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Obama/Bernanke Burning Bucks

Client Talking Points

US DOLLAR

Are Ben Bernanke and Barack Obama trying to burn the US Dollar’s credibility at the stake? Because if they are, they are doing a darn good job of it. In case you turned your head away, the US Dollar Index continues to implode. That, combined with #RatesFalling, is a bearish leading indicator for US growth. Period.

OIL

The only thing more dangerous than Syria to rising Oil prices is this aforementioned Bernanke/Obama combo. Take a look back over economic history: No US President or Fed Chief has overseen a lower US Dollar and higher Oil price over their respective tenures. Brent is back above our TAIL risk line of 108.57. As always, we are watching this closely.

CHINA

Alas, it's not all doom and gloom this morning. On a cheerier note, take a look at China’s September Services PMI print. It was the best in the global macro data pack this morning coming in at 55.4 vs 53.9 in August. China’s stock market is closed, but the Hang Seng liked that and rose +1%. For the record, we’re long China now via FXI.

Asset Allocation

CASH 53% US EQUITIES 14%
INTL EQUITIES 18% COMMODITIES 0%
FIXED INCOME 0% INTL CURRENCIES 15%

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.

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.

TROW

Financials sector senior analyst Jonathan Casteleyn continues to carry T. Rowe Price as his highest-conviction long call, based on the long-range reallocation out of bonds with investors continuing to move into stocks.  T Rowe is one of the fastest growing equity asset managers and has consistently had the best performing stock funds over the past ten years.

Three for the Road

TWEET OF THE DAY

FX: Euro punching a fresh new high of 1.36 vs Bernanke and Obama's Burning Buck @KeithMcCullough

QUOTE OF THE DAY

I try to do the right thing with money. Save a dollar here and there, clip some coupons. Buy ten gold chains instead of 20. Four summer homes instead of eight. -LL Cool J 

STAT OF THE DAY

Shares of electric car maker Tesla (TSLA) slumped 6% on an Baird analyst downgrade yesterday. That said, Tesla is still up more than 450% in 2013.


October 3, 2013

October 3, 2013 - dtr

 

BULLISH TRENDS

October 3, 2013 - 10yr

October 3, 2013 - nik

October 3, 2013 - SHCOMP

October 3, 2013 - euro

<chart6>

October 3, 2013 - oil

BEARISH TRENDS

October 3, 2013 - VIX

October 3, 2013 - dxy

October 3, 2013 - natgas

October 3, 2013 - gold
October 3, 2013 - copper

 


THE M3: SEPT GGR; CROUPIERS; SMOKING AREA FINDINGS; NATIONAL DAY VISITATION

THE MACAU METRO MONITOR, OCTOBER 3, 2013

 

 

MACAU SEPTEMBER GGR DICJ

Macau grossing gaming revenues rose 21.4% YoY in September to MOP 28.963 billion (HKD 28.12 billion, USD 3.63 billion).

 

GOV'T TO MAINTAIN BAN ON NON-LOCAL CROUPIERS Macau Daily Times

Macau CEO Chui Sai On said that there will be no changes to the regulations concerning croupiers.  Chui’s words were corroborated by the Secretary for Economy and Finance, Francis Tam, who even said it was “awkward” that the issue was being raised.  The Secretary doubted the accuracy of predictions indicating the need for 10,000 more croupiers. “Do you think that so many will be needed?” he fired back at a journalist.

 

BELOW-PAR CASINOS DISPUTE SMOKING AREA FINDINGS Macau Business

The government has yet to publish the names of casinos that failed a second round of checks on air quality in their designated smoking zones because some have disputed the findings.  Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Cheong U said, "The reason for the delay is that we have received some appeals.”

 

NATIONAL DAY VISITOR NUMBERS LOWER THAN IN 2012 Macau Business

Official data show 124,499 visitors arrived on October 1, down 6% YoY.  But the Macau Government Tourist Office data show 102,227 of the visitors were mainlanders, +16% YoY.  The mainland’s ban on cheap package tours – run by operators that recoup their costs by compelling tourists to shop in shops that pay commission – came into force on October 1.  Anecdotal evidence suggests the ban appears to have had some effect on visitor numbers.


Early Look

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Is It Over?

This note was originally published at 8am on September 19, 2013 for Hedgeye subscribers.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.”

-Albert Einstein

 

Is it over?

 

Well, it depends on what you think it is.

 

Is it the US Constitution? Is it the US Dollar? Is it US Growth?

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

I’ll keep it tight this morning, because if I rant about what I really think about what Ben Bernanke did yesterday, I might lose some clients and have the NSA parked outside of my house.

 

While it was a great day for those of us who have been US stock market bulls in 2013, it was a very sad day for America.

 

Basically, Bernanke eviscerated almost my entire bull case for US growth accelerating from here, so it's a good thing he cut his GDP forecast. The best way to slow real (inflation adjusted) economic growth is by burning your currency.

 

To review the 3 core components of our 2013 bullish thesis for US #GrowthAccelerating:

  1. American Purchasing Power (US Dollar) stabilizes and strengthens by arresting policies to devalue the Dollar
  2. As purchasing power rises, American confidence, hiring, and spending does – rates rise too (it’s called a cycle)
  3. Economic cycles are reflexive – they feed on themselves, so the Fed needs to get out of this one’s way

None of that happened yesterday, because an un-elected central planner decided so. #perfect

 

Exactly what Jefferson and Franklin had in mind.

 

Instead:

  1. After snapping my intermediate-term TREND line of $81.34, Bernanke smoked the US Dollar to a 6 month low
  2. Everything slow-growth went ape (to the upside); Gold, Bonds, Utilities, etc, – everything we don’t want to see
  3. And Emerging Markets went haywire (Turkey +7.6%, Indonesia +4.7%, India +3.7%, etc)

I have no doubt that everyone who is in the business of being long every recipient of the US Dollar devaluation had a great day. But that doesn’t do jack for the hard working American who will be taking this one in the pump and/or the conservative American saver who was actually getting something more than 0% for the last few months.

 

Bernanke should have respected Mr. Market’s long-standing American pro-growth signal of #StrongDollar, #CommodityDeflation, and #RatesRising – and he did not. Period. For that, he should feel shame.

 

So you tell me, is it over? And over for whom? Who is going to hold Bernanke accountable for:

  1. Renewing the American Tax at the pump (Dollar Down, Oil up on Bernanke is as potent as Assad)
  2. Cutting risk-free income on savings accounts (2yr yield just dropped 36% to 0.33%)
  3. Causing US GDP growth to go from 2.5% real to 1.5-2% (the GDP Deflator goes up when the Dollar goes down)

Is this all part of the class warfare thing Obama likes to talk about? Other than the political class, who, precisely, Mr. President, got paid by Bernanke’s un-objective and un-elected decision yesterday? Or did all those “folks” you’ve been standing up for refi whatever they have left on their house and buy Gold futures with it yesterday?

 

I clearly don’t get what Bernanke is trying to achieve by banning things like gravity, consumption tax cuts, and the economic cycle. But my gut says no one in America who doesn’t get paid to say they get it gets it either.  

 

Unlike the US Federal Reserve who has been behind the curve using broken forecasting models, my research team will continue to respect both the data and markets as leading indicators. That part of what we do isn’t over this morning. Neither will changing our mind as circumstances do.

 

Our immediate-term Risk Ranges are now:

 

UST 10yr Yield 2.58-2.81

SPX 1709-1732

VIX 13.11-14.82

USD 80.12-81.34

Brent 109.04-111.76

Gold 1289-1404

 

Best of luck out there with your centrally planned day,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

Is It Over? - chart

 

Is It Over? - z. vp 919


MACAU: BIG FINISH TO SEPT BUT…

September GGR up 21% YoY but visitation softer to start October – cheap package tour ban?

 

  • September GGR finishes up 21% YoY.  Our October estimate remains at +20-25% growth but is subject to change until we see the detail behind September’s growth and how Golden Week finishes up this weekend.
  • One tiny note of caution:  September finished with a flurry (start of the Golden Week celebration) as seen by the visitation statistics in the chart below.  However, October total visitation is just flat through the first two days (Tue/Wed vs Mon/Tue).  A ban on cheap package tours (effective October 1) could be the culprit in which case low end Mass revenue would only be mildly impacted.
  • This coming weekend will round out Golden Week and give us a better feel for the overall success of the big holiday.

MACAU: BIG FINISH TO SEPT BUT… - golden


BBEP: A Closer Look at Postle, and the SEC Review

Summary

 

Our primary issue with BreitBurn Energy Partners (BBEP) is understated maintenance CapEx - and the Postle acquisition increases our concern.  With increased scrutiny now around LINN Energy's (LINE, LNCO) maintenance CapEx policy, as evidenced by the stark changes in disclosure in its latest S-4/A, investors should strongly consider whether or not BBEP's maintenance CapEx level is appropriate, or light.  We believe that it is very light.  While this SEC review did not address BBEP's maintenance CapEx, it would not surprise us if one in the future does.  

 

Postle Field Economics - Where's the Maintenance CapEx?

 

Comments from BBEP’s management team, as well as its forward guidance, suggests to us that is materially understating the amount of CapEx that it is needed to keep production flat (maintenance CapEx) on the Postle Field assets that it acquired in June 2013 and closed on in July 2013.  After adjusting for appropriate maintenance CapEx, we do not believe that the acquisition is accretive to BBEP's DCF/unit.

 

From BBEP's 8/6/2013 2Q13 Earnings Conference Call (our emphasis):

 

Analyst: Thanks. Mark, question just circling back on maintenance capital, can you talk about whether or not the addition of the Postle asset will have much of an impact on the overall corporate decline curve and the intensity of trying to – of what you need to spend for maintenance capital?

 

COO Mark Pease: Jeff, we've looked at that and it is shallow decline, which is a good thing for us. Overall, it doesn't have much impact.  I mean, it's pretty consistent with the maintenance capital that we see across the portfolio. So, while we have some areas that, as you look at them individually, they're higher than others. From a whole portfolio standpoint, Postle is right in there with the rest of our assets.

 

Analyst: Can you share what the cash flow just from that asset might be versus the capital that would be needed to keep it flat?

 

COO Mark L. Pease: Jim, I don't know what we've disclosed on that, on that the deal.

 

CFO James Jackson: Hey Jeff, it's Jim. We just haven't – we've not given that level of detail on Postle to date.

 

BBEP filed pro forma financial data for Postle in its 8/30/2013 8-K, so now we have that level of detail.  Below are the key stats:

 

BBEP: A Closer Look at Postle, and the SEC Review - bbep1AAA 

 

Production in April 2013 was 7,400 boe/d, down 9% from 2012 average.  Total CapEx in 1H13 was $44MM, or ~$87MM annualized.  This implies that this level of spend is insufficient to stem the production decline on this asset.  This is consistent with the production and spending trends at Postle over the last three years.  Production in April 2013 was down 20% from the 2010 average. 

 

After the acquisition, BBEP guided 2H13 maintenance CapEx to $55MM (see the 6/24/13 investor presentation), with Postle expected to close on August 1st (5 full month contribution in 2013).  2Q13 maintenance CapEx was $19.5MM without Postle, as stated by management on the 2Q13 conference call, so this acquisition resulted in an ~$8MM/quarter increase in Maintenance CapEx.  BBEP's guidance suggests that maintenance CapEx on Postle will be ~$32MM/year; this is difficult to reconcile with the facts that annualized CapEx at Postle since 2011 was ~$84MM, and production was in decline.  Maintenance CapEx is supposed to be the capital required to keep production flat...

 

Total CapEx on Postle was 54% of EBITDA in 1H13, and production is in decline.  BBEP’s maintenance CapEx in 2Q13 was only 23% of EBITDA.  Yet, management states that the Postle Field maintenance CapEx, “From a whole portfolio standpoint, Postle is right in there with the rest of our assets.”  In our view, the data does not support this assertion.

 

And while management stated on the deal call that the acquisition was “right around, maybe even a little less than 6X expected forward EBITDA,” the stand-alone Postle assets (excluding derivative assets/liabilities) were acquired for 11x 1H13 annualized free cash flow, and the asset is in decline.  EBITDA can be a misleading measure for a CO2 flood due to capitalized CO2.  

 

The total Postle purchase price (ex. derivative assets and liabilities) was ~$815MM, 0.83x the YE12 standardized measure of $985MM.

 

If BBEP finances this acquisition with 50% equity and 50% debt, we do not believe that it will be accretive to DCF/unit.  The asset requires significantly more capital to keep production flat than BBEP is letting on, as the actual data from 2010 - 1H13 shows.

 

BBEP: A Closer Look at Postle, and the SEC Review - bb1

 

BBEP Makes Public Correspondences with the SEC

 

BBEP made its 2013 correspondences with the SEC public late last week.  The SEC first sent a letter to CFO James Jackson on March 27, 2013 with comments related to BBEP’s 2012 10-K.  BBEP and the SEC traded a series of letters and phone conversations between May 2013 and August 2013.  On August 28, 2013, the SEC completed its review.

 

What were the SEC’s major concerns?

  1. Explanation of the “net operating cash flows from effective date through the closing date of an acquisition” adjustment in adjusted EBITDA.
  2. Explanation of why there was not a larger impairment charge in 2012 given -31% natural gas reserve revision.
  3. Explanation of commodity derivatives accounting – realized gains (losses), unrealized gains (losses), and premiums paid.
  4. Questionable application of the 5-year PUD rule.
  5. No pro forma financials for the 2012 Permian acquisitions.

What were the outcomes?

  1. 2012 10-K was revised, removing “Net operating cash flow from acquisitions, effective date through closing date.”
  2. No further impairment required, as BBEP successfully argued that the assets passed the impairment test – whether or not the undiscounted proved and risk-adjusted probable and possible reserve cash flows were in excess of the assets’ carrying values (net book value).
  3. Revised, increased, and improved disclosure around derivatives accounting and premiums paid.   BBEP amended its 2012 10-K and 1Q13 10-Q  “to revise its disclosures from a separate presentation of realized and unrealized derivative gains or losses to a combined presentation for derivative gains or losses.  In addition, the Partnership will add back total derivative gains or losses and also provide separate disclosure of derivative contract settlement amounts in its Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows as well as in its Adjusted EBITDA table. The Partnership will also disclose the amount of premiums for derivative contracts paid in earlier periods that apply to contracts settled during the period(s) shown in a footnote disclosure to its Adjusted EBITDA table” (8/14/13 Correspondence, pg. 4). 
  4. BBEP will prospectively apply a strict definition of the 5-year rule.  At YE12, BBEP had 3.3 MMboe of PUD reserves (2% of total) that were scheduled to be developed outside of five years from their initial disclosure.  These reserves had a standardized measure of $23.6MM (1% of total) at YE12. 
  5. No pro forma financials necessary, as BBEP successfully argued that the acquisitions were not material.

Takeaways

  1. We believe that BBEP’s use of non-GAAP measures is aggressive.  The SEC addressed two of our issues with adjusted EBITDA in its review – the adjustment for net operating CF between the closing and effective dates of acquisitions, and BBEP’s exclusion of commodity derivative premiums paid.  This should prevent BBEP from making these aggressive adjustments going forward – in 2012 they increased DCF by ~11%.
  2. In our view, BBEP’s biggest issue and source of over-valuation is understated maintenance CapEx, which we detailed in our 8/7/13 note, BBEP 2Q Review: Understated Maintenance CapEx = Majority of DCF.  By our calculations, BBEP’s organic production in the 12 months from 2Q12 – 2Q13 was down 0.3% YoY, while total organic CapEx exceeded maintenance CapEx by $130MMIf BBEP increased maintenance CapEx by that amount, we estimate that DCF would get cut by ~80%.  The SEC did not at all address maintenance CapEx in this review, presumably because there is no mention of it or DCF in BBEP’s SEC filings.  We cannot understand why BBEP’s maintenance CapEx and DCF is not disclosed, explained, and reconciled (both maintenance CapEx and DCF) to the nearest GAAP figures in its SEC filings – or even in its earnings press releases – despite the obvious importance of these non-GAAP figures to investors.  Maintenance CapEx is addressed in the FAQ section of BBEP’s website, though, in our view, the definition just begs additional questions.
  3. BBEP disclosed that the net book value of its Antrim Shale field was $891MM at YE12, which was 33% of total net PP&E.  At YE12, BBEP’s Antrim Shale reserves were ~242 Bcfe and 2012 production was ~48 MMcfe/d.  In our view, the fair value of this asset today is likely only ~$300MM, nearly $600MM below YE12 net book value.  Transaction multiples for comparable dry gas properties today are ~$1 - $2/proved Bcfe.  The last major Antrim Shale deal was LINN Energy’s March 2010 acquisition of HighMount Exploration’s properties for $330MM.  Those properties had 266 Bcfe of proved reserves, putting the deal multiple at $1.24/Bcfe.  More recently, in August 2013, Atlas Resource Partners (ARP) acquired 466 Bcf of natural gas 1P reserves in New Mexico and Alabama for $733MM, putting that transaction multiple at $1.57/Bcfe.

 

Kevin Kaiser

Senior Analyst

 


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