The Strong Hand

“The odds are six to five that the light in the end of the tunnel is the headlight of an oncoming train.”

-Paul Dickson


Whether it be hockey (which no doubt many of you are tired of us writing about!), card games, or chess, it's critical to put yourself in the best position possible to win.  In effect, you want to play the strong hand.   Most games involve some level of probability in which playing the odds can improve your chance of success meaningfully.


For example, in chess there are few basic rules of thumb that even the novice chess player should know and follow, such as:


  1. Use the center pawns to gain space on the opening
  2. Control the center of the board
  3. Secure your king early
  4. When ahead in material, force exchanges
  5. And perhaps the most important . . . never fight a land war in Asia.


Obviously, the last rule of thumb is not for chess, but was reputedly advice given by General MacCarthur to President Kennedy and then popularized in the 1987 movie, “The Princess Bride”.   As rules of thumb go, given America's lack of success in the four Asian land wars post World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, the last point may be the most accurate rule of thumb.


The Strong Hand - mac


As it relates to global macro investing and asset allocation, a couple of rules of thumb we have recently been reminded of are: 1) be on the right side of liquidity (It’s all about the flows, bro!) and 2) it’s the fundamental changes on the margin that matter.


Back to the Global Macro Grind...


In the Chart of the Day, we highlight a point that many asset allocators have been focused on over the past few weeks, which is that high yield bonds, even despite the recent rally, have sold off sharply from the highs of the year.   As a result, the spread between high yield and comparable duration treasuries is at its widest of the year.


Some strategists have been flagging this as an opportunity to wade back into the high yield market, an entry point if you will.  One point that gives us pause on this line of thinking is the risk of illiquidity in the high yield market.  In some ways, this time IS different on the liquidity front.


According to Lipper, fund flows in high yield bond funds have experienced outflows of some $13 billion over the past four weeks.  Rightfully, you might push back and say that is a smidgen of the size of the entire high yield market, which according to recent data from Barclay’s is north of $1.2 trillion in the U.S. alone.  So based on those rough numbers, we are looking at only about 1% of the entire market in outflows, but the kicker, again, is liquidity.


Since April 2013, the New York Fed has started to break out dealer inventories of high yield bonds and they currently stand at about $8.2 billion.  So even as the high yield market has ballooned from $660 billion in 2007 to almost double that now, liquidity, as facilitated by the dealers, has been shrinking.   This then is the unintended consequence of government regulation and tighter capital rules: dealers have a more limited ability to facilitate an orderly rush for the exit.


The other rule of thumb we noted above is that fundamental changes on the margin matter.   Europe is on the sell side in our current macro themes deck and that position is seeing the benefit of more slowing economic data from Europe this morning.  A few points to highlight from this morning’s data:


  • Eurozone GDP slows to +0.7% year-over-year in Q2 2014;
  • German GDP contracted sequentially by -0.2%; and
  • France cut their GDP forecast in half again to +0.5% for 2014.


For Germany, this is the first sequential contraction since 2012.  Given this, it no surprise then that the German Bund hit a record low of 1.0% this morning and has also been front running this slow down.  Clearly, low reported inflation is leaving the door open (some might say wide open!) for incremental easing in Europe (a point the German bund market is front running).


Incidentally for those that have been watching, the U.S. 10-year yield is ticking lower again this morning.  The contrarian Hedgeye call that 10-year yields may touch 2.3%/2.2% may happen sooner than even we anticipate!


And conversely in a sign today that this time truly isn’t different, Reuters is reporting that mortgage lenders are again offering stated income mortgages in an attempt to facilitate mortgage activity.  When combined with excesses in the auto loan market and a spike in subprime credit card issuances, perhaps there is more than just liquidity that is making the credit markets shake.


Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:


UST 10yr Yield 2.39-2.48%

RUT 1109-1148


VIX 11.84-15.55

WTIC Oil 96.60-98.26

Gold 1

Copper 3.09-3.15 


Keep your head up and pawns in the middle,


Daryl G. Jones

Director of Research


The Strong Hand - 08.14.14 COD

Short HAIN Call Today @1PM

We recently added short HAIN to the Hedgeye Best Ideas list.



Toll Free Number:

Direct Dial Number:

Conference Code: 181449#






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

investing ideas

Risk Managed Long Term Investing for Pros

Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough handpicks the “best of the best” long and short ideas delivered to him by our team of over 30 research analysts across myriad sectors.


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
















August 14, 2014

August 14, 2014 - Slide1



August 14, 2014 - Slide2

August 14, 2014 - Slide3

August 14, 2014 - Slide4




August 14, 2014 - Slide5

August 14, 2014 - Slide6

August 14, 2014 - Slide7

August 14, 2014 - Slide8

August 14, 2014 - Slide9

August 14, 2014 - Slide10

August 14, 2014 - Slide11
August 14, 2014 - Slide12


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

Hedgeye Statistics

The total percentage of successful long and short trading signals since the inception of Real-Time Alerts in August of 2008.

  • LONG SIGNALS 80.46%
  • SHORT SIGNALS 78.35%