CHART OF THE DAY: Consensus Bond Bear Squeeze!

CHART OF THE DAY: Consensus Bond Bear Squeeze! - 03.19.15 chart


Editor's Note: This is a brief excerpt from today's Morning Newsletter written by Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough. If you're an active investor/trader and you're not subscribing, you're bathing in gasoline next to a roaring bonfire. Click here to learn more and sign up.


Yellen’s decision keeps our non-consensus view of lower-rates-for-longer on the table (US Treasury 10yr Yield smoked back down to 1.94%, German 10yr Bund Yield at all-time lows of 0.19%, etc.) and she reiterated our #deflation call.


Buy Everything?

“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”

-Phyllis Diller


Oh, you’re not smiling this morning? Then you didn’t buy and cover everything within 3-6 minutes of the Fed statement yesterday. Consensus Long Bond Bears were not positioned for that!


Rather than rehash the who said what and when in yesterday’s epic Global Macro move (Dollar Down, Rates Down à Everything Reflation and Yield Chasing Up), here’s the replay of the LIVE coverage I did:


In the spirit of trying to “ESPN Finance” (i.e. provide live coverage and analysis from pros instead of journos), I figured I’d put myself and my analyst, Ben Ryan, to the real-time test. I’m glad we did. Evolving this profession is a big growth opportunity.


Buy Everything? - espnfinance


Back to the Global Macro Grind


The thing about ESPN is that they became the world’s curator of what mattered in sports (replays!). After yesterday’s macro market game was played, you know the score – and I highly doubt you want to watch 25 minutes of me analyzing, post game…


So go to minute 13 of that video, and I get to the highlight that mattered most. Apologies in advance for my tone and choice of words – when it’s game time, I care less about style, and more about results.


From an immediate-term perspective, “the call” yesterday was simple – buy everything.


Ok, maybe not everything – in immediately acknowledging the statement as dovish, you obviously wouldn’t have bought the US Dollar or TBT (Ultra Short 20yr Treasury ETF)… but you could have bought damn near anything else!


To review:


  1. Not only did Janet Yellen NOT make a Policy Mistake (signaling explicit rate hikes)…
  2. She masterfully pushed out the “dots” on both the timing and pace of hikes (if there will be any at all)


In doing so, she basically crushed whoever was betting on “rate liftoff” and may very well have put the guys who trade on inside information out of business too!


Can you imagine you had what you thought was the river card in hand (that she was going to remove the word “patient”) and put on a massive Long USD, Long Rates position with Utilities and REITS on the short side?


She removed the word alright – and then said “but that doesn’t mean we’ll be impatient.” Ha! Inasmuch as I am no fan of central planning, that was one of the best one-liners of the year. Bravo Janet – and shame on you insider-trading-bro!


In order to get these big macro moves right, you have to know where consensus is positioned in levered terms (in order to monitor that, we look at CFTC Non-Commercial futures and options positioning):


  1. US Dollar Bulls hit YTD highs at +81,210 NET long contracts at the beginning of the week
  2. Euro Bears hit all-time highs with a net SHORT position of -185,661 contracts
  3. SP500 (Index + Emini) net SHORT position was at YTD high of -39,891 contracts
  4. Russell 2000 net SHORT position hit a YTD high of -40,793 contracts
  5. Long-bond Bears ramped the net SHORT position in the 10yr Treasury to -173,194 contracts


Therefore, the call to “buy everything”, in the moment was more like a call to do the opposite of how the crowd was positioned. This job is not easy, but that’s why it was an easy call to make.


Context is the most important thing when making a high conviction “call.” I don’t make them frequently.


Ok ESPN guy - now what?


I’m just going to go back to doing what we always do – executing on our process. While the Fed could have changed everything yesterday, it did not. The USA has another month left in #Quad1, then moves back into #Quad4.


Yellen’s decision keeps our non-consensus view of lower-rates-for-longer on the table (US Treasury 10yr Yield smoked back down to 1.94%, German 10yr Bund Yield at all-time lows of 0.19%, etc.) and she reiterated our #deflation call.


With commodities having crashed again in March (and Oil’s Down Dollar Viagra bounce from yesterday fading, fast), reality is that Janet’s Fed is going to get more, not less, #deflation data when the March data gets reported in April.


As a Long Bond Investor (total Return of TLT up approximately +5% YTD vs SP500 +2%), you can smile this morning. If you’re still long the Russell 2000 (IWM), Healthcare (XLV), Consumer Discretionary (XLV), and Housing (ITB) stocks, you can smile too.


Thanks Janet, for keeping everything less-straight!


Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now (intermediate-term TREND views in brackets):


UST 10yr Yield 1.88-2.05% (bearish)
SPX 2076-2105 (bullish)
RUT 1 (bullish)
DAX 11811-12239 (bullish)
VIX 13.51-16.12 (bullish)
USD 97.39-100.93 (bullish)
EUR/USD 1.04-1.09 (bearish)

Oil (WTI) 41.32-46.34 (bearish)


Best of luck out there today,



Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer


Buy Everything? - 03.19.15 chart

March 19, 2015

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the macro show

what smart investors watch to win

Hosted by Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough at 9:00am ET, this special online broadcast offers smart investors and traders of all stripes the sharpest insights and clearest market analysis available on Wall Street.


Takeaway: Margins missed expectations in Q4 and fell to lowest level since Q1 2012. Ph2 table request application submitted yesterday.


  • Special dividend of HK$0.28 on May 22
  • Q4: Playing lucky benefited EBITDA by HK$35m
  • Galaxy Ph2 opening: on time
  • Operating velocity remains unchanged
  • Galaxy Macau: Playing lucky benefited EBITDA by HK$40m
  • Opened 2 VIP rooms (1 in December 201`4 and 1 in February 2015)
  • Starworld: bad luck of $5m
  • Galaxy Macau Ph2: invested HK$10.8bn (HK$1.8bn in Q4 2014).
  • Q4 2014: $790m total borrowing capacity


Q & A

  • Galaxy Ph2:  
    • Not as much VIP offering as you would expect given there is not much junkets out there
    • Cost of running property shouldn't change much per laborer
    • Officially submitted table requests yesterday.  Govt will be pragmatic about the process. Will be sitting down with govt very soon. Will not talk about table # expectations on the call.
  • 5 small VIP operators ceased operations in 2014 at Galaxy
  • 1-2% margin impact on employee retention program
  • Direct VIP:  growing but still very small part of overall VIP business. That segment has done well.
  • Labor cost pressures:  increasing staff numbers, compensation costs up ~20%.  Will continue to offer competitive package to employee and will evaluate pay costs in mid-year.
  • Full smoking ban:  very serious issue. Working with govt. 
  • Mainland China not only targeting Macau on corruption issues
  • Cannibalization between Starworld and Galaxy Macau:  not an issue since one property in Peninsula, one on Cotai. 
  • Galaxy Ph3/4 opening: 2018 (unchanged from previous commentary)
  • Want have some flexibility regarding dividends

WSM/RH – The Only Chart That Matters

Takeaway: This is pretty much the only WSM chart we really care about.

WSM/RH – The Only Chart That Matters - WSM RH comp 2


The 4Q WSM comp was uninspiring at face value at 5.1%, though to be fair the 2-year trends held steady across every concept except for PB Teen (only 6% of rev). But the key for us is that comps trended down for WSM, and trended up for RH (which already preannounced the quarter it will report next week). These two names are often mentioned in the same sentence. But keep in mind that one of them (WSM) grows square footage at 2% on its best day and is comping mid-single digits. The other has square footage growth accelerating to 25% by the end of 2015, and just comped 24% (the second best comp in all of retail behind Kate Spade’s 28%).


WSM took down 1Q guidance, which was almost entirely due to the impact of the West Coast Port issues. The Street will probably look through this, and it should. We certainly will.  But the question about the impact on RH from labor issues has already come up in the hours since the WSM call.


Could RH see some impact? Yes. It definitely could, and we expect there to be mention of it on the call. The company is far less mature than WSM and therefore has less experience dealing with issues like this. But keep in mind one important factor…the business that is at risk of being lost forever is what we’d call ‘cash and carry’. That means that the consumer goes into the store, and walks out with the merchandise in their hands. If it’s stuck on a container ship, the consumer is likely walking away empty handed. Consider the following…

a)      An apparel company (which is near 100% ‘cash and carry’), that has delayed containers, gets the merchandise several weeks into the season – after the consumer has already made full price purchases. The goods ultimately get sold, but at a deep discount. That’s problematic.

b)      By our math, WSM is closer to 30-40% ‘C&C’. Far from optimal, but the nature of its category carries less risk than apparel, footwear, or some other non-durable category.

c)       RH, however, has an estimated 5% of its business that walks out of the store with the consumer on the day of purchase. Could some of that be lost? Yes, and some will. But the remainder of the impact should come down to an extension of the time it takes to deliver product. Maybe it takes 12-weeks on a custom order instead of 7-8 weeks, and yes, that could push revenue into 2Q. If anything, this will simply come down to when the revenue is recognized. When all is said and done, we’d argue that RH is structurally more insulated from lost revenue than any other type of retailer. It will probably come down to a matter of timing.


Takeaway: The good news: premium mass table minimum bets seem to have stabilized. The bad news: grind mass minimum bet size continues to drop

  • The continued lower trend in bet minimums for grind mass is troubling. We fear revenues for this very profitable segment could meaningfully disappoint relative to Street expectations.
  • Premium mass minimum bets have stopped falling – a partial offset to the very concerting trend in the higher margin grind mass segment
  • Minimum bet size is a form of pricing and is indicative of current and expected demand. Since neither the companies or the Macau government data breaks down mass revenue segments, the table bet minimum data depicted below is very useful.
  • If the table minimum bet data is indicative of grind mass revenue trends, LVS estimates could be the most at risk and the stock could present the most near-term downside.  LVS is the undisputed leader in the grind mass segment.


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