RTA Rewind: 12/12/14


ICYMI: Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough hosted an RTA LIVE session today at 11:00AM. He and Macro Analyst Ben Ryan ran through the Real Time Alerts signals, talked about today's market activity, and fielded questions from subscribers.

Retail Callouts (12/12): 11 SIGMAS, LULU, RH, ZQK, COST, COH + LVMH

Takeaway: Here are SIGMAs for the 11 retailers that reported earnings this week.

Here are SIGMAs for the 11 retailers that reported earnings this week. 


If there's any takeaway, it's that 8 of the 11 companies improved inventory position on the margin, but only 3 improved margins. No other major callouts.


ZQK - 4Q14 Earnings

Retail Callouts (12/12): 11 SIGMAS, LULU, RH, ZQK, COST, COH + LVMH - 12 12 chart1


RH - 3Q14 Earnings

Retail Callouts (12/12): 11 SIGMAS, LULU, RH, ZQK, COST, COH + LVMH - 12 12 chart2


LULU - 3Q14 Earnings

Retail Callouts (12/12): 11 SIGMAS, LULU, RH, ZQK, COST, COH + LVMH - 12 12 chart3


COST - 1Q15 Earnings

Retail Callouts (12/12): 11 SIGMAS, LULU, RH, ZQK, COST, COH + LVMH - 12 12 chart4


VRA - 3Q15 Earnings

Retail Callouts (12/12): 11 SIGMAS, LULU, RH, ZQK, COST, COH + LVMH - 12 12 chart5


FRAN - 2Q14 Earnings

Retail Callouts (12/12): 11 SIGMAS, LULU, RH, ZQK, COST, COH + LVMH - 12 12 chart6


MW - 3Q14 Earnings

Retail Callouts (12/12): 11 SIGMAS, LULU, RH, ZQK, COST, COH + LVMH - 12 12 chart7


RSH - 3Q14 Earnings

Retail Callouts (12/12): 11 SIGMAS, LULU, RH, ZQK, COST, COH + LVMH - 12 12 chart8


CASY - 2Q15 Earnings

Retail Callouts (12/12): 11 SIGMAS, LULU, RH, ZQK, COST, COH + LVMH - 12 12 chart9


OXM - 3Q14 Earnings

Retail Callouts (12/12): 11 SIGMAS, LULU, RH, ZQK, COST, COH + LVMH - 12 12 chart10


WTSL - 3Q14 Earnings

Retail Callouts (12/12): 11 SIGMAS, LULU, RH, ZQK, COST, COH + LVMH - 12 12 chart11


COH, LVMH - Coach targeted by LVMH



Takeaway: This is why we covered our long-standing short on COH in the low 30s.





KERING - Creative Director Frida Giannini and CEO Patrizio di Marco to step down from Gucci



Advent Bids for Stuart Weitzman



KR - David Dillon to Retire as Kroger Chairman



"Rodney McMullen Elected Chairman Starting Jan. 1"


Tag Heuer CEO Resigns



BABA - Report – Alibaba security flaw potentially exposes user info to hackers


Got Deflation?

Client Talking Points


A lot people trying to pick bottoms. You shouldn’t do that when something’s crashing like oil. Deflation. Deflation. Deflation.

Oil is down 44% since June with lower highs and lower lows. Not good.

10-Year Yield

The 10-Year bond yield trading with what? Deflation expectations because deflation expectations are price in what? Oil. It’s a clean cut correlation. The crash in bond yields continue with the yield on the 10-Year down 30% YTD. 


Volatility went up 80% in three days. #NoWorries. We’ve been bullish on volatility since July. We’ve remained bullish on volatility since July. We’ve been bearish on things like growth and junk bonds since July. These things are interconnected and correlated.

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


Yield Spread pounded to YTD lows; Spread risk in low-quality bonds at YTD highs #NoWorries



“If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?”

--Vince Lombardi


$1.1 trillion, the amount of the spending bill passed by Congress last night. 

Early Look

daily macro intelligence

Relied upon by big institutional and individual investors across the world, this granular morning newsletter distills the latest and most vital market developments and insures that you are always in the know.


Takeaway: Today we help you own the following debates: #Quad1 vs. #Quad4; gas prices vs. the consumer; and the labor market vs. the economic cycle.


Long Ideas/Overweight Recommendations

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

Short Ideas/Underweight Recommendations

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



#Quad1 Percolating in the Data; Not Yet in the Market: If there’s one topic we’ve written extensively about in recent weeks, it’s the potential transition to the market pricing in a probable upcoming #Quad1 setup in the U.S., which is a scenario whereby growth (real GDP YoY) is accelerating as inflation (headline CPI YoY) decelerates. To the extent you’re looking to understand this transition from a fundamental perspective, please review our 11/26 edition of the Macro Playbook.




Much to the chagrin of the Consensus Macro “lower gas prices” narrative, however, that – i.e. the market pricing in #Quad1 – hasn’t really happened thus far. Simply put, the #1 sector (consumer discretionary) and #1 style factor (small caps) we’d expect to lead the broader U.S. equity market into the #Quad1 promised land are generally underperforming those which tend to perform most favorably in #Quad4 for the MTD.


The next two charts show the ratio of the XLY and IWM to the XLV, XLP, VNQ and XLU, normalizing them to show absolute return; anything below 100 represents underperformance by the former two ETFs:



Source: Bloomberg L.P.



Source: Bloomberg L.P.


Juxtapose this underperformance with most recent consumption data, which has been both good and better than expected:


  • Jobless Claims: From Josh Steiner’s 12/11 note titled, “JOBLESS CLAIMS – 2014 vs. 2007”:
    • “Looking back to 2007, by comparison (recall the S&P peaked in October 2007), rolling SA claims were trending higher by the October/November 2007 timeframe. We illustrate this in the first chart below.
    • In blue we show the rolling SA claims with a second order polynomial trend line to illustrate the acceleration in claims in the fourth quarter. Claims had been running sideways between ~310k and 330k until week 43, when they broke above 330k and never looked back. That was late October, 2007. By comparison, the green line shows the 2014 trend.
    • Second, one can look at the Y/Y rate of change in the rolling NSA data. The data inflected to positive 7% Y/Y rate of change (rising claims) by November, 2007 suggesting that the labor market was already showing early signs of deterioration, less than one month after the peak in the market… The 4-week rolling average of NSA claims, which we consider a more accurate representation of the underlying labor market trend, was -8.0% lower YoY, which is a sequential improvement versus the previous week's YoY change of -7.2%.”
  • Broader Labor Market: Obviously the [monster] sequential acceleration in MoM nonfarm payrolls growth to +321k is what it is – i.e. really darn good. Underneath the hood, the labor market continues to tighten materially, which is positive for the consumer. From Christian Drake’s 12/10 note titled, “Early Look: U-G-L-Y”:
    • “Quits & Hires:  Yesterday’s JOLTS data showed voluntary separations (Quits) held above 2.7MM for a second consecutive month – the highest level since February 2008 – while total hires held above 5MM for a second month for the first time since December 2007. 
    • Available Workers per Job Opening:  Available Workers (the sum of Unemployed + those Not in the Labor force but Want a Job) per Job Opening (JOLTS reports) dropped to 3.21 in October – marking a new cycle low and dipping below the pre-recession average of 3.31.
    • Short-term Unemployed, % of Total:   The share of short-term unemployed - those unemployed for less than 5 wks – made another new cycle high, increasing to 27.6% of total in November.   While the share of total has typically ranged between 40-50% at peak in prior cycles, the trend in the current cycle remains one of ongoing improvement. 
    • NFIB Hiring & Compensation: The Small business optimism data for November, released yesterday, showed hiring plans, compensation, and difficulty in filling positions all remain positive with each increasing sequentially and sitting just below recent cycle highs.”
  • Retail Sales: To contextualize yesterday’s better-than-expected retail sales release, it’s worth mentioning that spending on goods only and represents ~23 of GDP and ~34% of PCE. Looking to the retail sales control group, which is the category of spending that feeds directly into GDP accounting, we see that growth accelerated sequentially on a MoM (+0.6% from +0.5% prior), YoY (+4.4% from +3.6% prior) and 2Y average (+3.8% from +3.7% prior) basis. The 2Y average growth rate of +3.8% represents a new TTM peak.




THE HEDGEYE MACRO PLAYBOOK - available workers per job opening


THE HEDGEYE MACRO PLAYBOOK - retail sales control group


To reiterate, the aforementioned consumption data is pretty darn good; you don’t need a Consensus Macro survey or narrative to tell you that.


Moreover, the trend in jobless claims would imply (i.e. NOT guarantee) the improvement in the labor market has considerable room to run, which then implies (i.e. NOT guarantees) that both the economic cycle and market have headroom as well. The following table shows that, on average, both jobless claims trough (on a 3MMA basis) and nonfarm payrolls growth peaks (on a 3MMA basis) ~7 months ahead of the peak in the business cycle and ~3 months ahead of the peak in the market. Please note that these figures are averages; as the table shows, the dispersion across cycles is cavernous, which means that this is, at best, a rough guide to timing your exit from this multi-year bull market.




***CLICK HERE to download today’s updated 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: U-G-L-Y (12/10)


#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.


Draghi Drugs at the JAN ECB Meeting? Nope! (12/10)


#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: “Hedge Fund Hotel” Edition (Part II) (12/8)


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 – keeping in mind that we have equal conviction in each security from an intermediate-term absolute return perspective.

Knapp Sales Weak, Reiterate Short DRI

DRI remains on our Investment Ideas list as a short.

Knapp Data Discouraging

Wednesday night, Malcolm Knapp released sales results for November, estimating that same-restaurant sales increased +0.3% as guest counts decreased -2.1% versus a year ago.  On a two-year average basis, same-restaurant sales increased +0.9% as guest counts decreased -1.3%. 


Importantly, November signified a period of widespread sequential declines in the restaurant industry, as both same-restaurant sales and guest counts declined -160 bps and -230 bps, respectively, on a sequential basis.


Recall that earlier this week we provided detail on November data from Black Box, which showed a similar pattern that of the Knapp estimates.  Despite both sources suggesting sales increased as traffic decreased during the month, the Knapp data paints a gloomier picture of the industry.


DRI Is a Short Into Earnings

To us, this suggests that Darden (which isn’t included in Black Box estimates) had a difficult November.  With the company set to report earnings next Tuesday, December 16th, after the close, we find it prudent to reiterate our short as the recent move in the stock has been premature.  Although there is a chance the company hits 2Q15 estimates, full-year expectations remain too aggressive and will likely be guided down at some point.


Our bearish bias is predicated on the struggling Olive Garden business, which the street assumes will recover quite nicely from an anemic FY14.  Unfortunately, we haven’t seen anything would indicate a recovery is underway.  The Brand Renaissance laid out by the prior management team was underwhelming and we expect the results moving forward to be a reflection of this.


We need to see management name a CEO and unveil a new strategic plan before we get excited about the Darden story moving forward.  This plan would need to include the following:

  • A new strategic direction for Olive Garden
  • A plan to improve LongHorn’s relatively  low AUVs and below average returns
  • Significant changes to capital allocation strategies (limited new unit growth, potential sale of non-core assets/real estate, etc.)
  • Strategic priorities for improving the entire cost structure of the enterprise


Darden’s stock price and valuation will be driven by the Olive Garden business in the future and, quite frankly, we don’t have much faith in management’s current plan to resurrect the brand.


The Street Is Blindly Assuming A 2H15 Recovery at og

Knapp Sales Weak, Reiterate Short DRI - 1



Howard Penney

Managing Director


Fred Masotta


LEISURE LETTER (12/12/2014)



  • Dec 14: City of Dreams Manila Opening
  • Dec 17:  Upstate NY Casino Decision
  • Dec 19:  Hedgeye Cruise Pricing Survey (Wave #1)
  • Dec 20: Trump Taj Mahal Closing

Today's Headline Story

NCLH – A crewmember from Oceania Cruises' Insignia remains in a hospital in St Lucia after a fire onboard which claimed the lives of three others. Oceania announced it will give all 656 passengers 100% refunds as well as a 50% credit toward a future Oceania Cruise voyage. Insignia was on a 10-night cruise which departed San Juan on December 7 and was scheduled to arrive in Miami on December 17.


Article HERE

Takeaway:  Not much media coverage over this unfortunate incident. Can luxury cruising brush aside another ship incident? We will see any kind of pricing impact in our pricing survey next week.



CZR – Caesars Entertainment Corp. is expected to miss a $224 million interest payment owed to bondholders as the company prepares to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy on its largest operating division next month.  The move is another step as the casino giant seeks to restructure its gaming industry-high $22.8 billion debt. Caesars has been in debt reduction talks with banks and creditors since September. The discussions center primarily around Caesars Entertainment Operation Co., which controls about 80% of the overall debt and is running out of cash to meet those obligations. Sources said a framework to a restructuring agreement has been reached, which includes a prepackaged bankruptcy covering CEOC and moving the casinos controlled by CEOC into a real estate investment trust.


Article HERE


Other CZR developments:

  • The First Lien Bank Lenders believe they had reached an oral agreement with the company. That oral agreement in principle, however, was contingent on, among other things, the company reaching an economic deal with respect to a Restructuring acceptable to the First Lien Bank Lenders with certain beneficial holders of CEOC's 11.25% senior secured notes due 2017, CEOC's 8.5% senior secured notes due 2020 and CEOC's 9% senior secured notes due 2020.
  • The First Lien Bank Lenders understand that, at the time of this press release, the company has not reached an agreement with the First Lien Bondholders on the terms of a Restructuring that are acceptable to the First Lien Bank Lenders, nor has the company negotiated the details of the definitive documentation relating to such Restructuring or resolved all of the substantive issues with the First Lien Bank Lenders.
  • The agreement:
    • Structurally, CEOC would be restructured as a real estate investment trust with an operating company and a property company
    • In addition, a subsidiary of PropCo would own all of the assets of Caesars Palace Las Vegas
    • In connection with the REIT structure, pursuant to two separate leases, one for CPLV and one for all other properties owned by PropCo, OpCo would lease all the properties owned directly or indirectly by PropCo and pay rent to PropCo.
    • The beneficial holders of CEOC's senior secured credit facilities would receive a 100% recovery based on principal outstanding
    • The beneficial holders of CEOC's first lien bond debt would receive a 93.8% recovery based on principal outstanding
    • The beneficial holders of CEOC's second lien and unsecured bond debt would receive an amount of equity directly or indirectly in PropCo or OpCo equal to the value of the unencumbered assets
    • CEC contemplates raising capital from third parties to finance its funding obligations by issuing $150M in convertible debt with a variable strike price of no more than $14 per share
    • Term sheets (including the terms and conditions set forth therein) have not been negotiated with, or agreed to by, the First Lien Bank Lenders.

Takeaway: We remain very skeptical of CZR's sponsored REIT. Such a REIT would be single tenant focused but likely with significantly higher leverage. Expect the negotiation process to be contentious and protracted.


27.HK–  Chairman of Galaxy, Francis Lui, says the Group’s phase II project will be unveiled during the first half of next year as scheduled, that the exact date of the opening of Phase II will be announced in January, Mr. Lui also revealed that the Group is to hire some 7,000 to 8,000 employees for the Phase II operation.


Galaxy will begin construction on its Galaxy Hengqin Island Resort in 2015 with work completed in three phases over seven to eight years. The Hengqin Resort will feature Maldives-style leisure resorts to supplement the high-end, high-density entertainment projects in Macau that the Group is creating.


Article HERE

Takeaway: We await the phase 2 date in January. 


3918.HK – NagaCorp Limited's Board of Director's made a decision “in principle” to utilize NagaCorp’s current share repurchase mandate approved at the company’s last annual general meeting, in April. The board has set no specific limitations on the size, timing or price of repurchases. The filing pointed out there is no assurance the company will make any repurchases at all.

Article HERE

Takeaway: With capital needed to fund the development of the integrated resort casino in Vladivostok, we are skeptical NagaCorp will repurchase any shares.


PENN – Penn National Gaming Inc. is critical of the state legislature, after the Ohio Senate passed an amendment requiring the gaming operator to pay half of the $500,000 owed to Austintown Township and the city of Dayton for three years. The $500,000 annual payments are supposed to be paid by Dec. 31 and are to be used 50-50 for infrastructure and capital improvements and general-fund use. That is the same set up as the two $1 million payments Austintown already received, which went toward resurfacing roads and paying off a communications system debt.

Article HERE


H – announced today that the Company's Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to an additional $400 million of the Company's common stock. As of December 11, 2014, the Company had approximately $465 million available under its share repurchase authorization (including the $400 million authorized yesterday).

Takeaway: This is a $206m expansion of the repurchase availability as of 3Q 2014.


PEB – announced that it has acquired Union Station Hotel, Autograph Collection for $52.3 million.  In 2015, PEB forecasts that the hotel will generate earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”) of $4.5 to $5.0M and net operating income after capital reserves (“NOI”) of $3.8 to $4.3M. The property will maintain its association with Marriott’s Autograph Collection and will be operated by Sage Hospitality, who also operates PEB's The Nines in Portland. 

Article HERE

Takeaway: The likelihood of a follow-on equity issuance increased with this announcement.  Pebblebrook held about $119 million in cash on 9/30/14, then raised about $146 million in late October when it issued 3.68 million shares of its common stock. During this quarter, PEB acquired the Palomar Los Angeles and Westin Colonnade Coral Gables for a combined $138 million, the company will spend $52.3 million on the Union Station and is under contract to purchase a full service hotel in Boston for $261 million. PEB has about $300 million of capacity on its corporate revolver. 


Insider Transactions:

RCL – Director Arne Alexander Wilhelmsen sold 50,236 shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises on Thursday, December 11 at an average price of $79.05 and now directly owns 2,470 shares of the company’s stock.



CPC Disciplinary Watchdog In The House – The Communist Party of China's (CPC's) disciplinary watchdog will establish resident offices in four CPC central organs to intensify anti-graft work. It is the first time the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) has sent resident supervisors to the CPC Central Committee's General Office, Organization Department, Publicity Department and United Front Work Department, and the National People's Congress, the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and the General Office of the State Council.

Article HERE

Takeaway: The Tiger hunt intensifies.


Las Vegas Master Planned Home Building Restarts – Developers of Skye Canyon, a 9,000-home community planned at U.S. Highway 95 and Fort Apache Road, announced deals with Woodside Homes and Pulte Homes on 80 acres at the 1,700-acre site. Olympia Chairman and CEO Garry Goett said at a June ground breaking that homes at Skye Canyon would have floor plans unique to the community. He also said prices at the community would range from $200,000 to $600,000.

Article HERE



China November New Loans were CNY852.7 billion vastly exceeding consensus expectations of CNY650 billion and October's CNY548.3 billion. While Chinese Bank deposits increased 9.6% year-over-year compared to 9.5% in October.


China 2015 GDP Growth Target Lowered – China's Central Economic Work Conference concluded and though not formally announced, it is widely believed, the Conference lowered China's 2015 GDP target to 7%, down 0.5% from 2014's target.  In addition, the just-concluded Central Economic Work Conference, for the first time, systematically articulates the meaning of "New Norm" theory. "New norm" is a phrase used by President Xi Jinping several times recently, reflecting the leadership's drive to wean the economy from dependence on infrastructure investment and exports. One of the cores of the theory is to let the economy adapt to a slower growth, as top policymakers have expressed many times that the economy cannot maintain its previous high-speed growth.


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.


Olympia Chairman and CEO Garry Goett said at a June ground breaking that homes at Skye Canyon would have floor plans unique to the community. He also said prices at the community would range from $200,000 to $600,000.

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