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MCD – OWNING UP?

MCD remains on the Hedgeye best ideas list as a SHORT.

 

The company reported disappointing 2Q13 results relative to expectations yesterday, adding merit to our view that management remains hard-pressed to improve MCD’s operational performance.  Importantly, we fail to see any indication that these changes will transpire soon.

 

MCD continues to blame a “challenging environment” as the largest contributor to the company’s issues without any mention of internal operational issues.  According to management, all 2013 product launches are working and achieving internal growth targets.  Despite this, same-store sales are missing expectations.

 

Until management acknowledges the internal challenges it faces, disappointment relative to expectations will persist.

 

 

MCD’S NEAR-TERM ISSUES:

  • Flat to declining markets – from an IEO perspective, the company is seeing contraction in 7 out of 11 of its top markets
  • No pricing flexibility – MCD’s price increase was 1.5% at the end of 2Q13, down 120 bps from 2Q12
  • Increasing cost pressures across the P&L – management needs to cut G&A in order to hit the numbers
  • Increasing competition – Wendy’s, Taco Bell, and others are outperforming McDonald’s

 

WHAT WE LIKED

  • The financial fundamentals of the company remain strong
  • The McDonald’s asset base is strong – more than half of its global stores reflect the current contemporary look

 

WHERE WE SEE RED FLAGS

  • The company guided to flat July global same-store sales versus expectations of a 2.9% increase and expects the rest of the year to remain challenging
  • Management blamed the “challenging environment” for the decline in same-store sales rather than take responsibility for the poor results
  • Germany (MCD’s biggest international market) sales trends are negative and there does not appear to be a viable plan to fix this
  • France and other key markets in Europe are cutting labor costs (i.e. realized labor productivity gains), which is a red flag in a declining same-store sales environment
  • Cutting G&A in the current environment is also a sign of weakness and a major red flag – lower incentive compensation and efficiency gains are unsustainable
  • Lower unit growth in China means that I lost a bet to Tim Jerzyk, formerly of YUM

 

 

MCD – OWNING UP? - USA MCD

 

MCD – OWNING UP? - MCD EUR USE

 

MCD – OWNING UP? - APMEA MCD

 

MCD – OWNING UP? - MCD Global Now

 

 

 

Howard Penney

Managing Director


SEC on “DTC Chills & Freezes”

By Moshe Silver

 

The SEC’s Investor Education office tweets an Investor Bulletin explaining DTC chills and freezes (see full text here).  Earlier we reported on a tweet regarding Trading Suspensions.  The SEC's latest message is a bit more arcane, covering an organization that you may not even have known existed, and that exercises broad control over the investment markets, and over the stocks you own, and whose inner workings are often cloaked in secrecy (Edward Snowden, are you listening?)

 

SEC on “DTC Chills & Freezes” - twi88

 

Depository Trust Corporation – DTC


The DTC is the largest securities depository in the world, holding some 3.6 million different securities issues, worth around $35 trillion.  Says the Bulletin, the DTC’s brief is “to improve efficiencies and reduce risk in the settlement and clearance of securities transactions.”  DTC accepts deposits of securities from its participating member banks and brokerage firms, and manages the holdings through book-entry recording.  When customers buy and sell stocks, DTC makes the corresponding entries, moving securities from the firm that sold them, to the firm that bought them, both for the benefit of their corresponding customers.

 

DTC also has frequent interaction with issuers and their transfer agents for ensuring proper crediting of dividend payments, for distributing proxy statements, for corporate actions, and for maintaining accurate share counts.

 

The Big Chill


Even though it sounds like something you’d enjoy in the midst of this heat wave, a “DTC chill” is definitely not something you want, and a “Freeze” is something you really don’t want.

 

DTC “chills” a security by restricting one or more services, often while waiting for a problem to be resolved.  As you might have guessed, a “Freeze” is when DTC suspends all services relative to a security.  If DTC believes a transfer agent is not complying properly with DTC requirements around transfer of an issuer’s securities, DTC may chill the security by halting transfers until it resolves the matter with the transfer agent.  Such chills are often resolved in a reasonable time frame, allowing shareholders to resume trading their securities.  Also, DTC chills book-entry transfers during a corporate re-organization, then un-chills once the re-org is complete.

 

The chills and freezes you need to worry about are those where DTC has been informed there may be a legal problem surrounding an issuer or a particular security.  For example, on July 3rd the SEC announced a “freeze on proceeds from unlawful distribution” of shares of a company called Biozoom

 

The SEC had already suspended trading in the shares at the end of June, citing a “lack of current and accurate information.”  DTC filed a freeze on Biozoom shares (“suspension of DTC services notice 1177-13) on July 19th.  The SEC has charged eight Argentine nationals with the illegal sale of millions of shares of Biozoom, netting about $34 million.  Assets in US-based accounts of those charged were frozen, but not before $17 million was wired overseas.

 

What Should You Do?


The SEC recommends that, before buying a security you have never heard of, investors should ask their broker whether there have ever been any DTC restrictions placed on any securities of the issuer.  Unless the security is currently frozen by DTC – in which case it may be illegal to solicit trades in the security at all – your broker will probably not know the answer.  The SEC suggests you ask them to have their Compliance Department check.  The information is easy enough to obtain.  And, for the investor, worth the wait.

 

Better yet, we recommend you exercise reasonable caution in your investing.  It may be appropriate for you to have a High Risk component to your portfolio.  That doesn’t mean you should abandon common sense.  The SEC release says Biozoom, formerly known as Entertainment Art, Inc, “announced in April that it was changing its name and moving from producing leather bags to developing biomedical technology.” 

 

Call us unimaginative, but that doesn’t sound like a transferrable skill set.

 

Moshe Silver is a Managing Director at Hedgeye Risk Management and author of Fixing a Broken Wall Street.


STRONG USD: A GOOD THING

Client Talking Points

USD

The US Dollar was weak last week (Bernanke was speaking) and down again yesterday. But it is holding our immediate-term TRADE support line of $82.07 (TREND support underpinning that at $81.53). Of particular note, over the last six months, the correlation between the USD and SPX is 0.76. So, despite all the whining out there about strong USD and #RisingRates, you actually should want more of this.

OIL

Good news as Brent is backing off our long-term TAIL risk line of $108.03/barrel again this morning. Meanwhile, Gold, Silver, Copper, Corn, etc are all making lower-highs. Bottom line here is that the only way to get that Consumption "Tax Cut" is via #StrongDollar Commodity Deflation.

UST 10YR

Witness the 10-Year Treasury holding our immediate-term TRADE support line of 2.45%. Like a champ! And then backs up to 2.51% this morning. TREND support here is 2.21%. There’s no resistance to the year-to-date closing highs as the market starts baking in a September tapering of at least $20 billion a month.

Asset Allocation

CASH 46% US EQUITIES 20%
INTL EQUITIES 10% COMMODITIES 0%
FIXED INCOME 0% INTL CURRENCIES 24%

Top Long Ideas

Company Ticker Sector Duration
WWW

WWW is one of the best managed and most consistent companies in retail. We’re rarely fans of acquisitions, but the recent addition of Sperry, Saucony, Keds and Stride Rite (known as PLG) gives WWW a multi-year platform from which to grow. We think that the prevailing bearish view is very backward looking and leaves out a big piece of the WWW story, which is that integration of these brands into the WWW portfolio will allow the former PLG group to achieve what it could not under its former owner (most notably – international growth, and leverage a more diverse selling infrastructure in the US). Furthermore it will grow without needing to add the capital we’d otherwise expect as a stand-alone company – especially given WWW’s consolidation from four divisions into three -- which improves asset turns and financial returns.

MPEL

Gaming, Leisure & Lodging sector head Todd Jordan says Melco International Entertainment stands to benefit from a major new European casino rollout.  An MPEL controlling entity, Melco International Development, is eyeing participation in a US$1 billion gaming project in Barcelona.  The new project, to be called “BCN World,” will start with a single resort with 1,100 hotel beds, a casino, and a theater.  Longer term, the objective is for BCN World to have six resorts.  The first property is scheduled to open for business in 2016. 

HCA

Health Care sector head Tom Tobin has identified a number of tailwinds in the near and longer term that act as tailwinds to the hospital industry, and HCA in particular. This includes: Utilization, Maternity Trends as well as Pent-Up Demand and Acuity. The demographic shift towards more health care – driven by a gradually improving economy, improving employment trends, and accelerating new household formation and births – is a meaningful Macro factor and likely to lead to improving revenue and volume trends moving forward.  Near-term market mayhem should not hamper this  trend, even if it means slightly higher borrowing costs for hospitals down the road. 

Three for the Road

TWEET OF THE DAY

Another all-time high for US stock market bulls Monday - all-time is a long time ($SPY and Russell +18.9% and +24% YTD)

@KeithMcCullough

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"I made a killing in the stock market. My broker lost all my money, so I killed him." - Jim Loy

STAT OF THE DAY

The future heir to the British throne has arrived (still unnamed) - and retailers are ready to cash in on him. The Centre for Retail Research estimates that £80 million ($121 million) alone will be spent on royal baby-related toys and souvenirs.


investing ideas

Risk Managed Long Term Investing for Pros

Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough handpicks the “best of the best” long and short ideas delivered to him by our team of over 30 research analysts across myriad sectors.

July 23, 2013

July 23, 2013 - dtr

 

BULLISH TRENDS

July 23, 2013 - 10yr

July 23, 2013 - spx

July 23, 2013 - dax

July 23, 2013 - nik

July 23, 2013 - dxy

July 23, 2013 - oil

 

BEARISH TRENDS

July 23, 2013 - VIX

July 23, 2013 - yen

July 23, 2013 - natgas

July 23, 2013 - gold
July 23, 2013 - copper

 


Stealing Time

This note was originally published at 8am on July 09, 2013 for Hedgeye subscribers.

“I want to use the time it takes.”

-Per Peterson

 

As opposed to what I usually do when I’m reading non-fiction, I don’t dog-ear many pages when I read a novel. The aforementioned quote is a simple one for type-A types in this profession. It comes from Peterson’s acclaimed novel, Out Stealing Horses.

 

Time is important to me now, I tell myself. Not that it should pass quickly or slowly, but be only time, be something I live inside and fill with physical things and activities that I can divided it up by, so that it grows distinct to me and does not vanish when I am not looking.” (Out Stealing Horses)

 

That is all. I just wanted to share it with you. It’s a blessing to be able to work with my teammates and produce something distinct every morning. Thank you for taking the time to read our thoughts.

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

Three consecutive up days for the SP500 (taking it to within 1.7% of her all-time high of 1669) as the Russell 2000 powers forward to make its 2nd consecutive all-time high in as many trading days (+18.8% YTD to 1,009). That’s progress.

 

So are US employment growth expectations rising alongside:

 

A)     Rising Bond Yields

B)      Falling Equity Volatility

 

In Hedgeye quant-speak, that means:

  1. SP500 is back in a Bullish Formation (bullish on all 3 of our core risk management durations, TRADE/TREND/TAIL)
  2. US Equity Volatility (VIX) is back in a Bearish Formation with immediate-term TRADE resistance = 16.39
  3. US Treasury 10yr Bond Yields remain in a Bullish Formation (with immediate-term TRADE support 2.33%)

As growth expectations rise, slow-growth securities (Bonds, MLPs, Utilities, etc.) fall:

  1. US Consumer Discretionary stocks (XLY) = +3.39% July-to-date
  2. US Financials (XLF) = +2.67% July-to-date
  3. US Utilities (XLU) = -0.53% July-to-date

In other words, one of these things (XLU) is not like the others. #StrongDollar and #RatesRising gets the consumer paid, not the banker and/or ETF manufacturer who is pushing you Yield-Chaser product.

 

*Key Word Score in 2013 = #expectations

 

Mr Market couldn’t care less what Captain Valuation thinks about a mining security. Mr Market is all about the rate of change in expectations. And right now, expectations are rising that #GrowthSlowing is still yesterday’s war.

 

From a US stock market factoring perspective, here’s another way to look at that relative to the SP500’s +15.0% YTD gain:

  1. Low Yield Stocks = +22.9% YTD
  2. Top 25% EPS Growth Stocks = +19.4% YTD
  3. High Beta stocks = +17.5% YTD

High Yield Stocks (i.e. slow growth) are only +11.2% YTD. Whether you are long Tesla (TSLA) (which is replacing Oracle (ORCL) in the Nasdaq 100 today), or you’re short sketchy MLP companies, you are just loving this expectations shift versus the consensus.

 

Don’t let jimmy pundit confuse you  - for the entire year the #OldWall hasn’t been Bullish Enough on the US Dollar, Bond Yields, and Growth Expectations. At the beginning of 2013, the sell-side’s average “year-end target” for the SP500 was only 1531.

 

Today, the SP500 is obviously 109 handles higher than that, and the VIX is -18.0% for the YTD. Only 43.8% of investors surveyed in the most recent II Bullish/Bearish Survey admitted they are bullish.

 

Are we discounting too much growth too fast? Or are we just normalizing a pervasively bearish growth expectation in the political economy? I don’t know. All I know is that I will not let consensus’ bearish baggage get me down.

 

Life is too short to not enjoy the up moves. If I can steal more of the good times, I’ll take them.

 

Our immediate-term Risk Ranges are now:

 

UST 10yr 2.56-2.74%

SPX 1619-1650

VIX 14.12-16.36

USD 83.47-84.83

Yen 99.59-101.98

Brent Oil 104.93-108.36

 

Best of luck out there today,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

Stealing Time - Chart of the Day

 

Stealing Time - Virtual Portfolio



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