Short HAIN Call Today @1PM

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The organic food industry is the only place in the consumer staples sector that investors can find real growth.  That being said, the last five years have been great for organic stocks – especially HAIN.  The past 12-months, however, have been more challenging with evidence mounting that industry headwinds will keep some stocks within the organic segment under intense pressure.  With HAIN being the 700 pound gorilla in the room, it has the potential to feel the most pain.


We’ve recently seen early signs of maturation in the organic segment of the food space.  This is despite several companies seeing above-average organic volume growth. 


Our call on HAIN will focus on the following issues:

  • Acquisition fatigue – the “roll up” story is looking tired
  • Brand management and lack of disclosure
  • Slowing top line trends
  • Margin pressure
  • Signs of financial stress
  • Positive sentiment
  • Frothy valuation

Newsflash, It's Q3

This note was originally published at 8am on July 31, 2014 for Hedgeye subscribers.

“For a fee, the exchange will flash information.”

-Michael Lewis


That’s a simple quote (from Flash Boys, pg 44) to a simple problem that RBC’s Brad Katsuyama faced in 2009 – being run over by getting late information. This is why Raj @Galleon paid such a premium for inside information. Front-running information flow? Yep. There’s big money in that.


There’s also lots of moneys in not losing other people’s moneys by chasing macro headlines that are taken out of context. Yesterday’s newsy Q2 2014 US GDP report was a fantastic example of that: “US Equity Futures and Bond Yields Surge on +4% GDP!”


Newsflash: it’s Q3.

Newsflash, It's Q3 - GDP cartoon 07.30.2014


Back to the Global Macro Grind


To be fair to the 2014 US Growth Bulls who are looking for +3-4% GDP and a 10yr Yield > 3%, with a Q2 +4% bounce off of one of the worst Q1s since World War II (see our Chart of The Day for context), on an annualized basis, 1st half of the year GDP in the US wasn’t negative. It was +0.87%. #Booyah


“So”, 62 months into a US economic expansion, as the intermediate-term TREND in US economic growth slows, you want to be buying that flash of Q2 “bounce” information, right? Wrong. US Equity futures reversed in a hurry yesterday and are now indicated down another 13 handles.


Spooo-hoo. What else can US consumer (XLY, XLP), housing (ITB), or early cycle industrial (XLI) perma bulls blame this morning?


  1. Europe? Sure, most of it, actually – Italian youth unemployment = 43.7% (whatever it takes!)
  2. China? After one of its best 2-week stock market moves in 4 years, not so much
  3. How about Israel or Putin, or something like that? #BlameCanada


I can flash you bullish information. Manufacturing that is easy. Twitter actually made-up user information using robots! It’s funny - if we write anything remotely USA bullish an entire community seems to cling to that like we’re going to enter the next 62 month expansion without ever leaving the first one!


According to one reading that I would characterize as one of the best contra-indicators of late 2007 (the Conference Board’s qualitative consideration of US consumer confidence), everything is just peachy. Problem is that you sell a cyclical (the US economy) when goldilocks is feeling peachy.


The best 2015 bull case (sorry, it’s still 2014) for the average American consumer that I have read to-date is one that our own Darius Dale wrote about yesterday (ping for his note) – reversing the bearish #InflationAccelerating call we have had since January.


That thesis goes as follows:


  1. US Dollar rips again (after it already ripped to overbought YTD highs)
  2. Commodities collapse (like they did in 2013)
  3. And the US consumer starts spending his and her brains out


If only 80% of America got DD’s flash report from us in their gmail boxes this morning… The poor bastard making $48,000/year with peak all-time cost of living would wake up feeling rich again!


Obviously real world wages and consumption patterns don’t work that way (or did you get a rent reduction and discount at Chipotle this morning?). Markets aren’t economies either. If they were, the Argentine stock market wouldn’t have been +7% to +67.3% YTD yesterday.


Markets are non-linear and constantly being barraged by multiple risk factors, across multiple durations. Meanwhile investors are constantly being tested by their confirmation biases and emotions. That’s why, as I get older and fatter, I like to wait and watch.


I also like to ask myself a lot of questions. I genuinely enjoy reading my analysts research views too. If they are doing their job, they’re constantly in flux, weighing each data point within the context of both the last and our forward looking TREND.


Is the US Dollar “strong” (US Dollar Index is +0.4% over the last 6 months, -0.5% over the last year) because the US economy is strengthening, sequentially (from Q2 to Q3) or is the Euro (vs USD) simply weak because the European recovery is weakening?


If Europe’s recovery slows in 2H 2014 like the USA’s did in 1H 2014, what does that mean for US listed multi-national consumer staples and industrial stocks? Fortunately the answers to these questions won’t be in a “survey.” They’ll be marked-to-market, flashing as new time/price information on our screens.


Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:


UST 10yr Yield 2.44-2.56%

SPX 1960-1978

RUT 1134-1154

DAX 9508-9753

VIX 12.21-14.41

USD 81.61-81.57

EUR/USD 1.33-1.35

Gold 1291-1323

Copper 3.17-3.27


Best of luck out there today,



Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer


Newsflash, It's Q3 - Chart of the Day


TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP – August 14, 2014

As we look at today's setup for the S&P 500, the range is 44 points or 2.09% downside to 1906 and 0.17% upside to 1950.                                       













  • YIELD CURVE: 2.01 from 2.01
  • VIX closed at 12.9 1 day percent change of -8.70%


MACRO DATA POINTS (Bloomberg Estimates):

  • 8:30am: Initial Jobless Claims, Aug. 9, est. 295k (prior 289k)          
  • Continuing Claims, Aug. 2, est. 2.507m (prior 2.518m)     
  • 8:30am: Import Price Index m/m, July, est. -0.3% (prior 0.1%)    
  • 8:45am: Bloomberg U.S. Economic Survey, Aug.               
  • 9:45am: Bloomberg Consumer Comfort, Aug. 10 (prior 36.2)       
  • 10am: Freddie Mac mortgage rates        
  • 10:30am: EIA natural-gas storage change             
  • 1pm: U.S. to sell $16b 30-yr bonds           



  • Senate, House recess; President Obama on Martha’s Vineyard 
  • 9am:  Organization for International Investment Pres. Nancy McLernon, speaks to Bloomberg reporters, editors               
  • U.S. ELECTION WRAP: Status of Hawaii’s Primary; NRSC in Mich.               


WHAT TO WATCH:          

  • Euro-region recovery stalls as biggest economies fail to expand
  • Germany’s 10-yr yield drops below 1% for first time on record  
  • U.S. banks said to get enforcement letters in FX-rigging probes
  • Cisco cutting 6k jobs, CEO seeks revamp amid stagnant growth 
  • InterMune said to draw bids from Sanofi to Roche          
  • Israel, Hamas extend Gaza truce in quest for broader accord      
  • Ukraine open to compromise on Russia aid as own convoys readied       
  • Intel agrees to buy Avago networking unit Axxia for $650m         
  • GE appliance unit said to draw interest from Electrolux, Quirky  
  • Carlyle’s Axalta is said to tap banks for $1b U.S. IPO        
  • Barclays index unit said to draw offers from Nasdaq, CME Group             
  • Pfizer wins panel backing to expand Prevnar vaccine in seniors 
  • Merck & Co. wins U.S. FDA approval of new type of sleeping pill               
  • Hilton, Ally, Seibu added to MSCI world indexes               
  • Puerto Rico’s Prepa faces repayment deadline on $671m in debt             
  • T-Mobile CFO hints higher Iliad offer OK: WSJ    



  • Advance Auto Parts (AAP) 8:30am, $2.01             
  • Agilent Technologies (A) 4:05pm, $0.74 
  • Applied Materials (AMAT) 4:02pm, $0.27 - Preview         
  • Autodesk (ADSK) 4:01pm, $0.29               
  • B2Gold (BTO CN) 6:30am, $0.02
  • Bally Technologies (BYI) 4:01pm, $1.20  
  • J.C. Penney (JCP) 4:01pm, ($0.90) - Preview       
  • Kohl’s (KSS) 7am, $1.07 - Preview            
  • Nordstrom (JWN) 4:05pm, $0.95 - Preview          
  • Pacific Rubiales (PRE CN) 6am, $0.41       
  • Penn West Petroleum (PWT CN) 6:33am, $0.10 
  • Perrigo (PRGO) 7:42am, $1.55   
  • Plug Power (PLUG) 7am, ($0.04)              
  • Sina (SINA) 5pm, $0.09 
  • Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) 7am, $1.21 - Preview   



  • Commodities Fall to Six-Month Low as Gains for Year Evaporating
  • WTI Oil Falls as U.S. Crude Stockpiles Increase; Brent Declines
  • Silver Price Goes Electronic in Transparency Quest: Commodities
  • Gold Climbs for Third Day Boosted by Ukraine to Middle East
  • Copper Falls to Seven-Week Low on GDP Reports and China Output
  • Corn Drops With Soybeans as Rain Seen Boosting U.S. Crop Outlook
  • Palm Slumps to Five-Year Low as Bear Market Deepens on Supplies
  • No Room at the Bin for U.S. Grain Amid Buffett’s BNSF Rail Jam
  • Germany Needs More Coal-Plant Shutdowns as RWE Accelerates Halts
  • Gold Consumption in China Shrinks 52% Amid Anti-Graft Campaign
  • Gold Demand in India May Decline to Five-Year Low on Curbs
  • Rebar Drops as Iron Ore at Record Low on China Financing Concern
  • Putin’s Pipeline Bypassing Ukraine at Risk Amid Conflict: Energy
  • Europe Airlines Cut Jet Fuel Hedging as Prices Seen Falling


























The Hedgeye Macro Team
















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August 14, 2014

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An EBITDA beat when excluding the impairment charge but the bad debt write off is a concern as is the cautious forward commentary.


Q & A

  • Japan
    • Osaka:  a lot more interest lately. 
    • Tokyo governor have hands full with 2020 Olympics.
    • Still believe there are 3 candidates:  Osaka, Tokyo, Okinawa.
    • Categorically denied any discussions with USJ regarding a JV.
    • Japan:  optimistic the bill will pass in November/December.  Japan officials open to an accelerated process.  Genting believes there will be only one operator.  Osaka will probably go first but need approval of federal govt.
      • Is it imperative to have a local partner?  Don't think this so.  1 or 2 Japanese companies want majority ownership of IR.  Genting says operating a casino is difficult and feels those companies would need guidance.
      • Osaka investment:  $5bn seems to be the benchmark
      • Tokyo investment:  $10bn seems to be the benchmark
  • 2Q Bad debt (impairments) $81m:  made special provisions this quarter relates to debts which were 9-12 months past due. Very prudent. Still believe situation in major core markets are soft and challenging. Believe the $81m is an one-off.
  • Excluding bad debt provision, EBITDA margin would have been at normal level
  • Impairment:  
    • Relating to 9-12 months debt
    • Still within acceptable ratio band.  Will be sensitive to macro environment.
  • Market will be quite challenging in the next 6-12 months
  • VIP win %:  normal at ~3%
  • Mass win %:  24%
  • GGR share:  49%
  • RC Volume share: 60%
  • Mass/ETG drop share:  44%
  • VIP/MASS rev split:  57%/43%
  • Korea Jeju project:  central govt fully support IR; Jeju governor supports the project as well.  Would like to start construction in 1Q 2015.  Genting's share of capex of $2.5bn:  <$500m.   Will provide more numbers later this year.
  • Landing development's other contract:  Hyatt hotel in Jeju;  Genting in discussions with them on this.
  • If the Hinderlands (Northern remote provinces of China) do well, Macau will do well.
  • Not overly concerned about the long-term prospects
  • More Chinese customers?  Not really. Numbers in-line with expectations.
  • Some softening in VIP market in next 2 quarters
  • 2Q Non-gaming revenue decline:  Aquarium did poorly.  Putting in some exotic animals in the aquarium.  Believe Q4 2014 or onward will see numbers some back.
  • Visitor arrivals:  Chinese visitation has dropped but quality of visitors have been slightly better.
  • RC Volume:  been maintaining similar levels.  
  • Opex change:  due to net exchange loss of $36m and also higher operating income in 2Q 2013
  • Singapore mass:  continue to see flat trends
  • Marine Life Aquarium:  7,000 visitors, average spend $32
  • USS: 10,000 visitors; average spend $80


Takeaway: Recent commentary out of Federal Reserve policymakers solidifies our expectations that the Fed will surprise investors to the dovish side.

When I started as a junior analyst in this business, I had the fortunate experience from learning from one of the best Retail & Apparel analysts in the world, Hedgeye Sector Head Brian McGough. One of my primary responsibilities on Brian’s team was to update models during earnings season and take notes on conference calls. 


It didn’t take long for me to realize that “management” knew little more about the future than even I did. In fact, listening to how bearish many of those executives sounded during what was a generational opportunity to buy domestic consumer discretionary stocks (i.e. mid-2009) sounded increasingly at odds with the Hedgeye Macro Team’s almost-giddy bullish view on the US consumer.


I learned three valuable lessons from that experience that have shaped, if not defined my analytical career:


  1. No one knows anything about the future. We’re all getting paid handsomely to bet on what we view as the most probable outcome (i.e. “guess”).
  2. While relative levels of compensation would indicate otherwise, corporate executives are not any better than you or I at predicting the future state of their own operating performance – let alone the broader economy. The best they can do for you in a 1x1 meeting is provide you with details that may border on material nonpublic information – something we vehemently shun at Hedgeye. 
  3. There is no “management” to call in macro.


Regarding that last point, we often joke in meetings with prospective customers that “God called us” whenever we’re asked to describe the research process that has allowed us to stay on the opposite side of both buy-side and sell-side consensus on the direction of interest rates in both 2013 and 2014 (i.e. accurate).


In reality, our process is a combination of rigorous quantitative methods, meticulous study of economic history and a willingness to incorporate relatively newer disciplines such as behavioral finance and complexity theory into our analysis. We’re certainly not always right, but over the years we’ve found that combination to be the most successful at generating a high probability of accuracy on a consistent basis.


If, however, there was a management team to call in macro, it would most likely be the Federal Reserve. Their incessant and growing interference with financial markets has certainly amplified their role in both the price discovery process and the pace of economic activity. 


While we don’t have Janet Yellen’s phone number, or the numbers of any of her minions among the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, or their minions at CNBC or the WSJ, we can at least pretend to engage in a 1x1 dialogue with them by asking and responding to commentary from their recent statements.  We do this below with a satirical interview that incorporates sound bites from Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer’s 8/11 speech at the Swedish Ministry of Finance:


  • Q: Hedgeye: Tell us about the Fed’s track record on growth.
  • A: Fischer: “Year after year we have had to explain from mid-year on why the global growth rate has been lower than predicted as little as two quarters back. Indeed, research done by my colleagues at the Federal Reserve comparing previous cases of severe recessions suggests that, even conditional on the depth and duration of the Great Recession and its association with a banking and financial crisis, the recoveries in the advanced economies have been well below average... These disappointments in output performance have not only led to repeated downward revisions of forecasts for short-term growth, but also to a general reassessment of longer-run growth. From the perspective of the FOMC, even in the heart of the crisis, in January 2009, the central tendency of the Committee members' projections for longer-run U.S. growth was between 2-1/2and 3 percent. At our June meeting this year, these projections had fallen to between roughly 2 and 2-1/4 percent.”


  • Q: Hedgeye: Interesting. Why do you think growth has been so slow in the post-crisis era?
  • A: Fischer: “As Cerra and Saxena and Reinhart and Rogoff, among others, have documented, it takes a long time for output in the wake of banking and financial crises to return to pre-crisis levels. Possibly we are simply seeing a prolonged Reinhart-Rogoff cyclical episode, typical of the aftermath of deep financial crises, and compounded by other temporary headwinds. But it is also possible that the underperformance reflects a more structural, longer-term, shift in the global economy, with less growth in underlying supply factors… In the United States, three major aggregate demand headwinds appear to have kept a more vigorous recovery from taking hold. The unusual weakness of the housing sector during the recovery period, the significant drag--now waning--from fiscal policy, and the negative impact from the growth slowdown abroad--particularly in Europe--are all prominent factors that have constrained the pace of economic activity.”


  • Q: Hedgeye: So, to be clear, you do not think your Policies To Inflate have had anything to do with the fits and starts in growth we’ve seen over the past several years?
  • A: Fischer: [no comment]


  • Q: Hedgeye: Moving along, what do you make of claims that ZIRP and quantitative easing after quantitative easing are effectively holding back the recovery by depressing the “animal spirits” needed for a true economic cycle?
  • A: Fischer: “… turning to the aggregate supply side, we are also seeing important signs of a slowdown of growth in the productive capacity of the economy--in the growth in labor supply, capital investment, and productivity. This may well reflect factors related to or predating the recession that are also holding down growth. How much of this weakness on the supply side will turn out to be structural--perhaps contributing to a secular slowdown--and how much is temporary but longer-than-usual-lasting remains a crucial and open question.”


  • Q: Hedgeye: Interesting that you mention labor supply. Can you talk a little bit about “slack”, which has been a hot topic amongst monetary policymakers in recent weeks?
  • A: Fischer: “There has been a steady decrease in the labor force participation rate since 2000. Although this reduction in labor supply largely reflects demographic factors--such as the aging of the population--participation has fallen more than many observers expected and the interpretation of these movements remains subject to considerable uncertainty. For instance, there are good reasons to believe that some of the surprising weakness in labor force participation reflects still poor cyclical conditions. Many of those who dropped out of the labor force may be discouraged workers.”


  • Q: Hedgeye: Lastly, can you share with us any insights you guys may have that we may not yet be aware of as it relates to your “data dependent” guidance on policy normalization?
  • A: Fischer: “At the end of the day, it remains difficult to disentangle the cyclical from the structural slowdowns in labor force, investment, and productivity. Adding to this uncertainty, as research done at the Fed and elsewhere highlights, the distinction between cyclical and structural is not always clear cut and there are real risks that cyclical slumps can become structural; it may also be possible to reverse or prevent declines from becoming permanent through expansive macroeconomic policies.”


  • Q: Hedgeye: So basically what you’re saying is, “We really have no clue what we’re doing or where we’re headed, but we’re going to attack every problem as if it were a nail and we’re the hammer.” Is that more-or-less accurate?
  • A: Fischer: [no comment]


Moving along, if you aren’t yet familiar with the debate surrounding the outlook for US monetary policy we’ve been attempting to prepare investors for since JAN, we highly encourage you to review the following Reuters article: "Yellen Resolved to Avoid Raising Rates Too Soon; Fearing Downturn" (7/12).


All told, we remain the bears on US interest rates/bulls on long-term Treasuries as growth is likely to slow throughout 2H14.




Meanwhile, Consensus Macro remains out to lunch with their expectations of perpetually compounding +3% QoQ SAAR GDP growth – expectations that don’t even align with their full year view of +1.7%. Specifically, if GDP compounds at +3.1% in Q3 and Q4, full year GDP will equate to +2.1%, not the +1.7% currently expected by Bloomberg Consensus. I know it’s August, but c’mon, that’s just analytically lazy. Update those forecasts!




For those of you who are still grinding away with us, we wish you a restful night’s sleep and a very productive morning.




Darius Dale

Associate: Macro Team

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