TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP - January 4, 2011
As we look at today’s set up for the S&P 500, the range is 14 points or -1.01% downside to 1259 and 0.09% upside to 1273. Economic data from around the world was bullish for equity markets as more evidence of continued improvements in the economy was seen. Equity futures are trading relatively in-line with fair value, despite gains in European and Asia.
MACRO DATA POINTS:
- 7.45am, ICSC weekly retail sales
- 10am, Factory Orders, Nov., est. -0.1%, prev. -0.9%
- 11am, U.S. Fed to purchase $1-$2b TIPS
- 11.30am, U.S. to sell 4-week bills
- 2pm, Minutes of FOMC Meeting
- 4.30pm, API Inventories
- 5pm, ABC Consumer Confidence, Jan. 2, prev. -44
TODAY’S WHAT TO WATCH:
- Motorola Mobility is spun off today, trades under MMI on NYSE
- President Obama will sign $1.4b food-safety bill today that marks the biggest change to oversight of the food industry since 1938 and sets up a funding fight with Republicans poised to take over the House.
- Google is considering building a payment and advertising service that would let users buy milk and bread by tapping or waving their mobile phone against a register at checkout, two people familiar with the plans say. Service may debut this year
- Airgas (ARG) bought Conley Gas and separately two other businesses
- Annaly Capital Management (NLY) plans an offering of 75m shrs
- Belo (BLC) completes split of G.B. Dealey Retirement Pension Plan with A.H. Belo Corp; sees loss $19m-$23m on split, $5m-$7m tax benefit
- Constellation Energy (CEG) completed acquisition of Boston Generating power plants for $1.1b
- Corning (GLW) said Peter Volanakis retired as COO, President
- Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS) rated new buy at Janney
PERFORMANCE: ALL 9 SECTORS BULLISH ON TRADE & TREND
- One day: Dow +0.81%, S&P +1.13%, Nasdaq +1.46%, Russell +1.90%
- Last Week: Dow +0.03%, S&P +0.07%, Nasdaq (-0.48%), Russell (-0.67%)
- Month/Quarter/Year-to-date: Dow +0.81%, S&P +1.13%, Nasdaq +1.46%, Russell +1.90%
- Sector Performance - BULLISH (All sectors were positive) - Financials +2.19%, Consumer Discretionary +1.18%, Tech +1.11%, Healthcare +0.91%, Materials +0.81%, Industrials +0.72%, Energy +0.72%, Utilities +0.49%, and Consumer Staples +0.14%
EQUITY SENTIMENT: BULLISH
- ADVANCE/DECLINE LINE: 1469 (+1220)
- VOLUME: NYSE 1060.24 (+78.96%)
- VIX: 17.61 -0.79% YTD PERFORMANCE: -0.79%
- SPX PUT/CALL RATIO: 1.41 from 1.97 (-28.68%)
CREDIT/ECONOMIC MARKET LOOK: BULLISH
Treasuries were weaker with the curve steepening slightly
- TED SPREAD: 16.89 -1.624 (-8.865%)
- 3-MONTH T-BILL YIELD: 0.15%
- YIELD CURVE: 2.75 from 2.72
COMMODITY/GROWTH EXPECTATION: BULLISH
- CRB: 333.02 +0.07%
- Oil: 91.55 +0.19% - trading +0.12% in the AM
- Oil Trades Near 27-Month High as Economic Recovery May Boost Energy Demand
- COPPER: 445.75 +0.24% - trading -0.55% in the AM
- Copper Rises to Record for Fourth Day in London on U.S. Growth Speculation
- GOLD: 1,420.05 +0.09% - trading -0.89% in the AM
- Wien Forecasts Gold Above $1,600, Grains Surge in `Ten Surprises' for 2011 - He went 0 for 10 last year!
OTHER COMMODITY NEWS:
- Hedge Funds Increase Bullish Crude Bets to Four-Year High: Energy Markets
- Flooding May Threaten More Cotton Crops in Queensland, Growers Group Says
- Rubber Futures Advance to Record as U.S. Production Raises Demand Outlook
- Gold Falls for Second Day as Reports May Show Recovering Economic Growth
- Soybeans Advance on Concern Dry Weather in South America May Cut Supplies
- Sugar Output in India's Top Producing State May Miss Forecast After Rains
- Molycorp May Double Planned Rare-Earth Metals Output to Meet Global Demand
- Vietnam Aims to Ship `About' 6 Million Tons of Rice, Deputy Minister Says
- Australia Forecasts More Rain as Floods Isolate Thousands, Shut Down Mines
- Alcoa Recommended as `Top Stock' by CNBC's Cramer; Shares May Gain to $22
- Noble Stock Advances to Record as Acquisitions to Drive Growth in Earnings
- EURO: 1.3375 -0.07% - trading +0.20% in the AM
- DOLLAR: 79.127 +0.13% - trading -0.07% in the AM
- European Markets: FTSE 100: +2.12%; DAX +0.17%; CAC 40: +0.62%
- Most European indices started the day slightly lower and are now trading in positive territory while the Footsie is up 2.12%, catching up with the rest of Europe following yesterday's strong session.
- Notable divergence is Greece down 1.52%, Estonia up 2.90%
- Energy shares are among today's best performers, helped by BP after the Daily mail reported Royal Dutch Shell thought about bidding for the company during oil-spill crisis.
- France Dec Consumer Confidence (36) vs consensus (31) and prior revised to (33) from (32)
- German Dec unemployment change, seasonally adjusted, +3K vs consensus (10K) and prior revised (8K)
- UK Dec Manufacturing PMI 58.3 vs consensus 57 and prior 58
- UK Nov mortgage approvals 48,019 vs consensus 47,000 and Oct 47,315
- Asian Markets: Nikkei +1.7%; Hang Seng +1.0%; Shanghai Composite +1.6%
- Most Asian markets rose today, except India -0.30% and Taiwan -0.31%
- For several markets, this was the first trading day of the year.
- Japan rose +1.65%, reflecting buoyant investor sentiment on gains throughout the world, with 32 of 33 sectors going up. Resource related stocks gained 3-5%. Exporters rose on strong ISM manufacturing data from the US. Megabanks followed their US peers up 2%, and consumer lenders Promise and Aiful soared 17% and 11%, respectively.
- Property counters surged to lead China higher by 1.59%, with materials stocks providing strong support. China Shenhua Energy and Yanzhou Coal Mining rose 2% and 3%, respectively, on coal supply concerns arising from the flooding in Australia. Shippers rose 4% on optimism that export demand would be lifted.
- South Korea found strength +0.73% from brokerages and shipbuilding stocks.
- Property stocks led gains in Hong Kong +0.99% - Cathay Pacific rose 3% when its COO said the airline is reasonably confident about the year.
- The floods in Queensland held Australia flat, as early gains were pared by falls for insurance companies. Insurance Australia Group, QBE Insurance, and Suncorp fell 2-3%.
- The yen is trading at 82.07 to the US dollar
Conclusion: Supply constraints could drive many commodities higher, even if growth slows in 2011.
Positions: Long Oil via the etf OIL; Long Sugar via the etf SGG
We’ve been fairly vocal with our belief that global growth will slow sequentially in 2011, driven by the consumer slowing in the U.S., and emerging markets (China, Brazil, and the like) slowing due to monetary tightening as inflation rises. Perversely (as some would suggest), we remain bullish and, in fact, long in the Virtual Portfolio certain commodities heading into 2011. Normally, one would expect commodity prices to decline in line with slowing growth, but the key factor appears to be supply constraints for a number of key commodities.
Copper – According to the International Copper Study Group, world refined copper consumption exceeded supply by 436,000 tons between January and September this year. In the same period last year, the world deficit was 56,000 tons. In 2010, global consumption was the key factor, as it was up roughly 8%, while mine production was up a measly 0.8%. The net results of this, as is highlighted in the chart below, is that LME copper inventories have seen a dramatic decline since the start of 2010. So even if copper usage slows sequentially, low inventories combined with weak supply growth will likely continue to constrain the market and lead to higher copper prices heading into 2011.
Oil – Oil is in a similar setup to copper heading into 2011: while the rate of demand growth should slow if global growth slows, oil appears to be supply constrained. As our Energy Sector Head Lou Gagliardi notes:
“Turning to the Department of Energy, its energy agency (EIA) sees global crude oil demand growth outstripping supply in 2011: by roughly 630,000 b/d or supply falling short by ~0.7%. Although a slim margin, 2011’s forecast marks a sharp divergence from 2009 and 2010, when the EIA reported demand and supply in balance. For 2011, the EIA, forecasts -0.5% supply/production decline from non-OPEC regions, unlike the 2.1% increase seen in 2010 from 2009. Not surprising to us, the EIA sees declining supply in 2011 from 2010 worldwide across major crude basins; i.e. the U.S., U.K., Norway, Mexico, Russia, China, and Canada flat.”
The International Energy Administration echoes the point relating to non-OPEC production growth as they have cut in half from 2010 levels their 2011 production estimates, which will be primarily driven by declines form production in the Gulf of Mexico in the United States. While the OPEC cartel still has spare capacity, to the extent they can keep their members in line, oil supply should be increasingly constrained in 2011. The negative wild card for global supply could be if Russian production, which recently hit a new high, starts to slow.
Soft commodities – Soft commodities had one of their best years in recent memory in 2010 due to supply constraints and that looks poised to continue headed into 2010. Some key soft commodity supply data points to focus on heading into 2011 include:
- Sugar – Brazil, overwhelmingly the world’s largest producer at 23.7% of global production, saw its production estimate for 2010/11 revised down (-1.3M) metric tons to 39.4M due to dry weather;
- Corn – The Argentine corn crop is developing slower than expected and Argentina is the world’s second largest exporter of corn;
- Cotton – World cotton stocks are projected to decline in 2011 due to lower U.S. production;
- Soybeans – Argentina’s soybean production is expected to fall as much as 17% to 43 million tons in 2011 – 2012 due to the drought caused by La Nina;
- Rice – Among other supply issues, an outbreak of cholera in Haiti’s rice fields will impact global supply heading into 2011.
Interestingly, despite our view of slowing growth into 2011, it seems that we are seeing evidence of supply constraints across the commodity complex that are poised to drive commodity prices higher in the face of a sequential slowdown in growth. Higher commodity prices and slower growth mean one thing: stagflation.
Daryl G. Jones
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This note was originally published at 8am on January 03, 2011. INVESTOR and RISK MANAGER SUBSCRIBERS have access to the EARLY LOOK (published by 8am every trading day) and PORTFOLIO IDEAS in real-time.
“I know it's hard when you're up to your armpits in alligators to remember you came here to drain the swamp.”
Welcome back to a New Year. It’s Game Time.
While my New Year’s resolution is to remain as far away from professional politicians and academic charlatans as I possibly can, until this game changes I’ll have to remain focused on attempting to understand what Big Government Intervention can do to our markets.
President Obama seems keen on understanding more about what Ronald Reagan thought about the economy. Or at least that’s what the White House says he was reading about this past week. Lou Cannon’s President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime is officially out of stock on Amazon due to a surge in speculative Democrat buying.
Ironically enough, I read The Reagan I Knew by Bill Buckley a few weeks ago. Don’t worry, I’m neither Republican or Democrat. I’m just a Canadian-American looking for historical perspectives, accepting that they are often decorated with hyperbole.
What will be most interesting to me with this new Obama/Reagonomics Revolution thing is whether or not the President justifies a bloated US budget deficit by reminding the Republicans that “Ronnie used one.” After all, as Danilo Petranovich reminds us in the Introduction of Buckley’s book, “Reagan, of course, had promised to cut the size of government, and yet the budget deficit nearly doubled during his tenure.”
American storytelling and political hypocrisies aside, the non-fiction version of the fiscal New Year is that America is up to its armpits in deficits and debts. It’s time we “drain the swamp”, and I think we can all save and make money while we do it.
In term of percentage allocations, here’s how I have the Hedgeye Asset Allocation Model positioned for what we’ll be introducing as a Q1 Macro Theme in the coming weeks – American Sacrifice (fiscal reform):
- US Cash = 61% (long US Dollar, UUP)
- International FX = 18% (long Chinese Yuan, CYB)
- International Equities = 9% (long Germany, EWG)
- Commodities = 6% (long Oil, OIL; long Sugar, SGG)
- US Equities = 3% (long Healthcare, XLV)
- Fixed Income = 3% (long Treasury Inflation Protection, TIP)
For those of you who follow my day-to-day risk management moves closely, you’ll recognize that I dropped my Cash position from 70% to 61% last week and re-allocated that Cash to Commodities and US Equities. This doesn’t mean I’m bullish on US Equities up here. It means I’m bullish on the Energy and Healthcare sectors at these prices.
There are obviously plenty of negative mean-reversion risks associated with buying anything US Equities after an +86% rally from the March 2009 lows. If you dare to chase equity oriented yields up here, we think you need to protect against 3 critical risk factors that are going to be perpetuated by Big Government Intervention:
- Fed Policy
If we’re going to attempt to find the political spine to “drain the swamp”, these 3 factors will remain omnipresent. Congress will be getting paid to push their own book. Fed Policy rhetoric will trade like a NYC hedge fund. And yes, Inflation, will remain a policy.
Energy (XLE) and Healthcare (XLV) companies have leverage to inflation. Higher selling prices, in theory, help these companies expand margins. While the SP500 is running close to peak margins, these two sectors aren’t. There’s some mean-reversion opportunity there in equity prices for these sectors as a result.
In Energy, I’m not long the sector – I’m long the stocks. We remain bullish on China National Offshore (CEO), Suncor (SU) and Lukoil (LUKOY). In the immediate-term, the Energy sector ETF (XLE) is overbought with immediate-term TRADE support down at $66.29. In Healthcare, immediate-term TRADE lines of support and resistance for the XLV are $31.03 and $31.91, respectively.
From an asset allocation perspective (and I mean your money, not some theoretical Big Broker’s high net fee, commission, and compensation model), being bearish on Congress and bullish on its inflation policy is fairly straightforward to express. If I had to be in one or the other, I’d be in US Equities over US Treasury Bonds here. Fortunately, I don’t have to be in either.
What I am most bullish on is the hard earned Cash that my family and firm has earned over the course of the last 3 years. No, we weren’t the super duper top US Equity performer of the Year in 2010 (although I did win the Forbes stock picking contest!)… but we made money for the 3rd consecutive year, and there’s nothing that smells like America’s Armpits about that.
My immediate term support and resistance lines in the SP500 are now 1249 and 1263, respectively.
Best of luck out there this year,
Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer
Conclusion: Inflation continues to percolate within these economies and we expect additional monetary policy tightening in each country over the intermediate term. Furthermore, we expect inflation to continue to remain a headwind for many countries globally and for that to lead to slowing economic growth globally (via policy tightening).
Chairman Bernanke’s experiment with Quantitative Guessing continues to have unintended consequences for the global economy, due to the impact of the equation highlighted below:
QG = inflation [globally] = monetary policy tightening [globally] = slower growth [globally]
A brief review of global economic data points highlights three very key countries’ struggles with inflation (China, India and Brazil). While the divergence between each country’s response reminds us that both inflation and monetary policy are local, analyzing them collectively allows us to derive the equation laid out above.
Let us briefly visit each country’s headlines and data points from today’s global macro run for a quick update on the global inflation front. Not surprisingly, not much has changed from a grading perspective since we originally published this piece on November 24th:
Country: China; Policy Stance: Proactive
On a relative basis, China has been particularly proactive in their fight with inflation of late, hiking interest rates twice in the last 2.5 months, raising bank’s reserve requirements, and announcing potential price controls and supply rationing in its food market. Since we last published this note, China has continued to proactively fight speculation and today’s PMI report shows early signs of success.
Manufacturing PMI (a proxy for demand) slowed in December to 53.9 vs. 55.2 prior with the Input Prices component backing off a 29-month high, coming in at 66.7 vs. 73.5 in November. Dampening some of the positive headway made in today’s report was an acceleration in Non-Manufacturing PMI to 56.5 vs. 53.2 prior, which suggests Chinese monetary policy has more tightening to do before growth has slowed enough to rein in both inflation and inflation expectations.
We continue to have conviction that growth is slowing and inflation will remain a headwind in China over the intermediate term, necessitating more tightening measures which are likely to have an incremental drag on Chinese (and therefore global) GDP growth. Chinese Central Bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan agrees, pledging Friday to shift Chinese monetary policy to a “prudent” stance in order to tackle inflation in the New Year.
Country: Brazil; Policy Stance: Reactive
When we last published this report, Brazil’s monetary policy graded out less than favorably due to its relatively late reaction (compared to China) in fighting inflation. It appears Brazil is finally ready to shift the fight into high gear in January, after raising reserve requirements early last month. Analysis of Brazilian interest rate swaps suggests traders are betting incoming Central Bank President Alexandre Tombini will hike the benchmark Selic rate +50bps to 11.25% in his fist meeting as chief on January 18-19.
New President Dilma Rousseff, who only recently brought about widespread concern in the Brazilian bond market because of the perception that she would fail to contain inflation, is joining in on the fight, pledging to cut government spending by $15B – a sum that exceeded investor expectations. Over the weekend, she also pledged to tackle the “plague” of inflation:
“To ensure the continuation of the current economic growth cycle we need to ensure stability, especially price stability… We won’t allow under any hypothesis that this plague returns to eat away our economic tissue and hurt the poorest families.”
The hope is that she’s willing to back her rhetoric with prudent policy action, and to some extent, she’s shown signs of this of late. On the flip side, however, we see that the Brazilian Congress just approved an increase in the minimum salary – a metric that determines both the nation’s minimum wage and transfer payments. For reference, the last adjustment to the Bolsa Familia program was a +10% increase in 2009.
Given that a broad-based wage hike would augment already-robust Brazilian consumer demand, we would expect to see more monetary policy tightening and offsetting fiscal restraint elsewhere in the government’s budget over the intermediate term.
Elsewhere on the demand front, we see Brazil’s Manufacturing PMI came in at 52.4 for December, a +2.5 increase over November’s 49.9 reading. Brazil is in a setup very similar to China: while we have conviction that growth will continue to slow throughout 1H11, it is robust enough to continue providing demand-side inflationary pressures.
Brazil’s CPI (as measured by the unofficial FGV IGP-M Index) accelerated in December to +11.32% YoY driven by higher food prices that are now consuming one-third of poor Brazilian’s incomes. By comparison, the Benchmark ICPA Index accelerated to a 21-month high in November, coming in at +5.63% YoY.
Country: India; Policy Stance: Inactive; Hurtful
India continues to lag in its bout with taming inflation, opting instead for the “wait and see” approach with regard to implementing another round(s) of tightening. Having shifted from his hawkish stance (six rate hikes in 2010) to a more relaxed position, Reserve Bank of India Governor Duvvuri Subarrao has held true to his November promise that additional rate hikes are not in India’s near-term future.
That would be fine if India had inflation under control; unfortunately, the latest WPI reading of +7.5% YoY suggests India is far from achieving its target of +4-4.5% YoY inflation. It is, however, a marginal improvement nonetheless, though expecting an additional +300bps drop from here absent any further tightening would be reckless at best. Moreover, food inflation continues to plague the 828 million Indians who live on less than $2 per day at PPP, accelerating to +14.44% YoY in the second week of December.
Compounding this blatant lack of vigilance is the RBI’s decision to add fuel to the fire by buying back government bonds from Indian lenders with the intention of increasing liquidity in a cash-strapped banking system that has been struggling to meet demand for loans. In December, the RBI pumped nearly 414B rupees ($9.3B) into India’s financial system via sovereign bond purchases (a.k.a. Quantitative Easing).
Fueling speculation when inflation is running at nearly twice the target rate is not our idea of prudent monetary policy. We expect further tightening ahead, but only after inflation becomes the problem it was in 1H10. For this reason, we continue to remain bearish on Indian equities over the intermediate-term TREND. We are, however, bullish on many commodities (corn, sugar, oil, etc.) as countries like China and India look to accelerate food and energy imports to ease any supply shortages that are perpetuating rising prices in their economies.
Let’s synch expectations for earnings revisions, earnings growth, with valuation and stock performance. Not a pretty story. We still think margins are off in apparel retail by 300bp next year.
In the land of retail, there’s usually 2 main factors that that drive stock performance (outside of M&A). 1) Earnings Expectations, and 2) the Delta between Expectations and Economic Reality.
Today, we are looking at 16x forward earnings expectations, and a 16x multiple that the market is placing on those expectations becoming reality.
What’s interesting is that in looking at revisions, multiples, earnings growth, and absolute stock price change…the past three years has been so typical of retail. Peak multiples on peak earnings, and trough multiples on trough earnings (with the sell-side earnings revisions lagging stocks by about 3-5 months).
Today’s bull could argue that we’ve taken this ‘peak on peak’ exercise up and above 20x/20% in years past. Math is math and I won’t dispute it. But what we would argue is that if we look at history going back a decade, there’s never been period where it’s been sustainable for anything more than six months. Also, the cost pressures at retail to drive margins lower were nonexistent during such times. In fact, we think that retail will be down around 300bp next year. There is absolutely no way that the charts below recognize this as anything in the ballpark of being a possibility.
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