prev

Bernanke: "Get It Off Zero!"

Conclusion: Washington’s Economic Officialdom doesn’t understand that a ZERO percent “risk free” rate of return not only scares capital out of this country, but that it is also a tax on the fixed incomes of baby boomers with hard earned savings accounts. 


It’s no secret that we are not fans of Ben Bernanke and his Princeton crony Paul Krugman. We don’t believe in disrespecting the cost of (or access to) capital. When you socialize an economic system, you encourage bad behavior by undisciplined allocators of capital. Bad players then perpetuate existing problems.

 

Thankfully, there seems to be a reasonable voice at the US Federal Reserve who doesn’t wake up looking to pander to a Nobel Prize winner that has seen nothing but his 2008 theories fail. When you watch Krugman speak, you tell me if the man looks right stressed. If I were him, I would be too.

 

Kansas City Fed head, Thomas Hoenig, speaking with Kathleen Hays on Bloomberg Radio's "The Hays Advantage," yesterday at 11:30AM EST said he didn't think a one percent interest rate would be harmful to the economy. "I am not saying raise rates to very high levels. I am saying get it off zero," Hoenig said. (Source: Bloomberg) 

 

Below, Darius Dale did a solid job paraphrasing the highlights from an outstanding Hays interview:

  • You have to be careful with resisting the inertia of “extended and exceptional”.  Just because the EU sovereign debt crisis scared investors and inflation fears subsided doesn’t mean that we should hold rates low indefinitely.
  • How do you incentive savings and subsequently loans when you’re giving people zero % returns on saving?
  • You can’t solve every problem with monetary policy. It is an allocative instrument and we need to use it carefully.
  • I’m not saying take rates up substantially. I’m advocating a policy towards a slow normalization of rates (i.e. what we’re seeing in Australia, etc.)
  • There is a time factor; the more we delay, the more difficult it will be to make a move, as uncertainties and issues build up. Slowing growth, housing, and the Bush tax cuts expiration will all be factored into the debate as we progress through the year.
  • There will always be risks and the more you delay in acting, the more the risks begin to pile up.
  • To have lived through three bubbles (housing, tech, 1970’s), not calling out the negative implications of negative real interest rates would be a derelict to my responsibility as a official of the FOMC.
  • It’s expensive to hire people in the U.S. That and uncertainty about the future – including burgeoning fiscal deficits – means we are going to have to wait until the confidence comes back for job creation to accelerate.
  • When I was elected Federal Reserve president of K.C., I was given a single reichsmark by my elderly German neighbor. He said to me, “When I was a boy, this could buy a small house. By the time I got older, it couldn’t even buy a loaf of bread. Don’t let that happen here.”
  • The German hyper-inflation was caused by trying to fix every single economic and political problem with monetary policy.

Keith McCullough

Chief Executive Officer

 

Darius Dale

Analyst


Thanks Bron Bron

So will LeBron go to Miami, New York, Chicago???  From an investment vantage point, I could care less. The simple fact that I am addressing this point is a big positive for the athletic brands and retailers.

 

Can anyone remember a time when there was this much hype around an athlete’s decision to play in a given city – or to play at all? I can… It was summer of 2001 when Jordan returned (which arguably should never have happened). Heck, I even recall sitting in the hot seat in the morning meeting room of my then-buldge-bracket employer and a seasoned salesperson literally asked me in front of thousands of ears whether Jordan was returning.

 

I thought that was both sad and ridiculous at the time.  The reality, though, is that it mattered. It mattered because it was an incremental boost to the product cycle. Nike amped up its product line around MJ with the Wizards, and kicked its marketing machine into high gear. Any retailer worth its salt could not afford to miss out on that, so orders followed. Jersey sales also picked up, and Reebok had the exclusive license for ‘official’ league jerseys. Adidas has since restructured the deal such that it sells them under the Adidas logo.

 

So what are we looking at here?  With the exception of LeBron ending up in the media-market-equivalent of Outer Moongolia like Portland (Trailblazers) or in Kobe’s shadow like w the LA Clippers (it'll never happen), this event will be incremental across the board.

1)      For Adidas, they’ve been relying on World Cup and Shape Ups. WC is almost over, and Germany was sent packing by a ‘lesser’ Adidas team. Not sure when the bubble will end on shape ups, but a pick-up in Jersey sales from the most exciting free agent switcheroo will help keep adi’s momentum going for another quarter.

 

2)      For Nike, they have LeBron, Wade, Carmello, and Bosh. From an asset standpoint, they can’t lose. Now they need to execute on product and marketing. That’s where my confidence level is highest. If these three guys (LeBron, Bosh and Wade) all end up in Miami, then Nike will be giddy with how they can build up this franchise into the next season. Given Nike’s legacy in Chicago with in the 1980s and 1990s with the Jordan/Rodman/Pippen trifecta.

 

3)      Arguably, the biggest winners across the board are the retailers.  We’re only talking about a half a point to a point in comp for a company like DKS, HIBB or FL. But given that this is a business that has faced headwinds for the better part of four years, we’ll take what we can get.

 

Thanks Bron Bron - 7 7 2010 9 22 14 AM


R3: Football & Fung

R3: REQUIRED RETAIL READING

July 8, 2010

 

We’re going with two call outs today…and they have nothing to do with Same Store Sales. The first is a glimpse into recent activity at Li&Fung, which is one of the best global long-term investment stories I have seen in years. The other is Italy, which has resorted to blaming €140mm on its Football team.

 

 

TODAY’S CALL OUT

 

Li & Fung Hot With Activity - Hong Kong-based sourcing giant Li & Fung said Thursday it has made three acquisitions over the past two months and struck a series of licensing deals in an effort to boost its market share and profitability. The company said it has bought the following companies for an initial cash consideration of $140 million: The Hong Kong-based Jackel Group, a player in the beauty and packaging industries; HTP Group, a Hong Kong-based denim specialist; and nearly all of the assets of Cipriani Accessories Inc. and its affiliate The Max Leather Group. Li & Fung said it has signed four additional licensing deals: a pact with celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe to launch a new contemporary collection, an expansion of its existing licensing deal with martial arts apparel maker Tapout to include men’s and junior’s sportswear, the formation of a new company with Star Branding to create new lifestyle concepts, and a new licensing deal with Sean Combs’ Sean John label for sportswear and active wear.  <wwd.com/business-news>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: In the world of global retail, I can not find a better structural story than Li&Fung. As a 20-year trend of outsourcing and offshoring to China by US companies leveraging the US$ as the world’s reserve currency comes to an end – and reverses – LF is the only company that will win consistently. Small acquisitions into ancillary areas on which to leverage sourcing infrastructure makes a ton of sense to me. And that’s coming from someone that rips apart 9 out 10 acquisitions that comes across the retail tape.

  

Italian Retail Troubled by Economy, World Cup Woes - Local retailers in Italy are claiming to have a hard time meeting sales targets as consumer is failing to buy in the summer months due to weather, lack of confidence, and World Cup woes. The summer sales season, one of two times each year when retailers like Benetton and Prada mark down prices, normally accounts for about 12% of annual Italian revenue for the clothing and shoe industries. This year’s sales period coincides with unemployment at an 8-year high, consumer confidence slipping to a 16-month low in June and hotter-than- average temperatures in city centers from Milan to Rome. <bloomberg.com/news>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: Italy takes the cake – twice. First by flopping out of the World Cup. Then by actually quantifying the impact on its economy of the failure of its football team to perform – 140mm Euro.  Let me get this straight…that’s 8.5% of GDP. For losing to Slovakia and drawing vs. New Zealand??? I know Americans don’t ‘get’ football. But c’mon. They can hardly quantify their unemployment rate nevermind the consumption impact of World Cup. Let’s get real.   

 

 

MORNING NEWS 

 

JJB Sports Experienced Nice Lift from World Cup - British sportswear retailer JJB Sports, which avoided administration last year, said sales have continued in line with expectations even after England's premature exit from the soccer World Cup. The company, a seller of England soccer kits as part of its World Cup range, said comps in the six weeks to July 4 jumped 22.3%, while gross margins surged. Cumulative like-for-like sales from Feb. 1, the start of the financial year, to July 4 rose 12.1%.  <reuters.com>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: Spain/Netherlands is a dream matchup for Europe. But what’s next?

 

Uniqlo's Parent Fast Retailing Company Cuts Full Year Forecasts - Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. saw double-digit growth in the first nine months of the year but uneven sales of its spring items forced the company to cut its full-year forecasts, just months after raising estimates in April. The Japanese company’s monthly sales performance so far this year has been mixed, an outcome the company has blamed on unseasonably cool spring months and problems keeping some popular spring styles in stock. <wwd.com/business-news>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: You know what this means? Yes, they’ll pick up the deal cadence.

  

Twitter Enters E-Commerce - Twitter is launching @earlybird, its own take on popular daily deal sites such as Rue La La or Gilt Groupe that offer limited-time sales at deep discounts. Twitter has not elaborated on the types of deals it might promote, but it did say that initially the offers will be from large, international brands or focused on the U.S. market. Participating retailers will set the terms of the offers, including the availability, amount offered and price. <internetretailer.com>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: T’was a matter of time.

 

DKNY Opening in Singapore - DKNY Jeans International will unveil a new retail concept with today’s opening of a Singapore boutique. Located in the city’s Paragon Shopping Center, the new store will be a prototype for other DKNY Jeans freestanding units and concept shops. The company plans to unveil boutiques in Jakarta, Indonesia; Hong Kong; Beijing, and Sydney, as well as concept shops in China, Taiwan and Thailand. The company operates and distributes to 160 DKNY Jeans freestanding, shop-in-shop and multibrand stores. At this point, 11 new concept stores are expected to open by next year. <wwd.com/retail-news>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: This makes sense. DKNY has been around for about 20 years now, which is like forever in the fashion world. All along it has maintained relevance as a global brand.

 

Target Prepares for Shaun White Shoe Line - The premiere collection of Shaun White shoes is set to hit Target stores nationwide and online at Target.com the week of July 11th. Shaun White shoes, an expansion to his line of clothing with Target, features a variety of skate and lifestyle shoes for boys and young men.  <sportsonesource.com>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: You gotta love this kid… What’s interesting is that White’s apparel line did not sport a logo. He purposely minimized any glaring logo to maintain some form of anti-establishment status. Not quite sure if that will work with footwear. In fact, his Red Bull commercials have a very ‘big business’ slant that augers to him going more mainstream. But mark my words, this is as important a launch to watch (for Vans, Converse, Nike 6.0) as some of the Asian brands coming into the US.

 

Cornell University Drops Nike Contract Due to Honduras Labor Dispute - Without "significant progress" toward the resolution of an ongoing labor dispute in Honduras, Cornell University said last week it will follow the University of Wisconsin at Madison's lead and end its licensing agreement with Nike by the close of the year. In April, UW became the first university to cancel its contract with Nike over a contractor's treatment of workers in Honduras. <sportsonesource.com>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: After all the progress Nike has made, this is yet another sign showing how hard these reputations are to shape. Let’s hope that these Universities don’t do any business with Gildan – who is massively overweight Honduras.

 

Who Spends Most Time on Facebook? - Age, income and ethnicity all play a role in how much internet time users spend on the social giant. And marketers may find the heaviest users the most valuable to target. <emarketer.com>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: I have no clue what the investment significance is of this chart. But thought it was interesting from a social networking standpoint.

 

R3: Football & Fung - R3 7 8 10


Attention Students...

Get The Macro Show and the Early Look now for only $29.95/month – a savings of 57% – with the Hedgeye Student Discount! In addition to those daily macro insights, you'll receive exclusive content tailor-made to augment what you learn in the classroom. Must be a current college or university student to qualify.

TO BE OR NOT TO BE TAX FREE

As fiscal losses mount at the local level and the back to school season begins,  the discussion surrounding tax free holidays is building.   Some states view these holidays a stimulus to help local businesses and consumers while others are clearly seeing incremental sales tax as a source of revenue.  As we head into the critical back-to-school selling season, it’s important to understand what’s different this year vs. last from both a timing and magnitude perspective.   And, with June sales reported tomorrow,  we expect to hear the first indications of how tax free holidays may be expected to impact July and August results. In an effort to capture the various shifts in timing and program parameters versus last year, we present the following graphics below. Here are a few noteworthy observations:

  • There are typically 3 different types of sales tax holidays: hurricane preparedness, clothing and school supplies, and energy efficient appliances.  For the purposes of this post we are focused on the clothing and school supplies.
  • The top 5 states most exposed to teens in the 15-19 year-old demographic are CA, TX, NY, FL, IL, representing 37% of the entire domestic teen market.  However, only three offer a tax free holiday (TX, NY, & FL).
  • The two biggest teen states (CA & IL) that don’t offer the tax free holiday have some of the highest state sales taxes in the country.  CA and IL are also #1 and #4 respectively on a list for highest projected budget gaps as a percent of the state’s general fund budget.
  • So far, FL and MD are the only two states adding events vs. this time last year.  They are adding 3 and 7 day tax-free events respectively.
  • GA, Washington DC, and South Carolina have either repealed or suspended their respective tax free holidays.
  • NY just repealed it’s tax-free status on shoes and apparel under $110, however this will not take effect until October 1st.  The suspension will last until April 1st, 2011, at which point a $55 tax-free threshold will be established for a year.  Then, in 2012, the original exemption will be reinstated.

With municipalities struggling to meet budgets, we should expect continued contraction in this list of tax free events as well as growth in efforts to add or boost sales tax overall.  

 

TO BE OR NOT TO BE TAX FREE - TeenStateExp 7 10

 

TO BE OR NOT TO BE TAX FREE - TaxHoliday Sched 7 10

TO BE OR NOT TO BE TAX FREE - TaxHoliday 2 Sched 7 10

TO BE OR NOT TO BE TAX FREE - TaxHoliday 3 Sched 7 10

 

Eric Levine

Director


INITIAL JOBLESS CLAIMS FALL 21K (1K ON A ROLLING BASIS)

Initial claims this week fell 21k (18k net of the revision).  This positive print continued the volatile pattern of the last four weeks, in which the week-over-week change has been more than 15k up or down each week.  The four-week rolling average, which removes this volatility, decreased by 1k to 466k.  For another week, claims remain in the 450-470k range they've occupied for most of the year, well above the 375-400k range needed for unemployment to materially improve.  

 

INITIAL JOBLESS CLAIMS FALL 21K (1K ON A ROLLING BASIS) - rolling

 

Below we chart the raw claims data. 

 

INITIAL JOBLESS CLAIMS FALL 21K (1K ON A ROLLING BASIS) - raw

 

Below, we chart US equity correlations with Initial Claims, the Dollar Index, and US 10Y Treasury yields on a weekly basis going back 3 months, 1 year, and 3 years.Not surprisingly, Consumer Discretionary has the largest inverse correlation to Initial Claims (r-squared = 0.70) on a 1-year basis. On the flip side, it is a surprise to see that the Financials have the second lowest inverse correlation to Initial Claims (r-squared = 0.27) on a 1-year basis.

 

INITIAL JOBLESS CLAIMS FALL 21K (1K ON A ROLLING BASIS) - 1

 

As was noted in last Friday's unemployment report, May was the peak month of Census hiring, and it should be a headwind to jobs from here as the Census winds down.

 

INITIAL JOBLESS CLAIMS FALL 21K (1K ON A ROLLING BASIS) - census chart

 

 

Joshua Steiner, CFA

 

Allison Kaptur


INITIAL JOBLESS CLAIMS FALL 21K (1K ON A ROLLING BASIS)

Initial claims this week fell 21k (18k net of the revision).  This positive print continued the volatile pattern of the last four weeks, in which the week-over-week change has been more than 15k up or down each week.  The four-week rolling average, which removes this volatility, decreased by 1k to 466k.  For another week, claims remain in the 450-470k range they've occupied for most of the year, well above the 375-400k range needed for unemployment to materially improve.  

 

INITIAL JOBLESS CLAIMS FALL 21K (1K ON A ROLLING BASIS) - rolling

 

Below the jobless claims charts, we show the correlations between initial claims and each of the 30 Financial Subsectors. To reiterate, Credit Card and Payment Processing companies show the strongest correlations to initial claims, with R-squared values of .62 and .72 over the last year, respectively.  Surprisingly, some subsectors show a positive correlation coefficient to initial claims - i.e. Financials that go up as unemployment claims go up.  These names are concentrated in the Pacific Northwest Banks and Construction Banks, though these correlations are usually not very high.  

 

In the table below, we found the correlation and R-squared of each company with initial claims, then took the average for each subsector.  For composition of the subsectors, see Chart 5 below.

 

INITIAL JOBLESS CLAIMS FALL 21K (1K ON A ROLLING BASIS) - init. claims subsector correlation analysis

 

The following table shows the most highly correlated stocks (both positively and negatively correlated) with initial claims. Note that the top 15 negatively correlated stocks have a much stronger correlation on average than the top 15 positively correlated stocks - as you would expect, given that most of the Financial space is pro-cyclical. 

 

INITIAL JOBLESS CLAIMS FALL 21K (1K ON A ROLLING BASIS) - init. claims company correlation analysis

 

As we've highlighted previously, astute investors will note that in some cases the R-squared doesn't seem to reconcile with the square of the correlation coefficient. This is a result of finding the correlation and then averaging. For example, Pacific Northwest Banks have an average correlation coefficient of .32 and an average R-squared of .52 (with CACB, CTBK, FTBK, and STSA strongly positively correlated and UMPQ strongly negatively correlated). The different directions have the effect of canceling out each other out when finding the average correlation coefficient, but do not cancel out when finding the average R-squared. 

 

Below we chart the raw claims data. 

 

INITIAL JOBLESS CLAIMS FALL 21K (1K ON A ROLLING BASIS) - raw

 

The table below shows the stock performance of each subsector over four durations. 

 

INITIAL JOBLESS CLAIMS FALL 21K (1K ON A ROLLING BASIS) - stock perf

 

As was noted in last Friday's unemployment report, May was the peak month of Census hiring, and it should be a headwind to jobs from here as the Census winds down.

 

INITIAL JOBLESS CLAIMS FALL 21K (1K ON A ROLLING BASIS) - census chart

 

Joshua Steiner, CFA

 

Allison Kaptur


investing ideas

Risk Managed Long Term Investing for Pros

Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough handpicks the “best of the best” long and short ideas delivered to him by our team of over 30 research analysts across myriad sectors.

next