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LVS KEEPS TALKING

Despite public commentary by management, Four Seasons apartment sales are unlikely to happen any time soon.

 

 

Once again, LVS management are out in the public domain claiming that government approval is forthcoming for the sale of Cotai apartments.  This time it came from LVS’s Macau CEO Steve Jacobs who said approval may come this year.  We’ve been hearing this at least since October 2007 when LVS made a public announcement.

 

This issue came up quite frequently in our discussions in Macau last week.  Based on those discussions, it became apparent that government approval for apartment sales was actually unlikely this year and was complicated recently by Sheldon Adelson, LVS Chairman and CEO.  “[Edmund Ho, former Macau CE] made a commitment to us that, if we started parcels 5 and 6 and if we did an IPO, then for sure we could sell [the Four Seasons apartment hotel as] strata condos…”  Apparently, Bank of China was backstopping the sales but after Sheldon’s comments and a quick phone call from Beijing, that no longer seems to be the case. 

 

Mr. Adelson has also opined on the table caps (“not a good idea”) and relaxing imported labor quotas (“the right thing to do”).  While he maintains that Lots 5/6 are on track for a Q3 opening next year, we saw little construction activity and he still needs the government to get it done.  Following our Macau visit last week, we think a 2012 opening may be more likely.

 

Sheldon thinks that if he makes privy conversations with the government public then the government will be forced to oblige.  When will he learn - as Steve Wynn has learned - that it is just the opposite? 


US Growth: Taking Off the Training Wheels?

“God help us if earnings [in the U.S.] are anything short of fantastic.”

-Keith McCullough, June 17, 2010

 

Conclusion: Despite the remaining bullish sentiment, China still matters to the U.S. growth story. Moreover, signals from China and Dr. Copper are telling us that U.S. 2H10 growth will more than likely surprise bulls to the downside.

 

With the Shanghai Composite down 22% YTD, Chinese loan demand and loan growth slowing sequentially in 1H10, and Chinese property prices starting to show signs of deflating, it’s been clear for quite some time that the Chinese Ox is still boxed in.  Furthermore, Dr. Copper – a leading indicator for global growth – is in a bearish formation and continues to break down quantitatively.

 

What does this all suggest? Simply put, growth internationally is setting up to slow and the most leading of all indicators (marked-to-market prices) are telling us just that. U.S. bond yields have been creeping down, which has historically been a leading indicator for slowing growth. The yield on the 10Y Treasury is now at 3.22% - down 79bps from the YTD high on April 5. Factor in a slowdown from the European demand side of the equation as a result of austerity measures and rising illiquidity, and it’s not hard to see why we think growth will slow both globally and domestically in 2H10.

 

Bullish sentiment in the U.S. has hinged largely on a hopeful domestic growth outlook in 2H10, which is a large divergence from the Chinese growth story that pulled up equity markets globally since the March 2009 bottom in the S&P 500. Again, using market prices a leading indicator for growth, the S&P sectors most levered to the U.S. growth story (Industrials - XLI, Energy - XLE, and Basic Materials – XLB; each broken from an intermediate-term TREND perspective) are telling us that the U.S. is not yet ready to take off the training wheels. In fact, a very high positive correlation still exists between each of those sectors and Chinese equities and copper (see charts below). As noted before, both China and Dr. Copper are still in very bearish setups from a quantitative perspective and weakening international and Chinese fundamentals strongly support that. Despite that, a divergence has emerged between bullish domestic sentiment and marked-to-market leading indicators globally.

 

When it’s all said and done, we expect this bifurcation to create more downside risk in the U.S. equity market. As Shakespeare once penned, all crashes occur against expectations; and expectations domestically are still far too high in our option. Bulls are too bullish. Bears aren’t bearish enough. With U.S. sovereign debt and deficit issues approaching the limelight, a disastrous setup for housing domestically, and rising joblessness each not fully on everyone’s radar, U.S. growth is likely to crash against current expectations.

 

Darius Dale

Analyst

 

US Growth: Taking Off the Training Wheels? - 1

 

US Growth: Taking Off the Training Wheels? - 2


The Week Ahead

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.

 

The Week Ahead - c1

The Week Ahead - c222


Hedgeye Statistics

The total percentage of successful long and short trading signals since the inception of Real-Time Alerts in August of 2008.

  • LONG SIGNALS 80.32%
  • SHORT SIGNALS 78.49%

KEEPING IT REAL IN BRAZIL

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.

 

Moshe Siver

Chief Compliance Officer and Managing Director

 

Darius Dale

Analyst

 

KEEPING IT REAL IN BRAZIL - 1

 

KEEPING IT REAL IN BRAZIL - 2


THE M3: JUNKETS IN SINGAPORE; MORE COLOR ON MGM GRAND MACAU LOAN; VARIOUS STATS; VISAS

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.


World Cup Chart Of The Day: U.S.A.

The S&P 500 remains broken from an intermediate term trend perspective.

 

World Cup Chart Of The Day: U.S.A. - World Cup Chart of the Day


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