"My oh my are these stock markets in Europe incredible to watch," Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough wrote this morning. "They love the smell of Burning Euros. How could you blame them?"
Hedgeye’s European analyst Matthew Hedrick will lead a discussion on our newest Best Idea, long the German equity market.
The call will be held on Tuesday, April 14th at 11am ET.
In the wake of ECB President Mario Draghi’s big QE announcement in January, we’ll discuss the impact of QE, where we see policy measures heading, and why we see Germany as the biggest ‘winner’ of central bank intervention.
KEY AREAS OF FOCUS:
- Draghi’s influence on the capital markets vs the real economy
- Why Germany’s economy is poised to most benefit from QE
- An overview of German fundamentals
- Key investment conclusions across durations
- U.S. Toll-Free Number:
- U.S. Toll Number:
- Confirmation Number: 39466899
- Materials: CLICK HERE (the slides will be available approximately one hour prior to the start of the call
Black Box Sales, Traffic Discouraging in March
Despite the industry registering its 9th consecutive month of same-store sales growth, Black Box results for March were relatively disappointing. This comes following a soft February, during which same-store sales and traffic decelerated 400 bps and 340 bps sequentially.
Restaurant same-store sales increased +0.8%, while same-restaurant traffic decreased -2.4% during the March month. These numbers were down 130 bps and 140 bps, respectively, on a sequential basis. Importantly, 1Q15 overall was a strong quarter from a sales perspective – the strongest in at least three years – with same-restaurant sales up +3.0%. Traffic during the quarter was less inspiring, slipping down 30 bps sequentially to -0.3% from a flat 4Q14.
The widening gap between sales (or average check) and traffic suggests that the industry does not have pricing flexibility. This could become a bigger issue down the road in 2015 as companies begin facing significant labor cost pressure.
Black Box noted that the New England region was the best performing in the month, while the Southwest was the worst performing.
Employment Growth Remains Solid
All age cohorts, save the 20-24 group, had positive employment growth during the month – continuing an impressive run. Although the 20-24 YOA cohort saw employment growth decline -0.84% in the month, it is not significant enough to give us cause for concern given the strength in the other categories. However, given the extent of the sequential drop in employment growth for this category, we must monitor it closely moving forward as a continuation in this trend could have negative implications on the fast food industry.
March Employment Growth Data:
- 20-24 YOA -0.84% YoY; -374.9 bps sequentially
- 25-34 YOA +2.64% YoY; +4.4 bps sequentially
- 35-44 YOA +0.46%; +23.9 bps sequentially
- 45-54 YOA +0.50%; -83 bps sequentially
- 55-64 YOA +2.63%; +66.9 bps sequentially
the macro show
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Takeaway: Macro markets, across durations, are non-linear.
I spent all day yesterday in New York City with my team meeting and debating some of the smartest institutional investors in the world.
The debate (in most meetings) was as vibrant as it has been in a long time. You can read all about it in my Morning Newsletter. Lots of learning equals less mistakes.
Some quick thoughts:
Right now, there are a lot of people looking for the US Dollar to decline and Oil to rise. It’s just not happening as the USD is +2.6% week over week to 99.29 on the USD Index and WTI is re-testing a breakdown through $50.
Meanwhile, Euros continue to burn, $1.06 last – we’re staying with our #StrongDollarDeflation theme.
On a related note…my, oh my, are these stock markets in Europe incredible to watch!
In Germany, the DAX is +1.7% this morning to fresh year to date highs of over +26%. Places like Denmark are up over +35% year to date. They love the smell of Burning Euros. How could you blame them?
European profit margins are going up on this epic FX move like US ones did when the USD was devalued.
Click image to enlarge.
Takeaway: Brands vs FL online visitation divergence hits new highs in March. Easter shift and weather improvement benefit March comp sales.
FL vs. Athletic Brands - March E-comm Visitation Stats
Tickers: FL, UA, NKE, Adi
Takeaway: In the most recent update of e-comm visitation stats we saw the brands (Nike, UA, and AdiBok) continue to outpace the growth of FL. The two (brands and FL) moved in tandem through April of 2014, and then right around the World Cup we saw a meaningful divergence. That spread has continued to blow out over the past 12 months and hit a new high again in March. That doesn't bode well for B&M retailers like FL, DKS, HIBB, FINL, etc. who have to compete with brands like NKE and UA who are pushing the direct agenda.
Over the past 3 quarters Nike has grown it's e-comm business at 70%, 66%, and 42% -- outpacing the growth of its wholesale partners. Meaning retailers now have to fight with the brands for incremental dollars from a channel that by our math should account for the majority of the industry's growth over the next 6 years.
March Monthly Comps
Takeaway: March monthly comp numbers benefited from 2 things. 1) The shift of Easter from the end of the month in 2014 to 4/5/15 this year, and 2) a miserably cold and snowy February. ICSC numbers got marginally better sequentially throughout the month on a 2yr and 3yr basis. For companies reporting on a Fiscal calendar the added March benefit should be net neutral as April slows down without the Easter boost and sales shifted from February into March. The stores concentrated in the South and MidWest regions showed the best sequential improvement on a 2yr basis which is what we'd expect after the ugly numbers reported in FEB.
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Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough shares the top three things in his macro notebook this morning.
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