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Early Look

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NKE: We Need A Redistribution

Keith shorted Nike today in the Hedgeye portfolio as he did not believe that the positive call one pundit made last night was worth its salt. We’re seeing all the right moves by the company to lead in both market share and profitability in this space, which should accelerate growth 2-3 quarters out.  Unfortunately, Nike’s latest miss might not prove to be a one-off event. The absolute growth, and rationale behind it, is fine with us, but we have a mismatch between Nike’s communication and the Street’s expectations.

 

Let’s look at the modeling trajectory for the next five quarters. Nike uncharacteristically left its guidance wide open for interpretation. Don Blair (CFO) is not one to use words loosely. But saying ‘next year sales up hsd or better, GM% down, and leverage SG&A, but not enough to offset weaker GM’ might be fine for annual guidance – but to give virtually zero color on the timing by quarter given all the moving parts is tough (especially after having just spanked the Street with a 300bp 4Q GM hit). Am I faulting the company for its guidance practice? No. I’m not a big fan of the quarterly guidance game. But a ‘no guidance’ policy also has its consequences. It allows the Street’s models to fall out of synch with financial reality. That’s what we’re got today.

 

 

NKE: HEDGEYE MODELING ASSUMPTIONS 

NKE: We Need A Redistribution - tBLW

 

Nike’s stock works when it is beating earnings. Period. I’m at $4.85 vs. the Street at $4.76 next year. That $0.11 delta is great, but the reality is that I’m $0.24 ahead in 4Q. For the four quarters leading up to May12  I’m below.

 

So…something’s gotta change. Either my model – which I have no reason to do today – or wait for the Street to ‘fine tune’ its expectations.

 

Our concern, of course, is that this redistribution comes alongside F4Q11 earnings in June.

More importantly, it is that this is a market that will give Consumer Discretionary stocks zero benefit of the doubt – especially while lesser companies are on the tape printing more respectable numbers.

 

The key here is that our thesis for the retail space overall calls for a severe breakdown in earnings by the end of June. Nike’s trajectory should accelerate when the rest of the pack lags.

 

But it’s a long time til the end of QE2 in June.

If you can be nimble, the be nimble. Lighten up, or protect yourself on the downside.

 

There'll be a time to buy this stock this year. But this simply is not it.


Wait & Watch: SP500 Levels, Refreshed

POSITION: Short SPY

 

Despite registering some of the most alarming combo volume/volatility studies I have ever registered in my risk management model, the SP500’s mean reversion toward the prior closing highs continues. We’re headed right back to the zone I was highlighting in mid-February and, once again, I think the probabilities of a market crash will start to go up if we get there (1).

 

I don’t use the word crash very often – primarily because I don’t get the interconnected signals that call for using the word very often. There is a big difference between calling for a correction as opposed to a crash. Over the course of the last 3 years we’ve built a track record in calling for some of both.

 

The three main factors that are flashing amber lights in my model right here and now are: 

  1. The US Dollar – at a point, correction becomes crash… and a crashing USD (from here) is going to deliver you $120-130 oil.
  2. Volatility (VIX) – after an unprecedented -43% collapse in less than 3-weeks, the VIX is holding its long-term TAIL of support (15.40)
  3. Sentiment – today’s Bullish/Bearish II Sentiment survey blew out to an extreme (Bulls minus Bears = 41 points) 

The reality of the institutionalization of our business is that a lot of people have to chase performance. The only problem with that is that there is no historical basis for everyone winning with the same strategy in perpetuity. There is a gargantuan amount of correlation risk to the USD being built into commodity and equity markets. The Bernank is holding the bag in creating both expectations of easy money and the net long exposure associated with it.

 

The math tells me a lot of people effectively are no longer allowed to be bearish (and I mean legitimately bearish, running -20-30% net short). Waiting and watching for my price level to short the SP500 again has been my plan. That level is currently 1 and I don’t plan on being one of the people who says they couldn’t see the next swoon coming.

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

Wait & Watch: SP500 Levels, Refreshed - 1


IGT F2Q PREVIEW

We are expecting an in-line quarter and guidance.

 

 

F2Q Details:

 

We are projecting revenues of $475MM and EPS of $0.19 when IGT reports its F2Q11 results on April 21st, $10MM and 1 penny below street estimates.

 

We have factored in company guidance that F2Q will have the lowest margins in FY11, with 3Q and 4Q getting better sequentially but not exceeding 1Q margin levels, into our numbers.  

 

We estimate that IGT will report $208MM of product sales at 48.8% gross margins.

  • Domestic product revenues of $124MM and gross margin of $63MM (50.5%)
    • Domestic box sales of $70MM: 4.9k domestic unit sales - comprised of 4,200 replacements and 700 new units at an ASP of $14,250
      • IGT has recently started a new promotion similar to Dynamix (although we have no details on it at the moment) which should keep reported ASP’s at depressed levels for the remainder of the year.  Excluding promotional activity, our understanding is that the IGT has modestly increased pricing (1-2%)
      • New NA shipments should include shipments to Ocean Downs (43% share), Trump, and recognition of some of Gun Lake units (45% share)
    • Domestic non-box sales of $55MM, up 10% YoY
  • International product revenues of $84MM and gross margins of $40MM (46.5%)
    • $62MM of box sales: 5.3k international unit sales at an ASP of $11.7­k
      • Unit sales should include shipments to Galaxy Macau and some Italian shipments.  The first of roughly 1,500 Italian for sale shipments started last quarter and should continue through FY2011.
    • Non-box sales of $22MM
    • The company is now thinking that international unit shipments will be in the 22,000 range for the year. They realize that the Street could use some help in modeling international shipments and are working on better disclosure/guidance going forward.

Gaming operations revenue of $267.5MM at 61.5% gross margins

  • We expect the install base to increase by 100 units to 56,800 and average win per day to increase 1.4% YoY to $52.4
  • The Italian CIRSA units (~1,500) will be participation units but we don’t have them starting to come in until F1Q12
  • IGT will get 36% of Acqueduct units coming online in 4Q11
  • The company expects gaming operations yields to increase throughout the rest of the year and to see the install base up modestly as well.  Although they did caution that international growth which has been relatively strong for them could put a hamper on yield growth
  • Expect gross margins for FY11 to be ~62%

Other assumptions:

  • SG&A of $82MM (should come down sequentially given the absence of G2E expenses)
  • D&A: $20MM
  • R&D: $52.5MM
  • Net interest expense: $20MM

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