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Retail Callouts (2/19): FL, AdiBok, NKE, UA

Takeaway: FL stock Repo is no surprise, but need for capital investment intensifying. AdiBok CEO search = positive for NKE & UA , negative for FL.

EVENTS TO WATCH

Retail Callouts (2/19): FL, AdiBok, NKE, UA - 2 17 chart2

 

 

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

 

FL - New Stock Repo and Capital Allocation Plans

(http://www.footlocker-inc.com/pdf/2015/20150218-footlocker-capital-allocation-plan.pdf

 

Takeaway: The $1bn repo announcement is not a surprise. The company is coming to the end of its existing $600mm authorization ($70mm left at the end of 4Q by our math), and every year at this time it announces its capital deployment plan following the first Board meeting of the new fiscal year. 


We still really like this name as a Short. Admittedly, the next few weeks will be an uphill battle. With last night’s announcement, the print on 3/6 (which we don’t think will be outstanding, but probably won’t tank), and the company’s analyst meeting on 3/16 in NYC.


But any way we cut it, the warning signs are there.  The key to this call is that the model is transitioning into a lower margin and lower-return business.  Under the Hicks regime, capital was pulled from the model (stores, SG&A, working cap, capex) which took productivity and margins to new peak.  The new model is one where store closure opportunities are minimal, and both SG&A and capex need to head higher to refurbish existing stores to maintain market share – and that’s a best-case scenario. In fact, the 2015 capital budget remains elevated at $220mm up from $160mm two years ago.

 

AdiBok, NKE, UA - Adidas launches search for new CEO

(http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/19/us-adidas-ceo-idUSKBN0LN0TD20150219)

 

Takeaway: This was a long time coming at Adi. Not because of shareholder activism. But because the brand has been handing over market share hand and foot to Nike globally while at the same time it sat on the sidelines as UA became the #2 player in the US market. Now, there is instability at the top of the organization just as the brand is trying to right the ship. There is no clear timetable for Heiner to become the old CEO. The longer the search takes, we think = a bigger opportunity for Nike and UA to accelerate market share gains.

 

As for Foot Locker, we think that this is probably a slight negative development on the margin. The best possible environment for an athletic retailer is when the major brands are heavily competing for shelf space. That competition will ease before it ultimately (in a few years) intensifies. Nike and UA won't have to fight as hard, or spend as much, to get incremental space at FL. And keep in mind that Nike is already at 68% of sales for FL. Foot Locker wants nothing more than to have a strong staple of contenders looking to take a few points of share. That's not gonna happen.

 

OTHER NEWS

 

Kering Classifies Sergio Rossi as Sale Asset

(http://www.wwd.com/business-news/financial/kering-classifies-sergio-rossi-as-sale-asset-8204791?module=Business-latest)

 

AdiBok - Taylormade: First work from new creative lead

(http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/taylormade-reminds-golfers-it-wont-be-long-they-can-hit-links-163008)

 

AAPL - Samsung to acquire digital wallet platform—and Apple Pay competitor— LoopPay

(http://www.chainstoreage.com/article/samsung-acquire-digital-wallet-platform%E2%80%94and-apple-pay-competitor%E2%80%94-looppay)

 

Facebook debuts product ads

(http://www.fiercecmo.com/story/facebook-debuts-product-ads/2015-02-17?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal)

 

Kenneth Cole Names Marc Schneider CEO

(http://www.wwd.com/business-news/human-resources/kenneth-cole-names-marc-schneider-ceo-8203115?module=Business-latest)

 

 

 


February 19, 2015

In today's edition of RTA Live, Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough dials in from San Francisco to break down the Real-Time Alerts positions as of 10:30AM, as well as take subscriber questions on TLT (of course), housing, and 3D printing stocks.


Patient, Contrarian Investors Are Getting Paid

Editor’s noteThis is a brief excerpt from Hedgeye morning research. Click here for more information on how you can become a subscriber.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Patient, Contrarian Investors Are Getting Paid - pa7

 

What a difference 24 hours in the bond market makes…

 

The 10-year Treasury yield drops -11 basis points in the last 24 hours from 2.16% to 2.05% after:

 

A) The data (PPI -0.8% vs consensus expecting ½ that decline) and

B) Fed Minutes effectively suggesting that a hike in June could be “premature” (Powell, a Fed voter, cautioned on the rising expectation of dropping the word “patient” too)

 

Expect volatility in the bond market to continue to rise.

 

Bottom line: The patient investor has bought every pullback in the Long Bond (TLT) for the last 8 months and has made plenty of money doing so.

 

Patient, Contrarian Investors Are Getting Paid - cod TLT

 


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24 Hours

Client Talking Points

UST 10YR

UST 10YR Yield drops -11 basis points in the last 24 hours from 2.16% to 2.05% after A) the data (PPI -0.8% vs. consensus expecting a decline of 1/2 that) and B) Fed Minutes effectively suggesting that a hike in June could be “premature” (Jerome Powell, a Federal Reserve voter, cautioned on the rising expectation of dropping the word “patient” too) – expect volatility in the bond market to continue to rise.

OIL

Oil was down yesterday, then down hard this morning as the USD Down move last week shows no follow through. The risk range for WTI is now narrowing ($49.04-51.64), so we don’t expect oil volatility (OVX) to re-test its highs of $63-64 on this oil pullback.

VIX

On an absolute basis, Oil’s volatility (55) looks nothing like U.S. equity volatility (15), but they are both bullish from an intermediate term TREND perspective. VIX is testing the low-end of its immediate-term risk range and has upside to $19-21.

Asset Allocation

CASH 41% US EQUITIES 8%
INTL EQUITIES 7% COMMODITIES 0%
FIXED INCOME 33% INTL CURRENCIES 11%

Top Long Ideas

Company Ticker Sector Duration
EDV

You want to own the Vanguard Extended Duration Treasury (EDV) in this current yield-chasing, growth slowing environment. The trend in domestic growth continues to signal growth slowing, and the counter-TREND moves we’ve seen over the last few weeks (@Hedgeye TREND is our view on a 3-Month or more duration) remain something to fade until we can see more follow-through that growth is trending more positively (second-derivative positive).

 

TLT

Low-volatility Long Bonds (TLT) have plenty of room to run. Late-Cycle Economic Indicators are still deteriorating on a TRENDING Basis (Manufacturing, CapEX, inflation) while consumption driven numbers have improved. Inflation readings for January are #SLOWING. We saw deceleration in CPI year-over-year at +0.8% vs. +1.3% prior and month-over-month at -0.4% vs. -0.3% prior. Growth is still #SLOWING with Real GDP growth decelerating at -20 basis points to +2.5% year-over-year for Q4 2014.The GDP deflator decelerated -40 basis points to +1.2% year-over-year.

HOLX

Low-volatility Long Bonds (TLT) have plenty of room to run. Late-Cycle Economic Indicators are still deteriorating on a TRENDING Basis (Manufacturing, CapEX, inflation) while consumption driven numbers have improved. Inflation readings for January are #SLOWING. We saw deceleration in CPI year-over-year at +0.8% vs. +1.3% prior and month-over-month at -0.4% vs. -0.3% prior. Growth is still #SLOWING with Real GDP growth decelerating at -20 basis points to +2.5% year-over-year for Q4 2014.The GDP deflator decelerated -40 basis points to +1.2% year-over-year.

Three for the Road

TWEET OF THE DAY

VIDEO | Why Oil Prices Are Set To Go Lower https://app.hedgeye.com/insights/42430-video-why-oil-prices-are-set-to-go-lower

@KeithMcCullough

QUOTE OF THE DAY

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.

-Confucius

STAT OF THE DAY

There are 73 startups with a valuation over $1 billion according to venture capitalists. Of the 73 companies, 23 make software, 13 work in e-commerce and 13 are consumer oriented internet services.


CHART OF THE DAY: Long Bond Investor Patience Continues to Pay | $TLT

CHART OF THE DAY: Long Bond Investor Patience Continues to Pay | $TLT - cod TLT

 

"FOMC voting member Jay Powell’s comment was a real-time one yesterday, whereas the Fed’s “Minutes” from their January meeting were not," Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough wrote in today's Morning Newsletter. "That said, both helped drop the 10yr US Treasury Yield in a straight line from 2.16% 24 hours ago, to 2.05% this morning. The patient investor has bought every pullback in the Long Bond (TLT) for the last 8 months and made plenty of money doing so."

 


Investor Patience

“He that can have patience, will have what he will.”

-Benjamin Franklin

 

That’s a great fishing strategy inasmuch as it is a macro risk management one. While I don’t think Benjamin Franklin was talking about either, we can always learn something from a thought leader’s timeless quotes.

 

The Fed wants you to focus on being “patient” too…

 

And while it may be intellectually stimulating to consider the removal of that wording, yesterday the Fed’s Jay Powell (voting member of the FOMC) cautioned against rising expectations of “dropping the patient language” at the March 18th Fed meeting.

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

Powell’s comment was a real-time one yesterday, whereas the Fed’s “Minutes” from their January meeting were not. That said, both helped drop the 10yr US Treasury Yield in a straight line from 2.16% 24 hours ago, to 2.05% this morning.

 

The key to the Fed Minutes was the FOMC acknowledging what I’ve been very concerned about – a policy mistake – i.e. raising rates as both the global economy is slowing and #deflationary headwinds continue to manifest.

Investor Patience - Yellen dove 09.17.2014 

“So”, I think our almighty overlords on the central planning committee did the right thing in suggesting that a “premature hike might dampen the recovery.” That is indeed, the truth.

 

Or is it?

 

I’m on the road seeing Institutional Investors in California this week, and THE question in every meeting surrounds this basic, but critical, question on rates rising or falling from here. What is going to be the truth?

 

  1. That all of the “data” drives rates? (PPI slowed -0.8% in JAN, CPI will slow again next week)
  2. That the only data that matters is the employment data? (FEB jobs report 1st wk of March)
  3. Or that none of the data really matters at this point, because raising rates is a political move?

 

I like to measure the truth with what the market does on data and  events:

 

  1. So far, all of the growth and inflation data has mattered to the rate of change in long-term bond yields
  2. As both #deflation data and US growth slowing data for DEC was reported in JAN, the 10yr hit new lows
  3. On the 1 major economic surprise (strong JAN jobs report) rates reversed, and ripped higher for 2 weeks

 

And obviously the politics, wording, and timing of all Fed comments have mattered along the way. Don’t forget that Powell’s comments were plugged into the marketplace to offset a non-voting Fed member’s comments about removing the “patient.”

 

So I’d say the truth is that it all matters – and that markets are reflexively reacting to price action which, in turn, is driving Fed rhetoric, as the Fed reacts (on a lag) to data that the market is already discounting.

 

If you don’t want to deal with all of the data, noise, etc., and want to take a longer-term and more patient view of this gong show of gaming un-elected-political-policy-expectations, this gets a lot easier:

 

A)     You have to decide if year-over-year GROWTH is going to accelerate or decelerate

B)      You have to decide if INFLATION is going to continue to #deflate or start to reflate

C)      Then you have to take a view on how to front-run the Fed’s behavior depending on answers to A) and B)

 

And/or you can just let Mr. Macro Market hold your hand along the way, signaling in real-time where the probabilities on A) and B) are rising or falling. He tends to do a better job than most on that.

 

I don’t get to take the easy path. I have to write to you every day and attempt to explain every little data wiggle and watch word. But I’m cool with that. It’s what makes this game of expectations the one that I love.  

 

To review how we’d answer A, B, and C:

 

A)     Global Growth will continue to surprise on the downside as US Growth has a solid Q1, then slows Q2/Q3

B)      Global #Deflation remains our Top Global Macro Theme for Q1/Q2

C)      Even if the Fed does a token 25bps hike, they’ll have to say no more of that by Q3 anyway

 

The patient investor has bought every pullback in the Long Bond (TLT) for the last 8 months and made plenty of money doing so.

 

That’s because they understood that the best way to play global #GrowthSlowing and #Deflation was to buy low-volatility duration as the manic had to unload commodity and energy related equity beta as Oil Volatility (OVX) went from 15 to 60.

 

Never mind Oil Vol 60 – that’s epic, 2008 style volatility! Can you imagine if US Equity Volatility (VIX) went from 15 (closed at 15.45 yesterday) to 20, 25, or 30 again? I can. And a lot of #patient equity investors will be happy to buy lower (again) on that.

 

Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:

 

UST 10yr Yield 1.74-2.16%
SPX 2075-2115
Nikkei 172
VIX 14.26-18.96
USD 93.64-95.39
EUR/USD 1.12-1.15

 

Best of luck out there today,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

Investor Patience - cod TLT


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