(More) Bad Economic News in Japan = Nikkei Rips Higher

Editor's note: This is a brief excerpt from Hedgeye morning research from CEO Keith McCullough. Click here to learn more about how you can subscribe.

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Another horrendous economic data point in Japan with Auto Sales down -14.2% year-over-year in February. So… how did Japanese stocks handle the news? They’re making another fresh, 15-year high.


The Weimar Nikkei is up +8% year-to-date, moving up another +2.3% on the week (S&P 500 was -0.3% last week).


Nikkei loves Burning Yens!


(More) Bad Economic News in Japan = Nikkei Rips Higher - y88

QUICK TAKE | McCullough: My Latest Thoughts on Whether a Recession Is Coming


Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough answers a viewer question during Q&A in today’s Morning Macro Call.

LEISURE LETTER (03/02/2015)




  • Mar 5: The 3rd Session of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature will convene in Beijing


  • RCL - announced today that it has entered into an agreement to sell its cruise ship Splendour of the Seas to TUI Cruises in 2Q 2016. The ship will then be leased to Thomson Cruises, which will operate the vessel. "The ship's sale is in line with our strategic objective of divesting ourselves of older hardware and keeps us firmly on the course to the Double-Double," says CEO Fain. 

Takeaway: One way to deal with cannibalization risk is to sell the underperforming ships. The last time RCL sold a ship, (Celebrity Century Sept 2014) it was at a $17.4 million loss. Splendour itineraries are in Europe and Dubai.


WYNN -  “The board decided not to re-nominate Elaine P. Wynn to serve as a director, based on the recommendation of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee,” said a company filing. But the document said Ms Wynn intended to nominate herself for election by shareholders even if the board does not support her. The board meeting is on April 24.


Starwood Capital/Melia -  announced today that they have established a joint venture that has agreed to acquire a collection of hotels across key resort locations in Spain. The initial portfolio for the joint venture consists of seven well-established beachfront hotels representing 2,933 keys that are currently owned by Melia Hotels International and will continue to be managed by Melia upon completion of the transaction. The properties will be acquired by the joint venture in a transaction valued at €176 million ($198 million), subject to the approval of the European Union Merger Control Office.


RCL - A guest on Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas is reporting the ship is experiencing propulsion problems that is forcing the ship to travel at a reduced speed.  As a result of the slower speed, the ship has canceled a scheduled port stop in Ocho Rios, Jamaica and will instead head back home to Fort Lauderdale.


The report has not been confirmed by Royal Caribbean yet but the guest did indicate Royal Caribbean is issuing an onboard credit of $100 for inside staterooms and $200 for balcony staterooms for the inconvenience.


Takeaway: If true, another headache for RCL


Hotel room rates drop for Lunar New Year holidays - The average room rate in Macau’s three-star, four-star and five-star hotels was MOP2,019 (US$252.75) during the Lunar New Year holidays this year, 15.4% less than in the equivalent period last year, the Macau Government Tourist Office says, citing data from hoteliers. 


The average occupancy rate of such hotels fell by 6.9% points to 87.5%. The average occupancy rate of two-star hotels fell by 13.4% points to 73.9% and the average occupancy rate of guesthouses fell by 8.6% points to 74%.


Takeaway: Not a good sign as we wait for the final monthly numbers for February. The only bright spot in Macau was supposedly strong hotel bookings.


S'pore Changi Airport- passenger traffic for January 2015 fell 3.8% YoY.

LEISURE LETTER (03/02/2015) - changi

Takeaway: Bad start to new year


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.

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EVENT: BABA Best Idea SHORT call

Takeaway: Join us for our call Thursday, March 5th at 1:00pm EST. Call details will be posted Thursday morning.

We will be hosting a call outlining our SHORT thesis on Alibaba Group Holdings (BABA).  Since our last call on BABA, we saw validation of the core tenets of our thesis within its last earnings release, as well the emergence of a new trend, which will compound pressure across its model.  


Join us for our call Thursday, March 5th at 1:00pm EST as we update our bearish thesis, and why we see 25%+ downside from here.



  • China Can’t Grow Fast Enough: Top-down analysis of the key factors driving e-commerce in China
  • Growth Will Come at a Price: How the China growth story will pressure BABA’s Business Model.
  • Fool’s Gold: Why mobile is not a long-term opportunity, but a secular headwind.
  • Sputtering Tailwinds: Why BABA’s last core growth driver can no longer offset headwinds across its model.



We will be posting call details Thursday mornings.  Ping us or email for more information.  




Hesham Shaaban, CFA



Keith's Macro Notebook 3/2: Japan | Euro | Oil


Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough shares the top three things in his macro notebook this morning.

Retail Callouts (3/2): Mobile Commerce, COST, GME, LL

Takeaway: A look at Global Mobile Commerce over the holiday season.


Retail Callouts (3/2): Mobile Commerce, COST, GME, LL - 3 2 chart2





Mobile/Tablet Commerce Stat Pack


Takeaway: For the amount of noise we hear about mobile - it's still just a drop in the bucket for most retailers. For the retail space in aggregate over the holiday season, mobile/tablet sales increased in penetration by 500bps and accounted for 22.6% of digital sales. There is one limiting factor however, and that is conversion rate where desktop rates sit at levels 4x smartphones and 1.5x tablets.

Perhaps the more interesting dynamic on mobile is the heavy weighting towards Apple powered iOS devices. Android operating devices account for about 52% of the devices in the US (compared to iOS at 42%), but only account for 22% of mobile sales. The median income of an iOS user is 40% higher than that of Android, but we don't think that explains the big discrepancy between units and sales volume. It has to be centered on functionality, an edge Apple will continue to enjoy especially after it integrates its Apple Pay feature into retail apps.

Retail Callouts (3/2): Mobile Commerce, COST, GME, LL - 3215 chart1

Retail Callouts (3/2): Mobile Commerce, COST, GME, LL - 3215 chart2

Retail Callouts (3/2): Mobile Commerce, COST, GME, LL - 3215 chart3








GME, RSH - Report: GameStop bids $2.4 million on 163 RadioShack leases



LL - Lumber Liquidators linked to health and safety violations



JWN - Nordstrom Launching Collaboration With Piece & Co.



JCP, M - Court Rekindles J.C. Penney's Battle With Macy's



GPS - Gap names Victoria’s Secret ‘Pink’ creator as new design chief


LULU - Kit & Ace, the new retail venture from the son of Lululemon Athletica Inc founder, has been resounding success



Ron Johnson leads $16M investment in Nasty Gal



LVMH - Louis Vuitton is now a 'brand for secretaries' in China


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