Who says Amazon is only good for putting other retailers out of business with its 1% margins: in the aftermath of Jeff Bezos' announcement that the online retailer is considering launching drone delivery, one company took the concept from merely the theoretical stage to practical implication. The company in question is a Minnesota Micro Brewery called Lakemaid Brewery and the product it had hoped to deliver by remote control airplane to ice fishermen is beer. However, before beer fans around the country rejoice at the prospect of having a buzzing airborne beer delivery, we have some sad news: less than a week after the company posted a promotional YouTube video showcasing the first test flights across mid-sized lakes, the Federal Aviation Administration called Lakemaid Beer to immediately pull the unmanned beer from the skies.
It was all looking so good. NASDAQ was green for the year (so were Trannies), stocks in general were rising and everyone on TV could proclaim how well the 'market' was handling the taper. Then Dennis Lockhart spoke...
*LOCKHART SEES `GROWING CONFIDENCE' IN 2014 OUTLOOK, U.S. ECONOMY ON `MORE SOLID' FOOTING
*LOCKHART BACKS $10 BLN TAPER AS CONFIDENCE IN 2014 GROWS
That's great news right? Wrong? Stocks didn't like it... and NASDAQ rapidly gave up its gains... Fun-durr-mentals remain in control eh? It shouldn't be a big surprise given what Goldman Sachs warned about over the weekend!
We noted on Thursday, when Alcoa reported, that "non-recurring, one-time" charges are anything but; indicating just how freely the company abuses the non-GAAP EPS definition, and how adding back charges has become ordinary course of business. But it's not just Alcoa, and as David Stockman, author The Gret Deformation, notes Wall Street’s institutionalized fiddle of GAAP earnings made P/E multiples appear far lower than they actually are, and thereby helps perpetuate the myth that the market is "cheap."
S&P 500 valuation is lofty by almost any measure, both for the aggregate market (15.9x) as well as the median stock (16.8x). We believe S&P 500 trades close to fair value and the forward path will depend on profit growth rather than P/E expansion. However, many clients argue that the P/E multiple will continue to rise in 2014 with 17x or 18x often cited, with some investors arguing for 20x. We explore valuation using various approaches. We conclude that further P/E expansion will be difficult to achieve. Of course, it is possible. It is just not probable based on history.
Six years after Blackstone paid $26.7bn to LBO this hotel chain (and pretty much marked the top of the last cycle), Hilton is back with the largest ever lodging IPO. Pricing at $20 per share, the largest hotel oeprator in the world is not enjoying the kind of post-IPO euphoria that the likes of 'real' companies like Facebook and Twitter had... for now HLT is up a mere 7%... the question is will the largest hotel IPO also mark the top of this cycle? Finally, with the "dot com 2.0 mentality" raging, will the fact that HLT actually has PE multiple expansion-limiting earnings, be its biggest curse?
Back on May 14, when the S&P was at 1651 or 50 points lower, and when David Tepper made his first book-talking, semi-annual CNBC appearance in which he "blessed the market and awaited the manufacturing renaissance", he made two points about the taper: it's bullish no matter what, namely its removal would mean the economy is improving (we now know it isn't thanks to the Fed and Q4 GDP estimates which are rapidly sliding to 2% or lower), while a taper staying put would mean the Fed would continue pumping stocks higher artificially indefinitely. Today, he did a repeat appearance, in which in addition to the usual market pumping rhetoric, everyone was most interested in how he would spin the recent stunner by the Fed which effectively made the taper a 2014 event. His take: "The Fed won't taper for a long time... So that's definitely sort of going to be a push-up to markets." Couldn't have said it better: but to paraphrase - Taper is bullish no matter what; No Taper is bullish-er.
Presenting The Best Trading Strategy Over The Past Year: Why Buying The Most Hated Names Continues To Generate "Alpha"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/16/2013 10:56 -0400
Just over a year ago, in "Presenting the most shorted stocks" we showed a simple chart highlighting the most hated/shorted Russell 2000 names with an even simpler expectation: in a market in which all the risk is being onboarded by the Federal Reserve, there is simply no more idiosyncratic risk, and as a result for those so inclined, and preferably running other people's money, a clear "alpha-generation" strategy in which hedging risk is no longer a concern, was to go long the most hated named. Since then the most shorted names have massively outperformed the broader stock market as day after day, week after week, those "hedging" long positions with hedge fund hotel shorts, got blown out of the water and were forced to cover shorts leading to the only significant "alpha" generating strategy available in this broken, centrall-planned market.
With the story du jour of electric car wunderkind Tesla so far only just that, a story (inasmuch as the gorgeous Fisker Karma was also just that at least until the day it transformed into a bankruptcy filing), if one that has cost shorts dearly including their shirts, slowly the company's fundamentals are coming into view. And just as importantly, the question of how it all clicks together. To assist with that, Reuters Breakingviews has compiled an interactive forecast that models how many cars luxury (for now) car maker would needs to sell (hopefully not all at the EBT-ineligible $100K price point) in order to grow into Elon Musk's target market cap of $43 billion, or roughly where GM is right now. The answer: a base-case assuming a 15x P/E multiple in 2022, a 12% pretax margin, and a 25%/25%/50% split between the Model S ($100K), Model X ($75K) and the still to be disclosed "Bluestar" lower-priced car ($40K) , results in a mindblowing 537,815 cars that will have to be sold in 2022, implying a 35.5% annualized sales growth from the 35,000 cars projected to be sold in 2013 (even if today's numbers did not quite validate this runrate), a cumulative total over the next decade of just under 2,000,000 Teslas.
"Our positive 2013 outlook for S&P 500 has played out much faster than we expected." That is how the latest equity update from Goldman Sachs, which until today had an S&P target of 1625 for the year end S&P, begins. And, logically, the only option for Goldman is to hike its outlook even more, because not even the Squid apparently could anticipate how quickly the policy it forced down the throats of central banks around the world, levitated markets to surpass its old price targets. The result is David Kostin (who until December had foreseen 1250 on the S&P for the end of 2012) and company were forced to goalseek even higher targets based on tried and true excel model fudging exercises, and such "value" creation as multiple expansion and dividend payments. To wit: "Our earnings estimates remain unchanged but we raise our dividend estimates and index return forecasts for 2013 through 2015. We expect S&P 500 will rise by 5% to 1750 by year-end 2013, advance by 9% to 1900 in 2014, and climb by 10% to 2100 in 2015. Our 2013 return implies a year-end P/E of 15.0x, a one multiple point premium to our fair-value estimate. We forecast dividends will rise by 30% during next two years. Dividend yield is likely to stay around 2%, in line with the 20-year average." For the record, Goldman had previously seen 1,900 in 2015. And now it sees another 200 points of value due to the magic of multiple expansion. That anyone can even pretend to forecast what happens three years into the future at a time when the central banks are injecting $160 billion (and soon $200 billion), and most likely will have to slowdown and halt such liquidity injection resulting in untold stock market carnage, is so beyond commentary we will leave it hanging for the ridiculous statement it is.
Those who traded credit in the frothy days of 2007 will recall that virtually every piece of new paper, including LBO debt, would come to market with the skimpiest of creditor protections, i.e., "covenant lite" which to many was an indication that money was literally being thrown without any discrimination in the last epic chase for yield, just as many were preparing for the imminent market backlash. Which they got shortly thereafter. Judging by the amount of covenant lite loans issued in 2012 as a percentage of total and compiled by Brandywine Management, which just surpassed the credit bubble frenzy of 2007 at more than 30% of total issuance, the bubble in credit is now well and truly back - a job well done Federal Reserve, just 5 years after the last credit bubble.
Generally bullish, sitting back and enjoying the show while it lasts.
With everyone now well aware that revenues of S&P 500 companies have taken a turn for the worse and are declining for the second consecutive quarter (with well over a majority missing sellside estimates and trimming Q4 guidance), many are wondering: how can corporate EPS continue to grow, even if nominally? Are there really so many people left to be laid off? The answer, to the latter, is no, for the simple reason that it is not layoffs that have driven the upward persistency in corporate earnings. Then what has? Simple: when in doubt, "charge it" - this axiom seems to work not only for cash strapped consumers, but for corporations who know very well that when unable to satisfy earnings estimates using regular way earnings, companies can just write off "one time charges" and get the going concern EPS benefit for such an action.In fact, as the table below shows, a whopping 14% of all 'pro forma' 2012 EPS will be due to "one time write offs" - the highest proportion of total earnings since 2009!
One of the most astute financial analysts in the world, Jim Grant, founder of highly respected Grant's Interest Rate Observer, was asked by Maria Bartiromo on CNBC yesterday “how high can gold go”? Grant responded that "there is no telling."
As Cantor's Peter Cecchini notes today "when things are this senseless, a reversion to sensibility will occur again at some point." His view is to be long vol and as the disconnect between the economic cycle and stocks continues to grow, we present three mind-numbing charts of the exuberant hopefulness that is now priced in (oh yeah, aside from AAPL actually selling some iPhones in pre-order). Whether it is earnings hockey-sticks, global growth ramps, or fiscal cliff resolutions, it seems the market can only see the silver-lining. We temper that extreme bullish view with the fact that all the monetary policy good news has to be out now - for Ben hath made it so with QEternity.
Q2 earnings seasons is now (with 93% of firms reporting) over, and it is time for post mortem. The bottom line for those strapped for time is the following: In order to salvage the 2012 earnings consensus for the S&P, the sell side crew and asset managers, as wrong but hopeful as ever, are now expecting Q4 2012 earnings to grow 15% versus 4Q 2011, which is more than twice as fast as any other quarter. Indicatively, Q2 2012 earnings rose at a rate of 3% compared to Q2 2011. Elsewhere, revenues came 2% lower than consensus estimates at the start of the earnings season. In other words, the entire year is now a Hail Mary bet that in Q4, the time when the presidential election, its aftermath, as well as the debt ceiling and fiscal cliff acrimony will hit a peak, a Deus Ex Machine will arrive and lead to a 15% rise in earnings. Why? Because global central bankers will have no choice but to step in and thus lead to a surge in EPS multiples even if the underlying earnings are collapsing. With the presidential election around the corner making Fed QE before 2013 now virtually impossible, with Spain (and Italy) refusing to be bailed out and cede sovereignty thus precluding ECB intervention, and with China spooked by what may be a surge in food costs, this intervention, and any hope that the Hail Mary pass will connect, all look quite impossible.