Client Talking Points
Spain’s economy Minister De Guindos lowered the country’s 2016 GDP forecast o 2.7% vs 3.0% and the 2017 forecast to 2.4% vs 2.7%. This follows last week’s reduced growth forecast by the IMF for Spain for the first time since 2013, to 2.6% from 2.7% for 2016. Yet the forecasts pale to our own, which according to our GIP (growth, inflation, policy) model, show the Spanish economy tracking into Quad 3 (equating to growth slowing as inflation accelerates) in the back half of the year with a mere 1.0% GDP forecast for 2016.
Our view throughout the deflationary backside of the cheap-debt fueled, commodity sector capital spending boom has been that producers will produce until they can’t anymore – bankruptcy or per unit cash loss. The resiliency of U.S. shale production throughout the commodity downturn surprised most. WTI is down over 4% this morning as the Doha meeting over the weekend was a disappointment for the bulls. We continue to take the stance that collective production cuts from ex. U.S. producers will be nothing more than a newsy topic, including at OPEC’s June 2nd meeting.
With 39 S&P 500 companies having reported Q1 earnings to-date, sales growth is down -1.1% YoY and earnings growth has slowed to -11.8% YoY – which would be the worst annual growth rate of the cycle if it holds through the rest of reporting season. Declines are being led by Materials (-34%), Tech (-20%) and Financials (-17%). Compounding matters is the 25-30% spread between pro forma and GAAP, which continues to be reflected in a rising economy-wide debt-to-free-cash-flow ratio. Specifically, that ratio just reached 4x in 4Q15, which is the threshold it breached in 3Q07 on its way to peaking at 4.6x in mid-2008. We reiterate our view that neither the corporate profit nor credit cycles have seen their respective depths.
*Catch the replay to The Macro Show with Potomac Research Group Senior Energy analyst Joe McMonigle - CLICK HERE.
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Top Long Ideas
McDonald's (MCD) is reporting 1Q16 results on Friday, and we will have a more thorough update following the release. Current consensus estimates are projecting system-wide same-store sales (SSS) growth to be +4.6%, and +4.6% in the United States. Given another full quarter of All Day Breakfast, and ever evolving value proposition that MCD is providing, we feel confident in their ability to perform at or above expectations.
MCD continues to be a great LONG stock to hold during turbulent times in the market given their attributes of being large-cap, low beta, and aligns with our macro teams view of going LONG lower to middle income food providers.
With the largest Capital Markets operation reporting results last week, JP Morgan's numbers continue to relay the business-to-business (B2B) shift in both bond and equity markets. With capital hamstrung by Financial Crisis era regulation, and fixed income desks running tight as a drum, brokerage activity continues to shift over into the exchange traded derivative markets. JPM's FICC, or fixed income trading, results hit $3.5 billion in revenue in 1Q16, down 13% year-over-year.
Conversely, the daily reporting of CME Group's (CME) bond volumes finished at 8.2 million contracts per day in 1Q, up +9% from last year. On a revenue basis, CME's results are actually a little stronger, with fixed income rate per contract up +2% year-over-year. The shift in equities is more balanced, with JPM's equity trading revenues up +6% y-o-y according to their latest report.
CME's stock volumes, however, still outflank the big brokerage desk with futures and options volume up +9% y-o-y for the forthcoming quarterly report on April 28th. This activity shift is secular in our view and CME Group has a strong upward bias in earnings power which makes its stock one of the few to own in Financial Services.
We remain the bears on the U.S. economy and the corporate profit and credit cycles - we’re long growth slowing via Long Bonds (TLT) and Pimco 25+ Year Zero Coupon U.S. Treasury ETF (ZROZ) and short risky corporate credit via Junk Bonds (JNK) as the profit cycle rolls over.
High yield bonds have experienced meaningful relief in price terms with the move in reflationary assets. Again, we reiterate that once credit spreads move off their cycle lows, they don’t typically revert in the same cycle, which is why we are sticking with our sell recommendation on junk bonds (JNK).
Any time corporate profits decline for two consecutive quarters, the S&P drawdown has had a peak to trough decline of at least 20%. Dissecting the likely direction of earnings in Q1 and Q2 of this year, we could be facing 4 consecutive quarters of declining corporate profits, and we question the market's ability to slap higher earnings multiples on the S&P 500.
Three for the Road
TWEET OF THE DAY
The current short squeeze in EM stocks is right within the +20% gain which has happened 8 times since '11
QUOTE OF THE DAY
You’ll never get ahead of anyone as long as you try to get even with them.
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