The Economic Data calendar for the week of the 30th of June through the 4th of July is full of critical releases and events. Attached below is a snapshot of some of the headline numbers that we will be focused on.
Takeaway: Market sentiment suggests investors are preparing for the next geopolitical catalyst.
This note was originally published June 25, 2014 at 17:18 in Macro
Brent has now closed in the red 3 out of the last 4 days but remains within 1% of year-to-date highs reached last Thursday:
Despite the relatively light volumes and inactivity over the last several days, BRENT, WTI, and Natural Gas are flashing bullish @Hedgeye TREND signals:
With the week-over-week increase, investors at NYMEX have the most bullish exposure of 2014. Weekly data from the CTFC detailing futures and options positions shows investors are leaning long 479K contracts in BRENT futures, a level more than 2 standard deviations above the trailing twelve-month average. Net futures and options positions increased significantly moving into this week: +8.9% for BRENT and +8.1% for Natural Gas.
With all of uncertainty in global energy markets, implied volatility in BRENT spot contracts spiked last week and has held its level, hovering slightly above 1 standard deviation from its trailing 12-month average.
The week-over-week increase in bullish sentiment and implied volatility, coupled with relatively lighter volumes, points to the uncertainty in the next geopolitical catalyst that may roil supply lines.
The Hedgeye Macro team will be hosting an expert call featuring Dr. Meghan O'Sullivan, Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs and Director of the Geopolitics of Energy Project at Harvard University's Kennedy School. The call will be on Friday, June 27th at 1:00pm EDT. We hope to gain a better understanding of the regional tension in the Middle East from someone who has firsthand experience:
Meghan served as special assistant to George W. Bush and National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan from 2004-2007. She has spent two years in Iraq, most recently in the fall of 2008 at the conclusion of the security agreement and strategic framework agreement between Washington and the government of Iraq. Prior to her current post, Meghan was a senior director for strategic planning and southwest Asia in the NSC as well as political advisor to the coalition provisional authority administrator and deputy director for governance in Baghdad.
Please ping email@example.com for more information on joining the call.
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The combination of a slow start to 2014 performance and a renewed focus on a pending legal issue has knocked Och Ziff (OZM) shares to an attractive level for new long positions and we are adding the stock to our Best Ideas list.
INTERMEDIATE TERM (TREND) (the next 3 months or more)
We are taking the view that the intermediate to long term duration is positive for OZM shares and that outside of some negative short term issues the company is displaying good, solid fundamentals including an industry-leading organic growth rate and a valuation reflecting only its base management fees (with no multiple on its highly-accretive incentive fees). Historically, when shares have traded with no multiple on incentive fees it has been a good time to buy the stock. We calculate that the stock has over 30% upside just from mean reversion to its historical multiple versus the traditional asset managers and just 13% downside should the stock fall back to its all time lows on this metric. This creates a favorable upside/downside ratio of 2.5-to-1 which does not include the firm's estimated forward dividend yield of 9.9% (although we acknowledge roughly 4.4% of this forward yield is dependent on the firm earning incentive fees this year).
LONG-TERM (TAIL) (the next 3 years or less)
The $18.8 trillion U.S. pension fund market is continuing to incrementally allocate additional funds to the alternative asset allocation which would primarily benefit the biggest hedge funds, private equity, and real estate firms that have leading scale and performance. Potential net inflows of $180 billion per year on the current $3 trillion in U.S. alternative assets would produce an organic growth rate of ~6%, well in excess of the 2% rate of growth within the nascent return of equity fund flow in the mutual fund industry. As a top five hedge fund by assets-under-management with industry leading historical performance, OZM stands to benefit from this trend.
We estimate that the pension fund opportunity is already showing up in Och Ziff results. Year-to-date, OZM has put up an industry-leading 24% organic growth rate (annualized net new asset growth as a percentage of beginning assets) thus far in 2014. By comparison, Och Ziff's YTD growth rate compares to much more modest growth rates at T Rowe Price, which has generated just 5% annualized growth, BlackRock which is annualizing at just 2.4% growth, and Franklin Resources which actually has a negative decay rate in its client assets currently.
Currently, the confluence of a slow start to 2014 performance for the company and ongoing legal headlines have knocked OZM shares to levels solely on base management fees that historically have been near trough levels. Och Ziff shares are currently trading at just 16.6x base management fee earnings, a 23% discount to the long term average of 21.7x. Furthermore current valuation levels are approaching a range where the stock bottomed on this metric in the middle of 2011 and at the end of 2008 at just over 12.0x management fees.
OZM shares are in a growth category in the alternative investment management industry and the firm is putting up industry-leading organic growth in client assets on new, record AUM. The recent slow start to the year in the firm's performance and ongoing legal headlines have knocked the stock down to a range which historically has been a good entry point for intermediate to long term shareholders. Despite this slow start to 2014 investment performance, we point to a industry leading 20 year track record of strong performance that make any short term performance issue less worrisome. In addition, the Street's current assumptions around important year-end incentive fees don't seem unachievable at this point considering the ground that the firm needs to make up at this point is not outside of their historical annual compounded returns. As a result we are adding the stock to our Best Ideas list as a long position.
Takeaway: New KATE Director adds great e-commerce cred. FL changes up Skate Biz. WMT plays the gender card. Adidas not marketing Suarez -- shocker.
NKE - 4Q14 Earnings -- see our note from last night "NKE - Need More Cowbell"
KATE - Kate Spade & Company adds Doug Mack to BoD
"Kate Spade & Company announced the election of Doug Mack to the Company's Board of Directors. Mack's election brings the number of Directors to eleven. His initial term as director is effective immediately and will expire at the Company's 2015 Annual Meeting of Stockholders."
"An eCommerce innovator, Mack has extensive knowledge in key retail areas including technology, marketing and customer experience. In April 2014, he became CEO of Fanatics, Inc., the world's leading retailer of licensed sports merchandise and a billion dollar eCommerce company."
"Previously, Mack served as CEO of One Kings Lane, a leading online destination for home design, which he joined as a $10M start-up and led its growth into an Internet Retailer Top 100 company. Prior to One Kings Lane, Mack was CEO of Scene7, the leading rich-media platform for eCommerce, which has powered websites for more than 1,000 global retailers."
Takeaway: Governance was not a problem for KATE or FNP in recent years. But this addition to the board is a winner. We don't know Mack, yet, but his accomplishments are right in line with the kind of expertise we want to see added to KATE's Board.
ADS - Adidas Will not use Suarez for new Marketing
"Adidas has said it has no plans to use Luis Suarez for future marketing during the World Cup, after FIFA banned the 27-year-old player for nine games for biting another athlete during Uruguay's match with Italy."
""Adidas certainly does not condone Luis Suarez’s recent behavior and we will again be reminding him of the high standards we expect from our players," the company said in a statement, adding that it fully supports FIFA's decision."
Takeaway: Was a press release really necessary for this? That's like Livestrong saying that they will no longer use Lance the day after he admitted to being one of the most notorious liars in sports history. Some things are best left unsaid.
TGT - Target’s 124 stores in Canada all receive LEED certification
"Target announced that all 124 store locations it has opened across Canada in 2013 have been awarded Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification."
"Target stores were awarded LEED certification through the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) LEED Volume Program, which streamlines the certification process for buildings in both Canada and the U.S In order to obtain certification. Target stores had to undergo various rounds of audits throughout 2013, and meet stringent criteria across five LEED categories, including: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality."
Takeaway: That's great that the stores are finally LEED certified…just in time for a new CEO to make the decision to close them down.
WMT - Walmart shows support of women-owned businesses with new logo
"Walmart, along with the Women's Business Enterprise National Council and WEConnect International, on Wednesday joined forces to establish a unique logo for retail packaging of products from women-owned businesses. The new logo will bring consumer recognition of products provided by women-owned businesses on store shelves both in the U.S. and international markets."
Takeaway: This is nothing compared to the major win WMT had in China earlier this week, but give the company a little credit -- at least it's trying to be a leader in gender equality.
FL - Foot Locker Revamps Skate Business
"In a strategic move, Foot Locker Inc. is transitioning its skate business from its CCS banner to Eastbay."
"Over the next several months, the CCS digital sites will continue to service skate consumers with an offering of footwear, apparel and accessories. However, going forward, these shoppers will be directed to Eastbay.com for such goods."
"The move will allow New York-based Foot Locker to consolidate the purchasing, marketing and distribution of skate product from vendors including Nike, Adidas and Vans."
Takeaway: FL hinted that this coming, but regardless, it makes sense. Eastbay is a great asset, CCS is not. They're focusing and leveraging the best parts of the portfolio. We don't love FL here, but the company is making a lot of good moves. The biggest risk is what was once the 'Hick's going to JC Penney' risk is turning into the 'JC Penney, Kohl's or Target' risk.
ITX - Venezuelan Zara Binge Gives New Meaning to Fast Fashion
"On the rare day that Zara had clothing to sell in Venezuela, the fast fashion was disappearing even more quickly than usual."
"About 300 people lined up at midday outside a Zara store in the Sambil shopping mall in Caracas last week, seeking clothing as the country’s currency controls have emptied stores of imports. Shoppers waited their turn after picking a number under the eye of security guards, who controlled access to the shop."
"The chain was able to dress up mannequins and restart business after the government granted access to cash at a preferential rate to the franchise operator for Inditex SA (ITX) in the Latin American country."
IKEA - Ikea to raise minimum wage for U.S. workers based on cost of living in each area
"Ikea is planning to raise the hourly minimum wage for employees in its U.S. stores by an average 17%, beginning January 1, 2015. In a move unprecedented among U.S. retailers, Ikea’s wage hike will vary in that it will be based on the cost of living in each store’s location. According to Ikea, the change will take the average minimum hourly wage in its existing U.S. stores (as of June 2014) to $10.76, a $1.59 or 17% increase, and $3.51 above the current federal minimum wage."
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