Trump Towers Over Divided GOP

Editor's Note: Below is a brief excerpt from Hedgeye Potomac 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


Trump Towers Over Divided GOP - trump tower


Donald Trump's schedule will be the focus of everyone in Washington today and, for the first time, the presumptive nominee will meet with Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus as well as other member of the Republican leadership team. Trump's last meeting with Priebus at the end of March was billed as a unity meeting and ended up being anything but...


Still, we see these meetings as serving multiple purposes for all parties involved:

  1. With Trump now the Party's standard-bearer, today will serve as the first phase of getting the entire team to unify, privately first if nowhere else;
  2. For Ryan and McConnell - both of whom fear down-ticket trouble with Trump at the top of the ballot - the meetings will serve to calm nerves (or ring the alarm) and outline their concerns for holding onto the majority;
  3. This is Trump's opportunity, if we wants it, to claim the Party's mantle and megaphone; doing so, however, carries risk to the brand he's carefully built as an outsider who does not play the Washington game.


With Ryan and Trump publicly trading jabs and efforts building around finding another choice for conservatives, the only thing certain about today is that Trump will be sure to tweet about it.


Trump Towers Over Divided GOP - polling station


Throughout the presidential primary, voter turnout/enthusiasm was at an all-time high, with Republicans eager to move on from a two-term Democrat in the Oval Office. As Trump's ascent became inevitable, the Republican establishment feared his record unfavorability would tamp that enthusiasm and the ensuing turnout gap would siphon Republican votes from candidates down ballot.


Hardly scientific, but as figures roll in from the WVA and NE primaries - the only two held since Trump's had the race to himself - the data suggest those fears may be unfounded. In 2012, primary turnout in NE was a paltry 26.1 percent; this past Tuesday, 26.5 percent. WVA turnout in 2012 was the worst in the nation, both in the primary and general; just four years later, more people returned absentee ballots than voted in 2012!


A Quinnipiac poll this week placed Trump and Hillary Clinton in a dead heat in the three key swing states of FL, OH and PA. While this may appear concerning for both sides, there are a few things to keep in mind.


For one, FiveThirtyEight has awarded Quinnipiac a "B+" in polling accuracy. For another, FiveThirtyEight founder and election-poll-guru Nate Silver tore into the media for making a big deal of the polls so far from Election Day. Taking to 2016's favorite soapbox (Twitter) for an 8-tweet rant on the inaccuracies of such "snapshot" polls six months out.  Of course for his part, Silver held firm from last November through late January that Trump had no chance of securing the nomination. Beware the potholes of political portending.

Dissecting Today's Jobless Claims: How Many Points Make A Trend?

Editor's Note: Below is an excerpt from a research note dissecting today's Jobless Claims data and written by our Financials team. To access our institutional research email


Dissecting Today's Jobless Claims: How Many Points Make A Trend? - jobslatecycle


How many data points does it take to make a trend? That's a question worth asking, in light of the fact that the last three weekly initial claims prints have been sequentially higher. At the low end of the spectrum, some argue that a simple plurality (two) of datapoints constitute a trend. Most seem to think it takes three data points (i.e. 2,4,6) to conclude a trend is occurring. At the other end of the spectrum there are those who argue it takes at least four data points to have the requisite conviction needed for forecasting/extrapolating recent data into the future.


Three weeks ago, claims rose by 9k. Two weeks ago, they increased by 17k, and last week they rose by a further 20k. There are no holidays or distortions in the last few weeks of data that could account for the rise and we're not yet into the automotive furlough season. 


Dissecting Today's Jobless Claims: How Many Points Make A Trend? - jobless claims 5 12


I would suggest that the last 2-3 weeks of data are significant; the last two weeks especially, as they've shown the largest back-to-back weekly increases in initial claims YTD, and they've come consecutively (+17k, +20k). Moreover, they come directly on the heels of the weaker-than-expected April NFP report, which was measured in the week prior to the most recent 3 weeks of rising claims. In other words, taking the April NPF in conjunction with the last 3 weeks of claims data, you have ~7 weeks of weakening labor market data.


We'll see what the next few weeks bring, but I would argue that if the "trend" in initial claims continues higher over the next two weeks, the early innings of a labor recession trend are afoot. 

FLASHBACK | McCullough: 'Apple Is the Most Over-Owned Stock In Human History' (7/22/15)


Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough didn't mince any words discussing Apple (AAPL) this past summer on Fox Business' Mornings with Maria. The following day McCullough told the London-based City A.M.:




Here's a snippet from the conversation:


Do you think Apple and tech stocks in general are overvalued?


A) Apple isn’t a value stock – it’s the most over-owned stock in human historywhere “valuation” comes into the debate on down days. It’s actually a product-cycle stock, and all cycle stocks should look relatively “cheap” at the peak of a cycle


B) What Morgan Stanley calls “New Tech” trades at an average P/E of 149.5x forward earnings. Overvalued is an understatement. It’s obviously a bubble.


Is this another tech bubble? Does this look like the dotcom bubble?


Yes (see above).


Across market histories, from tulips to dot.bombs, every bubble is unique. Instead of the internet, I think we’ll call this one the cloud of expectations.


*  *  *  *  *


Here's a look at what's happened to Apple since.


FLASHBACK | McCullough: 'Apple Is the Most Over-Owned Stock In Human History' (7/22/15) - aapl update 

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Hedgeye Guest Contributor | Thornton: My Scary Chart

Editor's NoteBelow is a Hedgeye Guest Contributor research note written by Dr. Daniel Thornton. During his 33-year career at the St. Louis Fed, Thornton served as vice president and economic advisor. He currently runs D.L. Thornton Economics, an economic research consultancy. 


A brief note on our contributor policy. While this column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Hedgeye, suffice to say, more often than not we concur with our contributors. In the piece below, Thornton writes "I believe that some unforeseeable event will prick the bubble, perhaps this year. The result will be recession which will, unfortunately, be accompanied by more misguided monetary and fiscal policies."


Hedgeye Guest Contributor | Thornton: My Scary Chart - Bubble bear cartoon 09.26.2014  1


I published the graph below in a recent essay titled, Why the Fed’s Zero Interest Rate Policy Failed, but the graph deserves special attention because of what it seems to imply for the economy going forward. The graph shows household net worth (wealth) as a percent of personal disposable income. Household net worth as a percent of disposable income increased dramatically in the mid-1990s. Its collapse precipitated the 2000 recession. It increased even more dramatically during the subsequent expansion only to collapse again, precipitating the 2007 – 2009 recession.


Hedgeye Guest Contributor | Thornton: My Scary Chart - thornton1


Once again, household net worth has increased dramatically. Since the end of 2012 it has increasing by nearly 100 percentage points to 640% of disposable income. This is scary; not just because it is an incredibly large rise in wealth in a short period of time, but because it happened twice before with very bad consequences.


The first rise in household wealth ended because of the bursting of what is known as the bubble. It is called the bubble because the NASDAQ composite index rose dramatically in the mid-to-late 1990s only to fall even more dramatically beginning in 2000Q1. The graph below shows that the rise and fall of household net worth was accompanied by the rise and fall of the NASDAQ.


Hedgeye Guest Contributor | Thornton: My Scary Chart - thornton2


The NASDAQ and household net worth reached their respective peaks at exactly the same time, 2000Q1, after which they both fell precipitously. Household net worth recovered quickly during the expansion, but the NASDAQ didn’t. Indeed, the NASDAQ didn’t reach its 2000Q1 level again until 2014Q3. In contrast, household wealth as a percent of disposable income rose quickly, increasing by 125 percentage points from 2002Q3 to 2006Q4 before declining even more precipitously.


The large increase in household wealth was largely driven by an equally large and, as it turned out, unsustainable rise in house prices, as shown in the graph below. Not surprisingly, house prices and household net worth both peaked in 2006Q4.


Hedgeye Guest Contributor | Thornton: My Scary Chart - thornton3


By 2015Q1, household wealth had surpassed its 2006Q4 peak. This time the rise in wealth was fueled by both equity and house prices. The relevant question is: Is the 100 percentage point rise in household net worth sustainable, or will house and equity prices fall dramatically again?


The latter answer seems most likely. One reason is behavior of household net worth has been unusual since the mid-1990s. The graph below shows the level of household net worth over the period 1952Q1 to 2015Q4. The graph also shows a quadratic trend line estimated over the period 1952Q1 to 1994Q4 and extrapolated to 2015Q4.


 Hedgeye Guest Contributor | Thornton: My Scary Chart - thornton4


During the entire period from 1952Q1 to 1994Q4, household net worth tracks the trend line very closely. Since 1995Q1, however, household net worth has been consistently above the trend line and the gap has been getting progressively larger. Such behavior would be a concern in any circumstance, but it is particularly troubling because we know that the previous two boom cycles were followed by busts. The recent rise in household net worth has not been accompanied by a correspondingly large increase in output or the price level. Hence, it too does not appear to be supported by economic fundamentals—it appears to be unsustainable.


The Fed’s monetary policy has contributed to this problem. First, by keeping the federal funds rate below its own estimates of the normal or natural rate for much of this time and way below the normal rate for nearly a decade. The second, by unnecessarily purchasing a massive amount of government and mortgage-back securities, which Fed Chair Yellen and her colleagues are reluctant to sell. I don’t see the Fed doing anything different anytime soon.


I predict that the current level of household net worth is not sustainable. I believe that some unforeseeable event will prick the bubble, perhaps this year. The result will be recession which will, unfortunately, be accompanied by more misguided monetary and fiscal policies. I call this monetary and fiscal policy insanity: Keep doing the same thing and expect a different result! I would love to be wrong, but I doubt I will be.

Fed Watch: Next Rate Hike In April 2018???

Editor's Note: In an institutional research note, entitled "Reflation Reversal Risk Part II," Hedgeye Senior Macro analyst Darius Dale shows in granular detail how investors have priced-in a shockingly dovish Fed.


In other words, a look at the Fed Funds futures curve suggests "the next rate hike isn't being fully priced into the curve until April of 2018!" Below is an excerpt and chart from that note. (To access our institutional research email


Fed Watch: Next Rate Hike In April 2018??? - Fed cartoon 06.17.2015 dove large


"... That in conjunction with a dramatically compressed Fed Funds futures curve (2nd chart below) leads us to believe the Fed’s dovish pivot has been largely priced into the most affected markets and it’s likely that nothing shy of outright monetary easing will compress the forward rates expectations any further. Specifically, the next rate hike isn't being fully priced into the curve until April of 2018 (out from October 2016 at the start of the year)!”


Fed Watch: Next Rate Hike In April 2018??? - Implied Yields on Select Fed Funds Futures Contracts

Click image to enlarge 

Daily Market Data Dump: Thursday

Takeaway: A closer look at global macro market developments.

Editor's Note: Below are complimentary charts highlighting global equity market developments, S&P 500 sector performance, volume on U.S. stock exchanges, and rates and bond spreads. It's on the house. For more information on how Hedgeye can help you better understand the markets and economy (and stay ahead of consensus) check out our array of investing products




Daily Market Data Dump: Thursday - equity markets 5 12


Daily Market Data Dump: Thursday - sector performance 5 12


Daily Market Data Dump: Thursday - volume 5 12


Daily Market Data Dump: Thursday - rates and spreads 5 12

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