “to take a breather,” as its price performance was largely driven by multiple expansion rather than earnings revisions. Admittedly, there are a lot of names in the restaurant industry currently trading with stretched valuations. However, our opinion on Wendy’s is changing as the new Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger appears to be exceeding expectations. Since the July 4th launch, we are hearing that same-store sales are running well into the double digits thus far.
How much of the recent spike in the stock is due to short covering rather than new buyers remains unclear. That being said, at 13.97% short interest, we anticipate more short covering and potentially some upgrades coming out within the next few weeks.
The recent success of Wendy’s new product launch gives us more conviction that MCD continues to struggle amidst an increasingly competitive environment.
An aggressive share repurchase program and strong share price momentum year-to-date has led to some discomfort for KMB bears. We would avoid the long side in this name ahead of the 7/22 2Q earnings print.
A bear case is emerging in this stock; a steep valuation (17.5x NTM earnings) with 3-5% top line growth and the commodity headwind stiffening. EBIT growth has largely been driven by cost savings and benefit from raw materials costs over the last year. We would not be short – yet – but believe that investors looking for longs in staples should look elsewhere. According to our macro team’s quantitative levels, the stock has climbed back above its TREND line, on low volume. A chart illustrating these levels is below.
1Q Strength Likely Faded in 2Q
We would expect 2Q results to be sequentially weaker in terms of operating leverage and sales growth as the company recently highlighted a “cautious” U.S. consumer. Slowing growth in emerging markets (over 20% of KMB revenue) is likely to weigh on consensus’ outlook on K-C International (KCI) for the balance of the year. The value of the US Dollar, over the intermediate- and long-term, is important for KMB as it looks to grow its presence in emerging markets. That said, 1Q was the most difficult compare of the year, so we will be watching EBIT growth and listening for any related commentary on how income growth is likely to trend over the balance of the year.
EBIT Growth Puts and Takes
Management has stated its confidence in finding cost savings in the $250-300 million range, annually, going forward. This will help the company leverage its sales growth but we believe, unlike in 2012, raw material costs are likely to offset cost savings for the remainder of the year. As we mentioned in our 6/10/13 note, “KMB – REMOVING FROM OUR BEST IDEAS LIST”, “[in February] KMB gave its planning assumption of northern bleached pulp at $890 - $910 per metric ton and oil at $90 - $100 per barrel. In total, the Company guided to $150 - $250 million in cost inflation.” With crude oil prices at $105 per barrel and NBSK Pulp steadily rising year-to-date to $947 currently, we will be interested to see if management addresses the topic of input costs on July 22nd.
The first chart, below, offers an illustration of year-over-year EBIT growth, in dollars, versus the year-to-year impact of cost savings and raw material costs on the P&L. Those line-items, in aggregate, are likely to be less of a tailwind in each of the remaining quarters.
Hedgeye Risk Management CEO Keith McCullough on BNN explaining why investors need to stay far away from Bonds and Gold and why the Bernanke Fed remains an enormous risk.
Click here to watch the video.