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Investing Ideas Newsletter

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

Below are Hedgeye analysts’ latest updates on our eight current high-conviction long investing ideas and CEO Keith McCullough’s updated levels for each.


Please note we added Medidata Solutions MDSO earlier this week. Our Healthcare sector team presents a granular, deep-dive distillation into our bullish thesis below.


We also feature two additional pieces of content at the bottom.

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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


Investing Ideas Newsletter      - Draghi cartoon 01.08.2015





Down from its peak in March 2014 when all things cloud were working, MDSO's stock price has been cut in half and the short interest has doubled.  When they report in early February we think they beat numbers and the shorts get squeezed.


Click to enlarge.

Investing Ideas Newsletter      - mdso1



Business Model: Cloud-based clinical trial software

  • MDSO sells cloud-based software on that helps customers manage clinical trials (electronic data capture, study design tools and clinical trial management systems)
  • Customers include top 25 pharma, mid-market pharma/biotech, CROs, Government sponsored organizations.
  • Paid on a per trial basis or fixed amount for high volume Enterprise clients.
  • Subscription model provides high degree of visibility into revenue base, near 100% revenue retention and 90% customer retention.  Mid 80% gross margin for Application Services.

History: Rise and Fall

  • Founded in 1999 and went public in June 2009.
  • Backlog and revenue growth accelerated in 2012/2013 and the stock went parabolic,  peaking at $68.21 on March 4,2014 (up ~300% from its 2012 closing price)
    • Subsequent 6 weeks the stock fell by 30% before the company missed 1Q14 earnings on April 22, 2014.
    • Stock price bottomed on May 8th at $33.98, 50% below its peak
    • Company went on to miss Q3 earnings and lower 2014 guidance.  Stock has since stabilized and is up 27% since last earnings report and 33% below its peak.

Consensus: Sellside bullish, shorts tend to be wrong

  • Consensus is unanimously bullish on the name, with 12 out of 12 analysts rating MDSO a buy, despite both price targets and estimates coming down for 4Q14 and 1Q15.
  • Consensus TAM estimates are likely too high, but should not matter over next 3-years.  Consensus basing TAM off 150k+ registered clinical trials, only 40-60k active at given time.
  • Short interest has been rising over the last 12 months rising to 12% if the float.  Historically, high short interest is correlated with positive price performance.
  • The sellside rating is in the upper range of its historical levels which is generally reflects positive forward price performance.
  • Sellside estimates trended lower over the course of 2014, although revenue and EPS estimates have been stable over the last 3 months.



1. Currently the stock screens long based on performance, earnings revisions and short interest.  50% peak-to-trough stock price decline driven by missed expectations (deal timing), guidance adjustment and fraudulent wire transfer*. We view recent weakness as buying opportunity given strength in leading indicators.


2. Macro Monitor identified the following series as two quarter leading indicators of y/y ROC in Application Services Revenue:

  • NIH Award # - Epigenetic/TTM/Delta (0.93 RSQ) – Updated Monthly, HRM Calculated
  • Genomic Clinical Trials Net Starts (0.94 RSQ) – Updated Monthly, HRM Calculated
  • Customer y/y % (0.94 RSQ) – Updated Quarterly, Company Provided

3. $1.5 bill annual revenue opportunity based on current product mix ($409 mill ’15 Consensus Sales).  Long-term model utilizing s-curve methodology tracking 50% market share based on 4,000 potential customers.  Significant cross-sell opportunity with 12 products available, average product per customer (intensity) 2.4.

Combined, these key drivers point to a material acceleration in application services revenue through 1Q15 at a time when consensus sales and earnings estimates have been reduced.


*Fraud targeted certain mid-level employees in their finance department resulting in the transfer of $4.8 mill to a rogue overseas account.  No customer data was involved in the matter and the company’s systems were not impacted or compromised.  Management has reviewed internal controls and processes and implemented additional procedures to prevent future incidents. (Source: Q3 Prepared Remarks)


  • Application Services Revenue y/y % ROC leads NTM EV/Sales multiple by two quarters (0.89 RSQ).
  • Model results in NTM EV/Sales multiple of approximately 8.5x by 3Q15.  Similar expansion can be applied to NTM P/E and NTM EV/EBITDA given correlation.
  • Current price $46.40 – 6.0x EV/Sales
    • $61 Stock Price - 8.5x HRM $429.7 mill ’15 revenue estimate.
    • $72 Stock Price - 70x HRM $1.03 ’15 EPS estimate.
    • $72 Stock Price – 40x HRM $107 mill ‘ 15 EBITDAO estimate

Figure 1: NTM EV/Sales Valuation Table

Investing Ideas Newsletter      - mdso2


  • Key Driver Update – February 2015
  • 4Q14 Earnings Not Formally Announced – Reported 2/6 Last Year
  • No other scheduled events/conferences


  • Slowdown in Clinical Trials –  Medidata’s fundamentals are tied to the number of Clinical Trials being conducted and biotech/pharma activity in general.  We have identified several, high-frequency leading data points (updated monthly) that should flag a slowdown before it shows up in the numbers.
  • Failure to Cross-Sell/Attrition – We will monitor trends in customer intensity and have discussions with industry participants to get a better sense for cross-sell potential.  We have identified several leading indicators of customer growth, although their significance is less than other factors we identified.
  • Insufficient TAM – Core to the bear case is that the EDC market is small and MDSO is near saturation.  In our opinion, Medidata has a diverse product offering and is no longer a ‘one trick pony’.  Management indicated that Rave, their EDC offering has several years of +20% growth ahead of it.  That being said, we do believe the TAM is considerably smaller than some think and plan on spending more time here. We will be speaking to industry participants, marking their customer growth to our model and tracking leading indicators.
  • Increased Competition – Oracle/Phase Forward is the main competitor, however Medidata has been actively displacing them.  While Medidata is the market leader and barriers to entry are relatively high, increase competition would dampen their long-term prospects.
  • Regulatory Risk – Clinical trials are heavily regulated by the FDA and other federal agencies.  Implementation of, or changes in existing policies in the U.S. or in any other country could disrupt Medidata’s customer base and/or require costly changes to Medidata’s software.


Bonds, Bonds, Bonds, Bonds, Bonds!


Amid a mixed week of domestic economic data, our slow-growth, yield-chasing trade of long TLT, EDV, MUB and XLP latched on the trend of #GrowthSlowing data throughout the fourth quarter:


  • TLT: +2.95% WoW
  • EDV: +3.77% WoW
  • MUB: +0.88% WoW
  • XLP: +1.57% WoW


If the DEC Markit and ISM Composite PMI data are any indication, the preponderance of DEC high-frequency growth data will continue to slow as we progress throughout the month of January:


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If the DEC Average Hourly Earnings data from Friday’s Jobs Report is any indication, the trend of reported disinflation will continue when we get the DEC CPI data next Friday:


Investing Ideas Newsletter      - c7


When the 2nd derivatives of real GDP and headline CPI are concurrently negative, the marginal investor is predisposed to allocate assets to the long bond and to equities with defensive, bond-like characteristics.


Fortuitously for you, you’re already positioned that way!


Here’s a look at the growth algorithm for Restoration Hardware going forward.


1) Square Footage Growth: The company is in the beginning stages of transforming its existing 10,000 square foot Legacy Store portfolio to the 45,000+ square foot Design Gallery concepts. Currently the company has 7 of these properties in LA, Houston, Scottsdale, Indianapolis, Boston, Atlanta, and Greenwich. Over the next 5 years an incremental 20+ locations will be added and square footage will grow from 550K at the end of FY2013 to 1550K at the end on 2018.


2) Revenue: Our model calls for mid-20’s sales growth over the next 4 years as the company finally has the real estate to showcase its diversified category portfolio. The current Legacy stores show about 10%, but the new Full Line Design Galleries (Atlanta) houses closer to 70%. The proof of concept from the existing 7 design gallery doors have shown that new categories when presented at retail experience a 50%-150% lift across channels (both retail and DTC). That’s a big opportunity for RH as it builds out its real estate portfolio.


3) Margins: Over the duration of our model we have operating margins going from high single digits to mid-teens. The main driver of that is occupancy leverage. As the company builds these new bigger stores it is taking square footage up in each market by 6x to 8x, but rent expense only increases by 30%-50%. Meaning that on average new square footage comes in at about 25% of the cost of Legacy Store square footage. Perhaps the best example of that is the Denver market where selling square footage will go from 7,500 sq. ft. to 45,500, with rent expense going from $1.3mm to $2.0mm. And this deal isn’t a one off. Over time occupancy will come down from low double digits to mid-single digits. That will be a big tailwind to margins.


YUM is a stock that continues to trade at a significant discount to its intrinsic value, making it one of our favorite long-term buys in the restaurant space.  The China recovery may be slightly slower than anticipated as management works hard to regain consumer trust there, but the recent industry-wide acceleration in U.S. sales should be enough to offset any concerns.  If the recovery fails to materialize at all, management will be pressured to de-risk the business by spinning off a piece of China.  


We wouldn’t be surprised to wake up one day to news of a prominent activist buying up shares of YUM.  There’s too much value here to ignore and the stock’s multi-year underperformance is not going unnoticed.  Sell-side sentiment is bombed out enough to provoke several upgrades on the slightest hint of good news, and the buy-side knows better than to short a company with such upside.  Learn to ignore the day-to-day volatility and prepare yourselves to own this stock for the long haul. 


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Investing Ideas Newsletter      - 3D Map Dec 21


Our Healthcare team updated our count (proprietary process) of US facilities currently offering 3D Tomosynthesis.   December placements are signalling a break-outquarter 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. 

Investing Ideas Newsletter      - 3D monthly pace Dec21 


The number of new facilities is accelerating and coming up against an easy comparison (December 2013).  The key data in the table below is the 146 new facilities during F1Q15 versus 49 a year ago, or a ~+300% increase.  Consensus is modelling 4.7% growth for Breast Health in F1Q15 while our model is producing segment growth well into the teens.  

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PAP Testing Volume

Results of our December OB/GYN show rate of decline in PAP volume continues to moderate.  48% of survey respondents indicate pap testing on a 3-year basis, with an annual expected rate of decline of -12% to reach 100% compliance.  This rate of decline translates into 2.6 years before total compliance is reached.  

Investing Ideas Newsletter      - 2015 01 09 HOLX Pap 


* * * * * * * * * * 



A rig today isn’t quite the same as a rig in the late 1970s, but the trend should be clear.

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2014 was best for international stock funds and domestic equity ETFs. Money funds also rallied late with +$124 billion in the last 11 weeks

Investing Ideas Newsletter      - 34

The Week Ahead

The Economic Data calendar for the week of the 12th of January through the 16th of January 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 - 01.05.15 Week Ahead



Takeaway: An earlier Wave may signal a longer period of promotional activity


Wave Season promotions began earlier than usual for many of the operators. Given the difficult 2014 environment in the Caribbean, we’re not surprised.  The early promoters seem to be the relatively struggling brands.  2015 bookings curve could be pushed out a little bit at the expense of lower pricing and promos.


Please see our detailed note: 



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The Best of This Week From Hedgeye

Here's a quick look at some of the top videos, cartoons, market insights and more from Hedgeye this past week.


Gabelli Unplugged: Finding Hidden Value, Secrets to Long-Term Success and Why the Knicks Will Win

Billionaire value investor Mario Gabelli of Gamco Investors sat down with Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough in a granular, wide-ranging “Real Conversations” interview to discuss his investment strategy, process and where he sees opportunity right now.



Hedgeye Morning Macro Call with CEO Keith McCullough: Crystal Ballers

On Tuesday’s institutional Macro Call, Keith discusses the importance of having a daily process rather than relying on a crystal ball or moving "monkey" averages.


Keith highlights the great run in bonds, how ugly things really are in Europe and the epic down move in commodities.


***This is a complimentary peek behind-the-macro-scenes of our daily Morning Macro Call for institutional subscribers.***



"Draghi Has No Plan": McCullough Talks Europe, Japan, and U.S. Dollar

In this excerpt from Wednesday’s Morning Macro Call, Keith answers questions about today’s $SPX trading ranges and describes the different durations. 

Keith also discusses the likelihood of a dovish Fed and what impact that will have on the three main currency players (Yen, USD and Euro). 

Subscribe to Hedgeye's Daily Trading Ranges product to receive Keith's proprietary ranges for the S&P 500, U.S. Dollar, Euro, and more every morning before the market opens.



McCullough: One Thing That Could Trigger a Recession

In this excerpt from Monday’s Real-Time Alerts Live show, Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough responds to a subscriber’s question about whether a U.S. recession is coming. 


CLICK HERE to subscribe to Real-Time Alerts. With your subscription you'll receive all of Keith's #timestamped signals sent right to your inbox, as well as full access to this and all other RTA Live episodes. 




The Best of This Week From Hedgeye - Greek ruins 1.7.15

Greece's crumbling economy and its potential impact on the EU is roiling global markets. Again.



The Best of This Week From Hedgeye - 10yr downhill 1.6.15

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury fell under 2% to its lowest level since May 2013. On a related note, yes... Hedgeye's macro team remains long TLT.




The Best of This Week From Hedgeye - COD quad4 idead 1.8.15

It’s been years since we’ve seen so many great long and short ideas across the Global Macro universe. At 1PM EST Thursday, our macro team led by CEO Keith McCullough reviewed our Global Macro Themes for Q1 of 2015. 




The Best of This Week From Hedgeye - COD Russell 1.6.15

Editor's note: This is an excerpt from Tuesday's Morning Newsletter by CEO Keith McCullough.


The other thing crystal ball is telling me this AM is don’t short the Russell 2000 today. #Pardon? Yes. You heard it from whatever this transparent ball is that I am rubbing this morning first! Do not short the IWM because:

  1. After another swift -3.1% correction, the Russell 2000 is signaling immediate-term TRADE oversold
  2. The inverse of that beta trade (VIX) is signaling immediate-term TRADE overbought at 20.59
  3. Hedge Fund Consensus is short the Russell (IWM) vs long SPY






Cartoon of the Day: Crude Reality

Cartoon of the Day: Crude Reality - Oil cartoon 01.09.2015


Oil prices continue to fall as both WTI and Brent prices are hovering around five-year lows. 

SBUX: Part of the Story is Going Untold

Considering last night’s news that COO Troy Alstead is taking a “coffee break” from the company, we are inclined to believe there is more to the story than Starbucks is willing to tell.  The general sentiment in the investment community seems to be that the move doesn’t “feel” right – a sentiment we share.  Yesterday morning we firmly believed Troy was next in-line for the CEO position and, now, we’re left with little more than questions and skepticism.


Whether it played a direct role in Troy’s departure or not, the company has taken a big bet on food and it doesn’t seem to be working.  With this in mind, we decided to re-run our consumer survey focused on the food at Starbucks – and the results revealed a noticeably unfavorable trend.  Knowing this, along with the recent timeline of events below, we continue to have sound conviction in our short thesis.  


Starbucks/Hedgeye Timeline

September 2014: Hedgeye adds Starbucks to the Best Ideas list as a short.  The core of the thesis is predicated on rapidly decelerating traffic – the new food is not resonating with consumers and is leading to increased menu and operational complexity.


October 2014: Starbucks misses 4Q14 EPS and guides down FY15 estimates.  Traffic trends are a serious red flag for analysts, but management insists any concerns are unfounded.


December 2014: COO Troy Alstead plays a major role at Starbucks analyst day and is clearly positioned as the heir apparent to the CEO role.  Food is a major topic of discussion and is framed as one of the keys to the future of the company.


December 2014: Hedgeye’s channel checks indicate that holiday promotions are not being as effective as planned.


January 2015: The Street begins to lower 1Q15 same-store sales and traffic estimates.


January 2015: Starbucks hires a new VP of Food.  The Street begins to wonder why it has taken this long to hire a culinary person given the company’s food ambitions.  Furthermore, it’s unclear what happened to the two executives that presented at the analyst conference.


January 2015: Starbucks announces that COO Troy Alstead is taking an “unpaid coffee break” to “spend time with his family.”  Given Troy’s role at the recent analyst meeting, his rash unpaid leave is taken with significant skepticism.


Updated Consumer Survey

Last September, we ran a consumer survey in which we gathered over 1,500 responses and learned that the overwhelming majority of Starbucks customers that participated were not in favor of the company's new food offerings.


We recently re-ran this survey in order to gauge any swing in sentiment one way or the other.  The results were quite telling:

  • Importantly, people are noticing a difference in the food as awareness ticked up 480 bps
  • The percentage of respondents that answered “No” increased 860 bps from September
  • The percentage of respondents that answered “Yes” decreased 190 bps from September


SBUX: Part of the Story is Going Untold - 1 9 2015 10 39 22 AM