The Economic Data calendar for the week of the 21st of June through the 25th is full of critical releases and events. Attached below is a snapshot of some (though far from all) of the headline numbers that we will be focused on.
Conclusion: Recent policy developments out of Brazil are bullish for interest rates and the real.
We’ve noted recently that the Brazilian Central Bank’s hike in the Selic rate to 10.25% last week showed a much needed bout of sobriety in monetary policy amid white-hot GDP growth (9% Y/Y in Q1) and 5.22% Y/Y inflation. As is the case with most emerging market economies, one step forward is followed by two steps back.
The latest developments out of Brazil show that the government is still not yet ready to leave the party. This week, Brazilian President Lula approved an increase of 7.72% in pension rates – even more than the 6.14% originally proposed. He defended his decision in the media by saying that his economic team “guaranteed” him that they could find budget cuts sufficient to offset the increase, and also that added consumption from the pension increases would mean increased tax revenues. Shortly after he approved a hike in pension fund rates, President Lula approved pay rises of between 15% - 38% for members of the Chamber of Deputies. On a side note, in the wake of Lula’s approval of legislative pay raises, the Chamber of Deputies approved new proposals – including social security and pension reforms – which, if confirmed by the Senate and signed into law, would cost R$90 billion to implement – the equivalent of eight years’ worth of the entire Bolsa Familia program’s budget. Lastly, Brazil’s Senate approved an 18% pay increase for over 32 million government employees whose representatives have lobbied the government hard during the past several months, including Agriculture Ministry workers, federal prison worker, armed forces medical personnel and intelligence agency employees.
Conclusion: if you want to get paid, move to Brazil.
All joking aside, the latest wage increases will be positive for domestic consumption. Furthermore, a recently announced export subsidy for exporters who derive at least 30% of their revenue from exports, and who are current with their tax payments will help offset any potential revenue lost from slowing growth internationally. The measure went into effect in April and is expected to cost R$ 1 billion this year.
All told, the recent policy developments out of Brazil are bullish on the margin for Brazilian growth and inflation – which will put additional pressure on the Central Bank to raise rates again. Speaking of inflation, The general market price index increased 1.06% in the second June sampling. This was more than the 0.95% increase in the comparable period for May, but less than the 1.55% average projection of economists surveyed. Producer prices for the second June reading grew 1.37%, versus 1.19% in May. Agricultural prices were down (0.24% increase, versus 0.80% in May) while industrial prices grew 1.88%, greater than May’s 1.32%.
In a June 8-9 meeting, policy makers forecast that 2010 inflation will remain “markedly” above their 4.5% target. The minutes of that meeting, published today on the central bank’s website, spurred Brazilian interest rate futures to jump to the highest level since February 2009 (up 6bps to 11.26% as of 9:30am EST). Economists are forecasting that Brazilian policy makers will raise the Selic rate by an additional 75bps in July. The Brazilian real gained 3.4% vs. the U.S. dollar last week, which coincided with a 75bps hike in the Selic rate.
While the Bovespa continues to be broken from an intermediate-term trend perspective, we are starting to warm to the real on the long side as a currency play as a result of the aforementioned hawkish setup and our bearish view on the dollar. Stay tuned.
Chief Compliance Officer and Managing Director
The Macau Metro Monitor, June 18th, 2010
JUNKETS 'SIDESTEP' SINGAPORE'S SUPPOSEDLY TOUGH RULES ON VIP CREDIT Asian Gaming Intelligence
According to three gaming sources, Macau junket representatives are getting around Singapore's tough rules by checking in as individual VIPs and then giving their chips to 'friends'. The allegation is that these 'friends' also happen to be customers of Macau junkets.
"What it means in practice is that junkets are operating in Singapore, whatever the regulations say about background checks. It's a grey area as there is nothing in the CRA regulations to say a customer cannot pass chips to his friends," says one source.
Potential tax avoidance could also be in play as these 'friends' would still be classified as premium players (5% of gross + 7% GST) rather than mass market players (15% of gross +7% GST) even though they are playing with chips valued below the minimum VIP level of SD 100,000.
MGM GRAND MACAU OPTS FOR CLUB ON $850 MILLION LOAN Reuters
MGM Grand's new loan facility, expected to comprise a term loan and a revolving credit with an average life of around four years, could be upsized to as much as $950 million depending on banks' commitments. Pricing is in line with the deals for Venetian Macau and Galaxy in the high 400s, banking sources suggested.
MORE TOURISTS OVER THE DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL HOLIDAYS macaubusiness.com
The total number of tourist arrivals over the Dragon Boat Festival holidays (June 14-16, 2010) stood at 257,374, (25.45% YoY growth), according to official data.
LOANS GROWING FASTER THAN DEPOSITS macaubusiness.com
Total deposits with the banking sector rose 0.3% MoM in April to MOP300.8 billion. Domestic loans to the private sector expanded 1.1% MoM in April to MOP106.2 billion. The loan-to-deposit ratio at end-April 2010 rose 0.7 points MoM to 71.2%.
USD 30 ENTRY VISAS FOR SIX COUNTRIES Macau Daily Times
According to the Security Forces Coordination Office, citizens from Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam have to pay at least USD 30 for an entry permit to Macau, starting from July 1. In 1Q 2010, only 46,187 people visited Macau from these six countries, less than 1% of total Macau visitors.
The total percentage of successful long and short trading signals since the inception of Real-Time Alerts in August of 2008.
R3: REQUIRED RETAIL READING
June 18, 2010
While most believe toning has been carrying all the weight for the industry, it appears that the core athletic footwear space is holding its own.
TODAY’S CALL OUT
It’s no secret that toning has had a meaningful contribution to the Athletic Specialty channel, with particular strength in May. However, in recent weeks toning’s contribution to the overall athletic space (as shown below) has sequentially decelerated, but at a greater rate than non-toning product. As such, if we exclude toning from the equation we see that the overall athletic industry remains in positive territory, with a far less contribution from toning.
More specifically, it’s worth noting that Skechers and Reebok are showing a meaningful sequential increase in sales when we exclude toning from the data set. Clearly each brand is benefitting from substantial increases in brand awareness, driven of course by toning. More interesting will be Reebok’s efforts in the Fall, when we expect to see further line extensions and enhanced merchandising efforts aimed at capitalizing on the brand’s new life. It’s still early to have complete confidence in the brand’s full resurgence, but this may be the best opportunity for Adi to reinvigorate Reebok since aerobics burst onto the scene.
LEVINE’S LOW DOWN
- Kroger observed that the promotional activity out of Wal-Mart lately is not terribly different than it has been, despite additional media attention focused on increased rollback activity. In fact, Kroger believes that Wal-Mart is acting more like the traditional grocers than they ever have, with a larger focus on key item promotions. Recall that as an EDLP retailer, key items have not been a big a part of Wal-Mart’s pricing strategy.
- PVH management noted that the company’s retail same store sales continue to trend in the 11-12% positive range quarter to date. This is inline with prior quarter results. When questioned about the situation in Europe, PVH’s CEO responded with “We are seeing, if anything, we are seeing the business strengthen over the last six weeks, not weaken. Our comps have improved as we have come up against what I would consider easier comparisons as the year has gone on.”
- PIR one pointed out that it has seen no deceleration in sales halfway through the company’s current quarter. In fact, June month-to-date same store sales are tracking ahead of the company’s reported 14.3% first quarter increase.
Footwear and Apparel CPI Declines While Total CPI Growth Slows- Retail apparel prices fell 0.6% compared with a year earlier while Footwear prices increased 1%. Women’s apparel prices declined 0.1% while men's dropped 2.1%. The overall CPI increased 2% while core CPI increased 0.9%. On the margin, apparel prices sequentially improved while footwear continued to erode albeit at a slower rate. Compared to the Core CPI growth, footwear had been rebounding since July 2007, but has recently slowed and fallen in line while apparel notoriously struggles below the core rate. <wwd.com/business-news>
Hedgeye Retail’s Take: In contrast to the government data, ASP’s on footwear continue to increase year over year. After the latest round of earnings reports, most footwear companies suggest that ASP’s are up low to mid single digits. On the athletic side, innovation has been key to the retailers ability to sell higher price points.
U.S. Soccer Sues Sports Authority Over World Cup Ads - The U.S. Soccer Federation sued Sports Authority Inc. over its advertisements linked to the World Cup, contending Dick's Sporting Goods is the national team's only licensed retailer. <sportsonesource.com>
Hedgeye Retail’s Take: Maybe Dick’s should challenge TSA to a friendly to settle the dispute?
Liz Claiborne Scores Canadian Licensing Agreement - The firm’s namesake brand, which J.C. Penney Co. Inc. will begin carrying exclusively in the U.S. in August, will be sold north of the border under a licensing agreement with Trimera Group’s Future Fashions division. The brand is currently sold in Sears Canada, but is not produced under license. The agreement, which covers apparel, handbags and accessories for the Liz Claiborne brand, also includes men’s and women’s apparel under Claiborne’s Axcess label, which is sold at Kohl’s in the U.S. Liz Claiborne will provide “select design services” for both brands, while Trimera will work on design, as well as production, distribution, marketing and merchandising. Trimera produces and markets a range of apparel goods worldwide, working with brands as diverse as Disney and Nickelodeon to Sean John and Nike. <wwd.com/business-news>
Hedgeye Retail’s Take: While Canada isn’t going to move the needle, this is a good move to leverage the now-licensed Liz brand. Unfortunately, Canada is probably one of the few markets left for which the namesake brand has brand recognition.
Zumiez to Expand into Canada - Canadian retail real estate consulting firm Northwest Atlantic announced that Zumiez will open a store in the greater Vancouver area. <sportsonesource.com>
Hedgeye Retail’s Take: Following in the footsteps of other retailers including KSS and TGT, the push north continues. The action sports market is alive and well in Canada and this makes perfect sense.
Google Releases Commerce Search 2.0 - Google on Thursday released Version 2.0 of a service that it hopes the nation’s top 1,000 retailers will use to power the searches on their e-commerce sites. Unlike most competing search products, Google Commerce Search is a cloud service, so it can be set up and customized relatively quickly, and performance will not vary even during unusually busy times such as holidays and sales, according to the company. The faster, better customizable platform claims it will improve conversion rates. Merchants can set up menus with categories of their choice, such as denim, tops, brands, dresses under $99 or pencil skirts. If retailers want to promote certain types of items — latest arrivals, sale or private label, for example — they can arrange to have those show up first on search results. <wwd.com/business-news>
Hedgeye Retail’s Take: We’re all for making the online shopping experience easier and more efficient and this all seems to make intuitive sense.
Sun Capital Partners Buys Remaining Limited Stake - Limited Brands Inc. said on Wednesday it has sold its remaining 25% stake in Limited Stores LLC to Sun Capital Partners Inc. for $32mm. Sun Capital now fully owns the brand, having bought a 75% stake in 2007 from Limited Brands, whose chief executive officer, Leslie Wexner, decided to shed the underperforming apparel businesses he founded in the Sixties. In addition to Limited Stores, Wexner sold a 75% stake in Express to Golden Gate Capital. <wwd.com/business-news>
Hedgeye Retail’s Take: Is a name change finally on the way for Limited Brands now that the flagship brand has finally been sold?
Price Wars in the UK - Premium independents have been forced to fire the starting gun on their summer Sales up to four weeks early to compete with high-end department stores. <drapersonline.com
Hedgeye Retail’s Take: With the UK retail marketplace historically promotional at only certain times of the year, this is an interesting development.
Reebok Cleans Up It's E-Commerce - Reebok had a problem with the way it managed content on its e-commerce site. Adding any new marketing messages or merchandise took too long and required special training with the company’s third-party content management system. After switching to Allurent Inc.’s on-demand Visual Merchandiser tool, Reebok was able to more quickly make changes to its site, reducing the time spent managing web content by 50%. <internetretailer.com>
Hedgeye Retail’s Take: Probably a good time to upgrade the site that has gotten deluged with visitors since EasyTones hit the market. In fact, the site is almost entirely devoted to the toning product- as it should.
International Brands Dominate Facebook Fan Index - Although American brands hold the #1 spots across fashion, footwear, and retail, international brands hold top spots. Adidas, Puma, Lacoste, and Burberry rank 2-5 in fashion. Adidas and Puma take 2 and 3 in footwear. Zara and H&M take 2 and 3 in retail.
Hedgeye Retail’s Take: Many interesting conclusions to gather from the table below. Mainly, those brands with the biggest budgets and reach by traditional measures are not necessarily the most popular Facebook brands. Also, luxury brands seem to have a great following despite the likeliness of having an older, less tech savvy customer demographic.
The S&P finished slightly higher, up 0.1%, due in part to a stronger tape for Consumer Staples (XLP), Utilities (XLU) and Technology (XLK). For the second day in a row, there were some positive developments on the RISK front out of Europe, offset by a weaker-than-expected economic picture in the US.
The market seemed to also ignore two leading indicators of growth - Copper and China. Last night, China closed down 1.8% (down for the last two days) and is now down 23.3% year-to-date. Yesterday, copper declined 3% and is trading down another 1% this morning to 2.88. The Hedgeye Risk Management Quant models have the following levels for COPPER – Buy Trade (2.71) and Sell Trade (3.00).
While the Materials sector (XLB) was down 0.5% yesterday, it’s up 1.9% over the past week despite the weakness in China. Yesterday the XLB underperformed with another round of below-consensus guidance out of the steel stocks, with recovery concerns across the rest of the industrial metals groups. Currently, the Materials (XLB) and Energy (XLE) look vulnerable.
Oil declined by 1% yesterday to $76.79 and is indicating down 1.5% in early trading today. The Hedgeye Risk Management models have the following levels for OIL – Buy Trade ($73.73) and Sell Trade ($79.59).
On the MACRO front, the US economic picture is also showing some signs of weakness. Initial claims rose for a second straight week, increasing to 472,000 last week from an upwardly revised 460,000 in the prior week. The RECOVERY trade was dealt a body blow with the Philadelphia Fed Index falling to 8 in June from 21.4 in May, the lowest level since August 2009 and below consensus expectations.
For the second day in a row Consumer Discretionary (XLY down 0.6%) was the worst performing sector. Within the XLY, housing-related stocks came under pressure again with the XHB down 2.4%. May single-family housing starts fell a larger-than-expected 17.2% month-to-month, with a 10% decline in single-family permits. To top it off, TOL was the worst performing stock down 4% on a cautious business trends. TOL noted that deposits have been trending 20% below year-earlier levels in the past three weeks, while per-community traffic has slipped 3% since the end of the last quarter. The company added that demand has been "quite choppy". LOW declined 2.2% and was one of the worst performers in the S&P Retail Index, which declined 1.2% yesterday. As a reminder, Hedgeye has been bearish on housing heading into the back half of this year and throughout 2011.
Despite some takeover speculation surrounding M&T Bank +9%, the banks and brokers were mostly weaker as additional clarity on some of the more onerous measures of the reform legislation is unlikely to come until next week. The Financials (XLF) was one of the four sectors that declined yesterday, with the BKX down 0.4%.
Treasuries were stronger with the weak economic data, but the VIX declined by 2%. The Hedgeye Risk Management models have the following levels for the VIX – Buy Trade (23.38) and Sell Trade (32.09). The DXY declined by 0.4% yesterday and the Hedgeye Risk Management models have the following levels for the USD – Buy Trade (85.11) and Sell Trade (86.57).
So far this week, the EURO is up 1.96%. The Hedgeye Risk Management models have the following levels for the EURO – Buy Trade ($1.21) and Sell Trade ($1.24).
Yesterday, Consumer Staples (XLP) was the best performing sector. The sector seemed to benefit from the more defensive tone in the market. Leading the XLP higher, KR was up 3.3% and SVU was up 6.1%, while SWY was up 1.7% after the company posted better-than-expected Q1 results.
Gold remains in a bullish formation and we are long via GLD. The Hedgeye Risk Management models have the following levels for GOLD – Buy Trade (1,231) and Sell Trade (1,248).
As we look at today’s set up for the S&P 500, the range is 36 points or 1.5% (1,099) downside and 1.7% (1,135) upside. Equity futures are trading below fair value as European markets are weakening and the news flow is light ahead of quadruple witching day.