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Tall Tales

This note was originally published at 8am on March 11, 2015 for Hedgeye subscribers.

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

 -Mark Twain

 

Let’s call a spade a spade - it’s hard to be 100% honest.   I mean we all stretch the truth a little at times.  Maybe it is small things like saying you are 6’2" when really you are 6’1", or saying your fund was up double digits when really it was up 8.5% for the year.  On some level, it is just human nature to tell a tall tale.

 

In a paper published in Human Communications Research in 2010, Professor Kim Serota and colleagues attempted to determine exactly how often people lie in their everyday lives.   She conducted an online survey of 1,000 people that asked how many times the participant lied in the last 24 hours, the conclusions were as follows:

  1. The average number of lies told per day was 1.65
  2. Only 40.1% reported telling a lie in the last 24 hours
  3. 22.7% of all lies were told by one percent of the sample, and half of all lies were told by 5.3% of the sample
  4. No statistically significant sex differences were found in the propensity to lie

So undoubtedly you get the ironic point of the survey, the most honest people in the survey were the ones that actually lied the most.

 

Tall Tales - 44

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind...

 

As it relates to central bankers, we haven’t exactly called them liars, but certainly they have misled the investing masses at times.  The one exception to that may be the honest Canadian at the head of the Bank of England, Governor Mark Carney.

 

Yesterday, Carney said what a lot of central bankers aren’t allowed to say, or are afraid to say, which is that the Bank of England would be “foolish” to fight current low inflation.  Specifically, Carney said that:

 

“That’s one of the key judgments the MPC has to make . . . the one thing we can’t do and the thing that would be extremely foolish would be to try and lean against this oil price fall today and try to provide extra stimulus up at this point in time.”

 

Carney’s point was that to add stimulus now would only lead to undue volatility in the English economy - a lesson certainly the Japanese and ECB should be learning in spades, only they are not.

 

Back in American central banking land, the WSJ’s Jon Hilsenrath, among other Fed watchers, is suggesting the next move by the Fed will be rhetorical in nature.  That is, the Fed is purportedly strongly considering removing the word “patient” from its policy statement.  The implication of this move would be that the door would then be left open for rate increases.  Well, that is assuming Fed insiders aren’t lying to Hilsenrath and his cadre.

 

In the Chart of the Day below, we look at employment versus PCE going back some 25 years.   As usual, stats don’t lie and what the chart shows us is that the Fed is going to face a real conundrum as it relates to reported inflation and its mandate.  Either they can find the truth, like Governor Carney, or yet again the Fed might surprise us all on the dovish side because as the chart clearly shows, at least based on PCE, we are in a deflationary environment.

 

Now the caveat to that is that employment, at least on the headline metric of the unemployment rate, is indicative of an economy that is operating at tight capacity.  Employment is also the foundation of the thesis for most equity bulls.   Historically, of course, the employment rate has been much more of a lagging indicator than a leading one.  On this topic, we are actually going to do a deep dive on employment on Tuesday March 17th at 11am on a conference call titled: “Employment: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”.  Ping sales@hedgeye if you’d like dial in information.

 

Switching to Hedgeye stock calls, our Internet guru Hesham Shaaban, has been loudly calling out the management of Yelp.  If @HedgeyeInternet is correct in his analysis, Yelp management is likely in the category of the one percent of the sample that tells more than 22% of the lies every day.  In a note earlier this week on Yelp titled, “Hiding the Bodies”, Shaaban wrote:

 

“We originally believed revenues from SeatMe (reservation service) would be reclassified from YELP's Other Services segment into its core Local Advertising segment starting in 1Q15.  However, that likely happened in 1Q14.  We just didn't realize it because the reclassification wasn't explicitly disclosed in any of YELP's filings until its 2014 10-K filed two weeks ago.  Given that its previously-reported 2014 quarterly segment revenues haven't changed within its recently-filed 10-K, we have to assume that the change already occurred in 1Q14.”

 

So the moral of the Yelp story is, it seems, that if the revenue doesn’t fit your tall tale then just reclassify, but just don’t tell anyone.

 

The larger issues with Yelp, though, is customer attrition.  By Shaaban’s analysis, Yelp loses roughly 80% of customer every year, so the attrition rate is very high.   Therefore unless Yelp’s TAM (total addressable market) is unlimited, which it is not, eventually growth will slow and dramatically slow for Yelp.   And in a story stock like Yelp, trust me you don’t want to be there when the growth music stops.

 

Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:

 

UST 10yr Yield 1.96-2.26%

SPX 2034-2080
DAX 11448-11730

VIX 14.27-17.13
EUR/USD 1.05-1.08

Oil (WTI) 48.04-50.44 

 

Keep your head up and stick on the ice,

 

Daryl G. Jones

Director of Research

 

Tall Tales - COD


CHART OF THE DAY: One Of The Great Leading Indicators (Which The Fed Ignores)

CHART OF THE DAY: One Of The Great Leading Indicators (Which The Fed Ignores) - 03.25.15 chart

 

Editor's Note: Below is an excerpt from today's Morning Newsletter written by Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough. Click here to learn more, subscribe and get ahead of consensus.

 

As you can see in the Chart of The Day, one of the great leading indicators that your un-elected Federal Reserve refuses to put on their navel gazing “dashboard” is called the Yield Spread. Leading indicator for the rate of change in US growth, that is…

 

...With the 10s/2s Yield Spread down to +129 basis points wide this morning, you’ll note that puts it right around its YTD lows (and the Q1 2012 lows). Oh, and Q2 starts 1 week from today – March turning into April is another big time macro call I’m definitely going to make!

 


Aren't Bigger Calls, Better?

“Why get better when you can simply get bigger?”

-Peter Zeihan

 

I could go a lot of different ways with that quote, but I’ll stick to Global Macro this morning and go with the wood – America as the world’s superpower!

 

The aforementioned quote is another beauty from chapter 4, “Enter the Accidental Superpower” (pg 72) where Zeihan reminds us of simple, but very relevant, investment facts:

 

“From the Louisiana Purchase onward, the Americans have boasted the world’s most capital rich geography… It is the world’s largest agricultural, technological, financial, and based on how you collate the data, industrial power – and has been those things for fifteen decades.”

 

#timestamped

 

So why didn’t you think of getting yourself some bigger moneys under management for 0% down and buy some big time American brands like Kraft Foods, for $40 billion US Dollars this morning? Buffett says bigger is better, baby!

 

Aren't Bigger Calls, Better? - 34

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

Maybe I won’t tell you to double down on a broken Old Wall Banker of America (BAC), but I can get you all bulled up on what is made in America and working, big time, in 2015 YTD – Housing and Treasuries!

 

Long-term Treasuries, that is…

 

It’s been hard enough to find some sunshine on my face during this Northeastern winter – and God knows this game is hard enough as it is, but on those two longer-term investment fronts, it was a damn good day in the USA yesterday:

 

  1. US Home Construction ETF (ITB) was +1.2% to +8.0% YTD
  2. Long-term Treasury Bonds (TLT) were +1.0% to +5.6% YTD

 

And that, my “folks” and friends, was fundamentally driven!

 

  1. US New Home Sales for FEB smoked the shorts at 539,000 (vs. the 465,000 consensus “estimate”)
  2. Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) came in at -0.03% year-over-year (despite Oil priced +7-8% higher in FEB vs March)

 

Does the bullish theme get bigger and better? Sure, why not:

 

  1. HOUSING: post the most snow in Boston since 1872, we’re calling for that to thaw this Spring
  2. RATES: lower-for-longer will remain firmly intact when the March #deflations are reported in April

 

I know, I know. These are some big calls based on some serious outdoor channel checks. That’s what makes us Canadians who do American macro sound so darn “smart.” #LiveQuotesAndWeather

 

Oh, and it gets better for the many, even though this is going to start getting painful (again) for the few.

 

The few that still think they should be overweight levered US Energy and Bank stocks, that is. The rest of us can sip on some all-time highs in American-made growth stocks like Starbucks (SBUX), which is +19.3% YTD, in the meantime.

 

Yeah, I can get as bullish as the next guy, right before I get run-over. How about you? I love hearing guys talk up their mojo when everything is working for them inasmuch as I enjoy the sweet-sound of spring #crickets, when it is not.

 

What wasn’t working in America yesterday?

 

  1. The poor bastard who is long the Ultra Short 20yr Treasury (TBT) is down -12.1% YTD
  2. Financial Stocks (XLF) were down more than the “market” (again) yesterday, -0.8% to -1.5% YTD
  3. Energy Stocks (XLE) were down another -0.7% yesterday to -3.8% YTD

 

“Poor bastard”? Oh yeah, in coming-to-America-man-with-no-money-terms, I’ve been one of those. Why do you think I have to get up every blessed day at 4:02AM? Being wrong in this business is easier than sleeping in.

 

America is not a poor country. And now the moneys are falling from centrally-planned-heavens for free. While I can’t reconcile why Swiss 10yr moneys cost -0.12%, why do I need to? Everybody should buy everybody now that global growth is slowing!

 

As you can see in the Chart of The Day, one of the great leading indicators that your un-elected Federal Reserve refuses to put on their navel gazing “dashboard” is called the Yield Spread. Leading indicator for the rate of change in US growth, that is…

 

While we remain bullish on #Quad1 for Q1 of 2015 (our year-over-year GDP forecast is higher than Wall Street’s), we were lower on Q4 and we’re forecasting slower in Q2 and Q3.

 

With the 10s/2s Yield Spread down to +129 basis points wide this morning, you’ll note that puts it right around its YTD lows (and the Q1 2012 lows). Oh, and Q2 starts 1 week from today – March turning into April is another big time macro call I’m definitely going to make!

 

Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:

 

UST 10yr Yield 1.82-1.99%
SPX 2082-2117
RUT 1
VIX 12.79-15.88
USD 96.74-98.98
EUR/USD 1.04-1.10
Oil (WTI) 42.35-48.31


Best of luck out there today,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

Aren't Bigger Calls, Better? - 03.25.15 chart


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 80.64%
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March 25, 2015

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BULLISH TRENDS

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BEARISH TRENDS

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REPLAY | The Macro Show, Live with Keith McCullough

 

In case you missed the live broadcast, here is the replay of The Macro Show featuring Keith McCullough. Today's edition features a Q&A with Hedgeye's Sector Head of Financials and Housing Josh Steiner.

 


McCullough: It’s Lower Rates For Longer (Listen to Fed’s Fischer)

 

 

Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough highlights the latest nonsense from unelected, globetrotting Fed policymakers like James Bullard and John Williams and explains why he’s listening to Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer on rates.


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