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Hungering For Less

This note was originally published at 8am on September 26, 2013 for Hedgeye subscribers.

“Always my soul hungered for less than it had.”

-T.E. Lawrence

 

Suffice it to say, this new book I have been reading (Lawrence in ArabiaWar, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of The Modern Middle East) has provided me both timely and profound context for the times in which we live.

 

In general, that’s why I read so much history. I believe that leadership starts with having an ability to empathize. If you can’t contextualize where people and/or ideas come from, how can you lead them toward the path you’d like them to take?

 

And what if the path you thought you should take (like devaluing the purchasing power of your people and establishing a perpetual savings rate of 0%) ends up becoming the wrong path? Only the objective and flexible can change their mind. That’s evolution.

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

October is coming. For the US stock and bond markets, that’s not always a good thing. October 1987 is a date that many of you who lead firms today remember. October of 1907 is a date you’ll only respect and remember if you’ve studied economic history.

 

In October of 1907, a panic on Wall Street sparked a nationwide run on banks and nearly halved the value of the New York Stock Exchange in a matter of days. Among the hardest hit by the panic was the heavily leveraged William Henry Yale, whose enormous fortune was virtually wiped out.” (Lawrence in Arabia, pg 25)

 

It wasn’t just the Yale family that got crushed. Many “who were born to tremendous advantage… lost it all in the blink of an eye” (pg 24), and that crisis gave birth to a whole new set of growth opportunities. With no job in NYC, William Yale’s son went on to work for Standard Oil in the Middle East (his office was a backpack and a tent). He’s was one of the first Americans on the ground.

 

How many of your sons or daughters are prepared for a life where you lost it all?

 

The America that their United States had back then didn’t have hand-holding socializers of risk. In 1907, they didn’t have the Federal Reserve either. Many self made men and women in this country were frugal and, as Nasim Taleb would say, anti-fragile.

 

How about the President of the United States? What did he stand for then versus now? If you had to pick between Theodore Roosevelt and Bush or Obama, who would you have lead your son or daughter into “the struggle” that Teddy called life?

 

William Henry Yale’s son didn’t whine and beg for an un-elected bureaucrat called Burns or Bernanke to bail him out. He sucked up his father’s mistakes and made his own path.

 

That didn’t just happen. Despite having all the money in the world, Yale believed (like Teddy did) that a “true man… was a rugged individualist, physically fit as well as intellectually cultured” (pg 25).

 

How many of your sons or daughters are well-read individualists who are prepared to take on the tyranny of a centrally planned USA? Too much to think about this morning. I know. But, please, don’t let the government’s groupthink stop you or your kids from thinking. We don’t live in the great depression Bernanke fear-mongers about. We might, if we keep trying to ban the economic cycle.

 

Moving on, after 5 straight down days for US stocks, here are some USA levels to consider:

  1. US Dollar – US Dollar Index long-term TAIL support = $79.11; intermediate-term TREND resistance = $81.35
  2. US Bonds – US 10yr Treasury Yield intermediate-term TREND support 2.55%; immediate-term TRADE resistance = 2.76%
  3. US Equity Volatility (VIX) – 12.95 immediate-term TRADE support; 18.98 intermediate-term TREND resistance
  4. US Equities (SP500) – 1655 intermediate-term TREND support; 1704 immediate-term TRADE resistance
  5. US Growth Equities (Nasdaq) – 3702 immediate-term TRADE support; 3789 immediate-term TRADE resistance

And here are some risk management questions to consider:

  1. Will the supposed leaders of this country allow an un-elected man to keep devaluing America’s Currency?
  2. Will Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen be allowed to impose a perpetual depression on American Savers?
  3. Will @FederalReserve’s latest “communication tool” be to drive uncertainty, locking in a YTD VIX low?
  4. Will the all-time high for the US stock market (SPX 1725) be another Bernanke Bubble top?
  5. Will there ever be a bull case America believes in that doesn’t include a #StrongDollar and real growth?

I for one am Hungering For Less government intervention in our currency and bond markets. I’m hungering for a life that doesn’t include having to wake up worrying about what sub-regional-anti-dog-eat-dog-federal-reserve-vice-president says on CNBC next.

 

I’m hungering for what has always reflected the strength and character of any nation – confidence in both the currency and resolve of its people to be the change born out of crisis.

 

Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:

 

UST 10yr Yield 2.57-2.76%

SPX 1683-1704

VIX 12.95-14.98

USD 79.99-81.28

Yen 98.02-98.99

Brent 106.98-110.51

 

Best of luck out there today,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

Hungering For Less - Chart of the Day

 

Hungering For Less - Virtual Portfolio


Sell the Fear

Client Talking Points

US DOLLAR

It held! The U.S. Dollar Index TAIL risk line of $79.21 support holds as the Burning Buck v-bottoms off USD/YEN $96.45 TREND support too. Yes, Japanese and U.S. stocks will definitely like that development, especially if SPX recovers its 1663 TREND line. There are 23 handles of immediate-term upside in the S&P 500 if the VIX snaps 18.98. 

VIX

Front month-fear is as much an opportunity on the upside for U.S. Equities now as it was a risk to the downside. If our 18.98 TREND line snaps today (and 1663 SPY holds), this could be one of the many 2013 #EOW (end of world) head-fakes perpetuated by #OldWall’s government access media. Sell the fear.  

DAX

We bought Germany’s stock market back on red yesterday as it tested and held our immediate-term TRADE line of 8508 support. The fact of the matter is that European stocks couldn’t have cared less about US “default” fear-mongering.Our macro team will go through why we like German stocks in our #EuroBulls Macro Theme for Q413 tomorrow.

Asset Allocation

CASH 49% US EQUITIES 16%
INTL EQUITIES 20% 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

TREASURIES: 10yr yield holds our #RatesRising @Hedgeye TREND line of 2.58% like a champ @KeithMcCullough

QUOTE OF THE DAY

One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea.
-Walter Bagehot 

STAT OF THE DAY

The Yield Spread (growth signal) is up 8 basis points in the last 48 hours. In other words, there is no default fear there this morning.


October 10, 2013

October 10, 2013 - dtr

 

BULLISH TRENDS

October 10, 2013 - 10yr

October 10, 2013 - spx

October 10, 2013 - dax

October 10, 2013 - nik

October 10, 2013 - VIX

October 10, 2013 - euro

October 10, 2013 - oil

October 10, 2013 - natgas

 

BEARISH TRENDS

October 10, 2013 - yen

October 10, 2013 - gold
October 10, 2013 - copper

 


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BLACK BOOK CONFERENCE CALL: SLOTHY GROWTH

Reminder that our slots Black Book conference call will be held at 11:00am today.

 

BLACK BOOK CONFERENCE CALL: SLOTHY GROWTH - gll2

 

TOPICS WILL INCLUDE: 

  • Stocks of the big U.S. gaming supply companies are up 30% to 95% on the year yet big fundamental hurdles have emerged.
  • How will these same stocks fare over the coming months and years in the face of stagnating replacement demand, a dearth of new markets, pricing pressure, and bad demographics?
  • We'll analyze the issues - there are many - and explain who is at risk and for how long.

 

RELEVANT TICKERS:  BYI, IGT, SGMS, WMS, MGAM, ALL.AXKNM

 

CALL DETAILS

 

  • Toll Free Number:
  • Direct Dial Number:
  • Conference Code: 187413#
  • MaterialsCLICK HERE

 

 


THE M3: PACKAGE TOURS DROP 80%; COD MANILA; HAINAN

THE MACAU METRO MONITOR, OCTOBER 10, 2013

 

 

PACKAGE TOUR DROPPED BY 80% DUE TO NEW TOURISM LAW Macau Daily News

According to some travel agencies, package tour dropped by 80% after the new tourism law took effect, while package tour were all fully booked in September.  Package tour price went up from the previous HK$2,000 - $3,000 to as high as HK$6,000.  However, the new law has seen no impact on tourists visiting under the Individual travel scheme.

 

MANILA TO GET ITS OWN CITY OF DREAMS RESORT Macau Business

The City of Dreams Manila project, set to open in mid-2014, now requires an initial outlay of US$680 million, or US$60 million more than previously announced, said CEO Lawrence Ho. MPEL said Philippine gaming regulation amendments had allowed it to increase the number of gaming tables and machines.

 

City of Dreams Manila is now anticipated to be able to operate up to 365 gaming tables, 1,680 slot machines and 1,680 electronic table games upon opening.  The increased budget was also due to its decision to use its City of Dreams and Crown Towers brands for the property. 

 

FOSUN TO PARTNER CASINO FIRM IN US$1.5 BILLION HAINAN RESORT SCMP 

Chinese conglomerate Fosun International is teaming up with South African hotelier and casino king Sol Kerzner’s company to build a US$1.5 billion resort on China’s holiday island Hainan, a Kerzner official said.  The 62-hectare property, which will feature a water park and luxury 1,300-room hotel, will be located in Hainan’s southern coastal city Sanya.


Kerzner, which operates the Atlantis casino resort in the Bahamas and Atlantis hotel on Dubai’s artificial Palm Island, says the resort in Sanya will not include a casino.



NKE: I'd Hate to Have to Compete With This Model

Takeaway: NKE's growth algorithm, return profile, widening gap in category dominance, and astounding product pipe are all near impossible to match.

Conclusion: NKE's growth algorithm, return profile, widening gap in category dominance, and astounding product pipe are all near impossible to match. Simply put, it deserves its 20x+ multiple all day. This stock won't make you rich here, but it'll still make you money -- and with a very low risk profile. Here are some of our key takeaways from the company's analyst meeting.

  1. Focus: There were no startling revelations at the Nike analyst meeting (as we expected). But the focus and cohesiveness of the new management team was exceptional.
     
  2. A cliché worth repeating. The company remains maniacal in its quest to innovate. That sounds like a cliché when talking about Nike, because it’s all management from the CEO on down ever talks about.  But in evaluating the product pipeline, it’s abundantly clear that literally no one can compete effectively with Nike without a painful outsized capital outlay.
     
  3. The biggest area that surprised me was with its Women’s product. Apparel, in particular, has taken a major leap forward. Nike has LULU right in its crosshairs. That’s not say Nike will beat LULU (quite frankly, we’re not sure it ever will) – but it’s finally got a formula that could compete. Very important because only 16% of sales are women. Goal in 3-years is 23%.
     
  4. FINALLY. Nike finally discussed a key initiative we’ve been talking about for two years – the ability to manufacture customized product (by color and size) at point of sale.  Think about it – the model for footwear makers over the past 4 decades has been to design product in the US, and then to outsource to Asia – the entire process taking nine months at the earliest.  Now, they’re introducing the capability for a consumer to walk into a store and build their own shoe at a kiosk. They’ve had that capability through NikeID at their own stores for a while. But those orders still go to one of its 700 third-party plants in Asia to be processed. Now the product is being manufactured right there…on the spot. So basically, a consumer could go into the store, build a shoe electronically, then go to Chick-fil-A for a bite to eat, and return an hour later and their shiny new kicks will be waiting.  This is an absolute game changer, and it’s one that no other brands have the scale to compete with.  Sound expensive for Nike? Ask yourself this…what retailer on the planet would not give their left arm to have one of these Nike kiosks/mini-manufacturing hubs in their stores? It’s be a big competitive advantage, and one that we think would lead the Foot Locker’s of the world to lay out the capital needed on their own balance sheet.  Nike only allocated 90 seconds to this at their meeting. It was worthy of a full hour. We think that people will grossly underestimate the importance of this initiative (no one even asked any questions on it).
     
  5. Finally using digital data for commercial purposes: Another bit of food for thought. For years now, Nike has been collecting data through its Nike+ digital initiative, Nike Fuelband, and Nike Training Club (iPhone/Pad app). It appears that the company is finally reverse engineering the data in a way to both create and improve and of course innovate product. It’s almost like how Wal-Mart uses RFID to learn the shopping patterns of its shoppers. Nike is finally harnessing all the data it collects and is turning into commercial opportunity.  
     
  6. Nike is expensive, and it should be. While we wish there was a bit more controversy on the name, the reality is that it is executing so well that it’s tough to poke holes in its growth algorithm and business visibility. CFO Don Blair noted that its goal is to generate returns in the upper quartile of the S&P. That goal to us seems modest. With 9-10% top line growth, 30bp-50bp in gross margin improvement each year as Nike builds its Direct model, better than 25% ROIC, and all the capital it needs ($5bn) to return shareholders – it’s safe to say that not many companies (in the S&P, Dow, or the whole market for that matter) could match Nike’s growth algorithm, category dominance, stability in growth, and return profile. Simply put, it deserves its 20x+ multiple all day. This stock won't make you rich, but It'll make you money -- with a low risk profile.

 


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