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LEISURE LETTER (02/06/2015)

TICKERS: SGMS, RCL

 

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 

China  Hua Jingfeng, a deputy bureau chief at the Ministry of Public Security, said illegal gambling remained a problem even though the government was "forcefully keeping it in check". "Some foreign countries see our nation as an enormous market, and we have investigated a series of cases," Hua told reporters.

 

"A fair number of neighboring countries have casinos, and they have set up offices in China to attract and drum up interest from Chinese citizens to go abroad and gamble. This will also be an area that we will crack down on."

 

Casinos are not allowed to legally advertise in mainland China, but operators have skirted around the issue by promoting the resorts where the casinos are located.  Hua said the government was also seeking to crack down on a "small number" of police and government officials who are guilty of collusion in covering up gambling and providing an umbrella of protection for it.

Article HERE

Takeaway:  Manila, South Korea, Cambodia, etc. might not get the big boost expected from incoming Chinese gamblers 

COMPANY NEWS

Novomatic- The gaming equipment supplier says that according to preliminary data, revenue for 2014 generated by its three holding companies totaled EUR3.8 billion (US$4.4 billion), +8% YoY.  

 

The firm said in a statement: “During the financial year 2014, the group‘s continued growth was based on the intensification of activities in the European core markets such as the U.K., Spain, Italy and also Holland, where through acquisitions the company has achieved a position as market leader.

Article HERE

 

SGMS - As part of its association with global gambling operator bwin.party, Scientific Games has initiated the distribution of a selected group of its online slots to the residents of New Jersey. From February 2015, the registered players of Borgata Casino and the New Jersey arm of PartyPoker will have access to SG video slots.

Article HERE

 

RCL - arranged financing for its fourth Oasis-class ship at STX France, which cut steel for the newbuild this week. The unsecured term loan is for an amount up to the US dollar equivalent of approximately €931m. The financing is fully guaranteed by France's export credit agency, Compagnie Française D’Assurance pour le Commerce Extérieur. The 12-year loan, to be assigned to Royal Caribbean once the ship is delivered in the second quarter of 2018, will amortize semi-annually. At the company's election, interest will accrue at a fixed rate of 3.72% or at a floating rate equal to LIBOR plus 1.1%. 

Article HERE

 

 

INDUSTRY NEWs

 

Japan – Japan’s government has tapped Innovation Group to aid in the study as part of a team of industry advisors led by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

The research will include advice for implementing gaming regulations, practices from similar jurisdictions, background on problem gaming programs, anti-money laundering approaches and the financial impacts from competing jurisdictions.

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.


TWTR: Perfectly Played (4Q14)

Takeaway: We played this release wrong, and management played it perfectly. Our short may be long in the tooth, but TWTR isn't out of the woods yet.

KEY POINTS

  1. 4Q14 LOOKED MUCH BETTER: Outside of the sputtering MAU growth metrics, we saw some marginal improvement across the metrics that were concerning us the most.  TWTR is not out of the woods by any stretch, but it doesn’t appear to be getting worse.
  2. AND MANAGEMENT PLAYED IT PERFECTLY: Management explained away the MAU weakness, while pointing to a positive inflection 1Q15.  Management also managed consensus expectations by explicitly quantifying its non-recurring 2014 tailwinds (e.g. World Cup). 
  3. SHORT MAY BE PLAYED OUT, BUT TREAD CAREFULLY: We still do not believe TWTR can hit 2015 estimates without M&A support, and the additional $1.8B raise suggests that may be the plan.  But without a hard catalyst in site, it may be time to walk away from this one.  We'll be monitoring consensus estimates, and reassessing our position from here.

 

4Q14 LOOKED MUCH BETTER

The biggest blemish from the quarter was the lack of US user growth.  Outside of that we did see some marginal improvement in some of the key metrics that we concerning us the most. 

 

We also saw a widening spread between ad engagements and timeline views, which suggests improved targeting ability or increased ad load (management suggests both).  We also saw both ad engagements and pricing both accelerate on a sequential basis (at the same time) for the first time in TWTR’s reported history; suggesting that TWTR may not be as dependent on surging ad load to drive its model (at least this quarter).

 

TWTR: Perfectly Played (4Q14) - TWTR   Ad vs. user engagement 4Q14

TWTR: Perfectly Played (4Q14) - TWTR   Ad Engagement vs. Pricing 4Q14

 

AND MANAGEMENT PLAYED IT PERFECTLY

The MAU weakness was explained away by pointing to the iOS 8 integration that essentially cut third-party MAU metrics by 4M, while at the same time, pointing to a positive inflection in MAU metrics in 2Q15 to-date.  Further, management approached 2015 guidance by quantifying the non-recurring tailwinds in 2014 (e.g. the World Cup essentially doubled its sequential revenue growth rate in 2Q14).  

 

TWTR: Perfectly Played (4Q14) - TWTR   Ad Rev Ex

 

SHORT MAY BE PLAYED OUT, BUT TREAD CAREFULLY

Management essentially guided inline, with revenues at the midpoint of $2.33B vs. consensus of 2.30B.  We were expecting $2.17B, and really haven't seen much to dissuade us form our estimates.  

 

Despite the marginal improvement we highlighted above, TWTR still really hasn't shown us much to suggest that it's found an answer to comping past the 2Q13 Supply Shock; especially since we now realize how much of its 1H14 ad revenues were juiced by one-time events

 

TWTR: Perfectly Played (4Q14) - TWTR   Growth Drivers 4Q14

 

However, the big variable is M&A.  TWTR essentially doubled its cash balance after raising an additional $1.8B last quarter.  With $3.6B in cash, mgmt attempt to fill the void inorganically.  We're not sure the street will be willing to pay up for that (e.g. its 3Q14 release).

 

But without a hard catalyst in site, it may be time to walk away from this one.  We'll be monitoring consensus estimates, and reassessing our position from here.

 

 

Let us know if you have any questions, or would like to discuss in more detail.

 

Hesham Shaaban, CFA

@HedgeyeInternet


February 6, 2015

February 6, 2015 - Slide1

 

BULLISH TRENDS

February 6, 2015 - Slide2

February 6, 2015 - Slide13

February 6, 2015 - Slide3

February 6, 2015 - Slide4

February 6, 2015 - Slide5

 

BEARISH TRENDS

February 6, 2015 - Slide7

February 6, 2015 - Slide8

February 6, 2015 - Slide9

February 6, 2015 - Slide10

February 6, 2015 - Slide11
February 6, 2015 - Slide12


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Anything Can Happen Here

Client Talking Points

USD

While the no volume ramp in equity futures (total U.S. equity volume -22% vs 1 year average yesterday) provides for a nice narrative, most of that was driven by a massive counter-TREND move on Down Dollar; on a bad jobs report (Dollar Down, Rates Down), will they rip again?

UST 10YR

A) good jobs report = 1.89%, B) bad jobs report = 1.64% - we’ll take B) only because every jobs data point we have for the last 6 weeks has been bearish, on the margin. Since the government makes up the number, anything can happen here - remember, jobs are late-cycle, and accelerated at the end of the cycle (slowing now).

CHINA

The Shanghai Composite was down another -1.9% overnight, down 8 of the last 9 days, and -4.9% year-to-date  – so the China ramp won’t be followed by mainstream media anymore, but leaves one to wonder what central plannings really do for markets after their short-term pops as economies continue to slow...

Asset Allocation

CASH 56% US EQUITIES 4%
INTL EQUITIES 4% COMMODITIES 2%
FIXED INCOME 30% INTL CURRENCIES 4%

Top Long Ideas

Company Ticker Sector Duration
EDV

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.

TLT

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.

HOLX

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.

Three for the Road

TWEET OF THE DAY

In today's Early Look "Alternative Market Medicine" I explain what to do once you see the jobs report

@KeithMcCullough

QUOTE OF THE DAY

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.

-Tolstoy

STAT OF THE DAY

54 million tons of freight move across our country each day.


YELP: Shot Itself in the Foot (4Q14)

Takeaway: Today’s sell-off will pale in comparison to the one coming the first time YELP doesn’t raise guidance, likely on the 2Q15 release

KEY POINTS

  1. DIRTY, DIRTY, POOL: YELP will be pulling its Active Local Business Account metric in favor of a new one focusing only on businesses contributing to its Local Advertising Revenue.  The customer repeat rate and reported account base will now be an apples-to-oranges comparison.  There is no other reason to do this other than to mask its rampant attrition issues. 
  2. SHOT ITSELF IN THE FOOT: Management needed to rebase expectations, but chose to guide inline with lofty consensus estimates instead.  What’s interesting is that YELP thinks it can somehow hit numbers while scaling down the rate of sales rep hiring...when its sales rep productivity is currently on the decline.
  3. WHAT HAPPENS FROM HERE: Revenue guidance is back-weighted, and consensus is going to raise the bar further. The first time that YELP doesn’t raise guidance, the stock craters.  That likely comes on the 2Q14 release (3Q14 guidance). 

 

DIRTY, DIRTY, POOL

YELP beat 4Q14 top-line estimates by ~1%, but we’re not sure if/how much its two international acquisitions contributed.  Net account growth slowed to 44% (ex Qype account transition) from 51% in the prior.  The slowdown was largely due to a sharp deceleration in new account growth to 30% from 40% in the prior quarter (also ex Qype).  YELP’s attrition rate improved to 18.5% from 19.1% in the prior quarter, but absolute attrition accelerated as it has for every quarter for as long as we can track the data. 

 

YELP: Shot Itself in the Foot (4Q14) - YELP   New  Net  Lost 4Q14

 

The major red flag from the quarter was that YELP will be pulling its Active Local Business Account metric in favor of a new one focusing only on accounts contributing to its Local Advertising Revenue.  The customer repeat rate and its reported account base going forward will now be an apples-to-oranges comparison.  There is no other reason to do this other than to mask its rampant attrition issues.  Management is trying to buy some deniability to our attrition thesis, but skewing the numbers doesn't change anything. 

 

 YELP: Shot Itself in the Foot (4Q14) - YELP   Account Mix 4Q14

 

SHOOTING itself IN THE FOOT

We expected YELP to guide light; our mistake was thinking management would approach guidance rationally.  Instead management basically guided inline to estimates that we estimate are well out of reach.  We have stated repeatedly that YELP will need to produce both accelerating new account growth and record low attrition to hit consensus estimates.  For perspective, YELP averaged 34% new account growth (y/y%) and 18.5% quarterly attrition in 2014.

 

YELP: Shot Itself in the Foot (4Q14) - YELP   2015 Consensus Scenario   Feb 2015

 

The risk to our thesis, at least in 2015, was that YELP was going to accelerate its sales rep hiring in 2015 to stuff the channel as much as possible.  Instead, YELP plans to slow the pace of sales rep hiring to a rate of 40% y/y in 2014 (vs. an average growth rate of 53% in 2014

 

Remember, YELP’s business model is predicated on aggressive sales rep hiring to drive enough new account growth to offset its rampant attrition.  So by choosing to scale down hiring when it can't produce new account growth in excess of its sales rep hiring is a suspect move.

 

YELP: Shot Itself in the Foot (4Q14) - YELP   New Acct vs. Sales 4Q14


WHAT HAPPENS FROM HERE?

1Q15 revenue guidance is roughly 20% of its 2015 revenue guidance, which essentially means guidance is back-weighted.  Consensus will likely raise the bar further to reflect the marginal upside to guidance, and may do so again following the 1Q print if YELP produces some upside on the heels of its international acquisitions and/or the YP partnership. 

 

But remember that YELP must consistently beat and raise to sustain its multiple.  The first time that YELP doesn’t raise guidance, the stock craters.  That likely comes on the 2Q14 release (3Q14 guidance).

 

 

 

Let us know if you have any questions, or would like to discuss in more detail.

 

Hesham Shaaban, CFA

@HedgeyeInternet

 



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