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Retail Callouts (7/15): Back-To-School, BBY, GES

Takeaway: NRF early reads on BTS markedly pessimistic as compares get tougher and wage pressure builds. Marciano out as CEO, but turning over control?

NRF Expects Dip in B-t-s Spending

(http://wwd.com/retail-news/trends-analysis/nrf-back-to-school-forecast-dip-10185381/)

 

For starters we don't trust the NRF forecasts farther than we throw them, but this is a markedly pessimistic view of the BTS shopping season from the Retail's most powerful lobbying organization. The -5.8% (slightly negative on a 2yr basis) drop in spending per household isn't quite as bad as the -7.8% estimate in 2013, but that came after a 14% rip in 2012. Across retail compares get markedly tougher starting in 2Q and extending throughout the rest of the year. That's also the same time we should start to see the sprouts of wage pressures due to the 800 pound gorilla's (WMT) decision to raise the minimum wage in its stores to $9.00. We haven't seen the real pressures from wages start to hit retail P&Ls because seasonal hiring hasn't really started yet. That changes in a few weeks.

Retail Callouts (7/15): Back-To-School, BBY, GES - 7 15 chart1

Source: NRF

 

BBY - While You Were Sleeping, Best Buy Was Selling $200 Gift Cards for $15

(http://time.com/3958414/best-buy-gift-cards/)

 

Oops...

This quote says it all.

“I am an employee of Best Buy, and we are very good at honoring our mistakes, however, mistakes this public with 1000s of people ordering something super discounted by mistake will most likely get canceled,” one Redditor wrote. “In the mean time, I went ahead and ordered 2, but chances are, we’re all getting a refund.”

 

GES - Paul Marciano Announces His Successor As Guess?, Inc. CEO

(http://investors.guess.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=92506&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=2067762)

 

Arguably the best thing that could happen to GES is the Marciano Brothers both go away. But we're really not seeing that happen. Paul Marciano announced his successor as CEO, but will remain Chief Creative Officer AND takes the title of Chairman from his big bro. In other words, he's not going anywhere.  Maurice will remain a director, and has been named Chairman Emeritus. In other words, he's not going anywhere. Anyone who knows the Marciano brothers also knows that as long as they are around, they're running the company -- regardless of a shift in CEO titles.

 

 

OTHER NEWS

 

LZB - La-Z-Boy Adjusts to More Than Recliners

(http://www.wsj.com/articles/la-z-boy-adjusts-to-more-than-recliners-1436917459)

 

LUX - Fabio d’Angelantonio Exits Luxottica

(http://wwd.com/business-news/human-resources/fabio-dangelantonio-exits-luxottica-10184864/)

 

APP - Standard General Sues Dov Charney for Breach of Contract

(http://wwd.com/business-news/legal/standard-general-sues-dov-charney-for-breach-of-contract-10186087/

 

QVC to open first West Coast distribution center

(http://www.retailingtoday.com/article/qvc-open-first-west-coast-distribution-center)


No-Volume-Equity-Markets-Lower-Highs

Client Talking Points

CHINA

So they nailed another perfect 7.0 for said GDP in Q2 (same made-up # in Q1, not 6.87, or 7.11 – 7.0%) but the locals didn’t believe that, selling the Shanghai Composite Casino down for a -3% day (-4.2% in the last 2 days and -24.8% in the last month). 

OIL

Big up day for big Energy beta yesterday (Dollar was down), but don’t confuse a TRADE with a TREND - #StrongDollar holds all lines of support and WTI fades right at the top-end of our $49.79-53.61 risk range.

U.S.

Ugly U.S. Retail Sales report (must have been the sun – always gets ya after the snow) and UST 10yr Yield did what you’d expect on that, falling back to 2.39% this morning as consensus continues to bet Janet isn’t really data dependent (we think she actually is).

 

**The Macro Show - CLICK HERE to watch a replay of today's edition.

Asset Allocation

CASH 53% US EQUITIES 3%
INTL EQUITIES 6% COMMODITIES 0%
FIXED INCOME 29% INTL CURRENCIES 9%

Top Long Ideas

Company Ticker Sector Duration
GIS

General Mills remains on the Hedgeye Consumer Staples Best Ideas list as a LONG. GIS has a lot of things going for it and they are going to show it in the top and bottom line this year. Over the last couple of months, the company has announced the removal of artificial colors and flavors from their cereals. More recently, they have committed to using only cage-free eggs.  Many of these small actions that management is taking are going to have a snowball effect as they go throughout FY16. Below is a list of some of the biggest things that we are looking forward to this year:

Yoplait in China

  1. Gluten-Free Cheerios
  2. No artificial colors or flavors in the cereal
  3. Granola innovation / Muesli
  4. Greek Plenti / Whips
  5. Original yogurt sugar reduction
  6. Renovation on Grain Snacks
  7. Strong push on Natural & Organic products
  8. Delivering Value to consumer on brands like Totino’s and Hamburger Helper
  9. Bringing U.S. innovation International
PENN

Gaming, Lodging and Leisure Sector Head Todd Jordan reiterates his team's bullish high-conviction thesis on Penn National Gaming. The company remains one of our favorite names on the long side and boasts the best new unit growth story in domestic gaming. Jordan further notes that with more states releasing their June gaming revenues this past week, we feel more confident in our higher than consensus Revenue, EBITDA, and EPS estimates.

TLT

Long-term Treasury rates remain the best proxy for forward-looking growth expectations. We outline three components of secular stagnation below to explain the SAVINGS/INVESTMENT GLUT that is at the heart of the academic argument for current policy measures:

  1. Negative demographic trends globally (decline in population growth and aging population)
  2. Reduced capital intensity in leading industries (think of the capital and labor required to start Facebook over U.S. Steel)

Falling relative prices of capital goods  

Three for the Road

TWEET OF THE DAY

The Fed had been wrong on US growth "expectations" for 4 years in a row

@KeithMcCullough

 

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

I am easily satisfied with the very best.

Winston Churchill

 

STAT OF THE DAY

A record 62% of Japanese households labeled their livelihood as hard in 2014.


July 15, 2015

July 15, 2015 - Screen Shot 2015 07 15 at 8.22.10 AM


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CHART OF THE DAY: Consensus Needs Consumption

Editor's Note: The following chart was featured in today's morning strategy note written by Hedgeye U.S. Macro Analyst Christian Drake. For more info on how you can subscribe click here.

 

CHART OF THE DAY: Consensus Needs Consumption - Consumption Consensus CoD


Zone Defense

"When my time on Earth is gone, and my activities here are past, I want them to bury me upside down, and my critics can kiss my ass."

-Coach Bobby Knight

 

Let's play a game.  

 

I'll give you a pre-game quote from a player and you tell me what athlete said it:  

 

We just need to go out there and play our game..control the tempo…limit unforced errors…stay focused and put ourselves in the best position to win.” 

 

Stumped?

 

In truth, that quote could have come from any player, in any sport, before or after any game, in any decade over the last century.  

 

The same clichéd commentary and truthy but trite observations - season after season, year after year.

 

And still we listen….

 

In April of 2011, after 98 years of Central Banking omerta, Bernanke gave the first ever post-FOMC meeting press conference.  Policy makers globally followed suit and the Main Event in the Central Planning League was born.   

 

Now nearly 5 years into post-FOMC meeting press conferences, manic Jackson Hole media coverage, hyper-scrutinized congressional testimonies, and serial pre-and post central bank brinksmanship and bailout announcements, the policy maker press conference has graduated from intriguing newbie to dowdy veteran.   In the marginally insightful, boilerplate generalities genre, the pre/post-game presser now has a worthy rival.

 

Zone Defense - a. Knight

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind …..

 

Sports analogies tend to work for a host of reasons.  Most people have some athletic experience and on-the-field lessons carry transferability and real-life applicability. Further, sports strategy is typically tractable and straightforward and when invoked to describe an off-the-field dynamic, sports metaphors have the Occam’s razor’ish ability to help simplify the complex. 

 

Let’s simplify some Macro complexity with a tangible example.  

 

Last week we hosted both our 3Q15 Macro Themes and 3Q15 Housing Themes calls.  I’ll focus on our lead Macro theme this morning and touch on our Housing call – “Is Good, Good Enough” in 3Q15 - in the next missive. 

 

Scouting Report:  Our lead Macro theme was #ConsumerCycle in which we profiled the consumption cycles of the last half-century, contextualized the current cycle and detailed how best to be counter-cyclically positioned as the consumer cycle enters its twilight. 

 

The crux of our conclusion on growth – which is Slower for Longer – carries both cyclical and secular components. 

 

  • Cyclical:  Harder GDP comps and easier inflation comps alongside the ongoing rise in share of wallet in major consumer cost centers (think Rent) anchor our consumer squeeze starting line-up.  That this cyclical squeeze is occurring against the late-cycle backdrop of peaking employment, the cresting in consumer confidence and consensus over-optimism (see Chart of the Day below) around the capacity (or willingness) of the consumer to carry the recovery further buttresses the case.   
  • Secular:  Past-peak demographics (domestically and across the major DM economies), ongoing over-leverage, and select components of the secular stagnation thesis continue to get the Franchise tag as the slower-for-longer dynasty enters its 8th banner year.   

 

The Draft:  Who do you draft in the latter innings of a slower-for-longer game?

  • larger-cap, lower-beta, pricing-power, liquidity, defensive yield (think Long-term Treasures (TLT) or Healthcare (XLV))

 

The DL:  Who gets benched or Traded?

  • smaller cap, higher-beta, illiquidity, negative deflation/strong-dollar leverage, central bank Rotate-the-QE exposure (think EURO (FXE) or Industrials (XLI))

In sports speak, the asset allocation rotation essentially amounts to falling back into a half-court zone defense from full-court man-to-man pressure.    

 

The Game Plan:  Keith highlighted the “sell’ call in yesterday’s Early Look but the larger risk management strategy is worth reiterating.  When something is at the top end of its immediate-term risk range, you sell some.  When it retraces to the bottom end of its risk range, you buy some more – provided that the security holds TRADE support.  If it breaches TRADE support to the downside – that’s fine - you are out of the way (or underweight) and can wait for a test and hold of TREND support before buying back the exposure.   Repeat.

 

The Score:  The U.S. remains atop the standings in the best-house, bad developed market neighborhood division, but went 0 for 2 in yesterday’s macro double-header with both Retail Sales and Small Business Confidence sliding to close out 2Q. 

 

Headline Retail Sales declined -0.3% sequentially and decelerated on both a 1Y and 2Y basis in June.   While the sequential decline in Auto Sales in June (released on 7/1)  telegraphed the Headline deceleration, the magnitude of retreat was disappointing and the trend across the various sub-aggregates was similarly languid.   

 

Whether aggregate income growth can maintain its recent ~5% pace and Services and NonDurables consumption can continue to support household spending growth to the same extent they have in 1H15 remain TBD.  The broader trend is Wage Income and Services Consumption (~2/3rds of household spending) remains positive but the internals in the June employment report were soft and both employment and consumption comps steepen in 2H15.

 

Small Business Confidence, meanwhile, declined -4.2 points to a 15-month low in June with the Forward Expectations, Job Openings, Hiring Plans and Compensation Plans readings all retreating sequentially.    With small business (1-499 employees) representing over 99% of total U.S. Employer firms and >60% of net private sector hiring on a monthly basis, the state of sentiment matters in handicapping the prospects for labor and wage trends.

 

The (Policy) Commissioner:  middling-to-down confidence and consumerism is not what Team Janet wants to see - particularly with sanguine hopes of a September lift-off still lingering and a sustained attempt at policy normalization stirring restlessly in the queue.  

 

The Investment league has ~252 games a year.  It’s a marathon, not a race.  But it’s also a game of alpha inches with short-term performance compounding to long-term outperformance.

 

To emotional and cerebral durability and memorable performances,

 

Christian B. Drake

 

Zone Defense - Consumption Consensus CoD

 


TODAY'S CRUISE PRICING CALL: YIELD GUIDANCE GOING HIGHER

Takeaway: RCL has disappointed investors twice in a row regarding yield guidance. They won't fail a 3rd time. NCLH is setting up for a great year.

The Hedgeye Gaming, Lodging, and Leisure team will host a conference call TODAY AT 11AM to discuss the latest findings from our proprietary cruise pricing database.  

 

Watch a replay below.

 

Points of discussion include:

  • Pricing pivots (RCL, NCLH, CCL) for July 2015
    • Stronger Caribbean 
    • Europe off the lows
    • Asia getting better
  • RCL/NCLH F2Q preview and FY 2015 outlook
  • Early look at 2016 Asia pricing
  • RCL's newest ships: A look at the past, present and future  

 

 


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