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Kinder Morgan Inc.
Here's a video from deep in the Hedgeye vault (check out the old studio). Energy analyst Kevin Kaiser first lays out his short thesis on Kinder Morgan (KMI) with Managing Director Todd Jordan. While Kaiser's short KMI call was clearly a success, we think his hair was the real winner that day. Seriously, check out that flow.
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"Did you understand the illusion of growth (inflation)?," wrote Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough earlier today. "#Deflation risk dominated 2015 returns. Period."
Takeaway: Kaiser stuck to his guns on Kinder Morgan despite overwhelming (and uninformed) criticism.
In case you're new to this story, our Energy analyst Kevin Kaiser was relentlessly attacked for his analysis on Kinder Morgan, first put forth in 2013, by a wide array of supposed "experts." Yesterday, he was vindicated.
Here's an excerpt from today's Early Look written by Hedgeye's Darius Dale:
...Ranging from analytical critiques that at least attempted to poke holes in his analysis to thoughtless ad hominem attacks, the amount of pushback Kevin has received over the past 2+ years regarding his bearish research in the MLP space has been nothing shy of legendary. Maintaining conviction in his analysis was the only thing that allowed him to overcome the rash of criticism that accompanied being the lone bear on a few of the most beloved stocks and management teams in modern U.S. equity market history.
Below is a list of some of the more absurd criticisms levied at his call.
Disclaimer: This list is nowhere near comprehensive.
1) “It turns out we were stubborn and we were right, and Hedgeye was flippant and disrespectful and wrong. We chose to believe in Rich Kinder, and not in his critics, because we believed him when he always said his companies are "companies run by shareholders for shareholders." It looks like it wasn't worth waiting for the market to prove Hedgeye right -- because, alas, when it comes to Kinder Morgan and today's huge bid, it never, ever will be.” – Jim Cramer, “Cramer: Kinder’s Triumph,” 8/11/14.
2) “We proved the doubters wrong the first time around and I anticipate the same result this time... You sell. I’ll buy. And we see who comes out best in the long run.” – Rich Kinder, 1/15/2014.
3) “… Sometime on Tuesday, a 26-year-old man with a fancy title and very limited work experience is going to elaborate claims he made yesterday that the largest US midstream MLP, founded by an industry legend, is “a house of cards... This is modern “investing” at its most pathetic and absurd... There is no need to wait for next week’s presentation, because any credibility contest between Richard Kinder and Kevin Kaiser is unlikely to last long.” – Igor Greenwald, InvestingDaily, 9/6/2013.
4) “At $40 a share, there was little doubt that Kinder Morgan was overvalued, but even with the headwinds ahead of it, it's become seriously undervalued here at $21. And I'm recommending it, as well as buying it myself.” – Dan Dicker, 12/2/2015.
5) “Don't put too much stock in this latest bit of research from Kevin Kaiser and Hedgeye… in truth, the Kinder Morgan companies are well-managed, boast solid assets, and will play a big role in meeting America's future energy infrastructure needs.” – Brendan Mathews, Motley Fool, 9/12/2013.
6) “We believe that the issues raised by [Kaiser] are well known, transparent, and appropriately discounted especially to those following them a long time.” – Credit Suisse analyst John Edwards, 9/12/2013.
7) “Richard Kinder, the CEO of KMI, is a brilliant operator and a brilliant capital allocator. He is a self-made billionaire with a net worth of roughly $9B. This is a company with good economics, great management, and a reasonable valuation. The company is buying back its shares and its warrants. Kinder has come out and said that the company is undervalued.” – Glenn Chan, 1/30/2014.
Takeaway: Housing demand in November was the strongest month YTD and the first week of December continues that trend.
Our Hedgeye Housing Compendium table (below) aspires to present the state of the housing market in a visually-friendly format that takes about 30 seconds to consume.
Today’s Focus: MBA Purchase Applications
The momo in purchase demand continued in the latest week with seasonally adjusted weekly activity holding at 5-year highs and average monthly activity in November finishing at its highest level since mid-2013.
Purchase applications were flat sequentially (+0.05% WoW) at the 228.2-level on the Index with growth decelerating modestly to +28.4% YoY. On a quarterly basis, 4Q is tracking +2.8% QoQ and +24.2% YoY.
The read-through on this weeks data remains largely unchanged relative to the week prior (see: Purchase Apps | New Highs ...& Salt Grains):
Conclusion - The high-frequency data remains hostage to seasonal noise associated with imperfect peri-holiday statistical adjustments and we’re probably observing some measure of demand pull-forward associated with the impending policy rate increase. But, on balance, the 5-week streak of above trend demand suggests the uptick in purchase activity aptly characterizes the underlying reality– if not in magnitude, at least directionally.
About MBA Mortgage Applications:
The Mortgage Bankers’ Association’s mortgage applications index covers more than 75% of mortgage applications originated through retail and consumer direct channels. It does not include loans delivered through wholesale broker and correspondent channels. The MBA mortgage purchase applications index is considered a leading indicator of single-family home sales and construction. Moreover, it is the only housing index that is released on a weekly basis.
The MBA Purchase Apps index is released every Wednesday morning at 7 am EST.
Joshua Steiner, CFA
Christian B. Drake