Wanted to say I really appreciate the active stock talk on this board, and it definitely helped me invest some long-sidelined cash into a few more stocks. I won’t have as much detail here, but wanted to put a starting point on my stock portfolio to reply back to in the future on how these stocks are progressing.
DO NOT INVEST BASED ON MY POST - YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW ME!
Actually the above statement is me being partly funny but also very serious, and I usually use this example to point out how we humans, in general, take info we hear and assume it is, or may be, true without even considering the source: You get in a slow skyscraper elevator and 2 guys are already in it, and one guy is passionately telling the other guy about the best investment he has made so far this year and that he KNOWS it will go up at least 3-4x more in the next month. He names the stock. Most of us can’t help it…we will look up the stock once we get off the elevator. Why? Who the heck was that guy…he could, literally, be the dumbest man on the planet. So keep that in mind when reading the below.
I haven’t normally tracked month-to-month progress, so I won’t have the fancy percentages as Saul and others have shown, but I will try to at least update them quarterly.
I have a lot of new positions in the past 2 months for 2 reasons: I was very overweight on TTD in my port and was waiting for their ER in mid/late Feb to decide how best to rebalance, and I also took advantage of the Feb 9th (or so) dip in the market to start a few new positions.
In the past couple weeks, I also added a few more. I was definitely very anti-Fool in being so concentrated in TTD, but my stubbornness paid off (sort of) with a good pre/post-ER run up by the stock price from about $42 on 2/9 to about $60 the day after ER. So I was very overdue to pare down the TTD position and to also deploy cash. Overall, my heavy TTD position was a bad move in hindsight because I lost out on way too many gains in other potential stocks from TTD’s Nov ER sell-off to now. I was just really struggling to find other companies that I believed as passionately about as I did TTD. Luckily I decided to check out the Fool boards again in January or so and started paying more attention to Saul’s board and others.
Echo Chamber Danger (ECD): ECD is a serious and often fatal disease, so if I have seemed contrarian on a couple favorites on this board (ANET, PSTG) it is more because I get skeptical when everyone thinks something is a great idea. In general, out in the world I think we have a lot of bad examples of popular opinion that supports crap: Kardashian/Jenner reality shows have massive ratings, the idea that carb-dense granola bars are healthy, everyone on the internet saying “THIS” a lot, the idea that you can only be a democrat or republican. It drains me. So I think healthy debate on stocks are a good thing, but only if those debating can keep an open mind. If you think and speak in absolute statements, I will probably not value your opinion that much. Stocks aren’t your friends - I think we should approach them like scientists around the numbers, but with a dash of psychologist thrown in to understand current market sentiment, current industry sentiment, and the leadership of those companies you want to invest in.
Tools I use:
- My brain - extremely limited, expecting big things when the Singularity hits and my cyber implants are up and running.
- Seeking Alpha - a lot of blowhards, but it is good, imo, to take in the sentiment, see responses to articles. Most importantly, I use their app which allows me to read all the ER/conf call transcripts. I find these transcripts to be invaluable, and the scientist/psychologist in me gets a ton of detail on how things went, how mgmt expects them to be in the future, how confident they appear, how knowledgeable they appear when answering questions. The more detailed and in the weeds an exec appears, the better I feel about the company.
- TMF - I let my Rulebreakers membership lapse, but I still have a few months on my Stock Advisor, and am leaning towards renewing. May be a bit of ECD here, but I do like it when stocks I am interested in are also picks by TMF. I am simply more interested in technology-related stocks, as I understand them a bit better based on my career and I have always been a forward-looking sci-fi type. TMF definitely doesn’t focus just on tech stocks, but they certainly cover various tech industries in depth, which I like. Like with Saul’s board, I have found great write-ups and/or links to great articles/info on various stocks I wound up investing in…so the mssg boards (when not focused on politics) can be useful.
- Glassdoor - not a deal-breaker, as we all know current/former co-workers who are impossible to please, but I do like to read thru a companies reviews and see the CEO favorability ratings. My most recent investment was Proofpoint (PFPT) and I was comparing them to Imperva. I am not ready to invest yet on Imperva as they apparently have good products but they are one of those companies that keeps changing their market plan, reorging sales teams, etc… Imperva just got a new CEO last year, looks like they showed the former head exec and Chairman of the Board the door, and got a new CFO too. From Glassdoor, it was pretty obvious that the new CEO used 3rd party company to help decide on their go-forward strategy and which led to a healthy amount of firings and employee turnover. A lot of reviews on Glassdoor mention having an issue with the new CEO listening more to 3rd party company than to the legacy field/sales teams on what changes needed to be made. The psychologist in me sees both sides to this narrative: The new CEO may be too hands off and letting good talent leave inadvertently OR it may be that the deadweight or complainers in the company are unhappy with the change and being held to task. I decided based on the last conf call transcript and the Glassdoor ratings that I want to see how the next ER call goes (early April, I believe) and if they appear to have turned the corner you may be getting a cybersecurity company at a good valuation.
CNBC - general news buzz. Cramer is a bit of a blowhard but he has some good points now and then, but while I don’t watch CNBC much, I do like the Fast Money show as their picks are given a bit more airtime to provide their reasoning. Outside of GOOGL and AMZN and maybe NVDA, I hardly ever see my stocks mentioned though…in a way I like that as it helps me keep an open mind and understand what the other sectors I don’t normally look at are doing. Not so much market timing for day trading, but I am always cognizant of the fact that I didn’t have as much cash as I would have liked to take advantage of the 2000 crash, the 2008 crash, etc… So I am trying to be better and currently Cash is my 2nd largest position still. If interest rates are a catalyst, or if Trump says something particularly stupid (again), and the market panics, I would like to be able to either add to an existing position that takes a hit or start a new position. Usually I will try to pare down other holdings to come back to the same amount of cash.
Ok, here are my stock holdings, in order of long-term confidence (defined by me as more than 1 year). I know at TMF it is the cool-kid thing to say we are LTBH and hold stuff for 5 years, but the reality is more like this snippet from the web: “A study from the John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University estimates that 40% of today’s Fortune 500 companies on the S&P 500 will no longer exist in 10 years. It is no surprise as 90% of Fortune 500 companies vanished since 1955, but the latest estimate is in 10 years, a fast decade away.”
I also note that even on Saul’s ports, if you go back about 2 years the stocks have all changed. I believe this is the new normal, if you are looking for stocks that have the highest upside. Once Netflix runs up to the level it is at today, can you easily see it do another 5 or 10-bagger from here? For me it comes down to a combination of total Market TAM, company revenues (and revenue growth rate), and a gut feeling about their competitors and industry as a whole (do they have a moat?).
So while I don’t really look at my stock port gains from month to month, I do focus on the quarterly ER’s and conf calls. Obviously there can be big news items that come out between ER’s that may give me pause or further cement my bullish thesis, but in general I approach my port as individual stocks that are reviewed quarterly. I can rebalance along the way if/as needed. Hopefully I won’t make the unbalanced TTD mistake again in the future as I did this past Q3-Q4 ER period.
TTD - 14.5% (been in about a year now)
Cash - 11.6%
NOC - 8.5% (love the purchase of Orbital ATK - and 3 or 7 more years of Trump will help)
AMZN- 7.6% (fingers in soooo many pies. Biggest pie (advertising) may have just started)
FCNKX - 7% (my 401k forces me to have a certain % in a Fidelity fund)
GOOGL - 5.5% (programmatic, streaming CTV, AI, Public Cloud, and Waymo)
AYX - 4.7% (a nod to Saul’s passion on this one)
ANET - 3.5% (got in after the recent drop - probably out if it hits 50% gain)
PFPT - 3.5% (was looking for a security play. I am late here, but research looks solid)
CGNX - 3.3% (the Founder has a creepy backstory, but great products and markets)
TLND - 3.2% (TMF influenced this one)
BIDU - 3.2% (largest middle class in world, and predominantly mobile users in China)
PAYC - 3.1% (flyer on a TMF rec - will let ERs and Conf Calls sell me on long-term)
DIS - 3.1% (future streaming service. 2 more Star Wars trilogies,Marvel on roll,new ESPN head)
PSTG - 3.1% (got in after the recent drop - probably out if it ever hits 100% gain)
WIX - 2.9% (a Bear pick - tried it out for a son’s school project. Thinking short-term here)
VRNS - 2.9% (flyer on a TMF rec - will let ERs and Conf Calls sell me on long-term)
HDP - 2.9% (a Bear pick…made me research - needs to improve earnings, but good potential)
OKTA - 2.9% (flyer on a TMF rec - will let ERs and Conf Calls sell me on long-term)
ILMN - 2.9% (If you love the potential of biotech, this is a picks and shovel play)
Want to invest, but waiting for better entry and/or invested in past and took gains but would get in again at the right price: TSLA, NVDA.
On short watchlist: MIME, IMPV, RTN (I like the security space…it is very varied though, so keeping an eye on these)
Long watchlist: have all the above plus more for about 90 stocks on a general watchlist. Some I never plan to invest in necessarily, but rather gauging the market and interesting to see the big gainers/losers daily and for week, especially if they are competitors of a stock I own. BZUN is up 20% today, which I am bummed about, but it is hard for me to get enough visibility into Chinese stocks to feel comfortable, plus their govt has cracked down on the big publicly traded stocks in recent years which is a wildcard I don’t care for. Despite that, I liked BIDU due to their lead in search, their focus on AI, and partnerships they have with NVIDIA and TTD and other. They feel the most like a US stock to me, but they haven’t run up nearly as much as BABA or JD or TenCent, largely due to an ad scandal a couple years ago they have seemingly recovered fully from.
ETFs: I was, and still sometimes am, very tempted by ETFs for blockchain (BLOK), for Biotech (ARKG), for China Tech stocks (KEMP) but ultimately I feel that while these funds may have many of the companies I like in those sectors as part of their top 40-50% of the fund, they still have a bunch of crap I never heard of, and which very likely may go out of business, in the other 50%. I would rather gamble on my own research and pick the best of breed than go ETF.
This is a very long-winded post, so I will stop here and can post my reasoning for the different stocks as I have time. Will also look to update when I exit a position or add a new one.
Thanks again for a great forum on this board.