Bad baseball references aside, we were relieved to see Wynn’s Mass aggression drive high revenue growth and deliver an outstanding quarter.
“Whoa! You guys are way too high” – Hedgeye client in December regarding our Q4 EBITDA estimate
Au Contraire Mon fraire. Wynn beat our Street high EBITDA and EPS estimates quite handily, although high hold in Las Vegas certainly helped. While there weren’t quite as many positive longer-term takeaway as with LVS the day before, WYNN’s quarter was certainly stronger.
WYNN became our favorite long in the gaming space in early December. As we articulated in our 10/25/13 note “WYNN TO FEAST ON THE MASS COMPETITION”, Wynn Macau began (finally) to push Mass marketing and promotional activity in October. For this reason, the stock moved into our #1 position in the space – WYNN was going to become a growth story again! The bear thesis that Wynn Macau was running at full capacity? Not true.
Well, once again Steve Wynn knocked it out of the ballpark – or as Wynn Macau’s GM Ian Coughlan said, “we smacked others out of the park”. We can forgive the Irish lad for the not so perfect baseball reference, after all he is great at hurling references I’m sure, and of course running Macau properties.
As we saw from the monthly Macau GGR reports, Wynn was a Mass market share gainer in Q4 and clearly the flow through was quite strong, as we saw from the earnings release. Shareholders are rejoicing that there is a near-term angle to this great long-term story.
Speaking of the long-term, we again heard an interesting South Korea reference. Steve Wynn mentioned he was in Seoul last week on top of Sheldon Adelson, unsolicited, bringing up the prospects for South Korea integrated resorts during the LVS conference call Thursday night. South Korea has fallen into the background with all the Japan focus but as we wrote about last year, it’s a real and potentially huge market. Back to Japan, here is where we heard arguable the only negative takeaway. Steve Wynn laid out a longer time horizon – possibly 2 years – for the legalization of gaming in Japan.
So where do we go from here? After a likely strong opening today, WYNN should trade within 5% of the January 17th high. More near-term catalysts remain. Notwithstanding bad luck at Wynn Macau here in January, Wynn should continue to pick away a little Mass market share over the coming months. Moreover, market growth should accelerate into the 20%+ area in February from 11-15% here in January. Longer-term Wynn may not be quite as well positioned at LVS but it’s hard to argue against this other long-term growth/cash flow story.
This note was originally published at 8am on January 17, 2014 for Hedgeye subscribers.
“Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.”
-Robert A. Heinlein
When it comes to stocks, progress is having the right answer to a simple question most of the time; is the price heading higher or lower. A simple question, with only 2 options, yet with an infinite number of ways to get there.
Investors are Heinlein's kind of lazy, they look for short cuts to the answer about the next price. In defense of the investor, getting the answer right is anything but a lazy man's game. Sifting through data, other people's opinions, quant, inside information, chart formations, the confidence in a CEO’s voice, you name it, and it takes long hours.
Heinlein would agree with The Principal of Least Effort, as do some corners of Evolutionary Biology. We may just be hard wired like our Paleolithic ancestors to find food in the most efficient way while not being eaten each day. In searching for information, the Principal of Least Effort means you stop looking as soon as you find "minimally acceptable result", or for a stock, the answer to the up or down question.
The paradox is that people will go to extraordinary lengths to make the least effort. It starts innocently enough by saying "wouldn't it be great if....". Guttenberg might have said something like "wouldn't it be great if I didn't have to copy this Bible by hand!" The founders of Twitter perhaps said "wouldn't it be great to send short 140 character messages to my friends!", although I can't imagine why. But after they did, they got to work.
Back to the Global Macro Grind…
The BIG MAC is one of Hedgeye Healthcare's "wouldn't it be great if" ideas. "Wouldn't it be great if I knew how all of this macro data connected to the stocks I care about." So we built a database of thousands of macro and company data, tools to update them, tools to sort them, in order to discover how they relate to each other. In theory, one can react with reasoned calm to new economic data that may be pushing stocks around on a given day, or forecast important company drivers, or recognize a new and unexpected relationship that leads to a great stock idea.
We're constantly evolving the process, adding new data, refining the analysis, looking for easier ways to do things. Below are some examples of what we've found interesting lately.
Consumer Confidence is rising, that's good for Healthcare stocks, right? No, changes in medical consumption are highly inversely correlated to Consumer Confidence. Falling confidence sends people to the doctor. When consumers feel good, they go to the mall. Consumer Confidence is currently slowing year over year.
Is there a healthcare stock that I can use to get levered to Hedgeye's#Eurobulls theme? Yes. Long XRAY, their European growth is tightly correlated with changes in German Unemployment. Germany happens to be XRAY's biggest EU market. In the US, the dental market tracks Dentist Office Employment which continues to rise.
Hospitals are up on a rope, should I stick with it? Yes, highly profitable surgical cases which represent 30% of hospital revenue started growing again and it looks sustainable. We track a single medical Producer Price Index series (of the hundreds reported each month) to forecast the ICD businesses at BSX, MDT and STJ, while growth for US Orthopedic sales closely follow a monthly employment number representing 16% of the workforce and just started to turn. Hospital admissions are weak in Q413 because flu and maternity are weak, and don't pay well, while the surgical indicators are both rising after a multi-year declines.
UNH was down a little on their earnings yesterday, is it a good time to buy it? No. Deflating their medical cost trend with a key macro series suggests utilization is beginning to accelerate after years of soft or declining trends. At the same time, realized pricing is steadily making new lows, in line with the Employment Cost Index Health Insurance and the Producer Price Index for Managed Care. Additionally, managed care premium rates are growing slower than the rates they pay to hospitals, their largest expense. A de-levering of the pricing spread is a massive headwind that Obamacare, private exchanges, dual eligibles, or Optum can offset.
Deciding how to weight BIG MAC signals can be challenging sometimes. While a BIG MAC query is a key part of our process, we still do all of the other things too. We sift through data, read other people's opinions, listen for the confidence in a CEO’s voice, look at charts, talk to experts; everything except the inside information thing. Remember, it's a simple question with no easy answer. You better have a process.
Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now (TREND in brackets):
SPX 1837-1855 (bullish)
DAX 9546-9761 (bullish)
VIX 11.84-13.55 (bearish)
USD 81.54-81.32 (neutral)
Gold 1221-1267 (bearish)
Always be #evolving!
Thomas W. Tobin
Healthcare Sector Head
Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough handpicks the “best of the best” long and short ideas delivered to him by our team of over 30 research analysts across myriad sectors.
TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP – January 31, 2014
As we look at today's setup for the S&P 500, the range is 54 points or 2.18% downside to 1755 and 0.83% upside to 1809.
CREDIT/ECONOMIC MARKET LOOK:
MACRO DATA POINTS (Bloomberg Estimates):
WHAT TO WATCH:
COMMODITY/GROWTH EXPECTATION (HEADLINES FROM BLOOMBERG)
The Hedgeye Macro Team
Back in October we wrote that CMG was well positioned for the balance of the year and expected the company to report another strong quarter in 4Q. We reiterated our bullish view on the stock in a note in early January. Needless to say, it did not disappoint. Despite a choppy sales environment for the majority of restaurant companies in November and December, CMG was able to deliver exceptional results (+9.3% comp primarily driven by traffic), solidifying its position as one of the strongest restaurant companies in our space. Sales, net income, and EPS all surprised to the upside in the quarter by 216 bps, 121 bps and 34 bps, respectively.
Chipotle continues to separate itself from the competition through its unique food and people culture, unwaveringly loyal guests and top tier operating model. As management noted on the call, the brand has significant durability as low volume days (due to poor weather, etc.) were typically followed by very high volume days, suggesting the resiliency of the typical Chipotle customer.
We believe CMG has the sales drivers in place (faster throughput, sofritas, catering, GMO removal, non-traditional marketing) to continue delivering strong comp growth throughout 2014. To this extent, management upped their 2014 sales guidance from low single digit growth to low – mid single digit growth. It is important to note that this comp growth excludes any potential price increases, which management indicated they may implement (3-5% increase) beginning in 3Q14.
Furthermore, we believe the careful, calculated development of the Shop House and Pizzeria Locale concepts continue to be longer-term opportunities with tremendous upside potential. For now, however, growth will primarily continue to be driven by new Chipotle restaurants in the U.S.
One point of contention, and perhaps the only, was the impact a potential cost of sales increase would have on margins in 2014. Management guided this line to 34.5% of sales in 2014, due primarily to high avocado prices in addition to the system-wide rollout of non-GMO ingredients. Higher than expected comp growth in 2014 could mitigate some of this pressure but, as we mentioned above, the company may need to take some pricing to further offset this pressure. Though management would not commit to taking price in 2014, it would be interesting to see the effect it would have on traffic. Given the loyal customer base and the premium placed on higher quality food, we’d assume it won’t have much of a negative impact, if at all, on traffic.
What we liked in 4Q13 results:
What we didn’t like in 4Q13 results:
Feel free to call with questions.
So not running Macau at full capacity? Mass push really paying off. Wynn beat our Street high EBITDA and EPS estimates with luck a factor in LV.
Q & A