Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough shares the top three things in his macro notebook this morning.
Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough shares the top three things in his macro notebook this morning.
Editor's note: This is a brief excerpt from Hedgeye research earlier this morning. For more information on how to become a subscriber click here.
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Markets seem agitated by the Greek vote this morning. Worldwide deflation is the much bigger risk.
The Greek stock market continues to crash (it’s down -10% this morning to -34% year-to-date). But the more interesting breakdowns @Hedgeye TREND resistance are those in Italy’s MIB and Spain’s IBEX – don’t forget who #deflation hurts the most, #debtors (hence why central planning policies will do anything to try to avoid deflation).
On a related note, the best Big Macro, low-volatility, liquid long position to have on if you agree with us on global #GrowthSlowing and #Deflation is the Long Bond (TLT, EDV, etc). That’s been one of our best calls in 2014. But you have to be there on the pullbacks like we saw last week.
The UST 10YR Yield is -4 basis points to 2.21% this morning with no support to 2.05%.
Below are key European banking risk monitors, which are included as part of Josh Steiner and the Financial team's "Monday Morning Risk Monitor". If you'd like to receive the work of the Financials team or request a trial please email
European Financial CDS - Swaps mostly widened in Europe last week. Greek banks widened the most on fears that the parliamentary vote for a new president would fail. News broke this morning that the vote did in fact fail. That will force the country into snap elections in early 2015.
Sovereign CDS – We look at the move in swaps as of Friday's close so the Greek election news this morning is not reflected in these figures and has most swaps higher as of this morning. There was notable tightening in Portuguese sovereign swaps (-23 bps to 173 bps) and modest tightening in Italy and Spain.
Euribor-OIS Spread – The Euribor-OIS spread (the difference between the euro interbank lending rate and overnight indexed swaps) measures bank counterparty risk in the Eurozone. The OIS is analogous to the effective Fed Funds rate in the United States. Banks lending at the OIS do not swap principal, so counterparty risk in the OIS is minimal. By contrast, the Euribor rate is the rate offered for unsecured interbank lending. Thus, the spread between the two isolates counterparty risk. The Euribor-OIS spread widened by 1 bps to 10 bps.
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Takeaway: Risk is high and rising as our intermediate term risk gauge is almost completely red. This week we're calling out oil, China and Europe.
Our heatmap below shows almost everything red across the intermediate duration. 10 of 12 signals are deteriorating while just 1 is improving. The main callouts this week are: 1) commodity prices continue to drop. The CRB Index was down 2.2% week-over-week and is now down 12.0% month-over-month as Saudi Arabia keeps its foot on the production gas, 2) Chinese steel prices and the Chinese interbank rate are both going the wrong way. Chinese steel prices are down 2.7% on the week and are down 6.7% on the month. Meanwhile, Chinese interbank rates are up 97 bps on the month, and 3) Europe is backsliding with Greece moving, once again, to the front burner with the announcement this morning that the parliamentary vote for a new president has failed, triggering snap elections in early 2015.
Financial Risk Monitor Summary
• Short-term(WoW): Negative / 3 of 12 improved / 3 out of 12 worsened / 6 of 12 unchanged
• Intermediate-term(WoW): Negative / 1 of 12 improved / 10 out of 12 worsened / 1 of 12 unchanged
• Long-term(WoW): Negative / 2 of 12 improved / 3 out of 12 worsened / 7 of 12 unchanged
1. U.S. Financial CDS - Swaps widened for 24 out of 27 domestic financial institutions. MBIA swaps showed the biggest increase for the second week in a row (+27 bps to 488 bps). Meanwhile, Genworth swaps continue to widen, a trend sparked by their November 7 announcement of an impending charge of over $1 billion dollars pre-tax and continued by their December 17 announcement that they had not yet completed their annual review of long-term care insurance active life margins. Genworth swaps rose 13 bps to 459 bps.
Widened the least/ tightened the most WoW: RDN, TRV, TRV
Widened the most WoW: MBI, AIG, C
Tightened the most WoW: AIG, MTG, RDN
Widened the most MoM: GNW, C, MBI
2. European Financial CDS - Swaps mostly widened in Europe last week. Greek banks widened the most on fears that the parliamentary vote for a new president would fail. News broke this morning that the vote did in fact fail. That will force the country into snap elections in early 2015.
3. Asian Financial CDS - 9 out of 10 Asian bank CDS widened last week. Japanese and Indian bank swaps widened the most.
4. Sovereign CDS – We look at the move in swaps as of Friday's close so the Greek election news this morning is not reflected in these figures and has most swaps higher as of this morning. There was notable tightening in Portuguese sovereign swaps (-23 bps to 173 bps) and modest tightening in Italy and Spain.
5. High Yield (YTM) Monitor – High Yield rates fell 74.8 bps last week, ending the week at 6.42% versus 7.17% the prior week.
6. Leveraged Loan Index Monitor – The Leveraged Loan Index rose 5.0 points last week, ending at 1853.
7. TED Spread Monitor – The TED spread rose 3.2 basis points last week, ending the week at 25.4 bps this week versus last week’s print of 22.21 bps.
8. CRB Commodity Price Index – The CRB index fell -2.2%, ending the week at 235 versus 240 the prior week. As compared with the prior month, commodity prices have decreased -12.0% We generally regard changes in commodity prices on the margin as having meaningful consumption implications.
9. Euribor-OIS Spread – The Euribor-OIS spread (the difference between the euro interbank lending rate and overnight indexed swaps) measures bank counterparty risk in the Eurozone. The OIS is analogous to the effective Fed Funds rate in the United States. Banks lending at the OIS do not swap principal, so counterparty risk in the OIS is minimal. By contrast, the Euribor rate is the rate offered for unsecured interbank lending. Thus, the spread between the two isolates counterparty risk. The Euribor-OIS spread widened by 1 bps to 10 bps.
10. Chinese Interbank Rate (Shifon Index) – The Shifon Index fell 6 basis points last week, ending the week at 3.549% versus last week’s print of 3.606%. The Shifon Index measures banks’ overnight lending rates to one another, a gauge of systemic stress in the Chinese banking system.
11. Chinese Steel – Steel prices in China fell 2.7% last week, or 76 yuan/ton, to 2756 yuan/ton. We use Chinese steel rebar prices to gauge Chinese construction activity, and, by extension, the health of the Chinese economy.
12. 2-10 Spread – Last week the 2-10 spread tightened to 151 bps, -1 bps tighter than a week ago. We track the 2-10 spread as an indicator of bank margin pressure.
13. XLF Macro Quantitative Setup – Our Macro team’s quantitative setup in the XLF shows 1.9% upside to TRADE resistance and 2.2% downside to TRADE support.
Joshua Steiner, CFA
Jonathan Casteleyn, CFA, CMT
Takeaway: No surprise here – GGR tracking down 30% YoY. No turn on the horizon.
While somewhat of a throw away month because of the Chinese President’s visit, the 2nd half of December actually performed very similar to the 1st half. Daily table revenues were almost identical in both halves of the month and a down 30% month looks likely.
What can we say? The relief rally is on but the fundamentals are no better. Street estimates are lower, and that’s the good news, but estimates are still not low enough. We would fade this rally and look to get more constructive when 2015 Street EBITDA estimates are 10-15% lower, from here, or a positive catalyst emerges.
Please see our detailed note: http://docs.hedgeye.com/HE_Macau_12.29.14.pdf
Takeaway: In today's edition of the Macro Playbook, we dissect the trend in U.S. GDP growth in the context of the economic and stock market cycles.
THEMATIC INVESTMENT CONCLUSIONS
Long Ideas/Overweight Recommendations
Short Ideas/Underweight Recommendations
QUANT SIGNALS & RESEARCH CONTEXT
Q&A On U.S. Economic Growth: Last week we got a very good question from one of our long-time subscribers regarding the slope of U.S. real GDP growth. In the prose below, we answer the question the only way we know how: with facts, figures and charts, topped off with a heaping helping of #process.
Q (client): “It seems that your view has been that the US economy has been weakening as we move through CY14, yet there is data that is pretty good (see below). No rush, but I am curious if you think the data is wrong or if there is some other way to reconcile your view and the data:
Data earlier this week from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) showed the economy grew 5% last quarter. Excluding the weather-related -2.1% plunge in Q1; real GDP growth has averaged 4.4% over four out of the last five quarters. More importantly, the latest spending data point to another strong quarter of output growth as real consumer spending in November was up 5.2% annualized relative to its Q3 average.”
A (us): The ultra-bullish summary you highlighted below is indeed accurate with respect to the headline GDP growth rate, which is reported on a QoQ SAAR basis. We instead focus on the YoY growth rates for three reasons:
In the table below, we contrast the headline QoQ SAAR growth rate (1st row) with the YoY growth rate (2nd row). What you should note are two things:
CLICK HERE to review our latest summary of the broad preponderance of key high-frequency economic data. At best, the picture is mixed, but the [long-awaited] uptick in consumption growth in November is something to monitor to the extent it develops into a sustained trend of accelerating growth – especially in the context of very positive labor market trends and broad-based disinflationary tailwinds.
Obviously labor market strength is late-cycle by nature, though it could be strongly argued that we’re a full ~18 months away from a U.S. recession per the trend in jobless claims. Specifically, a recession has ensued an average of 19 months after the rolling 6-month average in initial jobless claims hit 300k for each of the last three economic cycles.
1.5 years would appear to be a very long time for any growth bear to risk manage this raging U.S. equity bull market, as the current level of deterioration at the single stock level is dramatically shy of what is typically seen at major peaks in the stock market.
All told, with both domestic small-caps (IWM) and regional banks (KRE) representing two of our top-five global macro SHORT ideas, we remain defensively postured with respect to our preferred U.S. equity market exposures on the LONG side (i.e. healthcare, staples, REITs and utilities). Our internal discussions continue to center around the market pricing in a potential move from #Quad4 to #Quad1 domestically – a move that would undoubtedly warrant a reconfiguration of our thematic investment conclusions as listed above. Stay tuned for our Q1 macro themes call.
***CLICK HERE to download the full TACRM presentation.***
TRACKING OUR ACTIVE MACRO THEMES
#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.
#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.
Moscow, We Have a Problem (12/16)
#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.
Best of luck out there,
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.
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