“Statement Analysis is the most accurate way of determining if a person is lying in a verbal or written statement. A person cannot give a lengthy deceptive statement without revealing that it is a lie. This is because people's words will betray them.” -Mark McClish, creator of the Statement Analysis method
HOW WE ARE USING STATEMENT ANALYSIS
Reading conference call/Analyst meeting transcripts is a key part of the analyst’s job. We all use words to define our reality, and our choice of words can be revealing. The premise of Statement Analysis is that a person’s choice of specific words can reveal when there might be an attempt at deception. This Statement Analysis exercise looks exclusively at a company’s written and verbal statements. Using these hidden clues, we can dig deeper into a company’s public pronouncements for signals of potential concerns in a company’s reporting.
TIMING OF THE CALL
On December 22nd at 11am we will be hosting a conference call on Statement analysis and how we apply it to our own financial analysis. On the call will be Mark McClish, creator of the Statement Analysis system and a federal law enforcement official for the past 26 years. We will provide the names of the companies discussed on the day of the call.
MARK MCCLISH BIO
In 1990, Mark was promoted to the position of Inspector/Instructor at the U.S. Marshals Service Training Academy located at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, GA. He taught at the Training Academy for nine years serving as the lead instructor on interviewing techniques. He used this time to study deceptive statements and conduct research on deception. Based on his findings, he created the Statement Analysis techniques for detecting deception in a verbal and written statement. While assigned to the Training Academy Mark was also the lead defensive tactics instructor for the Marshals Service.
Mark retired from the Marshals Service in 2009 and started Advanced Interviewing Concepts. His company provides interviewing skills training and assists investigators in analyzing statements.
WHAT WE INTEND TO ACCOMPLISH ON THE CALL
On the call we will focus on:
- Why Statement analysis is important.
- Mark’s process and findings.
- Provide analysis on select companies.
- Identify areas within specific corporate releases that bear closer scrutiny, and
- Compare company comments with their financial statements.
The call will last about an hour including time for Q&A.
This note was originally published at 8am on December 04, 2014 for Hedgeye subscribers.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
The quote above is lathered in cutesy life-coachy’ness, but I still like it. It implies that #Greatness is, in part, a choice. And, empirically, I’ve generally found it to be true.
For the majority, our confreres in the daily grind constitute most of that top five. With the Hedgeye firm meeting on Tuesday and our holiday party tonight, I’ll get a chance to look around and re-appreciate the unique team and business model born from the creative destruction of the financial crisis.
It’ll also serve as the annual reminder not to be the weak-link outlier and bringer of negative skew to our Macro team’s greatness distribution.
Back to the Global Macro Grind…
You can choose your colleagues and comrades but you can’t, in large part, choose your neighbors. You may, however, have more of them in the coming year.
We’ve been bearish on housing since the beginning of the year with the expectation for the compressed demand shock (rising rates/tighter regulation) in 2H13-1H14 to manifest in a significant deceleration in home price growth and underperformance across housing related equities.
At this point, most of what we expected at the beginning of the year has played out and, inclusive of the recent rally, housing related equities (ITB/XHB) have been among the worst performing sectors YTD.
So, what now?
Housing, like most things Macro, is more about better/worse than good/bad. From a rate of change perspective – how we measure/contextualize data – less good is bad, less bad is good, and the successful front-running of second derivative inflections remains the sangre vital of macro alpha generation.
As it relates to housing, while the macro environment remains a discrete risk, (very) easy volume compares, the lapping of weather/QM Implementation/FHA loan limit reductions, looser regulation, and a fledgling stabilization in 2nd derivative HPI trends all sit as modest, prospective tailwinds for 2015.
In other words, the downside asymmetry that existed at the beginning of the year has largely collapsed and, from a rate of change perspective, demand and price trends are showing a nascent inflection that looks likely to continue as comps ease progressively into 2H15.
We’ll be hosting a conference call on December 11th updating our outlook for housing in 2015. Institutional subscribers can ping firstname.lastname@example.org for call details/access.
I would, however, caution against conflating our shifting view on housing with our broader view on growth/inflation. The counter-trend call on housing is more of an idiosyncratic, rate of change call at this point than it is a discrete call for a sustained acceleration in consumer discretionary or early-cycle exposure at large.
Perhaps we’ll rotate out of our favored Quad #4 allocations to capture another short-cycle oscillation of pro-growth, high beta style factor outperformance but that’s not the call, yet.
The call, of course, is always that the call can change – particularly when taking a multi-duration view of risk.
In a tactical, counter-TREND move yesterday, we covered TIPS and bought JO (coffee) and FXY (Yen) in Real-time Alerts.
As the Quad #4 (i.e. disinflation and decelerating growth) callers the last couple quarters, we’ve been out front in slope surfing the strong dollar, down energy/commodities trade. But that doesn’t mean we need to go full deflation-ista at every price and across every duration.
As Keith put it: COUNTER TREND Call = USD Down = Yen (and/or Euro) UP = Nikkei Down = Oil Up = High Short Int Energy Stocks Up
In other words, in the immediate term, with Japanese (Nikkei) and European (EuroStoxx 600) equities overbought and the Euro and Yen oversold, the market is pricing in a potent dosing of Draghi drugs and an ultra-smooth election bid for Abe.
In other, other words, while our TREND view on deflation/Japan/etc. remains largely unchanged, the probability for a sizeable short-term macro reversal and $USD correlation risk to manifest in the opposite direction for prices is as high as its been.
Since we get a regular flood of process related questions, it’s probably worth extending and generalizing the thought process under yesterday’s tactical RTA maneuvering.
Our broader Trend view has been that:
- We are currently late-cycle
- Our Trend expectation has been for disinflation and slowing growth
- Our favored positioning YTD has been Bonds, Cash and Low Beta/Large Cap/Defensive yield sectors/companies
Inside of that Trend view, the macro and market reality is that:
- Tops are processes, not points (as are bottoms)
- ‘Perma-‘ anything isn’t a process and there is always a time/price to like and not like something
How do we integrate those market realities with our particular Trend view?
- By having a multi-duration view of risk. The probability of a particular short-term move need not be the same (or in the same direction) as the probability of a particular intermediate-term price trend.
- Recognizing that the market view should evolve and gross/net positioning should dynamically shift alongside changes in price
How does it work in practice?
- Selling/shorting on green and buying/covering on red (ie Fading Beta) within a defined, probability weighted immediate-term risk range allows us to pick off positive P&L in both direction without being overexposed to market risk
- We can maintain a TREND view on the trajectory for macro fundamentals/markets while taking high probability, tactical counter-TREND positions on overbought/oversold conditions. Taking the other side of our own TREND/TAIL view for a TRADE (particularly at immediate-term momentum turns) need not be incongruous if there is a repeatable process for quantifying the balance of risk
We get that multi-duration risk management and tactical positioning (i.e. “trading”) isn’t conventional investing in the classical sense but that’s why we try our best to explain the process and contextualize ‘the why’ underneath it. It’s also why we tell you over what duration(s) we like a particular call/idea/theme.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” (Henry Ford)
Cars are cool, but only if you know how to drive it.
Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:
UST 10yr Yield 2.16-2.30%
WTI Oil 63.76-71.72
To re-learning, defenestrating convention, and macro mavericking,
Christian B. Drake
U.S. Macro Analyst
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The crash in oil is old news by now, so on today's Morning Macro Call Keith McCullough responds to a subscriber question with a breakdown of how deflation impacts the rest of your portfolio, from the MLP space to Healthcare.
Takeaway: We are removing HCA from Investing Ideas. Texas exposure could become a problem in 2015 if the decline in crude oil prices continues.
Editor's note: We are locking in the 10% gain in HCA since we added it to Investing Ideas on 11/7/14. For the record, the S&P 500 fell -3% during this time. Healthcare Sector Head Tom Tobin is concerned that Texas exposure could become a problem in 2015 for HCA if the decline in crude oil prices continues. Additional explanation below.
~50% drop in crude oil prices since June
WTI has been nearly cut in half, dropping from a peak of $102 on June 25 to its most recent level of $55. The carnage is obvious in prices across the energy sector. However, if the decline persists through 2015, which is the current forecast of the EIA, our analysis shows a likely downward pressure on medical consumption in Texas (a key market for HCA).
- Texas Gross Product, Non-Farm Payrolls, tax revenue, and the price of crude are tightly related despite a small contribution from the sector to state non-farm payrolls. Gas extraction jobs in the state were 11,190 in 2013, or 1% of total Texas non-farm payrolls.
- The Texas state budget has a small direct exposure to oil and gas related tax sources.
- However, medical consumption in Texas trends with local economy. The drop in crude oil price will pressure the state economy, and indirectly, medical consumption.
HCA's exposure to Texas is significant with 25% of beds and 24% of revenue in state.
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