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Lazard (LAZ) | Value Trap - Best Idea Short Call Invite

Takeaway: We are hosting a conference call next Tuesday, January 12th at 11 am to review our ongoing short recommendation on Lazard (LAZ).

Lazard (LAZ) | Value Trap - Best Idea Short Call Invite - Lazard invite

 

We are hosting a short black book presentation next Tuesday, January 12th at 11 am EDT on M&A advisor Lazard (LAZ). Our presentation will outline the still unrecognized risks and complacency in this highly cyclical company:

 

  • M&A Set to Fall: After a new high water mark in global mergers and acquisitions in 2015, the Street is still unrealistic about the opportunity for activity into '16. Estimates are still 20% too high based on "flat to up" activity levels for the New Year which ignore various warnings in the data. Our research shows with corporate funding costs on the rise, that every 100 bps rise in credit costs has historically impacted M&A activity by -20%. Thus the backup in credit spreads that started in 1Q15 all but guarantees a negative comp for mergers in '16. In addition, rising private equity percentages in global announcements and also record highs in consideration values signal an exhausted M&A marketplace.
  • Restructuring Won't Bail Them Out: Complacency is also being sourced by "hopeful" insulation that the firm's restructuring business can plug any gap as the revenue opportunity in M&A slows. Historically, the restructuring business has had a 4 quarter lag after M&A peaks before contributing to results but restructuring cycles have just half the duration of M&A cycles and never fully cover the lost revenue. At just under 20% of total advisory revenues across cycle, restructuring is a mild insulation at best.
  • EM/Non U.S. Asset Mgmt Exposure: The firm's most profitable business, asset management, has unfavorable Emerging Market exposure and total non-US exposure sits at over 50% of AUM. The ongoing elevated levels of the U.S. dollar and investments in petro-oriented economies has historically weighed on demand for institutional exposure to non-developed domiciles. We will flesh out what a reasonable yield on Lazard's AUM business is.

 

CALL DETAILS - Tuesday, January 12th at 11 am EST

  • Toll Free Number:
  • Toll Number:
  • Conference Code: 13627924
  • To Automatically add to your Outlook Calendar Click HERE
  • For Associated Materials Click HERE

 

Private Equity Historically Marks the Peak

LAZ - As Good As It Gets...Modeled For Perfection

 

Jonathan Casteleyn, CFA, CMT 

 

 

 

Joshua Steiner, CFA


4 Charts Laying Out Our Recession Call

We've been warning for a while now about the coming recession which we anticipate may arrive in the second quarter of this year. Below are three charts laying out our thesis and a fourth explaining why, even if we're wrong on that recession, the US stock market is probably going to crash anyway...  

 

4 Charts Laying Out Our Recession Call - recession cartoon 12.22.2015

1. A past peak profit cycle... 

"Once a peak in the S&P 500 breaks below its twelve month trailing average, look what happens. It rolls off and it goes down really fast," Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough said on The Macro Show.

 

4 Charts Laying Out Our Recession Call - eps

 

2. Consumer Confidence breaking off its cycle high...

"People aren't confident right now. As you can see, in the cycle, it's an elevator on the way up and windows on the way down," McCullough said.

 

4 Charts Laying Out Our Recession Call - conf

 

3. the end of declining jobless claims... 

"Jobless claims always peak at 600,000 and bottom at 300,000 at the end of the cycle. In the next six months you're right where you're at in the prior three recessions," McCullough said.

 

4 Charts Laying Out Our Recession Call - layoffs

 

For good measure, here's one of McCullough's favorite slides from this week's 73-page Q1 Macro Themes presentation explaining why U.S. stocks are headed for a crash regardless of what happens with our recession call. (To get access to our Macro team's entire presentation ping sales@hedgeye.com.)

 

 


HedgeyeRetail (1/7) | M/JCP Bad For KSS, FL/FINL

Takeaway: KSS - M/JCP Holiday Numbers...Why this is bad for KSS. A wounded FINL is not good for FL.

M, JCP, KSS - Why This Is Bad For Kohl's

 

This -5.2% comp number and additional 15% guide down to the 4Q earnings number is just icing on the cake for FY15 which can be characterized by a series of late cycle moves. Blue Mercury acquisition, off-price concept, entering the China market, etc. Do malls have a traffic problem? We think the answer is unequivocally yes, based on the 25% e-comm growth commentary that means B&M comps were down in the 10-12% range.

 

JCP on the other hand put up a relatively good number at 3.9%, held its EBITDA dollar guidance for the year and was more positive on its outlook for FCF generation.

 

SO, what does this mean for KSS. Based on the conversations we've had on the name the general consensus is that sales trends look ok based on credit card data. We should point out that KSS has 60%+ of its sales accounted for on it's own Private Label credit card (that's a black box), and non-credit has outperformed credit in 1Q and 2Q (no commentary given on the 3Q call). As KSS pushes it's Y2Y loyalty program it naturally inflates its national credit card data, which might explain the big shortfall we saw earlier in the year when the whisper was for a 4-5% and the company reported a 1.4%. Plus, it puts 25% of its EBIT at risk.

 

Bigger picture we've seen KSS out comp M in each of the past 4 quarters by an average of 2.6% that accelerated to a spread of 5% in 3Q. On the flip side, JCP has out comped KSS for the past two years by an average of 4.4% as it recaptures some of the $1bil in sales it ceded in market share to KSS. That suggests a flat to down comp for KSS. We don't typically call out weather, but as we lap two exceptionally cold ones with 70 degree weather in December here in the Northeast, it's hard to see how KSS runs from the same issues hurting M who attributed 80% of the comp decline to above average temperatures.

 

We want to be as clear as day on our positioning here – we would absolutely bet against the ‘it’s a great cash flow’ story, and would short it today into strength.  We think that earnings will fall by $1.50 from here, which will threaten management’s ability to buy back stock and ultimately, threaten the dividend. Once cash flow support goes away, then we’re left with KSS trading at 7-8x $2.50 in EPS, which leaves us with a stock in the high teens. Yes, it will take a number of years for this to play out. But if you’re tempted to chase this ‘cheap’ stock in the $50s – don’t.

 

FINL, FL  - Wounded FINL not good for FL

HedgeyeRetail (1/7)  |  M/JCP Bad For KSS, FL/FINL - 1 7 2016 chart1

 

Most of these wounds at FINL were self-inflicted with the supply chain issues causing $0.42 of the $0.45 miss, and costing eight percentage points of revenue. Unlike FL which, has executed exceptionally well since Ken Hicks took the reins in 2009, FINL has had its fair share of hiccups.

 

But, a wounded FINL is not good for FL. Especially as inventories across the industry remain elevated, and NKE, UA, and AdiBok push direct to consumer agendas. It's a bit tough to make an industry read-through because of the supply chain execution issues, but basketball underperformed running for the 4th straight quarter. If there is a positive for FL, it would be that inventory was down 14% during the quarter, meaning that anybody frustrated by out of stocks at FINL during the month of November could have transferred spending over to the other mall based footwear retailer. Though to be fair, apparel was more affected than footwear. Comps to date at FINL are up 6.2%, as the company gets desperate.

 

We remain confident that Foot Locker will prove to be one of the best multi-year shorts in retail. The company is likely to earn about $4.20 this year, which we think will prove to be the high water mark in this economic cycle. We think that emerging competition from its top vendor, Nike (=80% of sales), will stifle growth, and leave the company with an earnings annuity somewhere around $3.50-$3.75 per share. Is that worth $61? Not a chance. Not for a company that is Nike’s best off-balance sheet asset. And definitely not when the Street is in the stratosphere approaching $6.00 in EPS (#NoWay).

 

MKS - M&S boss Marc Bolland steps down amid falling clothing sales

(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/12085845/MandS-boss-Marc-Bolland-steps-down.html)

 

HBC - Hudson's Bay Company to Acquire Gilt

(http://investor.hbc.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=949280)

 

WMT - Former Walmart exec named head merchant at The Fresh Market

(http://www.chainstoreage.com/article/former-walmart-exec-named-head-merchant-fresh-market)

 

AMZN - Amazon Enters Semiconductor Business With Its Own Branded Chips

(http://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-enters-semiconductor-business-with-its-own-branded-chips-1452124921)


Early Look

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Initial Claims | TX & LA Are Feeling The Pain

Takeaway: Texas and Louisiana are reporting initial claims have grown by 36% and 53% Y/Y, respectively, as of the most recent week.

Initial Claims | TX & LA Are Feeling The Pain - 1.7.16Claims20

 

This week's headline claims number offered a brief intermission from the data's upward trend. Seasonally adjusted claims fell 10k to 277k, and the 4-week rolling average backed off by a nominal 1k from its 5-month high of 277k to 276k.

 

The three charts below illustrate the challenges/pain in the energy sector. The first chart shows the Y/Y RoC in initial claims across the eight energy-heavy states, the US, the US excluding these eight states and the average change for those eight states. Of the eight states highlited, six are showing initial claims growing Y/Y. The fastest growth is in Louisiana, where claims are higher by 53% Y/Y. The second fastest growth is in Texas, where claims are higher by 36% Y/Y. Interestingly, all eight energy states are performing worse the country as a whole.

 

The second chart shows Y/Y RoC in initial claims since May 2014 for the US ex-Energy States and for the Energy State basket. The breakout in energy state claims began at the start of 2015 and has remained steadily decoupled since.

 

 

Initial Claims | TX & LA Are Feeling The Pain - Claims   New Energy Chart 1

 

Initial Claims | TX & LA Are Feeling The Pain - Claims   New Energy Chart 2

 

Initial Claims | TX & LA Are Feeling The Pain - 1.7.16Claims18

The Data

Initial jobless claims fell 10k to 277k from 287k WoW. The prior week's number was not revised. Meanwhile, the 4-week rolling average of seasonally-adjusted claims fell -1.25k WoW to 275.75k.

 

The 4-week rolling average of NSA claims, another way of evaluating the data, was -7.6% lower YoY, which is a sequential improvement versus the previous week's YoY change of -5.8%.

 

Initial Claims | TX & LA Are Feeling The Pain - 1.7.16Claims2

 

Initial Claims | TX & LA Are Feeling The Pain - 1.7.16Claims3

 

Initial Claims | TX & LA Are Feeling The Pain - 1.7.16Claims4

 

Initial Claims | TX & LA Are Feeling The Pain - 1.7.16Claims5

 

Initial Claims | TX & LA Are Feeling The Pain - 1.7.16Claims6

 

Initial Claims | TX & LA Are Feeling The Pain - 1.7.16Claims7

 

Initial Claims | TX & LA Are Feeling The Pain - 1.7.16Claims8

 

Initial Claims | TX & LA Are Feeling The Pain - 1.7.16Claims9

 

Initial Claims | TX & LA Are Feeling The Pain - 1.7.16Claims10

 

Initial Claims | TX & LA Are Feeling The Pain - 1.7.16Claims11

 

Initial Claims | TX & LA Are Feeling The Pain - 1.7.16Claims19

Yield Spreads

The 2-10 spread fell -3 basis points WoW to 119 bps. 1Q16TD, the 2-10 spread is averaging 121 bps, which is lower by -15 bps relative to 4Q15.

 

Initial Claims | TX & LA Are Feeling The Pain - 1.7.16Claims15

 

Initial Claims | TX & LA Are Feeling The Pain - 1.7.16Claims16

 

 

Joshua Steiner, CFA

 

Jonathan Casteleyn, CFA, CMT

 


FLASHBACK: 'Central Bankers Have Lost Control, Setting Stage For Market Crash'

In this brief excerpt from last February, Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough discusses how global central bankers have "certifiably lost control" and reveals what he’s seeing which could ignite a significant market correction. 

 

In other words, our subscribers were spared the market crash in August. And to be clear, we're not changing our tune from here. Proceed with great caution.  


ICI Fund Flow Survey | Year-End Active Shakedown

Takeaway: All active categories except muni bonds saw outflows in the 5 days ending Dec 30th while investors favored passive products and money funds.

Investment Company Institute Mutual Fund Data and ETF Money Flow:

Most active products finished 2015 with a dull thud in the 5 days ending December 30th. All categories but tax-free bonds saw outflows during the last week of the year. Domestic equity funds again bled out another $2.9 billion in the final week of the year, ending 2015 with their worst annual outflows on record, losing -$172.2 billion. This compares to the +$144 billion subscription for equity ETFs as the shift from active to passive continued last year. In fixed income, taxable bond funds lost -$6.8 billion in the last week as investors digested the new more active Fed policy. Taxable bonds in aggregate had a rare annual redemption in '15 losing $40 billion last year. Since 2007, only 2013 resulted in an annual redemption in the taxable bond category.

 

Finally, with markets shuddering, investors seeking safety shored up +$16 billion in money market funds, bringing the 4th quarter money market inflow to +$90.1 billion following the +$54.4 billion in subscriptions during the 3rd quarter. 2015 finished with the first annual money fund inflow since 2008 with an annual tally of +$26 billion in cash being moved to the sidelines. The first annual cash increase this cycle is reminiscent to the cash builds of 1999 and 2006 with investors having overallocated to risk assets and then reversing to safety. Overall there is a $1 trillion opportunity for leading cash managers to collect lost funds that have been allocated to stocks and bonds over the past 7 years.


ICI Fund Flow Survey | Year-End Active Shakedown - ICI1

 

In the most recent 5-day period ending December 30th, total equity mutual funds put up net outflows of -$6.0 billion, trailing the year-to-date weekly average outflow of -$1.5 billion and the 2014 average inflow of +$620 million. The outflow was composed of international stock fund withdrawals of -$3.1 billion and domestic stock fund withdrawals of -$2.9 billion. International equity funds have had positive flows in 41 of the last 52 weeks while domestic equity funds have had only 8 weeks of positive flows over the same time period.

 

Fixed income mutual funds put up net outflows of -$4.6 billion, trailing the year-to-date weekly average outflow of -$462 million and the 2014 average inflow of +$926 million. The outflow was composed of tax-free or municipal bond funds contributions of +$2.2 billion and taxable bond funds withdrawals of -$6.8 billion.

 

Equity ETFs had net subscriptions of +$5.5 billion, outpacing the year-to-date weekly average inflow of +$2.8 billion and the 2014 average inflow of +$3.2 billion. Fixed income ETFs had net inflows of +$1.9 billion, outpacing the year-to-date weekly average inflow of +$1.0 billion and the 2014 average inflow of +$1.0 billion.

 

Mutual fund flow data is collected weekly from the Investment Company Institute (ICI) and represents a survey of 95% of the investment management industry's mutual fund assets. Mutual fund data largely reflects the actions of retail investors. Exchange traded fund (ETF) information is extracted from Bloomberg and is matched to the same weekly reporting schedule as the ICI mutual fund data. According to industry leader Blackrock (BLK), U.S. ETF participation is 60% institutional investors and 40% retail investors.



Most Recent 12 Week Flow in Millions by Mutual Fund Product: Chart data is the most recent 12 weeks from the ICI mutual fund survey and includes the weekly average for 2014 and the weekly year-to-date average for 2015:

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Year-End Active Shakedown - ICI2

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Year-End Active Shakedown - ICI3

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Year-End Active Shakedown - ICI4

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Year-End Active Shakedown - ICI5

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Year-End Active Shakedown - ICI6



Cumulative Annual Flow in Millions by Mutual Fund Product: Chart data is the cumulative fund flow from the ICI mutual fund survey for each year starting with 2008.

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Year-End Active Shakedown - ICI12

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Year-End Active Shakedown - ICI13

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Year-End Active Shakedown - ICI14

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Year-End Active Shakedown - ICI15

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Year-End Active Shakedown - ICI16



Most Recent 12 Week Flow within Equity and Fixed Income Exchange Traded Funds: Chart data is the most recent 12 weeks from Bloomberg's ETF database (matched to the Wednesday to Wednesday reporting format of the ICI), the weekly average for 2014, and the weekly year-to-date average for 2015. In the third table are the results of the weekly flows into and out of the major market and sector SPDRs:

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Year-End Active Shakedown - ICI7

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Year-End Active Shakedown - ICI8



Sector and Asset Class Weekly ETF and Year-to-Date Results: In sector SPDR callouts, investors seeking safety contributed +3% or +$171 million to the long treasury TLT ETF.

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Year-End Active Shakedown - ICI9



Cumulative Annual Flow in Millions within Equity and Fixed Income Exchange Traded Funds: Chart data is the cumulative fund flow from Bloomberg's ETF database for each year starting with 2013.

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Year-End Active Shakedown - ICI17

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Year-End Active Shakedown - ICI18



Net Results:

The net of total equity mutual fund and ETF flows against total bond mutual fund and ETF flows totaled a positive +$2.2 billion spread for the week (-$520 million of total equity outflow net of the -$2.7 billion outflow from fixed income; positive numbers imply greater money flow to stocks; negative numbers imply greater money flow to bonds). The 52-week moving average is +$741 million (more positive money flow to equities) with a 52-week high of +$20.5 billion (more positive money flow to equities) and a 52-week low of -$19.0 billion (negative numbers imply more positive money flow to bonds for the week.)

  

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Year-End Active Shakedown - ICI10

 


Exposures:
The weekly data herein is important for the public asset managers with trends in mutual funds and ETFs impacting the companies with the following estimated revenue impact:

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Year-End Active Shakedown - ICI11 



Jonathan Casteleyn, CFA, CMT 

 

 

 

Joshua Steiner, CFA







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