In September, the casino industry’s gross receipt hit MOP10.8 billion (US$1.35 billion).  The figure represents a year-over-year increase of 52% for September.  In the first nine months of the year, the casino industry’s gross receipts amounted to approximately MOP83 billion (US$10.38 billion), a year-over-year decrease of 2%. 


In terms of market share, SJM remains number one, taking 30% market share in September.  LVS had 20% of gross gaming receipts, MPEL had 17%, and Wynn had 15%. Galaxy and MGM took market share of 10% and 8%, respectively.





Stanley Ho, who remains in hospital following brain surgery, yesterday won in his bid to strike out a petition from his sister over the payment of share dividends from his company, Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau.  The Court of First Insurance yesterday struck out Winnie Ho Yuen-ki’s petition on the grounds that she had launched her protest via an improper “vehicle”. 


Winnie Ho alleged in her petition that they had breached their duties of good faith and loyalty towards Shun Tak Holdings and failed to cause it to pursue STDM for proper payment of dividends. She sought an order to direct Shun Tak to start litigation against STDM to recover dividends.  The judge held in her judgment that Winnie Ho should have sued STDM directly as a shareholder of the company. 



The South China Morning Post outlines some of the negative sentiment surrounding Wynn’s Hong Kong trading debut tomorrow.  Many commentators see the offering as being overly expensive when “compared with other Macau shares”.

In terms of the Macau gaming industry, concerns include “Beijing's fluctuating travel policies” and a risk that the recent revenue boost in Macau has been partly due to “a honeymoon period because Macau's new chief executive takes office in December”.


The consumption recession continues with today’s release of Consumer Credit data for August by the Federal Reserve which showed a $12 billion dollar contraction for the month – steeper than forecast and the 7th consecutive decline.


Consumer spending is a function of several things, the largest of which is employment.  With federal unemployment expected to thrust through 10 percent in 2009, the elimination of jobs in and of itself will continue to mount pressure on people spending money that they do not yet have.


The consumer propensity to spend over the past decade was fueled by plentiful consumer credit.   U.S. household debt as a percentage of annual disposable personal income was at its highest rate of 127% at the end of 2007 versus 77% in 1990 and, though declining, remains at elevated levels today.


In 1981, U.S. private debt was 123% of GDP; by the third quarter of 2008, it was 290%. The credit crisis and the recessions, coupled with an unprecedented amount of consumer debt, have led to all-time high credit card delinquencies.   High delinquency rates, in the face of increasing unemployment, means that credit cards will not be repaid which eliminates capacity to spend and makes less credit available to consumers.  With credit contracting, consumers will likely pull back their spending and save more or pay down debt.


The bottom line is that the continuing economic uncertainty, continued job losses and a contraction in credit will alter changes in consumers’ spending behavior for some time.   Until we start to see more convincing signs of stability in employment, home value appreciation, and bank credit expanding, meaningful economic recovery remains elusive.


Howard Penney

Managing Director


Andrew Barber



UNLUCKY 7 - a1



Given the preannouncement on September 23rd, there shouldn’t be any big surprises on MAR’s 3Q09 call. 


We expect MAR's 3Q results to be somewhat messy given the $760MM of impairment charges related to the timeshare business.  We all know that the leisure business is elastic; the real question is whether the corporate segment of the business is showing any signs of life.  We don’t think so.


On September 23rd, in addition to announcing a restructuring of their timeshare business, MAR also gave an update on its 3Q09 NA comparable system wide RevPAR performance which is now expected to be down 19%.  The results for 3Q are a little better than the expected 20-23% decline MAR guided us to in July, with the better-than-expected performance driven by leisure demand.  This comes as little surprise to us since MAR alluded to this on their last call, CCL reiterated the same comments on its earnings call several weeks ago and we know that leisure demand is elastic. 


“Unfortunately we aren’t yet seeing more corporate travelers and business meetings returning to our hotels. Instead, our mix of business remains skewed towards price sensitive, leisure travelers.”

-Arne Sorenson; July 16, 2009

The real issue for MAR and most of our lodging companies is that any real recovery will rely on the health of corporate travel, which is where the majority of their business is sourced.  With unemployment still rising and approaching 10%, albeit at a slower pace of increase, we don’t see any immediate rebound in the cards for corporate lodging demand.  However, given the cyclical nature of the lodging group, as long as people continue to believe a market recovery is around the corner, lodging stocks can continue to perform. 



3Q09 Preview:

Excluding extraordinary charges, our numbers are at the top end of MAR’s guidance and a little ahead of consensus.  We think MAR will print $0.14 EPS (guidance: $0.09-$0.14, Street: $0.12) and $162MM in adjusted EBITDA (Street: $159MM) tomorrow.  Timeshare is always a wild card, especially this quarter with all of the charges, but we expect total fee income to come in at $220MM and owned and leased income to come in at $7MM.


Marriott should benefit from a weak dollar in 4Q and in 2010 if exchange rates stay where they are.  However, we are still moderately below the street and MAR’s guidance for 4Q09 and below the street for 2010. Marriott typically gives preliminary guidance for the following year in 3Q.



Timeshare “Youtube”:

We expect MAR to elaborate and give an update in its new timeshare strategy announced on September 23rd.  As a reminder, below is a “Youtube” of MAR’s new timeshare strategy. 


"Today's announcement reflects the significant decline in demand for luxury residential real estate over the last year. It also reflects the relative strength and deeper market of the traditional timeshare business which, while impacted by the weak economy, has proved to be more resilient. For all aspects of this business, our goal remains to drive cash flow. We expect the timeshare segment to produce positive cash flow in 2009, higher levels of cash flow in 2010, and improving profitability."

  • “Marriott expects to reduce residential prices, convert certain proposed projects to other uses, and sell some undeveloped land. Going forward, while Marriott expects to continue to license and manage luxury residential projects developed by others as part of its lodging business, it does not expect its timeshare segment to pursue new Marriott-funded residential development projects.”
  • “Demand for luxury fractional units remains constrained by the weak economy and the significant supply of luxury residential real estate on the market. As a result, the company has decided to reduce prices of existing fractional units to accelerate sales and cash flow, prompting the third quarter charge. The company will sell a portion of its fractional inventory as part of the new portfolio membership program in Ritz-Carlton Destination Club ("RCDC")”
  • Traditional U.S. timeshare business, recent successful marketing promotions included volume discounts and other purchase incentives. The company expects to continue targeted short-term promotions”
  • “Company's four European timeshare and fractional resorts continue to experience low demand. As a result, the company plans to continue promotional pricing and marketing incentives, while reducing overhead to accelerate sales and cash flow. The company is currently not pursuing additional development in Europe.”


2Q09 “Youtube”:

Business trends:

  • Unfortunately we aren’t yet seeing more corporate travelers and business meetings returning to our hotels. Instead, our mix of business remains skewed towards price sensitive, leisure travelers.
  • With occupancy levels stabilizing in the low to mid 60’s, pricing has become a greater challenge. Everyone is price sensitive today, not just vacationers. We expect pricing power to return only as occupancy recovers.
  • Outside North America we are starting to see more significant RevPar declines with the economic downturn affecting most markets.
  • We have eased brand standards where it makes sense and deferred scheduled renovations to help owners.
  • On the development front, we opened more than 8,000 rooms during the quarter and have 110,000 rooms in the pipeline
  • Going forward... it gets harder and harder to maintain those margins because it is a rate driven drop. In addition, comps get more difficult because we actually started in the second quarter, but more so in the third quarter, cutting and controlling costs out in the field.  I wouldn’t give up and say there is nothing there but it is going to get more difficult going forward.
  • Right now we have a very short booking. The meeting planners bookers are sitting on the sidelines waiting to see if they can get a better deal, hoping for better pricing, and so there is a very short window right now.


Balance sheet commentary:

  • We continue to aggressively manage our balance sheet and we are committed to our investment grade credit rating.
  • Through continued reductions in our investment spending and substantial cash flow from our fee based model, we expect to be able to continue to reduce debt in 2010, further improving our leverage ratios.


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Chart of The Day: Bombed Out Buck?

I’m a Bloomberg guy, so I must admit that I did not truly appreciate how consensus our long standing Burning The Buck call has become. A few days on the road, from Denver to Pittsburgh, being force fed CNBC in my hotel rooms changed that. When Melissa Lee thinks she is a US Dollar correlation expert, a bottoming process for the buck is likely in motion.


This inverse correlation can make you laugh. It can also make you cry. If you are short REFLATION stocks on Dollar Down days, you get the crying part. Last week, the US Dollar was up on the week, for the 2nd consecutive week, and the SP500 corrected, as a result. In the last 2 days, the US Dollar has burned to a higher-low, stoking returns for anyone who was braver than I to stay with this dominant global macro TREND until the bitter end.


For now, my initial thoughts on a Bombed Out Buck are immediate, not intermediate, term. At the US Dollar Index price of $78.61 (chart below), you can see the dominating intermediate term TREND line of a Burning Buck. That TREND not setting up to change any time soon.


What could change, and quickly, is the immediate term duration (3 weeks or less), and if I see that resistance line of $77.07 overcome, it will immediately become support. The point here is that there is no line of resistance between that TRADE ($77.07) and TREND ($78.61) line. A bubbling up of the buck to the tune of a +2% move (from $77.07 to $78.61) will definitely wreak havoc on the REFLATION trade. That I know. That’s why I am raising my position in US Cash.


This morning’s earlier lows in the US Dollar (and highs for the US Equity Futures) came with a US Dollar Index hitting higher-lows (versus the YTD low of $75.80). Higher-lows help us understand that bottoms are processes, not points.



Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer


Chart of The Day: Bombed Out Buck? - a1


Weekly POS Looking Good into SSS Day

Some very notable trends on the margin that play into the hype around recent sales strength at retail. Easy comps or not, it’s a reality…


Industry Call-Outs:

  • Total sports apparel sales made a large sequential improvement to up 7% Y/Y vs. last week’s reading of down 0.5% Y/Y.
  • Total sports apparel units had three consecutive weeks of sequential improvements and finally posted a Y/Y growth reading – up 4% - aided by a large sequential improvement in the Discount/Mass Retailers channel – from down 5% Y/Y last week to up 14% Y/Y.
  • A large sequential improvement in ASP for the Family Retailers Channel – from down 5% Y/Y last week to up 30% Y/Y – helped to boost overall industry ASP by 300bps sequentially.

Category Call-Outs:

  • Outdoor Outerwear sales posted a large sequential improvement – from down 16% Y/Y last week to up 11% Y/Y.
  • Compression Apparel sales also posted a sizable sequential improvement – from down 3% Y/Y last week to up 9% Y/Y.

Brand Call-Outs:

  • For the first time in 18 weeks, Nike posted a Y/Y decline in market share, down 71bps from up 172bps last week.
  • After two consecutive weeks of Y/Y dollar sales losses, Columbia (up 7%), VF Corp (up 6%), and Under Armour (up 6%) all posted Y/Y dollar sales gains.
  • Columbia is the only company in our sample to register a Y/Y increase in ASP this week, up 2%.
  • For the first time in three weeks, Columbia also registered a Y/Y increase in market share, though rather minimal, up only 2bps.

Geographical Call-Outs:

  • New England was the only region in the U.S. to register a Y/Y dollar sales decline this week – down 7%.


Weekly POS Looking Good into SSS Day - 1


Weekly POS Looking Good into SSS Day - 2


Weekly POS Looking Good into SSS Day - 3


Weekly POS Looking Good into SSS Day - 4


- Darius Dale


Same-store sales trends in Q4 to date are consistent with the overall trends in Q3 (same-store sales growth was -6%).  The company also expects U.S. restaurant margins to decline in the fourth quarter.  The company will be lapping its first quarter of positive margin growth in some time.  Management said that the U.S. division will not experience the same level of benefit from favorable commodity costs in Q4 as it did in Q3 and some pricing will also be rolling off during the quarter.  So, as we said earlier, there will be little follow through from the 18% reported operating profit growth in Q3.

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