“I’m getting sick and tired of doing anything half-way.”
Forget about these unaccountable bureaucrats that bombard your #OldMedia channels every day and take some real advice from one of America’s real legends. Got growth and progress? Rockne gave American football the forward pass. God bless his soul.
I’m not sure what I am going to write about this morning. So I guess I’ll just keep writing and see what happens. As you know, I’m sick and tired of these half-baked econ PhDs trying to centrally plan our lives.
The ECB cutting rates and devaluing The People’s currency as European growth is accelerating (not a typo) took my level of disgust up another notch yesterday. I didn’t think that was possible. I guess I thought wrong.
Back to the Global Macro Grind…
Like the Fed, the European central planners thought that cutting rates was going to “stimulate growth”, or something like that. Meanwhile, the market’s reaction to yesterday’s European rate cut “news” was global #GrowthSlowing.
Yes. Much like the “growth” style factor being for sale in US Equities ever since the Fed’s unaccountable decision not to taper (Financials down, Staples/Telcos straight up), that’s precisely how Mr. Market voted, worldwide, after the ECB rate cut:
- US Growth Stocks got killed yesterday (Nasdaq -1.9%); Russell2000 now -3.7% from its YTD high
- European Growth Stocks stopped going up (yes, we sold everything on the ECB “news”)
- Asian Stocks continued lower overnight – China and Japan down another -1.1% and -1.0%, respectively
Actually, since the Fed’s slow-growth-no-taper decision and ECB rate cut, from their recent highs:
- China’s Shanghai Composite Index is -6.7%
- Japan’s Nikkei is -4.7%
- US Growth Stocks like Facebook (FB) and Tesla (TSLA) are -12% and -27%, respectively
But don’t tell any of these academic wonks of the Keynesian empire that. They fundamentally believe that Deflating The Inflation (from the world record inflation they perpetuated via currency devaluation in 2011-2012) is now the world’s greatest threat.
No. To be clear, their most recent policy moves are the new threat. Deflating The Inflation is not “DEFLATION!” The 2-stroke engine of 1. #StrongCurrency and 2. #RatesRising stimulates consumption growth via a consumption TAX CUT.
How else do you want to explain the recent Q313 rip in US #GrowthAccelerating from 0.14% in Q412 to +2.84%? Up until Bernanke decided to interrupt the 2-stroke engine (also known as economic gravity) with a no-taper, Down Dollar, Down Rates move, the US economy had its best sequential (3 quarter, 9 month) move in half a decade!
And now guess what the market thinks might happen next?
- US Growth’s GDP slope slows from 2.84%!
Do you need another exclamation mark? Are you sick and tired of reading this yet? Or are you Fed Up with waking up in the morning to these politicians trying to fear-monger you about “default risk” and “deflation”?
Now I know what I am writing about.
I’m writing about what real people in the real world are talking about – not this Keynesian/Marxist central-planning-anti-dog-eat-dog-gravity-smoothing crap.
As Ben Stiller recently said, “there’s always an element of fear that you need to work until people get sick and tired of you … or that you finally figure out that you are a fraud after all.”
Are these un-elected people at the Fed and ECB frauds? Or are they just completely bought and paid for by the Bond Bull Lobby and currency debauchery camps?
I don’t know. But I do know that Draghi worked at Goldman. And I also noticed that Goldman just had the worst FICC (Fixed Income, Currency, Commodity) quarter in the Federal League…
Was Goldman’s prop and/or FICC team choking on too much illiquid bond and currency bubble paper that they finally had to start taking some marks?
Why is Goldman’s Hatzius such a raging dove? Why is he trying to scare the hell out of the Fed on #RatesRising when his own desk is saying the opposite? Why is he all of a sudden lobbying for the Fed to change the goal posts on a lower “unemployment” target?
Who can really get out of any of these bubbles (MBS, REITS, etc.) that Bernanke backstopped? How will it end? Or are they trying to convince you, like they did in late 2007, that nothing could possibly go wrong?
I’ll stop writing and end with a message sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats who have empowered the Fed (and encouraged the BOJ and ECB) to devalue your hard earned currency:
“If you’re sick and tired of the politics of cynicism… come and join this campaign.”
-George W. Bush
Our immediate-term Macro Risk Ranges are now as follows (12 Big Macro Ranges are in our Daily Trading Range product):
UST 10yr Yield 2.49-2.70%
Best of luck out there today,
Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer
TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP – November 8, 2013
As we look at today's setup for the S&P 500, the range is 26 points or 0.58% downside to 1737 and 0.91% upside to 1763.
CREDIT/ECONOMIC MARKET LOOK:
- YIELD CURVE: 2.32 from 2.32
- VIX closed at 13.91 1 day percent change of 9.79%
MACRO DATA POINTS (Bloomberg Estimates):
- 8:30am: Chg in Nonfarm Payrolls, Oct, est. 120k (prior 148k)
- 8:30am: Personal Income, Sept., est. 0.3% (prior 0.4%)
- 9:55am: UofMich. Confidence, Nov. prelim., est. 74.2 (pr 73.2)
- 11am: Fed buys $4.75b-$5.75b in 2018-2019 sector
- 12pm: Fed’s Lockhart speaks in Oxford, Miss.
- 1pm: Baker Hughes rig count
- 3:30pm: Fed’s Bernanke speaks at IMF in Washington
- 6pm: Fed’s Williams speaks in Los Angeles
- 1:10pm: President Obama speaks on economy, exports New Orleans
- 2pm: Brookings Inst. discussion on military consequences of sequestration, with Pratt & Whitney’s Jay DeFrank, Booz Allen Hamilton’s Jack Mayer
WHAT TO WATCH:
- Payroll gains in U.S. probably cooled amid government shutdown
- Elan, Wyeth investors seek to block SAC’s plea deal
- Boeing ready to seek place for 777X work outside of Seattle
- Boeing says 787-9 development on track; 787-10 progressing
- McDonald’s Oct. sales seen improving on new products
- Adobe user data found on web after security breach: Reuters
- Microsoft heir apparent said to mull move away from Windows
- Priceline 4Q adj. EPS view trails est.; new CEO named
- Disney falls after ESPN division registers rare profit decline
- Danaher, Blackstone said to unite on J&J unit bid: Reuters
- Airlines collecting data on passengers for study, WSJ says
- Wal-Mart wage protest leads to 50 arrests, Reuters says
- France cut to AA vs AA+ at S&P; outlook to stable vs negative
- MSCI announces results of semiannual index review
- U.S. Budget, Japan Growth, BOE Forecasts: Wk Ahead Nov. 9-16
- Air Canada (AC/A CN) 6am, $1.04
- Apollo Investment (AINV) 7:30am, $0.21
- Aqua America (WTR) 7:30am, $0.36
- Bankers Petroleum (BNK CN) 8am, $0.07
- Brookfield Asset Mgmt (BAM/A CN) 6:01am, $0.56
- Cablevision (CVC) 8:30am, $0.12 - Preview
- Covidien (COV) 6am, $0.90
- Crosstex Energy (XTEX) 6:30am, $(0.15)
- DiamondRock Hospitality (DRH) 7:30am, $0.19
- Eldorado Gold (ELD CN) 7am, $0.07
- Emera (EMA CN) 7:10am, $0.35
- EW Scripps (SSP) 7:30am, $(0.05)
- Halozyme Therapeutics (HALO) 7am, $(0.16)
- HMS Holdings (HMSY) 7:30am, $0.23
- Leap Wireless Intl (LEAP) 9am, $(1.20)
- Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) 7am, $0.06
- Magnum Hunter Resources (MHR) 7am, $(0.18)
- Osisko Mining (OSK CN) 7am, $0.05
- Telus (T CN) 6am, $0.54 - Preview
- Tesoro Logistics (TLLP) 4:30pm, $0.49
COMMODITY/GROWTH EXPECTATION (HEADLINES FROM BLOOMBERG)
- Corn Trades Near Three-Year Low Before U.S. Reports Bigger Crop
- Copper Trade Most Bullish in Eight Months on China: Commodities
- WTI Crude Trades Near Five-Month Low as Supply Outpaces Recovery
- Copper Swings Between Gains and Drops Amid European Slowdown
- Gold Trades Above Three-Week Low in London Before U.S. Jobs Data
- Cocoa Extends Drop as West African Harvest Advances; Sugar Rises
- Rebar Posts Weekly Decline as Shanghai Curbs Housing Purchases
- China’s Soybean Imports Fall to Six-Month Low as Supply Declines
- Corn Bottoming as Bear Traders Look for Exit: Chart of the Day
- Two Indian Refiners Forego Iran Oil as Rival Gets Free Shipping
- New Iron Ore Supply May Create Surplus in 2014: Bear Case
- Southwest to United Boosted by Fading Jet Rally: Energy Markets
- Gold Fields’ Holland Says 400 Ghana Jobs May Be Cut by Year-End
- Commodities May Drop 11% to Lowest Since ’10: Technical Analysis
The Hedgeye Macro Team
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This note was originally published at 8am on October 25, 2013 for Hedgeye subscribers.
"Whoever fights monsters should see to that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into the abyss, the abyss will gaze back at you."
Yesterday I was flying out to San Francisco and the United Flight I was on lacked two key things: access to the Internet and/or a choice in movies. As a result, I was stuck watching Monsters, Inc.
For those of you that have progeny perhaps you've seen it already? I'm still in the bachelor camp, so don't regularly watch Pixar cartoons. I also have to sadly report, it wasn't all that scary, though it was cute and funny.
The movie did, however, make me think about a few things that currently scare me about the U.S. economy. In no particular order, my biggest fears are:
1) The Federal Reserve - We certainly harp on the Federal Reserve and rightfully so as an un-elected and largely unaccountable body with the power to influence the global economy is very scary. Our biggest concern is the excesses that are being built into the system because of elongated, extreme monetary policy.
The economy is growing and the unemployment rate is in decline, but we remain at the zero bound in interest rates. Admittedly the policy has helped to inflate some asset classes, such as housing, that were a major anchor on the banking system. Unfortunately, this extreme monetary policy has created an economy and set of markets that are highly sensitive to central bank actions.
In the chart of the day, we highlight this point by looking at the volatility that is occurring in the interest rate market. As an example, rates on the 10Y spiked ~37% in 3Q13. This is as substantial a move we've seen on a percentage basis in fifty years. Further, in the wake of Bernanke’s confused policy communication on Sept 18th, we’ve seen a marked reversal in 10Y treasury yields with rates declining -17% off peak levels.
2) Macro Data - Admittedly it's odd for a macro analyst to be scared of macro data, but I am and here's why - it is often grossly inaccurate.
An example from our research earlier this week was a note I wrote on gold (somewhat of a meaningful asset class). The note took a deeper look at a letter gold bug Eric Sprott wrote to the World Gold Council on supply and demand in the global gold market.
Sprott's thesis is that the global supply and demand numbers for gold grossly overstate the excess supply of gold in the world. In fact, Sprott thinks that in the year-to-date we are running at a supply deficit of some 503 tonnes.
Meanwhile the World Gold Council's projections for the year-to-date suggest the world is over supplied by a tune of 217 tonnes. If we annualize both sets of projections, the difference between them is a notational value of some $50 billion dollars. Not exactly chump change !
If you are one of those people that like to invest based on concrete date, like me, you must be scared of some macro data at times as well. If you believe Sprott, then you should be buying gold hand over fist, and if you believe the World Gold Council, you should be selling.
While we do like it when we get concrete data that informs us, as it relates to gold we'll stick with our sneaky correlation models, which show a very tight correlation to the Federal Reserve balance sheet and prevailing, forward policy expectations. Interestingly, for the first time in a year, gold is actually looking like a buy in our quant model. Scary indeed!
3) U.S. Economy - Coming out of the Great Recession, the U.S. outperformed many of its western peers in both labor market and broader economic improvement. From here, though, there a few reasons to be scared.
The equity markets domestically have been on a tear and are literally registering new all-time highs – but, of course, with highs in equities and expanding multiples come high expectations for forward fundamentals. A few things that might not be so rosy on the U.S. over the next few months include:
1) Debt and debt ceiling - The uncertainty on the recent debt ceiling debacle led to a meaningful decline in consumer confidence and a slowing in economic activity. There is now a series of dates from December to February, that investors will be watching to see if there will be another debt ceiling scare or government shutdown. In markets, confusion breeds contempt.
- December 13th – the date when a House-Senate committee will report back on negotiations on a longer term budget deal;
- January 15th – the date on which the government is now open until subject to another budget agreement being reached; and
- February 7th – the next debt ceiling.
2) Corporate earnings – The results from U.S. corporate this quarter haven’t been terrible, but they certainly haven’t been gangbusters either. As of yesterday, 52% of companies are seeing sales accelerate, 51% are seeing earnings accelerate, and 47% are seeing operating margins expand. That sounds good, but the translation is that over half of corporate America is seeing earnings, revenue and margins decelerate.
3) Financials – We’ve already become more cautious on the financial sector over the last couple of days as we’ve taken Franklin Templeton off our Best Ideas as we see the outflow from bond funds slowing. More broadly, as the yield curve narrows, this is negative for banks generally. Borrowing short and lending long doesn’t pay in a narrow yield curve environment. In the year-to-date, financials has been a market leader up 26%, the second best sector after consumer discretionary. If this reverses, it will be hard for the SP500 to march higher.
Halloween is only six days away, so I don’t want to scare you too much . . . Boo! Or do I?
Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now as follows:
Enjoy the weekend.
Keep your head up and stick on the ice,
Daryl G. Jones
Director of Research
In an effort to evaluate performance and as a follow up to our YouTube, we compare how the quarter measured up to previous management commentary and guidance
- WORSE: Despite management's effort to focus the call on what they accomplished in FY2013 it was hard to mask the fact that there wasn't much to be "extremely pleased about" in FQ4 or guidance.
- SLIGHTLY WORSE: Results missed expectations, but part of the miss was due to some non-recurring issues related to temporary delays in payment processing on Facebook and some disruptions related to the rollout of Apple's iOS7 platform. Trends in October were at record levels. IGT continues to expect DD to finally be GAAP accretive in F1Q 2014.
- We are pleased with our success at DoubleDown and we expect that the transaction will be accretive on a GAAP basis in the first quarter of fiscal 2014.
- I think those (new) markets will develop perhaps a little bit slower than we thought, though my comment last period was in anticipation of multiple quarters. As we enter new markets, we do expect that there may be some downward pressure on ARPU as DAU picks up, and we did see a pickup in DAU. I think the positive surprise for us this quarter is that it didn't damage ARPU, and actually we're seeing incredibly strong conversion rates continue in our domestic markets. Over time, I still expect that there may be some pressure on that ARPU number as we further penetrate the international markets, but we didn't see that materialize in this quarter which was a great surprise.
- LITTLE WORSE: Yields and installed base both declined 4% YoY. IGT touted a QoQ increase in yields, although part of the lift was due to the conversion of lower yielding leased games and normal seasonality. Gross margins were better though and capex remained disciplined. Gaming ops margins and yields for 2014 are expected to be in-line with 2013.
- PREVIOUSLY: Gaming operations capital expenditures are expected to decrease year-over-year as we remain focused on disciplined capital deployment.
- We are striving to improve yields through a variety of initiatives.
- We're holding up on margins which again is what we were focused on
- BETTER: Captured 40% share in Canadian/Illnois VLT market and increased North American ship share in FQ4. Although gains came at the price of lower ASPs and margins. IGT shipped over 4,700 units Video Poker units to CZR this Q
- PREVIOUSLY: We are confident that we maintained our industry-leading ship share in the replacement market this quarter.
INTERNATIONAL PRODUCT SALES
- IN LINE: For the first time in 4 quarters unit sales were actually up YoY. That said, they likely got a lift from some leased games converting to sale
- PREVIOUSLY: I think we are starting to see some signs of improvement. Despite ongoing challenges in certain regions, there is still significant potential in our international business as we leverage our investments in localized content and infrastructure improvements.
- SAME: Revenues increased 29% YoY primarily due to an expansion of our on-line desktop and mobile partners excluding the impact of our former European on-line pokeer network and a one-time bad adjustment in the prior year. In 2014, they expect modest growth at IGTi as they launch on-line casino style wagering in US.
- PREVIOUSLY: We continued momentum in this business, both in our existing markets where we attracted 15 new partners since a year ago and are excited about new markets like New Jersey, where our prospects to partner with some of our land-based customers, we're working on now.
- SAME: Has entered into $200MM accelerated share repurchase agreement.
- PREVIOUSLY: We have about $520 million remaining on our board-authorized repurchase. We continue to target using that authorization over the next two to four years, which is consistent with what we've said in the past.
- SAME: Expect "modest" pick up excluding Canada & IL. Hoping that the CZR's deal will be a catalyst for video poker demand
- PREVIOUSLY: We haven't really seen a significant change in the tenor of those conversations. The volume has not picked up as far as the volume of the voice from the customer on concern about their budget. So I would say the volume is there. The people we're hearing from are different than they were a year ago or different than they probably even were a quarter ago.
Conference call didn't provide much comfort. 2014/2015 headwinds remain
"We are extremely pleased to report our fiscal year 2013 financial results. We continue to drive significant revenue and earnings per share growth through the successful execution of our strategy and disciplined approach to capital allocation. Our goal, as always, is to maximize our returns to shareholders through targeted share repurchases, consistent dividends and robust earnings growth."
- Patti Hart, CEO of IGT
CONF CALL NOTES
- Systems revenues were up 39% YoY for the year
- Excited about the momentum in game sales
- 2014 product line up created a lot of interest at G2E
- Expect modest growth in product sales in 2014, excluding Canada and IL. Anticipate stable gross margins as higher ASPs offset lower non-machine revenue.
- Increased cash flow through lower capital expenditures in gaming operations
- Install base was partly down due to a conversion to sale of lease games
- 2014 Gaming operations: expect margins, yields, capital expenditures and install base to be in line with 2013 results
- 4Q results in DD: temporary delays and some disruptions with the rollout of OIS 7. Despite this, DD was still the top grossing app in August. October was also a record month for them as they rolled out a new Monopoly game. They expect that the acquisition will be GAAP accretive by 1Q14.
- IGTi: expect modest growth as they continue to launch casino style wagering in the US
- Expect SG&A in 2014 to return to a normalized range of 19-20% of revenue and R&D to return to 10-11% of revenue
- Argentina was also a 1 cent impact per share
- Expect to take out the convertible notes due in May with R/C capacity and the proceeds of their notes issuance
- 2014: weighted average share count of 250-255MM
- Remain focused on disciplined capital investment
- It's all about content for them, expanding and managing their distribution network, and maximizing value by generating cash flow and returning cash flow
- 1,500 Canadian units shipped this Q and about the same in IL
- Expect modest growth in the game sales market excluding IL & Canada for 2014
- On a mix adjusted basis, ASPs were relatively flat. Not seeing any unusual promotional activities.
- Lost 1-2 cents in SG&A which was one time, lost a penny in bad debt and lost a penny on FX.
- Gaming operations install base: Some leased units converted to sales. Had some closures in the Mexican market. Pleased with the QoQ increase in yields.
- They shipped about 2/3rds of the Video Poker units to CZR. The shipment to CZR was the first major replacement of video poker that they have seen in a while. This will pressure ASPs.
- Going forward they expect margins to return to more normal levels in 2014 in product sales. Feel like the CZR replacement of their video poker machines will be a catalyst for more replacement of the VP install base
- Guidance includes share reduction as a result of the ASR
- International yields were up
- I'm sure as a result of the conversion of the leased units to sales and the closure of the Mexican locations
- September was a 1 month anomaly where they had to adjust for temporary delays in payment processing on Facebook. October was a very good indication of that rebound - record bookings, record new and revised players, and launched their most successful game.
- Expect to see flat to slightly (1-2%) increase in US GGR.
- Think that the year will be back end weighted
- Feel like they are in process of becoming a much bigger/strategic phase of DD's life
- Facebook platform revenue down slightly, but mobile was up 11%
- Saw growth in their European real wagering
- Monetization is lower in Europe, as expected. It hasn't materially impacted their overall results, though.
- Most of the lease conversions are opportunistic. It's very hard to predict since it's contingent on customer liquidity.
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