Client Talking Points
Another strong bounce-back morning for the greenback (+0.4% vs. the Euro) is taking the commodity crash right back to the woodshed. Oil is down -1.5% post yesterday’s +2.8% bounce (which helped Energy stocks lead the U.S. equity rally off the lows intraday) - #Deflation Risk = ON.
European stocks closed weak yesterday, so you’re seeing the EuroStoxx play catchup with the U.S. intraday geo-risk bounce this morning – although Spain and Greece -0.6% vs. France +1.3%, so there are divergences as Spanish PPI (producer price) #Deflation was -3.5% OCT (and will be worse in NOV).
The yield curve continues to compress as the U.S. economic data slows (Corporate profits -3.2% Q3 and Consumer Confidence tanked to 90.4). This week the 10s/2s spread has compressed another 6 basis points to +129 basis points as credit trades like 1,000 pounds of stale pumpkin in a 100lb bag.
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Top Long Ideas
MCD is reducing G&A by $500 billion compared to the $300 million target announced in May the vast majority of which they expect to realize by the end of 2017.
Expectations going forward are for system sales to grow faster than G&A. The incremental savings are primarily derived from savings coming from a more heavily franchised and less G&A intensive structure; streamlining of corporate and former Area of the World organizations and realizing greater efficiencies through the global business services platform. The G&A savings represent roughly a 20% reduction off of the G&A 2015 base of $2.6 billion.
Another big shift is that MCD is now aiming to refranchise 4,000 restaurants by the end of 2018, with mostly all of them to take place in the high-growth and foundational segments.
Below are two callouts from this Thursday's Willams-Sonoma (WSM) third quarter earnings print as it relates to Restoration Hardware (RH). RH will report earnings in early December.
West Elm – i.e. the only concept within the WSM family of brands that is growing square footage put up a 15.7% comp in the quarter which equated to a 40bps acceleration on a 2yr basis sequentially. The concept has always been a good bellwether for RH from a directional standpoint. The consumer/concept are much different. West Elm productivity is in the $800/sq.ft. range compared to RH at $3,300 (inclusive of e-comm) in the same size box. But it’s the only concept growing square footage. We are modeling a divergence in 3Q15 as RH pushed its growth into 2H from 1H with the release of two new concepts this Fall (Modern and Teen).
GM – was down 110bps in the quarter, with merch margins relatively flat offset by dilution from International franchise growth and increased shipping expense as WSM continues to iron out its inventory position from the West Coast port contract dispute. It's important to mention the contract dispute because it was resolved nine months ago (and yet the company still talks about it). On the shipping front, new rate hikes at FedEx and UPS haven’t hit the P&L, so this was all self-inflicted. Each of the negative drivers on the GM line appear to be unique to WSM and shouldn’t be contagious to a name like RH.
The long bond position is taking some heat with the rate hike fears, but that’s why you’re short JNK on the other side of it. Deflation and increasing rate hike expectations are the nemesis of poor credit. As mentioned last week, it’s called spread risk, and this leverage is fueled by low rate policy.
Since the Fed turned hawkish, bonds are down, rates have risen, and deflation has re-commenced. Admittedly, long-term treasuries haven’t worked. TLT is down -2.0% over the last month; BUT, if you’ve followed us with our short JNK call, that’s down -3.4%.
Three for the Road
TWEET OF THE DAY
**NEW VIDEO (1:46 min)
The Bearish Case Against Healthcare https://app.hedgeye.com/insights/47686-the-bearish-case-against-healthcare?type=video… via @KeithMcCullough $XLV
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Thoughts rule the world.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
STAT OF THE DAY
51% of Americans believe it is the responsibility of the federal government to ensure all Americans have health insurance coverage, this is the first time in 7 years that a majority of Americans say the government is responsible for making sure all citizens have health insurance.