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Eurozone, #CrudeOil, China

Client Talking Points

Eurozone

It’s almost daily now that we get confirmation that the #BeliefSystem (Q2 Macro Theme) in the Eurozone is broken.Eurogroup President Dijsselbloem was out yesterday in a speech at the Peterson Institute saying: “The current low interest rate environment acts as a tailwind for our economy, it supports the economy in the short run, but the effect is short-lived, it simply cannot foster a sustainable recovery if underlying structural problems are not addressed".  We remain bearish on the region, grounded by our GIP (growth, inflation, policy) model that spells Quad 4 pressure in back half of this year.

#CrudeOil

Whether it’s output cut rumors into this weekend’s meeting or declining U.S. production, the “bottom is in” headlines are at the top of commodities feeds from every major news source with WTI +40% in the last 3 mths. Looking at contract positioning shorts a crowded consensus short positioning has been washed out (crude, nat. gas, gold, silver positioning all registering z-scores >1x on a TTM basis) with money betting on a continued decline in the U.S. dollar. A supply side floor argument is a fundamental story, but not a catalyst, and we would reiterate that the credit risk priced into commodity leveraged fixed income is considered all but gone in market-price terms.   

China

The week concludes with a made-up data dump out of everyone’s favorite communist economy. Chinese GDP growth allegedly ticked down -10bps to 6.7% YoY in Q1 and the quarter allegedly ended on a positive note with Retail Sales, Industrial Production, Fixed Assets Investment, Money Supply and Total Social Financing growth all accelerating sequentially in March. While we’ve been right on our call for both the Chinese economy and Chinese yuan to avoid falling off a cliff over the intermediate-to-long term, a lot of the reprieve in Chinese capital outflows and slowing growth on the mainland has been perpetuated by a reversal of the trend of depreciation in the PBoC’s yuan fixing. But now that the U.S. dollar appears to making a series of higher-lows vs. peer currencies, we expect a meaningful increase in pressure on the CNY and CNH from here. That should propagate another bout of global deflation fears over the next 3-6 months.

Asset Allocation

CASH 64% US EQUITIES 0%
INTL EQUITIES 0% COMMODITIES 6%
FIXED INCOME 26% INTL CURRENCIES 4%

Top Long Ideas

Company Ticker Sector Duration
MCD

McDonald's (MCD) hit another all-time high last week. As we continue to reiterate, the company has all the style-factors that we like – high market cap, low beta and liquidity. Stick with it.

 

We are going to be looking at a much different company 1-3 years from now. Urgency has been instilled from the top down by new CEO Steve Easterbrook. He wants more speed and is encouraging people to get things done faster. The food and experience provided to the customer will greatly improve over the coming months as “Experience the Future” is implemented across the system. It won’t be instantaneous though, as MCD has a lot of work to do around changing the perception to bring back customers it may have lost.

 

Things like All Day Breakfast, responsibly sourced ingredients, and bringing back the value proposition will lead to increased sales and customer satisfaction. While this company is too big to be completely fixed overnight, management has the right plans in place. We are confident in where they are headed.

CME

We recently completed a granular, deep dive study demonstrating that all classes of volatility including equity, fixed income, and FX have been managed lower by a U.S. Central Bank engineering a historically abnormal quantitative easing policy over the past 7 years.

 

What does this mean and what are the implications? Well, with Quantitative Easing over (for now) and the Federal Reserve on a rate hiking policy path (for now), for the first time in a long time there is a reason to hedge bond and equity exposure. CME is one of the few venues that allows both institutional and retail investors to do exactly that. The company manages the entire Treasury futures curve and also most of the equity index futures in the U.S.

 

In this late cycle economic environment, CME Group (CME) has a solid earnings trajectory. The exchange continues to benefit from all 3 legs of the exchange stool including incremental volatility; incremental participants coming into its markets; and also new product introduction. Over the course of the next 12 months, we think the earnings opportunity will jump and the path to more than $5 per share in earnings will become more obvious.

TLT

We outlined our expectation and outlook moving into Q2 last Thursday in our quarterly macro themes presentation for institutional clients. The first of the three themes was labeled #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. With this cyclical backdrop, the U.S. economy faces its toughest GDP comp of the cycle in 2Q16”….

 

The takeaway is that the economy faces a difficult GDP comp (growth rate) in Q2 within the continued late-cycle slowdown. 

Three for the Road

TWEET OF THE DAY

*NEW VIDEO* The latest installment of "About Everything" w/ @HoweGeneration https://app.hedgeye.com/insights/50271 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Carry the battle to them.  Don't let them bring it to you.  Put them on the defensive and don't apologize for anything."

           - Harry S. Truman

STAT OF THE DAY

Wade Boggs batted .328 over the course of his 18 years in baseball but only hit 118 home runs.  



Cartoon of the Day: Look Out Below!

Cartoon of the Day: Look Out Below! - recession cartoon 04.14.2016

 

"Unlike many strategists (who missed calling the cycle top in US Consumption, Employment, and Profits last year), we have stayed with The Cycle call we’ve had all along here in Q2," Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough wrote recently.


ICI Fund Flow Survey | Domestic Equity Mutual Funds...Worse Start Than 2015

Takeaway: Domestic stock funds have shed -$36.3B so far in '16, far worse than the first 14 weeks in 2015 which was the worst year on record.

Investment Company Institute Mutual Fund Data and ETF Money Flow:

In the 5-day period ending April 6th, domestic equity funds lost another -$5.3 billion, bringing the first fourteen weeks of 2016 to a net redemption of -$36.3 billion. This current draw down pace is far worse than the first fourteen weeks of 2015 which had totaled just $-9.8 BB, but which ended the year as the biggest annual redemption for the category in history. Additionally, the 2016 YTD withdrawal is just shy of the Financial Crisis cadence in 2008, in which domestic equity funds had lost -$39.7 billion over the same period (but the '08 cycle finished the year strongly with domestic stock subscriptions). Investors also withdrew -$555 million from international equity funds last week, bringing total equity mutual funds lost to -$5.8 billion. Meanwhile, the migration into passive funds continued with investors contributing +$7.0 billion to equity ETFs. Below is Morningstar's current count to the biggest money management complexes with exposure to the domestic stock fund category.

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Domestic Equity Mutual Funds...Worse Start Than 2015 - Dom

 

On the fixed income side, investors made net contributions in all categories. Total bond mutual fund flows came to +$6.7 billion. Bond ETF flows were relatively weak last week, coming in at only +$240 million. Finally, money market funds lost -$27 billion to withdrawals, as the seasonality of income tax payments hit its final week.

 


ICI Fund Flow Survey | Domestic Equity Mutual Funds...Worse Start Than 2015 - ICI19

 

In the most recent 5-day period ending April 6th, total equity mutual funds put up net outflows of -$5.8 billion, trailing the year-to-date weekly average outflow of -$1.2 billion and the 2015 average outflow of -$1.6 billion.

 

Fixed income mutual funds put up net inflows of +$6.7 billion, outpacing the year-to-date weekly average inflow of +$1.5 billion and the 2015 average outflow of -$475 million.

 

Equity ETFs had net subscriptions of +$7.0 billion, outpacing the year-to-date weekly average outflow of -$1.0 billion and the 2015 average inflow of +$2.8 billion. Fixed income ETFs had net inflows of +$240 million, trailing the year-to-date weekly average inflow of +$2.0 billion and the 2015 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 2015 and the weekly year-to-date average for 2016:

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Domestic Equity Mutual Funds...Worse Start Than 2015 - ICI2

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Domestic Equity Mutual Funds...Worse Start Than 2015 - ICI3

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Domestic Equity Mutual Funds...Worse Start Than 2015 - ICI4

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Domestic Equity Mutual Funds...Worse Start Than 2015 - ICI5

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Domestic Equity Mutual Funds...Worse Start Than 2015 - 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 | Domestic Equity Mutual Funds...Worse Start Than 2015 - ICI12 2

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Domestic Equity Mutual Funds...Worse Start Than 2015 - ICI13 2

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Domestic Equity Mutual Funds...Worse Start Than 2015 - ICI14 2

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Domestic Equity Mutual Funds...Worse Start Than 2015 - ICI15 2

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Domestic Equity Mutual Funds...Worse Start Than 2015 - ICI16 2



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 2015, and the weekly year-to-date average for 2016. 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 | Domestic Equity Mutual Funds...Worse Start Than 2015 - ICI7

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Domestic Equity Mutual Funds...Worse Start Than 2015 - ICI8



Sector and Asset Class Weekly ETF and Year-to-Date Results: In sector SPDR callouts, investors made a +5% or +$631 million contribution to the technology XLK ETF.

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Domestic Equity Mutual Funds...Worse Start Than 2015 - 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 | Domestic Equity Mutual Funds...Worse Start Than 2015 - ICI17 2

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Domestic Equity Mutual Funds...Worse Start Than 2015 - ICI18 2



Net Results:

The net of total equity mutual fund and ETF flows against total bond mutual fund and ETF flows totaled a negative -$5.8 billion spread for the week (+$1.1 billion of total equity inflow net of the +$6.9 billion inflow to fixed income; positive numbers imply greater money flow to stocks; negative numbers imply greater money flow to bonds). The 52-week moving average is -$540 million (negative numbers imply more positive money flow to bonds for the week) with a 52-week high of +$20.2 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 | Domestic Equity Mutual Funds...Worse Start Than 2015 - 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 | Domestic Equity Mutual Funds...Worse Start Than 2015 - ICI11 



Jonathan Casteleyn, CFA, CMT 

 

 

 

Joshua Steiner, CFA







INSTANT INSIGHT | Dissecting The Nikkei Pop, Yen Weakness & BOJ Warning Shot

 

INSTANT INSIGHT | Dissecting The Nikkei Pop, Yen Weakness & BOJ Warning Shot - kuroda 2

 

"I really don’t think that the introduction of the negative interest rate backfired or caused the yen to appreciate and stock markets to decline in Japan... If anything, I can say that if we didn’t introduce the QQE with the negative interest rate, financial markets in Japan would have been even worse.”

 

That's BOJ head Haruhiko Kuroda, during a speech at Columbia University yesterday. Kuroda continued reiterating that the BOJ "will not hesitate to take additional easing measures in terms of three dimensions — quantity, quality and the interest rate — if it is judged necessary."

 

Reality check!

 

Here's analysis from our Macro team in a note sent to subscribers this morning:

 

"The Japanese yen’s -1% decline to the mid-109’s on the USD cross in the WTD has been good for a major squeeze higher in the Nikkei this week. Today’s massive +3.2% rally puts the index up +6.9% WTD with one more day of trading to go.

 

In a speech at Colombia University yesterday, BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda doubled down on NIRP by highlighting how it “boosts the effects of existing policy measures by directly pushing down the short-end of the yield curve”. Despite this week’s spectacular gains, the Nikkei more-or-less remains in crash mode down -19.3% from its peak last June and we think it’ll take more than jawboning to perpetuate a series of lower-highs in the yen and higher-lows in the Nikkei from here.

 

INSTANT INSIGHT | Dissecting The Nikkei Pop, Yen Weakness & BOJ Warning Shot - nikkei chart

 

We expect the pressure of decelerating trends across headline, core and producer price inflation – as well as long-term breakeven rates – to cause the BoJ to add to its easing measures at its April 27-28 meeting. Will additional easing in Japan be met with additional repudiation of the central planning #BeliefSystem, or will Japan simply export this growing lack of faith to U.S. markets via a stronger dollar?"


The Clinton Firewall, Bernie Retreats To The Vatican & Trump Pulls Ahead In NY

Below is a brief excerpt from our Potomac Research Group colleague and Chief Political Strategist JT Taylor's Morning Bullets sent to institutional clients each morning. For more information on how you can access our institutional research please email sales@hedgeye.com.

ALL VOTES LEAD TO ROME?:

 

The Clinton Firewall, Bernie Retreats To The Vatican & Trump Pulls Ahead In NY - hillary pic

 

NY is Hillary Clinton's Northeastern firewall, but like many of her other firewalls, the Bern found a way to jump it - and enthusiasm for him was more than validated by last night's crowd of 27,000 in NYC. Sanders had started to gain momentum, and was trending up in the polls - but Clinton has pulled out all of the stops, and his momentum statewide stalled. The surest sign of a Sanders loss is that he is following through with his scheduled trip to the Vatican after participating in tonight's Brooklyn debate. If he thought he was anywhere close to pulling off an upset victory he would be spending those two days in Rome, NY instead.   

ANTI-TRUMP LAPSE:

 

The Clinton Firewall, Bernie Retreats To The Vatican & Trump Pulls Ahead In NY - ted cruz hold

 

Following a big win for the anti-Trump movement in WI, their efforts heading into NY have lost as much steam as Cruz's campaign. Perhaps knowing a defeat was inevitable, the anti-Trump aligned PACs haven't spent any money on ads in NY. Whether it's a calculated decision or not, it may be a mistake - even slight resistance and microtargeting (a Cruz mainstay) in select Congressional districts could substantially decrease how many delegates Trump wins in NY, and at this point a mere 20 extra delegates could be the make or break for a first ballot Trump victory.

KEEPING AT ARM'S LENGTH:

 

With preparations and plotting for the Republican convention in full effect, prominent Republicans across the party are declaring they will not attend as a number of them are facing competitive races this fall. NH Senator Kelly Ayotte and NC Senator Richard Burr have suggested they will skip the event - keeping out of the unpredictable spotlight or being tied to Donald Trump or Ted Cruz - reaffirming what a number of our political sources having been telling us for weeks: Republican incumbents are running intensely localized campaigns that more resemble those vying to be sheriff than Washington power brokers.


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