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NO ONE EVER WENT BROKE BOOKING GAINS… IN TAIWAN

Takeaway: Early warning signs in the semiconductor space suggest it’s appropriate for investors to rotate out of Taiwan here.

Snapping our immediate-term TRADE line of support recently, the iShares MSCI Taiwan ETF (EWT) is now breaking down alongside what was one of our favorite ways to play our 2Q Macro Theme #StructuralInflation on the long side – semiconductor stocks (SMH). Recall that in our 6/3 research note titled, “BOOKING THE GAIN IN BRAZIL; ROTATING INTO TAIWAN AND BACK TO INDIA”, we preferred Taiwan over most other international equity markets at that time due to its exposure to the “anti-CapEx cycle” (i.e. M&A):

 

  • “It’s worth noting that the Tech sector accounts for a whopping 46% of TAIEX market cap, with semiconductors alone accounting for 23%.”
  • “Not surprisingly, the benchmark Taiwan TAIEX Index has registered a +0.83 correlation with the MSCI World Semiconductors GICS Level 3 Index in the YTD, which is up a bit from the +0.80 correlation registered over the trailing 3Y.”
  • “Indeed, it would seem that getting the semis cycle right is really all investors need to have a handle on to get market beta right for Taiwanese equities.”

 

Now, we are getting increasingly negative on the global semiconductors space amid signs of frothiness throughout the industry. Per a research note from this morning via Hedgeye Semiconductors Sector Head, Craig Berger:

 

  • “We note Atmel's Memory shipments have grew 13% QOQ in 2Q14 and are guided to grow double-digits again in 3Q14.  We have not seen  consecutive double-digit growth quarters in Atmel's memory business even once in the last thirteen years of history (though mid-2009 came close).”
  • “Semiconductor Upcycle now means Modest Downcycle Reset later. In short, when the sector is in the throes of an Upcycle (even a modest one), then there will inevitably be a revenue/earnings estimate reset process that could play out over three to nine months (modest Downcycle).”
  • “Currently, chip customers are feeling more confident about global macro conditions, and are modestly replenishing chip and finished goods inventories to higher levels.”
  • “Now, chip lead-times are starting to expand and supply is tightening, which could either increase in magnitude from here or begin to fizzle out into early 2015.”
  • “Either way, even if there is not 'too much' inventory in the supply chain, some chip firms' shipment levels could be 5%-15% above real end consumption levels.”
  • “This drives chip firms to have to 'reset' estimates at some point in the future to 'normalize' shipments with end consumption levels.”
  • “Conclusion: This Upcycle is getting long in the tooth. Chip stocks have spent 256 weeks in Upcycle Trends versus only 26 weeks in a brief Downcycle (most of 1H11). Only one Upcycle in history has been longer (1 at 272 weeks).”
  • The two most similar (i.e. muted) Downcycles were in 2006 and 2011, lasted 24 weeks and 26 weeks, and with Chip stocks falling by 21% and 32% peak-to-trough, respectively.”

 

CLICK HERE to view a brief, ~7 minute video with Berger and Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough delving deep into these industry dynamics.

 

***If you’re not yet receiving what some of our customers are already labeling as the best semiconductors research on the Street, please email to learn more.***

 

Jumping back to Taiwan, we see that the island economy is clearly mirroring the semis Upcycle. Specifically, looking to just about every single relevant high-frequency growth data point coming out of Taiwan, we see that economic activity in Taiwan is accelerating on both a sequential and on a multi-duration trending basis!

 

NO ONE EVER WENT BROKE BOOKING GAINS… IN TAIWAN - Taiwan High Frequency GIP Monitor

 

Is this is as good as it gets, however? The market is certainly starting to have that debate.  While our GIP model continues to portend a positive growth outlook for Taiwan here in the third quarter, it is also calling for a sharp deceleration into Quad #3 for the fourth quarter.  

 

NO ONE EVER WENT BROKE BOOKING GAINS… IN TAIWAN - TAIWAN

 

In the context of the aforementioned quantitative signals and this readily identifiable roadblock within our intermediate-term TREND duration, we think it’s best for investors to step aside and book the gain in Taiwan here.

 

In the spirit of keeping score – win, lose or draw (though we tend to avoid the latter two options w/ our country-picking) – the EWT ETF has appreciated +2.2% since our JUN 3 note. That compares to a sample mean of +2% for the 24 country-level ETFs we track across the EM space and a -0.6% decline for the S&P 500 SPDR ETF Trust (SPY). Annualizing those returns would result in a +12.5% gain for the EWT vs. a -3.4% decline for the SPY.

 

#BookingResearchAlpha

 

DD

 

Darius Dale

Associate: Macro Team



Cartoon of the Day: Delicate Balance

Cartoon of the Day: Delicate Balance - Balancing bull 08.08.2014

 

It’s a delicate balancing act right now for this bull market.

 

SUBSCRIBE TO CARTOON OF THE DAY.

 

 


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INITIAL CLAIMS - CONTEXT IS KING

Takeaway: Using claims to triangulate where we are in the cycle

Below is the detailed breakdown of this morning's initial claims data from the Hedgeye Financials team led by Joshua Steiner. If you would like to setup a call with Josh or Jonathan or trial their research, please contact 

 

Context is King

Claims are now running at sub-300k on a rolling SA basis for the second week in a row. Based on the chart below, in the past two instances (1 & 2006-2007) the market went on to advance for 12-18 months after rolling initial claims first dropped below 300k. We're not suggesting that history will repeat exactly; rather, we're just offering this as context.

 

Initial claims are a leading indicator for the economy, whereas the unemployment rate is a lagging indicator. The market is also a leading indicator for the economy. As such, we use claims principally as a leading indicator for the economy and as a coincident indicator for the market. We think that by looking at both the absolute level and the trend (and inflections therein) in claims in real time and evaluating it relative to past cycles we can have a decent bearing on where we are in the current cycle. 

 

INITIAL CLAIMS - CONTEXT IS KING - 20 normal

 

 

The Data

Prior to revision, initial jobless claims fell 13k to 289k from 302k WoW, as the prior week's number was revised up by 1k to 303k.

 

The headline (unrevised) number shows claims were lower by 14k WoW. Meanwhile, the 4-week rolling average of seasonally-adjusted claims fell -4k WoW to 293.5k.

 

The 4-week rolling average of NSA claims, which we consider a more accurate representation of the underlying labor market trend, was -12.1% lower YoY, which is a sequential deterioration versus the previous week's YoY change of -12.6%

 

INITIAL CLAIMS - CONTEXT IS KING - 1 normal

 

INITIAL CLAIMS - CONTEXT IS KING - 2 normal

 

INITIAL CLAIMS - CONTEXT IS KING - 10 normal

 

 

Joshua Steiner, CFA

 

Jonathan Casteleyn, CFA, CMT

 


Initial Jobless Claims: Context Is King

Initial jobless claims are now running at sub-300k on a rolling SA (seasonally adjusted) basis for the second week in a row. Based on the chart below, in the past two instances (1999-2000 and 2006-2007) the market went on to advance for 12-18 months after rolling initial claims first dropped below 300k. We're not suggesting that history will repeat exactly; rather, we're just offering this as context.

 

Initial claims are a leading indicator for the economy, whereas the unemployment rate is a lagging indicator. The market is also a leading indicator for the economy. As such, we use claims principally as a leading indicator for the economy and as a coincident indicator for the market.

 

We think that by looking at both the aboslute level and the trend (and inflections therein) in claims in real time and evaluating it relative to past cycles we can have a decent bearing on where we are in the current cycle. 

 

Initial Jobless Claims: Context Is King - chart


Draghi Dangles QE Carrot; On Hold for Now

Investment Recommendations:  short Eurozone equities (EZU) and EUR/USD (FXE)


Key Take-Aways:

  • Draghi policy outlook remains dovish and accommodative - QE remains dangled like a carrot
  • Hedgeye reiterates our bearish recommendation on European equities (EZU); quantit. broken TRADE and TREND
  • Hedgeye’s bearish outlook on the EUR/USD persists; quantit. broken TREND and TAIL
  • European fundamental weakness to persist over (at least) intermediate term; geopolitical tensions heightens

I encourage you to review my colleague Darius Dale’s 50 page deck titled What’s Next For Global Financial Markets? for a comprehensive overview of our investment playbook across global asset classes, including a shift in our thinking on a US dollar breakout.

 

Today’s ECB statement:  the bank remains on hold since its big move in its June meeting when it:

  • Cut interest rates, and
  • Issued the Targeted Longer Term Refinancing Operations (TLTRO), a new lending program intended to reach the “real” economy (see second chart on stalled lending), due to take place in September and December.

New commentary from today’s conference:  Draghi offered a bearish outlook on the EUR in suggesting that rates will remain low in the Eurozone for an extended period of time, whereas he sees divergent monetary policies in the US and UK (suggesting US will taper and may hike rates while the UK continues strong Pound policy).

 

Draghi and staff are conducting preparatory work on buying ABS (the Bank is even hiring a consulting firm to help augment its work).  While Draghi didn’t indicate any timing on a potential ABS program, such a program seems inevitable and portends QE-lite (namely without government bond and public asset purchases).

 

Draghi tried to focus today’s meeting on optimism around the TLTROs boosting lending to the real economy (that he expects will lead to inflation). We have our doubts on the success of the TLTROs (after the failure of the LTROs to reach the economy), however reading the tea leaves of today’s conference call Draghi looks to be buying time for the Bank to figure out how to counter the declining rate of inflation (currently at 0.4%) and muted to weak growth outlook for the region. 

 

With August largely a month of holiday for the ECB (and much of Europe), it’s likely the ECB will not be in a position to act at its next meeting on 9/4, and will opt to monitor the “waters” (data and markets).

 

That said, risks can come swiftly, and all at once, with recent examples including sanctions against Russia and contagion flair-up risk over financial issues at Banco Espirito Santo. 

 

We’ll be monitoring developments closely, in particular the Eurozone inflation number for August (initial estimate is out on 8/29) – anything below 0.4% should push Draghi’s hand on issuing QE-lite.

Draghi Dangles QE Carrot; On Hold for Now - a . ecb main rates

Draghi Dangles QE Carrot; On Hold for Now - a. ecb loans

 

European Equities:  bearish recommendation on European equities (EZU) remains intact. 

 

Our quantitative lines of support have been broken across European equities for over a month.  The move lower has been driven on such factors as slowing fundament data (more below); EU sanction against Russia; and contagion flair-up risks like the financial issues at Banco Espirito Santo.

 

From here our propriety GIP model (growth, inflation and policy) for assessing economies suggests the Eurozone economy will land in the ugly quad #3 in 2H, representing growth slowing as inflation accelerates.

 

In 2H we expect inflation to move higher on easier year-over-year comparisons (after remarkable moves Y/Y shown in the chart below) and heightened prospects for QE-lite.

Draghi Dangles QE Carrot; On Hold for Now - EUROZONE

Draghi Dangles QE Carrot; On Hold for Now - a. CPI Eurozone 12M chg

Draghi Dangles QE Carrot; On Hold for Now - a. CPI Mario

 

QE-lite Variable on Intermediate term equity view:  should weakness in fundamentals and the markets persist, we’d anticipate expectations for QE-lite (ABS) or a more robust QE program to ramp – this could serve to develop a floor in European equities, and with it we’d shift our positioning.  As we note in the chart below, the ECB has reduced its balance sheet (down -14% Y/Y and -33% since it topped in AUG 2012), which affords necessary powder to fund any QE program.

Draghi Dangles QE Carrot; On Hold for Now - a. BS ECB

 

EUR/USD short on strength:  the EUR/USD is also broken across our intermediate term TREND and long term TAIL lines (at a near 9 month low).  Beyond a continuation in dovish policy that we expect from the ECB, we’re signaling a breakout in the US Dollar above its TRADE and TREND levels. For more please see Darius’ deck What’s Next For Global Financial Markets? )

Draghi Dangles QE Carrot; On Hold for Now - a. eur usd

 

 

Charts That Matter


Below is a refresh of charts that demonstrate the recent turn lower in data, and are contributing to the drag in European equities.

  • DAX – down -9% since on topping July 3rd and -4.5% ytd, and broken across its TREND and TAIL durations.  Every major European equity index is down over the last month ranging from the U.K. down -3% to Russia down -17%. Italy’s MIB is -13% since its June top and its recent Q2 GDP print is far from encouraging: -0.2% Q/Q (vs exp. +0.1%) or -0.3% Y/Y (vs exp. +0.1%).

Draghi Dangles QE Carrot; On Hold for Now - a. DAX

  • Sovereign Bond Yields – yields continue to moderate with significant drops on Y/Y comparisons (10YR yields listed below). We expect geopolitical tension like EU sanctions against Russia to encouraging buying in safe haven credit markets like Germany.  Of note, this week the 2YR Bund touched down below the 0% bound. 

Draghi Dangles QE Carrot; On Hold for Now - aa. european yields

  • PMIs – across the major western economies Services got a lift in the most recent print (JUL) M/M, whereas Manufacturing fell off.  However the trend clearly suggests a moderation in the improvement seen in the early part of the year.  A sideways move of fits and starts is likely over the next months; we expect France to continue to underperform the group.

Draghi Dangles QE Carrot; On Hold for Now - a. PMIs

  • Eurozone Confidence – follow the red arrows down…

Draghi Dangles QE Carrot; On Hold for Now - a. eurozne cons conf

Draghi Dangles QE Carrot; On Hold for Now - a. Eurozone bus conf

Draghi Dangles QE Carrot; On Hold for Now - a. eurozone manu and serv confid

  • German Factory Orders – were an unmitigated disaster for June.  Consensus expectations for an increase of 0.9% from May and the actual number came in at -3.2%.  On a year-over-year basis, the numbers were just as abysmal, down -2.4%.  This recent move marks the largest decline since September 2011!

Draghi Dangles QE Carrot; On Hold for Now - a. Germany Factory Orders

  • German Confidence – if Germany is the EU’s economic engine, the more recent turn in these confidence charts are far from encouraging.

Draghi Dangles QE Carrot; On Hold for Now - aaa. Germany IFO

Draghi Dangles QE Carrot; On Hold for Now - a. germany ZEW

  • Industrial Production – an ugly chart, enough said! Today’s print of German Industrial Production was also a disaster: 0.3% JUN M/M (1.2% est.) vs. -1.8% prior (revised -1.7%) or -0.5% JUN Y/Y (0.3% est.) vs. 1.3% prior (1.1% revised)

Draghi Dangles QE Carrot; On Hold for Now - a. indust production

 

For those joining Draghi on vacation in August, enjoy!

 

Matthew Hedrick

Associate

 

 

 


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