Fund Flows Refreshed, Global Jitters

Takeaway: Retail mutual funds continued their lagged correlation with equity inflow while institutional ETFs reflect global equity fears.

Editor's note: This complimentary, unlocked research note was originally published February 06, 2014 at 08:05 in Financials by Hedgeye Financials analyst Jonathan Casteleyn. For more information on how you can subscribe to our products click here.

Fund Flows Refreshed, Global Jitters - q1

Investment Company Institute Mutual Fund Data and ETF Money Flow:


Total equity mutual funds experienced another week of inflow as the lagged effect of fund flow chasing performance from last year has been strong enough to offset near term worries about emerging markets. Within the total equity fund result, domestic equity mutual funds had $1.8 billion of inflow in the most recent 5 day period, just ahead of the 2014 weekly average for domestic funds of $1.4 billion in inflow. International equity funds netted more than domestic funds posting a $3.5 billion inflow. This most recent result coupled with the strong result from the week prior has now moved the 2014 weekly average for total equity mutual funds to a $4.9 billion inflow average to start 2014, a continuation on 2013's positive trends where $3.0 billion per week on average flowed into total stock funds. 


Fixed income mutual funds had continued net outflows during the most recent week, a continuation from the negative performance of 2013. In the week ending January 29th, total fixed income mutual funds experienced a $896 million outflow, which broke out into a $1.4 billion redemption in taxable bonds and a $520 million inflow into tax-free bonds, the third straight week of inflow for munis. The 2014 weekly average for fixed income mutual funds now stands at a $635 million weekly inflow, an improvement from 2013's weekly average outflow of $1.5 billion but a far cry from the $5.8 billion weekly average inflow from 2012 (our view of the blow off top in the bond market).


ETFs, a more institutional product, reflected the nascent risks in emerging markets and slightly weaker U.S. economic data with a massive outflow in stock ETFs and a slight redemption in fixed income ETFs. Stock ETFs lost a substantial $13.2 billion in the 5 day period ending January 29th, the biggest weekly outflow in our data set spanning 18 months of information, with bond ETFs experiencing a $639 million redemption. The 2014 weekly averages considering this latest data are now a $3.0 billion weekly outflow for equity ETFs and a $22 million weekly inflow for fixed income ETFs. 


The net of total equity mutual fund and ETF trends against total bond mutual fund and ETF flows totaled a negative $6.2 billion spread for the week (-$7.7 billion of total equity outflows versus the -$1.5 billion outflow within fixed income; positive numbers imply inflows for stocks; negative numbers imply inflows for bonds). The 52 week moving average has been $7.3 billion (positive spread to equities), with a 52 week high of $30.9 billion (positive spread to equities) and a 52 week low of equity/debt weekly spread of -$9.2 billion (negative numbers imply a net inflow into bonds for the week). 


In last week's ICI report, we outlined the historical relationship between retail mutual fund flows and market performance. In analyzing 12 years worth of data, our research shows that fund flow chases or lags performance by 6 months for equities and 9 months for fixed income (the best fit line between these two variables). Thus the strong return for stocks in 2013 of 30% in the S&P 500 and the first loss in the Barclay's Aggregate bond index in 14 years is still driving the direction of retail fund flows currently (see late week's report here). 



Fund Flows Refreshed, Global Jitters - cast

Fund Flows Refreshed, Global Jitters - ICI chart11




Most Recent 12 Week Flow in Millions by Mutual Fund Product:



Fund Flows Refreshed, Global Jitters - ICI chart3


Fund Flows Refreshed, Global Jitters - ICI chart4


Fund Flows Refreshed, Global Jitters - ICI chart5


Fund Flows Refreshed, Global Jitters - ICI chart6


Fund Flows Refreshed, Global Jitters - ICI chart7



Most Recent 12 Week Flow Within Equity and Fixed Income Exchange Traded Funds:



Fund Flows Refreshed, Global Jitters - ICI chart8


Fund Flows Refreshed, Global Jitters - ICI chart9



Net Results:



The net of total equity mutual fund and ETF trends against total bond mutual fund and ETF flows totaled a negative $6.2 billion spread for the week (-$7.7 billion of total equity outflows versus the -$1.5 billion outflow within fixed income; positive numbers imply inflows for stocks; negative numbers imply inflows for bonds). The 52 week moving average has been $7.3 billion (positive spread to equities), with a 52 week high of $30.9 billion (positive spread to equities) and a 52 week low of equity/debt weekly spread of -$9.2 billion (negative numbers imply a net inflow into bonds for the week). 



Fund Flows Refreshed, Global Jitters - ICI chart12




Jonathan Casteleyn, CFA, CMT 



Joshua Steiner, CFA




Takeaway: Beat-Miss Spread Expanding, Consumer Company operating performance decelerating, forecasting fundamentals is making a comeback.

PERFORMANCE vs. THE PRINT:   After what feels like a multi-year deference to macro trends and serial crises, forecasting fundamentals has shown a mini-resurgence in 4Q13.  


In particular, earnings results relative to expectations have shown a strong relationship to subsequent performance.  Bottom line shortfalls continue to be sold hard as eighty percent of EPS misses have gone on to subsequently underperform the market by -5.3% on average. 


The relationship between sales beats/misses and subsequent performance has been comparably modest.  






BEAT-MISS:  With roughly two-thirds of SPX constituents having reported, Sales & EPS Beat-Miss spreads remain above both the 3Q13 (53%/74%) and TTM (54%/73%) averages as 66% and 76% of companies have beaten Sales and Earnings estimates, respectively.   Revenue disappointments out of Consumer Staples companies have emerged as the primary negative divergence.   




FUNDAMENTAL PERFORMANCE TRENDS: In contrast to positive Beat-Miss trends, the slope of improvement in operating performance has been decidedly lackluster with just 48% and 53% of companies registering sequential acceleration in sales and earnings growth, respectively. 


The percentage of companies reporting sequential operating margin expansion in 4Q13 remained unchanged WoW at an uninspiring 42% according to bloomberg data. 


From a sector perspective, Financials and Industrials have led operating performance while Consumer Discretionary and Consumer Staples remained the relative, fundamental laggards.  




STYLE FACTOR PERFORMANCE:  Reported results vs expectations across style factors has flattened out a bit WoW but High Beta, Low Yield, and Low Leverage equities have performed notably better vs. prevailing topline estimates than their inverses. 







Christian B. Drake




PM: Strong Pricing in Challenged Geographies

PM reported strong Q4 2013 results yesterday with revenues of $7.78B (slightly missing consensus expectations of $7.81B) and adjusted diluted EPS that beat consensus by 1 cent at $1.37. 


The headwinds we see for the company over the next two quarters have not changed – what’s impressive however is how well PM has been able to take pricing in the quarter to make up for volume declines and tax increases across most of its geographies. Overall volume declined -4.3% in Q4 and -5.1% in FY2013 while net pricing rose a robust +6.9% in Q4 and +6.6% in FY2013. Additionally, the company gained market share in all four of its main regions.


Concerns for us over the coming quarters remain volume declines in many of its core geographies on additional excise tax hikes, weak macro and consumer environments, and currency and illicit trade headwinds. In 2014, excise tax hike concerns remain in Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines; weaker macros include Europe and Russia; and we expect currency weakness across much of the emerging market, including the Russian Ruble, Turkish Lira, and Argentine Peso, as the illicit trade across the region skims results.   


The company announced that it has issued 60% of its pricing for 2014 as of today (versus ~75% this time last year). We think the significant risks to it making its 1H numbers include: its ability to take additional pricing in Japan (it has submitted requests to the government for price hikes in April but has yet to be approved); weakness beyond its forecasts in the Philippines as the Mighty Corporation continues to undercut price (it only declares half of its production for tax); and macro weakness in Europe beyond its forecast of -6% to -7% (versus previous 2014 guidance of down -7% to -8%).


The company forecasts EPS guidance for 2014 of $5.02 to $5.12 (including a currency headwind of $0.71). It said it expects industry volumes to be down 2-3% in 2014 (ex-China), versus ~4% in 2013 and it will spend $4Billion in share repurchases in 2014 versus $6B last year. The company spent a very small amount of time discussing its Reduced Risk Products (RRPs), including e-cigs, despite major investments and partnerships that were announced in Q4 of last year -- this is concerning unless the company is particularly good at hedging its excitement about the segment (and contribution to earnings down the line). Remember late last year it announced  €500MM to build a RRP manufacturing facility in Italy, to be operation in 2016 with capacity of 30B units, and a strategic partnership with Altria (MO) to sell and partner with its non-combustion technology.  


We’ve had a bearish bias on the PM over the last two quarters and continue to suggest a pair trade of long LO versus short PM. See chart below on price performance.


What We Liked

  • Illicit trade in Europe has moderated. Sales in back half of 2013 have moderated versus larger declines in1H 2013.
  • In EU Region grew market share by 0.5% to 38.5% in 2013 vs 2012. Increases were across all brands.
  • Russia strong: pricing actions expanded profitability despite volume -7.6% in Q4. It increased pricing in December, and expects another hike at the end of February.  Volume in 2014 expected to be down 9 to 11%.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Japan still remains a challenged market. Company believes it will be able to fully meet consumption price tax increase in Japan from 5% to 8% in Japan in April with pricing, however risk that the government doesn’t approve it.
  • PM says demand for e-cigs in Europe has decelerated, which PM posits should boost traditional cigarette volumes in 2014.
  • Italian tax environment continues to be unfavorable.
  • Moderation in Turkey results on increased competition in Low and Super-Low segment. 

Call with questions. Have a great weekend!


Matt Hedrick


PM: Strong Pricing in Challenged Geographies - yy. spread

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This morning’s Employment data for January confirmed the slowdown observed in December and, on balance, was a disappointment vs NFP consensus at +180K. 


We highlighted, in detail, the emergent deceleration in the domestic, fundamental macro data in our flash call on Wednesday. 


The link to the presentation and replay is below and I would direct you to that for a fuller discussion of the data and how to be positioned for (on the margin) #InflationAccelerating and #GrowthDecelerating.







BULL/BEAR:  The January employment data was soft on balance but again offered a bevy of talking points for the bull & bear contingents.


On the BEAR side, the Establishment Survey was weaker for a second month with Non-farm and Private payrolls increasing +113K (vs. +180K exp.) and +142K (vs. +185K exp), respectively. 


Further, there was no meaningful, positive revision to the December figures which were revised +1K to +75K. 


With the NFP numbers now beginning to decelerate on a Trend (3M/6M) basis the implications for prospective policy adjustments become more substantive.   


On the BULL side, the incremental improvement in the unemployment rate to 6.6% was a function of positive dynamics, specifically higher employment and higher labor force participation.  


The Household Survey showed a strong gain in employment with an estimated +638K jobs added in January with Total Unemployed dropping -115K sequentially. 


The labor force participation rate increased to 63% from 62.8% as the net change in the labor force (+523K), driven by the positive change in employment, increased at a premium to the +170K increase in the Civilian Population. 


Overall, despite the ongoing decline in the U-3 rate, the preponderance of labor market metrics remains largely middling – expect the Fed to highlight that reality and increase discussion around an inflation floor or similar as we move toward breaching the unemployment ‘target’ on the downside.  




SEASONALITY:  The marked deceleration in the reported, seasonally adjusted payroll numbers is, perhaps, even more remarkable given that seasonality should be serving to buttress the numbers as we build towards the positive peak in seasonality in February. 




INDUSTRY EMPLOYMENT: Construction and Manufacturing were the notables, reversing last month’s weakness, gaining +48K and +21K, respectively


The laggards were Retail (-13K) and Education and Health Services (-6K).  In fact, Healthcare saw a net decline in employment MoM for the first time since July 2003!




GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT:  Federal Gov’t Employment Declined -12K MoM  (-4K ex-Postal Service).  State & local Government lost -17K jobs in December, but on a year-over-year basis growth remains positive at +0.17%. 


HOURS & WAGES:  Hours and wages, which shouldn’t show material distortion from weather, were largely flat sequentially.  Weekly hours worked held at 34.4 while hourly earnings grew +1.9% YoY – note that the longer-term trend in wage growth is ~ +3% and with PCE growth running at +3.6% as of the latest December reading, wage growth has some heavier lifting to do to maintain the current pace of household spending.


WEATHER:  Unlike last month, employees out of work due to bad weather wasn’t an upside outlier in January.  BLS reported that 262K individuals missed work due to inclement weather in January, which compares to the longer-term January average of ~250K. 




CES Benchmark Revision: The BLS revised the total nonfarm employment level for March 2013 upward by 369K with the total level of NFP employment for year-end 2013 revised from 136.9M to 137.4M, or a positive revision of ~500K. 




Employment By Age:  Employment growth by age accelerating sequentially for all age cohorts except 20-24 year olds.   Despite the sequential improvement from -0.9% YoY to -0.5%, 45-54 Yr. olds remain the lone age demographic still mired in negative employment growth.  With the exception of a few months in mid-2012, 45-54 years olds have yet to see positive job growth in any post-recession month according to BLS data.





Christian B. Drake


Sell'em: SP500 Levels Refreshed

Position:  4 Longs, 5 Shorts @Hedgeye


We highlighted the emergent deceleration in the domestic fundamental macro data in a flash call on Wednesday (ping for the replay) and, on balance, this morning’s payroll data confirms that broader slowdown.   


Sure, there was plenty of fodder for both perma-camps in this morning’s employment release with the Establishment Survey discretely soft (+113K vs 180 exp) while the Household Survey (+638K employment, 6.6% Unemployment, Higher Participation Rate) was almost unanimously positive – but from a quantitative perspective, virtually nothing has changed. 


The dollar is down and ten year yields are off 3bps with equities bouncing on the expectation of Yellen-being-Yellen in the face of #GrowthSlowing


So, inclusive of this morning’s price action, the SPX, $USD and 10Y all remain Broken TREND while the VIX remain in BULLISH Formation and well above TREND Support at 14.91.


For the S&P500, here are the lines that matter:

  1. Intermediate-term TREND Resistance = 1786
  2. Immediate-term TRADE Support =1735
  3. Long-term TAIL support = 1683


In other words, if we can’t close above 1786 with volume confirming and the price signals across the constellation of macro factors mentioned above corroborating, further drawdown risk remains acute and we’ll remain sellers of strength.   


Still keeping it tight here with a low gross and tight net.   


Christian B. Drake


Sell'em: SP500 Levels Refreshed - Levels


Mr. Market: Beware of Disappointing Growth

Takeaway: The market is signaling that growth is poised to continue to disappoint.

Editor's note: The excerpt below is a complimentary look at Hedgeye's Morning Newsletter written by CEO Keith McCullough. This morning's missive was delivered by Daryl Jones, Director of Research, who filled in for Keith who is currently meeting with institutional clients in Boston. To learn more about Morning Newsletter click here

Mr. Market: Beware of Disappointing Growth - hedgeye slab

Currently, the SP500, Dax and Nikkei are all broken on the TREND duration (three months or more) in our quantitative model.  Conversely, equity market volatility via the VIX and U.S. Treasury bonds are breaking out to the upside.


Clearly, the market is signaling that growth is poised to continue to disappoint.  In the year-to-date, the score on that front is really crystal clear.   In the “Chart of the Day,” we show a summary of the 34 U.S. economic indicators that we focus on.  As the table shows, 23 of those indicators slowed from December to January.  Not even the best portfolio defense is going to stop an equity market that is going down because of that kind of economic deceleration.

Mr. Market: Beware of Disappointing Growth - glass

In my mind, the most disturbing recent data point was the ISM Manufacturing New Orders reading for January.  On a month-over-month basis, new orders were down -13.2, which is the largest single month decline since December 1980, or more than 30 years ago.  The economy slowed from December to January and if forward looking orders are any indicator, it is not out of the woods yet.


Yesterday, the weekly initial jobless claims data was released and they were largely a non-event, though even there we are seeing incremental slowing.  We key off the year-over-year rate of change in rolling NSA (non-seasonally adjusted) initial jobless claims. This week the data was better by 5.5% vs the same period last year. However, if you compare that with the preceding three weeks of data, it reflects a modest deceleration. The last four prints have been: -8.5%, -7.9%, -7.2% and -5.5%. So, yes, the strength of the labor market has cooled off modestly.


On the labor and employment front, the January Employment Report at 8:30am will be the main event this morning.  Currently, consensus estimates are for 180,000 jobs to be added in January.  It is also widely expected that last month’s big miss will be revised significantly higher due to weather.  So, the expectations table has been set but, as always, expectations are likely to be the root of all heartache.


…perhaps today’s employment report is highly positive and gets the market back into bullish beast mode, though the probability seems higher that today is a non-event with the potential for a mild disappointment.  But, as always, by 8:31 a.m. it is definitely going to be all about that action.


Speaking of action, we finally got some validation on our short thesis on Twitter yesterday as the company reported its first quarterly results as a public company.  Admittedly, revenue did beat our number (although that was obviously priced in), but Twitter showed a real deceleration in user growth and user engagement.  On that last point, user engagement, as measured by time line views, was down -3% year-over-year . . . not good for a growth company.


… $TWTR remains on our Best Ideas list as a short.  Email us at if you want to review our 50+ page short report on the company.

Mr. Market: Beware of Disappointing Growth - Beast Mode 020614

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