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Liberty's Flows

This note was originally published at 8am on August 01, 2013 for Hedgeye subscribers.

“We are sowing the seeds of Ignorance, Corruption, and Injustice, in the fairest field of Liberty.”

-John Adams

 

According to Joseph Ellis in Revolutionary Summer, that’s what John Adams wrote to Joseph Hawley on August 25, 1776. Adams could have said that about heavy-handed government in August of 2013 – and, in principle, he’d still be right. But betting against the prospects of American growth rising above compromised politicians has often been wrong.

 

Politics versus people - that’s not new. Americans generally dislike socialists and/or plutocratic pomp. On August 13, 1776, George Washington called the British out like most of us call out conflicted central planners today: “Their cause is bad; their men are conscious of it, and if opposed with firmness and coolness… victory is most assuredly ours.” (Revolutionary Summer, pg 86)

 

I like that, a lot.

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

I also like seeing all of the growth factors in our multi-factor model rip to the upside. It’s especially fun to watch on days like yesterday when my contra-stream (I built one on Twitter of market pundits who are wrong at least 65% of the time) starts whining.

 

Winning versus whining – that’s not new either. There are a lot of losers out there who whine but, over time, Americans eventually put those people on mute and roll with winners who have principles they can associate with.

 

There’s been a lot of whining about US GDP “dropping to 1%” in Q213 – but that didn’t happen either. US GDP has by no means had a championship season, but it’s been a heck of a lot better than Q412’s 0.38% - and it’s what happens on the margin in macro that matters to us most. Here’s the Q213 breakdown:

  1. Consumption (C) = +1.8% quarter-over-quarter, contributed +1.22% to Q213 GDP
  2. Investment (I) = +9.0% quarter-over-quarter, contributed +1.32% to Q213 GDP
  3. Government (G) = -0.4% quarter-over-quarter, contributed -0.1% to Q213 GDP 

In other words, government spending fell as Consumption and Investment rose. Good, eh? It’s not a new story in America. It just hasn’t happened in a while – and that’s the point.

 

Since C + I + G + (EX-IM) is the GDP equation, whiners (particularly partisan ones) will add that:

  1. Net Exports (EX-IM) = +5.4% quarter-over-quarter, but contributed negatively to GDP by -0.81%
  2. Inventories contributed positively to GDP by +0.4%
  3. Inflation (PCE Deflator) was at its 2nd lowest level ever of +0.8%

But let’s get real here – who really cares about those line items when the big stuff (Consumption and Investment growth) is finally going the right way for once?

 

To give them some air-time, the Princeton/Yale/Harvard Keynesian Econ 101 textbooks will also whine about “net exports being down because the Dollar went up” and “disinflation is a threat to our academic dogma” – but again, who cares?

 

I went to Yale and, admittedly, was confused about this “inflation is good, deflation is bad” concept. My family doesn’t buy into the class warfare labeling thing, but we do buy (and invest) more when the purchasing power of our hard earned currency appreciates.

 

Is Bernanke’s fear-mongering about “deflation” really the hobgoblin?

 

We answer that on slide 36 of our current Global Macro Themes deck (ping sales@Hedgeye.com if you’d like a copy) where we outline a recent study by Atkeson & Kehoe that spans a time period of 180 years (across 17 countries) that found no relationship between deflation and depressions.

 

The objective study actually found a greater number of episodes of depression with economies experiencing inflation than with deflation. Over the 180 year time period:

  1. 65 out of 73 deflation episodes had no depression
  2. 21 out of 29 depressions had no deflation

So what say you President Obama? Yes, we know. We know that you know that we know.

 

Bernanke’s cause is no longer saving us from the end of the world. That was so 3-5 years ago. Perversely, it’s to talk down growth in order to uphold un-precedented (and un-elected) central planning power on the order that this country hasn’t seen in 237 years.

 

But he’s conscious of it. So is the country.

 

Mr. Market gets it too. That’s why all of these end of the world (#EOW) trades that were driven by an explicit Policy To Inflate (Gold, Treasury Bonds, etc.) are coming unglued. That’s also why growth investors are getting paid.

 

Liberty flows. She still plays to the hands of the independent minds. We don’t have to be long Bernanke Bubbles in order to get paid. We have to be right on the slopes of the lines in our model.

 

Growth’s slope is up; Inflation’s is down – and unlike the government, I like that, a lot.

 

Our immediate-term Risk Ranges are now as follows (12 big macro risk ranges are in our new Daily Trading Range product):

 

UST 10yr 2.52-2.71%

SPX 1682-1699

Nikkei 13421-14295

VIX 11.96-13.85

Yen 97.12-101.01

Gold 1279-1327

 

Best of luck out there today,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

Liberty's Flows - Chart of the Day

 

Liberty's Flows - Virtual Portfolio


August 15, 2013

August 15, 2013 - dtr

 

BULLISH TRENDS

August 15, 2013 - 10yr

August 15, 2013 - spx

August 15, 2013 - nik

August 15, 2013 - ftse

August 15, 2013 - dxy

August 15, 2013 - euro

August 15, 2013 - oil

 

BEARISH TRENDS

August 15, 2013 - VIX

August 15, 2013 - yen

August 15, 2013 - natgas
August 15, 2013 - gold

August 15, 2013 - copper

 


THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK

TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP – August 15, 2013


As we look at today's setup for the S&P 500, the range is 30 points or 0.20% downside to 1682 and 1.58% upside to 1712.                                   

                                                                                            

SECTOR PERFORMANCE

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 1

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 2

 

EQUITY SENTIMENT:


THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 10


CREDIT/ECONOMIC MARKET LOOK:

  • YIELD CURVE: 2.40 from 2.39
  • VIX closed at 13.04 1 day percent change of 5.93%

MACRO DATA POINTS (Bloomberg Estimates):

  • 8:15am: Fed’s Bullard speaks on economy in Louisville, Kentucky
  • 8:30am: Initial Jobless Claims, Aug. 9, est. 335k (prior 333k)
  • 8:30am: Empire Manufacturing, Aug. 7, est. 10 (prior 9.46)
  • 8:30am: Consumer Price Index M/m, July, est. 0.2% (prior 0.5%)
  • 9am: Total Net TIC Flows, June (prior $56.4b)
  • 9:15am: Industrial Production, July, est. 0.3% (prior 0.3%)
  • 9:45am: Bloomberg Consumer Comfort, Aug. 11
  • 10am: NAHB Housing Market Index, Aug., est. 57 (prior 57)
  • 10am: Philadelphia Fed Biz Outlook, Aug., est. 15 (prior 19.8)
  • 10am: Freddie Mac mortgage rates
  • 10:30am: EIA natural-gas storage change
  • 11am: Fed to purchase $3b-$4b notes in 2019-2020 sector
  • 11am: Treasury announces offering size for auction of 5Y tips

GOVERNMENT:

    • 11am: FDIC hosts teleconference on interim final capital rule for community banks approved by board on July 9

WHAT TO WATCH:

  • Amgen talks to buy Onyx said to stall over drug trial data
  • JPMorgan said to expect multiple fines as Whale traders charged
  • AMR bankruptcy plan goes to judge after U.S. suit on merger
  • Cisco cutting jobs as Chambers turnaround hit by sales slowdown
  • Credit Cards report July Charge-Offs, delinquencies
  • Gold bull Paulson cuts SPDR stake by half in 2Q amid bear market
  • Cohen’s SAC reduces U.S. stock holdings by $2b in 2Q amid probe
  • BP asks judge to deny investors’ bid to sue as group over spill
  • Loeb’s Third Point Re raises $276m pricing IPO at low end
  • U.K. July retail sales rise more than forecast amid heatwave
  • Lenovo 1Q profit beats ests. on handset market share gains
  • Berkshire 13F filing due today after Edgar glitch: Reuters

EARNINGS:

    • Applied Materials (AMAT) 4pm, $0.19
    • Aspen Technology (AZPN) 4:02pm, $0.08
    • Bally Technologies (BYI) 4:01pm, $0.94
    • Dell (DELL) 4:01pm, $0.24
    • E-Commerce China Dangdang (DANG) Bef-mkt, $(0.15)
    • Estee Lauder (EL) 7:30am, $0.21
    • Kohl’s (KSS) 7am, $1.04
    • Nordstrom (JWN) 4:05pm, $0.88 - Preview
    • Pan American Silver (PAA CN) Bef-mkt, $0.05
    • Perrigo (PRGO) 7:44am, $1.56
    • Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) 7am, $1.25 – Preview

COMMODITY/GROWTH EXPECTATION (HEADLINES FROM BLOOMBERG)

  • Gold Bull Paulson Cuts SPDR Stake by Half Amid Bear Market
  • Cocoa Crunch in Ivory Coast Heads for Bull Market: Commodities
  • Gold Demand Fell 12% to Four-Year Low in Quarter on ETP Selling
  • Brent Crude Rallies to Four-Month High on Crackdown in Egypt
  • Soybeans Rise to Three-Week High on Concern About Dry Weather
  • Copper Declines Amid Speculation Fed Will Reduce Debt Purchases
  • Aluminum Premium Trading Rises as Regulators Focus on Warehouses
  • Commerzbank’s Physical Gold Trading Is Active Amid Bear Market
  • Gasoline Slumps as End of Driving Season Nears: Energy Markets
  • Indonesia’s Kharisma Sells 15,000 Tons of Crude Palm Oil (Table)
  • Indonesia’s July Tin Exports Seen Dropping on Low Prices: Timah
  • Gold Rebound to $1,600 Seen by Fund Manager Day on Bank Stimulus
  • Oil Pipeline From Kurdistan Makes Gulf Keystone Target: Energy
  • Gold Gains to Three-Week High on Signs of Demand as Dollar Drops

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 5

 

CURRENCIES

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 6

 

GLOBAL PERFORMANCE

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 3

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 4

 

EUROPEAN MARKETS

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 7

 

ASIAN MARKETS

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 8

 

MIDDLE EAST

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 9

 

 

The Hedgeye Macro Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Daily Trading Ranges

20 Proprietary Risk Ranges

Daily Trading Ranges is designed to help you understand where you’re buying and selling within the risk range and help you make better sales at the top end of the range and purchases at the low end.

M: We’re Still Negative on Macy’s

Takeaway: Sales under pressure, margins rolling over, increased SG&A, and higher capex. Sorry, but the ‘cheap valuation’ argument is irrelevant.

Conclusion: Macy’s has been #1 on our list of top three shorts (followed by Gap and Dick’s), and as such, the print today is not a surprise to us. We have no crystal ball as to the comp that Macy’s has been generating, so we’re not claiming to have forecasted the specific sales shortfall in this given 13-week period. But we’ve viewed the triangulation of M’s P&L, Cash Flow Statement and Balance Sheet as being like an increasingly stressed balloon under water. This event does nothing other than strengthen our confidence in our call.

 

DETAILS

Out of any name we cover (and we cover just about all of retail) there is not a single name we find ourselves more fiercely debating than Macy’s. The most common bull arguments we hear are a) the company has been so poorly run for so long, and that investments in Magic Selling, MyMacy’s, Omni-Channel, etc… are making up for years of share loss, and b) the stock is so cheap at just 12x earnings.

 

But we think that valuation is irrelevant, as it is not a catalyst – and never has been – especially with a levered zero-square-footage growth retailer where numbers can change so quickly. 

 

We recognize that there are certainly ways that Macy’s can operate more efficiently and can fine-tune its approach to going after share-of-wallet. But we think that there are too many factors converging on both the P&L and balance sheet that are stacking the odds against a positive change in return on invested capital. When returns are going down, there’s no reason a 12x multiple can’t turn into a 10x multiple – and there’s no rule that says that it needs to stop there.  Factors that specifically concern us are as follows…

1)      Top Line

a) We can’t forget that in 2012, Macy’s grew its top line by $1.5bn, which is the same time that JC Penney lost $4.3bn in sales. Macy’s management completely discounts the idea that any of its sales gain has come at the expense of JCP. If not outright cocky, we think that at a minimum management is being intellectually dishonest.  JCP will start to regain share at some point in 2H --- or lose share at a lesser rate (which is a negative change on the margin for competitors). If JCP fails, it will inflict pain while it tries. The other retailers (including Macy’s) are in denial. 

 

M: We’re Still Negative on Macy’s - midtier

 

b) Macy’s management did a very poor job articulating the source of the 2Q sales miss. Transaction count was down 1.6%, and they noted that consumers are more interested in buying cars, houses and spending on home improvement than they are in spending in department stores.  Seriously? What’s ridiculous is that there’s no way for them to know why consumers are NOT shopping in their stores. This is particularly troubling in light of point A – in that Macy’s is blaming macro factors at the same time we’re seeing sales competition heat up in the mid tier.    

 

c) The company noted that comps had turned up in 3QTD. That’s nice given that we’re just starting back-to-school. But there’s a long way to go in BTS. We give the company credit for trying to keep expectations somewhat grounded that its way too early to declare victory – especially when there so many unknowns as to why sales performance missed like it did throughout 2Q.
 

2)      Gross Margins were down only 10 basis points for the quarter – which is pretty impressive given the magnitude of the sales miss. But keep in mind that the sales/inventory spread eroded by 700bp, as inventories were up 6.4% despite a 0.8% sales decline. Had the company more appropriately cleared out inventory on hand, we’d have seen more Gross Margin pressure. (Notice the swing into the third quadrant of our SIGMA chart below). Either way, management has been vocal about saying that gross margins would be tough to improve from here, and that EBIT margins would need to come from SG&A leverage…

M: We’re Still Negative on Macy’s - sigma

 

3)      …but SG&A is headed higher. In order to kick start the top line and have the proper marketing programs in place for a less-certain 2H, the company is taking up marketing costs. We’re not knocking it, as it’s the right thing to do. But the simple point is that with both the top line and gross margins under pressure, the P&L gets levered in the wrong direction with an uptick in SG&A. Let’s not forget that Macy’s has almost $400mm in interest expense as well – which is another negative leverage kicker.

 

4)      Lastly, capex is running at $925mm this year. There hasn’t been any increase in capex guidance, which is good, but the reality is that it is still up 33% from $698mm last year.

 

The punchline is that we’ve got sales down, gross margins rolling over, increased SG&A spending, and higher capex. In that context, the ‘cheap valuation’ argument is simply irrelevant. We’re modeling flat operating profit over the next four years, with earnings growth only being driven by 3-4% of financial engineering (debt paydown and repo). Our earnings 3-years out are 25% below consensus (see our assumptions in financial summary below). While a 10x p/e and 5x EBITDA multiple only suggests a stock in the low $40s out that far, the reality is that those same multiples could get to a stock with a 3-handle closer in.

 

M: We’re Still Negative on Macy’s - mstats


BYI YOUTUBE

In preparation for BYI's FQ4 2013 earnings release tomorrow, we’ve put together the recent pertinent forward looking company commentary.

 

 

(see our SHFL/BYI CONF CALL NOTES on 07/16/2013)

 

GAMING OPERATIONS

  • "The margin on Gaming Operations was 71%, within our expected range of 68% to 73%."

WAP

  • "All things considered, we expect to see the rate of WAP unit increases to pick up during the upcoming quarters...We expect the flow of WAP and premium game titles to continue in a steady well-planned and controlled fashion."

SHARE BUYBACK/ASR

  • "Just the subject alone that since November 2007, including the ASR we're doing now, we bought back $1 billion. No change in our capital allocation strategy. We think that using an ASR to basically pull in about 7.5% of our total market cap is a pretty efficient means to do that. We do have some additional powder available even during the period of the ASR, should we choose to put that to work." 

NORTH AMERICAN REPLACEMENT VOLUME

  • "When I think about average order size, it's gone up a touch. I would say that's more a result of some corporate buying."

INTERNATIONAL GAME SALES

  • "Because regardless of whether their replacement numbers increase or not, one thing is certain, we are very under-represented in those floors. So we have a lot of market share growth opportunities there, even if the overall replacement trends don't pick up. So we have a long way to go before we are worried about the overall macro (international) trends."
  • "Some of the new game content we've been working on for the past year specifically targeted towards various international regions will be released soon and should help grow this portion of our business during fiscal 2014 and beyond."

SYSTEMS

  • "We are heading towards fiscal 2013 being a record Systems revenue year for us, beating the previous record of $218 million established in fiscal 2010 by a fair amount. We have every reason to believe fiscal 2014 will be even better."
  • [Software/hardware split] "I believe it was somewhere around 36% hardware, so not too dramatically different from the prior quarter and from the year-ago quarter. Looking into Q4, hardware might be a lower, slightly lower percentage of the overall total revenue; software might be a little bit higher...And that is reflected in the normal expectation of gross margin that we say, in the 70%s is the range our gross margin will normally be, give or take a couple of percentage points here and there."

I-GAMING

  • "We also made very good progress on the remote gaming server front, going live with eight Bally titles on multiple European portals this past week. We expect over a dozen such portals to launch Bally's world-class game content by the end of this fiscal year."

NASCAR

  • "And in terms of our expectations of NASCAR, yes, it is along the lines of Michael Jackson and GREASE, if not better."

ASP

  • "If you remove the VGTs and the VLTs our pricing is along the same lines as it has been for the last couple of quarters. In fact, pretty close to the highest levels it's been. We remain very disciplined with pricing."

CANADA & SOUTH AFRICA

  • "Canada and South Africa, I mean, it's a 2014 story. It's a 2015 story. It could even beyond 2015 be a story. There's still more to come on Canada, more jurisdictions that I think ultimately will come to market."

OTHER

  • "We expect that our income tax rate for the fourth quarter will approximate 36.5%."
  • "From a bad debt perspective, we've been relatively consistent."

Slow Growth? Get Out of the Way

Throughout the last 9 months (as US growth went from slowing to stabilizing to accelerating) markets have provided us plenty of opportunity to get into growth related asset classes and out of slow growth ones. August to-date is no different:

 

1.   Utilities (XLU) are the most overvalued slice of the slow-growth equity pie (with hyper-overvalued securities like MLPs within this Sector Style Risk). XLU is down -1.38% for August to-date (versus SPY +0.5%)

 

2.   Tech (XLK) and Basic Materials (XLB) are up the most for August to-date at +2.11% and +2.45% respectively. Both are traditionally considered “growth” sectors but for very different reasons. AAPL is not CAT.

 

Slow Growth? Get Out of the Way - Utilities Yield Spread

 

Where could we be wrong? Our research on something like Caterpillar (CAT) has been bearish, but now the market signal is stress testing our conviction in maintaining that position. If CAT were to close above my long-term TAIL risk line of $88.67 and hold that level on some real volume, my risk management process stops me out of the position.

 

Do I live my market life from looking inside our portfolio of ideas or from the outside looking in? The truth is that I do both. It’s a learning process. Whenever I ignore the outside, top-down, macro market signals, I will be reminded that volatility lives on the other side of my position’s underlying assumptions. And not in a good way.

 

(Editor's note: This brief excerpt is from Hedgeye's "Morning Newsletter" written by CEO Keith McCullough. Click here for more information.)


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