A Hx of the progress of my current positions

A history of the progress of each of my current positions.

I thought it might be interesting to follow the course of each of my positions. If you do have an interest, here they are in alphabetical order (by ticker symbol, so Salesforce (CRM) is among the “C”s). Although I did take some information from my Brief Reviews, these aren’t exactly company reviews; they’re more about my history with the company and about how the stock has done. I’m not sure they will be valuable to others, they may even be boring, or too full of stock prices, and they do take some work on my part to put them together, so let me know whether you think they are worth it (either yes or no).

Amazon (AMZN) – I have a checkered history with Amazon. I foolishly sold out of a previous position in February, at the height of the end-of-the-world panic, for cash to buy other things that were down more. That was at about $500. I started buying back in a small way the next week, about five and a half months ago, at $515. I bought a real lot at about $550 to $555, some more at about $570, a little more at $595, and at $620. The price has been going straight up and I’ve been buying as it goes, with a little more at $710, 720, and $740. It’s now at $760 and closed on the high, and has become my second biggest position, and 12.8% of my portfolio. I had avoided them in the past because of lack of earnings. I got into them when I realized they had started positive cash flow. Then I really felt reassured after reading Bert Hochfeld’s deep dive into AWS (their cloud services division). And now Bezos has decided to let some of that cash flow from AWS flow through to earnings. June quarter they had earnings of $1.78 per share, up from 19 cents the year before. As I wrote in my July brief review: I love Amazon and feel they have both online commerce and the cloud sewed up, as much as any one company can sew them up. I especially think that their AWS is the future for them, but they are happily sewing up retail ecommerce as well. If I had been REALLY smart, I would have invested my entire portfolio in Amazon in February at $500, and I’d be up over 50% since then (just joking…)

Arista (ANET) – Interesting story. I had started a little position the week before, and then when the February panic hit, I sold it back for cash at about $53.50. This was because it was new, I didn’t know it well yet, and I needed the cash to buy more of my old favorites which were down, and I had more confidence in them. Two weeks later Arista closed at $69 and I felt like an idiot. Two weeks after that I restarted a position with a pretty good-sized purchase back down at $62.75. I added the next week at $56.40. This stock really bounced around. From $53 to $69 in two weeks, and back down to $56 in three more weeks. I then started buying regularly with good sized purchases at $61, $63, and $66. It kept going, up to $75, before falling back down to $61, and it’s now back up to $71. I’m still adding a little here and there. As I wrote in my July brief review: Arista used to have a much higher PE. A year and a half ago it had a PE of 80, but now, at $63.65, it has a PE of about 26. That’s much more reasonable, and why I established a position in spite of the ongoing lawsuit with Cisco, and the (minimal?) threat of “white box” competition. Cisco has won some rulings, which was expected, but Arista has already issued its work-arounds, and the majority opinion seems to be that they won’t really be much affected by losing the patent cases (but what do I know?) For the March quarter, Revenue was up 35% and EPS was up 36%. You should take into account that Arista’s secret sauce is not hardware, but software. Also that the Cisco CEO who had the huge grudge against Arista personnel is now gone, as is their prime R&D workgroup that competed with Arista. Arista is now my 5th largest position at 6.5%. As of the March quarter, 12-month trailing earnings were up 47% from the year before. And I recently discovered that Bert did a deep dive in March.

Bank of Internet (BOFI) – As you probably know, I sold out of my three-year-old and very large position some time ago, at about $110 pre-split (or about $27.50 post-split), in response to a serious short attack which certainly had me worried at the time. Since then I’ve been in and out of tiny to small positions a couple of times. I started my current position about 11 weeks ago at about $17.70, and have added tiny amounts at multiple times since at prices from $19.10 to $15.95. I’d estimate that my average is about the $17.70, and at the current price of $16.82, my position is underwater. I think that this is still a high-risk company, not because of any concerns about its reported business, but because of worries that some of the shorts’ accusations will turn out to be true. It’s a risk-reward calculation, and I currently think it’s in favor of the reward side of the equation. It’s the smallest of my “small” positions (see July portfolio summary) at about 3.0%. I’m through adding to it. Earnings last quarter were up 65% year over year, and 12-month trailing earnings were up 46%. And it has a trailing PE of 9.45! There’s a lot of risk already taken into account, I’d say. It could go to zero but it could also go up 200% in a year or two, is how I see it, with the likelihood of zero certainly less than 50%.

Cambrex (CBM) – Amazingly, this is another position that started in February. Puddinhead introduced it to our board in November, and at first I was skeptical, but he was pretty convincing. Then I read a recommendation from Singular Research published in December, and finally the December quarter earnings and conference call. Everything sounded great but they were giving single digit outlooks. I assumed they were lowballing and I took a position anyway, starting at about $37.25. Within two months I had added at $41 and $44. First quarter results came in strong and the price kept going up in spite of low guidance. With the rapid increase in price my position size was getting too big. The stock price finally hit $59 (!) a couple of weeks ago based on their new facility coming on line. That’s $59! I reduced my position because I didn’t understand why the price kept shooting up with such weak guidance. I sold from $47.50 up to $54, and back down to $52.00. All my sales were way in the green as my highest significant purchase had been at a $44.00 average price. June quarter results were definitely in line with their under 15% guidance. Twelve-month trailing earnings are up 40%, but the last quarter was up less than 10%, and revenue was only up 12%. Then Gilead, their biggest customer by far, gave worrisome low guidance with top-line worries, and Cambrex sold off down to $52.50 in a week. They are now down to my 14th largest position at just 3.1% so I’m not really worried about the remainder of my position.

Salesforce (CRM) – I had thought of Salesforce from time to time, but only in a vague way as they had a high PE, and I wasn’t entirely sure of what they did, even though they were a Fool recommendation. Then about two months ago I read Bert Hochfeld’s deep dive. He explained their valuation as a SaaS company in a way I could understand. I liked the company and started a position, and have built it up fairly quickly to where it is now my 8th largest at about 5.0%. After Arista, which swings up and down like a yo-yo, Salesforce is the most stable stock you can imagine. It’s been between about $80.50 and $83.50 for the entire two months, except for Brexit, when it dropped briefly to about $76, and then bounced right back. I have
taken my entire position at an average of about $82, with the exception of the Breit drop when I added some about $78.50. I’ve never sold any. With a company like this, that leases its software instead of sells it, you can’t look just at recognized earnings. I don’t want to fill this up with statistics, but their operating cash flow for the past three April quarters were $0.47 billion, $0.73 billion, and $1.05 billion. Their deferred revenue was $2.34 billion, $3.06 billion, and $4.01 billion. Unbilled deferred revenue was $4.8 million, $6.0 million and $7.6 billion. They are moving along. They provide cloud services. They will do fine.

CyberArk (CYBR) – CYBR does cybersecurity, but a different kind, not with a firewall around the perimeter, but monitoring the internal privledged accounts. Andy wrote an excellent summary of it last year. MF RB recommended it last November. I wrote a long Quarter End Review in March (post #17806), which I modestly thought was excellent too. Bert did a deep dive in July. I took a little starter position at about $41 about four and a half months ago, but sold it four weeks later at the same price. I don’t even remember why. Three weeks later they were up to $46 or so, and I decided enough of this crap. Take a position! I did seven weeks ago, starting at $46, and have kept buying as it has risen to $56. It’s one of my smaller small positions though, and at just 1.5% of my portfolio. Revenue for the past three years has gone 66, 103, 161 million (up over 50% each year). Earnings for the last three years have gone 24 cents, 44 cents, 99 cents. However they are super lowballing with for this year guidance to 83 to 86 cents! Heck, as of March quarter earnings are already up to $1.06, and they were guiding to 86 cents!? No one else seems to believe them either as the stock price has grown 36% from $41.50 to $56.60 in the last 10 weeks.

HubSpot (HUBS) – I’ve been in this company for about six weeks now, and it’s become my 12th biggest position at 3.4% of my portfolio. I took my initial (and main position at $47.50, and it promptly fell to $42, and then went straight up in 4 weeks to its current price of $54.50. I added some near the bottom at $42.50 and some more on the way up at about $52. HubSpot was originally brought to the board a little over a year ago, in June of 2015, by excellent posts by Neil and by Okapimoon (or maybe it was on Neil’s board on evaluating a company, I’m not sure). I considered it at that point and decided it wasn’t for me. They had negative trailing earnings (37% more negative than now), negative cash flow, which means they were burning cash (now their trailing cash flow is positive), and at $50, I didn’t see it.

Let me tell you a little about it: HubSpot provides a comprehensive cloud marketing and sales platform, aimed at medium-sized businesses, that is formed around the concept of “inbound” marketing, which its cofounders pioneered (and literally wrote the book on). Inbound marketing is based on bringing customers to you, rather than going out and chasing them. While they’ve broken into positive cash flow, trailing earnings still has a way to go, but trailing losses come down every quarter (meaning each quarter is better than the year before). Revenue was up 49% from 2013 to 2014, and up 57% from 2014 to 2015. Not only are those extraordinary rates of growth, but they are accelerating. Customer count rose 33% last year, so a 57% rise in revenue means that each customer is spending a lot more on average from year to year.

And Bert wrote them up in June, so I reread my notes from Neil and Okapimoon, and my own from when I evaluated it in 2015, and decided to buy in to stay. They are hugely better on every metric, every quarter. That includes: revenue, adjusted earnings, operating cash flow, customer count, subscription revenue per customer per month, etc. What’s their moat? They are the market leader in their space. They earned the highest customer satisfaction score in the space. Customer satisfaction is an excellent moat. Gartner ranks HubSpot as the best overall marketing automation software with a rating of 88. Most users believe that their solutions are much easier to use, require much less training and are far more intuitive than the competition. Sounds like a moat to me.

LGI Homes (LGIH) – This stock has been discussed at great length on the board so I won’t devote as much space to it as a relatively unknown stock like HubSpot. I’ve been in LGIH to 10 months now, taking an initial fairly large position at about $31 average. The stock stayed between $32.50 and $29.50 for eight weeks, then shot up briefly to $35.50, and then the January and February panic arrived, sending the stock down to a low of $19.50 on Feb 11th, when blood was flowing in the streets. I bought all the way down to $19.50, buying larger amounts under $21.50, and then buying more on the way back up to about $28. Those buys averaged at about $24 and I ended up doubling my initial substantial position. (By the way, you’ll notice that, while I quickly exit a crashing position like INFN if I feel there may be good cause for the crash, I don’t if I feel there’s no objective cause, as with LGIH). As LGIH got above $30 and kept going, I had a big problem: The huge position which I was comfortable with when the price was in the low 20’s, (because the position wasn’t so huge at that price), became way too big when the stock price was over $30, so I started trimming off some of those excess shares that I bought in the low $20’s in Jan, Feb and Mar. It’s currently at $34.35, having hit $36 this week. LGIH is my biggest position by far at 17.5%. It has a PE of 12.5 (you can imagine how low it was in February, …down to about 9). It’s revenue in the March quarter was up 34% and EPS was up 73%. Closings were up 32% this quarter so revenue was probably up a little more. I joked in my AMZN write-up that I should have put everything in Amazon in February and I’d be up over 50%. Well I did put a lot in LGIH, and it’s up 75% from the Feb 11 bottom.

LogMeIn (LOGM) – This stock is a one day position for me. I bought it Friday at about $85.10 and it closed at $85.90. It’s just a 1.0% position and my smallest. I first looked at it in June of 2015, a little over a year ago. Okapimoon did a nice post on this one too. Then, after June 2015 results (a year ago) I wrote the following:
After results were announced they shot up from about $65 to $72. I don’t understand this as it seems like everything is slowing down for them. Their price is $72.20 and their trailing earnings are $1.35, which gives them a PE of 55, which is pretty high. Trailing earnings are up 67%, however.
Here are their last five Earnings comparisons:
June 2014 - 29 up from 13 = up 123%
Sept 2014 - 32 up from 14 = up 128%
Dec 2014 - 35 up from 16 = up 109%
Mar 2015 - 33 up from 22 = up 50%
Jun 2015 - 35 up from 29 = up 21%
That sure looks like massive slowing of earnings growth, so what’s all the celebrating about? Well, how about Revenue?
June 2014 - 55 up from 41 = up 34%
Sept 2014 - 58 up from 43 = up 35%
Dec 2014 - 60 up from 45 = up 33%
Mar 2015 - 61 up from 49 = up 24%
Jun 2015 - 65 up from 55 = up 18%
So revenue growth is slowing quite rapidly too. How are they going to grow into that 55 PE ? What am I missing?

Ant gave a nice response (which I’m paraphrasing):
The factors you may be missing from looking at the growth slowdown are:
The 18% growth would have been 27% in constant currency and their target was in constant currency
They are moving to subscription model. Thus billings matter and not just recognized revenue.
Their deferred revenue growth is up by 26%
Their established lines are growing slowly, but their new, small revenue streams are growing rapidly. As these expand, overall growth will rise.
They launched new services (Join.me, Rescue lens, Xively) late in the quarter. That should drive up growth going forwards.

A subscription model certainly does change things, and the deferred revenue and cash flow growth were important, but I still thought it was too expensive and didn’t buy back then at $72. It was still around that price a year later (now) when the reverse merger was announced last week. I wasn’t even looking at LOGM, but Bert wrote a deep dive explaining why the synergy opportunity in the merger was even much greater than is taken into account. I decided to take a small fling.

Well, that’s my first nine positions alphabetically (about half my positions). Tell me whether you think it’s worth putting in the effort to do the other half.


For Knowledgebase for this board,
please go to Post #17774, 17775 and 17776.
We had to post it in three parts this time.

A link to the Knowledgebase is also at the top of the Announcements column
on the right side of every page on this board



Showing us all your reasons for purchasing any stock is always valuable to me. I also appreciate your sharing your concerns and why you have sold a position.

Deep dives into your “history of current positions” gives us insights into how a great investor thinks. Please don’t stop.

Two thumbs up and a great deal of gratitude from this corner!



Saul, I personally find this type of write-up to be interesting and valuable, as it provides insights into some of your decisions and the thoughts behind them.

Thank you for taking the time to do this and share your thoughts, experiences, and knowledge.

Happy and grateful to be here,


I think it is very helpful. I have some of the same positions so I appreciate information about those positions, but what I find most helpful is the thought process.

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Saul, yes, please continue.

Question. How much weight do you put on Long-Term vs. Short-Team capital gains when making sell decisions? For example, in your LGIH write-up you say been in for 10 months and trimmed some lately because the allocation got too high. So here, Short-Term and allocation outweighed Long-Term capital gains.


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Question. How much weight do you put on Long-Term vs. Short-Team capital gains when making sell decisions?

Hi Penguin,
It was in IRA’s so taxes weren’t relevant. If it was in a taxable account it would depend on how urgent I felt the need to sell was. For LGIH, I probably would have felt no urgency at all, as it was just a question of the size of the position, and would have waited 2 months for long term. If it was another company with significant bad news I would probably just have sold and paid the taxes.

Here’s how I figure it: Say I had a 20% paper gain on a $100 position which had risen to $120. If I sell, I only pay taxes on the $20 gain, not the whole amount. The difference between 20% tax and 40% tax on that $20 is only $5, or 5/120 = 4% of the total position. With bad news a stock can easily drop more than 4% in a single day. Waiting around for long term seems silly and dangerous.

By the way, if you read carefully, you’ll note that my earliest positions in LGIH were at about $31. Therefore, using first-in, first-out, my sales at just over $30 would have had little or no tax consequences, even in a taxable account.



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My mistake, it was actually only $4, and 3%+ of the whole. Even less significant!


Tell me whether you think it’s worth putting in the effort to do the other half.

is this a rhetorical question? Because I think the answer is a resounding “yes!” :slight_smile:

I don’t know how many people read this board and don’t post often (like me) because I don’t want to “clutter” the board/extend the threads needlessly. (perhaps there is a way to tell by how many people made this board a “favorite?”)

But since I am letting you know, I feel you are a great teacher and i appreciate your efforts and explanations into what you are doing. I realize that you could be doing a myriad of other activities, yet you choose to share, and to educate others. There is no greater gift than that, and I am very grateful!



Tell me whether you think it’s worth putting in the effort to do the other half.

Awesome post, really helpful insights into your thinking about the stocks you own, thanks very much for the effort.

I would like to hear about the remaining positions when you have the time.

" Well, that’s my first nine positions alphabetically (about half my positions). Tell me whether you think it’s worth putting in the effort to do the other half. "

It’s worth it for us Saul.


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Thanks for this Saul, very informative. I appreciate all the time you put into these posts and would love to hear about the other half of your positions.

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I got a lot out of this analysis, Saul. Especially, BOFI, ironically, because I thought I knew everything you thought about them.

It could go to zero but it could also go up 200% in a year or two, is how I see it, with the likelihood of zero certainly less than 50%.

I find this statement really helpful. Is this risk/reward analysis something you always do? Or is this an exception?

I always try to ask the question, “What am I hoping for?” What’s the best and worst case for this company in the next few years? And what are the likelihoods of these scenarios being realized? For example:

SKX – very small, maybe less than 5% chance it goes down significantly in the next couple years. 10-15% chance it hovers around where it is now. 50-60% chance it’s over $40/share after a year or two. Maybe 20% chance it’s up over $50/share.

Very crude, obviously, but I think these things are worth discussing, especially if others have drastically different expectations or thoughts. Someone might look at my SKX numbers and say, “That’s crazy optimistic.” I’d like to hear others crude expectations. If you have enough opinions, you make a market.



It was definitely a very valuable post Saul, can’t wait to read the next.

Saul, the valuable insights in what you write are integral to the value of the board you host and therefore indispensable and welcome! Your frank reviews always make interesting reading.


Thanks to everyone who responded! I really wondered whether the info, which was mostly about what I had done and about what the stock had done, instead of about the company, would really be of interest to people, and I’m glad it was. I’ll go ahead and work on the rest.



It could go to zero but it could also go up 200% in a year or two, is how I see it, with the likelihood of zero certainly less than 50%. - I find this statement really helpful. Is this risk/reward analysis something you always do? Or is this an exception?

Hi Bear, I think that this was more specific to Bofi, as I don’t usually have stocks that I think could go to zero.

SKX – very small, maybe less than 5% chance it goes down significantly in the next couple years. 10-15% chance it hovers around where it is now. 50-60% chance it’s over $40/share after a year or two. Maybe 20% chance it’s up over $50/share.

Sounds reasonable to me. However, when you write maybe less than 5% chance it goes down significantly in the next couple years, I presume you are talking about where it will be after two years, because who knows what it might do in the next two weeks, or months.



Very helpful Saul. I always appreciate your insights into why and how you’ve spotted good companies or flawed companies.

I know you took a lot of flak regarding your BOFI holdings and how you kept ‘changing’ your mind and miraculously kept timing the ups and downs perfectly. I’ve read pretty much all your posts since you started this board and before. So many of your great stock moves you’ve posted about before the market had confirmed your genius, so those following you know your uncanny ability to suss out the relevant information. And you really teach us when you say how you do it, and it looks so simple! But quite often great athletes do make their skill look so easy to do and replicate, when in actual fact it takes years of practice.

You were out of INFN after its first big drop, and before the recent 2nd drop, and you went in big after LGIH had several big drops. I’ve so often disagreed with you over so many stocks and have paid for it. I need to learn not to be attached to them!


I need to learn not to be attached to them!

That is Saul’s greatest message IMO!

Notice he makes a lot of mistakes…but he corrects them quickly.

The average investors either fails to realize a mistake, refuses to accept a mistake or falls in love with their stock and cant let it go…they don’t correct mistakes quickly.

The only exception to this being Saul’s BOFI investment which seems so out of character with his buy, then sell, then buy…? how many times? This on a stock with such an incredible legal overhang for which no one here can provide clarity??? …not what I would have expected Saul to do quite honestly…with so many other investment options.


I really wondered whether the info, which was mostly about what I had done and about what the stock had done, instead of about the company, would really be of interest to people…

Saul - I have stayed on this board about 20% for company information and 80% trying to understand how you approach decision making on buy/hold/sell. I appreciate the time you take to share your actions and thoughts on why you took them.