Today at 11:00AM ET we will host our highly-anticipated Quarterly Macro Themes conference call. Led by CEO Keith McCullough, the presentation will detail the THREE MOST IMPORTANT MACRO TRENDS we have identified for the quarter and the associated investment implications.
CLICK HERE to watch this presentation live.
Q2 2016 MACRO THEMES OVERVIEW:
#TheCycle: With the recessionary industrial data ongoing, employment, income and consumption growth decelerating, corporate profits facing a 3rd quarter of negative growth and Commercial and Industrial credit tightening, the domestic economic, profit and credit cycles are all past peak and continue to traverse their downslope. We’ll update our cycle view and detail why growth slowing – and its associated allocations – remains the call as the U.S. economy faces its toughest GDP comp of the cycle in 2Q16.
#BeliefSystem: The notion that central bankers are increasingly pushing on a string is being progressively priced into global financial markets – with one lone holdout: U.S. equities. While we admire the blind faith of domestic stock market operators in Yellen’s ability to keep “the game” going, we are keen to cite specific risks that marginally dovish policy in the U.S. will fail to overcome the depths of the domestic economic, credit and corporate profit cycles.
#DemographyDebates: We’re entering an election season that could hugely impact markets – and probably not in a good way! What’s the impact of a Clinton or Trump victory and how will market practitioners react? We’ll also discuss housing and the impact of millennials and immigrants in shifting demand. Finally, we’ll exam a recurring theme of U.S. growth slowing – what’s under the hood for earnings and inflation expectations in 2016?
As always, our prepared remarks will be followed by a live, anonymous Q&A session. Please submit your questions to . Also, for those of you who cannot join us live, we will be distributing a replay video of the call shortly after it concludes.
-The Hedgeye Macro Team
Editor's Note: Below is a brief chart from today's Early Look written by Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough. Click here to learn more.
"... We’ll get into much more detail on how the #BeliefSystem is breaking down in both Japan and Europe on our Q2 Global Macro Themes Call at 11AM EST, but at a basic level here were some basic rules that levered macro strategies used to get paid by:
- BOJ (Bank of Japan) prints, devalues, and prints => Yen falls => Japanese Stocks rise
- ECB (European Central Bank) says “whatever it takes” => Euro falls => European Stocks rip"
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“A leveraged business is much more difficult to run than a long-only business.”
Myron Scholes is a Canadian who hails from up in my neck of the woods (a small town in Northern Ontario called Timmins). He’s famous in Economics circles for his Black-Scholes model (Nobel Prize in 1997) and infamous for his role at Long-term Capital Management.
The aforementioned quote came from his interview in Efficiently Inefficient where Lasse Heje Pederson asked him about the main takeaways from his experiences at Salomon Brothers and LTCM.
“It is necessary to plan for shocks and losses across positions that are held at times of shock… it’s tough because you are dealing with three things simultaneously: the assets you acquire; the business that you’re in; and how you actually finance activities.” (pg 268)
Back to the Global Macro Grind…
Is the business of risk managing macro markets in what was the Golden Age of Central-Market-Planning tough? Very. Especially at this stage of the game when all of the “rules” of the #BeliefSystem start to break down, the Levered Business of carry trading gets scary.
We’ll get into much more detail on how the #BeliefSystem is breaking down in both Japan and Europe on our Q2 Global Macro Themes Call at 11AM EST, but at a basic level here were some basic rules that levered macro strategies used to get paid by:
- BOJ (Bank of Japan) prints, devalues, and prints => Yen falls => Japanese Stocks rise
- ECB (European Central Bank) says “whatever it takes” => Euro falls => European Stocks rip
Sound familiar? All Janet Yellen has to do at this stage of the game in the USA is Devalue The Dollar and stocks, commodities, and junk bonds, that are inversely correlated to that go straight up (to lower-highs).
But what if you’re short Yens and/or Euros and long Nikkei and Italy’s MIB Index, with leverage?
A: You’re out of business
Yen Bulls (there aren’t many) are lovin’ Yellen right now. While the Japanese Yen (vs. USD) is signaling immediate-term TRADE overbought at $108 (within a bullish intermediate-term TREND), what is it going to take for the BOJ at their meeting on April 28th to change TREND?
A: I don’t know (they don’t either)
In Europe this morning, overlord Draghi issued the ECB’s Annual Report and said (I couldn’t make this up if I tried), “we will not surrender.” And you know what the Euro (vs. USD) did on that?
A: It went down 10 basis points
Now if you have friends that are in the business of only being long US Equities, this is a good thing (for now). But what happens when more and more and moaarrr dovishness is needed to keep the US Dollar from going up?
A: Eventually the USA ends up in the same place as Japan and Europe
Never, Keith. ‘We are the best house in a bad neighborhood… Auto sales were strong… but now gas prices are stronger’ … or something like that will be the perma bs case. Reality is that eventually it gets to your country’s banks.
How does that happen?
- Central-market-planners have to keep devaluing their currencies…
- But they have to cut long-term interest rates to all-time lows, in doing so…
- Eventually, instead of ZIRP, they get NIRP (negative interest rate policy)…
And a lot of businesses (lots of banks) don’t make money in that scenario.
In other words, to keep the game going this way, Janet Yellen’s Fed will have to eventually reduce the probability of ANY rate hike to 0%, long-term Yields will break to all-time lows, and Jamie Dimon will have to try to create his own CNBC “double-bottom”, buying back stock as JPM fundamentals look the way every other bank in Japan and Europe does under a negative yield regime.
This is why I pivoted from bearish on Energy (XLE) to most bearish on Financials (XLF) when we did our Q1 Macro Themes Call. It’s also why I signaled “buy more” Utilities (XLU) on yesterday’s pullback.
Our Best Ideas are levered to the Fed coming around to our #LateCycle US economic view. If you ran a fund that was only long Utes and short Fins in 2016, you’d want leverage on that P&L too!
Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:
UST 10yr Yield 1.69-1.81%
Oil (WTI) 35.04-40.25
Best of luck out there today,
Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer
Client Talking Points
Yet another intraday ramp in U.S. stocks yesterday on “Fed Dovish” (Fed Minutes) – wow is this getting fun. But what does dovish do when the #BeliefSystem on central-market-planning is breaking down? Draghi + Constancio were both out this morning trying “whatever is needed.” Draghi says he “will not surrender.” The Euro is only moving -0.1% on that; Spanish and Italian stocks barely up and remain in crash mode.
Yellen for Yen President! The Yen is at $108 now vs. USD and is finally signaling immediate-term TRADE overbought within a bullish TREND and the Nikkei stopped going down (post 7 straight down days), albeit only +0.2%. We thought Janet was focused on “stabilizing the global economy”, not imploding Japanese and European stock markets.
No follow through to the +5.1% WTI day as the pop in this inverse correlation trade runs into resistance; immediate-term risk range for WTI is now $35.04-40.25 (top end of the range used to be closer to $42-43). We’ll be hosting our Q2 Macro Themes Call at 11:00AM ET.
*Tune into The Macro Show with Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough live in the studio at 9:00AM ET - CLICK HERE.
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Top Long Ideas
McDonald's (MCD) hit an all-time highs last week. "They can't chase Energy Charts today, so they're just dog-piling into our long calls on GIS and MCD," wrote Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough on Friday.
We've said it before, McDonald's has all the style factors that we like during these turbulent macro market times; high market cap, low beta and liquidity. The stock is up 7.5% this year beating the S&P 500 by more than 600 bps. In August 2015, Restaurants analyst Howard Penney wrote that "2015 will be the last time this stock is below $100."
CME Group (CME) stock is among the small cohort of financial companies that benefit from volatile markets. With the exchange's open interest continuing to expand, which will drag trading volume higher, CME Group is one of the few lower beta longs that will hold up relatively better in the current environment.
The exchange guided to just a +1% operating expense increase for 2016, guided to slightly lower annual taxes for '16 (with more activity coming from abroad), and again announced that open interest was setting a new record, at over 111 million contracts. Even assuming some mean reversion to just over 16.5 million contracts (depending on product group), 1Q is running at ~$1.20 per share in earnings, which means the Street will need to perk up its current $1.06 estimate. Simply put, this is one of the few growth stories in the current macro environment within Financials.
Non-Farm payroll additions came in over +200 again (+215K to be exact) and private sector wage growth was also “good,” increasing +4.2% year-over-year on Friday. We’re most concerned with "better" or "worse" from a rate of change perspective. The non-farm payroll number is "less good" (i.e. "worse") from a year-over-year rate-of-change perspective. Growth in non-farm payrolls peaked in February 2015 at +2.3% year-over-year and the trend since then has been one of decline (+2.0% Y/Y for March 2016). And private sector salary and wage growth peaked on a year-over-year percent change basis in December of 2014.
We remain bullish on Long Bonds (TLT and ZROZ), Utilities (XLU) and short Junk Bonds (JNK). We expect more alpha after what was a great Q1, as the back-end of the Treasury curve continues to get flatter regardless of Fed rate hikes. We were alone in that camp, in December, when we first told you that a rate hike was in fact good for long-duration Treasury bonds. Stick with what's worked.
Here's the Q1 2016 Scorecard (data through 3/31):
Three for the Road
TWEET OF THE DAY
Live Healthcare Q&A with Tom Tobin Thursday at 2:15PM ET | $ZBH $AHS $MD $HCA $HOLX
QUOTE OF THE DAY
When you win, say nothing. When you lose, say less.
STAT OF THE DAY
Volkswagon’s VW XL1 uses barely 0.004 gallons of fuel every mile (261 mpg).
CLICK HERE to access the associated slides.
Healthcare analysts Tom Tobin an Andrew Freedman hosted a live Q&A today to review their latest research and answer your questions.
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