Party Hard?

This note was originally published at 8am on December 08, 2014 for Hedgeye subscribers.

“I’m the fellow who takes away the punch bowl just when the party is getting good.”

-William McChesney Martin


Economic #history fans will remember McChesney Martin as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve when central planners didn’t decide the fate of every market day (1951-1970). Sadly, Richard Nixon and Arthur Burns changed that by Burning The Buck in 1971.


Today, if you want to light up your country’s currency and party hard, you need a Ph.D. in economic storytelling. Devaluation has plenty of stock market pop, but “the trouble is...” according to Ken Rogoff, “a lot of people have not had any punch yet.”


In contrast, the two aforementioned quotes are what Jim Rickards used to introduce Chapter 10 (pg 243 in The Death of Money) – “Crossroads.” And, oh are we at a crossroad for both growth and inflation expectations, globally, this morning.


Back to the Global Macro Grind


Before I replay what happened last week, here’s what the Japanese just restated (revised lower) about the results of burning their currency – Q3 GDP dropped -1.9% (year-over-year) in 2014. “So”, they definitely need to triple down on that!

Party Hard? - Abenomics cartoon 11.17.2014 

I know, that is so Q3. How about China’s November trade data? Imports dropped -7% year-over-year (from +5% in October, which was a bad number to begin with); exports slowed to +5% NOV vs. +12% in OCT. #TrainWreck = Chinese stocks straight up.


In other central planning news, here’s what the world’s Big 3 (currencies) did last week:


  1. Japanese Yens burned another -2.3% last week and have lost -15.6% of their value in the last 6 months
  2. Europe crashed the Euro another -1.3% wk-over-wk (-10.1% in the last 6 months)
  3. US Dollar Index rose another +1.1% on the week (+11.2% in the last 6 months)


With the exception of a counter-TREND move in US jobs data (the 1st pseudo good rate of change report in months), most of the strength in the US Dollar can be attributed to the currency war (i.e. where the BOJ and ECB burn theirs).


To review, why does an un-elected central planner burn the currency?


A)     In response to #GrowthSlowing and/or

B)      In reaction to #deflation


In Hedgeye-speak (i.e. in Bayesian rate of change terms), when both of these core factors (GROWTH and INFLATION) are slowing, we call that the 4th Quadrant. That’s why our Q4 Macro Theme is called #Quad4 Deflation. That’s where we think the USA is too.


But, but… “it’s different this time” (says the cover of Barron’s, who will be charging 2 & 20 for that investment thesis starting in 2015 due to #deflationary forces in Old Wall media print advertising).


And… at the end of a cycle (66 consecutive months of US economic expansion), the other 2/3 of Americans who have only been punched (negative real wages for the last 5 years) are going to magically get wage growth and a capex cycle…


Roger that.


Simple Global Macro risk manager question: with global #GrowthSlowing and #Quad4 Deflation, how are global capex cycles and wages going to inflate? A: I don’t know.


While the fanfare surrounding Nikkei and “Dow 18,000 Bro” has been fantastic, the following stock markets have not been:


  1. Emerging Markets (MSCI Equity Index) down -1.8% on the week to -1.6% YTD
  2. Latin American Equities (MSCI Index) down another -5.1% week-over-week to -10.8% YTD
  3. Asia ex-Japan (MSCI Index) down -0.9% on the week to +3.7% YTD
  4. Brazil’s stock market -5.0% on the week to +0.9% YTD
  5. Canada’s stock market down -1.8% week-over-week (+6.3% YTD)
  6. Russia’s stock market continued to crash, -6.7% last week to -37% YTD


These stock markets have been undergoing what we call a phase transition in inflation expectations becoming deflationary ones. You can see that in the following real-time read-throughs:


  1. US 5yr Breakevens dropped another -4 basis pts on the wk to 1.36% (crashing -26%, or -47bps, YTD)
  2. West Texas Crude Oil down another -0.8% to -28.6% YTD
  3. CRB Commodities Index deflating another -0.8% last week to -9.9% YTD


Even the strongest commodities in 2014 (Coffee and Cattle) were down -3.9% and -2.6% last week, respectively.


From here, I think the debate really boils down to what’s more important: A) the impact of #deflation on stocks, bonds, and workers who have been compensated (in size) by the last 5 years of inflation expectations, or B) Ph.D. hopes for US wage growth?


Rather than partying hard with the planners, I’ll take B). Yep, call me names – I’m the fellow who doesn’t get paid to navel gaze at the Weimar Nikkei Dow and think that 55x earnings for the Russell 2000 in 2014 wasn’t a #bubble.


Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:


UST 10yr Yield 2.16-2.34%

SPX 2040-2081

RUT 1149-1190

EUR/USD 1.22-1.24

Yen 119.04-121.31

WTI Oil 62.21-69.40


Best of luck out there this week,



Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer


Party Hard? - 12.08.14 Chart

Commodities: Weekly Quant

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Commodities: Weekly Quant - chart4 volume

Commodities: Weekly Quant - chart5 open interest

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Commodities: Weekly Quant - chart7 sentiment



Ben Ryan


Investing Ideas - Levels

Takeaway: Here are Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough's refreshed levels for our high-conviction investing ideas.

Investing Ideas - Levels  - Investingideas12.19

Trade :: Trend :: Tail Process - These are three durations over which we analyze investment ideas and themes. Hedgeye has created a process as a way of characterizing our investment ideas and their risk profiles, to fit the investing strategies and preferences of our subscribers.

  • "Trade" is a duration of 3 weeks or less
  • "Trend" is a duration of 3 months or more
  • "Tail" is a duration of 3 years or less

Anything longer than 3 years is unpredictable.


real-time alerts

real edge in real-time

This indispensable trading tool is based on a risk management signaling process Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough developed during his years as a hedge fund manager and continues to refine. Nearly every trading day, you’ll receive Keith’s latest signals - buy, sell, short or cover.

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 McCullough: I’ve Never Tried Heroin and Europe Looks Like Hell

In this excerpt from Wednesday’s Morning Macro Call for institutional subscribers, Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough discusses the recent moves in European equities and questions whether ECB President Mario Draghi’s money printing (which we affectionately call the “Draghi Drugs”) can still deliver a high. If you’re hedged on the hope that central banks will save you, the fundamental issues in the major economies will hurt you.



McCullough: Why You Won't See Me In Barron's Any Time Soon

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EXCLUSIVE: Keith McCullough’s 2015 Market Forecast

In this brief excerpt from Tuesday’s Morning Macro Call, Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough finally offers his coveted 2015 market forecast in response to a viewer’s question. 



Q&A: What Deflation Means for Texas and Your Portfolio

The crash in oil is old news by now, so on Wednesday'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.


McCullough on Fox Business: "The Most Contrarian Thing I've Ever Heard!"

Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough appeared on Fox Business' Opening Bell with Maria Bartiromo Friday morning with Jeff Kleintop of Charles Schwab and Jones Trading Chief Market Strategist Mike O’Rourke. During a heated discussion on what will drive stocks in 2015, Kleintop claimed the new year will be brighter for global growth and Keith fired back that this is the most contrarian view he has ever heard.


Next, Keith and Mike O’Rourke sounded off on the state of the markets. Keith highlighted his view that the rest of the world is an ongoing "train wreck" and discussed risks associated with rising volatility. 


In this final clip, Keith and Mike O’Rourke discussed the economic implications of low oil prices. Keith reiterated his call to buy the long bond (TLT) as growth will surprise on the down side.


Everything Good?

The Best of This Week From Hedgeye - World Market No 12.16.14

"Nowhere to run to, baby ... Nowhere to hide." 

-Martha and the Vandellas


Red October...

The Best of This Week From Hedgeye - Russia ruble oil 12.15.14

 "The risk that was developing in Russia has been crystal clear," Hedgeye's Keith McCullough tweeted on Monday. "It's nothing new." On a related note, the Russian stock market crash continues unabated... down another -5.7% #NoWorries right?


Positioning for Fire $LNCO

The Best of This Week From Hedgeye - COD LNCO 12.19.14

Editor's note: Below is an excerpt from Friday's Morning Newsletter written by Hedgeye Energy Sector Head Kevin Kaiser. 


I don’t spend a lot of time trying to forecast what I’m ill-equipped to forecast with a high degree of confidence.  I don’t know when lightning will strike.  But I can put forth investment ideas that are based on sound data and reasoning, and are likely to work under various assumptions and scenarios.  And when the spark is set, I am prepared and well-positioned. 


I’ve written about no company more than LINN Energy (LINE, LNCO) over the past two years because I thought that the system was extremely unstable.  The basic story has always been the same – the company makes no real profit, but dividends out $1 billion per year, which it pays for via serial debt and equity issuance.  As I saw it, it was highly likely to end disastrously.  The pushback was consistent, “There’s no catalyst.”  This was not a good idea, I was told, because there wasn’t a lightning storm in sight…


Is It Really Different This Time? (Consensus U.S. GDP Forecast Edition)

The Best of This Week From Hedgeye - COD GDP 12.16.14

For more information on how you can become a subscriber to the fastest-growing independent research firm in America click here.


Poll of the Day: Will Vladimir Putin Take Major Military Action in 2015?


The crash in Russia continues as the ruble plunges to record lows, oil drops 50% since June, and the Russian stock market sinks over 50% YTD. We wanted to know what you thought.

Investing Ideas Newsletter

Takeaway: Current Investing Ideas: EDV, MUB, RH, TLT, XLP and YUM.

Below are Hedgeye analysts’ latest updates on our six current high-conviction long investing ideas.


We also feature two pieces of content from our research team at the bottom.


*Note: We will send CEO Keith McCullough’s updated levels for each investing idea in a separate email.


Investing Ideas Newsletter       - FED cartoon 12.18.2014



Does Your View on Rates Include the Risk of a "Reflexive Deflationary Spiral"?


Takeaway: We see amplified risk of a reflexive deflationary spiral over the NTM, strengthening our non-consensus bullish bias on long-term Treasuries.


To start, please review slides 29-39 of our 12/16 presentation on Emerging Markets, which outlines a probable fundamental case for EUR parity and a re-test of the August ’98 lows on the JPY with respect to the intermediate term. Those just might be 11 of the most important ~20 charts in all over global macro by this time next year. CLICK HERE to access that presentation.


Moving along, let’s review where consensus is on rates:


  • We know the sell-side is bullish on rates (i.e. bearish on Treasury bonds). Always have been; always will be. To my knowledge, there simply aren’t enough banking and trading fees associated with being bullish on long-term Treasury bonds in lieu of other asset classes. Along those lines, it’s worth noting that since the onset of the economic recovery, the start-of-year Bloomberg consensus forecast for the 10Y Treasury note yield at the end of the corresponding year has been off by an [astounding] average absolute value of 106bps! Sell-side consensus thinks rates put on +87bps from today’s price to close out 2015 at 3.05%.
  • The buy-side is perhaps even more bullish on rates (i.e. bearish on Treasury bonds) at the current juncture. The net SHORT position of 215k 10Y Treasury note futures and options contracts is the widest net SHORT position since April of 2010. On a TTM Z-Score basis, which we use to show deviations that are typically indicative of crowded trades, the buy-side hasn’t been this net SHORT of long-term Treasuries since March 2012, October 2011 and April of 2010. The subsequent draw-downs in the 10Y Treasury note yield from those peaks in bearish sentiment are -99bps, -45bps and -160bps, respectively.

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Source: Bloomberg L.P.

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Source: Bloomberg L.P.


So, is this time different? Will “the crowd” finally be right on long-term Treasuries? Having been appropriately bearish on rates (i.e. bullish on Treasury bonds) in 2014 (after having been bullish on rates in 2013), we are in an enviable position of lacking the kind of baggage that might cloud our judgment.


Regarding that judgment, we strongly believe the aforementioned dynamics in the currency market are likely contribute to a “reflexive deflationary spiral” whereby continued global macro asset price deflation and reported disinflation both contribute to rising investor demand for long-term Treasuries, at the margins.


Here’s how that process would work:


Step 1: Both the BoJ and ECB accelerate their monetary base expansion, at the margins, during a time where the Fed is on hold and deliberating [out loud] the appropriate timing of their first [and subsequent] rate hikes. Looking to our proprietary G3 Monetary Policy Model, which contextualizes trends across 10 key economic and financial market indicators, the ECB is clearly facing immense pressure to ease. The Fed should maintain a neutral-to-ever-so-slightly-dovish bias, while the BoJ should maintain a slight hawkish bias. That said, the BoJ’s current composite score is roughly equivalent to its late-October score, when Kuroda pushed through a contentious expansion of the BoJ’s QQE program. That signals to us that politics, not economics, are the primary driver of the BoJ’s current easing bias.



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October 30

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Step 2: As G3 monetary policy continues to diverge, the currency market responds by appropriately inflating the value of the U.S. dollar vis-à-vis peer and emerging market currencies. We think the implied ~3% appreciation of the U.S. Dollar Index through year-end 2015 as currently assumed by Bloomberg consensus is way off the mark. The DXY is up over +3% since the end of October alone!


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Step 3: As the dollar strengthens, commodity prices continue their deflationary descent.


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Step 4: As commodity prices continue to fall, both expected and reported CPI readings continue to fall. At first, breakevens and headline CPI rates will bear the brunt of the aforementioned deflationary forces. We anticipate core CPI readings are likely to follow those rates lower on a lag.


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Step 5: As reported inflation slows in all three of the world’s major economies, the pressure for each central bank to get marginally dovish will heighten. The central bank closest to achieving its mandate (i.e. “full employment” and “price stability” in the U.S., “price stability” in the Eurozone and “5% monetary math” in Japan) is likely to see its currency bear the brunt of global capital flows as investors anticipate relatively weaker monetary policy for longer in the other two economies. For now, that is undoubtedly the U.S. dollar.


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Step 6: Repeat steps #3-5.


Scary stuff if you bought the dip in Russia (RSX) or domestic E&Ps (XOP)…



Retail Sector head Brian McGough has no new update on Restoration Hardware this week. Shares of RH notched a new record high on Thursday trading over $100, before falling back a bit on Friday to finish the week up 3%.


RH is up almost 18% over the past month.



Counting on Creed

If there was one key takeaway from the analyst day we attended a couple of weeks ago, it is that new CEO Greg Creed is the real deal.  The energy, creativity, and passion he brings to the business cannot be understated.  He played an instrumental role in the Taco Bell turnaround and is now in a place to effect change across the whole organization.  While Mr. Novak built a tremendous company, Mr. Creed was very clear that his vibrant personality will transpire throughout the organization.  He will leave his mark, and we think it will be for the better.


Investing Ideas Newsletter       - yum creed


As we mentioned in last week’s addition, the new global reporting structure allows for a clean split of YUM’s business units into multiple asset light models.  What we failed to mention, however, is that this new structure should enhance brand focus across the portfolio.  For this reason, we don’t necessarily need a restructuring or financial engineering event to occur to be comfortable with our long thesis.  We genuinely believes the company, and its brands, are heading in the right direction. 


In other words, there are multiple ways to win.


If an activist steps in, we win.  If an activist doesn’t step win, we probably still win.  All told, while an activist would likely create shareholder value rather quickly, we’re confident that this management team can be counted on to create value over the long haul.  Looking one to two years out, under any scenario, we see the stock trading significantly higher than where it is today.



* * * * * * * * * * 


just charts: eye-catching industrial data

Industrials Sector Head Jay Van Sciver shines a light on ten key developments.

Investing Ideas Newsletter       - i9

DARDEN: recovery expectations are premature

We remain very cautious on DRI shares and believe expectations of a 2H15 recovery are not grounded in reality.

Investing Ideas Newsletter       - darden restaurants

The Week Ahead

The Economic Data calendar for the week of the 22nd of December through the 26th of December is full of critical releases and events.  Attached below is a snapshot of some of the headline numbers that we will be focused on.


The Week Ahead - 12.15.14 Week Ahead


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20 Proprietary Risk Ranges

Daily Trading Ranges is designed to help you understand where you’re buying and selling within the risk range and help you make better sales at the top end of the range and purchases at the low end.