McDonald's: An Activist's Dream? Not So Fast.

Takeaway: Here's our take on recent news of a large activist investor buying into McDonald's.

This note was originally published November 18, 2014 at 07:19 in Restaurants

With the news of a large activist buying into MCD, we find it prudent to ask, “Will shareholders be saved?” 


We think it’s going to be a long road.  The last activist that was involved in MCD was successful, but not because they had an impact on management thought process. 


What did Pershing see in late 2005?

  • A concept squarely in the midst of a significant turnaround that resulted in over 110 months of positive global same-store sales growth
  • MCD had a market cap of $42 billion and $20 billion in system-wide sales
  • A real estate portfolio that was undervalued by $16 billion ($30 billion versus Pershing Square’s $46 billion estimate)
  • A stock that was unnecessarily trading at a discount to its peers
  • Three different businesses: franchise operations, company-owned operations and real estate


What did Pershing propose?

  • Spin 65% of the McOpCo stores
  • Spin out the real estate
  • Use the proceeds and increase leverage to repurchase stock


What was McDonald’s response?

  • They called it a mere exercise in financial engineering
  • Claimed they had a unique business model
  • Suggested it would disrupt the relationships it had with customers, franchisees and suppliers
  • Management said friction costs would make a REIT cost prohibitive
  • Pointed to potential unintended consequences
  • Feared it would lose its “A” credit rating


In the end, the company never implemented any of Pershing's bold plans.  Pershing's investment in MCD was successful, not because of the their ideas, but because the business was going in the right direction. 


Here we are, ten years later, with another activist prepared to potentially knock on the door of MCD.  In some ways, it’s a very different McDonald’s this time around.  In others, it’s the same old story. 


Last week, Jana Partners took a stake in MCD by accumulating 1.042 million shares, inclusive of calls.  According to the investment manager’s website, “Jana typically applies a fundamental value discipline to identify undervalued companies that have one or more specific catalysts to unlock value.  Jana can be the instrument for value creation by becoming an actively engaged shareholder.”


We understand why an activist would be attracted to MCD today:

  • McDonald’s needs to undergo a significant restructuring
  • McDonald's has approximately 6,500 company-operated restaurants that could be re-franchised
  • Global same-store sales are declining and have been for quite some time
  • The stock has under-performed the SPX by 14.5% over the past year
  • Chipotle has grown from approximately 440 restaurants in 2005 to approximately 1,785 restaurants today and is leading a significant shift in consumer eating patterns. 
  • McDonald's must be pushed to aggressively adapt to the changes in the market place 


The activist playbook in the restaurant space is generally confined to a couple of key moves.  Get control of the board and do one, or all, of the following:

  • Sell real-estate
  • Cut SG&A
  • Sell company-owned stores
  • Sell other non-core assets
  • Increase leverage and repurchase stock


In the case of MCD, we believe it will be very difficult to achieve any of these moves. 


First, we don’t think the board is ready to give up on CEO Don Thompson (for now, at least). Second, selling real-estate will never happen at MCD; there is a chance, however, that the company sells some McOpCo stores.  All told, we believe the latter is too small of a change and would not move the needle on profitability.  Third, McDonald’s doesn’t have any non-core assets.  And, fourth, we believe it is unlikely management will increase leverage because they like their credit rating where it is.  This would likely be a unwise move, to be frank, because increasing leverage in a declining sales and margin environment is unlikely to create shareholder value.


Now, either Jana’s investment is just the beginning of a bigger position or they are making the call on a short-term improvement in the operating performance of the company. 


We’re not sure what the play is here. 


What we are sure of is that McDonald’s is unlikely to see a notable, short-term improvement in trends and that Jana’s position is too small to agitate for change.  The truth is, none of the typical moves in the activist playbook will generate much value in this environment. 


The biggest upside in MCD will come from fixing the core operations.  With no disrespect to Jana, there is likely little they can do in this regard.  If they did come up with a silver bullet it would take 12-18 months for it to be approved and executed.  Lastly, we doubt the franchisee base will look kindly upon a hedge fund telling them how to run their business.    


For this reason, we still think there is risk to the numbers in 2015 and remain bearish on MCD.  We normally side with activists in the restaurant space, but we don’t see how one can make money in MCD right now. 


LEISURE LETTER (11/21/2014)



  • Nov 23: Pacquiao-Algieri bout at Venetian Cotai Arena


BYI – SGMS announced that the Nevada Gaming Commission unanimously approved the company's pending acquisition of Bally Technologies, Inc. The Commission's approval was the final regulatory approval required to complete the merger. The company expects to complete the Bally merger today.  


BYD – Kansas Star Casino on Wednesday unveiled a $20 million expansion project that includes an 11,000-square-foot meeting center and a 183-stall equestrian center that will enable the casino to host large horse shows. Both facilities are scheduled to open in mid- to late December. The projects will complete the casino’s original master plan and bring the total investment in the property by Boyd Gaming and previous operator Peninsula Gaming to $330 million.

Article HERE

Takeaway: The Kansas Star expansion is ahead of schedule. The budget of $20m remains unchanged.


MGM – announced it priced a public offering of $1.15 billion in aggregate principal amount of 6% senior unsecured notes due 2023 at par.  The transaction is expected to close on November 25, 2014. Use of proceeds include general corporate purposes, including repaying certain debt maturing in 2015 and funding a portion of the development costs related to its Maryland and Massachusetts resort projects.

Article HERE

Takeaway: Probably not the last debt offering to fully fund the Baltimore and Springfield developments 


WYNN – announced a new credit agreement including a US$375 million senior secured revolving credit facility that will mature on November 20, 2019, and a US$875 million delay draw senior secured term loan facility that will mature on November 20, 2020 and will require quarterly principal payments, scheduled to begin on June 30, 2018. Use of proceeds are primarily for capital expenditures for the construction of a US$1.6-billion casino resort in Everett, Massachusetts.

Article HERE


WYNN – Prosecutors from the Manhattan and Las Vegas U.S. Attorney’s offices and investigators from the Internal Revenue Service and Drug Enforcement Administration are investigating whether casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd. violated money-laundering laws, according to people familiar with the matter. Allegedly, the U.S. Government asked Wynn for a list of its biggest customers from 2011 through 2013, along with their dates of birth, Social Security numbers and details from their identification documents. The IRS specified it wants information about the company’s safeguards against money laundering and requested a list of Wynn’s top 100 patrons from North America as well as its top 50 in each of three other regions: Asia, Europe and Latin America, according to the letter.

Article HERE

Takeaway: The company has indicated it is not aware of any investigation.  Regardless, we won't want to be one of the patron names who could be listed as a stop gambler.


577.HK – The holding company of boutique Macau casino hotel project Louis XIII (pictured in a rendering) is seeking to raise up to HKD3.03 billion (US$390.7 million) in additional funds through the placing of shares and convertible bonds. The initial fundraising target is HKD1.56 billion through the placing of shares and convertible bonds, with an upsize option of up to HKD780million. The placing price range is HKD3.00 to HKD4.00 per placing share, while the conversion price of the placing convertible bonds will be the same as the placing price.

Article HERE


GENS.SP – Genting Singapore today repurchased 9.6 million shares for S$10.757 million. Cumulative shares repurchased year-to-date = 46,284,000.    Following today's share repurchase, the total shares outstanding = 12,201,752,480.

Article HERE

Takeaway: While Genting has quietly repurchased 0.38% of its outstanding shares this week, the price of GENS stock traded up 7.7% over the past week and up 11.9% from the intraday low of S$1.005 on November 12.


HOT – today announced it sold Sheraton on the Park in Sydney, Australia to Sunshine Insurance Group Corporation for AUS$463.0 million or US$399.0 million. 

Takeaway: We noted in our November 14, Leisure Letter the expected sale of this hotel.  The AUS$463 million sale price was higher than the rumored AUS$450 million price we heard last week. We expect Starwood to use the transaction proceeds to repurchase shares. 


PEB – announced that it acquired the 264-room, upper-upscale, Hotel Palomar Los Angeles – Westwood for $78.7 million. The company will own a leasehold interest in the property through a ground lease which will expire in 2107, assuming all extension options are exercised. For the trailing twelve months ended September 2014, the Hotel Palomar operated at 87% occupancy, with an ADR of $207 and RevPAR of $180.  For 2015, the Company currently forecasts the hotel will generate EBITDA of $5.2 to $5.7 million and NOI after capital reserves of $4.2 to $4.7 million.

Takeaway: The average price per key of $298,100 is very reasonable for the location, but the ~14.4x forward EBITDA is pricey.  With proforma cash of approximately $255 million, the company has sufficient cash to fund both the Westin and Hotel Palomar acquisitions.  We expect PEB to seek long-term mortgages on both assets, thus providing additional cash proceeds and low-cost long-term debt financing.


CCL – After a drydocking to turn her from the Grand Celebration to the Costa Celebration, the ship’s winter season has been cancelled, according to the Italian company. Costa said in a released statement to Cruise Industry News that the Celebration will no longer be part of the fleet starting on November 22. 2015 deployment will be taken over by the neoClassica.

Article HERE

 Takeaway:  This sale has been rumored but who was the buyer?


CCL – Carnival announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Fincantieri S.p.A., the world's largest cruise ship building company, to explore the possibility of a shipbuilding joint venture aimed at accelerating development and growth of the cruise industry in China. The MOU between Carnival Corporation and Italy-based Fincantieri outlines the framework for evaluating and exploring a potential shipbuilding joint venture for constructing cruise ships for the Chinese market. The MOU with Fincantieri follows the news that Carnival Corporation and the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), China's largest shipyard, had signed an MOU in mid-October to work together on a potential collaborative joint venture focused on shipbuilding in China.

Takeaway:  Serious ship-building interest in China from Carnival. 


RCL – announced that Majesty of the Seas will transfer from its Royal Caribbean International cruise brand to its Pullmantur brand in 2016 in an attempt to help build out Pullmantur's Latin American growth strategy.  Majesty of the Seas' last 3-night sailing for Royal Caribbean International will depart on April 29, 2016.

Article HERE

Takeaway:  Pullmantur is transitioning away from the Spanish market just when trends are getting better there in 2014. Latin America, while exciting, is an uncertain opportunity.


Macau / Zhuhai Border Gate Open Longer – The long-awaited 24-hour border crossing between Macau and Zhuhai will become reality in the early hours of December 18, the government spokesperson Alexis Tam announced yesterday.
From Dec 18, the Lotus Bridge Cotai Frontier Post (connected to Hengqin) will be operating around the clock. Meanwhile, the operation hours of the Border Gate (connected to Gongbei) will be extended by an hour before and after. The border checkpoint will open at 6 am and close at 1 am.

Article HERE

Takeaway:  As suggested in previous media reports


South Korea - New Casino (Part 1) – Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd signed a letter of intent to invest US$1.6 billion to create a new South Korean casino resort at Incheon, near the country’s capital Seoul, on November 16. The agreement was with Incheon City Mayor Yoo Jeong-bok for a property at Yeongjong Island in the Incheon Free Economic Zone. Chow Tai Fook Enterprises is a privately held firm founded by Cheng Yu Tung, for many years an investor in Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau SA, the parent of Macau casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd.

Article HERE

Takeaway: At present there are no less than four new major casino developments in the works - including: Chow Tai Fook, Caesars, Paradise, and Genting. Gaming operators rush to build a bigger, brighter, shinier casino as they compete for the nearly 6 million Chinese tourists to South Korea.  By comparison Macau received 18.6 million Chinese visitors in 2013.


South Korea - New Casino (Part 2) – South Korean casino operator Paradise Co Ltd broke ground on its planned US$1.7 billion Paradise City casino resort at Incheon, near the country’s capital Seoul, according to a report in the Korea Herald newspaper. The development is scheduled to open in 2017. Paradise is a partner with Japan’s Sega Sammy Holdings Inc for the scheme at Yeongjong Island in the Incheon Free Economic Zone. Paradise holds a 55% stake in the joint venture according to previous statements by the company. The project includes hotels, restaurants, and – as local law currently stands – a foreigners-only casino. The casino resort will have 160 gaming tables and 340 slot machines and 750 hotel rooms.

Article HERE


China Lowers Interest Rates – In an unexpected shift in monetary policy, the PBoC cut the one-year deposit rate by 25 bp to 2.75%. It also cut the one-year lending rate by 40 bp to 5.6%. 

Takeaway: We have run a regression analysis that shows the highest correlation between Chinese rate cuts and Macau VIP volume on a 9 month lag. 


China PBoC Said to Inject Cash –  The PBoC was said to have added money to the banking system today as a cash shortage stemming from new share sales drove the benchmark money-market rate up by the most since July. The monetary authority supplied funds on a short-term basis, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified. Some 50 billion yuan ($8.2 billion) was offered using Short-term Liquidity Operations. Eleven companies are due to sell shares for the first time next week. 

Article HERE


Hedgeye Macro Team remains negative Europe, their bottom-up, qualitative analysis (Growth/Inflation/Policy framework) indicates that the Eurozone is setting up to enter the ugly Quad4 in Q4 (equating to growth decelerates and inflation decelerates) = Europe Slowing.

Takeaway:  European pricing has been a tailwind for CCL and RCL but a negative pivot here looks increasingly likely in 2015. Following CCL's F3Q 2014 earnings release, we recently turned negative on those stocks based on the negative European thesis. 


Hedgeye Macro Team remains negative on consumer spending and believes in muted inflation, a Quad4 set-up.  Following  a great call on rising housing prices, the Hedgeye Macro/Financials team is 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.

China, Copper, and the Euro

Client Talking Points


Evidently Chinese #GrowthSlowing has the Chinese worried enough that they cut rates overnight – I didn’t see that coming. Everything commodity #deflation is ripping higher on that move this morning; Shanghai Comp +1.8%.


If you knew China was going to cut, you’d have the most bang for your central planning buck buying Copper futures, +1.5% to the top end of my 2.96-3.06/lb risk range – selling opportunity there (and in Oil, again).


To add fuel to the “futures are up” fire, Draghi told the Germans (he’s in Frankfurt speaking today) that he’ll do whatever it takes now that whatever it took didn’t work – European Stocks ripping +1-2% on that (after selling off hard yesterday on NOV PMI #GrowthSlowing data).

Asset Allocation


Top Long Ideas

Company Ticker Sector Duration

The Vanguard Extended Duration Treasury (EDV) is an extended duration ETF (20-30yr). U.S. real GDP growth is unlikely to come in anywhere in the area code of consensus projections of 3-plus percent. And it is becoming clear to us that market participants are interpreting the Fed’s dovish shift as signaling cause for concern with respect to the growth outlook. We remain on other side of Consensus Macro positions (bearish on Oil, bullish on Treasuries, bearish on SPX) and still have high conviction in our biggest macro call of 2014 - that U.S. growth would slow and bond yields fall in kind.


We continue to think long-term interest rates are headed in the direction of both reported growth and growth expectations – i.e. lower. In light of that, we encourage you to remain long of the long bond. The performance divergence between Treasuries, stocks and commodities should continue to widen over the next two to three months. As it’s done for multiple generations, the 10Y Treasury Yield continues to track the slope of domestic economic growth like a glove. We certainly hope you had the Long Bond (TLT) on versus the Russell 2000 (short side) as the performance divergence in being long #GrowthSlowing hit its widest for 2014 YTD (ex-reinvesting interest).


The U.S. is in Quad #4 on our GIP (Growth/Inflation/Policy) model, which suggests that both economic growth and reported inflation are slowing domestically. As far as the eye can see in a falling interest rate environment, we think you should increase your exposure to slow-growth, yield-chasing trade and remain long of defensive assets like long-term treasuries and Consumer Staples (XLP) – which work decidedly better than Utilities in Quad #4. Consumer Staples is as good as any place to hide as the world clamors for low-beta-big-cap-liquidity.

Three for the Road


FX: Euro takes its turn being burnt by an un-elected bureaucrat, -0.9% to $1.24 #Draghi



“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Albert Einstein


5.6%, China’s new lending rate, which the country lowered by 0.4 percentage points today.

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CHART OF THE DAY: Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves


CHART OF THE DAY: Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves - JAPAN

Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves

“We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to office.”



Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves is one of the most famous of the “Arabian Nights” folk tales.  It tells the story of a poor son of a merchant, Ali Baba, who over hears a pack of thieves (40 to be exact) who are visiting their treasure store at a cave in the forest.


After hearing their password, “Open Sesame” (akin to using 1,2,3,4 to unlocking your iPhone no doubt), Ali Baba waits until the thieves are gone and uses the password himself to enter the cave and steal some of their gold.  Ali Baba’s brother, Cassim, realizes the secret of the cave and goes back to the cave with a donkey to try and take as much gold as possible.


Largely because of his greed, and lack of planning, Cassim is locked in the cave and when found by the thieves on their return is subsequently killed and quartered into four pieces.  The thieves then do their best to find Ali Baba, to little avail, and eventually the thieves meet their demise and Ali Baba is the only one left knowing the secret of the cave.


The one obvious parallel between the Ali Baba folk tale and the company Alibaba (BABA) is the name.  If you go deeper than that, it is also clear that for a long time the Chairman and Founder, Jack Ma, was perhaps one of a small group who knew the secret of the treasure cave.  Now that BABA is public, though, we all have the opportunity to understand the secrets of the monolithic BABA.


To be fair, we aren’t suggesting that Jack Ma or his colleagues are thieves, although the corporate structure of BABA and transfer of Alipay’s ownership might be construed as thievery by some, but rather that just like the Ali Baba of folklore, the modern Alibaba has limitations on the amount of “gold” it can take.


At 11am today, our Internet and Media Analyst Hesham Shaaban is going to be hosting a call titled: “Baba: Risks & Timing, What Others Aren’t Telling You”.  The bear case call will be focused on the following:

  • China Can't Grow Fast Enough: Top-down analysis of the key factors driving E-Commerce in China.
  • Growth Will Come at a Price: How the China growth story will pressure BABA's Business Model.
  • Timing the Short: Model Projections and the Key Metrics we're tracking to monitor our thesis.

Email if you’d like to learn how to get access to the call.


Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves - z DJ EL


Back to the Global Macro Grind

Perhaps we are being a bit too harsh on BABA.  It is after all a veritable monopoly with very high returns on capital, but at a valuation that is also priced in.  More importantly as we think of thievery and the global markets, it is probably more apropos to think of the extreme policies perpetuated by the world’s major central banks as thievery. 


On a basic level, the average consumer is being robbed of his return on his savings, and punished with  monetary inflation.  Recently, of course, the inflation has started to deflate, which may be beneficial eventually, but also brings about its own set of challenges and unfortunately also gives central bankers the carte blanche to manipulate monetary policy even further.


The mystical ECB head Mario Draghi once again opened the treasure cave of policy in a speech at a banking conference earlier today when he said:


“We will continue to meet our responsibility—we will do what we must to raise inflation and inflation expectations as fast as possible, as our price stability mandate requires of us.  If on its current trajectory our policy is not effective enough to achieve this, or further risks to the inflation outlook materialize, we would step up the pressure and broaden even more the channels through which we intervene, by altering accordingly the size, pace and composition of our purchases.”


That’s a pretty direct comment, especially for a European.


The Chinese central bankers took it one step further and actually walked the walk with a 25 basis point cut of the deposit rate and a 40 basis point cut of the lending rate over night.  On some level, this of course epitomizes the new currency war.  The Europeans used rhetoric, but the Chinese answer back with some monetary artillery fire.


Of course nothing truly compares to the shock and awe that the Japanese are capable of when it comes to monetary policy, or as my colleague Darius Dale called it “getting crazier”.  In an update note on Japan Wednesday, Dale summarized the outlook for Japanese policy moves adroitly:


“Japanese consumption be damned, we now know that the BoJ is completely comfortable with going “full Weimar [Republic]” with Japanese monetary policy, as most recently highlighted by today’s 8-1 vote in leaving monetary policy unchanged; recall that the board was split 5-4 when Governor Haruhiko Kuroda opted for additional easing last month.


What we found even more surprising is the fact that Kuroda reiterated his “upbeat” assessment of the economy. Yes, the same Japanese economy that is mired in recession and contracting -1.2% on a YoY basis!


What this tells us is that he is likely leaving room for a downside surprise to his targets, which would afford him scope to expand QQE sooner, rather than later. Per Bloomberg, sellside consensus expects a further expansion of QQE by June. Kuroda surprised us once; he won’t catch us off guard again!”


In summary there is an increasing case for Japan to ease more aggressively than consensus believes and with a negative correlation of -0.94 between the SP500 and JPY/USD, that is one really important reason for U.S. equity investors to keep Japan and its monetary policy front and center!


Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:


UST 10yr Yield 2.29-2.38% 

SPX 2008-2056 

RUT 1152-1187 

USD 86.99-88.06 

EUR/USD 1.23-1.25 

Gold 1135-1208 


Keep your head up and stick on the ice,


Daryl G. Jones

Director of Research


Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves - JAPAN


Takeaway: In today's edition of the Macro Playbook, we quantify Japan's impact on "risk asset" beta, US corporations and on the active mgmt. industry.


Long Ideas/Overweight Recommendations

  1. iShares National AMT-Free Muni Bond ETF (MUB)
  2. iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT)
  3. Vanguard Extended Duration Treasury ETF (EDV)
  4. Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLV)
  5. Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLP)

Short Ideas/Underweight Recommendations

  1. SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (KRE)
  2. iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM)
  3. iShares MSCI European Monetary Union ETF (EZU)
  4. iShares MSCI France ETF (EWQ)
  5. SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP)




  • Quantifying Japan’s Impact on “Risk Asset” Beta: Obviously with the BoJ recently adopting to go all-in on currency debasement, we are not surprised to see inverse correlations between the JPY and so-called “risk assets” tighten in recent months. This perpetual inverse correlation is a function of Japan’s status as the world’s largest supplier of capital. Specifically, Japan’s net international investment surplus of ~$3T is equivalent to 68% of the country’s GDP and compares to a -$5.5T deficit for the U.S. The key takeaway is that when Japanese investors get worried about global growth or when the sustainability of JPY debasement (i.e. income balance inflation) is called into question, investors should expect JPY repatriation to negatively impact global equity and credit markets. Regarding the latter point, the very source of yen debauchery (i.e. Abenomics) is at risk of being rendered a thing of the past just one month from today! Review our 11/19 note titled, “JAPAN: DOES THE "ABENOMICS TRADE" HAVE MORE ROOM TO RUN?” for more details.
  • Quantifying Japan’s Impact on U.S. Corporations: To answer the hyperlinked question above, we do think Abenomics has room to run – beyond December 21st, that is. To the extent Abe’s LDP/NKP coalition wins another parliamentary majority (we think they will, though the mandate will likely be less strong than in 2012), the yen will be burned to lows that even the most ardent yen bears aren’t anticipating. Specifically, Bloomberg consensus expects 120 on the USD/JPY cross by EOY ’15, while FX forwards are implying a pullback to 117. Consensus is nowhere near in the area code of Bearish Enough on the yen if Abe gets another go at it! In the second chart below, we show 51 domestically domiciled companies with revenue exposure to Japan greater than or equal to 10% that could see incremental top line erosion over the NTM.
  • Quantifying Japan’s Impact on Active Management: While Consensus Macro continues to cheer on Policies To Inflate out of G3 central banks (and China this AM), we continue to remind investors of the ultimate risks of minimal volatility and subdued variance throughout the U.S. equity market – which is a continued shift away from active management. Jonathan Casteleyn of our Financials Team as written about these trends extensively, most recently in yesterday’s note titled, “ICI Fund Flow Survey - Passive Market Share Taking Over on Both Sides of the Aisle”: “Year-to-date, running aggregate money flow also reflects this preference for passive products with equity ETFs more than doubling the production of equity mutual funds and with fixed income ETFs having just overtaken bond funds with the recent dislocation in the taxable category.” If you’re interested in receiving this data on a regular basis, simply send an email to ... Going back to the headwinds facing active managers, recent data from BAC showed just 18% of active managers are beating their benchmarks this year, the worst ratio in a decade. Moreover, equity hedge funds (per the HFRX Equity Hedge Fund Index) are on track for their third-worst annual return ever. Refer to our 10/31 note titled, “WEEKEND MUST-READ: DOES THE DEATH OF JAPAN = THE DEATH OF ACTIVE MANAGEMENT?” for more details on why we think cheering on central bank-induced asset price inflation is, at best, a fool’s errand.




THE HEDGEYE MACRO PLAYBOOK -   of revenues from Japan


THE HEDGEYE MACRO PLAYBOOK - HFRX Equity Hedge Fund Index Annual Return


***CLICK HERE to download the full TACRM presentation.***



#Quad4 (introduced 10/2/14): Our models are forecasting a continued slowing in the pace of domestic economic growth, as well as a further deceleration in inflation here in Q4. The confluence of these two events is likely to perpetuate a rise in volatility across asset classes as broad-based expectations for a robust economic recovery and tighter monetary policy are met with bearish data that is counter to the consensus narrative.


Early Look: Building Expectations (11/20)


#EuropeSlowing (introduced 10/2/14): Is ECB President Mario Draghi Europe's savior? Despite his ability to wield a QE fire hose, our view is that inflation via currency debasement does not produce sustainable economic growth. We believe select member states will struggle to implement appropriate structural reforms and fiscal management to induce real growth.


Top Ten Reasons to Stay Short the Euro (11/5)


#Bubbles (introduced 10/2/14): The current economic cycle is cresting and the confluence of policy-induced yield-chasing and late-cycle speculation is inflating spread risk across asset classes. The clock is ticking on the value proposition of the latest policy to inflate as the prices many investors are paying for financial assets is significantly higher than the value they are receiving in return.


#Bubbles: S&P500 Levels, Refreshed (11/18)


Best of luck out there,




Darius Dale

Associate: Macro Team


About the Hedgeye Macro Playbook

The Hedgeye Macro Playbook aspires to present investors with the robust quantitative signals, well-researched investment themes and actionable ETF recommendations required to dynamically allocate assets and front-run regime changes across global financial markets. The securities highlighted above represent our top ten investment recommendations based on our active macro themes, which themselves stem from our proprietary four-quadrant Growth/Inflation/Policy (GIP) framework. The securities are ranked according to our calculus of the immediate-term risk/reward of going long or short at the prior closing price, which itself is based on our proprietary analysis of price, volume and volatility trends. Effectively, it is a dynamic ranking of the order in which we’d buy or sell the securities today.

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