Takeaway: In today's edition of Macro Playbook, we revisit the #Quad4 vs. #Quad1 debate. #Quad4 is once again winning the fight and remains our view.
THEMATIC INVESTMENT CONCLUSIONS
Long Ideas/Overweight Recommendations
Short Ideas/Underweight Recommendations
QUANT SIGNALS & RESEARCH CONTEXT
Revisiting the #Quad4 vs. #Quad1 Debate: For the past 3-4 weeks, we’ve been highlighting the U.S. equity market’s ongoing internal struggle between #Quad4 – an economic environment where both real GDP growth and reported inflation are slowing simultaneously – and #Quad1, which is an economic environment whereby disinflation is contributing to (or at least concomitant with) an acceleration in real GDP growth.
For equity investors – even the most ardent stock pickers that “don’t do macro” – understanding and, more importantly, navigating this transition will be the key to generating alpha – which is becoming increasingly scarce – in 1H15:
Consumer Cyclical or Consumer Non-Cyclical?
Financials or Healthcare?
Offensive Small-Caps or Defensive Utilities?
On that note, let’s revisit the debate from our usual quantitative perspective. There are two signals we are looking for to justify a transition from our long-held defensive sector and style factor recommendations to a more offensive/cyclical grouping:
As the following charts show, neither #1 nor #2 are occurring at the present moment. We’ve seen glimpses of both in recent weeks, but the fact remains neither are occurring on a trending/consistent basis.
Source: Bloomberg L.P.
Source: Bloomberg L.P.
Source: Bloomberg L.P.
Please note that of the top-10 VAMDMI readings, #Quad4 accounts for seven of the ETFs: VNQ, IBB, XLU, IHI, IHE, XLP and XLV, while #Quad1 accounts for only two: ITB and XRT; the former is in line with our team’s now-bullish bias on the domestic housing market and the latter is supported by the recent – and nascent – uptick in consumption data.
All told, the most appropriate call we can make is to stick with our pro-#Quad4 sector and style factor recommendations for the time being (i.e. healthcare, staples, utilities and REITs).
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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.
Grexit? Not So Fast (1/6)
#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.
We will be hosting our highly-anticipated Quarterly Macro Themes conference call today at 1:00pm EST. Led by CEO Keith McCullough, the presentation will detail the THREE MOST IMPORTANT MACRO TRENDS we have identified for the quarter and the associated investment implications.
Q1 2015 MACRO THEMES OVERVIEW:
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.
Yen experienced textbook counter-TREND bounce on Monday (in Gold too) to lower-highs, so keep those Burning Yen shorts on as the Japanese prepare for CTRL+Print (again). There is no support to $121.27 vs. USD and we like the Weimar Nikkei long on that, +1.7% overnight after holding @Hedgeye 16,884 support.
Drowning out the knife catchers, call options buyers, etc. and trying to establish higher-lows in WTI’s immediate-term risk range all the while – that’s currently $47.22-52.63, so keep that in mind when you look at some of these counter-TREND bounces in Russian and Brazilian stocks (+3-5%).
Smoked some of the December 29th (SPX = 2090) momentum chasers (and call option buyers) out of their holes (95 handles lower), so we should see some follow through and a test of 2046; if it fails there and that jobs report isn’t pristine tomorrow, this gets more volatile, faster.
|FIXED INCOME||27%||INTL CURRENCIES||10%|
The Vanguard Extended Duration Treasury (EDV) is an extended duration ETF (20-30yr). As our declining rates thesis proved out and picked up steam over the course of the year, we see this trend continuing into Q1. Short of a Fed rate hike, there’s no force out there with the oomph to reverse this trend, particularly with global growth decelerating and disinflationary trends pushing capital flows into the one remaining unbreakable piggy bank, which is the U.S. Treasury debt market.
As growth and inflation expectations continue to slow, stay with low-volatility Long Bonds (TLT). We believe the TLT has plenty of room to run. We strongly believe the 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.
Hologic (HOLX) is a name our Healthcare Sector Head Tom Tobin has been closing monitoring for awhile. In what Tom calls his 3D TOMO Tracker Update (Institutional Research product) of U.S. facilities currently offering 3D Tomosynthesis, month-to-date December placements signaled a break-out quarter after a sharp acceleration in October and slight correction to a still very high rate in November. We believe we are seeing a sustained acceleration in placements that will likely drive upside to Breast Health throughout FY2015. Tom’s estimates are materially ahead of the Street, but importantly this upward trend in Breast Health should lead not only to earnings upside, but also multiple expansion and a significant move in the stock price.
McDonald’s cuts 63 jobs at headquarters http://nrn.com/mcdonalds/mcdonald-s-cuts-63-jobs-headquarters … via @NRNonline
Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.
In 2014, only 15.6% of the several hundred advisers monitored by the Hulbert Financial Digest outperformed the Wilshire 5000 Index. Five years ago, the proportion stood at 33.1%.
“All fixed patterns are incapable of adaptability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.”
For those of us who embrace the non-linearity and uncertainty of Global Macro markets, how good is that quote? I can’t believe it took me this long into my career to find it. The more I read, the less I realize I really know.
Non-fixed market patterns. They are dynamic and constantly testing consensus narratives. Some of the best Bayesians in our profession get this. While they aren’t in the business of providing us their #process, they do make a lot of money front-running market truths.
“In 1993, Renaissance Technologies hired away from IBM a Bayesian group of researchers… searching for nonrandom patterns that will help predict markets, RenTech gathers as much information as possible. It begins with prior knowledge about the history of prices and how they correlate with eachother…” –The Theory That Would Not Die (pg 237)
Back to the Global Macro Grind…
What an excellent start to 2015! It’s been years since I’ve seen so many great long and short ideas across the Global Macro universe. If your portfolio mandate is diversified and flexible (across asset classes), I think you can have a crusher of a year!
Pardon? Yep, those who have been chasing single-factor #MovingMonkey models aren’t quite down with my optimism. But hey, I’m an optimistic guy – I’ve always thought that those who evolve their #process and adapt the fastest will ultimately win.
While commercializing my research and risk management process will continue to take time, after 7 years of doing this from an independent research provider perspective, I think we’ve made significant progress.
They key word in that statement is we.
Our Macro Team is not only up to 6 analysts at this point – they have matured into a very cohesive unit of selfless grinders who not only work very well together, but question one another’s premise, so that we keep finding ways to front-run consensus market truths.
As legendary Macro maven Ray Dalio likes to ask, “what is the truth?”
Well, on yesterday’s US stock market bounce:
And, if all you do is US Equities, that’s precisely the Macro Playbook (ask sales for our daily note on that with Top/Bottom 5 ETFS, long/short) we have for you while we are still in #Quad4 reporting season (December and Q4 GDP data all gets reported in January).
As we roll out of that into Q1, we think you should be tilting to early-cycle (LONG) and late-cycle (SHORT). I’ll explain both asset-class-rotation and catalysts/timing as best I can on our 1PM call today. We hope you can find the time to dial in.
If I’m wrong on the timing and patterns of behavior born out of my macro calendar catalysts, I’ll do the only thing a humble servant to Mr. Macro Market knows – adapt to the prior, so that I can best position for the next posterior.
Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:
UST 10yr Yield 1.91-2.12%
Oil (WTI) 47.22-52.63
Best of luck out there today,
Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer
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