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YELP: Thoughts into the Print (2Q15)

Takeaway: We're expecting mgmt to fall on its sword, but the buy side may be too. The latter is a mild risk, but not enough to consider covering.


  1. 2Q15 PRINT = DISASTER: We suspect the reason why YELP left 2015 guidance in tact after missing 1Q revenues and guiding light for 2Q15 was because it was shopping itself, and it's much easier to do so when chalking up its recent weakness as temporary.  We suspect that will come back to bite them on this print.  YELP will need a massive acceleration in new account growth and record low attrition to hit consensus Local Advertising estimates, particularly in 2H15.  We're expecting YELP to miss 2Q Local Advertising estimates, guide light for 3Q15, and cut 2015 guidance. 
  2. BUT AN EXPECTED DISASTER? We're getting minimal buy-side pushback lately, and the sell-side isn't stepping up to endorse the name pre-print as they usually do.  The stock is down an additional 10% since the news broke that YELP is supposedly not shopping itself anymore (after selling off ~10% that day).  YELP is now lower than it was post 1Q15 release, and short interest is now back to pre-takeout rumor levels.  We're not expecting a squeeze on anything short of a beat and raise, but need to flag the risk regardless.  
  3. THIS ISN'T TEMPORARY: We’re expecting mgmt to use lingering issues with its 1Q15 salesforce territory redistribution as the scapegoat. The issue is the model itself, which is predicated on hiring enough new sales reps to drive new account growth in excess of its rampant attrition.  YELP's TAM isn't large enough to support its model, which has manifested into a persistent decline in salesforce productivity, and is now devolving into a mounting exodus of its sales reps (see note below).  That latter means that the model is unraveling, and the story is going to get much uglier than we initially expected.  


Let us know if you have questions, or would like to discuss further.


Hesham Shaaban, CFA




YELP: The New Major Red Flag (1Q15)

04/30/15 08:53 AM EDT

[click here]



Takeaway: Our visit to PENN’s new Plainridge casino has only enhanced our already high enthusiasm for its contribution to PENN’s equity value


Following Friday’s site visit to PENN’s new slot facility in Plainville, we’re raising our win per day per slot assumption to $500 from $400.  Terrific highway access, a lower gaming tax rate and garage parking provide a competitive advantage in what seems to be a deeper market than the consensus view. Our 2015 and 2016 estimates are materially above the Street for EBITDA and EPS. Most importantly, we think PENN should generate an ROI of 28% on Plainridge, much higher than the Street anticipates.


After raising the win per slot per day assumption from $400 to $500 going forward ($525 for Q3), our Plainridge EBITDA run rate forecast rises to $69 million.  PENN owns the real estate in Plainville so EBITDA=EBITDAR.


On Friday, we attended PENN’s analyst day at the Plainridge Casino in Massachusetts.  We struggled to find any negative takeaways.  The property opened very strong in late June, and the strength continued in July.  Here are some takeaways:

  • Parking is ample and the garage gives them an advantage over their nearest competitor, Twin River in Rhode Island.  Despite the porte cochere, 85% of visitors enter through the garage.  Day time patrons usually prefer garage parking in the summer but the bigger advantage could be in the winter months in a heated garage.
  • Highway access is terrific – right of I495 and very close to I93 and I95. This is a big advantage over Twin River.
  • Twin River’s advantages are table games (not allowed at Plainridge) and smoking
  • The biggest surprise to PENN management is the volume of day time visitation and the strength of high-end slots.  At casinos that are this busy, it’s difficult to grow the weekend segment which is already running at full capacity.  The day part activity is very encouraging.  Players are more experienced than anticipated which is driving the high end.
  • Video poker machines are generating huge win per day so PENN is increasing the number of these games.  The trend here is probably indicative of a lot of repeat customers.
  • Another surprise is the amount of visitors arriving from the Providence area – the breakdown is 35% from the Boston area, 35% from southeast MA, and 20% from Providence and 10% Other.  This could be evidence of a superior product over Twin River and the aforementioned advantages.
  • Food and beverage revenues have also been a nice surprise to the upside
  • 62k Plainridge customers were added to PENN’s database of 3m
  • Southeast MA gaming license - Brockton.  Only 1 applicant.  It appears that the state is waiting to see out federal action regarding tribal casinos.  The current Attorney General seems to be against awarding the Southeast license.  PENN management feels they have at least 3 years before there is any new competition from southeast or WYNN in Everett.


PENN has a done a nice job with the new casino (clean bathrooms and ample parking) and it’s showing in the early results.  We believe Street estimates for PENN will need to move higher as early as Q3 and certainly for 2016, due in part to the strength of Plainridge.  We’re now projecting $340 and $383 million in company EBITDA for 2015 and 2016.  Our EPS estimates are $0.66 and $1.10 for 2015 and 2016, respectively - 12% and 16% above the Street, respectively. 

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The Week Ahead

The Economic Data calendar for the week of the 27th of July through the 31st of July is full of critical releases and events.  Here is a snapshot of some of the headline numbers that we will be focused on.



The Week Ahead - zz 07.24.15 Week Ahead

HEDGEYE Exchange Tracker | Cash Equities and Options Rocketing Higher

Takeaway: U.S. cash equity volume is vaulting higher by +16% Y/Y with U.S. equity option volume not far behind at +10 Y/Y.

We recently presented our investment thesis on the Exchanges. To summarize,

  • Long CME:  Financially oriented CME Group (CME) is enjoying a long awaited boom in activity, as trader counts and open interest in Treasuries, Eurodollars, and FX products are swelling. The decade long concentration on trading energy and commodities is over and with steeply shaped forward curves and more profitable opportunities, financial products are seeing rapid adoption. 
  • Short ICE: We see collateral damage from the ongoing rapid price decline in energy and commodity markets. As a result, these important products at ICE will be less active than the Street expects, as commercial hedging and speculative energy trading dries up.

We think CME has $5 per share in earnings power in the out year and the stock will revisit near $140. As outlined in our presentation deck and replay below, a CME long position can also be paired with a short ICE position, with favorable fundamental exposures on each side of the trade.


Separately, recent IPO Virtu (VIRT) is being valued incorrectly by the market. Our main qualm is that the company takes intraday prop risk, but has no tangible equity capital to cover any potential trading losses. Shares of VIRT are currently on our Best Ideas list as a short with a fair value in the mid-teens (30-40% downside).


Hedgeye Exchange Black Book Replay HERE

Hedgeye Exchanges Black Book Materials HERE


HEDGEYE Exchange Tracker | Cash Equities and Options Rocketing Higher - XMon20


Weekly Activity Wrap Up:  U.S. equity options are putting up the best quarter-over-quarter growth so far. The running quarter-to-date average for options is currently 17.3 million contracts, up +10% year-over-year and better by 15% sequentially from 2Q15. Futures activity hit 14.2 million contracts this week, lower than the running 3Q15 average of 17.2 million contracts quarter-to-date, which is down -5% year-over-year. U.S. cash equity trading is showing the largest year-over-year growth, running higher by +16% Y/Y thus far in the new 3rd quarter.


HEDGEYE Exchange Tracker | Cash Equities and Options Rocketing Higher - 2XMon1


U.S. Cash Equity Detail: U.S. cash equity trading finished the week at 6.6 billion shares traded which is also blending to a 6.6 billion daily average thus far for the 3rd quarter of 2015. This is +16% year-over-year growth for U.S. stock activity. The market share battle for volume is mixed, with the New York Stock Exchange/ICE standing pat at 24% market share and NASDAQ continuing to cede share to competitors. NASDAQ thus far this quarter has taken just 18% share of all U.S. stock trading, down 200 basis points year-over-year or a -6% decline.


HEDGEYE Exchange Tracker | Cash Equities and Options Rocketing Higher - 2XMon2


HEDGEYE Exchange Tracker | Cash Equities and Options Rocketing Higher - 2XMon3 2


U.S. Options Detail: U.S. options activity continues to churn higher with 18.0 million contracts traded this week which is blending 3Q15 activity to 17.3 million contracts per day, up +10% year-over-year. The market share battle amongst venues continues to be one of losses at both the NYSE/ICE and NASDAQ. NYSE has lost 400 basis points of share year-over-year settling at just 18% of options trading currently. NASDAQ has also shed 400 basis points of share, good for a -16% loss from last year as ISE/Deutsche Boerse and BATS mop up volume and share.


HEDGEYE Exchange Tracker | Cash Equities and Options Rocketing Higher - 2XMon4


HEDGEYE Exchange Tracker | Cash Equities and Options Rocketing Higher - 2XMon5


U.S. Futures Detail: CME Group volume has been relatively low the last couple weeks. In the most recent 5-day period ending July 23rd, activity levels were 10.5 million contracts at the big futures exchange. 3Q15 volumes are blending to a 12.9 million average level which is a -4% year-over-year decline. CME open interest continues in strong fashion with the latest count this week showing 100.1 million contracts pending, good for +17% year-over-year growth. Activity levels on the futures side at ICE hit 3.7 million contracts this week, with 3Q15 blending to a 4.3 million daily average. That amounts to a -6% year-over-year decline. ICE open interest this week tallied 72.6 million contracts, continuing a -4% year-over-year contraction.


HEDGEYE Exchange Tracker | Cash Equities and Options Rocketing Higher - 2XMon6 2


HEDGEYE Exchange Tracker | Cash Equities and Options Rocketing Higher - 2XMon7 2


HEDGEYE Exchange Tracker | Cash Equities and Options Rocketing Higher - 2XMon8


HEDGEYE Exchange Tracker | Cash Equities and Options Rocketing Higher - 2XMon9


Monthly Historical View:  Monthly activity levels give a broader perspective of exchange based trends. Largely, volatility levels are just starting to rise after drastic compression this cycle. Thus as the VIX, MOVE, and FX Vol starts to normalize, we expect all marketplaces to experience higher activity levels.


HEDGEYE Exchange Tracker | Cash Equities and Options Rocketing Higher - 2XMon10


HEDGEYE Exchange Tracker | Cash Equities and Options Rocketing Higher - 2XMon11


HEDGEYE Exchange Tracker | Cash Equities and Options Rocketing Higher - 2XMon12


HEDGEYE Exchange Tracker | Cash Equities and Options Rocketing Higher - 2XMon13


HEDGEYE Exchange Tracker | Cash Equities and Options Rocketing Higher - 2XMon14


HEDGEYE Exchange Tracker | Cash Equities and Options Rocketing Higher - 2XMon15


Sector Revenue Exposure: The exchange sector has broadly diversified its revenue exposure over 10 years as public entities with varying top line sensitivity to the enclosed trading volume data. The table below highlights how trading volumes will flow through the various operating models at NASDAQ, CME Group, ICE, and Virtu:


HEDGEYE Exchange Tracker | Cash Equities and Options Rocketing Higher - XMon19 3



Please let us know of any questions,


Jonathan Casteleyn, CFA, CMT 




 Joshua Steiner, CFA




Investing Ideas Newsletter

Takeaway: Current Investing Ideas: DXJ, HOLX, FL, VIRT, PENN, GIS, VNQ, EDV & TLT

Investing Ideas Newsletter       - Bull   dove cartoon 06.26.2015


Below are Hedgeye analysts’ latest updates on our nine current high-conviction long and short investing ideas as well as CEO Keith McCullough’s updated levels for each.  


Please note we added DXJ (Japanese Stocks) this past week. We also added Foot Locker and removed Deere (both bear side).


Investing Ideas Newsletter       - z 7 24 2015 4 54 20 PM

Trade :: Trend :: Tail Process - These are three durations over which we analyze investment ideas and themes. Hedgeye has created a process as a way of characterizing our investment ideas and their risk profiles, to fit the investing strategies and preferences of our subscribers.

  • "Trade" is a duration of 3 weeks or less
  • "Trend" is a duration of 3 months or more
  • "Tail" is a duration of 3 years or less



We shared the following slide during our presentation in our call for institutional clients earlier this week.


Investing Ideas Newsletter       - z HOLX not baked in


Based on our data driven model, and the simple arithmetic of s-curve growth, it looks like the consensus outlook is calling for a steady increase in 3D mammography penetration.


If the market behaves like it did when HOLX helped transition facilities from film mammography to digital, the adoption curve will look exactly as we have it modeled.


If the market adopts 3D even just a little faster (which is likely in our view) the impact to HOLX revenue, EPS, and the share price will be dramatic, as you can see in the table above.


We currently expect the fast part of the adoption curve will take 6.4 years based on our data through June 2015.  If the next few months come in better, the pace will begin to fall to 6.25 years (3rd rowin the table) and below.  Shortening the adoption time by 3 months at each line in the table drive more revenue, at a high incremental gross profit, and high incremental EPS.


Hologic reports July 29th and we’ll update our positive outlook after the call.


Foot Locker’s RNOA (return on net operating assets) went from 5% to 28% over six years as it pulled capital out of the model (closing stores/re-positioning banners) while boosting productivity and margins to all-time highs. At the same time, its percent of sales from Nike (traffic driver) went up by 2,500 basis points to 72% of COGS (cost of goods sold) – and near 80% of sales. 


That’s not going any higher.


Foot Locker’s answer is to become a unit growth story once again and sustain a mid-single digit comp while maintaining the leanest cost structure out of any retailer around. And for all that, the stock is trading at 16.5x forward earnings – an all-time high. The ‘going private’ angle here is moot given its high Nike exposure.


Lastly, the stock is having increasingly muted reactions to good news.


CEO Keith McCullough added Japanese Stocks to Investing Ideas on Friday afternoon. Click here to read the note. Our senior macro analyst Darius Dale will provide a detailed update next week.


A major broker/dealer firm broke ranks this week and initiated research coverage of Virtu Financial with a Sell recommendation. While the rationale for the new rating didn’t highlight our main hangup with the company’s financials, it is a fairly telling sign that a major dealer that interacts with VIRT on a daily basis is also bearish on the fundamental prospects for the company.


Again, our core contention with the firm’s positioning is that with no tangible equity capital that VIRT will have to cover any trading losses in its operations with overnight credit lines which don’t leave an appropriate margin of safety for investors. The company runs its trading book with $245 million of overnight capital and $499 million in equity. However with $715 million in Goodwill, this leaves no liquidity for any mishaps.


VIRT doesn’t report 2Q earnings until August 5th however we will get the latest trading record during the past quarter then which will give investors an indication if the firm’s near flawless daily trading track record is continuing.  


Investing Ideas Newsletter       - z cast 


Penn National Gaming reported Q2 profit of $16.9 million on Thursday. The company's profit of 19 cents per share beat analysts' expectations.  PENN posted revenue of $701 million in the period, which also beat forecasts. 


Shares have climbed 40% since the beginning of the year and 58% over the last 12 months, obviously much higher than the S&P 500.


Gaming, Lodging and Leisure Sector Head Todd Jordan was at Penn National Gaming's investor day yesterday. He will provide a detailed update next week.


General Mills (GIS) remains on the Hedgeye Consumer Staples Best Ideas list as a LONG.


Key segments across the company are turning the corner and improving performance. Specifically GIS has figured out the yogurt category, after 3 years of struggling with Greek and losing on the core business, management has turned the Yogurt division into a growth segment.


Investing Ideas Newsletter       - zane1


Cereal has obviously been a struggle for all companies participating. Although still down, the trend is looking better, in FY16 we hope to see the switch to Gluten Free Cheerios and other improvement, turn performance around.


Investing Ideas Newsletter       - zane2


FY16 Hedgeye Guidance ―

Looking into FY16 we are excited about the possibilities. Management is working hard on their “Consumer First” initiative and making great changes to current product while also introducing new products.  Below is a list of some of the biggest things that we are looking forward to this year:

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


Bottom line is they are still struggling; we don’t want to shy away from that. But the core of the portfolio is growing and management seems to be working tirelessly on implementing changes to grow the rest of the portfolio, especially cereal.  We also still believe that to have continued growth into the future a sizeable acquisition or divestiture would be beneficial to the business.  



Those long of #LowerforLonger enjoyed another solid week of 2%+ gains for TLT and EDV. VNQ followed up last week’s gains with a pullback of equal size, but we received a positive sloth of data this week that confirms our long housing theme, which we’ll  focus on below. A positive housing outlook within a bearish rate environment should be positive for VNQ.


With the exception of another positive jobless claims report (lowest level since 1973!) which is empirically late cycle in nature, housing dominated an otherwise light week of economic data in the U.S.


Existing home sales for June reached a new post-housing crisis high:

  • Existing home sales totaled 5.49MM units in June (seasonally adjusted annual rate)
  • The print marked a 9.6% Y/Y increase (+3.2% sequentially from May)
  • As an indicator to what demographic is driving the strength, existing home sales to 1st time buyers rose +17.4% Y/Y
  • An excess of housing sales over available inventory fell -2.2% -2.2% in June. A tighter supply should continue to drive the increase in housing price trends

New Home Sales for June came in weaker than expected, but the intermediate to longer term picture has been one of immense improvement:

  • New home sales came in at 482K vs. expectations of 548K (546K prior)
  • New Home Sales declined -6.8% for June but the intermediate to long term trend remains intact which is why we evaluate marginal changes on a YY comp basis. New Home Sales numbers are still trending up double digits from 2014

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