This is a 35 page note we write each quarter where we update our thesis with new charts and preview each company into earnings. In this note we’re examining estimates and multiples during prior recessions as guides for possible downside scenarios. For our coverage we see binary outcomes: either a brewing recession or meaningful outperformance. The risk/reward setup to us seems more favorable for the latter, as our stocks seem to have already discounted a recession with over 50% likelihood, in our view, which we’ll show in the note.
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We have three charts to highlight this week from some of our observations: 1) MAR’s EV/EBITDA premium to HLT has now been wiped out for the first time since the HLT spinoffs, 2) crude oil is down 38% from the highs and yet cruise stocks have also declined 26% over the same time, and surprisingly even underperformed other consumer discretionary names, 3) European PMIs have been soft and there are now incremental concerns about Europe following poor commentary from a few companies this week, so we show European sourcing for each company we cover.
Throughout 2018 cruise, gaming, and lodging stocks have been tightly correlated with the Chinese equity market, despite the fact that many of these companies have little to no direct exposure to China. So far YTD the y/y change in the S&P 500 has had a +0.61 correlation to the y/y change in the China CSI 300 index. This compares to the average of cruise stocks at +0.85, the average of timeshare stocks at +0.92, the average of hotel C-Corp stocks at +0.85, the average of Vegas gaming stocks at +0.90, and the average of Macau gaming stocks at +0.95.
Gaming, lodging, and cruise stocks have performed poorly in 2018, with the average stock down 21% YTD. A few of these stocks we cover are down over 40% YTD, and down even more if we use the highs from earlier in the year. The weakness this year has been most pronounced in gaming and in timeshare, two sectors generally with more debt (even though much of timeshare debt is non-recourse). In many cases the overall fundamental trends have been strong (i.e. cruise lines and timeshare), and it seems to us that the market is pricing in a meaningful change to the macro environment for many of these stocks. We compared these YTD returns to all U.S. listed consumer discretionary stocks with a market cap above $500M entering the year, and we found that on average gaming, lodging, and cruise stocks are in the 34th percentile for YTD performance among consumer discretionary. The weakness has also been driven by multiple contraction, with the average stock in gaming, lodging, and cruise lines experiencing 19% forward EV/EBITDA multiple contraction YTD. When compared to the same consumer discretionary group we find that gaming, lodging, and cruise stocks on average are in the 33rd percentile for YTD forward EV/EBITDA multiple change.
Last week about half of our coverage reported earnings, and it was another eventful week, which included timeshare stocks up nearly 20% in a day and more news flow on CZR, among other factors. We have four topical charts from our observations to highlight.
This week we had RCL, HLT, and LVS report 3Q earnings. We have one key takeaway with one key chart for each to highlight below.
Last week our coverage universe sold off with the broad market, we assume mostly due to rising rates and trade tension. We have five observations with five related charts to highlight, which we think have relevance for our group.
This is a 30 page note we write each quarter where we update our thesis for each industry and company prior to earnings season with new charts. We’re also upgrading WH to Peer Perform.
We’re introducing quarterly 2019 estimates and we’re now modeling annual estimates out to 2022. Our target prices are now YE19 targets based on 2020 estimates. Previously we had YE18 targets based on 2019 estimates. Our new YE19 target prices for our Outperform-rated stocks represent over 40% upside from today’s levels, on average.
Within the last couple months we’ve seen an increase in insider buying activity in our coverage universe, with seven C-level purchases spanning six different companies since the end of June. This is actually the most activity we have seen in our coverage since 2009, which obviously turned out to be a great buying opportunity during that time.
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