mekong22 March 2020 portfolio update

First of all, I want to applaud Saul and anyone else that is in the green, or close to it, for 2020 year to date. Pretty impressive and definitely a huge testament that this approach can be successful even in the toughest markets and economies.

mekong’s portfolio didn’t fare as well. Not a surprise since I have a decent size holding in a natural gas pipeline operator whose stock has been clobbered and risk customers that may go out of business during this economy and oil price war, and I have a lot more call options exposure than many others.

I was hoping to do a more in-depth end of quarter review, but due to work being very busy (mekong feels very fortunate in this climate to have safe employment) and I am in the process of preparing to move at the beginning of May (not feeling as fortunate that my move syncs up with the ongoing pandemic and related craziness), so I am going to keep this relatively brief again, similar to my last couple of monthly portfolio reviews.

So here’s the ugly:

End of Jan 	+15.5%
End of Feb	+ 7.0%
End of Mar      -20.0%

stocknovice’s post helped me realize that my overall performance so far in 2020 is exactly in line with the S&P 500. I would have guessed that the options and KMI would have hurt me even worse, but fortunately I had a couple bright spots that kept it from falling further.

I’m glad that I’ve been as busy with work and the move because it’s caused me to pay a bit less attention to my daily portfolio fluctuations, which now that I look back at the last few weeks, I’m glad I didn’t have a lot of time to overthink or dwell on things when they were at the worst.

After my portfolio was up +57% in 2019, six weeks later, in mid February 2020, I was up close to another 40% YTD in 2020, and $-wise, my portfolio was up more in those six weeks of 2020 than it was the entire 2019 full year, despite being up 57% in 2019! Well that now feels like a distant memory. The next four weeks, my portfolio decreased more than -50% from the high, maybe even close to -60%! I don’t track my portfolio daily, but my online broker does give me daily information about each account (taxable brokerage vs IRA).

Looking at just the IRA’s daily info shown online (where I do have more options and take more risk because there are no income tax exposure on short term gains), its individual swings are even more wild than my overall portfolio. The IRA was up +78% last year in 2019, then, just a few weeks later, on February 19, 2020, it reach an additional +50.3% YTD 2020 gains. Then on March 18, 2020, it dropped to -50.2% YTD, which was less than one-third of where it was at the peak four weeks earlier! Yikes, I hadn’t realized it was quite that extreme until now. Then again, even at the lowest point in March, my total IRA account was still 33% higher than where it was at the beginning of 2018. Fortunately, it came back further over the last two weeks of March and the IRA is only down about -27% YTD now.

Getting back to my full portfolio (IRA and non-IRA accounts), here are my holdings at the end of March, along with the comparable percentages from year end.

	12/31/2019     3/31/2020
AMZN	  18.3%	         24.1%
AYX	  12.3%	         19.1%
MDB	  15.0%	         18.2%
TTD	  18.5%	          8.4%
KMI	  11.7%	          7.8%
DOCU	   3.5%	          5.9%
NTNX 	   6.9%	          5.0%
DDOG	   2.1%	          4.4%
OKTA	   4.9%	          3.8%
CRWD	   2.3%	          1.9%
ESTC	   1.7%	          0.7%
GH 	    -   	  0.6%
SMAR	   1.0%	           -   
ZS	   1.5%	           -   
ZM 	   0.4%	           -   

The KMI number is deceiving because they are mostly options that have gotten creamed in 2020, but I was adding to it in January and February (in retrospect, not a good move), which is why the % hasn’t dropped more.

So big picture, my portfolio is down so far this year mostly due to declines in TTD, AYX, NTNX, and KMI. Fortunately, DOCU is up about 25% so far this year, and two of my other biggest holdings, AMZN and MDB’s, stock prices are both about flat this year.

So what have I done over the past three months?

I still own the same number of AMZN shares. That percentage is up based solely on Amazon’s stock price holding flat ytd, while other prices dropped.

The sells

Most notably, as a described in my post right after MDB’s earnings, I sold off about half of my TTD shares. TTD was my largest holding at 12/31/19, as well as last month at 2/29/20. I think The Trade Desk will be an incredibly successful company over the next 5 to 10+ years. I never had any thought of selling out of it completely, and I do hope I get to buy back a lot of the shares I sold last month later in the year, or in early 2021. I just think too many parts of the short term story (Olympics postponement, likely slowing sales of connected tv’s, and slowing advertising budgets in general) are going to put pressure on the company’s growth and stock price for the next six months or so. So I didn’t feel right keeping 15-20% of my portfolio in TTD, especially while other companies had gotten so cheap.

In addition to the TTD sales, I also sold completely out of my small positions in SMAR, ZS, and ZM, and sold much of my ESTC and some OKTA and CRWD stakes. Other than the TTD, most of my selling was just trimming lower conviction stocks to move more funds into what I felt were better opportunities at current prices. Obviously in retrospect, I would have been better off holding ZM at least a bit longer, but I had no expectation that the pandemic would become as bad as it has. There are a lot of things I would have done differently (e.g. I would have sold most of my call options) had I known COVID 19 would have the impact it did. Regarding ZM, I do fall into the camp that just doesn’t see it living up to this valuation, and I’ve never given any serious thought to buying back in recently. Since I have no skin in the game, I hope I’m wrong and it rises to $200+ for any of you that do hold it.

and the buys

Most of the funds from those sales have gone into AYX, DDOG, and NTNX (and, alas, some KMI earlier in the year). I agree with many of you that Alteryx seems like a gift of a price here. I was not an early one to start buying DDOG last year, but that too, really seemed like a great price when it was just over $30 recently and it felt like a good opportunity to build up my stake, closer to what a medium sized holding for me. I won’t really comment on NTNX. I do think, although they won’t be closing deals right now, a lot of revenue from deals that were already booked before the COVID crisis, is going to flow through revenue in the next couple of quarters and have a bigger impact on the growth rate than many people are expecting. I could be wrong, but given my expectations, I added a bit more.

and I dipped my toe back into GH, for reasons I described in a post early in the year. I assume they are still focused on their cancer blood screenings, and have not turned any attention toward coronavirus screening or anything like that. II’m also not sure if it would be good or bad for them business-wise, if they did. But I still like the potential of their core business. High risk and reward here.

Stepping back

Although it’s been a tough few weeks, looking over my portfolio allocation above, I do like where I have most of my investments. I’ll be moving from a very high tax state to a no-gains tax state, so that may lead me to finally trim some of that taxable Amazon position a little bit later in the year, especially if their stock price moves up while the prices of my other favorite companies stay low.

I like that I was able to build up AYX and DDOG as much as I did at these prices, which I think will pay off in the long term. The next couple of months could still be choppy for my portfolio and the stock market in general, but before long, I do think the strong companies will get things moving in the right direction again.

Wrapping up

In my 2019 portfolio review, I said I would be thrilled to be up +25% in 2020. Then six weeks later I was up +40%. Then a month later I was down about -30%, so all things considered, I really can’t complain about where things stand right now. I won’t be surprised if I end up back in positive territory by the end of the year. A lot can happen between now and then and one thing this year has certainly reminded me is that there are a lot of things that are out of my control. All I can do is keep making the best decisions I can at any point in time.

It’s not lost on me that I’m here typing up a summary of why my portfolio is down so far this year and why I like companies that I am fortunate enough to be able to invest in, while thousands, if not millions, of people are probably trying to figure out how they are going to pay their rent on April 1st tomorrow. I’m definitely pretty lucky even when things aren’t going so great.

Again, congrats to everyone whose portfolios have been strong this year. I have no doubt that I will be back in the green before long thanks to all of the incredible posts and analysis on this board.

Everyone take care of yourselves and your families, and stay safe



Why not swap your KMI for CRWD…and cut your loses with NTNX…

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Why not swap your KMI for CRWD…and cut your loses with NTNX…

Umm, the simplest answer I can give is, because I think that would be an investing mistake and cost me lots of money.

I’ve been doing just the opposite, selling CRWD to buy NTNX. I just bought more NTNX yesterday and, while there is some more risk (as there is with all of my stocks right now), NTNX is still one of my highest conviction companies and I still believe it has the potential to be my best performing stock in 2020.

If my last remaining CRWD holdings were in common stock, and not options, or the option pricing was a bit better, I would probably be selling the last of my CRWD now, and buying more AYX and NTNX (I just bought more of those two yesterday when I trimmed my TTD further).

I project NTNX’s current market cap being only 2.0x their gross margin 3 years from now, and that’s being pretty conservative with my estimates. Compare that to CRWD which I project their current market cap will still be about 10.0x GM (five times more expensive) even after another three years of huge growth.

I’ve answered the question “why not cut losses with NTNX” many times on this board, so I won’t re-hash that right now. Here’s one of my recent responses to exactly that question if you really want to know:…

I get it, people on this board aren’t interested in NTNX. I’ve never once pointed a finger at someone and told them they were wrong for not owning NTNX, so it’s always seemed very strange how often people are quick to tell me that they think I’m wrong for owning it without providing any real analysis. I think a year or two from now I won’t have to explain my position any longer because it will be self evident.

KMI is a different story. It’s a much bigger company than any of the SaaS businesses we invest in.
My KMI options were up almost 100% overall in the first six weeks of 2020 and was one of the main reasons why my portfolio had skyrocketed over that month and a half this year. Without the pandemic, I really expected I would have tripled my money in KMI options over the first six months of 2020, and frankly, looking back, I don’t think I would have invested differently than I did, given that I couldn’t in my wildest dreams have expected the global economy to be intentionally turned off for multiple months of the year. Even if the pandemic never happened, I would have sold out of most of my KMI in June and September of this year when most of the calls were set to expire. There isn’t much to gain by selling them now with KMI’s earnings only two weeks away.

I usually don’t comment much on KMI since it’s OT for this board (not a growth company) but since you asked, I’ll cross post something I put on a premium board yesterday, when someone asked about wanting to buy more KMI stock now. I personally wouldn’t buy more today. I feel the risk/reward proposition is too risky based on the information available right now. But I also wouldn’t sell before I hear what they have to say on the earnings call. I may very well sell much of it before the end of April after the call if I don’t like what I hear, but I would not sell anything I already own until I get that additional information:

I would say that buying right now is a gamble (and I don’t mean that in a negative sense, just a gamble in general) given that we are just a couple weeks away from earnings.

The best scenario would be:

They say that their biggest customers are not going out of business and will pay what they owe and the dividend is safe and will still go up 25%, as planned, and they were using some of their surplus budget to buy back a ton of shares at $10 or less, which will save them a whole lot on future dividends

That would probably jump the stock price back at least into the high teens at a very high forward yield

or a near-worst case scenario:

they could say the 2020 dividend increase is off, potentially even cutting the current dividend, and they are worried about their big customers staying in business and being able to use the capacity that they previously contracted for in ongoing capex projects that are still being built

That would probably send the stock back to less than $10 again

The actual situation will probably be somewhere in between. I haven’t sold anything and will be listening closely next month before I decide to do anything.

The other interesting possibility is that competitors with valuable assets may go bankrupt, or at least be forced into a fire sale of some assets, presenting a situation where KMI can buy some great long term assets at a bargain price. That would almost certainly lead to the debt ratio increasing at least temporarily again.

So it’s a gamble. They’ll probably be ok long term, but short term is really unpredictable. We should know a lot more in a couple weeks