“If a science has an adjective, it probably isn’t a science.”
As far as American physics goes, California’s Richard Feynman was as cool as cool gets. Above and beyond his brilliant contributions to the field, Feynman was a great communicator. His ability to teach reminded us how well he understood the subject matter.
Just before he passed away in 1988, Feynman left us with some behavioral thoughts and life lessons. One of the two books he published during the year of his death was titled What Do You Care What Other People Think?
“The book’s title is taken from a question his first wife, Arline, often put to him when he seemed preoccupied with his colleague’s opinions about his work.” (Wikipedia) Is there a better question for how your portfolio is positioned, every day?
Back to the Global Macro Grind…
I certainly hope you don’t care what most “economists” think about your portfolio. But I highly suggest you respect what Mr. Macro Market thinks. He can save you from missing the big obvious stuff.
One of the glaringly obvious things you should have cared about in 2013 was Mr. Macro Market’s phase transition to bucking up for GROWTH as an investment Style Factor. With the SP500 closing up another +2.8% in November, here are the YTD growth scores:
- LOW YIELD (Higher Growth) Stocks +41.3% YTD (vs High Yield, Slower Growth, Stocks +15.8%)
- TOP 25% EPS GROWTH Stocks (by SP500 quartile) +39.2% YTD
- HIGH BETA Stocks +37.9% YTD (vs Low Beta +23.3%)
- NASDAQ and Russell2000 +34.5% and +34.6%, respectively, YTD
- GOLD -25.9% YTD
In other words, being long the Gold Bond thing didn’t work like it did during the pervasively SLOW GROWTH 2010-2012 period of A) Interest Rate Repression B) Dollar Debauchery and C) Bernanke’s Policy To Inflate.
All it took to get growth expectations up (i.e. priced by Mr. Macro Market) were:
- US Dollar that didn’t go down (US Dollar Index peaked at +6% YTD in July)
- Tapering Expectations = #RatesRising
- US GDP #GrowthAccelerating
Oh, and you needed all 3 of those things to happen, all at the same time. In the absence of central planners trying to get in gravity’s way, even Keynesian “economists” call these pro-growth cycle moves “coincident” indicators.
No matter what the #EOW (end of the world) consensus view on US growth was 1 year ago today (when consensus “economists” expected +1.6% US GDP Growth and SP500 of 1528 for 2013), here we are – tracking closer to +3% US GDP growth and SP500 = 1800.
What did you care if #OldWall was off on GDP by almost 50% and the SP500 by 272 points? And what do you care about where consensus is today? Do you all of a sudden “buy growth”? Or is now precisely the time you should start to get out?
Using the same Hedgeye playbook (our GIP Model: Growth, Inflation, Policy):
- US GROWTH: odds that the slope of US Growth’s acceleration peaking in Q313 are rising
- US DOLLAR: whatever was left of USD strength continues to erode (down for 3 consecutive weeks)
- US RATES: 10yr Yield is signaling a lower-high vs the YTD high in US growth expectations (SEP 10yr of 2.97%)
All the while, from a purely quantitative modeling perspective, the SP500:
- PRICE is making higher-highs now on decelerating VOLUME (not good)
- VOLUME is trending down -9-14% versus our TREND based average into the “all-time highs” (not good)
- VOLATILITY (VIX) front month VIX continues to make a series of higher-lows (not good)
Up PRICE on down VOLUME and rising implied VOLATILITY as lagging GDP and employment data jams people into chasing the highs? Isn’t that just peachy.
But what do the central planners perpetuating Down Dollar and Rate Repression from here care? What do you care? Sadly, US currency and rate markets were only allowed to trade “freely” until the said “scientists” at the Fed said no-taper (SEP 18th), after all.
Our immediate-term Risk Ranges are now:
UST 10yr Yield 2.70-2.81%
Best of luck out there today,
THE MACAU METRO MONITOR, DECEMBER 2, 2013
MACAU GGR DICJ
Macau November GGR rose 21.3% YoY to 30.179 MOP BN (29.299 HKD BN, 3.779 USD BN).
PACKAGE TOUR NUMBER REACHED 80% AGAIN Macau Daily News
After the China's new Tourism Law (i.e. ban of "zero-fee" package tours) came into effect for two months, tourism insiders said that arrivals in package tours in November started to pick up. The number of package tourists from Mainland returned to 80%, a level prior to the National Day holiday.
They believed that industry and tourists adapted to the new law faster than expected. Wu Keng Kuong, Director-General of Travel Industry Council of Macau, said in the first month after the implementation of the Tourism Law, number of package tourists dropped by a few % points, however, Mainland tour groups now have better understanding of the Tourism Law and tourists got used to new measures, the number of package tourists began to pick up.
SINGAPORE TO RESTRICT REMOTE GAMBLING ACTIVITIES Channel News Asia
Singapore authorities are moving to restrict remote gambling activities. Remote gambling refers to gambling via the Internet or any communication device, such as a smart phone. There are currently no specific laws to deal with remote gambling here, and there are concerns over its social impact. Authorities said remote gambling operations can also become a source or conduit of funds for illegal activities and syndicated crime.
It is estimated that the remote gambling market in Singapore could be worth some US$300 million, and it is expected to grow by 6-7% annually. There will be a public consultation exercise over the next few weeks to get stakeholders to weigh in on the issue. The new laws are expected to be in place by early next year.
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Takeaway: It's important sometimes to take a step back and see the forest for the trees. Rising capital = falling systemic risk = upside.
Risk Monitor / Key Takeaways:
Financials remain full speed ahead. Rising rates, widening spreads, credit tailwinds, excess capital and falling global systemic risk profiles are all encouraging investors to take greater advantage of still attractive valuations across the Financials sector.
* U.S. Financial CDS - Overall, swaps tightened for 25 out of 27 domestic financial institutions. Risk perception within the US banking space continues to dwindle as we're now well into our 8th consecutive quarter of averaging sub-20 VIX. This is not by chance. It's our contention that the higher capital levels across the US banking system are creating a stronger, more stable risk environment for both for the country and the banking system. Moreover, a similar path in Europe is adding to the stability on a global scale.
* Asian Financial CDS - Indian banks again widen out. Two out of three Indian banks were notably wider last week (+33-35 bps). On a month-over-month basis, India's banks look worrisome with increases ranging from 40-78 bps. Elsewhere in Asia, however, there's less cause for concern. China's banks were mixed, but generally tighter. Across Japan there was mostly tightening though with a few unchanged.
Financial Risk Monitor Summary
• Short-term(WoW): Positive / 5 of 13 improved / 2 out of 13 worsened / 6 of 13 unchanged
• Intermediate-term(WoW): Positive / 9 of 13 improved / 0 out of 13 worsened / 4 of 13 unchanged
• Long-term(WoW): Positive / 4 of 13 improved / 1 out of 13 worsened / 8 of 13 unchanged
1. U.S. Financial CDS - Overall, swaps tightened for 25 out of 27 domestic financial institutions. Risk perception within the US banking space continues to dwindle as we're now well into our 8th consecutive quarter of averaging sub-20 VIX. This is not by chance. It's our contention that the higher capital levels across the US banking system are creating a stronger, more stable risk environment for both for the country and the banking system. Moreover, a similar path in Europe is adding to the stability on a global scale.
Tightened the most WoW: MBI, UNM, C
Widened the most/ tightened the least WoW: XL, AON, COF
Tightened the most WoW: MBI, AGO, JPM
Widened the most/ tightened the least MoM: XL, TRV, MMC
2. European Financial CDS - Swaps were almost universally tighter across European Financials last week with the sole exception of Greece, where swaps rose across the board. While the most recent week of tightening was somewhat modest, the past month of change has been remarkable. On average, European Financials have tightened up by 46 bps or roughly 21%. #EuroBulls
3. Asian Financial CDS - Indian banks again widen out. Two out of three Indian banks were notably wider last week (+33-35 bps). On a month-over-month basis, India's banks look worrisome with increases ranging from 40-78 bps. Elsewhere in Asia, however, there's less cause for concern. China's banks were mixed, but generally tighter. Across Japan there was mostly tightening though with a few unchanged.
4. Sovereign CDS – Sovereign swaps were mixed last week with notable improvements coming from Europe while the ROW was modestly wider. Portugal and Italy tightened by 8 and 9 bps, respectively. This trend of ongoing tightening among the PIIGS countries is reflective of our 4Q13 macro theme #EuroBulls. On a month-over-month basis, the only country in our monitor not to show improvement is the US.
5. High Yield (YTM) Monitor – High Yield rates fell 6.3 bps last week, ending the week at 5.94% versus 6.00% the prior week.
6. Leveraged Loan Index Monitor – The Leveraged Loan Index was unchanged last week at 1829.
7. TED Spread Monitor – The TED spread rose 1.8 basis points last week, ending the week at 18.1 bps this week versus last week’s print of 16.3 bps.
8. CRB Commodity Price Index – The CRB index rose 0.6%, ending the week at 275 versus 273 the prior week. As compared with the prior month, commodity prices have decreased -1.0% We generally regard changes in commodity prices on the margin as having meaningful consumption implications.
9. Euribor-OIS Spread – The Euribor-OIS spread widened by 2 bps to 11 bps. As the chart below shows, however, the increase put the measure back in-line with its past month average and is not an indication of rising risk in Europe's banking system. The Euribor-OIS spread (the difference between the euro interbank lending rate and overnight indexed swaps) measures bank counterparty risk in the Eurozone. The OIS is analogous to the effective Fed Funds rate in the United States. Banks lending at the OIS do not swap principal, so counterparty risk in the OIS is minimal. By contrast, the Euribor rate is the rate offered for unsecured interbank lending. Thus, the spread between the two isolates counterparty risk.
10. Chinese Interbank Rate (Shifon Index) – The Shifon Index fell 15 basis points last week, ending the week at 3.75% versus last week’s print of 3.90%. The Shifon Index measures banks’ overnight lending rates to one another, a gauge of systemic stress in the Chinese banking system.
11. Markit MCDX Index Monitor – Last week spreads tightened 3 bps, ending the week at 81 bps versus 84 bps the prior week. The Markit MCDX is a measure of municipal credit default swaps. We believe this index is a useful indicator of pressure in state and local governments. Markit publishes index values daily on six 5-year tenor baskets including 50 reference entities each. Each basket includes a diversified pool of revenue and GO bonds from a broad array of states. We track the 16-V1.
12. Chinese Steel – Steel prices in China rose 0.1% last week, or 5 yuan/ton, to 3,537 yuan/ton. We use Chinese steel rebar prices to gauge Chinese construction activity, and, by extension, the health of the Chinese economy.
13. 2-10 Spread – Last week the 2-10 spread was unchanged at 246 bps, but remains 21 bps wider month-over-month. We track the 2-10 spread as an indicator of bank margin pressure.
14. XLF Macro Quantitative Setup – Our Macro team’s quantitative setup in the XLF shows 1.6% upside to TRADE resistance and 1.7% downside to TRADE support.
Joshua Steiner, CFA
Jonathan Casteleyn, CFA, CMT
We are adding SHORT Boardwalk Pipeline Partners (BWP) to our Best Ideas list.
BWP is a $6.4 billion market cap MLP primarily engaged in the transportation and storage of natural gas in the south/central US. The diversified holding company Loews Corp. (L) owns the 2% GP interest in BWP, all IDRs (currently in the 50/50 split), and 52% of the BWP’s outstanding common units.
BWP is a high-conviction short idea given the Company’s deteriorating base business, aggressive accounting, high leverage, unsustainable distribution, valuation, and more...
Our full report on BWP will be published Thursday morning, 12/5; later, at 11am EST, we will host a brief call to discuss the key points of our thesis and field questions. Hedgeye Energy clients will receive both the report and conference call dial-in information on Thursday morning.
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