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Keith's Macro Notebook 4/23: VIX | UST 10YR | Gold

Hedgeye's Macro Analyst Darius Dale shares the the top three things in CEO Keith McCullough's macro notebook this morning.


Retail Callouts (4/23): SKX, TJX, ZQK, SPLS, EBAY

Takeaway: Removing SKX from our short bench.

EVENTS TO WATCH

Retail Callouts (4/23): SKX, TJX, ZQK, SPLS, EBAY - 4 20 chart2

 

 

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

 

SKX - Removing From Short Bench

 

Takeaway: We’re removing SKX from our Short Bench. We added the name to the Bench on Monday after we flagged it as a negative on our SIGMA screen this past week. As a reminder, this analysis triangulates the P&L and balance sheet to hone in on which companies are likely to beat on the Gross Margin line, and of course...which companies are going to miss. We were looking for 1) the SIGMA trajectory coming out of 1Q15 and 2) the quality of the print. Both of which looked good enough for us to pull this name off our radar screen on the short side for now.

Retail Callouts (4/23): SKX, TJX, ZQK, SPLS, EBAY - 4 23 chart1

 

 

OTHER NEWS

 

EBAY - Ebay lays out post-split vision for marketplace and PayPal

(http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/be5f96a4-e92c-11e4-b7e8-00144feab7de.html#axzz3Y85swnQj)

 

TJX - TJX chairman Cammarata to retire, CEO Meyrowitz will succeed him

(http://www.chainstoreage.com/article/tjx-chairman-cammarata-retire-ceo-meyrowitz-will-succeed-him)

 

ZQK - Quiksilver Investor Renews Calls for Retailer to Pursue Sale

(http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-22/quiksilver-investor-urges-retail-chain-to-put-itself-up-for-sale)

 

SPLS - Staples Acquires Makr to Make More Design Services Happen

(http://investor.staples.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=96244&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=2039135)

 

ABG Acquires Jones New York And Taps Mark Weber, Former CEO LVMH, Inc., As Strategic Advisor

(http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/abg-acquires-jones-new-york-and-taps-mark-weber-former-ceo-lvmh-inc-as-strategic-advisor-300070947.html)

 

Bill Langsdorf Named to Lead Former Wet Seal

(http://wwd.com/business-news/human-resources/bill-langsdorf-lead-former-wet-seal-10115497/)

 

Kering - Puma Appoints General Manager for EMEA

(http://wwd.com/business-news/human-resources/puma-appoints-general-manager-for-emea-10115485/)

 

M - Macy's gets intimate with Heidi Klum

(http://www.retailingtoday.com/article/macys-gets-intimate-heidi-klum)

 

Ikea changes the rules on high-tech furnishings

(http://www.retailingtoday.com/article/ikea-changes-rules-high-tech-furnishings)

 

Metro interested in some Target Canada stores

(http://www.chainstoreage.com/article/metro-interested-some-target-canada-stores)

 

Sears Hometown and Outlet CEO to leave Aug. 1

(http://www.retailingtoday.com/article/sears-hometown-and-outlet-ceo-leave-aug-1)


U.S. Stocks Battle Back

Client Talking Points

VIX

A critical component to our model is how we model historical volatility (as a leading indicator), and it’s signaling a range of 12.07-14.32 on front-month right now – that’s bullish for equity beta. We’ll see if the Fed is the catalyst the market has been sniffing out (SPX only -0.5% off her all-time high as of yesterday’s close).

10YR UST

Very loud chorus of Bond Bears yesterday (Gross on German Bunds, and in the U.S. some said the Housing data was “too good”, so the Fed would hike?); all that did was tap the top-end of our 1.84-1.99% immediate-term risk range for 10YR UST – buy more bonds at the top-end of the yield range.

GOLD

Another clean cut way to play an easier Fed (Down Dollar) and rates at the top-end of the range is obviously buying Gold at the low-end of its $1181-1208 range – we haven’t been a Gold Bull lately, but we have no problem changing our mind, from a time/price.

Asset Allocation

CASH 31% US EQUITIES 14%
INTL EQUITIES 16% COMMODITIES 4%
FIXED INCOME 31% INTL CURRENCIES 4%

Top Long Ideas

Company Ticker Sector Duration
MTW

MTW revised down its 2015 guidance for the Foodservice Equipment segment and preannounced a weaker than expected 1Q 2015. Sales in the quarter are a noteworthy miss, but we do not believe that the release has relevance for our sum-of-the-parts valuation thesis, and see many reasons to anticipate stronger operating results in 2H 2015.  Basically, we think investors stand to be paid for suffering through this volatility, with potential share price upside on separation ranging from the high 20s to low 40s. Near-term profit weakness is partly why the shares are ‘cheap’, and we think holders may be compensated well for the volatility. The shares are currently trading lower on a weaker than expected 1Q15, but 2Q15 should show improved Crane segment results and 2H should show better Foodservice Equipment results.

ITB

iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF (ITB) is a great way to play our long housing call. The housing data was mixed in the latest week with the April homebuilder confidence survey (NAHB HMI) putting in a strong sequential improvement, while March Housing Starts were a bit soft. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) released its April Housing Market Index survey (HMI) – essentially a survey of builder confidence. The print was strong as it showed a nice bounce across all three survey categories: traffic of prospective buyers, current conditions, and expectations 6 months out.  Housing Starts were up sequentially in March, but by less than the market expected. Total Starts rose by 2% to 926,000 (seasonally-adjusted annualized rate) from 908,000 in February.

TLT

On the domestic fixed income front we’re looking at lower yields for longer. Lower yields benefit those slow-growth fixed income cash flows tied to the treasury curve (yields down, bonds up). TLT sets-up nicely in a slow-growth, deflationary setting because inflation missing=expectation for even easier policy=more central-planning cowbell=lower yields for longer.

Three for the Road

TWEET OF THE DAY

VIDEO (4mins on Fox) Here's How We're Playing 'Rates Down' https://app.hedgeye.com/insights/43663-mccullough-to-bartiromo-on-fox-business-here-s-how-we-re-playing-rat

@KeithMcCullough

QUOTE OF THE DAY

The genius thing that we did was never give up.

Jay-Z

STAT OF THE DAY

The first YouTube clip was shared 10 years ago.


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CHART OF THE DAY: Homebuilders + Long Bonds (No Cognitive Dissonance Here)

CHART OF THE DAY: Homebuilders + Long Bonds (No Cognitive Dissonance Here) - 04.23.15 chart

 

Editor's Note: This is a chart and brief excerpt from today's Morning Newsletter by Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough. Click here to learn more and subscribe.

 

...I remain bullish on both Long-Duration Bonds (TLT, EDV, MUB, etc.) and Housing (ITB, DHI, MTG, etc.), 

 


Our Starting Point

“The fact is our starting point.”

-Aristotle

 

I’m not a big Aristotle fan, but I like some of his simpler quotes. In Global Macro risk management (and in life), I like to boil things down as simply as I can, or I don’t feel like I understand them well enough.

 

The aforementioned quote is one that Ed Hess used to introduce Chapter 7 of Learn or Die, “Critical Thinking Tools.” In both the chapter and the book, Hess leans on Dr. Gary Klein’s RPD (Recognition-Primed Decision) Model.

 

Klein has developed three tools that can increase the probability that we’ll be able to “see” and process new or disconfirming data and mitigate our cognitive blindness and dissonance (pg 75).” Being a data driven #process guy, I’m all for trying that.

Our Starting Point - 10 yr yield cartoon 04.20.2015 normal

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

Our starting point is last price. I know that sounds simple. It should. Our best starting point for evaluating new, confirming, and/or disconfirming “data” is to get Mr. Macro Market’s cumulative opinion on whatever that data is perceived to be.

 

“Klein found that people in high-velocity environments, where speed of decision making is important, generally don’t take the time to generate alternatives and then weigh the pros and cons of each (or engage in a probability evaluation). Instead, they engage in fast pattern matching.” (pg 76)

 

Sound familiar? We’ve all done this at some point in our careers. Some people in this profession probably still do it in trying to process every macro headline, every day!

 

“So”, try not to do that.

 

Let’s start this morning with some fast pattern matching (and see if any of it matches):

 

  1. Both US Existing Home Sales and weekly US mortgage demand data surprise to the upside (again)
  2. SP500 reverses its early morning losses to close within 0.5% of her all-time highs
  3. Bond Bears claim Housing data is “too good”, so the Fed needs to raise rates (rates rise, bonds fall)

 

Throw a little extra headline sauce in there like “Bill Gross Says Short Of A Lifetime” (yesterday he was talking his book to all mainstream media outlets who would listen) on German Bunds, and you saw the worst down day for the G-10 Bonds, in a month.

 

But, if you’re not flash crashing your P&L with every tick of the New Tape (Twitter)… and you take a step back (breathe)… does that sequence of pattern matching with very immediate-term price action make sense?

 

Do people who shorted Bunds and Bonds on the lows yesterday actually think that:

 

A)     The Fed is going to change their statement on April 29th due to the Existing Home Sales print and/or

B)      Thwart one of the few things they can currently take political credit for (#HousingAccelerating) by raising rates?

 

I remain bullish on both Long-Duration Bonds (TLT, EDV, MUB, etc.) and Housing (ITB, DHI, MTG, etc.), so you can argue that I am dead wrong on this due to my own cognitive blindness. But that’s what makes a market.

 

Another thread of short-term pattern-matching that was bearish for sovereign bonds yesterday goes something like this:

 

  1. “The European economy is booming”
  2. German economic growth will force Draghi to back off QE
  3. European Bond Yields can only rise now, as a result

 

Oh, then there’s this stuff called the global (not local) economic data this morning:

 

  1. Chinese and Japanese PMIs for APR slow (again) to 49.2 and 49.7, respecitvely
  2. Germany’s PMI slowed (for the 1st time in months) to 51.9 APR vs. 52.8 last
  3. France’s PMI (which never accelerated to begin with) slowed, again, to 48.4 in APR vs. 48.8 last

 

In other words, the Italian (Draghi) needs to provide the French with moarrr cowbell!

 

In psychology, Cognitive Dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values, at the same time…” –Wikipedia

 

The fact is that Bond Bears need one very simple thing to be as right as we were on US #RatesRising in 2013 – and that’s real economic #GrowthAccelerating. Meanwhile (not to be confused with centrally planned stock market ramps), Global Growth continues to slow.

 

We believe that, with neither growth nor inflation accelerating (intermediate-term TREND), the Long Bond Bears will continue to lose money. Our starting point on that Macro Theme is what Mr. Macro Market has been discounting now, for 15 months.

 

Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:

 

UST 10yr Yield 1.84-1.99%
SPX 2090-2117
RUT 1

EUR/USD 1.05-1.08
Oil (WTI) 50.04-57.78
Gold 1181-1208

 

Best of luck out there today – Go Rangers!

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

Our Starting Point - 04.23.15 chart


Hijacking A Hockey Player

This note was originally published at 8am on April 09, 2015 for Hedgeye subscribers.

“Don’t let your emotions hijack your thinking.”

-Ray Dalio

 

While we’d all love to be as objective as we can be in this profession, being human often challenges us on that front. Especially if we’re not running a purely rules-based strategy (which has its risks), we’re always going to have a qualitative debate bouncing around in our heads.

 

In another solid chapter from Learn or Die titled “Emotions: The Myth of Rationality”, Ed Hess reminded me of this basic reality by asking a simple question:“If cognition and emotion are inherently integrated, is it possible to leave emotions out of the discussion?”

 

Probably not. But that doesn’t mean we can’t create a risk management process that subordinates our individual emotions during the debate. If you’re like me, and you choose to work on a research team, keeping everyone else’s emotions in check is a big challenge too.

 

Hijacking A Hockey Player - z9

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

If you’ve seen me play hockey (or look up my penalty minutes), you get that I can’t play the game without emotion. I get that – but I didn’t get how much that would affect me as a “stock picker” when I first became a buy-side analyst. It didn’t affect me in a good way.

 

Especially on the short side when you have a boss and/or a large audience of peers watching your position, when something is going against you, it’s doesn’t feel cool.

 

As I grew into a PM I used to tell my analysts: ‘you either fight it, or close it’ (as in the short position) – and depending on who I was talking to (and what their emotional state was that day), I’d get a wide array of reactions to a pretty basic ultimatum.

 

Eventually, I just stopped letting my analysts trade and size their positions. That made our discussions more objective. The analyst either wanted me to have it on or not. Other than mapping calendar catalysts, all of the timing and trading of positions was up to me.

 

With responsibility comes a repeatable process, so I built my multi-duration “risk range” model as a result.

 

At a very basic level, here’s how my decision making process works:

 

  1. Analysts are constantly picking securities and generating new ways to express their ideas
  2. In parallel, I run multi-duration, multi-factor risk metrics on their ideas
  3. Then I pick the highest probability ideas defined by a math-based (objective) process

 

Trust me, I don’t have any emotional affiliation with any of their ideas. They are all just tickers to me. And once I pick from what they’ve picked, the risk range #process has the following decision making tree from a timing/sizing perspective:

 

  1. Immediate-term TRADE risk range gives me a high and low end of price probability… and
  2. I try my best to make sales at the high-end of the range and buys/covers at the low-end… as I’m
  3. Constantly trying to contextualize the TRADE within my intermediate (TREND) and long-term (TAIL) durations

 

That’s it. That’s what I do. And I can tell you that it took a long time to get that this is the best way to keep my competitive (emotional) risk factor at bay. To each their own, eh.

 

Today’s note is more of a process one (let me know if you want more or less of these – there are many processes within The #Process – and processes are always evolving) but if you go back to yesterday’s Early Look on Oil, it explains what we signaled and why quite well:

 

  1. Analyst (Ben Ryan) doesn’t like Oil right now  
  2. In parallel, my risk management process, which includes cross asset class correlation analysis with USD…
  3. Picks WTI (instead of Brent) as the best way to express that = SELL at the top-end of the risk range = $53.68

 

WTI Oil = down -5.6% on the day. So easy two hockey-heads (Ben was drafted by the Nashville Predators) can do it. And, fortunately, Ben is far less emotional than I can be – so we compliment one another as line-mates in decision making quite well.

 

For those of you who are new to evaluating our #process, every day (in our Daily Trading Ranges product) I give you A) the immediate-term TRADE risk range with B) our intermediate-term TREND research view in brackets. Here are all 12 of those big macros for today:

 

UST 10yr Yield 1.84-1.93% (bearish)
SPX 2070-2093 (bullish)
RUT 1243-1273 (bullish)
DAX 11805-12181 (bullish)
VIX 13.03-15.95 (bullish)
USD 96.95-98.99 (bullish)
EUR/USD 1.07-1.09 (bearish)
YEN 118.99-120.68 (bearish)
Oil (WTI) 46.53-53.68 (bearish)
Natural Gas 2.56-2.81 (bearish)
Gold 1180-1218 (bearish)
Copper 2.65-2.79 (bearish)

 

Best of luck out there today,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

Hijacking A Hockey Player - 04.09.15 Chart


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