Positions in Europe: Short EUR-USD (FXE); Cover Italy (EWI) today
The magical European Bazooka Wand didn’t come out this weekend, and we don’t expect to see it at the EU-Summit on October 23rd either. Eurocrats have much on their plate, including bank recapitalization procedures, expanding the EFSF, and broader measures to insulate risks to the PIIGS. At odds remains the ECB’s unwillingness to take on more exposure, either directly through the EFSF or its bond purchasing program (SMP), and indecision from Eurocrats (and IMF) on Greek debt haircuts (21% vs likely reality of 50-60%), Eurobonds, higher capital standards for banks (including for future stress tests), and member nation default.
The European bag of risk continues to be directed by headlines, most particularly by the expectations that the “next” Eurocrat meeting will bring a positive solution to the region’s ills. Here we’ll repeat our bearish outlook on European capital markets. We think any relief rallies over the immediate term will be short lived, including for the EUR/USD – Europe has structural long term issues that will not be solved with the snap of a finger. We would however point to the November 4th G20 meeting as a likely date for additional direction to the banking and sovereign crisis. Quantifying last week’s bounce, European equity indices rose between +4 to 6% and the EUR-USD cross gained +3.8%.
In this light, we remain short the EUR/USD and find it prudent to be short select markets or on the sidelines until the details of Big Bazooka are revealed. The EUR/USD continues to be broken on its intermediate term TREND ($1.43) and long term TAIL ($1.39). Today Keith tactically covered our short position in Italy (EWI) in the Hedgeye Virtual Portfolio, however longer term we remain bearish on Italy. It was just Friday that Berlusconi won a narrow confidence vote, demonstrating just how fragile his rule remains, which creates huge political headwinds as the market judges the broader Italian economy on his ability to secure budget cuts in the coming 1-3 years.
Below we show our typical Monday risk monitor charts. Of note is that Italian yields (currently at 5.78%) are creeping dangerous close to the 6% level, a historically significant break-out line for Greece, Ireland, and Portugal, and the spread between German bunds and the 10YR French yield is at a decade wide of 95bps today. As we've said before, a downgrade of France's AAA credit rating is a real possibility that would have disastrous effects across the region, including undermining the EFSF.
A look at sovereign cds shows that Irish, Spanish, Italian and French spreads were slightly wider week over week, while Portuguese and German spreads tightened week over week. In particular, German CDS tightened by 8.9% (see charts below).
Finally, our European Financials CDS Monitor showed that bank swaps mostly tightened in Europe last week. Swaps tightened for 37 of the 40 reference entities. The average tightening was 7.2%, or 36 basis points, and the median tightening was 5.0%. Spanish banks saw the least tightening of the group.
POSITIONS: Long Utilities (XLU), Short Consumer Staples (XLP)
Today’s failure at our intermediate-term TREND line of resistance is very consequential.
Across durations here are my refreshed levels that matter most:
- TAIL = 1266
- TREND = 1231
- TRADE = 1189
I don’t think failing at 1231 means we crash right here and now. What I have been saying about crashing stock and commodity prices (20% declines from YTD peaks) is that the probability of crashes occurring goes up as market prices do (on low volume and negative skew).
If 1189 (TRADE support) holds, that will be a healthy signal in the immediate-term. If it doesn’t, it will be another bearish one. This is why earnings season hasn’t been this important in years.
In the very short-term, earnings should help take some of the headline burden off of European sovereign risks. The problem with that is that earnings like JPM and WFC have been negative catalysts too.
Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer
Not a good nugget related to the strength of the global consumer.
September comps -7% showing a sequential slowdown on both a 1 and 2-year basis. With few exceptions, the trendline since August 2010 has been heading lower. The key here is that H&M is ‘comping the comp’ with relatively lousy numbers. So for all those people who think that after 1-year things must start to get better, they might want to tack on another 10 months to their ‘process’.
In typical UK fashion, disclosure is horrible, so until the mid-November report, all we know is the comp, and don’t know what countries or products are driving the business (or not, for that matter). The interesting thing we always keep in mind with H&M is that its geographic dispersion is simply massive, and sells everything from fast fashion apparel, to high-end Champagne, to cosmetics, and more. In other words, a fairly good barometer of the global consumer.
Here is H&M's sales distribution by country as well as the trends in the top 5 sales volume countries as of the September nine month report.
THE HEDGEYE BREAKFAST MONITOR
Cattle futures rallied to a record high as reduced herd sizes and strong demand for U.S. beef continues to support price.
Food processor stocks improved as the rebound in corn prices faded.
KKD: Krispy Kreme is to open 35 additional locations in the UK over the next six years.
ARCO: Arcos Dorados announced preliminary 3Q revenue of $970m to $990m and net income of $69 to $75 million. The company expects its systemwide comparable sales growth for the third quarter of 2011 to be within a range of 14.8% to 16.2%. With respect to EPS, the company expects an impact from an increase in compensation expense, certain one-time charges associated with the partial redemption of the Company’s 2019 Notes and the depreciation of certain local currencies versus the US dollar.
YUM: Taco Bell has named Brian Niccol has its Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer. Niccol has previously served as general manager at Pizza Hut and had been the brand’s CMO prior to that position.
SBUX: Starbucks features in a NY Post story this morning speculating that the company may be entering the pressed-juice bar business. The article states that CEO Howard Schultz has been “scoping out” top New York juice bars and has hired Liquiteria manager Yohana Bencosme, an 11-year veteran of the juice-bar business from Washington Heights.
BWLD: Buffalo Wild Wings was the only stock to trade on accelerating volume Friday as it underperformed peer casual dining stocks.
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