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The imminent slide of UBER
I made this post yesterday, but I wasn't happy with the details so I quickly deleted it in the interest of taking more time on it. For disclosure, I am short on UBER. This post could apply to other gig services, but I am focused on Uber. As most of us are aware, Uber has not been successful at all in a traditional business sense - that is that they do not make money and have spent the last decade burning investor cash. How bad is it? Let's look at a few fundamentals, sourced from E-Trade: TTM Net Profit Margin (-50.72%) Overall, UBER lost 150.72% of the revenue that they collected, meaning that for every $100 they made, $150.72 was spent to "gain" it. Their TTM Operating Margin was -48.90% which indicates to me that it is the main contributer to such a negative bottom line. For the past decade Uber has been fine operating on this loss in order to gain market share - but how long can this unsustainable model be propped up? TTM Price/Sales (3.77x) Currently, Uber is trading at a price almost 4 times its sales which result in a negative income anyway. This is a money pit. TTM Return on Investment Capital (-29.62%) Need I say more? This is okay for a startup, but is 10 years and global operations still a "startup"? ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So those are bad, but why do I think the slide is imminent? Mostly related to their ongoing and especially current legal issues. On the first of this year, California's Assembly Bill 5 went into effect. It's a law so there is a ton to it, but the context we care about is the "gig economy worker" part which have to do with classifying gig workers as employees which come with other costs and benefits that Uber (and other Transportation Network Companies, or "TNCs") have been able to get around and limit further losses since their inception, to the dismay of taxis and other traditional permitted transportation operators. This is America, so Uber has not complied with this. As a consumer, I've noticed drops in availability on their platform lately so I suspect they are now metering workers to some degree to limit full-time employment but that's just anecdotal speculation. 10 days ago, a California judge granted a preliminary injunction essentially saying enough is enough and that these TNCs and other gig companies must comply. There was a 10-day period for the potential to grant an appeal as filed by Uber, which expires at the end of today. Please correct me if I've interpreted this incorrectly but it seems that if TNCs do not receive injunctive relief by the end of today, 08/20, they will cease operating in the State of California as of 08/21.This seems to have been indicated by Uber and Lyft as well. If it is not easy to see, California is one of Uber's largest markets. I don't know the exact numbers, but I've read that most of Uber's business comes from 5 US cities, two of which are Los Angeles and San Francisco. I would guess that California probably accounts for at least 25% of Uber's revenue. It gets more dangerous than this. Other states have already started to draft their own legislation regarding gig economy workers, especially Illiinois, New Jersey, and New York. For all of these reasons, I see an imminent drop coming for Uber. What do you think? Edit: as of roughly 0930 PT Lyft has indicated it will suspend service at midnight tonight. Edit: as of roughly 1145 PT an emergency stay has been granted meaning the services will continue for now out of compliance with the law
DDDD - Retail Investors, Bankruptcies, Dark Pools and Beauty Contests
For this week's edition of DDDD (Data-Driven DD), we're going to look in-depth at some of the interesting things that have been doing on in the market over the past few weeks; I've had a lot more free time this week to write something new up, so you'll want to sit down and grab a cup of coffee for this because it will be a long one. We'll be looking into bankruptcies, how they work, and what some companies currently going through bankruptcies are doing. We'll also be looking at some data on retail and institutional investors, and take a closer look at how retail investors in particular are affecting the markets. Finally, we'll look at some data and magic markers to figure out what the market sentiment, the thing that's currently driving the market, looks like to help figure out if you should be buying calls or puts, as well as my personal strategy. Disclaimer - This is not financial advice, and a lot of the content below is my personal opinion. In fact, the numbers, facts, or explanations presented below could be wrong and be made up. Don't buy random options because some person on the internet says so; look at what happened to all the SPY 220p 4/17 bag holders. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions on what you should do with your own money, and how levered you want to be based on your personal risk tolerance.
How Bankruptcies Work
First, what is a bankruptcy? In a broad sense, a bankruptcy is a legal process an individual or corporation (debtor) who owes money to some other entity (creditor) can use to seek relief from the debt owed to their creditors if they’re unable to pay back this debt. In the United States, they are defined by Title 11 of the United States Code, with 9 different Chapters that govern different processes of bankruptcies depending on the circumstances, and the entity declaring bankruptcy. For most publicly traded companies, they have two options - Chapter 11 (Reorganization), and Chapter 7 (Liquidation). Let’s start with Chapter 11 since it’s the most common form of bankruptcy for them. A Chapter 11 case begins with a petition to the local Bankruptcy court, usually voluntarily by the debtor, although sometimes it can also be initiated by the creditors involuntarily. Once the process has been initiated, the corporation may continue their regular operations, overseen by a trustee, but with certain restrictions on what can be done with their assets during the process without court approval. Once a company has declared bankruptcy, an automatic stay is invoked to all creditors to stop any attempts for them to collect on their debt. The trustee would then appoint a Creditor’s Committee, consisting of the largest unsecured creditors to the company, which would represent the interests creditors in the bankruptcy case. The debtor will then have a 120 day exclusive right after the petition date to file a Plan of Reorganization, which details how the corporation’s assets will be reorganized after the bankruptcy which they think the creditors may agree to; this is usually some sort of restructuring of the capital structure such that the creditors will forgive the corporation’s debt in exchange for some or all of the re-organized entity’s equity, wiping out the existing stockholders. In general, there’s a capital structure pecking order on who gets first dibs on a company’s assets - secured creditors, unsecured senior bond holders, unsecured general bond holders, priority / preferred equity holders, and then finally common equity holders - these are the classes of claims on the company’s assets. After the exclusive period expires, the Creditor’s Committee or an individual creditor can themselves propose their own, possibly competing, Restructuring Plan, to the court. A Restructuring Plan will also be accompanied by a Disclosure Statement, which will contain all the financial information about the bankrupt company’s state of affairs needed for creditors and equity holders to make an informed decision about how to proceed. The court will then hold a hearing to approve the Restructuring Plan and Disclosure Statement before the plan can be voted on by creditors and equity holders. In some cases, these are prepared and negotiated with creditors before bankruptcy is even declared to speed things up and have more favorable terms - a prepackaged bankruptcy. Once the Restructuring Plan and Disclosure Statement receives court approval, the plan is voted on by the classes of impaired (i.e. debt will not be paid back) creditors to be confirmed. The legal requirement for a bankruptcy court to confirm a Restructuring Plan is to have at least one entire class of impaired creditors vote to accept the plan. A class of creditors is deemed to have accepted a Restructuring Plan when creditors that hold at least 2/3 of the dollar amount and at least half of the number of creditors vote to accept the plan. After another hearing, and listening to any potential objections to the proposed Restructuring Plan, such as other impaired classes that don't like the plan, the court may then confirm the plan, putting it to effect. This is one potential ending to a Chapter 11 case. A case can also end with a conversion to a Chapter 7 (Liquidation) case, if one of the parties involved file a motion to do so for a cause that is deemed by the courts to be in the best interest of the creditors. In Chapter 7, the company ceases operating and a trustee is appointed to begin liquidating (i.e. selling) the company’s assets. The proceeds from the liquidation process are then paid out to creditors, with the most senior levels of the capital structure being paid out first, and the equity holders are usually left with nothing. Finally, a party can file a motion to dismiss the case for some cause deemed to be in the best interest of the creditors.
The Tale of Two Bankruptcies - WLL and HTZ
Hertz (HTZ) has come into news recently, with the stock surging up to $6, or 1500% off its lows, for no apparent fundamental reason, despite the fact that they’re currently in bankruptcy and their stock is likely worthless. We’ll get around to what might have caused this later, for now, we’ll go over what’s going on with Hertz in its bankruptcy proceedings. To get a clearer picture, let’s start with a stock that I’ve been following since April - Whiting Petroleum (WLL). WLL is a stock I’ve covered pretty extensively, especially with it’s complete price dislocation between the implied value of the restructured company by their old, currently trading, stock being over 10x the implied value of the bonds, which are entitled to 97% of the new equity. Usually, capital structure arbitrage, a strategy to profit off this spread by going long on bonds and shorting the equity, prevents this, but retail investors have started pumping the stock a few days after WLL’s bankruptcy to “buy the dip” and make a quick buck. Institutions, seeing this irrational behavior, are probably avoiding touching at risk of being blown out by some unpredictable and irrational retail investor pump for no apparent reason. We’re now seeing this exact thing play out a few months later, but at a much larger scale with Hertz. So, how is WLL's bankruptcy process going? For anyone curious, you can follow the court case in Stretto. Luckily for Whiting, they’ve entered into a prepackaged bankruptcy process and filed their case with a Restructuring Plan already in mind to be able to have existing equity holders receive a mere 3% of new equity to be distributed among them, with creditors receiving 97% of new equity. For the past few months, they’ve quickly gone through all the hearings and motions and now have a hearing to receive approval of the Disclosure Statement scheduled for June 22nd. This hearing has been pushed back a few times, so this may not be the actual date. Another pretty significant document was just filed by the Committee of Creditors on Friday - an objection to the Disclosure Statement’s approval. Among other arguments about omissions and errors the creditor’s found in the Disclosure Statement, the most significant thing here is that Litigation and Rejection Damage claims holders were treated in the same class as a bond holders, and hence would be receiving part of their class’ share of the 97% of new equity. The creditors claim that this was misleading as the Restructuring Plan originally led them to believe that the 97% would be distributed exclusively to bond holders, and the claims for Litigation and Rejection Damage would be paid in full and hence be unimpaired. This objection argues that the debtors did this gerrymandering to prevent the Litigation and Rejection Damage claims be represented as their own class and able to reject the Restructuring Plan, requiring either payment in full of the claims or existing equity holders not receiving 3% of new equity, and be completely wiped out to respect the capital structure. I’d recommend people read this document if they have time because whoever wrote this sounds legitimately salty on behalf of the bond holders; here’s some interesting excerpts: Moreover, despite the holders of Litigation and Rejection Damage Claims being impaired, existing equity holders will still receive 3% of the reorganized company’s new equity, without having to contribute any new value. The only way for the Debtors to achieve this remarkable outcome was to engage in blatant classification gerrymandering. If the Debtors had classified the Litigation and Rejection Damage Claims separately from the Noteholder claims and the go-forward Trade Claims – as they should have – then presumably that class would reject a plan that provides Litigation and Rejection Damage Claims with a pro rata share of minority equity. The Debtors have placed the Rejection Damage and Litigation Claims in the same class as Noteholder Claims to achieve a particular result, namely the disenfranchisement of the Rejection Damage and Litigation Claimants who, if separately classified, may likely vote to reject the Plan. In that event, the Debtor would be required to comply with the cramdown requirements, including compliance with the absolute priority rule, which in turn would require payment of those claims in full, or else old equity would not be entitled to receive 3% of the new equity. Without their inclusion in a consenting impaired class, the Debtors cannot give 3% of the reorganized equity to existing equity holders without such holders having to contribute any new value or without paying the holders of Litigation and Rejection Damage Claims in full. The Committee submits that the Plan was not proposed in good faith. As discussed herein, the Debtors have proposed an unconfirmable Plan – flawed in various important respects. Under the circumstances discussed above, in the Committee’s view, the Debtors will not be able to demonstrate that they acted with “honesty and good intentions” and that the Plan’s results will not be consistent with the Bankruptcy Code’s goal of ratable distribution to creditors. They’re even trying to have the court stop the debtor from paying the lawyers who wrote the restructuring agreement. However, as discussed herein, the value and benefit of the Consenting Creditors’ agreements with the Debtors –set forth in the RSA– to the Estates is illusory, and authorizing the payment of the Consenting Creditor Professionals would be tantamount to approving the RSA, something this Court has stated that it refuses to do.20 The RSA -- which has not been approved by the Court, and indeed no such approval has been sought -- is the predicate for a defective Plan that was not proposed in good faith, and that gives existing equity holders an equity stake in the reorganized enterprise even though Litigation and Rejection Damage Creditors will (presumably) not be made whole under the Plan and the existing interest holders will not be contributing requisite new value. As a disclaimer, I have absolutely zero knowledge nor experience in law, let alone bankruptcy law. However, from reading this document, if what the objection indicates to be true, could mean that we end up having the court force the Restructuring agreement to completely wipe out the current equity holders. Even worse, entering a prepackaged bankruptcy in bad faith, which the objection argues, might be grounds to convert the bankruptcy to Chapter 7; again, I’m no lawyer so I’m not sure if this is true, but this is my best understanding from my research. So what’s going on with Hertz? Most analysts expect that based on Hertz’s current balance sheet, existing equity holders will most likely be completely wiped out in the restructuring. You can keep track of Hertz’s bankruptcy process here, but it looks like this is going to take a few months, with the first meeting of creditors scheduled for July 1. An interesting 8-K got filed today for HTZ, and it looks like they’re trying to throw a hail Mary for their case by taking advantage of dumb retail investors pumping up their stock. They’ve just been approved by the bankruptcy court to issue and sell up to $1B (double their current market cap) of new shares in the stock market. If they somehow pull this off, they might have enough money raised to dismiss the bankruptcy case and remain in business, or at very least pay off their creditors even more at the expense of Robinhood users.
The Rise of Retail Investors - An Update
A few weeks ago, I talked about data that suggested a sudden surge in retail investor money flooding the market, based on Google Trends and broker data. Although this wasn’t a big topic back when I wrote about it, it’s now one of the most popular topics in mainstream finance news, like CNBC, since it’s now the only rational explanation for the stock market to have pumped this far, and for bankrupt stocks like HTZ and WLL to have surges far above their pre-bankruptcy prices. Let’s look at some interesting Google Trends that I found that illustrates what retail investors are doing. Google Trends - Margin Calls Google Trends - Robinhood Google Trends - What stock should I buy Google Trends - How to day trade Google Trends - Pattern Day Trader Google Trends - Penny Stock The conclusion that can be drawn from this data is that in the past two weeks, we are seeing a second wave of new retail investor interest, similar to the first influx we saw in March. In particular, these new retail investors seem to be particularly interested in day trading penny stocks, including bankrupt stocks. In fact, data from Citadel shows that penny stocks have surged on average 80% in the previous week. Why Retail Investors Matter A common question that’s usually brought up when retail investors are brought up is how much they really matter. The portfolio size of retail investors are extremely small compared to institutional investors. Anecdotally and historically, retail investors don’t move the market, outside of some select stocks like TSLA and cannabis stocks in the past few years. However when they do, shit gets crazy; the last time retail investors drove the stock market was in the dot com bubble. There’s a few papers that look into this with similar conclusions, I’ll go briefly into this one, which looks at almost 20 years of data to look for correlations between retail investor behavior and stock market movements. The conclusion was that behaviors of individual retail investors tend to be correlated and are not random and independent of each other. The aggregate effect of retail investors can then drive prices of equities far away from fundamentals (bubbles), which risk-averse smart money will then stay away from rather than try taking advantage of the mispricing (i.e. never short a bubble). The movement in the prices are typically short-term, and usually see some sort of reversal back to fundamentals in the long-term, for small (i.e. < $5000) trades. Apparently, the opposite is true for large trades; here’s an excerpt from the paper to explain. Stocks recently sold by small traders perform poorly (−64 bps per month, t = −5.16), while stocks recently bought by small traders perform well (73 bps per month, t = 5.22). Note this return predictability represents a short-run continuation rather than reversal of returns; stocks with a high weekly proportion of buys perform well both in the week of strong buying and the subsequent week. This runs counter to the well-documented presence of short-term reversals in weekly returns.14,15 Portfolios based on the proportion of buys using large trades yield precisely the opposite result. Stocks bought by large traders perform poorly in the subsequent week (−36 bps per month, t = −3.96), while those sold perform well (42 bps per month, t = 3.57). We find a positive relationship between the weekly proportion of buyers initiated small trades in a stock and contemporaneous returns. Kaniel, Saar, and Titman (forthcoming) find retail investors to be contrarians over one-week horizons, tending to sell more than buy stocks with strong performance. Like us, they find that stocks bought by individual investors one week outperform the subsequent week. They suggest that individual investors profit in the short run by supplying liquidity to institutional investors whose aggressive trades drive prices away from fundamental value and benefiting when prices bounce back. Barber et al. (2005) document that individual investors can earn short term profits by supplying liquidity. This story is consistent with the one-week reversals we see in stocks bought and sold with large trades. Aggressive large purchases may drive prices temporarily too high while aggressive large sells drive them too low both leading to reversals the subsequent week. Thus, using a one-week time horizon, following the trend can make you tendies for a few days, as long as you don’t play the game for too long, and end up being the bag holder when the music stops.
The Keynesian Beauty Contest
The economic basis for what’s going on in the stock market recently - retail investors driving up stocks, especially bankrupt stocks, past fundamental levels can be explained by the Keynesian Beauty Contest, a concept developed by Keynes himself to help rationalize price movements in the stock market, especially during the 1920s stock market bubble. A quote by him on the topic of this concept, that “the market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent”, is possibly the most famous finance quote of all time. The idea is to imagine a fictional newspaper beauty contest that asks the reader to pick the six most attractive faces of 100 photos, and you win if you pick the most popular face. The naive strategy would be to pick the faces that you think are the most attractive. A smarter strategy is to figure out what the most common public perception of attractiveness would be, and to select based on that. Or better yet, figure out what most people believe is the most common public perception of what’s attractive. You end up having the winners not actually be the faces people think are the prettiest, but the average opinion of what people think the average opinion would be on the prettiest faces. Now, replace pretty faces with fundamental values, and you have the stock market. What we have today is the extreme of this. We’re seeing a sudden influx of dumb retail money into the market, who don’t know or care about fundamentals, like trading penny stocks, and are buying beaten down stocks (i.e. “buy the dip”). The stocks that best fit all three of these are in fact companies that have just gone bankrupt, like HTZ and WLL. This slowly becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, as people start seeing bankrupt stocks go up 100% in one day, they stop caring about what stocks have the best fundamentals and instead buy the stocks that people think will shoot up, which are apparently bankrupt stocks. Now, it gets to the point where even if a trader knows a stock is bankrupt, and understands what bankruptcy means, they’ll buy the stock regardless expecting it to skyrocket and hope that they’ll be able to sell the stock at a 100% profit in a few days to an even greater fool. The phenomenon is well known in finance, and it even has a name - The Greater Fool Theory. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next stock to go bankrupt now has their stock price go up 100% the next day because of this.
What is the smart money doing - DIX & GEX
Alright that’s enough talk about dumb money. What’s all the smart money (institutions) been doing all this time? For that, you’ll want to look at what’s been going on with dark pools. These are private exchanges for institutions to make trades. Why? Because if you’re about to buy a $1B block of SPY, you’re going to cause a sudden spike in prices on a normal, public exchange, and probably end up paying a much higher cost basis because of it. These off-exchange trades account for about one third of all stock volume. You can then use data of market maker activity in these dark pools to figure out what institutions have been doing, the most notable indicators being DIX by SqueezeMetrics. Another metric they offer is GEX, or gamma exposure. The idea behind this is that market markets who sell option contracts, typically don’t want to (or can’t legally) take an actual position in the market; they can only provide liquidity. Hence, they have to hedge their exposure from the contracts they wrote by going long or short on the stocks they wrote contracts to. This is called delta-hedging, with delta representing exposure to the movement of a stock. With options, there’s gamma, which represents the change in delta as the stock price moves. So as stock prices move, the market maker needs to re-hedge their positions by buying or selling more shares to remain delta-neutral. GEX is a way to show the total exposure these market makers have to gamma from contracts to predict stock price movements based on what market makers must do to re-hedge their positions. Now, let’s look at what these indicators have been doing the past week or so. DIX & GEX In the graph above, an increasing DIX means that institutions are buying stocks in the S&P500, and an increasing GEX means that market makers have increasing gamma exposure. The DIX whitepaper, it has shown that a high DIX is often correlated with increased near-term returns, and in the GEX whitepaper, it shows that a decreased GEX is correlated with increased volatility due to re-hedging. It looks like from last week’s crash, we had institutions buy the dip and add to their current positions. There was also a sudden drop in GEX, but it looks like it’s quickly recovered, and we’ll see volatility decreased next week. Overall, we’re getting bullish signals from institutional activity.
Bubbles and Market Sentiment
I’ve long held that the stock market and the economy has been in a decade-long bubble caused by liquidity pumping from the Fed. Recently, the bubble has been accelerated and it’s becoming clearer to people that we are in a bubble. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t short the bubble, but play along with it until it bursts. Bubbles are driven by pure sentiment, and this can be a great contrarian indicator to what stage of the bubble we are in. You want to be a bear when the market is overly greedy and a bull when the market is overly bearish. One of the best tools to measure this is the equity put / call ratio. Put / Call Ratio The put/call ratio dropped below 0.4 last week, something that’s almost never happened and has almost always been immediately followed up by a correction - which it did this time as well. A low put / call ratio is usually indicative of an overly-greedy market, and a contrarian indicator that a drop is imminent. However, right after the crash, the put/call ratio absolutely skyrocketed, closing right above 0.71 on Friday, above the mean put / call ratio for the entire rally since March’s lows. In other words, a ton of money has just been poured into SPY puts expecting to profit off of a downtrend. In fact, it’s possible that the Wednesday correction itself has been exasperated by delta hedging from SPY put writers. However, this sudden spike above the mean for put/call ratio is a contrarian indicator that we will now see a continued rally.
1D RSI on SPY was definitely overbought last week, and I should have taken this as a sign to GTFO from all my long positions. The correction has since brought it back down, and now SPY has even more room to go further up before it becomes overbought again
1D MACD crossed over on Wednesday to bearish - a very strong bearish indicator, however 1W MACD is still bullish
For the bulls, there’s very little price levels above 300, with a small possible resistance at 313, which is the 79% fib retracement. SPY has never actually hit this price level, and has gapped up and down past this price. Below 300, there’s plenty of levels of support, especially between 274 and 293, which is the range where SPY consolidated and traded at for April and May. This means that a movement up will be met with very little resistance, while a movement down will be met with plenty of support
The candles above 313 form an island top pattern, a pretty rare and strong bearish indicator.
The first line of defense of the bulls is 300, which has historically been a key support / resistance level, and is also the 200D SMA. So far, this price level has held up as a solid support last week and is where all downwards price action in SPY stopped. Overall, there’s very mixed signals coming from technical indicators, although there’s more bearish signals than bullish. My Strategy for Next Week While technicals are pretty bearish, retail and institutional activity and market sentiment is indicating that the market still continue to rally. My strategy for next week will depend on whether or not the market opens above or below 300. I’m currently mostly holding long volatility positions, that I’ve started existing on Friday. The Bullish case If 300 proves to be a strong support level, I’ll start entering bullish positions, following my previous strategy of going long on weak sectors such as airlines, cruises, retail, and financials, once they break above the 24% retracement and exit at the 50% retracement. This is because there’s very little price levels and resistance above 300, so any movements above this level will be very parabolic up to ATHs, as we saw in the beginning of 2020 and again the past two weeks. If SPY moves parabolic, the biggest winners will likely be the weakest stocks since they have the most room to go up, with most of the strongest stocks already near or above their ATHs. During this time, I’ll be rolling over half of my profits to VIX calls of various expiry dates as a hedge, and in anticipation of any sort of rug pull for when this bubble does eventually pop. The Bearish case For me to start taking bearish positions, I’ll need to see SPY open below 300, re-test 300 and fail to break above it, proving it to be a resistance level. If this happens, I’ll start entering short positions against SPY to play the price levels. There’s a lot of price levels between 300 and 274, and we’d likely see a lot of consolidation instead of a big crash in this region, similar to the way up through this area. Key levels will be 300, 293, 285, 278, and finally 274, which is the levels I’d be entering and exiting my short positions in. I’ve also been playing with WLL for the past few months, but that has been a losing trade - I forgot that a market can remain irrational longer than I can remain solvent. I’ll probably keep a small position on WLL puts in anticipation of the court hearing for the disclosure statement, but I’ve sold most of my existing positions.
As always, I'll be posting live thoughts related to my personal strategy here for people asking. 6/15 2AM - /ES looking like SPY is going to gap down tomorrow. Unless there's some overnight pump, we'll probably see a trading range of 293-300. 6/15 10AM - Exited any remaining long positions I've had and entered short positions on SPY @ 299.50, stop loss at 301. Bearish case looking like it's going to play out 6/15 10:15AM - Stopped out of 50% of my short positions @ 301. Will stop out of the rest @ 302. Hoping this wasn't a stop loss raid. Also closed out more VIX longer-dated (Sept / Oct) calls. 6/15 Noon - No longer holding any short positions. Gap down today might be a fake out, and 300 is starting to look like solid support again, and 1H MACD is crossing over, with 15M remaining bullish. Starting to slowly add to long positions throughout the day, starting with CCL, since technicals look nice on it. Also profit-took most of my VIX calls that I bought two weeks ago 6/15 2:30PM - Bounced up pretty hard from the 300 support - bull case looks pretty good, especially if today's 1D candle completely engulphs the Friday candle. Also sold another half of my remaining long-dated VIX calls - still holding on to a substantial amount (~10% of portfolio). Will start looking to re-buy them when VIX falls back below 30. Going long on DAL as well 6/15 11:30PM - /ES looking good hovering right above 310 right now. Not many price levels above 300 so it's hard to predict trading ranges since there's no price levels and SPY will just go parabolic above this level. Massive gap between 313 and 317. If /ES is able to get above 313, which is where the momentum is going to right now, we might see a massive gap up and open at 317 again. If it opens below 313, we might see the stock price fade like last week. 6/15 Noon - SPY filled some of the gap, but then broke below 313. 15M MACD is now bearish. We might see gains from today slowly fade, but hard to predict this since we don't have strong price levels. Will buy more longs near EOD if this happens. Still believe we'll be overall bullish this week. GE is looking good. 6/16 2PM - Getting worried about 313 acting as a solid resistance; we'll either probably gap up past it to 317 tomorrow, or we might go all the way back down to 300. Considering taking profit for some of my calls right now, since you'll usually want to sell into resistance. I might alternatively buy some 0DTE SPY puts as a hedge against my long positions. Will decide by 3:30 depending on what momentum looks like 6/16 3PM - Got some 1DTE SPY puts as a hedge against my long positions. We're either headed to 317 tomorrow or go down as low as 300. Going to not take the risk because I'm unsure which one it'll be. Also profit-took 25% of my long positions. Definitely seeing the 313 + gains fade scenario I mentioned yesterday 6/17 1:30AM - /ES still flat struggling to break through 213. If we don't break through by tomorrow I might sell all my longs. Norwegian announced some bad news AH about cancelling Sept cruises. If we move below $18.20 I'll probably sell all my remaining positions; luckily I took profit on CCL today so if options do go to shit, it'll be a relatively small loss or even small gain. 6/17 9:45AM - SPY not being able to break through 313/314 (79% retracement) is scaring me. Sold all my longs, and now sitting on cash. Not confident enough that we're actually going back down to 300, but no longer confident enough on the bullish story if we can't break 313 to hold positions 6/17 1PM - Holding cash and long-term VIX calls now. Some interesting things I've noticed
1H MACD will be testing a crossover by EOD
Equity put/call ratio has plummeted. It's back down to 0.45, which is more than 1 S.D. below the mean. We reached all the way down to 0.4 last time. Will be keeping a close eye on this and start buying for VIX again + SPY puts we this continues falling tomorrow
6/17 3PM - Bought back some of my longer-dated VIX calls. Currently slightly bearish, but still uncertain, so most of my portfolio is cash right now. 6/17 3:50PM - SPY 15M MACD is now very bearish, and 1H is about to crossover. I'd give it a 50% chance we'll see it dump tomorrow, possibly towards 300 again. Entered into a very small position on NTM SPY puts, expiring Friday 6/18 10AM - 1H MACD is about to crossover. Unless we see a pump in the next hour or so, medium-term momentum will be bearish and we might see a dump later today or tomorrow. 6/18 12PM - Every MACD from 5M to 1D is now bearish, making me believe we'd even more likely see a drop today or tomorrow to 300. Bought short-dates June VIX calls. Stop loss for this and SPY puts @ 314 and 315 6/18 2PM - Something worth noting: opex is tomorrow and max pain is 310, which is the level we're gravitating towards right now. Also quad witching, so should expect some big market movements tomorrow as well. Might consider rolling my SPY puts forward 1 week since theoretically, this should cause us to gravitate towards 310 until 3PM on Friday. 6/18 3PM - Rolled my SPY puts forward 1W in case theory about max pain + quad witching end up having it's theoretical effect. Also GEX is really high coming towards options expiry tomorrow, meaning any significant price movements will be damped by MM hedging. Might not see significant price movements until quad witching hour tomorrow 3PM 6/18 10PM - DIX is very high right now, at 51%, which is very bullish. put/call ratio is still very low though. Very mixed signals. Will be holding positions until Monday or SPY 317 before reconsidering them. 6/18 2PM - No position changes. Coming into witching hour we're seeing increased volatility towards the downside. Looking good so far
[OC] Other "Coach of the Year" ballots may have more legitimacy or accuracy, but this is the only one that ranks the candidates from # 1 all the way to # 30
The NBA league office announced that all awards will be officially based on play PRIOR to the bubble. With that, the cases are locked, the campaigns are closed, and the voting will begin. Rather than give a traditional "Coach of the Year" ballot that ranks from 1-3, I thought it may be an interesting (and indulgent) exercise to go all the way from 1-30. Some caveats: --- We're ranking coaches based on their performance THIS SEASON only. Obviously, Billy Donovan isn't as good of a coach as Gregg Popovich. However, if you were only ranking their "Coach of the Year" candidacy for this particular season, Donovan has a better campaign argument. --- Since I don't watch every game for every team, I'm going to have to resort to a bigger picture analysis. If you're a diehard fan of your team who watches every game, you'd have a lot better insight into a coach's game management and situational adjustments. Let us know how you feel about that -- is your coach underrated? Overrated? --- Personally, I'm going to rank coaches that started the year (as opposed to interim replacements.) That’s important to mention off the bat, because it applies right away —
(30) David Fizdale, N.Y. Knicks: 4-18 record David Fizdale became a head coach with so much fanfare and media approval that his fall from grace has been more dramatic than Icarus. This year, he got fired 22 games into his second season on the job. Amazingly, this isn't the first time that's happened to him. Back in Memphis, he also got fired 19 games into his second season on the job. We don't know exactly what goes on behind the scenes, but it can't be good. Do you know how bad things must be going to get fired 20 games into a season? That's like being halfway through sex with someone and saying: ya know, I think I need to leave... Something seriously FUNKY must have going on in there. Raging herpes. Oozing puss. Rotten vagina. I don't want to call David Fizdale the rotten vagina of coaches, but his tenure with the Knicks did smell pretty funky. The team (right or wrong) signed a bunch of veterans with the intention to strive for the 8th seed, but they flopped. Ultimately, the real goal was giving their young prospects an environment to grow, but that didn't happen either. Dennis Smith and Kevin Knox are somehow getting worse and worse. The Knicks did a full house cleaning, but it may be some time before the smell is out of the building. (29) John Beilein, Cleveland: 14-40 record If you think it's difficult to get fired 20 games into a season, imagine getting fired halfway through your first year on the job right after you've signed a lucrative FIVE-YEAR contract. With John Beilein, we know more clearly what went wrong. In hindsight, it was a mistake to think that the 67-year-old Beilein could make the transition to the NBA after a lifetime in college. He simply didn't mesh with the "thugs/slugs" in the NBA, causing the Cavs to pull the plug before a full-out mutiny. Given this disaster, how can we rank Beilein higher than Fizdale? We're splitting hairs, but there are a few more positives. Beilein's Cavs had a better record than Fizdale's Knicks despite lower expectations (based on oveunder.) Beilein also "resigned," meaning the decision to part was at least somewhat mutual. He realized the error of his ways, and handed things over to an experienced assistant in J.B. Bickerstaff. As embarrassing and costly as the Beilein era may have been, it's hard to see much long-term damage for the franchise. (28) Scottie Brooks, Washington: 24-40 record With John Wall injured, the Washington Wizards would have a hard time competing for the playoffs. Still, Scottie Brooks didn't help matters. The team ranked dead last in defensive rating by a good margin, indicating some serious issues with the system and the effort level. Even Bradley Beal looked disengaged on that end, ranking as one of the worst defenders in the league. More than anything, Brooks' crime is a slow adjustment to that problem. Despite their defensive issues, he continued to start league LVP Isaiah Thomas for 37 games. Brooks seems like a likable guy, but his slow trigger has defined and tarnished his coaching career so far. (27) Jim Boylen, Chicago: 22-43 record Even his defenders would say Jim Boylen is about as cuddly as a cactus and charming as an eel. His players' support for him ranges behind tepid indifference and downright annoyance. Still, sometimes it takes a Grinch to get young players locked in on defense. To his credit, Boylen did improve the Bulls on that end. Their defensive rating leapt up from 25th to 14th this season. But at the end of the day, the overall results simply aren't here. Despite offensive-minded youngsters like Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen (marginalized this year), the Bulls ranked 27th in offensive rating. Largely as a result, they were on pace to win 27.7 games, well short of their 33.5 oveunder. Being "likable" and being "successful" don't go hand in hand, but NBA coaches need to check 1 of those 2 boxes to survive. So far, Boylen has gone 0 for 2. (26) Lloyd Pierce, Atlanta: 20-47 record The Atlanta Hawks hired Lloyd Pierce on the basis of his defensive reputation, but we've seen little evidence of that on the court so far. In his first year on the job, the Hawks ranked 27th in defensive rating. After a full year of training and development in his system, they climbed all the way up to... 28th. Through it all, franchise player Trae Young looks completely lost, grading as a worse defender than our LVP Isaiah Thomas. There's not much evidence that Pierce is a BAD coach, but there's not much evidence that he's going to be able to cure what ails them either. He'll probably get another season or two on the job from the patient franchise, but he needs to make some improvements eventually. Young is an albatross on defense, sure, but one little guard shouldn't be enough to sink you like this. (For evidence, consider Boston ranked 4th in defense during lil' Isaiah Thomas' near-MVP season.) (25) Kenny Atkinson, Brooklyn: 28-34 record Our third coach who got fired midseason actually ranks higher than others. On the court, it's hard to find much fault in Kenny Atkinson's performance. Despite having two max players on the shelf, he still had his Nets in the playoff race. They weren't any great shakes, but they were competitive. However, we have to acknowledge that the job of an NBA coach goes beyond offensive and defensive ratings. It's also about managing a locker room, and managing egos. The Nets had built a good culture before this, but that culture presumably got rocked by the arrival of their new stars. It's up to Atkinson to bridge that gap, and instead it swallowed him whole. (24) Ryan Saunders, Minnesota: 19-45 record The Minnesota Timberwolves will fall well short of their preseason expectations (35.5 oveunder), and will continue to waste Karl-Anthony Towns' historically good offensive talent. It's still unclear if young pup Ryan Saunders should have been handed this job at such a young age; he hasn't proven that he deserves it yet. If there's any consolation, it's that Saunders appears in lock step with executive Gersson Rosas in terms of preferred playing style. Rosas came over from Houston with a desire to create more of a Morey-Ball approach. Saunders is doing his part, cranking up the gas to keep the team 3rd in pace, 3rd in three-point attempts, 3rd in free-throw attempts. The results don't match up yet, but at least they're on the same page. For now. Time will tell whether a new ownership group will come in and rip up that playbook. (23) Gregg Popovich, San Antonio: 27-36 record I imagine this low ranking will be among the least popular picks on the board. After all, Gregg Popovich is a legend. Even at this age, he's still a top 10 coach overall. That said, legends aren't bullet proof or immune from criticism. Popovich needs to take some blame for an underwhelming year in San Antonio. The unconventional mid-range offense actually works better than you'd expect (11th in rating), but the problems come on the other end. The Spurs have struggled mightily on D this year, ranking all the way down at 25th. The rotations have been an issue there, with too much Bryn Forbes and Marco Bellinelli and probably too little Jakob Poeltl. It still may feel weird to rank Pop in the bottom half for his performance this year, but I'd ask you: if this team was coached by a random dude named "Joe Schmo," where would you put him? (22) Brett Brown, Philadelphia: 39-26 record This hasn't been a banner year for Gregg Popovich, and it hasn't been a banner year for his protege Brett Brown either. The Sixers made some head-scratching decisions this offseason. They grabbed the biggest pieces they could find, and jammed them together without much regard for "fit." Still, there's a lot of talent here. There's enough talent to justify their 54.5 preseason oveunder, and there's enough talent to compete with everyone in the East (outside of Milwaukee, perhaps.) Instead, the Sixers stumbled along on a 49-win pace, on track for the 6th seed. If this was a normal year without the COVID-bubble, then that would be a much bigger problem. The team is starting to make some adjustments and add more shooters like Shake Milton into the lineup, but it may be too little, too late. (21) Dwane Casey, Detroit: 20-46 record It's hard to judge veteran Dwane Casey either way based on the returns this season so far. The Pistons will fall well short of preseason expectations (37.5 oveunder), but there are obvious reasons why. Star Blake Griffin got injured again, and pseudo-star Andre Drummond got traded away. To Dwane Casey's credit, he's tried to make a meal with the leftovers in the cupboard. Derrick Rose continues to be a fan favorite (if not an analytical darling), and PF Christian Wood appears to be a breakout success. Overall, there's no real identity or grand plan in place here, but perhaps that will change if the lottery balls go their way. (20) Terry Stotts, Portland: 29-37 record Terry Stotts and Dwane Casey may have a few beers after the season and commiserate together about their challenges this year. Like Casey, Stotts has been overwhelmed by injuries -- to Jusuf Nurkic -- to Zach Collins -- to Rodney Hood -- to Trevor Ariza -- etc. All this from a team that didn't have much depth to start. Stotts and the Blazers drew a stroke of good luck with this bubble format. They'll be in the 9th spot right now, and well within range to sneak into the playoffs. If it wasn't for that, Stotts may be drawing more fire. The team's defense has slipped to 27th overall, which is hard to excuse no matter what roster problems you have. Stotts is a good and respected coach in general, but there's a chance his message may have run stale here. If they bomb out in the bubble, I wouldn't be surprised if they look for a fresh voice like assistant Nate Tibbetts for next year. (19) Luke Walton, Sacramento: 28-36 record Luke Walton and the Kings got off to a disastrous start given their expectations. It's never a good sign when your fanbase grumbles, he's no Dave Joerger. But after weathering the storm, there are some signs of hope on the horizon. A bold decision to bring Buddy Hield off the bench has worked out, with the team rattling off a 13-7 stretch before the shutdown. They had a slim chance to rally and make the playoffs if we played a full schedule, and they'll have some chance to do the same in the bubble. Overall, a disappointing start for Walton, but not a complete disaster. (18) James Borrego, Charlotte: 23-42 record It's very difficult to judge James Borrego, because it's difficult to judge exactly what was going on in the twisted minds of the Charlotte front office. On paper, Borrego did an admirable job to take a bad roster and lead them to a decent mark of 23 wins. In fact, their oveunder coming into this year was only 23.5 over a full 82 games (lowest in the NBA). P.J. Washington's had a nice rookie year, and PG Devonte' Graham has been better than expected (although he's cooled off.) At the same time, is this what the Hornets wanted? A "not THAT bad" team? As a result, they'll end up in the 8th slot prior to the NBA Draft lottery, in that dreaded middle ground. In a sense, Borrego did too good of a job squeezing out a few extra wins. I'm inclined to give him props for that because the franchise must have given him a mandate to compete (why else sign Terry Rozier to a big contract?). As a franchise, the team gets poor grades, but as a coach, it's hard to fault him here. (17) Alvin Gentry, New Orleans: 28-36 record James Borrego hasn't had much talent to work with in Charlotte. Down in Nawlins, Alvin Gentry may have too much. Earlier in the season, he appeared overwhelmed by all the pieces on the roster and struggled to develop a consistent rotation for the team. If it wasn't for Brandon Ingram's breakout, the Pelicans could have been in too deep of a whole to dig their way out. Of course, some stocky rookie waddled in, and looked pretty darn good. Zion Williamson gives this team an entirely new ceiling, and has been worked into the lineup in a smart, prudent fashion. For that, Gentry deserves credit. He also deserves credit for having a consistent philosophy. His team is going to run, run, run like Forrest Gump. They've finished in the top 3 in pace each season for the past three years. It hasn't worked like a charm overall, as Gentry will be on track to finish with a losing record for the 4th time in his 5 years, but perhaps they'll finally hit their stride in the bubble. (16) Steve Clifford, Orlando: 30-35 record By this point, what you see is what you get with coach Steve Clifford. We've come to expect a top 10 defense (# 9 this year), but a record around the .500 mark. In his defense, the offensive talent is limited, and Jon Isaac (arguably their best overall player) missed significant time. Still, for Clifford to jump in these yearly rankings, we need to see more of an offensive system in place. (15) Steve Kerr, Golden State: 15-50 record WTF? Why is the coach with the worst record in the league doing all the way up here? Allow me to explain. Being a head coach is like being a jockey. You need to know when to trot, when to stay with the pack, and when to crack the whip and turn up the gas down the stretch. And, sadly, you need to know when your horse is lame and needs to be shot and put out of its misery. Steve Kerr and the Golden State Warriors realized they had a wobbly, broken-down horse early on, and put the breaks on sooner than later. As a result, they'll be locked into the # 1 spot among their NBA lottery odds. In theory that doesn't matter much because the top three teams (GS, CLE, MIN) all have the same odds at # 1 overall. However, if they slide down, Golden State will remain ahead of the others; the worst pick they can get is # 5. That type of patience is rare and admirable for a veteran coach like Kerr; after years of being in "win now" mode, he's showing a long-term vision as well. (14) Nate McMillan, Indiana: 39-26 record The Indiana Pacers continued to chug along with another playoff appearance despite Victor Oladipo missing more time. Coach Nate McMillan (and assistant Dan Burke) deserve a lot of credit for their strength defensively; they finished in the top 10 in defense for the second season in a row. Their scheme works well, and covers for some limited players along the way. If there's any criticism of McMillan, it'd be on the offensive end. The Pacers found a little something with Domatas Sabonis as a playmaker (5.0 assists per game), but it's still not enough to make the team formidable offensively. Their "MoreyBall" rating is the worst in the league -- they finished last in both free-throw attempts and three-point attempts. Some teams can overcome that playing style, but the Pacers haven't been one of them; their offensive rating is # 18 for the second straight year. Given that need, I'd be curious to see if the team could develop Doug McDermott into a Bojan Bogdanovic - type player for them -- he hit 44.5% of his threes, but got only 20.0 minutes a game. (13) Monty Williams, Phoenix: 26-39 record This ranking may seem too high for the coach of a 26-39 team, but we need to consider some context here. The Phoenix Suns had finished with an average record of 20-62 over the last two seasons, so this 33-win pace is a marked step up for them. They've also gotten into the top 20 in offensive and defensive rating. That may sound like mediocrity to you, but again it's a big jump up from the previous year (28th offensive, 29th defense.) Better still, we're seeing some strong player development from this club. Deandre Ayton still looked strong post PED suspension, and Mikal Bridges played well in the second half of the year. After all the mess and goat stink in Phoenix, there are actual good vibes here, and Monty Williams deserves credit for that. (12) Quin Snyder, Utah: 41-23 record Quin Snyder is an awesome coach, only penalized here by his own lofty expectations. Coming into the season, a few pundits though the Jazz may have what it took to be the top seed in the West, but they're going to fall short of that and even fall short of their preseason oveunder (of 53.5 wins). Of course, it didn't help that Mike Conley forgot how to shoot for the few month or two of the season. Still, Snyder's bunch continues to be well coached on both ends, with ball movement on offense and discipline on defense. They'd have been an interesting playoff darkhorse if not for the bad corona-vibes and the unfortunate Bojan Bogdanovic injury. (11) Mike Malone, Denver: 43-22 record Denver's Mike Malone is in the same boat as Quin Snyder; he did a good job, but he's expected to do a good job. I'm going to rank him slightly higher because the Nuggets were slightly ahead, and were also set to slightly exceed their preseason win total (on track to win 54, 1 game better than their 53.0 estimate.) Going forward, it'll be interesting to see if Malone can take his offense up a notch. They play at a very slow pace (29th) and don't shoot many threes (26th). To actually win the title, their shooters will need to step it up. If Gary Harris won't break out of his prolonged slump, then it's imperative that Michael Porter Jr. fulfills his potential and provides that third scoring punch. (10) Doc Rivers, L.A. Clippers: 44-20 record Stars and shooting aren't a problem for the Los Angeles Clippers. It's fair to say they're the most talented roster in the entire NBA. Given that, is their 44-20 record a disappointment? Eh. Maybe. But I'd counter that it doesn't really matter. Doc Rivers' primary mission this regular season was to make it to the playoffs healthy, and the team appears on track to do just that. If there's any criticism here (of a team with a top 5 offense and defense) it's that their best players may not have gotten enough reps together. Do the new kids on the block Kawhi Leonard and Paul George fit with the old guard in Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell? What's the best starting lineup? Best closing lineup? There are still some unanswered questions here that need to be addressed in a hurry if they're going to fulfill their title aspirations in the bubble. (9) Taylor Jenkins, Memphis: 32-33 record Personally, I expected the Memphis Grizzlies to have the worst in the Western Conference, so it's downright shocking that they're in the 8th spot at the moment. The NBA may be trying to steal that playoff berth away from them, but that won't change the great job that rookie coach Taylor Jenkins has done this year. Are the Grizzlies actually this good? Probably not. Their advanced stats are worse than their record, and Jaren Jackson Jr. hasn't taken the expected leap on defense yet. Still, wins are wins, and a coach shouldn't be penalized for collecting more than he should. (8) Mike D'Antoni, Houston: 40-24 record Based on the simple matter of wins versus preseason expectations (and an oveunder of 54.0), the Houston Rockets have been slightly underwhelming this year. Still, veteran Mike D'Antoni deserves a lot of credit for remaking the team on the fly. Changing from Chris Paul to Russell Westbrook may not be a huge difference in quality, but it's a huge difference in playing style. As a result, the Rockets leapt up from the 26th fastest pace last year all the way up to 4th this season. They'll looking like a proper D'Antoni and Morey team right now. In fact, they've taken that bold experiment up another notch this year by ditching Clint Capela and emulating Rick Moranis. So far, so good. These Smallball Rockets still have some lingering question marks about their defense and their rebounding, but they're extremely dangerous right now nonetheless. It's hard to imagine too many older coaches understanding and embracing this like D'Antoni has. (7) Brad Stevens, Boston: 43-21 record Brad Stevens has always been a media darling, and he's justifying that reputation this year. The Celtics lost Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, but are still top 5 in offense and top 5 in defense. Life without Kyrie has gone swimmingly, opening up some air for young stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to breathe; they're both in the running for Most Improved Player. As with Mike D'Antoni, Stevens also deserves credit for working with a limited hand at center. But rather than force the issue and overplay some stiffs, he's understood that the team just may be better off with 6'8" Daniel Theis manning the fort instead. (6) Frank Vogel, L.A. Lakers: 49-14 record It's never a good sign when you sign a new contract with a team, and are immediately placed among the favorites for "First Coach Fired" in Vegas. Frank Vogel walked that tightrope this season, with plenty of spectators expecting him to fail and fall to his demise. Instead, Vogel has kept his head down, and kept his focus, and helped this Lakers team grab the # 1 seed out West. Obviously it's an easier task when you have LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but this isn't a loaded roster otherwise. Moreover, there are a lot of moving parts and new pieces to work in. The fact that Vogel has this largely-old team ranked # 3 in defensive rating is a true testament to his success this year. (5) Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee: 53-12 record Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo is on track to win his second consecutive MVP award. While we tend to think the media likes new "narratives," but we've seen repeat winners before. Since 2000, Tim Duncan repeated as MVP, Steve Nash repeated as MVP, LeBron James repeated as MVP (on two separate occasions), and Steph Curry repeated as MVP as well. Coaches don't get the same luxury. In fact, since the award was created in 1962, the Coach of the Year winner has NEVER repeated the following season. You win once, you get to the back of the line. That tendency has really hurt Mike Budenholzer's candidacy this year. On paper, he should absolutely be in the running. The Bucks are once again # 1 in defense, # 1 in overall rating, # 1 in W-L record. They're on a better pace than last year's team, despite losing Malcolm Brogdon over the summer. If Giannis can repeat for the same feat twice, why shouldn't Budenholzer be allowed to do the same? (4) Rick Carlisle, Dallas: 40-27 record Everyone expected the Milwaukee Bucks to be dominant, but no one expected the Dallas Mavericks to be this good, this early. They've jumped the line and arrived in the playoffs earlier than schedule. They're only 1 win away from beating their preseason oveunder of 40.5 despite all the missed games. Like Mike Budenholzer, Rick Carlisle has benefited in that endeavor from a transcendent player in Luka Doncic. At the same time, this Mavs' machine has been rolling with and without Doncic. They rank # 1 in offensive efficiency this year, and depending on whether you want to factor in pace and league trends or not, they may have one of the best offenses we've ever seen from a statistical standpoint. It's quite an achievement from a coach who cut his stripes as a defensive specialist, and indicates the type of attitude that coaches need to adapt and evolve over time. (3) Erik Spoelstra, Miami: 41-24 record The Miami Heat pulled a free agency coup by signing Jimmy Butler away from Philadelphia. Still, it's not like people expected that to vault them to the top of the East. Butler was a good player, but a difficult one to manage. He blended into the crowd as well as a skinhead at a Bar Mitzvah. Overall, adding Butler only boosted the team's preseason oveunder win total to a modest 43.5. Turns out, Butler fit in better with the Heat than anyone expected, on and off the court. Butler hasn't shot well from the field, but his attacking and playmaking helped open up the offense (6th in the league) and propelled the team to a 51.7-win pace. He's fit in like a glove in terms of their tough-dude culture as well. Erik Spoelstra should get huge props for developing that culture and that system. But more than anything, he deserves credit for their player development system. Sure, Jimmy Butler is a star, and Bam Adebayo had star talent. At the same time, no one had ever heard of players like Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson at this time last year. These are complete randos who will make a combined $3M this season -- just half of Cristiano Felicio's salary. Having a coach who can grow talent like that in his backyard is a huge advantage for any franchise. (2) Billy Donovan, Oklahoma City: 41-24 record After Oklahoma City blew it up this summer by trading Russell Westbrook and Paul George, coach Billy Donovan felt like a dead man walking. Instead, Donovan and those fireproof zombie hordes in OKC sieged to a 41-24 record. How good is that? Hell, it's an even better winning percentage than the team had last year with Westbrook and George (in a career year.) Given all this surprising success, Donovan would be a fair winner of this award. He's managed to take in a bunch of new bodies and form a cohesive team. He's even had success playing three point guards together (CP3, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Dennis Schroder.) If you want to nitpick his candidacy, you could point out that the hodgepodge roster has a lot of talent scattered throughout. Chris Paul had become underrated, and Danilo Gallinari has always been underrated as well. The team's low preseason oveunder total (32.5) was largely based on the uncertainty about further trades. Everyone knew that this team had the talent to be competitive if they stayed together. Still, no one expected them to be this good. (1) Nick Nurse, Toronto: 46-18 record Last season, Nick Nurse finally got his first chance as an NBA head coach. He ended up having as good of a rookie year as anyone since Henry Rowengartner. Nurse coached circles around some of the best in the business en route to a championship season. Amazingly, he may have been even more impressive this year. Without Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, the Toronto Raptors held steady and didn't miss much of a beat. In fact, they're on pace to win 58.9 games, over a dozen more than their preseason oveunder of 46.5. Technically, Nurse still has limited experience as an NBA head coach, but he's already proven to be one of the masters. If we were to judge based on the results of this (semi-)season only, he'd be my personal "Coach of the Year."
I paid $1000 for an Adam Khoo investing course so you don't have to! (Summarized in post)
Lesson one is "stock basics" summarized: (2 videos) for every buyer there's a seller, for every seller there's a buyer, fear and greed drives prices, what fundamental analysis means, what technical analysis means. lesson 2 is ETFs summarized: (video 1) Bull markets are opportunities, bear markets are bigger opportunity's, Bear markets never last, always followed by bull market. (video 2) The market is volatile in the short term in the long term it always goes up, what an ETF is, different types of ETF indexes. (video 3) Expands on the different types of ETFs (bonds, commodities etc). (video 3) A 35min video on dollar cost averaging lol. (Video 5) summarizing the last 4 videos. Lesson 3 is Steps to investing summarized: (video 1) A good business increases value over time, a valuable business has higher sales, earnings and cashflow. (video 2) invest in businesses that are undervalued or fairly valued, stocks trade below its value because investors have negative perception of the company lesson 4 Financials summarized (all 4 videos) where to find financials, how to use a website (Morning Star) to screen stocks, how good is the company at making money, Look for companies that have growing revenue, check growth profit margin and net profit margin of company compared to industry. Lesson 5 Stock Valuation summarized (2 videos) go here: https://tradebrains.in/dcf-calculato and look at what the calculator is asking for, go to Morning Star find the needed numbers that are required, bam you got the intrinsic vale. Lesson 6 Technical Analysis summarized: (all 4 videos) What are candles sticks, what do they mean, support and ceilings, consolidation levels. Lesson 7 The 7 step formula summarized: (3 videos) See what I wrote in lesson 3 and lesson 5. lesson 8 Winning portfolio summarized summarized: (video 1) Diversify, keep portfolio balanced, different sectors (video 2) More sectors, Dividends (video 3) More on sectors, more on dividends, what are different stock caps (large cap, small cap etc) Lesson 9 finding opportunities summarized: (video 1) see lesson 3, (video 2) creating a watch list,monitor news, company announcements, stock price, financials Lesson 10 psychology of success summarized: (2 videos) basically: common sense. Lesson 11 Finding a broker summarized: (1 video) look at fees and commissions, see minimum deposit, check margin rates, make sure it has a good trading platform. I just saved you 18 hours and $1000.
You may have heard about off-shore tax havens of questionable legality where wealthy people invest their money in legal "grey zones" and don't pay any tax, as featured for example, in Netflix's drama, The Laundromat. The reality is that the Government of Canada offers 100% tax-free investing throughout your life, with unlimited withdrawals of your contributions and profits, and no limits on how much you can make tax-free. There is also nothing to report to the Canada Revenue Agency. Although Britain has a comparable program, Canada is the only country in the world that offers tax-free investing with this level of power and flexibility. Thank you fellow Redditors for the wonderful Gold Award and Today I Learned Award! (Unrelated but Important Note: I put a link at the bottom for my margin account explainer. Many people are interested in margin trading but don't understand the math behind margin accounts and cannot find an explanation. If you want to do margin, but don't know how, click on the link.) As a Gen-Xer, I wrote this post with Millennials in mind, many of whom are getting interested in investing in ETFs, individual stocks, and also my personal favourite, options. Your generation is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this extremely powerful program at a relatively young age. But whether you're in your 20's or your 90's, read on! Are TFSAs important? In 2020 Canadians have almost 1 trillion dollars saved up in their TFSAs, so if that doesn't prove that pennies add up to dollars, I don't know what does. The TFSA truly is the Great Canadian Tax Shelter. I will periodically be checking this and adding issues as they arise, to this post. I really appreciate that people are finding this useful. As this post is now fairly complete from a basic mechanics point of view, and some questions are already answered in this post, please be advised that at this stage I cannot respond to questions that are already covered here. If I do not respond to your post, check this post as I may have added the answer to the FAQs at the bottom.
How to Invest in Stocks
A lot of people get really excited - for good reason - when they discover that the TFSA allows you to invest in stocks, tax free. I get questions about which stocks to buy. I have made some comments about that throughout this post, however; I can't comprehensively answer that question. Having said that, though, if you're interested in picking your own stocks and want to learn how, I recommmend starting with the following videos: The first is by Peter Lynch, a famous American investor in the 80's who wrote some well-respected books for the general public, like "One Up on Wall Street." The advice he gives is always valid, always works, and that never changes, even with 2020's technology, companies and AI: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRMpgaBv-U4&t=2256s The second is a recording of a university lecture given by investment legend Warren Buffett, who expounds on the same principles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MHIcabnjrA Please note that I have no connection to whomever posted the videos.
TFSAs were introduced in 2009 by Stephen Harper's government, to encourage Canadians to save. The effect of the TFSA is that ordinary Canadians don't pay any income or capital gains tax on their securities investments. Initial uptake was slow as the contribution rules take some getting used to, but over time the program became a smash hit with Canadians. There are about 20 million Canadians with TFSAs, so the uptake is about 70%- 80% (as you have to be the age of majority in your province/territory to open a TFSA).
Eligibility to Open a TFSA
You must be a Canadian resident with a valid Social Insurance Number to open a TFSA. You must be at the voting age in the province in which you reside in order to open a TFSA, however contribution room begins to accumulate from the year in which you turned 18. You do not have to file a tax return to open a TFSA. You do not need to be a Canadian citizen to open and contribute to a TFSA. No minimum balance is required to open a TFSA.
Where you Can Open a TFSA
There are hundreds of financial institutions in Canada that offer the TFSA. There is only one kind of TFSA; however, different institutions offer a different range of financial products. Here are some examples:
The Canadian big 5 bank branches and most other financial institutions offer a TFSA that allows you to buy mutual funds, hold cash, GICs, term deposits, and possibly ETFs. This is a good choice if you want guaranteed returns or diversified investing.
There are a number of on-line banks such as Tangerine, Simplii Financial, Oaken Financial, and many more that offer the TFSA.
The discount DIY brokerage arms of the big 5 banks give you more choices, including stocks, warrants, bonds and options. There are also standalone brokers like IBKR Canada, Questrade, Qtrade, and Virtual Brokers, among others, that offer this.
Some brokerages and financial advisors also offer TFSAs that give you these investment choices, in different formats such as:
Traditional brokerage, where a stockbroker invests your money (BMO Nesbitt Burns, RBC Dominion Securities and others)
Financial advisor who will invest your money according to a plan you put together with the advisor (TSI Network and many others)
"Robo" advisors such as Wealthsimple, RBC InvestEase, BMO SmartFolio, or Wealthbar
BMO's AdviceDirect, which is a semi-directed hybrid between standalone DIY investing and fully-advised investing, where you operate on a DIY basis but have access to a registered investment advisor (a live person) who can give you suggetions and advice.
Your TFSA may be covered by either CIFP or CDIC insuranceor both. Ask your bank or broker for details.
What You Can Trade and Invest In
You can trade the following:
GICS, mutual funds, term deposits
individual common and preferred stocks listed on an "approved exchange" which is the TSX, TSX-V, NASDAQ, NYSE, and about 20 other exchanges worldwide, but not the US OTC pink sheets. Many examples, such as Suncor, Linamar, Apple, any of the big banks, and many thousands of others, when you want to buy into an individual company
stock-like securities like REITS, ETFs and ETNs, including 2x and 3x leveraged
gold and silver certificates
cash of many countries (CAD/USD/EUGBP/AUD/NZD/JPY/CHF and many others)
government bills and bonds of most countries, subsovereigns like Canadian provincial bills and bonds, and most corporations
options that trade on the Montreal Exchange or various options exchanges in the USA and the rest of the word (see FAQ for details)
gold, silver bullion certificates
shares in certain private companies -- but consult your tax advisor on this
What You Cannot Trade
You cannot trade:
commodity futures contracts
option spread positions (see FAQ for details)
anything that requires a margin account, meaning, a special kind of account that allows you to borrow money directly from the broker against the assets you have in your account and the assets you intend to buy.
crypto (although there exist crypto ETNs that you can buy)
Again, if it requires a margin account, it's out. You cannot buy on margin in a TFSA. Nothing stopping you from borrowing money from other sources as long as you stay within your contribution limits, but you can't trade on margin in a TFSA. You can of course trade long puts and calls which give you leverage.
Rules for Contribution Room
Starting at 18 you get a certain amount of contribution room. According to the CRA: You will accumulate TFSA contribution room for each year even if you do not file an Income Tax and Benefit Return or open a TFSA. The annual TFSA dollar limit for the years 2009 to2012 was $5,000. The annual TFSA dollar limit for the years 2013 and 2014 was $5,500. The annual TFSA dollar limit for the year 2015 was $10,000. The annual TFSA dollar limit for the years 2016 to 2018 was $5,500. The annual TFSA dollar limit for the year 2019 is $6,000. The TFSA annual room limit will be indexed to inflation and rounded to the nearest $500. Investment income earned by, and changes in the value of TFSA investments will not affect your TFSA contribution room for the current or future years. https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/tax-free-savings-account/contributions.html If you don't use the room, it accumulates indefinitely. Trades you make in a TFSA are truly tax free. But you cannot claim the dividend tax credit and you cannot claim losses in a TFSA against capital gains whether inside or outside of the TFSA. So do make money and don't lose money in a TFSA. You are stuck with the 15% withholding tax on U.S. dividend distributions unlike the RRSP, due to U.S. tax rules, but you do not pay any capital gains on sale of U.S. shares. You can withdraw *both* contributions *and* capital gains, no matter how much, at any time, without penalty. The amount of the withdrawal (contributions+gains) converts into contribution room in the *next* calendar year. So if you put the withdrawn funds back in the same calendar year you take them out, that burns up your total accumulated contribution room to the extent of the amount that you re-contribute in the same calendar year.
E.g. Say you turned 18 in 2016 in Alberta where the age of majority is 18. It is now sometime in 2020. You have never contributed to a TFSA. You now have $5,500+$5,500+$5,500+$6,000+$6,000 = $28,500 of room in 2020. In 2020 you manage to put $20,000 in to your TFSA and you buy Canadian Megacorp common shares. You now have $8,500 of room remaining in 2020. Sometime in 2021 - it doesn't matter when in 2021 - your shares go to $100K due to the success of the Canadian Megacorp. You also have $6,000 worth of room for 2021 as set by the government. You therefore have $8,500 carried over from 2020+$6,000 = $14,500 of room in 2021. In 2021 you sell the shares and pull out the $100K. This amount is tax-free and does not even have to be reported. You can do whatever you want with it. But: if you put it back in 2021 you will over-contribute by $100,000 - $14,500 = $85,500 and incur a penalty. But if you wait until 2022 you will have $14,500 unused contribution room carried forward from 2021, another $6,000 for 2022, and $100,000 carried forward from the withdrawal 2021, so in 2022 you will have $14,500+$6,000+$100,000 = $120,500 of contribution room. This means that if you choose, you can put the $100,000 back in in 2022 tax-free and still have $20,500 left over. If you do not put the money back in 2021, then in 2022 you will have $120,500+$6,000 = $126,500 of contribution room. There is no age limit on how old you can be to contribute, no limit on how much money you can make in the TFSA, and if you do not use the room it keeps carrying forward forever. Just remember the following formula: This year's contribution room = (A) unused contribution room carried forward from last year + (B) contribution room provided by the government for this year + (C) total withdrawals from last year. EXAMPLE 1: Say in 2020 you never contributed to a TFSA but you were 18 in 2009. You have $69,500 of unused room (see above) in 2020 which accumulated from 2009-2020. In 2020 you contribute $50,000, leaving $19,500 contribution room unused for 2020. You buy $50,000 worth of stock. The next day, also in 2020, the stock doubles and it's worth $100,000. Also in 2020 you sell the stock and withdraw $100,000, tax-free. You continue to trade stocks within your TFSA, and hopefully grow your TFSA in 2020, but you make no further contributions or withdrawals in 2020. The question is, How much room will you have in 2021? Answer: In the year 2021, the following applies: (A) Unused contribution room carried forward from last year, 2020: $19,500 (B) Contribution room provided by government for this year, 2021: $6,000 (C) Total withdrawals from last year, 2020: $100,000 Total contribution room for 2021 = $19,500+6,000+100,000 = $125,500. EXAMPLE 2: Say between 2020 and 2021 you decided to buy a tax-free car (well you're still stuck with the GST/PST/HST/QST but you get the picture) so you went to the dealer and spent $25,000 of the $100,000 you withdrew in 2020. You now have a car and $75,000 still burning a hole in your pocket. Say in early 2021 you re-contribute the $75,000 you still have left over, to your TFSA. However, in mid-2021 you suddenly need $75,000 because of an emergency so you pull the $75,000 back out. But then a few weeks later, it turns out that for whatever reason you don't need it after all so you decide to put the $75,000 back into the TFSA, also in 2021. You continue to trade inside your TFSA but make no further withdrawals or contributions. How much room will you have in 2022? Answer: In the year 2022, the following applies: (A) Unused contribution room carried forward from last year, 2021: $125,500 - $75,000 - $75,000 = -$24,500. Already you have a problem. You have over-contributed in 2021. You will be assessed a penalty on the over-contribution! (penalty = 1% a month). But if you waited until 2022 to re-contribute the $75,000 you pulled out for the emergency..... In the year 2022, the following would apply: (A) Unused contribution room carried forward from last year, 2021: $125,500 -$75,000 =$50,500. (B) Contribution room provided by government for this year, 2022: $6,000 (C) Total withdrawals from last year, 2020: $75,000 Total contribution room for 2022 = $50,500 + $6,000 + $75,000 = $131,500. ...And...re-contributing that $75,000 that was left over from your 2021 emergency that didn't materialize, you still have $131,500-$75,000 = $56,500 of contribution room left in 2022. For a more comprehensive discussion, please see the CRA info link below.
FAQs That Have Arisen in the Discussion and Other Potential Questions:
Equity and ETF/ETN Options in a TFSA: can I get leverage? Yes. You can buy puts and calls in your TFSA and you only need to have the cash to pay the premium and broker commissions. Example: if XYZ is trading at $70, and you want to buy the $90 call with 6 months to expiration, and the call is trading at $2.50, you only need to have $250 in your account, per option contract, and if you are dealing with BMO IL for example you need $9.95 + $1.25/contract which is what they charge in commission. Of course, any profits on closing your position are tax-free. You only need the full value of the strike in your account if you want to exercise your option instead of selling it. Please note: this is not meant to be an options tutorial; see the Montreal Exchange's Equity Options Reference Manual if you have questions on how options work.
Equity and ETF/ETN Options in a TFSA: what is ok and not ok? Long puts and calls are allowed. Covered calls are allowed, but cash-secured puts are not allowed. All other option trades are also not allowed. Basically the rule is, if the trade is not a covered call and it either requires being short an option or short the stock, you can't do it in a TFSA.
Live in a province where the voting age is 19 so I can't open a TFSA until I'm 19, when does my contribution room begin? Your contribution room begins to accumulate at 18, so if you live in province where the age of majority is 19, you'll get the room carried forward from the year you turned 18.
If I turn 18 on December 31, do I get the contribution room just for that day or for the whole year? The whole year.
Do commissions paid on share transactions count as withdrawals? Unfortunately, no. If you contribute $2,000 cash and you buy $1,975 worth of stock and pay $25 in commission, the $25 does not count as a withdrawal. It is the same as if you lost money in the TFSA.
How much room do I have? If your broker records are complete, you can do a spreadsheet. The other thing you can do is call the CRA and they will tell you.
TFSATFSA direct transfer from one institution to another: this has no impact on your contributions or withdrawals as it counts as neither.
More than 1 TFSA: you can have as many as you want but your total contribution room does not increase or decrease depending on how many accounts you have.
Withdrawals that convert into contribution room in the next year. Do they carry forward indefinitely if not used in the next year? Answer :yes.
Do I have to declare my profits, withdrawals and contributions? No. Your bank or broker interfaces directly with the CRA on this. There are no declarations to make.
Risky investments - smart? In a TFSA you want always to make money, because you pay no tax, and you want never to lose money, because you cannot claim the loss against your income from your job. If in year X you have $5,000 of contribution room and put it into a TFSA and buy Canadian Speculative Corp. and due to the failure of the Canadian Speculative Corp. it goes to zero, two things happen. One, you burn up that contribution room and you have to wait until next year for the government to give you more room. Two, you can't claim the $5,000 loss against your employment income or investment income or capital gains like you could in a non-registered account. So remember Buffett's rule #1: Do not lose money. Rule #2 being don't forget the first rule. TFSA's are absolutely tailor-made for Graham-Buffett value investing or for diversified ETF or mutual fund investing, but you don't want to buy a lot of small specs because you don't get the tax loss.
Moving to/from Canada/residency. You must be a resident of Canada and 18 years old with a valid SIN to open a TFSA. Consult your tax advisor on whether your circumstances make you a resident for tax purposes. Since 2009, your TFSA contribution room accumulates every year, if at any time in the calendar year you are 18 years of age or older and a resident of Canada. Note: If you move to another country, you can STILL trade your TFSA online from your other country and keep making money within the account tax-free. You can withdraw money and Canada will not tax you. But you have to get tax advice in your country as to what they do. There restrictions on contributions for non-residents. See "non residents of Canada:" https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/cra-arc/formspubs/pub/rc4466/rc4466-19e.pdf
The U.S. withholding tax. Dividends paid by U.S.-domiciled companies are subject to a 15% U.S. withholding tax. Your broker does this automatically at the time of the dividend payment. So if your stock pays a $100 USD dividend, you only get $85 USD in your broker account and in your statement the broker will have a note saying 15% U.S. withholding tax. I do not know under what circumstances if any it is possible to get the withheld amount. Normally it is not, but consult a tax professional.
The U.S. withholding tax does not apply to capital gains. So if you buy $5,000 USD worth of Apple and sell it for $7,000 USD, you get the full $2,000 USD gain automatically.
Tax-Free Leverage. Leverage in the TFSA is effectively equal to your tax rate * the capital gains inclusion rate because you're not paying tax. So if you're paying 25% on average in income tax, and the capital gains contribution rate is 50%, the TFSA is like having 12.5%, no margin call leverage costing you 0% and that also doesn't magnify your losses.
Margin accounts. These accounts allow you to borrow money from your broker to buy stocks. TFSAs are not margin accounts. Nothing stopping you from borrowing from other sources (such as borrowing cash against your stocks in an actual margin account, or borrowing cash against your house in a HELOC or borrowing cash against your promise to pay it back as in a personal LOC) to fund a TFSA if that is your decision, bearing in mind the risks, but a TFSA is not a margin account. Consider options if you want leverage that you can use in a TFSA, without borrowing money.
Dividend Tax Credit on Canadian Companies. Remember, dividends paid into the TFSA are not eligible to be claimed for the credit, on the rationale that you already got a tax break.
FX risk. The CRA allows you to contribute and withdraw foreign currency from the TFSA but the contribution/withdrawal accounting is done in CAD. So if you contribute $10,000 USD into your TFSA and withdraw $15,000 USD, and the CAD is trading at 70 cents USD when you contribute and $80 cents USD when you withdraw, the CRA will treat it as if you contributed $14,285.71 CAD and withdrew $18,75.00 CAD.
OTC (over-the-counter stocks). You can only buy stocks if they are listed on an approved exchange ("approved exchange" = TSX, TSX-V, NYSE, NASDAQ and about 25 or so others). The U.S. pink sheets "over-the-counter" market is an example of a place where you can buy stocks, that is not an approved exchange, therefore you can't buy these penny stocks. I have however read that the CRA make an exception for a stock traded over the counter if it has a dual listing on an approved exchange. You should check that with a tax lawyer or accountant though.
The RRSP. This is another great tax shelter. Tax shelters in Canada are either deferrals or in a few cases - such as the TFSA - outright tax breaks, The RRSP is an example of a deferral. The RRSP allows you to deduct your contributions from your income, which the TFSA does not allow. This deduction is a huge advantage if you earn a lot of money. The RRSP has tax consequences for withdrawing money whereas the TFSA does not. Withdrawals from the RRSP are taxable whereas they are obviously not in a TFSA. You probably want to start out with a TFSA and maintain and grow that all your life. It is a good idea to start contributing to an RRSP when you start working because you get the tax deduction, and then you can use the amount of the deduction to contribute to your TFSA. There are certain rules that claw back your annual contribution room into an RRSP if you contribute to a pension. See your tax advisor.
Pensions. If I contribute to a pension does that claw back my TFSA contribution room or otherwise affect my TFSA in any way? Answer: No.
The $10K contribution limit for 2015. This was PM Harper's pledge. In 2015 the Conservative government changed the rules to make the annual government allowance $10,000 per year forever. Note: withdrawals still converted into contribution room in the following year - that did not change. When the Liberals came into power they switched the program back for 2016 to the original Harper rules and have kept the original Harper rules since then. That is why there is the $10,000 anomaly of 2015. The original Harper rules (which, again, are in effect now) called for $500 increments to the annual government allowance as and when required to keep up with inflation, based on the BofC's Consumer Price Index (CPI). Under the new Harper rules, it would have been $10,000 flat forever. Which you prefer depends on your politics but the TFSA program is massively popular with Canadians. Assuming 1.6% annual CPI inflation then the annual contribution room will hit $10,000 in 2052 under the present rules. Note: the Bank of Canada does an excellent and informative job of explaining inflation and the CPI at their website.
Losses in a TFSA - you cannot claim a loss in a TFSA against income. So in a TFSA you always want to make money and never want to lose money. A few ppl here have asked if you are losing money on your position in a TFSA can you transfer it in-kind to a cash account and claim the loss. I would expect no as I cannot see how in view of the fact that TFSA losses can't be claimed, that the adjusted cost base would somehow be the cost paid in the TFSA. But I'm not a tax lawyeaccountant. You should consult a tax professional.
Transfers in-kind to the TFSA and the the superficial loss rule. You can transfer securities (shares etc.) "in-kind," meaning, directly, from an unregistered account to the TFSA. If you do that, the CRA considers that you "disposed" of, meaning, equivalent to having sold, the shares in the unregistered account and then re-purchased them at the same price in the TFSA. The CRA considers that you did this even though the broker transfers the shares directly in the the TFSA. The superficial loss rule, which means that you cannot claim a loss for a security re-purchased within 30 days of sale, applies. So if you buy something for $20 in your unregistered account, and it's trading for $25 when you transfer it in-kind into the TFSA, then you have a deemed disposition with a capital gain of $5. But it doesn't work the other way around due to the superficial loss rule. If you buy it for $20 in the unregistered account, and it's trading at $15 when you transfer it in-kind into the TFSA, the superficial loss rule prevents you from claiming the loss because it is treated as having been sold in the unregistered account and immediately bought back in the TFSA.
Day trading/swing trading. It is possible for the CRA to try to tax your TFSA on the basis of "advantage." The one reported decision I'm aware of (emphasis on I'm aware of) is from B.C. where a woman was doing "swap transactions" in her TFSA which were not explicitly disallowed but the court rules that they were an "advantage" in certain years and liable to taxation. Swaps were subsequently banned. I'm not sure what a swap is exactly but it's not that someone who is simply making contributions according to the above rules would run afoul of. The CRA from what I understand doesn't care how much money you make in the TFSA, they care how you made it. So if you're logged on to your broker 40 hours a week and trading all day every day they might take the position that you found a way to work a job 40 hours a week and not pay any tax on the money you make, which they would argue is an "advantage," although there are arguments against that. This is not legal advice, just information.
The U.S. Roth IRA. This is a U.S. retirement savings tax shelter that is superficially similar to the TFSA but it has a number of limitations, including lack of cumulative contribution room, no ability for withdrawals to convert into contribution room in the following year, complex rules on who is eligible to contribute, limits on how much you can invest based on your income, income cutoffs on whether you can even use the Roth IRA at all, age limits that govern when and to what extent you can use it, and strict restrictions on reasons to withdraw funds prior to retirement (withdrawals prior to retirement can only be used to pay for private medical insurance, unpaid medical bills, adoption/childbirth expenses, certain educational expenses). The TFSA is totally unlike the Roth IRA in that it has none of these restrictions, therefore, the Roth IRA is not in any reasonable sense a valid comparison. The TFSA was modeled after the U.K. Investment Savings Account, which is the only comparable program to the TFSA.
The UK Investment Savings Account. This is what the TFSA was based off of. Main difference is that the UK uses a 20,000 pound annual contribution allowance, use-it-or-lose-it. There are several different flavours of ISA, and some do have a limited recontribution feature but not to the extent of the TFSA.
Is it smart to overcontribute to buy a really hot stock and just pay the 1% a month overcontribution penalty? If the CRA believes you made the overcontribution deliberately the penalty is 100% of the gains on the overcontribution, meaning, you can keep the overcontribution, or the loss, but the CRA takes the profit.
Speculative stocks-- are they ok? There is no such thing as a "speculative stock." That term is not used by the CRA. Either the stock trades on an approved exchange or it doesn't. So if a really blue chip stock, the most stable company in the world, trades on an exchange that is not approved, you can't buy it in a TFSA. If a really speculative gold mining stock in Busang, Indonesia that has gone through the roof due to reports of enormous amounts of gold, but their geologist somehow just mysteriously fell out of a helicopter into the jungle and maybe there's no gold there at all, but it trades on an approved exchange, it is fine to buy it in a TFSA. Of course the risk of whether it turns out to be a good investment or not, is on you.
Remember, you're working for your money anyway, so if you can get free money from the government -- you should take it! Follow the rules because Canadians have ended up with a tax bill for not understanding the TFSA rules. Appreciate the feedback everyone. Glad this basic post has been useful for many. The CRA does a good job of explaining TFSAs in detail at https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/cra-arc/formspubs/pub/rc4466/rc4466-19e.pdf
Unrelated but of Interest: The Margin Account
Note: if you are interested in how margin accounts work, I refer you to my post on margin accounts, where I use a straightforward explanation of the math behind margin accounts to try and give readers the confidence that they understand this powerful leveraging tool.
Long Thesis - Progyny - 100% upside - High-growth, profitable company is the only differentiated provider in a large, growing, and underserved market. PGNY’s high-touch, seamless offering helps them stand out against large insurance carriers.
Link to my research report on PGNY Summary High-growth, profitable company is the only differentiated provider in a large, growing, and underserved market. PGNY’s high-touch, seamless offering helps them stand out against large insurance carriers. Covid-19 has shown the importance of benefits for employees and will continue to be the key differentiator for those thinking of changing jobs. According to RMANJ (Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey), 68% of people would switch jobs for fertility benefits. For employers, Progyny reduces costs by including the latest cutting-edge technology in one packaged price, thereby lowering the risk of multiples and increasing the likelihood of pregnancy, keeping employees happy with an integrated, data-driven, concierge service partnering with a selective group of fertility doctors. Upside potential is 2x current price in the next 18 months. Overview Progyny Inc. (Nasdaq: PGNY), “PGNY” or the “Company”, based in New York, NY, is the leading independent fertility and family building benefits manager. Progyny serves as a value-add benefits manager sold to employers who want to improve their benefits coverage and retain and attract the best employees. Progyny offers a comprehensive solution and is truly disrupting the fertility industry. There is no standard fertility cycle, but the below is a good approximation of possible workflows: https://preview.redd.it/7aip8pna9zi51.png?width=941&format=png&auto=webp&s=7ef868a67eae10534bac254ab58fb3d4295aef37
Patient is referred to fertility center for evaluation for Assisted Reproductive Technology (“ART”) procedures, including in-vitro fertilization (“IVF “) and intrauterine insemination (“IUI”). Both can be aided by pharmaceuticals that stimulate egg production in the female patient. IVF involves the fertilization of the egg and sperm in the lab, while IUI is direct injection of the sperm sample into the uterus. Often, IUI is done first as it is less expensive. As success rates of IVF have increased, IUI utilization will likely fall.
Sperm washing is the separation of the sperm from the semen sample for embryo creation, and it enhances the freezing capacity of the sperm. Typically, a wash solution is added to the sample and then a centrifuge is used to undergo separation. This is done in both IUI and IVF.
Some OB/GYN platforms are pursuing vertical integration and offering fertility services directly. The OB would need to be credentialed at the lab / procedure center.
Specialty pharmacy arranges delivery of temperature sensitive Rx. Drug regimens include ovarian stimulation to increase the number of eggs or hormone manipulation to better time fertility cycles, among others.
Oocyte retrieval / aspiration is done under deep-sedation anesthesia in a procedure room, typically in the attached IVF lab. Transfer cycle implantation is done using ultrasound guidance without anesthesia. (Anecdotally, we have been told that only REIs can perform an egg retrieval. We have not been able to validate this).
Many clinics house frozen embryos on-site, while some clinics contract with 3rd parties to manage the process. During an IVF cycle, embryos are created from all available eggs. Single-embryo transfer (“SET”) is becoming the norm, which means that multiple embryos are then cryopreserved to use in the future. A fertility preservation cycle ends here with a female storing eggs for long-term usage (e.g. a woman in her young 20s deciding to freeze her eggs for starting a family later).
Common nomenclature refers to an IVF cycle or an IVF cycle with Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (“ICSI”). From a technical perspective, ICSI and IVF are different forms of embryo fertilization within an ART cycle.
ART clinics are frequently offering ancillary services such as embryo / egg adoption or surrogacy services. More frequently, there are independent companies that help with the adoption process and finding surrogates.
ART procedures are broken into two different types of cycles: a banking cycle is the process by which eggs are gathered, embryos are created and then transferred to cryopreservation. A transfer cycle is typically the transfer of a thawed embryo to the female for potential pregnancy. If a pregnancy does not occur, another transfer cycle ensues. Many REIs are moving towards a banking cycle, freezing all embryos, then transfer cycles until embryos are exhausted or a birth occurs. If a birth occurs with the first embryo, patients can keep their embryos for future pregnancy attempts, donate the embryos to a donation center, or request the destruction of the embryos.
The Company started as Auxogen Biosciences, an egg-freezing provider before changing business models to focus on providing a full-range of fertility benefits. In 2016, they launched with their first 5 employer clients and 110,000 members. As of June 30, 2020, the Company provided benefits to 134 employers and ~2.2 million members, year over year growth of 63%. 134 employers is less than 2% of the total addressable market of “approximately 8,000 self-insured employers in the United States (excluding quasi-governmental entities, such as universities and school systems, and labor unions) who have a minimum of 1,000 employees and represent approximately 69 million potential covered lives in total. Our current member base of 2.1 million represents only 3% of our total market opportunity.” The utilization rate for all Progyny members was less than 1% in 2019, offering significant leverageable upside as the topic of fertility becomes less taboo.
Fertility has historically been a process fraught one-sided knowledge, even more so than the typical physician procedure. Despite the increased availability of information on the internet, women who undergo fertility treatments have often described the experience as “byzantine” and “chaotic”. Outdated treatment models without the latest technology (or the latest tech offered as expensive a la carte options) continue to be the norm at traditional insurance providers as well as clinics that do not accept insurance. Progyny’s differentiated approach, including a high-touch concierge level of service for patients and data-driven decision making at the clinical level, has led to an NPS of 72 for fertility benefits and 80 for the integrated, optional pharmacy benefit. Typically, fertility benefits offered by large insurance carriers are add-ons to existing coverage subject to a lifetime maximum while simultaneously requiring physicians to try IUI 3 – 6 times before authorizing IVF. The success rate of IUI, also known as artificial insemination, is typically less than 10%, even when performed with medication. As mentioned in Progyny’s IPO “A patient with mandated fertility step therapy protocol may be required to undergo three to six cycles of IUI, which has an average success rate range of 5% to 15%, takes place over three to six months and can cost up to $4,000 per cycle (or an aggregate of approximately $12,000 to $24,000), according to FertilityIQ. Multiple rounds of mandated IUI is likely to exhaust the patient's lifetime dollar maximum fertility benefits and waste valuable time before more effective IVF treatment can be begun.” Success Rates for IVF IVF success rates vary greatly by age but were 49% on average for women younger than 35. The graph below shows success rates by all clinics by age group for those that did at least 10 cycles in the specific age group. As an example, for those in the ages 35 – 37, out of 456 available clinics, 425 performed at least 10 cycles with a median success rate of 39.7%. https://preview.redd.it/d2l5dtw89zi51.png?width=4990&format=png&auto=webp&s=5ff2ab9948b94419558a27ac861d4e498dce6713 Progyny’s Smart Cycle is the proprietary method the company has chosen as a “currency” for fertility benefits. As opposed to a traditional fee-for-service model with step-up methods, employers may choose to provide between 2 and unlimited Smart Cycles to employees. This enables employees to choose the provider’s best method. Included in the Smart Cycle, and another indicator of the Company’s forward-thinking methodology, are treatment options that deliver better outcomes (PGS, ICSI, multiple embryo freezing with future implantations). https://preview.redd.it/np577a389zi51.png?width=734&format=png&auto=webp&s=c061a2b24c8515890ba204479b4677893dabf755 As detailed in the chart above, a patient could undergo an IVF cycle that freezes all embryos (3/4 of a Smart Cycle), then transfer 5 frozen embryos (1/4 cycle each; each transfer would occur at peak ovulation, which would take at least 5 months) and use only 2 Smart Cycles. Alternatively, if the patient froze all embryos and got pregnant on the first embryo transfer, they would only use one cycle. Before advances in vitrification (freezing), patients could not be sure that an embryo created in the lab and frozen for later use would be viable, so using only one embryo at a time seemed wasteful. Now, as freezing technology has advanced, undergoing one pharmaceutical regime, one oocyte collection procedure, creating as many embryos as possible, and then transferring one embryo back into the uterus while freezing the rest provides the highest ROI. If the first transferred embryo fails to implant or otherwise does not lead to a baby, the patient can simply thaw the next embryo and try implantation again next month. Included in each Smart Cycle is pre-implantation genetic sequencing (“PGS”) on all available embryos and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (“ICSI”). PGS uses next-generation sequencing technology to determine the viability and sex of the embryo while ICSI is a process whereby a sperm is directly inserted into the egg to start fertilization, rather than allowing the sperm to penetrate the egg naturally. ICSI has a slightly higher rate of successful fertilization (as opposed to simply leaving the egg and sperm in the petri dish). Because Progyny’s experience is denominated in cycles of care, not simply dollars, patients and doctors can focus on what procedures offer the best return. 30% of the Company’s existing network of doctors do not accept insurance of any kind, other than Progyny, which speaks to the value that is provided to doctors and employers. For patients not looking to get pregnant, Progyny offers egg freezing as well. Progyny started as an egg-freezing manager, which allows a woman to preserve her fertility and manage her biological clock. As mentioned previously, pregnancy outcomes vary significantly and align closely with the age of the egg. Egg freezing is designed to allow a woman to save her younger eggs until she is ready to start a family. From an employer’s perspective, keeping younger women in the work force for longer is a cost savings. Vitrification technology has improved significantly since “Freeze your eggs, Free Your Career” was the headline on Bloomberg Businesweek in 2014, but we still don’t yet know the pregnancy rates for women who froze their eggs 5 years ago, but early results are promising and on par with IVF rates for women of similar ages now. From a female perspective, the egg freezing process is not an easy one. The patient is still required to inject themselves with stimulation drugs and the egg retrieval process is the same as in the IVF process (under sedation). The same number of days out of work are required. Using the SmartCycle benefit above as an example, the egg freezing process would require ½ of a Smart Cycle. The annual payment required to the clinic is typically included in the benefits package but may require out-of-pocket expenses covered by the employee. Contrary to popular belief, IVF pregnancies do not have a higher rate of multiples (twins, triplets, etc.), rather in order to reduce out of pocket costs, REIs have transferred multiple embryos to the patient, in the hopes of achieving a pregnancy. If you have struggled for years to get pregnant, and the doctor is suggesting that transferring 3 embryos at once is your best chance at success, you are unlikely to complain, nor are you likely to selectively eliminate an implanted embryo because you now have twins. There are several factors that are making it more likely / acceptable to transfer one embryo at a time, enabling Progyny’s success. https://preview.redd.it/48vk9gc69zi51.png?width=953&format=png&auto=webp&s=2c75a2771a1dd9a079074331b317451f076725ca From the Company: “According to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology that analyzed the total costs of care over 400,000 deliveries between 2005 and 2010, as adjusted for inflation, the maternity and perinatal healthcare costs attributable to a set of twins are approximately $150,000 on average, more than four times the comparable costs attributable to singleton births of approximately $35,000, and often exceed this average. In the case of triplets, the costs escalate significantly and average $560,000, sometimes extending upwards of $1.0 million.” “Progyny's selective network of high-quality fertility specialists consistently demonstrate a strong adherence to best practices with a substantially higher single embryo transfer rate. As a result, our members experience significantly fewer pregnancies with multiples (e.g., twins or triplets). Multiples are associated with a higher probability of adverse medical conditions for the mother and babies, and as a byproduct, significantly escalate the costs for employers. Our IVF multiples rate is 3.6% compared to the national average of 16.1%. A lower multiples rate is the primary means to achieving lower high-risk maternity and NICU expenses for our clients.” An educated and supported patient leads to better outcomes. Each patient gets a patient care advocate who interacts with a patient, on average, 15x during their usage of fertility benefits - before treatment, during treatment and post-pregnancy. The Company provides phone-based clinical education and support seven days a week and the Company’s proprietary “UnPack It” call allows patients to speak to a licensed pharmacy clinician who describes the medications included in the package (which contains an average of 20 items per cycle), provides instruction on proper medication administration, and ensures that cycles start on time. The Company’s single medication authorization and delivery led to no missed or delayed cycles in 2018. Previous conference calls have made note of the fact that the Company would like to purchase their own specialty pharmacy and own every aspect of that interaction, which should provide a lift to gross margins. This would allow PGNY to manage both the medication and the treatment, leading to decreased cost of fertility drugs. Under larger carrier programs, carriers manage access to treatment, but PBM manages access to medications, which can lead to a delay in cycle commencement. Progyny Rx can only be added to the Progyny fertility benefits solution (not offered without subscription to base fertility benefits) and offers patients a potentially lower cost fertility drug benefit, while streamlining what is often a frustrating part of the consumer experience. The Progyny Rx solution reduces dispensing and delivery times and eliminates the possibility that a cycle does not start on time due to a specialty pharmacy not delivering medication. Progyny bills employers for fertility medication as it is dispensed in accordance with the individual Smart Cycle contract. Progyny Rx was introduced in 2018 and represented only 5% of total revenue in 2018. By June 30, 2020, Progyny Rx represented 28% of total revenue and increased 15% y/y. The growth rate should slow and move more in line with the fertility benefits solution as the existing customer base adds it to their package. Progyny Rx can save employers 5% on spend for typical carrier fertility benefits or 21% of the drug spend. Prior authorization is not required, and the pre-screened network of specialty pharmacies can deliver within 48 hours. Additionally, PGNY has 1-year contracts, as opposed to 3 – 5 years like standard PBMs, but with guaranteed minimums, allowing them to purchase at discounts and pass part of the savings on to employers – another reason the attachment rate is so high. Large, Underpenetrated Addressable Market Total cycle counts are increasing (below, in 000s), including both freezing cycles and intended-pregnancy cycles. Acceleration in cycle volume is likely driven by a declining birth rate as women wait later in life to start a family, resulting in reduced fertility, as well as the number of non-traditional (LGBT and single parents). Conservatively, we believe cycles can double in the next 8 years, a 7% CAGR. https://preview.redd.it/y6y7jb559zi51.png?width=943&format=png&auto=webp&s=6cc5cdde7c6583d8e943d2675ad3b6ae85f818de Progyny believes its addressable market is the $6.7B spent on infertility treatments in 2017, but these numbers could easily understate the available market and potential patients as over 50% of people in the US who are diagnosed as infertile do not seek treatment. Additionally, according to the Company, 35% of its covered universe did not previously have fertility benefits in place previously, meaning there is a growing population of people who are now considering their fertility options. According to Willis Towers, Watson, ~ 55% of employers offered fertility benefits in 2018. A quick review of CDC stats and FertilityIQ shows a significant disparity in outcomes and emotions for those who are seeking treatment. While technology in the embryo lab is improving rapidly and success rates between clinics should be converging, there continue to be significant outliers. Clinics that follow what are now generally accepted procedures (follicle stimulating hormones, a 5-day incubation period and PGS to determine embryo viability) have seen success rates of at least 40%. There continue to be several providers that offer a mini-IVF cycle or natural IVF cycle. Designed to appeal to cost conscious cash payors, the on average $5,000 costs, is simply IVF without prescription drugs or any add-ons such as PGS. However, the success rates are on par with IUI and there is an abundance of patients over 40 using the service, where the success rates are already low. Additionally, success stories at these clinics frequently align with what is perceived as the worst parts of the process: One clinic offering a natural cycle IVF has a rating at FertilityIQ of ~8.0 with 60% of people strongly recommending it. This clinic performed 2,000 cycles in 2018 (the most recently available data from the CDC), making it one of the top 10 most active fertility center in the US. Their success rate for women under 35 was 23%, as opposed to the national average of 50% for all clinics. For women over 43, the average success rate for the most active 40 clinics in this demographic was 5.0% this clinics success rate was 0.4%. The lower success rate is likely due to the lack of pre-cycle drugs and PGS, but the success rate and the average rating is hard to understand. Part of this could be to the customer service provided by the clinic, or the perceived benefit of having to go into the office less often for check-ups when not doing a medication driven cycle. . Reviews from other clinics with high average customer ratings, but low success rates include: - “start of a journey that consisted of multiple IUI’s with numerous medications, but they were not successful.” - After an IVF retrieval, the couple had two viable embryos, both were transferred the next month” - “The couple started with a series of IUI treatments, three in total that were not successful.” - “After a fresh transfer of two embryos, again another unsuccessful cycle”. - “He suggested transferring 2 due to higher implantation rates, but there is increased rate of twins “ Valuation https://preview.redd.it/tqcykjm39zi51.png?width=6358&format=png&auto=webp&s=b63fd53c054ac5cbacaf9ccc734c7e73f0ea3c32 Progyny’s comps have typically been other high-growth companies that went public in the last two years: 1Life Healthcare (ONEM), Accolade (ACCD), Health Catalyst (HCAT), Health Equity (HQY), Livongo (LVGO), Phreesia (PHR), as well as Teladoc (TDOC). Despite revenue growth that outpaces these companies, PGNY’s revenue multiple of 4.4x 2021E revenue is a 40% discount to the peer group median. PNGY’s lower gross margin is likely limiting the multiple. However, Progyny is the one of the few profitable companies in this group and the only one with realistic EBTIDA margins. SG&A leverage is the most likely driver of increased EBITDA and can be achieved by utilizing data to improve clinical outcomes in the future, but primarily by increased productive of the sales reps, including larger employer wins and larger employee utilization. Perhaps the best direct comp is Bright Horizons (BFAM). BFAM offers childcare as a healthcare benefit where employees can use pre-tax dollars to pay for childcare. BFAM offers both onsite childcare centers built to the employer’s specification (owned by the employer and operated by BFAM), as well as shared-site locations that are open to the public and back-up sitter services. Currently, PGNY is trading at 4.4x 2021E Revenue, in-line with BFAM’s 4.3x multiple. I would argue that PGNY should trade significantly higher given the asset-lite business model and higher ROIC. Recent Results Post Covid-19, fertility treatments came back faster than anticipated, combined with disciplined operations, PGNY drove revenue and EBITDA above 2Q2020 consensus estimates. Utilization is still below historical levels, but management’s visibility led to excellent FY21 revenue estimates (consensus is around $555M, a y/y increase of 62%. 2Q2020 revenue increased 15% to $64.6M, and EBITDA increased 18% to $6.5M, primarily driven by SBC as the 15% revenue was not enough to leverage the additional G&A people hired in the last 18 months. The end of the quarter as fertility docs opened their offices back up for remote visits saw better operating margin. Despite the shutdown in fertility clinics during COVID-19, Progyny was able to successfully add several clients. “The significant majority of the clinics in our network chose to adhere to ASRMs guidelines, and our volume of fertility treatments and dispensing of the related medications declined significantly over the latter part of the quarter. . . Through the end of March and into the first half of April, we saw significant reductions in the utilization of the benefit by our members down to as low as 15%, when compared to the early part of Q1 were 15% of what we consider to be normal levels. In April, the New York Department of Health declared that fertility is an essential health service and stated that clinics have the authority to treat their patients and perform procedures during the pandemic. Then on April 24, ASRM updated its guidelines which were reaffirmed on May 11, advising that practices could reopen for all procedures so long as it could be done in a measured way that is safe for patients and staff.” Revenue increased by $33.8 million, 72% in 1Q2020. This increase is primarily due to a $19.0 million, or 47% increase, in revenue from fertility benefits. Additionally, the Company experienced a $14.8 million or 216% increase in revenue from specialty pharmacy. Revenue growth was due to the increase in the number of clients and covered lives. Progyny Rx revenue growth outpaced the fertility benefits revenue since Progyny Rx went live with only a select number of clients on January 1, 2018 and has continued to add both new and existing fertility benefit solution clients since its initial launch. Competition The only true competition is the large insurance companies, but, as mentioned previously, they are not delivering care the same way. WINFertility is the largest manager of fertility insurance benefits on behalf of Anthem, Aetna and Cigna and are not directly involved in the delivery of care. Carrot is a Silicon Valley startup that recently raised $24M in a Series B with several brand name customers (StitchFix, Slack) where they focus on negotiating discounts at fertility clinics for their customers, who then use after-tax dollars from their employers. Risks to Thesis Though there is risk a large carrier may switch to a model similar to Progyny’s, I believe it is unlikely given the established relationships with REIs at the clinic level, the difficulty of managing a more selective network of providers, and the lack of interest shown previously in eliminating the IUI. It is more likely a carrier would acquire Progyny first.
Some interesting news in the stock market this week
Barrick Gold $GOLD jumped 10% on Monday after Berkshire Hathaway filings showed Mr Buffett’s firm had purchased around $540 million of stock. Depending on what news you follow you could take this as;
a u-turn by Warren Buffett on his previously held skepticism on gold, or
a negative outlook for the US economy (from the man who said never bet against America) or
(perhaps more likely) a relatively small position in a strong company trading on a cheap valuation.
Barrick Gold is one of the largest mining companies in the world that has seen its stock price rise 50% this year as the gold price has risen 33% from $1,500 per oz to close to $2,000. However, Barrick Gold has a break even gold price of just $950 per oz meaning that its profit per oz has just doubled from $500 to $1,000. That should boost profits significantly. Barrick already looked very reasonably priced on a trailing PE of 11.71 with close to zero net debt. If the gold price stays close to recent levels, even for a few quarters, it will look like a bargain. On Tuesday the S&P finally managed to close above its previous all time high as Home Depot reported an impressive top and bottom line beat with comp sales and earnings rising 23.4% and 27% respectively. General Motors also got a boost from Morgan Stanley who followed other firms in valuing $GM’s electric vehicle business at around $20bn compared to the firm’s current total market valuation of $40bn. That makes a spin off a potentially lucrative option and follows GM’s CEO comment last month that “nothing was off the table”. Deutsche Bank went further to say spinning off the EV business could release a “massive amount of value” that could be potentially be worth up to $100bn. On Wednesday, Intel CEO Bob Swan said the shares were well below their intrinsic value and announced a $10bn accelerated stock repurchase program. The stock is down 20% since the company announced delays to its 7 nanometer production technology. That drop does look overdone as the medium term impact of the delays should only hit around 5%-10% of revenues while IoT, online security, automated driving and numerous other businesses should continue to grow rapidly. Investors appear worried that Intel’s glory days are behind it and that the stock is about to go the same way as IBM. However, even if that were the case, Intel still looks cheap with a trailing PE of 9.0 compared to IBM’s 14.0. On Thursday, numerous analysts jumped to TJX’s support saying that the long term story had not changed. Disappointing results on Wednesday saw the stock drop close to 20% on the week to close at $51.68. However, Wells Fargo rates TJX stock overweight with a $70 price target and said the "squishy" near-term will give way "over the long-term as a flood of inventory enters the off-price marketplace in the wake of 2020, ultimately pushing margins to all-time highs,". Guggenheim’s Robert Drbul reiterated a Buy rating and $65 price target on Thursday and said that investors should use “share price weakness as an incremental buying opportunity.” Finally on Friday Hindenburg Research published an alarming report that alleged GrowGeneration's management team had "extensive ties to alleged pump & dump schemes, organized crime and various acts of fraud." GrowGeneration has responded saying it intends to take action against Hindenburg. It said the statements were false and defamatory and “designed to provide a false impression to investors and to manipulate the market to benefit short sellers”. I don’t know which version is correct but I did notice this disclaimer; “Hindenburg Research makes no representation, express or implied, as to the accuracy, timeliness, or completeness of any such information” I know these disclaimers are pretty widespread but what is the point of reading research by a firm that refuses to stand over it. On that note here is my own disclaimer; This is not a recommendation to buy or sell. Stocks are not suitable for everyone. Some of the stocks mentioned are risky small cap and/or highly speculative. Please do your own research.
I did research into Peleton's growth and what their revenues might look like from their subscription model. DD inside.
I present you with the latest and greatest of meme stonks, Peloton (PTON). It is my OPINION (*not financial advice) that PTON will be destroying their next earnings report and will continue it's strong guidance. For those unfamiliar with Peloton, they manufacture stationary bikes and have created an at-home fitness subscription that locks users into their ecosystem. Old Wall is still unsure how to price the company as historically any sort of manufacturing company receives extremely low valuations, especially in the fitness industry as margins are low... BUT low and BEHOLD, Peloton is not just your typical manufacturing/fitness company, they currently have over 850k subscribers locked into monthly payments. Last quarter (Q3) Peloton already demonstrated extremely high growth due to Covid and the lockdowns. It was also their first time posting a EBITDA profit, which can be attributed to the 1 month of Pandemic sales they logged in the quarter. Check out this chart that demonstrates the revenue growth of their most recent earnings YoY to the same quarter last year. Here are points from their Q3 earnings call for Q4 guidance and fiscal year 2020 outlook: 1. Post $55-$65 million Adjusted EBITDA, 11.8% Adjusted EBITDA Margin in Q4 (upcoming September Earnings Call is their Q4). 2. Q4 $500 million to $520 million total revenue, 128% growth at midpoint. 3. FY 2020: $1.72 billion to $1.74 billion total revenue, 89% growth at midpoint. 4. 1.04 million to 1.05 million ending Connected Fitness Subscribers, growth of 104% at midpoint. I'm going to go over a few metrics and notes from my research and my opinion on why I think even after guiding up such huge growth they are still sand-bagging estimates. Not only can they blowout the quarter, but continue strong guidance and raise estimates BIGLY. I'll try to order the data in a way that will make sense, you guys can trust me I just learnt stonks this week. Let's start with last quarter's results. As noted by the co-founder and CEO, their strongest quarters are Q1 (Christmas for you autists) and Q2 (the quarter that follows Q1), with Q1 generally being the stronger of the two. Last quarter's results crushed their Christmas and holiday quarter as YoY they grew at 64%. They also guided up next quarter to 128% growth YoY, which is pretty damn remarkable... But this is old news, the stock has already gone up 100% since last quarter, where are we going to find the edge? Let's dive deeper. Revenues from selling their core product, the spin bikes, will be capped due to supply chain restrictions. They've also currently stopped delivering treadmills to focus on the bikes which are in such high demand. For this reason, I think their revenue estimates on the bikes will be somewhat in-line with guidance. During last quarter's conference call they noted that almost every order for bikes in the following quarter won't be posted until the quarter after next. Why? Shipping times in June/July had wait times of 8-11 weeks. They are completely fucking sold out of bikes, and can't produce these things fast enough. Check out the traffic trends for the website, which has yet to show a decline, and also the Google trend for Peloton keyword. The CEO has also stated that they are currently selling each bike at cost, meaning they don't make any money per bike sold (but that includes operating/marketing costs). Although he did mention as the company continue to grow with economies of scale, they will be able to reduce the costs of the bikes. TLDR; right now the bikes are sold at break-even. What we will be looking at more in-depth will be future revenues from their subscription model. But first, here are a few noteworthy bits of information I pulled from their last conference call. "Over the past several weeks, we have worked closely with our manufacturing partners to accelerate the supply of goods and, as a result, we are incurring higher costs in order to expedite shipments. We do not expect to materially improve order-to-delivery windows before the end of Q4." TLDR; They are spending more money to keep up with all the shipments required from such high demand, BUT demand is so high they don't expect to improve on delivery times until the end of Q4. This is good. "For Q4, we expect a Subscription Contribution Margin of 63.0% to 64.0%" TLDR; Their subscription contribution margin is really FKn high for a "hardware" company. "But predominantly for the US and UK, we are turning off the majority of our media spend, which I think we've said in the past is has been roughly call it half of our cost structure in sales and marketing." TLDR; Remember that they are turning off half of their sales and marketing expenditure. I will get to this later on and see how much they are saving. "You could envision John (the CEO) had talked about the innovation pipeline of new products, you can envision substantial marketing going behind that in future quarters. Again, we're not going to announce anything, but we feel good about that." TLDR; They have more products in the pipe-line. Rumors are a less expensive bike and/or rowing machine. It's all part of getting users into the "ecosystem" and paying that monthly subscription. "We have a strong balance sheet with over $1.4 billion of cash and cash equivalents and additional liquidity in the form of an uncapped $250 million credit facility, providing significant resources to take care of our employees and members during this time, while allowing us to continue to make investments in our platform to drive growth going forward." TLDR; They have large amounts of cash and can use it to penetrate international markets, which they are slowly starting to do. Like u/sharkbat3 said in his DD, think NFLX pre-international spike and how it affected their numbers. Onto some more meaningful numbers, lets look at the last 3 quarters of subscription growth.
Q1 - 67m, 37.7 gross. Q2 - 77m, 44.7m gross. Q3 - 98.2m (!), 56.8m gross. Now consider this, last conference call they noted: "Supply chain team was able to DOUBLE from march, "more than double" the output, but at an increase of costs." Wait time for a bike back in May was 12 weeks. In July it was 8-10 weeks... And it is currently still at 6-8 weeks to receive a bike. Lets say they are shipping bikes out at double the rate, it really doesn't matter since they don't make a profit on the bikes. However, more bikes manufactured and sold will 1) Jack up revenues 2) Increase users locked into subscription model. If this Q and next Q continue to be massive, as it's shaping up to be. It wouldn't be crazy to think subscription revenues continue the rate of growth from last quarter (considering last quarter only got 1 month of Pandemic sales). In which case: Q4 Estimate - $98.2m * 1.27 (27% growth last Q) = $124m, $75m gross (60% gross on average). Q1 Estimate - $124m * 1.27 = $157m, $95m gross. With those metrics in mind they will be earning approx. $600m ARR of which $400m will be gross profit. Again, this is recurring revenue for a "manufacturing" company. Next, let's talk about guidance and profitability. Remember from above I told you to keep in mind when they said they cut all media spend which correlates to about half "sales & marketing expense". Here's a look at the S & M expenses from last 3 quarters. Their sales and marketing expense is pretty consistent with about 30% of revenue. Last two quarters S & M expenses were $160m, and $150m respectively. We can now estimate they will be cutting about $75m from media spend. Last Q their EBITDA profit was about $20m, their profitability will jump huge from consistently high demand of bikes (with no end in sight), increase in subscriptions, and now the pullback in advertising expense. I wouldn't be surprised if they posted a net profit of $100-150 million this quarter (just a Swaggy estimate, pun intended). Looking into their FY 2020 guidance, they guided $1.72 billion to $1.74 billion total revenue. Their last Q was just $524 million, and guidance for next Q is conservative at $500 million to $520 million. From the displayed high demand, it would be reasonable to estimate they could do another $500m next Q and $600m+ for their holiday quarter. That would put them at TTM revenues of 2.1b+. $400m more than their 'estimate' for the FY 2020. Lastly, let's talk about their current valuation. They are sitting at market cap of only $18 billion. For a company about to be doing $2.1b TTM revenues which could be as soon as next year with $500-600m of that being ARR (annual recurring revenue) at 60% gross. It's for you to decide if you think they deserve to be trading at that multiple. The CEO was on the "How I built this podcast" a month ago: Here's the URL and a few times I logged with important info, you can watch his body language in the video and see how excited he is about how well the company is doing. I can’t link the YouTube here, but if you want to watch it search “How I built this Peloton” and it will come up. 3-7 mins: -Talks about the surge in pandemic demand 7-8 mins: -Talks about how the company has found a 'wind in their sails' (watch body language) 23-28 minutes in: -Talks potential of new product and how the Peloton users will be excited to enter the ecosystem. Also talks about the understanding of selling Peloton to investors as anything but a hardware company.
Activision ($ATVI) is releasing their quarterly earnings on August 4th (8/4). They're up about 30% from their pre-Covid highs, and are currently valued around 10x annual revenue. They crushed their last earnings revenue by 15.30% and EPS by 53.28% which helped them on their run-up to their current levels. I am now going to convince you why they will smash their earnings again despite their already-inflated revenue projections that price in a coronavirus boost and why you should bet big on them and not miss out on a potential huge play. Me and one of my friends from school (who is very intelligent) used to roast the shit out of people who buy cosmetic items in-game, like in Call of Duty, and talk about how dumb it is to pay for in-game clout. But during the pandemic, like many people, he's been so fucking bored that he's been playing Call of Duty all day unlocking a bunch of gun camos. The other day, he (embarrassingly) admitted to me that in his pursuit of gun camo unlocking he (shamefully) bought a $10 "battle pass" that would help him unlock more cosmetics. Why not, he is getting paid unemployment + stimulus to sit home on his ass and play Call of Duty, so might as well put a little of that into the game because there's nothing else to buy right now. (Last time I had a moment like this? In early April when one of my much dumber friends asked me with help setting up a Shopify store. I was dumbfounded that he would even be trying to set one up. Since then Shopify is up more than 120%) Call of Duty Warzone and Call of Duty Modern Warfare are very popular, and just like all those nerds that played Fortnite and forked over tons for skins, there are a plethora of microtransactions that come with it and man do the people that play Warzone specifically everyday take it seriously. This got me thinking. How many people who never bought microtransactions before have now spent money on them, especially when somebody as resilient to them as my friend have now purchased them? What kind of assumptions can we make about how much bigger the microtransaction market got during the pandemic? The answer I believe is that because people are playing these games so frequently when they had never done so before, they start to assign more value to their in-game character and want to appear to have more "clout" and seem good at the game. It is this value that somebody assigns to their in-game experience that when high enough drives the user to purchase content for their character and spend real dollars. That coupled with the fact that they get free money from the government while doing nothing makes the target market for these games especially excited to start spending. But it isn't just that the existing users are spending more - the microtransaction market size is expanding, so much so that my friend who once considered himself way out of the microtransactions market and laughed about ever spending money on shit for a video game decided to spend money on it for the first time. This isn't just a one-off thing I'm noticing with a stupid friend, because he is in fact not stupid, rather it's a psychological effect caused by having way too much time to play video games and stimulus money that Activision's target market doesn't want to spend elsewhere. According to surveys, in Call of Duty 60% of people purchase downloadable content. In Overwatch, it's 62%. In Hearthstone, it's 71%. In StarCraft, it's 42%. Source: https://venturebeat.com/2019/11/19/arm-treasure-data-the-most-popular-games-arent-necessarily-using-lots-of-microtransactions/ What if in all these games, which are owned by Activision, that percent has risen substantially because so many people have been playing them so often during the pandemic and as a result of the effect I previously described that my friend was victim to? This survey was conducted using people that consider themselves to play video games regularly, meaning people that play pretty much daily. So we have to keep in mind that the population of people that play daily is ALSO increasing because of the pandemic, while the raw % of people that will spend on microtransactions is also increasing. Well what's the big deal, it's just a few in-game purchases right? Wrong. In 2019 Activision pulled in $6.49 billion in revenue. Of this $6.49 billion in revenue, a whopping 50.85% or $3.3 billion came from in-game microtransactions. $3.3 billion in a year for some pixels what the fuck right? And the kicker? There's nearly a 100% profit margin on these microtransactions, which is why last earnings (which ended March 31 and contained what is a decent increase in microtransactions because people hadn't been sitting on their ass for too long yet) Activision reported a 28.24% net margin, up 15.31% YoY. Last quarter they came in at $1.52 billion in revenue versus the $1.32 billion expected revenue. This earnings report, the consensus revenue estimate is $1.68 billion (representing a whopping 39% YoY growth) which is set nice and high - but I'm going to tell you why this is still going to be beat. For Q2 of last year, Activision reported $1.21 billion in revenue. Ok, now we're going to do some conservative math, estimate the lower bounds of the earnings, and show why this quarter's earnings will be beat. Let's assume 0% YoY growth, ignoring the addition to the revenue that games like CoD Warzone had, so they'll be making $1.21 billion as a base like they did in Q2 of last year. Last quarter, microtransactions made up an astounding $956 million of the $1.522 billion in revenue, equaling about 63%, and that was just at the beginning of the pandemic when the I'm-staying-home-so-now-I-value-this-game-more effect that I am describing was just coming into fruition. AND THAT WAS BEFORE STIMULUS CHECKS WERE RECEIVED. Let's be conserative and assume that of that baseline $1.21 billion that we will use to come up with earnings for this quarter, $726 million or about 60% is from microtransactions, even though this % is most likely rising on track with the previous quarter's trend which had 63% of revenue from microtransactions. Now let's try to estimate what the increase in volume of microtransactions is like if even my friend who was sworn against them played enough to care about cosmetics because he had played the game for long enough. So, not only are we increasing the number of people that want cosmetics and other in-game purchasable items, but also accounting for the fact that the people who already spent a lot on them will now spend more because they play more. This is inclusive of Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and the Candy Crush Saga which are their big three microtransaction earners. I'm convinced that the volume on these things has to at least have doubled YoY. But for the sake of argument, we'll say they have only increased 75%. Why is this a fair estimate? Last quarter, microtransactions for Modern Warfare were up 100% compared to Black Ops 4 in the same quarter the previous year. We don't want to over-estimate and get our hopes up, we want to make sure this very ballpark math that we are doing can beat revenue estimates even on a considerably lower bound, giving us a high % chance of being right about the actual figure. To further justify this kind of growth in microtransactions, we're going to look at a few things. This report is for months April, May, and June, meaning last quarter's results ended with March. Here are the latest active player count statistics for Warzone: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1110000/call-of-duty-warzone-players/ As of May, there are 60 million Warzone players - this is where there will be a large number of microtransactions which were barely included in the previous quarter because they had less than 40 million players by the end of March. A large part of last quarter's revenue came from CoD Modern Warfare's (not Warzone) season 1 and 2 in-game purchasable content. According to Google Trends, Season 4, released in June, garnered more interest than any other season: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?q=modern%20warfare%20season&geo=US Also since last quarter, interest in buying CoD points (their currency) has gone up tremendously: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?geo=US&q=buy%20cod%20points So let's take our baseline $1.21 billion assuming 0% YoY growth, and increase the revenue generated by microtransactions by 75%. $1.21 billion + ($726 million * 0.75) = $1.754 billion, beating the $1.68 billion consensus only by factoring in a growth in microtransactions and absolutely nothing else, when in reality up-front game sales (purchasing games online for full price), subscriptions, merchandise, and other revenue streams have also increased. This way, even if we've over-estimated our microtransactions boost, there is more than enough room to still trounce earnings from the added revenue from other streams. And if we were very accurate about the microtransactions boost, then that additional revenue will send us way over. Activision already killed earnings last quarter with barely any money coming in from Warzone. l would not be at all surprised if they reach $2 billion in earnings, representing almost a 20% beat of expectations. At $2 billion per quarter and a 10x revenue valuation, Activision would be valued at $80 billion representing a 30% move. ACTIVISION IS GOING TO BEAT AN EARNINGS ESTIMATE THAT IS ALREADY HEAVILY ACCOUNTING FOR THEIR CORONA BUMP. The options are cheap for Activision, so I am loaded up. I think realistically it will have a pre-earnings run up as more people realize that they're going to do very well on earnings and then go up even more on beat earnings. The downside risk on a stock like this is low considering it is a stay-at-home that has had its value increased REASONABLY by the pandemic and is not trading at a ridiculously high tech revenue multiple. At peak rona season, the stock fell roughly 20% and has since rebounded about 56%. Positions: ATVI 8/21 90C ATVI 8/21 100C My positions: https://imgur.com/a/CobyxYe TLDR: Microtransactions made up 63% of Activision's earnings last quarter when they beat revenue estimates by 15.30%. This quarter not only are microtransactions going to make up a larger percentage of the revenue, but the revenue will be much larger with help from the pandemic and the 60m+ new Call of Duty Warzone players. I've also bolded the more important information if you don't want to read through everything. EDIT: Warzone, like Fortnite, is a free download. A comparable game is Fortnite, which at its peak popularity had a revenue per user of a shocking $96 (Source: https://fortniteintel.com/report-fortnite-is-earning-double-the-revenue-of-google-twitter-snap-and-facebook-per-use9265/ ). If we assume that Warzone has just 1/20th of this revenue per user, we're already at an additional $288 million in revenue from Warzone alone.
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