Cyclical Times

This note was originally published at 8am on July 22, 2014 for Hedgeye subscribers.

“In cyclical time, a society always evolves.”

-The Fourth Turning

 

Are you long Millenial evolution? “From the Arthurian Generation through today’s Millenial Generation, there have been twenty-four generations in the Anglo-American lineage. The first six were purely English. Millenials are the fourteenth in the American line.” (The Fourth Turning, pg 95)

 

So get in the burrito line. With +17% same store sales and +29% year-over-year revenue growth, evidently Millenials are eating lots of Chipotle (CMG). They are texting, tindering, and talking about things baby boomers don’t talk about too.

 

Being long new patterns of consumption and short old ones is a profitable way to look at the world. Having been on the long/short side of consumer stocks for almost my entire career, this is where I’ve seen some of the biggest moves – and they go both ways!

 

Cyclical Times - millenials

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

BREAKING: US Orange Juice Sales Fall To Record Low –Wall Street Journal

 

Yep. Damn Millenials are drinking the fruitier and frumpier stuff that costs 10x more. But, no worries, there’s no inflation in food/beverages – ask the Fed. With Orange Juice prices up another +0.4% in a down US Equity tape yesterday to +12.3% YTD, there’s deflation in whoever is short OJ demand.

 

As we age in this business (I’m a 13th gen dude and will be 40 within the next 6 months) we learn that most things we learned early on were in some way, shape, or storytelling form, false.

 

Risk managing macro, for example, rarely has anything to do with “valuation” or even reported supply and demand metrics. Most of the big moves in macro happen on the margin when there is a phase transition in price momentum, volume, and volatility.

 

How about long Copper (JJC)?

 

  1. Worldwide supply is hitting all-time highs
  2. But prices are starting to breakout from a TREND signal perspective

 

Or are they?

 

I’m not wed to a Millenial or Copper. I am happily married with three children and a risk management process that will hopefully allow me to be less wrong than I have been over the course of the last 15 years.

 

But in Real-Time Alerts I issued a buy signal in Copper on last week’s pullback. This morning I am getting buy signals for both the Shanghai Composite Index (China) and the Hang Seng. Both broke out above my intermediate-term TREND signal. We don’t have a research call to support that signal (yet), but do you always need one? Or is Mr. Macro Market telling you that you are going to get one?

 

What is a phase transition?  

 

A phase transition is the transformation of a thermodynamic system from one phase or state of matter to another by heat transfer.” –Wikipedia

 

And, in modern macro times, the heat transfer of price, volume, and volatility is measurable.

 

So why don’t more investors care about multi-duration, multi-factor, risk analytics. Why do so many still hinge on some gospel like “valuation” for direction, when reality is that market multiples expand and contract much more on economic and/or market phase transitions than anything else?

 

If you can answer all these questions, let me know. Because I can’t.

 

What are the most interesting big macro time/price cycles (for asset classes) that have gone from bearish to bullish from 2013 to 2014?

 

  1. US Treasuries
  2. Commodities
  3. Gold
  4. Emerging Market Equities
  5. Chinese Equities?

 

That last one I won’t buy until Darius Dale gives me the green light. But there’s no reason to sit in 50% cash when very liquid asset classes like this are getting people paid. On the bear side, we’re all about shorting USA baby-boom #ConsumerSlowing patterns:

 

  1. US Housing
  2. US Casual Dining Stocks
  3. Broadline Retailers

 

In macro investing, it’s important to contextualize where you are in the cycle. Almost every single short idea we have that isn’t purely bottom-up is what we call an “early cycle” call. Plenty of the mid-to-late-cycle ideas out there (like being long inflation) will eventually run their course. It’s our job to always evolve our process and try to signal when they do.

 

Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:

 

UST 10yr Yield 2.46-2.56%

SPX 1958-1985

RUT 1132-1155

VIX 11.94-14.99

Gold 1299-1324

Copper 3.18-3.24

 

Best of luck out there today,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

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