“Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds.”
As an equity investor if you are early on growth in owning a stock, that is usually a very good thing. Parabolic growth can propel a stock to, as they say, “infinity and beyond.” On a macro level the same lesson applies. We’ve obviously been vocal and early on our view of growth slowing this year and the sub-sector performance of the SP500 has reflected that in spades.
On a more micro level, we’ve also been pretty negative on social media stocks, in particular Twitter (TWTR) and Yelp (YELP). Admittedly on Twitter, we were early as we were literally negative from the IPO, but as TWTR’s first earnings report showed us, expectations will eventually meet the gravity of reality.
In adding YELP to our Best Ideas list as a short, our timing has been much better. The key tenets of the short thesis on YELP are that customer attrition is a major issue, which no one is focused on, and also that the addressable market is much smaller than the management team is pitching to investors. The combination of attrition and a smaller market makes us believe that revenue growth will eventually disappoint. (If you’d like to get on the distribution list of Hesham Shabaan, who runs our Internet research team, please email .)
Even as we believe that certain social media stocks are getting ahead of themselves, it is hard to deny their ambitious growth. The boot strapping startup stories of the likes of Twitter and Facebook are worthy of admiration. In what direction these business models evolve will be the true test of longevity, but it is hard to deny the potential of a company like Facebook where 1/8 of the planet uses the application and 64% of users visit the site daily.
Another growth area we have been focused on has been electronic cigarettes, or e-Cigs. This has been reflected on our Best Ideas list with a long in Lorillard (LO). For the most part, LO is a boring tobacco stock, but has an underlying growth engine in its e-Cig business, which makes its growth prospects much more exciting. Although, admittedly, it is hard to call this noble growth.
The research on e-cigs naturally led us to also look at the burgeoning medical marijuana market. In states that have recently legalized marijuana it has been a boon to state tax coffers and to the extent that this legalizing expands, it is likely that tobacco companies enter the field. But before we dive into research and start doing calls on the topic, we’d like to get your view.
In our poll of the day that will circulate later today, we will be asking the question: Would you invest in a company that produces medical marijuana? We look forward to your responses and in getting the crowds view on whether medical marijuana is noble growth.
Back to the Global Macro Grind . . .
Heading into the long weekend, many business people and investors will be taking stock of the score in the year-to-date. In the chart of the day, we have attached one of a number of the quant screens that we circulate internally daily that show relative asset class performance.
One interesting chart looks at P/Es for countries versus their 3-year mean. Based on that metric the three most overvalued countries are Mexico, Argentina, and Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, the three most undervalued are Russia, China, and Japan. There is some global macro performance to be found in that group to be sure!
Speaking of performance, it likely has not been a great year for the average long only fund as the SP500 is up a dreary +0.75% (certainly much different than what the Barron’s round table projected to start the year) and the hedge fund industry hasn’t fared much better. According to data from Preqin, the average hedge fund returned 1.23% in Q1, which is the worst start since 2008.
Interestingly, the one strategy that has worked well is activist investing. According to the same data, activist funds on average were up 3.3% in Q1. We have also been very vocal on one major activist name, the restaurant behemoth Darden (DRI). And this may fall in the category of growth that isn’t noble as well, but you should expect to see more activist ideas come from us as the year continues.
As we noted earlier, based on a comparison to the 3-year mean in forward P/E, Japanese equities are screening as cheap. The question that arises is whether Japan is cheap for a reason. Certainly, one potential negative catalyst for Japan is the VAT tax. March department store sales were up an astonishing 25.4% year-over-year in March ahead of the VAT tax that was implemented on April 1st.
Meanwhile, despite buying a lot, the confidence of consumers in Japan actually declined in March. According to the Japanese consumer confidence index, confidence declined to 37.5 in March from 38.5 in February. Clearly not an earth shattering breakdown in confidence, but likely a leading indicator of future declines now that the VAT tax is in place.
Clearly, the Japanese policy makers are going to have some interesting decisions to make in coming months and most of them are unlikely to bode well for the Yen. Japanese leadership may be wise to consider the words of Nascar legend Dale Earnhardt:
“You win some, lose some, and wreck some”
Ultimately, Japanese policy makers will have to decide whether growth by devaluation is truly noble growth.
Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:
Nat Gas 4.49-4.72
Keep your head up and stick on the ice,
Daryl G. Jones
Director of Research
Client Talking Points
I learn a lot more from developing bears on the bounces than I do on the drops: A) bearish TREND resistance of 4203 remains intact, B) QQQ just registered a lower-high on one of the weakest volume Wednesday’s of 2014. Neither A nor B are good
Yellen’s Dollar Devaluation comments yesterday – encouraging more of what is slowing growth = inflation – keeps the US Dollar under selling pressure this morning. Four months into the year, I haven’t watched a slow-moving train wreck like this since 2011.
You’d think bonds would sell off for real (if the social media bubble was going to bubble up again, for real). Nope. The 10-year yield is actually down 2 bps in the last 48 hours – a clean cut US #GrowthSlowing signal that should have legs well into the third quarter of this year.
|FIXED INCOME||18%||INTL CURRENCIES||18%|
Top Long Ideas
Hologic is emerging from an extremely tough period which has left investors wary of further missteps. In our view, Hologic and its new management are set to show solid growth over the next several years. We have built two survey tools to track and forecast the two critical elements that will drive this acceleration. The first survey tool measures 3-D Mammography placements every month. Recently we have detected acceleration in month over month placements. When Hologic finally receives a reimbursement code from Medicare, placements will accelerate further, perhaps even sooner. With our survey, we'll see it real time. In addition to our mammography survey. We've been running a monthly survey of OB/GYNs asking them questions to help us forecast the rest of Hologic's businesses, some of which have been faced with significant headwinds. Based on our survey, we think those headwinds are fading. If the Affordable Care Act actually manages to reduce the number of uninsured, Hologic is one of the best positioned companies.
Construction activity remains cyclically depressed, but has likely begun the long process of recovery. A large multi-year rebound in construction should provide a tailwind to OC shares that the market appears to be underestimating. Both residential and nonresidential construction in the U.S. would need to roughly double to reach post-war demographic norms. As credit returns to the market and government funded construction begins to rebound, construction markets should make steady gains in coming years, quarterly weather aside, supporting OC’s revenue and capacity utilization.
Darden is the world’s largest full service restaurant company. The company operates +2000 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada, including Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn and Capital Grille. Management has been under a firestorm of criticism for poor performance. Hedgeye's Howard Penney has been at the forefront of this activist movement since early 2013, when he first identified the potential for unleashing significant value creation for Darden shareholders. Less than a year later, it looks like Penney’s plan is coming to fruition. Penney (who thinks DRI is grossly mismanaged and in need of a major overhaul) believes activists will drive material change at Darden. This would obviously be extremely bullish for shareholders and could happen fairly soon driving shares materially higher.
Three for the Road
TWEET OF THE DAY
Russell and Nasdaq still -6.4% and -6.2% from their bubble highs @KeithMcCullough
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing." - Elbert Hubbard
STAT OF THE DAY
Former COO Henrique de Castro left Yahoo with a severance package worth $58 million, according to a regulatory document filed with the SEC. The golden parachute is among the most generous in history, and especially notable given than de Castro worked at Yahoo for only 15 months. He was shown the door in January. (CNN)
The total percentage of successful long and short trading signals since the inception of Real-Time Alerts in August of 2008.
LONG SIGNALS 80.64%
SHORT SIGNALS 78.61%
This note was originally published at 8am on April 03, 2014 for Hedgeye subscribers.
“Selling is hard to teach because it is about what exists in your head and what goes on in your whole life.”
- Mrs. Shibata, the top salesperson at Dai-ichi Life in Japan
The quote above come from Philip Delves Broughton’s 2012 book “The Art of the Sale.” In his book, Broughton studies the most successful habits of some of the best sales people across various industries worldwide – from a Moroccan man who sells carpets and tiles in a bazaar, to some of the world’s most famous actors and musicians, to the top saleswoman at Japanese life insurance Dai-ichi Life, to Steve Jobs making the complex simple with Apple’s revolutionary products.
Selling is an art and there is no singular way to be successful at the art of persuasion. Often times the same tactics fail to work consistently; hard work, persistence, patience, charisma, knowledge, perceptiveness and having extremely good product are all qualities that allow for the subjects in the text to find success selling.
The biggest take-away is learning by observing. Incorporating the best practices of others, while simultaneously discarding the negatives, helps us all optimize our daily processes in the never-ending, impossible, pursuit of perfection.
Whether we realize it or not, we are all selling something on a daily basis – pitching an idea to your PM, convincing your current or potential investors why your investment strategy is going to be most effective, or getting your kids to eat their daily serving of fruits and vegetables. Many of our actions are “non-sales selling” practices – i.e. motivating & moving others.
So get out there and make a sale today.
Back to the Global Macro Grind...
In the interest of saving myself the embarrassment of providing my macro thoughts, I’ll leave you with three of our current, non-consensus investment ideas:
Long Brazil (BRL; EWZ) - Stealth call by the (self-proclaimed) best dressed member of the Hedgeye team, macro analyst Darius Dale; The Brazilian real is up +3.1% Mom and the EQZ ETF is up +12.8% MoM. Our macro team makes calls on the slope of line, and in Brazil’s case, we believe the Growth/Inflation/Policy fundamentals are going from really bad to less – similar to Indonesia last year. Depressed valuations and bombed-out prices make this an interesting market to get involved in if you think US monetary policy is getting easier, at the margins, like we do.
After being the bears in 2013 and heading into 2014, we think EM capital and currency markets are poised to continue outperforming their developed market counterparts over the intermediate-term. In Brazil specifically, the World Cup and upcoming elections are two significant and underappreciated catalysts that could be very positive from both a macroeconomic and investor sentiment perspective.
Short C.H. Robinson Worldwide (CHRW) - This is a rare structural short with low barriers to entry with the advent of lower cost technology solutions creating an increase in the competitive landscape in 3rd Party Logistics. We expect both margin and multiple compression to cut CHRW in half. Sector Head Jay Van Sciver is presenting our black book tomorrow at 11am EST.
Long Legg Mason (LM) – Legg is positioned as a prime beneficiary of pension fund flows out of equities and into fixed income with assets over-indexed to both institutional and fixed income exposure at 71% and 55% respectively relative to peers. We estimate half of the $1T in equity exposure outflows to be reallocated towards fixed income as institutional pension funds look to capture higher re-investment rates. With favorable style factors (i.e. high short interest and bearish sentiment), the highest free cash flow yield in the sector, and discounted multiple, LM continues to be one of our top longs.
Upcoming Events at Hedgeye:
Short CHRW – Tomorrow 11am est.
Long HOLX – Monday 4/7 11am est.
Q2 Macro Themes – Tuesday 4/8 1pm est.
Please email email@example.com for access.
Covering some of the top investors on the West Coast, I have the privilege of learning from some of the top non-consensus thinkers in our industry. It’s fun to learn from all of you on a daily basis, while hopefully helping you make some money in the process!
Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:
UST 10yr Yield 2.67-2.82%
The best defense is a good offense,
TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP – April 17, 2014
As we look at today's setup for the S&P 500, the range is 70 points or 2.76% downside to 1811 and 1.00% upside to 1881.
CREDIT/ECONOMIC MARKET LOOK:
- YIELD CURVE: 2.27 from 2.26
- VIX closed at 14.18 1 day percent change of -9.16%
MACRO DATA POINTS (Bloomberg Estimates):
- 8:30am: Jobless Claims, April 12, est. 315k (prior 300k)
- Continuing Claims, April 5, est. 2.780m (prior 2.776m)
- 9:45am: Bloomberg Economic Expectations, April (prior -12)
- 9:45am: Bloomberg Consumer Comfort, April 13 (prior -31.9)
- 10am: Philadelphia Fed, April, est. 10 (prior 9)
- 10am: Freddie Mac mortgage rates
- 10:30am: EIA natural-gas storage change
- 1pm: Baker Hughes rig count
- House, Senate not in session
- John Kerry in Geneva for meeting with officials from Ukraine, Russia; EU to discuss ongoing situation in and around Ukraine
- CFTC comment, request deadline for commercial end-users impacted by Dodd-Frank
- 8:25am: Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush at Economic Club of Washington, D.C. for discussion on defense industry, cybersecurity
- 9am: American Gas Association holds conf. call briefing to discuss estimates for 2013 U.S. natural gas reserves
- U.S. ELECTION WRAP: Sebelius May Challenge Roberts; FEC Reports
WHAT TO WATCH:
- Post said to reach $2.5b agreement for Michael Foods
- High frequency traders said to be subpoenaed in N.Y. inquiry
- Weibo said to raise $286m pricing shares at low end of range
- Apple said to prepare song-ID feature for iPhone update
- Yahoo nominates three new directors as Mayer’s pay drops 32%
- Discovery said to drop out of bidding for U.K.’s Channel 5
- Google sales miss underscores mobile-transition challenges
- Google earnings, rev. miss may pressure Internet stocks
- GM move to freeze suits may cut customer payouts by billions
- GM had ignition-switch scare in testing Cadillac SRX in 2007
- Reynolds American says Susan Cameron to return as CEO
- European car sales up 7th straight month on Renault growth
- Sony PlayStation 4 sales reach 7m on surging demand
- Toyota plans Scion line overhaul amid fading sales
- John Kerry in Geneva for mtg w/Ukraine, Russia, EU officials
- Equity markets closed tomorrow for Good Friday holiday
- Alliance Data Systems (ADS) 7:30am, $2.71
- AutoNation (AN) 6:15am, $0.72
- Baker Hughes (BHI) 6am, $0.78 - Preview
- Baxter International (BAX) 7am, $1.09 - Preview
- BB&T (BBT) 5:45am, $0.70
- BlackRock (BLK) 6:30am, $4.10
- Blackstone (BX) 7am, $0.55
- Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) 8am, $2.87 - Preview
- Cypress Semiconductor (CY) 8am, $0.08
- Dover (DOV) 7am, $1.02
- EI du Pont de Nemours (DD) 6am, $1.59 - Preview
- Fairchild Semiconductor (FCS) 7:30am, $0.03
- Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) 6:30am, $0.42
- First Horizon National (FHN) 7am, $0.14
- General Electric (GE) 6:30am, $0.32 - Preview
- Goldman Sachs (GS) 7:35am, $3.49 - Preview
- Honeywell International (HON) 7am, $1.26 - Preview
- KeyCorp (KEY) 6:14am, $0.24 - Preview
- Mattel (MAT) 6am, $0.07 - Preview
- Morgan Stanley (MS) 7:15am, $0.60 - Preview
- National Penn Bancshares (NPBC) 6:31am, $0.17
- PepsiCo (PEP) 7am, $0.75 - Preview
- Philip Morris (PM) 6:59am, $1.16 - Preview
- PPG Industries (PPG) 8:11am, $1.84
- Rockwell Collins (COL) 7:21am, $1.07
- Sherwin-Williams (SHW) 7am, $1.09
- Snap-on (SNA) 7am, $1.54
- Sonoco Products Co (SON) 7:30am, $0.51
- Union Pacific (UNP) 8am, $2.37 - Preview
- UnitedHealth Group (UNH) 6am, $1.09 - Preview
- Webster Financial (WBS) 7:55am, $0.49
- Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) 4:15pm, $0.00
- Athenahealth (ATHN) 4:01pm, $0.16
- Select Comfort (SCSS) 4:01pm, $0.32
COMMODITY/GROWTH EXPECTATION (HEADLINES FROM BLOOMBERG)
- Go Short Iron Ore Says StanChart as Steel Mills to Fail in China
- Brent Crude Trades Near Six-Week High on Ukraine Risk; WTI Gains
- Platinum Strike Widens Output Deficit Lasting Years: Commodities
- Gold Import Curbs Seen Continuing in India to Protect Currency
- Nickel Advances for Second Day on Indications of Curbed Supply
- Wheat Rebounds as U.S. Weather to Ukraine Boost Supply Concerns
- Gold Declines Below $1,300 as U.S. Economy Weighed With Ukraine
- Sugar Drops as Demand Trails Abundant World Supply; Coffee Gains
- Japan Adds Pork Tariff Cut to Beef in Trade Pact With Australia
- Rebar in Shanghai Falls to 2-Week Low on Demand, Iron Ore Price
- Ship Billionaires Unite Against Maersk Amid Container Rout
- Midnight Welding Picks Up Labor Slack That Imperils Shale Boom
- Exxon Russia Oil Output Unfazed by Politics, Plans Expansion
- Burger King Hamburger Gets a Chicken Makeover as Beef Costs Rise
The Hedgeye Macro Team
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