Mario Draghi’s Drugs proved to be impotent in yesterday’s real-time market voting session. Germany’s DAX closed down -2% on the day. That puts every major European Equity market index in bearish TREND signal mode @Hedgeye.
“I move onward, the only direction – can’t be scared to fail in search of perfection.”
If that isn’t a great thought for someone running their own business, fund, or money, I don’t know what is. You are going to make mistakes out there. The way to win in business, over time, is to not let your big mistakes ride. Moving on matters.
I’ve been writing a lot more about demographics and generations this year. And I think I’m onto something #behavioral with that. Many of the problems you see in the political economy today are being perpetuated by the policies of one generation (Baby Boomers) trying to maintain its indebtedness to another (GI generation). If we don’t learn from these mistakes, we’ll fail.
Shawn Carter (Jay-Z) isn’t a boomer. He’s a 44 year old GenX guy who built himself up from nothing and absolutely crushed it. That’s why another successful GenX guy, Ben Horowitz, cites Jay-Z in The Hard Thing About Hard Things (pg 39). That’s how a lot of guys my age think. For the first 15-25 years of our adult lives, we’ve seen a lot of mainstream thinking fail.
Back to the Global Macro Grind…
Thinking from another generation’s perspective is not easy. That’s why I read so many #history books. It helps me at least try to walk in other people’s shoes, and learn from their collective experience.
Writing about markets and economies is relatively easy when I compare it to my day job (running a company). That’s where I have to constantly remind myself to not react emotionally to other people’s perspectives. Empathizing with them matters.
“Looking at the world through such different prisms helped me separate facts from perception… I learned to look at alternative narratives and explanations coming from radically different perspectives to inform my outlook.” –Ben Horowitz
Hopefully our Q4 Macro Themes call yesterday helped inform your outlook too.
Since we’d been working on the content side of the slide deck for the last few weeks (which is really just a cumulative update on what we’ve been writing about every day), the investor feedback to yesterday’s call is what mattered most to me.
The most contested points of the presentation were:
(We will have video of the Q&A portion of the call available later today.)
My answers graze the surface on what I am thinking right here and now. Obviously with time and price, my answers should and will change. But, in summary, the main takeaways are as follows:
In other news, Yodlee (a financial apps company) is going to raise $75M in an IPO today. Love #apps. But seriously.
Back to the real world, both the market reaction and economic news has apparently “frustrated” another one of these un-elected men (Draghi) that God put on earth to centrally plan the business cycle.
Put another way, Mario Draghi’s Drugs proved to be impotent in yesterday’s real-time market voting session. Germany’s DAX closed down -2% on the day. That puts every major European Equity market index in bearish TREND signal mode @Hedgeye.
Not surprisingly, our #EuropeSlowing Theme was not contested. That’s the thing about markets. Sometimes they move downward, fast. And when they do, the search for research perfection in explaining the alternative narrative gets a lot easier.
UST 10yr Yield 2.39-2.51%
France (CAC) 4
Best of luck out there today,
Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer
This note was originally published at 8am on September 19, 2014 for Hedgeye subscribers.
“Every human has four endowments - self awareness, conscience, independent will, and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom... The power to choose, to respond, to change.”
As of early this morning the vote is in: the Scots squashed independence and with it the 307 year old union with England remains intact… at least for now. The vote was 55% NO to 45% YES.
And did Pound Sterling ever bounce on the outcome, rising as high as $1.65, and currently is settling in at $1.64! We were positioned long the GBP/USD (via the etf FXB) ahead of the event (we added it on 9/8 to our Real-Time Alerts) with a succinct thesis:
A NO vote leads to a relief rally (see the chart below) and a YES vote leads currency traders to assess the United Kingdom’s fiscal health without Scotland as much improved, which leads to a long term tail wind for the Pound.
In effect, a win-win situation. And we didn’t even have to use our crystal ball!
Back to the Global Macro Grind…
In some sense the Scottish independence vote felt like another Greece moment during the thralls of the Eurozone crisis. There were many ways to interpret what was the “best” outcome.: Greece in or out of the union? And what prevailed was politicians fear mongering on the consequences of a breakup and impressing how the whole is stronger than the sum of its parts – and so Eurocrats quelled the Greek urge for self-determination outside of the Eurozone.
It appears that in Scotland, like Greece, the more rational perception of economic wellbeing (along with the fear of myriad uncertainties associated with independence) won over the emotion of nationalism.
But is economic wellbeing in Scotland, like Europe, a myth?
Our macro team has been making a call for growth slowing in Europe these last months (we’ve recommended shorting Eurozone equities (EZU), France (EWQ), and the EUR/USD (FXE) throughout the quarter), as Eurozone GDP rolled over in Q2 and everything from confidence figures to industrial production and retail sales fell across most European countries over the last 3-6 months.
In recent weeks, and in classic lagging fashion, we’ve seen confirmation of this descent in the form of numerous European central banks, countries, and economic organizations revising down their economic expectations for the year:
Additionally, when we evaluate “health” at the country level based on unemployment rates, it appears that the crisis in Europe has hardly passed. The Eurozone unemployment rate is elevated at a sticky 11.5%, almost double the U.S. at 6.1%. Moreover, when you look at unemployment for people under the age of 25 the numbers are staggering:
Now while it’s plenty easy to push back on these figures and say we’ve mostly cherry-picked the weakest countries (well, France is the 2nd largest economy of the Eurozone), or that there’s no merit in the way unemployment rates are calculated (possibly fair, but the European figures here all come from Eurostat), the point we’re making is that there will be generational TAILs from what some have call this “lost” generation of youth that cannot or will not find a job/establish a career and will rely even more heavily on state support throughout their lives.
As the ugly equation of declining growth + high unemployment + low and deflating inflation comes home to roost, the ECB’s newest response is to lever up its balance sheet (ECB President Mario Draghi has indicated the willingness to increase it by €1Trillion) and extend QE as the “elixir” to inflect weak and declining fundamentals across the region.
As Keith mentioned in yesterday’s Early Look:
“When it comes to central planning limits, there are none (yet). And that’s making your job as a Risk Manager all the more challenging. No matter what you think the Fed, ECB, and BOJ should do, you have to operate within the paradox of what they will do.”
Our view on the impact of ECB policy and the direction of Eurozone fundamentals remains decidedly bearish; here’s a look at how we’ve sized up the latest actions since the ECB’s last meeting on Sept 4th:
Don’t forget that a full 45% wanted Scottish independence. Certainly some significant percentage of this group’s thinking also anchored on the hope that a vote for independence would benefit their personal stead. But interestingly it appears that this camp was not favored by a youth presence (today’s vote included age 16 and above). In fact, a poll by TubeMogel ahead of the vote asked 16-18 year olds their preference and 57% selected NO.
And this actually makes some sense: the life of this group has been so influenced by the global recession and impacts from the Eurozone crisis on slower growth and joblessness (if not for them directly, then their parents and others around them) that their highest priority for this vote was limiting future economic uncertainty.
While Scotland is not Catalonia and France is not Greece, there remain many cracks across Europe, economic and cultural alike. We suspect these cracks are here to stay and that even the mighty Draghi QE wand can’t fix them.
Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:
UST 10yr Yield 2.36-2.63%
Have a great weekend!
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TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP – October 3, 2014
As we look at today's setup for the S&P 500, the range is 25 points or 0.42% downside to 1938 and 0.86% upside to 1963.
CREDIT/ECONOMIC MARKET LOOK:
MACRO DATA POINTS (Bloomberg Estimates):
WHAT TO WATCH:
COMMODITY/GROWTH EXPECTATION (HEADLINES FROM BLOOMBERG)
The Hedgeye Macro Team
Tickers: H, IGT, CCL
H - announced it sold the Park Hyatt Washington for $100 million to Westmont Hospitality Group and Thomas Tan, a member of the Bestford Hospitality Group. The sale price also equates to ~$463,000 per key and 15.0x on last 12-month EBITDA.
TAKEAWAY: We view this as a very favorable pricing on an asset sale for Hyatt.
GENT:MK – has filed suit against Phil Ivey in London’s High Court alleging Mr. Ivey “edge-sorted” cards in August 2012 while playing a form of baccarat called Punto Banco at Genting’s Crockfords casino in London. Genting refused to pay up, saying the practice is unfair. Ivey, who sued Genting last year, says edge sorting isn’t dishonest and he should be paid the money. Both sides agree that Ivey was in the casino in August 2012 and that he won the money. “The issue is whether it amounted to cheating,” Christopher Pymont, Genting’s lawyer, said in documents filed at London’s High Court.
TAKEAWAY: Another legitimate suit or simply “piling on” given the similar edge sorting lawsuit by the Borgata Casino.
IGT -- has reached an agreement after an in-depth RFP process with Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures, which has elected to continue with IGT and upgrade IGT Advantage systems solutions at Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Grand Casino Hinckley, located in Minnesota.
TAKEAWAY: A good systems win/renewal for IGT covering two Minnesota Native American casinos.
CCL – Carnival Miracle will be the first cruise ship to call at Cabo San Lucas since Hurricane Odile hit the Mexican state on September 15th. Loaded with relief supplies provided by Carnival, the ship will depart from Long Beach, California, on October 4th , arrive in Cabo San Lucas on October 6th. During her visit, the crew will off-load several pallets of bottled water, canned food, cereal, sanitary supplies, paper products, personal items and other supplies for local resident
TAKEAWAY: Carnival leading the way back to Cabo San Lucas with an aide sailing.
Golden Week Visitation – Visitation to Macau on October 2, 2014 totaled 151,667 an increase of 9.1% year-over-year while Mainland China arrivals totaled 122,925 an increase of +6.2% year-over-year. The total visitation thus far during Golden Week, Oct 1 and Oct 2, total 288,575 for 9.5% rise year-over-year while Mainland China visitation was 227,494 for an increase of 4.3% year-over-year.
TAKEAWAY: Mainland visitation is particularly disappointing and overall visitation not posting the strong double-digit results forecasted by some sell-side analysts.
Macau Labor Protests – (GGRAsia) Some dealers of MGM China Holdings Ltd and SJM Holdings Ltd in Macau are striking and/or protesting against the casino operators over salaries and benefits. The action started at noon on Friday and will continue on Saturday. The plan includes some staff working to rule, some reporting late and some calling in sick, according to secretary general of labor, Cloee Chao, activist group Forefront of the Macao Gaming. Reuters earlier reported that up to 300 dealers at MGM Macau based on information provided by Ieong Man Teng, head of Forefront of the Macao Gaming.
TAKEAWAY: Labor discord reaching a peak just prior to the busiest visitation periods Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.
Neptune Limited Reports Results – (GGRAsia) an investor in casino VIP promoters in Macau, reported net profit of HKD148.8 million (US$19.2 million) for the year ended June 30, 2014, down 93.8% from a year earlier, according to a filing with the HKSE. The firm said the significant decline was due to an “impairment loss of available-for-sale investments of HKD111.1 million” caused by the recent slowdown in Macau’s gaming market. That led to a drop in value of an investment made in October 2013 in the profit stream of a junket operator in Galaxy Macau casino. The same reasons required the company to write down HKD88.6 million from an investment made in February 2014 in the profit stream of a junket operator in City of Dreams casino, it added. The firm recorded a 23% increase year-over-year in turnover to HKD710.4 million, but it saw its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) slide 8.7% to HKD517.6 million.
TAKEAWAY: The VIP slowdown negatively impacting the financial results of the junkets.
Steve Wynn to So Cal – Variety.com is reporting Steve Wynn has allegedly gone into escrow to purchase the lower East Gate Bel Air acres Lionsgate Estate compassing approximately 24,000 square foot, 11 bedroom, 17 bathroom (and all furnishings). Mister Wynn’s children, not to mention his ex-wife, Elaine, live in Los Angeles
TAKEAWAY: Mr. Wynn continues to build his personal real estate empire.
CMBS Delinquencies - during September improved (declined) by seven basis points to 6.03%. The September late-pay rate is 211 bps lower than a year ago, and thus far in 2014 delinquencies have fallen 140 bps. September saw nearly $1.4 billion in newly delinquent loans, putting 26 bps of upward pressure on the delinquency rate. Loans that cured totaled over $600 million in September, which helped push the delinquency rate down by additional 13 bps. There are currently $31.8 billion in delinquent loans, which is down from $32.5 billion in the previous month, according to Trepp. The figure includes loans that are past their balloon date but are current on their interest payments. During September, the lodging delinquency rate dipped 31 bps and is now 5.06%. Lodging remains the best performing major property type, although a year ago that distinction was held by retail.
TAKEAWAY: Good news and positive developments for the real estate finance sector.
China Macro Readings – September official services PMI 54.0 vs 54.4 in August (weakest official result in 8 months) while New Orders 49.5 vs 50 prior and weakest since December 2008, and Employment 49.5 vs 49.6 prior
TAKEAWAY: Mainland macro-economic data remains anemic.
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.
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