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Retail Callouts (9/19): NKE, KSS, WMT, LULU, HD, COST

Takeaway: Big year for The Morals Clause in endorsements. KSS hiring 12% more temps than WMT this holiday. Interesting new LULU product launch.


NKE - Nike, Target Pull Adrian Peterson NFL Merchandise



  • "As the National Football League continues to regroup in the wake of the domestic violence controversy, a few key sponsors have somewhat distanced themselves from the league."
  • "Nike suspended its endorsement deal with Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson, who is facing child-abuse charges, and Target has pulled Peterson merchandise from its stores and Web site."


Takeaway: This year is definitely setting a record for the number of athlete endorsements being pulled due to violation of the 'Morals Clause'. This is the Brand's 'get of jail free' card. Sometimes, like with Tiger Woods or Kobe Bryant, the brands will simply renegotiate the deals and make payout based on winning percentage, on-field performance, or dollars associated with a specific product line. The industry has come a long way since 1994 when Nike not only stuck by Tonya Harding after her boyfriend bashed Nancy Kerrigan's kneecaps, but it also paid all of her legal bills.


KSS, WMT - Kohl’s Department Stores to Hire More than 67,000 Associates This Holiday Season



  • "Kohl’s Department Stores announced it anticipates hiring more than 67,000 associates nationwide this holiday season to support seasonal business in stores and growth on Kohls.com."
  • "'By adding these associates, Kohl’s will continue to deliver an enjoyable and convenient shopping experience to all our valued customers, whether they choose to shop in store or online at Kohls.com this holiday season.'"
  • "Kohl’s anticipates hiring an average of 50 associates per store to provide customers with excellent customer service throughout the holiday season at its 1,163 stores in 49 states. In addition, the company anticipates hiring approximately 9,300 seasonal positions at distribution centers across the country and approximately 670 seasonal credit operations positions."

Walmart to up holiday hiring by nearly 10%


  • "Walmart on Thursday said it plans to hire 60,000 temporary workers for the holiday season, an increase of nearly 10% from last year."
  • "The discounter also said that current workers who want more hours during the holidays will receive priority."


Takeaway: Make no mistake about it, 67,000 is a big number. It implies that hiring plans for the season are up 34% from the 50,000 associates the company announced that would hire around the same time last year. But, based on company commentary the increase is closer to 15% as hiring exceeded expectations last year. The last time KSS had a similar increase in hiring was 2012. Sales were up 2.6% (after adjusting for 14th week) and gross margin was down almost 300bps.  Also, tough to ignore that KSS is hiring 12% more workers than WMT, despite having one sixth WMT's square footage.


LULU - New Product Spotlight

Something tells us that this new LULU bodysuit won't exactly end up being the new staple in Yoga studios.

Retail Callouts (9/19): NKE, KSS, WMT, LULU, HD, COST - 9 19 chart1





COST - Costco to stop accepting American Express cards in Canada, switches to Capital One and Mastercard



  • "Capital One Financial Corp. will replace American Express Co. as the issuer for Costco Wholesale Corp.’s credit cards in Canada. The Capital One Platinum MasterCard will serve as both a credit card and a Costco membership card. MasterCard Canada has also entered into an agreement with Costco to open credit card acceptance to all MasterCard cardholders."


WMT - Wal-Mart Mexico Unit Probed on Complaints of Cockfight



  • "Wal-Mart de Mexico SAB, the country’s biggest retailer, is being probed by local officials after shoppers complained that a store hosted a cockfight to promote a soda company."
  • "Fines of as much as 96,000 pesos ($7,240) could be levied if Walmex is found responsible, said Jose Luis Hernandez, commercial director of the city of Boca del Rio, where betting on fighting roosters is illegal. A Walmex spokesman, Antonio Ocaranza, said the roosters weren’t armed with blades, no betting took place at the store and no birds were harmed."


HD - Home Depot Says Data Hack Affected 56 Million Payment Cards



  • "Home Depot Inc. said a data breach between April and September put about 56 million payment cards at risk, signaling that the hacker attack was bigger than the one that struck Target Corp. last year."

Keith's Macro Notebook 9/19: Pound | Vix | S&P 500


Takeaway: The Hedgeye Macro Playbook is a daily 1-page summary of our core ETF recommendations, investment themes and noteworthy quantitative signals.

CLICK HERE to view the document.


Best of luck out there,


Darius Dale

Associate: Macro Team

the macro show

what smart investors watch to win

Hosted by Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough at 9:00am ET, this special online broadcast offers smart investors and traders of all stripes the sharpest insights and clearest market analysis available on Wall Street.

Silicon Labs (SLAB): Internet of Things Portfolio & Acquisition Appeal

Takeaway: A $2 billion market cap puts SLAB is in the sweet spot for a hungry acquirer.

Hedgeye’s semiconductors sector head Craig Berger debuted with a detailed analysis of his complex and wide-ranging sector, identifying companies that could be attractive acquisition targets in a sector that has traditionally seen waves of companies buying each other. 


One name that stands out is Silicon Labs (SLAB), a premier vendor of chips, software, and systems for the burgeoning “Internet Of Things” market. The company seems to be an attractive M&A candidate on a number of Berger’s key screens.


Silicon Labs (SLAB): Internet of Things Portfolio & Acquisition Appeal - sl9


SLAB’s website says they offer a “diverse portfolio of highly-integrated, easy-to-use solutions” providing “significant advantages in performance, size, cost and power consumption.”  The firm’s IoT portfolio includes sensors, short range wireless products and tiny computers on a chip known as Microcontrollers. Berger says that Silicon Labs’ chip and system solutions are often the smallest footprint and most integrated solutions in the world.


Our proprietary technical screen has SLAB bearish on both TRADE and TREND time horizons – out as much as three months.  But, says Berger, near-term fuzziness in the stock could provide a unique buying opportunity for patient investors.  The stock has a two-year pattern of trading in the $40-$50 range – not a bad return if you catch it right.  For a larger company looking to enter the Internet of Things space, the Make-Or-Buy decision could be compelling, particularly with the stock showing relative weakness.


At a $2 billion market cap, SLAB is in the sweet spot for a hungry acquirer: small enough to digest, yet big enough to be a serious deal that will attract strong interest from bankers, investors, and any firm looking to meaningfully participate in the burgeoning Internet of Things market. 

Futures Ramp to All-Time Highs

Client Talking Points


Long the Pound Sterling was our way to play the No vote, and while we saw $1.65 vs. USD early this morning, this trade is now signaling immediate-term TRADE overbought within a $1.62-1.65 risk range on the news – book some.


The front-month VIX signaled immediate-term TRADE overbought in our Risk Range model (within its bullish TREND) on Monday 9/15 at 14.19, so now we’ll look for TREND support of 11.34 to hold before we start sending out the U.S. small cap (IWM) equity sell signals again.

S&P 500

Since we sent out the “Oversold” research note at 11:04AM on Monday, we don’t have to feel shame on this squeeze. Had a lot of feedback to keep shorts on down there, but that was not the playbook call to make – BUY the low-end and SELL the top-end of the Hedgeye risk ranges, rinse/repeat #process.

Asset Allocation


Top Long Ideas

Company Ticker Sector Duration

The Vanguard Extended Duration Treasury (EDV) is an extended duration ETF (20-30yr). Now that we have our first set of late-cycle economic indicators slowing in rate of change terms (ADP numbers and the NFP number), it's time to really think through the upcoming moves of this bond market. We are doubling down on our biggest macro call of 2014 - that U.S. growth would slow and bond yields fall in kind.


Fixed income continues to be our favorite asset class, so it should come as no surprise to see us rotate into the Shares 20+ Year Treasury Bond Fund (TLT) on the long side. In conjunction with our #Q3Slowing macro theme, we think the slope of domestic economic growth is poised to roll over here in the third quarter. In the context of what may be flat-to-decelerating reported inflation, we think the performance divergence between Treasuries, stocks and commodities may actually be set to widen over the next two to three months. This view remains counter to consensus expectations, which is additive to our already-high conviction level in this position.  Fade consensus on bonds – especially as growth slows. As it’s done for multiple generations, the 10Y Treasury Yield continues to track the slope of domestic economic growth like a glove.


Restoration Hardware remains our Retail Team’s highest-conviction long idea. We think that most parts of the thesis are at least acknowledged by the market (category growth, real estate expansion), but people are absolutely missing how all the pieces are coming together to drive such outsized earnings growth over an extremely long duration. The punchline of our real estate analysis is that a) RH stores could get far bigger than even the RH bulls seem to think, b) Aside from reconfiguring 66 existing markets, there’s another 19 markets we identified where the spending rate on home furnishings by people making over $100k in income suggests that RH should expand to these markets with Design Galleries, and c) the availability and economics on large properties for all these markets are far better than people think. The consensus is looking for long-term earnings growth of 28% -- we’re looking for 45%.  

Three for the Road


The bearish 80 page slide deck we released on $SBUX [yesterday] is titled the "Seven Year Itch" - Its been seven years since the famous memo!



The real test is how you behave when the crowd is roaring the other way.

-George Goodman


The Russian stock market is getting smoked again, down -1.7% to down -15.7% year-to-date.

LEISURE LETTER (09/19/2015)

Tickers: BYI, LVS, PNK, H


  • Sept 19: Hedgeye Cruise Pricing Survey mid-Sept
  • Sept 22: BEE 2 pm EDT Investor Day


BYI – announced Caesars Entertainment UK will install 108 SHFL Fusion terminals linked to SHFL Fusion Auto, i-Table Roulette, and live American roulette tables at "The Casino at the Empire" in London and its seven other casinos throughout the United Kingdom. The company will also install 57 ChipStar roulette chip sorters, which now have the ability to sort 43-mm chips. chips.

Takeaway: Caesars adopting the new Shuffle technology.

LVS & 1928:HK (Macau Business) A court in Israel has rejected a claim and ended 13 years of litigation by a former employee, Moshe Hananel, who sued for 12% of Mr Adelson’s holding in Macau casino operator Sands China Ltd. Mr Hananel, who worked for Interface Partners International Ltd, an Israeli company once owned by Mr. Adelson, had sued for breach of contract, alleging that Mr Adelson had agreed to give him share options in payment for drafting a casino licensing plan.

Takeaway: The termination of another "share the wealth" suit by former LVS business partners.


LVS & 1928:HK (Macau Business Daily) A Macau resident died on Monday while working in Sands Cotai Central. The male construction worker was 58 years old and died from an accidental fall while working on theater construction in the complex.

Takeaway: An unfortunate accident at SCC that could result in further construction delays at LVS properties. Some think that the last construction fatality at The Parisian led to the recent permitting delays. 


PNK – Golden Nugget Lake Charles began its pre-open marketing blitz with e-mails touting the properties 1,600 of the world's newest slots, 60 gaming tables, poker room, 740 luxury rooms and suites and more than 3,000 parking spaces, 30,000 sq. ft. of meeting space for up to 2,500 attendees and much, much more.

Takeaway: "Coming this Fall 2014"...very soon L'Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles will have neighborly competition. Are the real estate PNK bulls ready for the hit?


CLDT & NRF – Inland American Real Estate Trust announced it entered into a definitive agreement to sell a portfolio consisting of 52 select service hotels with 6,976 rooms to a joint venture formed by affiliates of Northstar Realty Finance Corp. and Chatham Lodging Trust for approximately $1.1 billion. Inland American expects to realize approximately $480.0 million of net proceeds as a result of the transaction.

Takeaway: Another large select service hotel portfolio transaction.


H – announced a contract to sell a portfolio of 38 hotels for approximately $590 million consisting of 4,950 rooms (~$119,200/key) across tens sates and the Hyatt Place and Hyatt House brands with an estimated closing in November 2014. The buyer, Lone Star Funds, intends to invest  approximately $50 million in additional capital expenditures across the portfolio over over the next 24 months. Aimbridge Hospitality, LLC will manage the hotels for the Purchaser. 

Takeaway: Could more share repurchases be in the future?  A great sale considering many of the assets are in second and third tier markets and Hyatt acquired the 143-hotel AmeriSuites portfolio/chain from Blackstone in December 2004 for $600 million and then invested an additional $150 million in capex for an average all in cost/key of $41,666.  Hyatt sold a 10-hotel, 1,560 room portfolio to RLJ earlier this year for $313 million ($200,600k/key). We like H here.


EXPE & AWAY – Expedia will list more than 115,000 HomeAway vacation rental listings on the U.S. version of Expedia.com. 

Takeaway: A potential competitive threat to destination hotels.


Airbnb – Airbnb to collect 14% hotel tax in San Francisco: The peer-to-peer apartment-rental service will begin collecting taxes in San Francisco October 1, and those funds will be transferred to the city. 

Takeaway: Airbnb capitulating and will begin paying local hotel taxes. The next key market for tax payments will be NYC.


Unions Call for Total Smoking Ban in Macau (Macau Daily Times) Leaders of three casino employees unions affiliated with the Macau Federation of Trade Unions (FAOM) allege several casino operators are converting part of their mass gaming areas into VIP rooms. This means that guests will be able to smoke there even after the mass area smoking ban comes into force on October 6. The Unions are calling for a total smoking ban in all areas within a casino so that there will be no chance for operators to exploit any legal loopholes

Takeaway: More outcry for better work conditions for dealers and floor workers. Macau operators getting hit from all sides.


Macau Health Bureau to Enforce Smoking Ban (GGRAsia) The Macau Health Bureau will “rigorously” inspect the smoking lounges and smoking areas as well as “strictly enforce” the upcoming smoking ban for casino mass gaming floors. The Health Bureau’s statement comes after representatives from three casino labor activist groups expressed worries about what they think are likely working conditions once the smoking ban on casino mass floors goes into effect next month.

Takeaway: The Government defending its policy and enforcement actions.


China Employment Reforms (GGRAsia) The State Council of China shut down the National Holiday Office, a body responsible for scheduling the country’s national holidays. The office was disbanded after 14 years of operations and ahead of China’s major Golden Week holiday, which starts on October 1.


The office will be incorporated into a new, and in administrative terms more senior, ministerial joint conference that is led by Vice Premier Wang Yang.

The new body involves 28 ministries and has been asked to boost domestic tourism under what is referred to as a macro-strategic development plan, according to Chinese media. Currently, most Chinese workers are only eligible for the national statutory holidays – the so-called Golden Weeks – that have produced larger and larger crowds as the majority of the population travels during the same periods. That puts enormous pressure on transportation networks and certain popular destinations including Macau and Hong Kong.

Takeaway: Several news stories have indicated this is the first step towards China's adoption of privately scheduled, paid holidays and employee vacation time versus nationally scheduled holidays. Such policies would likely reduce the travel around Golden Week holidays as well as smooth the seasonality of Macau gaming revenues.


Typhoon Fung-Wong Batters Manila – Storm Fung-Wong caused widespread flooding in the capital, shutting government offices, financial markets and schools. The City of Manila and surrounding provinces of Rizal and Bulacan were under the highest red rainfall warning and severe flood warning. More than 300 millimeters (12 inches) of rain was forecast. Fung-Wong brought widespread rainfall of as much as 8 inches in Southeast Luzon and and Eastern Visayas, and has the potential to become a stronger typhoon threatening Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan. 

Takeaway: More heavy rain in and around Manila could lead to construction delays for the casinos currently under development - including City of Dreams Manila.

Maryland Casino Lifetime Ban (Baltimore Sun) The Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency might remove the lifetime self-ban option because of concerns that it is excessive and redundant. Gamblers still could register for a two-year exclusion. After two years, the state requires them to undergo an assessment if they want to be removed from the list. Otherwise, the ban remains. As of Sept. 5, 576 Marylanders had registered for the program, subjecting themselves to potential criminal penalties, including arrests and fines, for entering a casino.

Takeaway: When more states are implementing self-imposed lifetime gambling bans, Maryland appears set to drop such an effort.


US Lodging Cycle New Highs in 2014 – According Marcus & Millichap's Mid-Year 2014 National Hospitality Report, growing room demand is outstripping the rise in supply. The report suggests with the economy gaining momentum during the second quarter, little appears to stand in the way of the U.S. hotel sector attaining new highs in occupied rooms and room revenue in 2014. At midyear, the demand trend is rather straightforward. Specifically, the expanding economy and strengthening job market will spark additional spending by businesses and consumers, helping to fill more hotel rooms. Group demand is also positioned to increase and supply growth nationwide has been restrained.

Takeaway: More positive data of the lodging sector.


Alternative Lodging Portals (HotelsMag) Room Mate Hotels announced the launch of www.BeMate.com, a new travel service that promises to combine the amenities of a hotel with the privacy and convenience of an apartment. Launching with 2,500 apartments in 10 cities across Europe and North America, including New York City, Miami, Florence, Mexico City and Amsterdam, all BeMate apartments are within walking distance of a Room Mate or partner hotel. Hotel services offered to BeMate.com guests include housekeeping, airport transfers, babysitting, breakfast, luggage storage and late checkout. BeMate.com accommodations range from studios to four bedrooms and include apartments and houses, all with private kitchens. BeMate.com's team approves each accommodation and owner, and guests booking a BeMate apartment arrange their entire trip through the company rather than the apartment owner. BeMate.com said it has plans to expand to 200 cities by the end of 2015 and will launch a mobile app for iPhone and Android users this year.

Takeaway: A new competitive entrant for Airbnb.

Hotel Transaction

The Sofitel hotel in Midtown is being sold to an Asian real estate investor for $272 million. A partnership composed of Accor Group, Goldman Sachs Group and GEM Realty Capital will sell the 398-room hotel at 45 West 44th Street to the Hong Kong-listed firm Keck Seng Investments. Goldman Sachs and GEM paid $255 million for a 75% stake in the Midtown hotel and another Sofitel property in Philadelphia in 2006.

Takeaway: At $683,400/key for mid-town New York, this seems like a bargain price for the buyer.


More Go Private Transactions in the Future? – Blackstone Group is looking to create a seventh fund, Blackstone Capital Partners VII, to raise approximately $16 billion, “roughly in line with a predecessor fund that wrapped up fundraising in 2012.

Takeaway: New support for the the REIT and real estate valuations as the fund could deploy nearly $50 billion of purchasing power when fully levered.


Chinese Loan Demand - (Xinhuanet) a survey by the PBoC showed total loan demand dropping to its lowest level in 13 quarters in Q3. The survey put the country's total loan demand index at 66.6% for Q3, down 4.9% from Q2. Among the respondents, 56% said the current macro economy is normal, up 5.2%, while 42.8% considered it relatively cool, down 4.6% points from Q2.


Singapore Resident Income vs. Expenditures – Based on data compiled by Singapore's Department of Statistics, average monthly household income from all sources rose by 5.3 per cent per annum in nominal terms between 2007/08 and 2012/13 while households at all income levels expenditure rose 4.4 per cent a year on average over the five year period between 2008 and 2013. Employment income accounted for 79% of total household income from all sources in 2012/13, with business income and income from non-work sources contributing 11% and 10% respectively. 


Hedgeye remains negative on consumer spending and believes in more inflation.  Following  a great call on rising housing prices, the Hedgeye

Macro/Financials team is turning decidedly less positive. 

Takeaway:  We’ve found housing prices to be the single most significant factor in driving gaming revenues over the past 20 years in virtually all gaming markets across the US.

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%