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Mortgage Apps | Less Bad Is Good

Takeaway: Purchase apps rose modestly during the holiday week. Bigger picture, more evidence emerges that housing is shifting from bad to less bad.

Our Hedgeye Housing Compendium table (below) aspires to present the state of the housing market in a visually-friendly format that takes about 30 seconds to consume. 

 

*Note - to maintain cross-metric comparability, the purchase applications index shown in the table below represents the monthly average as opposed to the most recent weekly data point.

 

Mortgage Apps | Less Bad Is Good - Compendium 120314

 

Today's Focus: MBA Mortgage Applications

The Mortgage Bankers Association today released its weekly mortgage applications survey data for the week ended November 28th. 

 

The -7.3% decline in the Composite Index belied more sanguine growth on the purchase side where demand rose +2.5% sequentially.

 

  • Purchase demand rose +2.5% WoW and the YoY rate of decline improved to -4.9% from -11% prior as the index held above the 170-level for the 3rd straight week – the longest streak at that level since June.  We don’t take a convicted view of holiday week data in isolation but the multi-week trend has been one of modest improvement.  Compares ease further into the last few weeks of the year and take a second dive into the end of 1Q15. 
  • Refi activity declined -13.4% sequentially despite the retreat in rates with the holiday/seasonals providing some measure of distortion. Rates on the 30Y FRM contract dropped -7bps to 4.08% - the lowest rate YTD and lowest since May of last year. 

 

In short, “stabilization” remains the apt characterization for current HPI and purchase demand trends.  Housing, like most things Macro, is more about better/worse than good/bad and while the data remains soft on an absolute basis, from a rate of change perspective, less bad is good. 

 

Mortgage Apps | Less Bad Is Good - Purchase 2013 v 2014 

 

Mortgage Apps | Less Bad Is Good - Purchase   Refi YoY  

 

Mortgage Apps | Less Bad Is Good - Purchase LT w Summary Stats 

 

Mortgage Apps | Less Bad Is Good - Purchase Qtrly 

 

Mortgage Apps | Less Bad Is Good - Composite LT w Summary 

 

Mortgage Apps | Less Bad Is Good - 30Y FRM 

 

 

About MBA Mortgage Applications:

The Mortgage Bankers’ Association’s mortgage applications index covers more than 75% of mortgage applications originated through retail and consumer direct channels. It does not include loans delivered through wholesale broker and correspondent channels. The MBA mortgage purchase applications index is considered a leading indicator of single-family home sales and construction. Moreover, it is the only housing index that is released on a weekly basis. 

 

Frequency:

The MBA Purchase Apps index is released every Wednesday morning at 7 am EST.

 

  

Joshua Steiner, CFA

 

Christian B. Drake

 


CHART OF THE DAY: Glacial Cascades: Are You Prepared?

CHART OF THE DAY: Glacial Cascades: Are You Prepared? - 12.03.14 Chart

 

Editor's note: The excerpt below is from CEO Keith McCullough's introduction in today's Morning Newsletter.

 

If you’ve proactively prepared your portfolio for the phase transition of market expectations from inflation to #deflation, congrats. Not being long cascading things like Oil, Energy stocks, and Russian Rubles has been key to your wealth preservation in the last 3 months.

 

But how many people really think about their net wealth this way? How many people start with Warren Buffett’s 1st Rule of Investing: “Don’t Lose Money?” How many services that you pay for are equipped to monitor complex systems in a dynamic way so that your expectations of risk are constantly changing alongside analyzable factors?

 

I spent some time discussing these questions at the annual Hedgeye Company Meeting yesterday in Stamford, CT. In order to illustrate how risk manifests slowly, then all at once, I showed what I think was a fantastic 4 minute video on Glacial Calving (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC3VTgIPoGU). I’d love to see how Draghi and Yellen would centrally plan smoothing that.



Glacial Cascades

“The key to wealth preservation is to understand the complex processes and to seek shelter from the cascade.”

-James G. Rickards

 

If you’ve proactively prepared your portfolio for the phase transition of market expectations from inflation to #deflation, congrats. Not being long cascading things like Oil, Energy stocks, and Russian Rubles has been key to your wealth preservation in the last 3 months.

 

But how many people really think about their net wealth this way? How many people start with Warren Buffett’s 1st Rule of Investing: “Don’t Lose Money?” How many services that you pay for are equipped to monitor complex systems in a dynamic way so that your expectations of risk are constantly changing alongside analyzable factors?

 

I spent some time discussing these questions at the annual Hedgeye Company Meeting yesterday in Stamford, CT. In order to illustrate how risk manifests slowly, then all at once, I showed what I think was a fantastic 4 minute video on Glacial Calving (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC3VTgIPoGU). I’d love to see how Draghi and Yellen would centrally plan smoothing that.

 

Glacial Cascades - 55

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

Yesterday I used the snow-pack metaphor to discuss market risk factors that have a rising probability of cascading into asset class draw-downs. The idea was inspired by my friend Jim Rickards, who wrote an awesome chapter called “Maelstrom”:

 

“An avalanche is an apt metaphor of financial collapse. Indeed, it is more than a metaphor, because the systems analysis of an avalanche is identical … An avalanche starts with a snowflake that perturbs other snowflakes, which, as momentum builds, tumble out of control… The dynamics are the same, as are the recursive mathematical functions used in modeling the process.”

-The Death of Money, pg 265

 

Unless they are just looking at “charts”, I think almost everyone who gets paid real money to pick stocks, bonds, commodities, etc. has a bottom-up process to analyze securities. In fact, some are quite impressive. But how impressed are you with the systems of analysis our profession uses, from a top-down perspective?

 

Going on 16 years into this, my experience has been a learning one. The more I read, the less I know. But the more I observe how consensus thinks about top-down macro risks that are developing in this dynamic ecosystem of market expectations, the more opportunity I see in learning more of what not to do, out loud.

 

You see, while I certainly don’t make the same “money” I used to make on the buy-side, I am making a difference in my learning experience. When you open yourself up to the critique of the crowd (daily), you’re actually forced to learn faster.

 

In terms of big bang losses of wealth (draw-downs), the lessons, unfortunately, tend to be more expensive for the many, and profitable for the few. That’s why I think making money at the all-time highs in asset price inflation becomes next to impossible, without protecting for the downside risks associated with an avalanche (deflation) like the one we just saw in Energy markets.

 

Moving along…

 

Never mind snowflakes, there are two big snowballs that are going to hit you square in the forehead on Thursday and Friday:

 

  1. Thursday: European Central Bank (ECB) decision by Draghi
  2. Friday: US Jobs Report for November

 

In isolation, even for people who don’t do macro (but have a macro opinion on everything!) both of these events probably matter. From an interconnectedness perspective, fully loaded with time/price for both Euros and Yens relative to where European and Japanese equity markets are right here and now, these events matter as much as any we’ve seen in months.

 

Here’s the system’s setup:

 

  1. Japanese stocks (Nikkei) are signaling immediate-term TRADE overbought with a risk range of 16,945-17,741
  2. European Stocks (EuroStoxx 600 Index) are signaling immediate-term TRADE overbought with a risk range of 337-351
  3. Both the Euro and Yen are signaling immediate-term TRADE oversold vs. USD at $1.23 and $119.56, respectively

 

In other words, measuring the system’s risk within a “risk range” (where being at the top and/or bottom end of the range increases the probability of a short-term reversal), the probability is as high as it’s been of seeing a big macro reversal.

 

There’s that word again, probability…

 

If you’ve never gone heli-skiing on a mountain with identifiably risky snow-pack factors, try it and you’ll get my point. I’m not saying you are going to break your leg going down a certain path – I’m saying some paths/situations have higher probabilities of that happening than others!

 

Whether you are skiing, or risk managing your portfolio alongside already cascading asset class paths (like high-yield Energy stocks, Silver futures, Brazilian stocks, etc.), you should always be asking yourself a lot of questions:

 

  1. What if Draghi doesn’t deliver the drugs?
  2. What if Japanese election sentiment forces Abe to tone down the currency burning?
  3. What if the US Jobs reports misses, and the Dollar corrects from its overbought highs?

 

There are obviously a lot of questions to ask yourself, all of the time – and maybe that’s why some people don’t “do macro” the way we do. It requires a ton of rinse/repeat systems analysis, yes. But, more importantly, it always puts you at the epicenter of the uncertainty of the system… and stock picking tends to “feel” more certain than that.

 

Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:

 

UST 10yr Yield 2.16-2.30%

SPX 2032-2078

Nikkei 161

EUR/USD 1.23-1.25

Yen 117.41-119.56

WTI Oil 64.55-70.36

 

Best of luck out there today,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

Glacial Cascades - 12.03.14 Chart


Hedgeye Statistics

The total percentage of successful long and short trading signals since the inception of Real-Time Alerts in August of 2008.

  • LONG SIGNALS 80.28%
  • SHORT SIGNALS 78.51%

December 3, 2014

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BULLISH TRENDS

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BEARISH TRENDS

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The Athletic Black Book

Takeaway: The Athletic Black Book. Tuesday, 12/16 at 11:00am ET.

On Tuesday, December 16, we’ll be hosting a call to review our next Black Book, which will be focused on the Athletic footwear and apparel space. Specific names include Nike, Adidas, UnderArmour, Foot Locker, Hibbett, Dick’s, and Finish Line – which collectively offer up a good mix of longs and shorts. We’ll follow up closer to the date (which is two days before when Nike will likely print it’s 2Q earnings) with a full agenda of the issues we’ll cover.

 

Key Topics Will Include:

  1. Nike’s innovation timeline – and why the next two years will be far different than most people think.
  2. The results of our latest consumer survey on how safe/at risk the Athletic category is relative to others vis-à-vis online cannibalization.
  3. Nike’s willingness (or lack thereof) to grow around its wholesale distribution – as it has historically protected this model at all costs.
  4. The sustainability of Nike’s revenue engine.
  5. The competitive landscape in Athletic product creation – most notably, quantifying the rise of UnderArmour and the malaise we’re seeing at Adidas.
  6. What retailers can do to play their cards right and continue to win as Nike grows.
  7. Which retailers in the US face the biggest business risk, whether through lower revenue, higher costs, or both, to compete in the new reality of Athletic retail.  

MACAU: IMMIGRATION SWEEP AND THE HK STOCKS

Takeaway: Looking for a positive pivot to our year long short thesis but with numbers and sentiment heading south, we're definitely not there yet

Explaining the big move lower in the HK listed Macau stocks

CALL TO ACTION

The HKSE-listed Macau gaming operator stocks were down big in HKSE trading today, possibly for a variety reasons. We're not sure how well circulated among the investment community, but we've just learned of a government immigration sweep taking place earlier this week in Macau. We remain negative overall on the stocks at least until Q4 and 2015 estimates are reduced dramatically.

the big move

While the Hang Seng Index fell almost 1% today, the HKSE-listed Macau gaming operators were down significantly more:

  • Wynn Macau (1128.HK) -6%
  • SJM (0880.HK) -6%
  • Macau Legend (1680.HK) -6%
  • Sands China (1928.HK) -5%
  • Galaxy (0027.HK) -5%
  • Louis XIII (0577.HK) -4%
  • Melco-Crown (6683.HK) -3%
  • MGM China (2282.HK) -2%

Immigration sweep

While there may have been multiple reasons for such a large move downward, we're most concerned with news of the immigration sweep. We haven't seen any news articles - we heard about it this am from a contact in Macau last night - so we're not sure how much it contributed to the stock move.  

 

Apparently, mainland Chinese immigration officials conducted an immigration sweep through Macau casinos, bars, and restaurants a few nights ago and took several thousand Chinese visitors into custody for overstaying their transit visas. These detainees where then relocated back into Mainland China.

 

Combined with yesterday's news of the new Transit Visa scheme, the sweep indicates that Macau/China are serious about the cleaning up Macau before the China President's visit in a few weeks.  VIPs are likely to stay away this month which could dampen GGR even more than the 20-25% YoY decline we're forecasting.

OTHER FACTORS

Aside from the overall drop in the Hang Seng and the immigration sweep, other factors likely impacted the HK Macau stocks overnight:

  • An Australia-based investment bank re-initiated coverage of the Macau gaming sector after the close of the HKSE on Tuesday evening, Tuesday morning New York time, with a downgrade of the sector and several operators including Sand China to underperform.
  • Yesterday morning New York time and after the close of the HKSE, we learned of additional Mainland China initiated travel crackdowns on Mainland Chinese attempting to visit Macau on 5-day transit visas - and how Mainland Chinese were being turned back on the China side when attempting to exit China with non-matching travel documents.
  • The release of the GGR detail, while in line with recently reduced expectations in the aggregate, revealed worse than expected Mass revenues and likely lower VIP volumes than expected.

conclusion

And the hits just keep coming. US listed Macau stocks should be heading lower this morning and over the near-term. We're looking for a positive pivot to our almost year long short thesis but with numbers and sentiment heading south, we're definitely not there yet.


Daily Trading Ranges

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