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EARLY LOOK: Red Letter Day

This note was originally published at 8am this morning. INVESTOR and RISK MANAGER SUBSCRIBERS have access to the EARLY LOOK in real-time, published by 8am every trading day.

 

 

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“You can sneer or disappear behind a veneer of self-control.”
-Pet Shop Boys

 

 

EARLY LOOK: Red Letter Day - Red Letter Day

 

 
We have our British electronic dance music playing this morning in New Haven as the bulls are forced to sneer at the tail that’s been wagging this US growth dog since US Housing saw its cycle peak in April. As one of our three Hedgeye Macro Themes for Q3, we’ve called this Housing Headwinds.
 
The aforementioned quote comes from the Pet Shop Boys 1996 top ten hit, “A Red Letter Day.” What an appropriate quote and song name for a day like today where expectations for a bomb of an Existing US Home Sales report are finally being baked into this bear’s cake.
 
This day in 410 (AD) was also a Red Letter Day for the Roman Republic. Historians refer to this day as “The Sack of Rome” when the enemy (the Visigoths) took over the city for the first time in 800 years. This was a bad day for the professional politicians of Rome.
 
The US stock market has had a bad day for the last 3 days in a row. While our 2011 estimate for US GDP growth is still approximately half of the Bloomberg consensus, the Street is finally taking down its expectations for Q3 and Q4 of 2010. In recent weeks we’ve seen both Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan cut their estimates. There will be more of that to come.
 
Combined, with the prospective outlook for US unemployment, housing, and GDP growth finally getting a reality check, it will be interesting to wait and watch today as the SP500 finally takes a good hard look at our immediate term TRADE line of 1059 support.
 
Last week we penned this Red Letter Day on the calendar with both The Catalyst and The Line. While we do not think that the Fiat Republic will fall today, we do think that members of the risk management community will most certainly get paid on the short side.
 
To be crystal clear on this, today is not the day to be shorting stocks. Today is a day to book your gains and increase both your gross and net exposure. If you don’t run an asset management firm and you’ve gone self-directed, in Hedgeye Risk Management speak that means today is a day to invest some of the 61% we have allocated to Cash in the Hedgeye Asset Allocation model.
 
In terms of asset allocation, there’s an emerging and healthy debate about what percentage of your assets you should have in US “bonds versus equities.” This, of course, is born out of the last bubble that remains in global markets today – that which the Fiat Republic perpetuates by marking short term Fed Funds rates to model rather than letting the world mark them to market.
 
There will undoubtedly be a Red Letter Day for US Treasury bonds, we just don’t know when that will be yet. However, what we are comfortable saying right here and now is that it’s relatively safe to start shorting short term US Treasuries. The long end of the US Treasury market is not where we’d be focusing short positions. The 10-year yield could easily drop another 40-45 basis points from here and retest its prior lows.
 
On the short end of the curve, this morning you are seeing record lows in 2-year UST yields. At 0.46%, this may not be the lowest level of confidence global investors have had in US growth in 800 years, but the lowest US Treasury yields ever is still, by our calculations, a very long time.
 
So why is this so? Isn’t this ok? Yesterday while I was debating him on this topic on Bloomberg TV, Dean Baker of the Center for Economic Policy Research said it’s perfectly fine for America to keep on borrowing. He went on to say that “the bond market doesn’t have a problem with it.”
 
Admittedly, I think I was too surprised to absorb his summary conclusion on the spot. But after a good night’s sleep and some googling this morning, I am reminded of the partisan nature of Mr. Baker’s view point. After all, he does work at the center of modern day Rome in Washington, DC.
 
Rather than have barbarians hold professional politicians in the Roman Republic accountable, modern day risk managers have YouTube. For more Dean Baker and Paul Krugman thoughts on why we need to jack up government spending by another $800 BILLION dollars, please peruse the web.
 
Back to the question of whether you should buy US Treasury Bonds or US Equities - I don’t think you need to accept the preface of the question. Why not Brazilian or Chinese or Peruvian Equities? Why US Treasury Bonds? Why not cash?
 
Since 1997 when Paul Krugman told the Japanese to “PRINT LOTS OF MONEY”, you can pull up a chart of Japanese Government Bonds versus Japanese Equities and you’ll start to answer some of these questions on “bonds versus equities.” Foreign direct investment has been leaving Japan altogether for a very long time and Japanese bureaucrats are still trying to do more of what hasn’t worked.
 
On this Red Letter Day of August 24th, 2010, Japan will sell another 1.1 TRILLION Yen (that’s a lot of yens) in 20-year debt in order to attempt to boost expectations for another broken promise of “stimulus spending” still being the answer to their structural economic growth mess.
 
After losing another -1.3% overnight, Japanese equities have crashed, again, losing -21% of their already “cheap versus bonds” valuation since April the 5th.  Japan’s bond market “may not see a problem with monster debt levels” yet Mr. Baker, but her stock market sure does!
 
Best of luck out there today,
KM


CHART OF THE DAY: KRUGMAN and BAKER

We've seen this movie before.

 

 

CHART OF THE DAY: KRUGMAN and BAKER - Krugman Chart


TRENDY Q2 SHIP SHARE

As expected, WMS took the lead over IGT and Konami normalized.

  

 

With all the public companies earnings out of way we can step back and take a look a slot ship share trends.  Total shipments into North America decreased sequentially to approximately 16k in 2Q10 from an estimated 18.4k in 1Q10.

  • We estimate that new and expansion units decreased to 4,750 from 8,700 in 2Q09 and increased from 3,300 units shipped in 1Q10
  • Replacements in the quarter were about 11,200, up only 1% YoY and down from roughly 15,000 replacements shipped in 1Q10,
  • The June quarter is usually a seasonally stronger quarter for replacements than Q1.  As we discussed on “IGT: LOW QUALITY, LOW GUIDANCE, HIGH FCF” published on “07/28,” we believe that several factors in 1Q2010 pulled forward demand:
    • IGT’s Dynamix promotion
    • Konomi’s FY end March quarter is always seasonally much stronger than their June quarter.

 

Market Shares

  • IGT: 26%, down 1% from last quarter and down from 35% last year
  • WMS: 27%, a record ship share quarter for the company. This compares to 24% in 1Q2010 and 23% in 2Q09.
  • BYI: 16%, up from 13% last quarter and down from 20% in 2Q09
  • ALL: 1H2010 results were at 12%, up 1% from the same period last year
  • Konami: 8% down from 15% in 1Q2010; for 1H2010, Konami’s shipshare was 11%, putting it right behind ALL.  Konami’s share in 1H2009 was 10%.

 

Other “Trends"

  • The competition for floor share is higher than ever
  • For the first time since the 1980s (we think), another supplier recorded higher quarterly shipments than IGT.  WMS looks capable of maintaining its share in 25% range (+/- 2%)
  • Is 25% the bottom for IGT? Will ship share move converge back toward their floor share (52%) as many investors believe?  While they should retake WMS, they days of 50% share are long gone
  • BYI share should tick-up over the 12 months as the rollout of its new platform and content commences in 3Q2010.  We expect BYI share to stay in the 15-20% range.
  • ALL seems to be gaining modest traction with its new Viridian cabinet

 

The chart below summarizes slot ship share trends:

 

TRENDY Q2 SHIP SHARE - slot1


Early Look

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Shocker! Consensus Was Wrong On Housing

Conclusion: U.S. Existing Home Sales came in at well below consensus and inventory is at close to all time highs, which is just another supporting data point towards Hedgeye reducing its already Street low GDP growth estimate for 2011E of 1.7%.

 

Our Financials Sector will be up with their usual detailed post on the recently released U.S. Existing Home Sales, but in advance we wanted to give a quick overview.  The number for July came in at 3.83 million on an annualized basis, which is a 27.2% decline from June.

 

Not surprisingly, this was well below the median forecast of 4.65 million.  In fact, the low end of consensus was 3.96 million on an annualized basis.  So the reported number was 17.4% below the median consensus, and 3.4% below the lowest end of the estimates.  (It kind of makes you wonder about the math of the Perceived Wall Street Gurus, doesn’t it?)

 

In aggregate, the number of previously owned homes on the market rose 2.5% to 3.98 million.  Based on the current average sales price, it would take 12.5 months to sell the homes on the market.  In aggregate, there are 11.9 months of inventory of previously owned sales on the market which is the highest level since 1983.

 

Interestingly, interest rates domestically were at relatively high levels in 1983.  In fact, the Fed Funds rate in 1983 was between 9 ½ and 9 5/8, versus 0 – 0.25% now.  This is an important point, which we have emphasized repeatedly; this build up in inventory is occurring at a time when affordability from an in interest rate perspective is at all time lows.  Thus, which is obvious, there is no interest rate lever that can be pulled to reduce housing inventory as was available from 1983 onwards.

 

The key take away from inventory on the market is that housing prices need to go lower to catalyze more buying. Based on our models the downside in housing prices from here could be anywhere from ~10 – 50%. The data points today only solidify our case.  Even more encouraging for our case is that our estimates for prices are quite divergent from consensus estimates, which are outlined in the chart directly below.

 

 Shocker! Consensus Was Wrong On Housing - 1

 

Since consumer spending makes up 70% of the U.S. economy, the value of the consumer’s key asset, their house, has a direct impact on their confidence in spending.  As house prices go lower, so too does consumer discretionary spending.  Thus as we get more certainty that home prices nationally will go lower, we also get more certainty that GDP growth is going to be less than expected in 2011E.

 

We are currently at 1.7% GDP growth for 2011E and maybe it’s just having cleared my head after being on vacation for a week, but that number is starting to feel too high, even if at the low end of consensus.

 

Daryl G. Jones

Managing Director

 

Shocker! Consensus Was Wrong On Housing - existing


Bear Market Macro: SP500 Levels, Refreshed...

I’m getting a lot of questions as to why I am covering shorts on the housing news today. The answer is always the same answer – the math.

 

The same math that got us to making a Housing Headwind call for a down -20-30% existing home sales print this morning (it was down -27.2%) is the same kind of math that drives our entry and exit points in markets – mean reversion. We try use the newsy nature of markets as our backboard for contrarian investing.

 

Despite months’ supply of homes for sale shooting up to 12.5 months (versus 8.9 months in June), despite the market being down hard on the “news”, and despite our intermediate term Bear Market Macro call on the SP500, we can still see an oversold market for what it is – immediate term oversold.

 

As of our 11AM EST refresh of the macro model, we’ll call any SP500 price under 1053 immediate term oversold. We continue to flash lower-highs of resistance and this morning we’ll show in another one at 1077 – we’d like to re-short the SP500 on another low-volume rally up closer to that price.

 

The upshot of this risk management view is that bear markets bounce, and this one will too.

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

Bear Market Macro: SP500 Levels, Refreshed...  - 1


R3: China, India, Italy, Oh My

R3: REQUIRED RETAIL READING

August 24, 2010

 

Lots of international headlines this morning, with the most eye-opening one coming from China.  For the first time, we’re including a news item that highlights how Chinese wage growth is fueling increased demand for the local consumption of footwear. 

 

 

RESEARCH ANECDOTES

  

- In a move that may have been a surprise to Kimora Lee Simmons herself, but not to anyone actually trying to make money in the rag trade, Kellwood apparently forced the model turned mogul out of the company’s Baby Phat division. Recall that Kellwood (now owned by Sun Capital) went on a buying spree a few years back and bought both Phat Farm and Baby Phat. Perhaps this had more to do with urbanwear becoming passé than anything else.

 

- Despite the appearance that this year is less promotional than last, consumers shopping for back to school are more influenced by bargains and coupons. 17% of families with kids in K-12 are influenced by bargains and coupons vs. 14.7% last year. E-commerce has also become a bigger part of back to school with 16% of K-12 families finishing their purchases online vs. 12.2% last year.

 

- According to a Colliers white paper on Big Box real estate, there is currently 300 million square feet of vacant Big Box space which represents 34% of all retail vacancies. Approximately 120 million square feet has been vacated since January 2008. Most markets are seeing sales prices for such assets down about 40% from peak levels seen in 2006/2007.

 

R3: China, India, Italy, Oh My - 1

 

 

OUR TAKE ON OVERNIGHT NEWS 

 

American Apparel In Danger of Delisting - American Apparel received a letter from the NYSE AMEX that the retailer was in danger of being delisted because of the late filing of its second-quarter results. American Apparel said it filed a plan of compliance on June 1 and that it plans to provide supplemental information to the exchange to update how it intends to regain compliance by no later than Nov. 15. The company said the delay for the timely filing of its second-quarter results was due to a change in its accounting firm. <wwd.com/business-news>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:  We’re still waiting for the clearance sales to kick in.  So far not many signs that this ship is sinking from a customer viewpoint.  Stay tuned… 

 

Fashion's Night Out Coming Up in September - While all the hubbub so far has been about Fashion’s Night Out in New York on Sept. 10, the event is a global one, stretching from Los Angeles to Tokyo, London to Sydney. And unlike last September, when each city held its event on the same evening, this year Fashion’s Night Out takes place on different nights. Paris will have a huge showing with around 60 stores participating on Sept. 7.  <wwd.com/retail-news>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:  For anyone paying attention, this event has become a big deal from a PR and marketing standpoint.  Tickets are being sold to individual shows and it appears that no expenses are being spared to fuel the Hollywood-like spectacle. 

 

July’s Sporting Goods-related Sales Surge - July’s total retail sales edged up 0.4% from the prior month and 6.9% above last year’s numbers, according to advance reports issued by the U.S. Census Bureau. <sportsonesource.com>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:  A lagging data point but one that reflects a pickup in equipment/hardline sales given sequential deceleration according to our weekly trend data as well anecdotes coming out of earnings.

 

Li-Ning Signs Evan Turner to Endorsement Deal - Li-Ning signed Evan Turner, the No. 2 pick in this year's NBA Draft, to a multi-year endorsement deal. Turner however will be showcasing his own Li-Ning Sports signature footwear and apparel product line, available globally, beginning in the second year of this agreement. Turner will also play a major role in Li-Ning's global marketing plans beginning immediately.  <sportsonesource.com>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:  Another aggressive move from the Chinese competition coming on the heals of the Kevin Garnett and Baron Davis deals.  Already, Chinese brands have more     endorsement deals in hoops than UA.

 

China's Wage Increases Spur Shoe Sales For Belle - Belle International Holdings Ltd., China’s largest retailer of women’s shoes, said first-half profit grew 37% as rising wages encouraged consumers to spend more on footwear. Sales rose 20%. The owner of shoe brands Staccato and Joy & Peace, which also distributes sportswear for Nike Inc. and Adidas AG in China, increased promotions, added stores and focused more on footwear to woo customers. China’s retail sales rose 18.2% in the six months ended June and wages in China’s urban areas rose 13% in the first quarter from a year earlier. Same- store sales, which strip out the effects of newly opened stores, rose 18%. <bloomberg.com>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:  It’s not often we hear about the positive impact of rising wages in China.  In this case, the demand side of the consumption equation appears to be seeing a boost from recent wage growth.  Good news for those with meaningful businesses in China.

 

Tiger Woods Not Selling Anymore? - Tiger Woods fans have put up with the philandering, the text messages and the domestic spats. Now comes what may be the hardest thing of all to tolerate: Losing. Woods has played through the year without a single tournament win, putting him at 83rd on the PGA Tour’s money list. As his performance slumps, so have sales of his apparel line through Nike Inc., according to retailers Golfsmith International Holdings Inc., Roger Dunn Golf Shops and Golf Discount Superstore. Golf apparel sales overall are on the rise, signaling consumers are returning to the course, just not to Woods. Nike gets about 10% of its golf sales from the Woods brand, whose shirts, jackets and pants are among the most expensive clothing the sportswear maker sells.  <bloomberg.com>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:   Is this a surprise?  Yes Tiger is back on the course but his brand has definitely been out of focus since the scandal broke.  Leave it to Nike to figure out a way over time to reinvigorate Tiger’s sales.  We’re pretty sure they have experience with this.  Remember Kobe had a scandal as well?

 

Global Online Population to Grow 42% Between 2009 and 2014 - The global online population will grow to 2.32 billion by 2014, up 42% from 1.63 billion in 2009, according to projections from Forrester Research Inc.  The Middle East and Africa will grow the fastest during that time, an increase of 78%, but still account for the fewest total number of Internet users, 241 million. For e-commerce purposes, the report says areas that are set to have the most growth include Southern, Central and Eastern Europe, and such countries as Poland, Ukraine, Russia and Turkey. In the Asia Pacific, online spending by Chinese consumers  will outpace India. Brazil will continue to lead e-commerce spending in Latin America. Forrester Research projects the online population in the U.S. and Canada will grow 3% each year through 2014, but will comprise just 13% of the overall online population by 2014, down from 16% in 2009. The European online population will grow approximately 20% between 2010 and 2014 and account for 22% of the online population. <internetretailer.com>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:  Yet another reason why e-commerce should continue to see outsized growth.  We’re also beginning to see retailers venture into numerous countries via e-commerce without any commensurate physical presence.  Gap is now in 50+ countries via gap.com.

 

New Report Says Consumers Shopping Earlier This Year for BTS - Consumers are getting more of their back-to-school and college shopping done earlier this year, according to a new National Retail Federation survey sponsored by BIGresearch. The survey found that the average family has completed 43.2% of its school shopping, up from 41.6% a year ago. Similarly, families of college students have completed 43.1% of their shopping, up from 41.0% the previous year. The trade group based its results on surveys of 8,201 consumers conducted between Aug. 3 and Aug. 10. Although the average family is nearly halfway done with its school shopping, a sizable number of families, 26.8%, have yet to start their shopping.  <internetretailer.com>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:  The earlier the better from a retailer’s standpoint.  Better for sell throughs and margins.

 

India Announces New Stimulus Measures to Help Garment and Leather Industries - India has announced new stimulus measures worth US$225 mm to help garment, leather and handicraft exporters to weather through the economic downturn as the export growth slowed tremendously in July due to the Western markets have been further weakened. The government has also extended tax breaks for exporters, subsidised loans, help for upgrading machinery equipment and other concessions in India's annual trade policy. <fashionnetasia.com>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:  Another reason to see production moving out of inflationary China and into alternative, lower cost sourcing regions.

 

 Italy Shoe Production Sees First Growth Since 2008 - According to the latest figure released by Italian national statistical institute (ISTAT), the country’s production of footwear saw an 1.5% growth in June 2010, the very first growth since the slump of demand in December 2008.  <fashionnetasia.com>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:  A slight victory for higher quality and luxury footwear as it appears the bottoming process has turned up slightly.  Still a long way to go before Italian footwear gets back to pre-2008 demand levels.

 


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 80.28%
  • SHORT SIGNALS 78.51%
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