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RH - Story Very Much On Track

Takeaway: This story is very much on track, and the catalyst calendar for 2015 will be explosive.

For all people asking the question "Why is RH Pre-announcing?"  

Here you go...

 

The company wants to let everyone know that business is a-ok. 

They are looking at a a comp pf 24% compared to the Street at 19%.

That translates to 24% sales growth -- the top end of the guided range.

EPS is $1.00-$1.01 -- vs prior guide of $0.99-$1.01.

All numbers are preliminary -- meaning that they're probably headed a bit higher.

 

This week, management is in the process of planning and goal setting on key initiatives for 2H15. So they had preliminary info as to how the quarter turned out for a broader internal group. Our sense is that they had to announce this info to all of us in conjunction.

 

In addition, RH is not reporting earnings until late March. The company knows from past experience that large windows of time without financial information given to the Street is rarely a good thing. They're trying to fix that.

 

So, if you're caught off guard by the release...we see where you're coming from. But absolutely don't freak out. This is good news. The story is on track. And the catalyst calendar for 2015 will be explosive. 

 


LEISURE LETTER (02/05/2015)

TICKERS: LVS, CZR, GTECH, IGT, CCL

 

EVENTS

  • Feb 10: 
    • IGT extraordinary shareholder meeting vote
    • HOT 4Q CC 10:30am
      • (1866) ; pw: 67514695
  • Feb 12: 
    • MPEL 4Q CC 8:30am
      • (1866) ; pw: MPEL
    • PNK 4Q CC 10:00am
      • ; pw: 68847867
    • BYD 4Q CC 5:00pm
      • ; pw: 5378350
  • Feb 17: MGM 4Q CC 11:00am
    • ; pw: 8870181
  • Feb 18: 
    • HYATT 4Q CC 11:30am
      • ; PW: 62845475
    • MAR 4Q release 5pm
  • Feb 19:
    • HST 4Q CC 9:00am
  • Feb 25: Prestige analyst day (9:00am-12pm)

HEADLINE STORY 

LVS - Sheldon Adelson says he expects rich mainlanders to avoid gambling in Macau until the mainland’s campaign against corruption has run its course. “They will stay low and will not be conspicuous in their spending habits until the witch-hunt or whatever it is called – the crackdown on corruption levels – goes down.” “They want to stay below the visibility radar because nobody, whether they are legitimate business people making millions or billions of dollars, wants to come in and be ostentatious.”

 

Adelson also recalled that visitation to Macau has not declined over the past months. But it doesn’t mean “every person that came in is what we call here a VIP player that could spend a large amount of money in each visit.” Premium mass players – who Mr Adelson says can usually bet between USD5,000 to USD100,000 – have not been spending as much as they did before. 

 

Nevertheless, Mr Adelson is confident that Macau’s gaming revenue will see brighter days in the near future: “Everything in life is cyclical. Night follows day, day follows night; and recession follows expansion, expansion follows recession…this too will pass, and this too is cyclical.”

Article HERE

Takeaway:  We think the junket business is permanently impaired.

COMPANY NEWS 

LVS - Macau casino operator Sands China Ltd says it is paying a bonus on February 16 – three days before Chinese New Year – to all eligible full-time employees. A total of 27,000 full-timers that have already completed at least one year of full service will receive a bonus of at least one month’s salary, said the company.

Article HERE

Takeaway:  13 month bonus is the norm for 2015

 

CZR - Caesars Entertainment announced that Gary Loveman, Chairman and CEO, has decided to begin transitioning management of the company at the end of Q1. Loveman will continue to serve as Chairman of Caesars Entertainment and of Caesars Entertainment Operating Company. As Chairman, Loveman will continue to oversee the restructuring of CEOC. Mark Frissora joins Caesars Entertainment as CEO designee and will become CEO on 1-Jul. He joins the board immediately, and will report to the board. Frissora is the former CEO of Hertz and Tenneco.

Article HERE

 

GTECH – The Georgia Lottery has launched a full complement of online lottery games through a partnership with supplier GTECH, with a mobile offering to follow later this year. GTECH claims that Georgia is now the first lottery in the US to offer a full line of iLottery products, which includes traditional draw based games, iKeno, and eInstant games at various price points.

Article HERE

 

IGT - IGT achieved another international win with its agreement to install the Company's systems solutions at the prestigious Palazzo Club, which is located within the Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers, Vietnam.

Article HERE

 

Konami- Konami Corp’s gaming and systems division on Thursday reported net revenue of JPY23.2 billion (US$197.8 million) for the nine months ended December 31, 2014, up 4.2% YoY. 

 

“Sales of the Podium video slot machine continued to be favorable, mainly in the U.S. market. Full-scale marketing is also in progress in Asia, Central and South America and Europe, where we are working on building distribution networks," the company said.

 

Konami also expanded its line-up of premium products in the North American market, by introducing Podium Goliath, “a larger size version of Podium" under a participation agreement with casino operators.

Article HERE

Takeaway:  We will have more details on KNM's ship share but it wouldn't be surprising to see gains there.

 

Stations - Station Casinos is extending its reach northward through an agreement to operate a sports book inside the Baldini’s Casino in Sparks. The location is the company’s second sports book operation outside its large and small casinos in the Las Vegas area. Station Casinos has 15 sports wagering facilities at its own properties and also operates the race and sports book at the El Cortez in downtown Las Vegas.

Article HERE

 

CCL - Cruise prices will never go back up to what they once were as cruise holidays become increasingly mainstream, according to David Noyes, the new CEO of Carnival UK. “We’ve always got to put a good-value proposition in front of them. A lot of what we’re seeing [with price] in cruising – and not just in the UK – as it becomes more mature and more mainstream is inevitable as people look for better value.”

 

Asked if discounting had been eradicated by the commission cuts instigated by his predecessor David Dingle, and if fares had started to edge up, Noyes said: “We can still charge a premium with brands like P&O Cruises and Cunard, but there’s a lot of competition, not just in cruise but in the holiday market generally.

“Overall, prices are on a par 
with last year, but you never know until the end of the season how it will end up.”

 

Noyes added that trading so far in 2015 had been strong and this year’s wave period had been designed to be the biggest yet.  “We’ve seen a significant increase in traffic to our website and callers into our contact centers, and our travel partners are reporting lots of people coming into their shops and ringing them,” said Noyes.  “This is all converting into bookings.”

Article HERE

Takeaway:  We agree UK bookings are doing well, partially attributed to an earlier Wave but Noyes's commentary on flat pricing is worse than what many analysts are expecting.  

 

Paradise Co South Korean casino operator Paradise Co Ltd reported a decline in profit attributable to shareholders, even as casino sales saw a double-digit growth last year. The firm on Thursday reported net profit attributable to controlling interests of KRW96.4 billion (US$88.3 million) for the whole of 2014, down 4.2 percent from a year earlier.

 

Chinese VIP players accounted for 66.7 percent of table drop at Paradise Co casinos last year, the firm said in Thursday’s filing. Japanese high-rollers came a distant second, accounting for 17.1 percent of total table drop.

Article HERE

 Takeaway: Korea's GGR has benefited from Macau's slump.

MACRO

Hedgeye Macro Team remains negative Europe, their bottom-up, qualitative analysis (Growth/Inflation/Policy framework) indicates that the Eurozone is setting up to enter the ugly Quad4 in Q4 (equating to growth decelerates and inflation decelerates) = Europe Slowing.

Takeaway:  European pricing has been a tailwind for CCL and RCL but a negative pivot here looks increasingly likely in 2015.


CHART OF THE DAY: Collapse In Oil Prices vs. Energy State Jobless Claims

CHART OF THE DAY: Collapse In Oil Prices vs. Energy State Jobless Claims - EL Chart 2

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Editor's note: This is a brief excerpt from today's Morning Newsletter written by Hedgeye U.S. macro analyst Christian Drake.

 

  • Energy State Decoupling:  We’ve indexed both the National and Energy State series back to May of last year and have monitored the spread between the two indices in the wake of the oil price collapse.  As can be seen in the Chart of the Day below the spread between the two series has held at around 15 points the last couple weeks.  In short, the accelerating decline in oil prices since late September has coincided with a moderate acceleration in energy state initial jobless claims relative to the US as a whole.  We’ll get the incremental update this morning at 8:30am.    

 


Hedgeye Statistics

The total percentage of successful long and short trading signals since the inception of Real-Time Alerts in August of 2008.

  • LONG SIGNALS 80.32%
  • SHORT SIGNALS 78.48%

Anchorman

“60% of the time it works….everytime”

-Brian Fantana, Anchorman (Clip)

 

Over the 2001-Present period (n = 160 months), the sequential, directional change in Nonfarm payrolls is the same as that of the ADP Employment series 64% of the time.

 

The ADP report for January released yesterday showed the sequential change in net payroll adds declined by -40K to +213K from an upwardly revised December total of +253K.

 

The current Bloomberg estimate for January Nonfarm payrolls is +230K, down sequentially from the +252K reported in November.  By the numbers, the sequential decline in net payroll gains reported by ADP suggests consensus is sitting on the right side of the 2:1 asymmetry into the print tomorrow.

 

What do you do with that? 

 

Not much really - it’s more analytical anecdote than investible projection.  Convictedly forecasting the NFP numbers on a month-to-month basis with precision is a quixotic endeavor.  We can generally handicap the balance of risk as it relates to consensus expectations but we haven’t found a method for reliably forecasting a point estimate – so we don’t.    

 

The current price/quant signals and our TREND view on domestic fundamentals generally drives our positioning into the number and we simply take what BLS gives us on jobs day and respond accordingly. 

 

We Get What We Get…& Don't Get Upset

 

Anchorman - EL Chart 1

 

Alongside its inveterate interest in wage inflation, the prospect for shale state employment pressure to derail the labor market recovery – and the current expansion more broadly - sits as an acute and rising investor focus into the January Employment report. 

 

We’ve discussed the energy economy and the developing macroeconomic impacts associated with the strong dollar driven commodity price cratering in scattershot over the last couple months but it’s worth compiling and recapitulating. 

 

Starting broadly and narrowing: 

 

Evolution of US Oil intensity:  U.S. Oil intensity - oil consumption per unit of (real) GDP – has declined by some 56% over the last 3 decades.  Summarily, as the economy has moved away from industrial production and towards ICT and Services production growth’s dependence on energy has declined.  The implication is that while the energy renaissance and the concomitant growth (& potential over-investment) in related industry makes it particularly vulnerable to an acute price shock, the transmission/amplification of that shock through the broader economy should be more muted relative to prior instances of heightened oil-price volatility. 

 

Oil Sector Employment:  The BLS catalogues oil & gas related employment within four major subsectors:  Oil and Gas Extraction, Oil & Gas Pipeline Construction, Support Activities for Oil & Gas Operation and Mining/Oil/Gas field Machinery. 

  • Share of Total:  Collectively, BLS estimates these industries employed 780K people as of November 2014.   Relative to Total Nonfarm employment of 140MM, those most directly employed in Oil and Gas extraction represent 0.6% of the NFP labor force.   
  • Growth From Trough:  Relative to the NFP employment trough in February 2010, Oil and Gas related employment is up +274K – a remarkable 54%.  This compares to growth of +8.1% for total NFP employment over the same period.  Further, Oil related employment gains represent 2.6% of the total increase in employment since trough (274K of 10.4MM total increase in employment) – certainly an outsized contribution relative to its share of total employment.  

Energy State Employment:  An alternate measure of the energy sectors impact on employment is to look at total employment gains in “energy” states relative to the rest of the country.   Analyzing employment changes at the state level provides an indirect (albeit largely imprecise) measure of the multiplier effects stemming from relative strength in the energy economy.  We have been using a basket of eight energy states  (AK, LA, NM, ND, OK, TX, WV, WY) in analyzing the initial jobless claims data for negative divergences in recent months.  We use the same basket here in analyzing state level employment changes

  • Share of total:  Collective Energy State employment is currently 12.9% of total.  This is roughly in-line with the baskets share of the economy with collective energy state GDP at 13.2% of total as of 2013.  
  • Growth From Trough:  Energy state employment has increased 1.998MM since the February 2010 employment trough with its share of total employment rising from 12.5% to 12.9% over the same period.  In other words, by this ‘crude’ measure, energy states have accounted for a moderately outsized 18.7% of the total gain in employment.     

Initial Claims:  We’ve been monitoring the trend in initial jobless claims for the basket of 8 energy state highlighted above for negative divergences from the National Trend.   

  • Energy State Decoupling:  We’ve indexed both the National and Energy State series back to May of last year and have monitored the spread between the two indices in the wake of the oil price collapse.  As can be seen in the Chart of the Day below the spread between the two series has held at around 15 points the last couple weeks.  In short, the accelerating decline in oil prices since late September has coincided with a moderate acceleration in energy state initial jobless claims relative to the US as a whole.  We’ll get the incremental update this morning at 8:30am.    

So, energy state labor market trends do appear to be deteriorating on the margin and (at least partially) corroborating anecdotes of energy companies reducing headcount and scaling back capex.  At the same time, the U.S. is significantly less oil intensive than it once was, employment directly tied to oil and gas extraction is a relatively small fraction of the total, and there are the oft-highlighted consumption benefits of lower energy prices – although these are likely to play out on a decidedly different timeline than oil sector employment adjustments. 

 

Practically, is a moderate retreat in energy employment clearly discernible above the seasonality and month-to-month noise in the monthly employment data?  Perhaps, but it would have to be a large percentage change if those losses are, indeed, concentrated in the narrow set of BLS classified oil & gas extraction industries.

 

Remember also that the standard error on the NFP estimate is approximately +/- 90K at the 90% confidence interval.  In other words, if we happen to get a print of +90K on Friday, that means the BLS is 90% sure we gained between 0 and 180K jobs. 

 

Further, with USD correlations as strong as they are, a weak dollar move could augur sizeable, expedited upside for stuff priced in those dollars.   According to the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment report for January, American consumers aren’t convinced of the sustainability of the oil price retreat either.  In fact, the prevailing expectation is that gas prices rise 20 cents over the next year and ~$1 over the next few.

 

#MeanReversion: 100% of the time it works….everytime. 

 

Ultimately, the net impact of many of the oil price shock dynamics are equivocal and forecasting whether the collective impact will catalyze a negative, self-reinforcing inflection in the labor market is not one we’re comfortable making.  However, with the data context above and our weekly tracking of the high frequency labor data, we do feel comfortable in our ability to monitor incremental changes and dynamically update our view.

 

Plus….there’s bits of real panther in our risk management model  - so you know it’s good. 

 

Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:

 

UST 10yr Yield 1.65-1.87%

SPX 1

VIX 16.06-21.78
YEN 116.09-118.87

Oil (WTI) 42.24-51.97
Gold 1

 

Prepare. Perform. Prevail.

 

Christian B. Drake

U.S. Macro Analyst

 

Anchorman - EL Chart 2



February 5, 2015

February 5, 2015 - Slide1

 

BULLISH TRENDS

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BEARISH TRENDS

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Reverse Keynes

This note was originally published at 8am on January 22, 2015 for Hedgeye subscribers.

“If you die in the short run, there is no long run.”

-Larry Summers, offering a little reverse Keynes in discussing hysteresis & secular stagnation

 

 

If you stick your arms straight up over your head and hold them there, it’s impossible to stay angry.  Seriously, try it.

 

I’m not sure what you do with that nugget of empirically derived kindergarten teacher insight, but it may serve as a nice low-intensity therapeutic post this morning’s central planning event or as you puzzle further over the prospects of secular stagnation. 

 

Most mentions of secular stagnation in the financial press convey some vague notion of protracted ‘sub-trend’ growth due to an amorphous mix of lousy demographics and debt overhang.   

 

Despite the indefiniteness with which the idea is typically delivered, people find it intuitively appealing and seem willing to (at least partially) accept it simply because it plausibly characterizes our current, collective experience. 

 

In his 2014 address to the NABE, Larry Summers – who is credited with re-popularizing the term – presents a commonsensical and analytically tractable contextualization of the dynamics underpinning the secular stagnation thesis.   

 

Notably, Summers argues that the entre into economic purgatory actually began some 15+ years ago and what we had formerly viewed as “normal” growth was largely an unsustainable outcropping of overly expansive policy. 

 

Summers highlights recent expansionary periods across industrialized economies to illustrate the point:

 

  • USA 2002-2007“How satisfactory would the recovery have been with a different policy environment, in the absence of a housing bubble, and with the maintenance of strong credit standards.”
  • USA 1995-2000:  “there was very strong economic performance that in retrospect we now know was associated with the substantial stock market bubble of the late 1990s”
  • JAPAN 1994-2014:  “it is hard to make the case that over the last 20 years, Japan represents a substantial counterexample to the proposition that industrial countries are having difficulty achieving what we traditionally would have regarded as satisfactory growth with sustainable financial conditions.”
  • EUROPE 1999-2005:  “It is now clear that the strong performance of the euro in the first decade of this century was unsustainable and reliant on financial flows to the European periphery that in retrospect appear to have had the character of a bubble”

 

In short, Summers makes the case that the magnitude of growth in recent cycles overstated potential, was footed in a ‘sandy loam’ of loose policy, and would not have been achievable absent the associated increase in financial instability.

 

The fact that secular stagnation sits at the fore of the current macro discussion is simply because its realities become increasingly tangible at the lower bound in rates where policy becomes impotent in cushioning the blow of the financial instability it helped propagate in the first place. I encourage you  to read and consider Summers proposition for yourself >> HERE

 

Meanwhile, Super Mario’s on deck with the latest currency war announcement out of the ECB this morning.  With the alphabet soup of Eurozone stimulus programs to-date largely ineffectual in impacting the real economy, consensus sitting on an expectation for ~€600B in QE, and anything short of “unlimited” likely to be underwhelming, is the recent re-crescendo in interventionism more likely to propagate financial stability or volatility?

Reverse Keynes - Draghi cartoon 01.20.2015

 

…….If Florida is heaven’s waiting room, Frankfurt is fast becoming the central bank triage center for #DeflationsDominoes as the multi-decade policy to inflate reaches its terminal end. 

 

In other, less dismal news – we still like housing on the domestic macro front.   We don’t like it at every time and price and don’t think the industry goes full escape velocity in the intermediate term but we do think the dynamics are such that it goes from 2014 underperformer to 2015 outperformer. 

 

We detailed the thesis on our 12/16/14 Conference Call but understanding why we like housing in 2015 is, perhaps, most easily explained by why we didn’t like it in 2014:

 

  1. Taper + Tighter Credit:  2014 started with a thud as rates peaked into 2013 year-end and the twin terrors of QM (January 10, 2014) and lower FHA loan limits (January 1, 2014) constricted the underwriting box right out of the gate.
  2. Polar Vortex & Major Investor Retreat: Wicked weather capsized early-year demand while the end of the REO-to-Rental trade by private equity firms drove a substantial decline in both total volume and price uplift in select markets like Phoenix, Las Vegas, SoCal and much of Florida.
  3. Decelerating HPI: After rising at 11-12% year-over-year throughout the bulk of 2013, US home prices began to decelerate by March 2014 and continued to decelerate until just recently.

 

Looking forward, 2015 is essentially setting up as the obverse: 

 

  1. Easy Comps: 2014’s collapse is the 2015 comp
  2. HPI stabilization:  Housing related equities follow the slope of home price growth and HPI is stabilizing
  3. Expanding Credit Box:  Lower FHFA down payment requirements, lower FHA premium costs, housing as a 2015 policy focus
  4. Lower Rates:  Rates are nearly a half point lower than the 2014 avereage already.   A 1% reduction in rates equates to ~10% increase in affordability
  5. Labor Market Improvement:  Improvement remains ongoing and is picking up in key housing demand demographics. 

 

Yesterday’s housing data offered further confirmatory evidence of firming demand and the trend toward improving rate of change as we head into the new year. 

 

  • Purchase Applications:  Purchase demand registered a second week of positive year-over-year growth - the 1st weeks of positive growth since December of 2013 – accelerating to +3.7% in the latest week from +2.6% prior.  Growth is currently tracking +9.2% on a QoQ basis. 
  • Housing Starts:  Total Housing Starts rose +4.4% to 1.089MM units in December with both October and November estimates revised higher. Notably, single-family starts rose +7.2% sequentially to +782K, the highest level since March of 2008.   The Chart of the Day below shows the (improving) TTM trend in Housing Starts. 

 

To close, the current challenges faced by policy makers remain acute.  Investors tasked with front-running reactionary policy measures and discounting their prospective impacts and collateral damages remain equally challenged.  Neither condition is particularly amenable to a proverbial raising of the arms type remedy.  

 

“You don’t really know how tall you are until you have your back against the wall”

 

….that’s another axiomatic gem I picked up along my short stint on the kindergarten teaching circuit.  It seems fitting.

 

Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:

 

SPX 1987-2040

VIX 16.66-23.07

EUR/USD 1.15-1.19

WTI Oil 44.96-49.85

Gold 1251-1312

Copper 2.48-2.64 

 

To (sustainable) growth,

 

Christian B. Drake

U.S. Macro Analyst

 

Reverse Keynes - Starts Total   SF TTM


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