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The dollar standard and how the Fed itself created the perfect setup for a stock market crash

Disclaimer: This is neither financial nor trading advice and everyone should trade based on their own risk tolerance. Please leverage yourself accordingly. When you're done, ask yourself: "Am I jacked to the tits?". If the answer is "yes", you're good to go.
We're probably experiencing the wildest markets in our lifetime. After doing some research and listening to opinions by several people, I wanted to share my own view on what happened in the market and what could happen in the future. There's no guarantee that the future plays out as I describe it or otherwise I'd become very rich.
If you just want tickers and strikes...I don't know if this is going to help you. But anyways, scroll way down to the end. My current position is TLT 171c 8/21, opened on Friday 7/31 when TLT was at 170.50.
This is a post trying to describe what it means that we've entered the "dollar standard" decades ago after leaving the gold standard. Furthermore I'll try to explain how the "dollar standard" is the biggest reason behind the 2008 and 2020 financial crisis, stock market crashes and how the Coronavirus pandemic was probably the best catalyst for the global dollar system to blow up.

Tackling the Dollar problem

Throughout the month of July we've seen the "death of the Dollar". At least that's what WSB thinks. It's easy to think that especially since it gets reiterated in most media outlets. I will take the contrarian view. This is a short-term "downturn" in the Dollar and very soon the Dollar will rise a lot against the Euro - supported by the Federal Reserve itself.US dollar Index (DXY)If you zoom out to the 3Y chart you'll see what everyone is being hysterical about. The dollar is dying! It was that low in 2018! This is the end! The Fed has done too much money printing! Zimbabwe and Weimar are coming to the US.
There is more to it though. The DXY is dominated by two currency rates and the most important one by far is EURUSD.EURUSD makes up 57.6% of the DXY
And we've seen EURUSD rise from 1.14 to 1.18 since July 21st, 2020. Why that date? On that date the European Commission (basically the "government" of the EU) announced that there was an agreement for the historical rescue package for the EU. That showed the markets that the EU seems to be strong and resilient, it seemed to be united (we're not really united, trust me as an European) and therefore there are more chances in the EU, the Euro and more chances taking risks in the EU.Meanwhile the US continued to struggle with the Coronavirus and some states like California went back to restricting public life. The US economy looked weaker and therefore the Euro rose a lot against the USD.
From a technical point of view the DXY failed to break the 97.5 resistance in June three times - DXY bulls became exhausted and sellers gained control resulting in a pretty big selloff in the DXY.

Why the DXY is pretty useless

Considering that EURUSD is the dominant force in the DXY I have to say it's pretty useless as a measurement of the US dollar. Why? Well, the economy is a global economy. Global trade is not dominated by trade between the EU and the USA. There are a lot of big exporting nations besides Germany, many of them in Asia. We know about China, Japan, South Korea etc. Depending on the business sector there are a lot of big exporters in so-called "emerging markets". For example, Brazil and India are two of the biggest exporters of beef.
Now, what does that mean? It means that we need to look at the US dollar from a broader perspective. Thankfully, the Fed itself provides a more accurate Dollar index. It's called the "Trade Weighted U.S. Dollar Index: Broad, Goods and Services".
When you look at that index you will see that it didn't really collapse like the DXY. In fact, it still is as high as it was on March 10, 2020! You know, only two weeks before the stock market bottomed out. How can that be explained?

Global trade, emerging markets and global dollar shortage

Emerging markets are found in countries which have been shifting away from their traditional way of living towards being an industrial nation. Of course, Americans and most of the Europeans don't know how life was 300 years ago.China already completed that transition. Countries like Brazil and India are on its way. The MSCI Emerging Market Index lists 26 countries. Even South Korea is included.
However there is a big problem for Emerging Markets: the Coronavirus and US Imports.The good thing about import and export data is that you can't fake it. Those numbers speak the truth. You can see that imports into the US haven't recovered to pre-Corona levels yet. It will be interesting to see the July data coming out on August 5th.Also you can look at exports from Emerging Market economies. Let's take South Korean exports YoY. You can see that South Korean exports are still heavily depressed compared to a year ago. Global trade hasn't really recovered.For July the data still has to be updated that's why you see a "0.0%" change right now.Less US imports mean less US dollars going into foreign countries including Emerging Markets.Those currency pairs are pretty unimpressed by the rising Euro. Let's look at a few examples. Use the 1Y chart to see what I mean.
Indian Rupee to USDBrazilian Real to USDSouth Korean Won to USD
What do you see if you look at the 1Y chart of those currency pairs? There's no recovery to pre-COVID levels. And this is pretty bad for the global financial system. Why? According to the Bank of International Settlements there is $12.6 trillion of dollar-denominated debt outside of the United States. Now the Coronavirus comes into play where economies around the world are struggling to go back to their previous levels while the currencies of Emerging Markets continue to be WEAK against the US dollar.
This is very bad. We've already seen the IMF receiving requests for emergency loans from 80 countries on March 23th. What are we going to see? We know Argentina has defaulted on their debt more than once and make jokes about it. But what happens if we see 5 Argentinas? 10? 20? Even 80?
Add to that that global travel is still depressed, especially for US citizens going anywhere. US citizens traveling to other countries is also a situation in which the precious US dollars would enter Emerging Market economies. But it's not happening right now and it won't happen unless we actually get a miracle treatment or the virus simply disappears.
This is where the treasury market comes into play. But before that, let's quickly look at what QE (rising Fed balance sheet) does to the USD.
Take a look at the Trade-Weighted US dollar Index. Look at it at max timeframe - you'll see what happened in 2008. The dollar went up (shocker).Now let's look at the Fed balance sheet at max timeframe. You will see: as soon as the Fed starts the QE engine, the USD goes UP, not down! September 2008 (Fed first buys MBS), March 2009, March 2020. Is it just a coincidence? No, as I'll explain below. They're correlated and probably even in causation.Oh and in all of those scenarios the stock market crashed...compared to February 2020, the Fed balance sheet grew by ONE TRILLION until March 25th, but the stock market had just finished crashing...can you please prove to me that QE makes stock prices go up? I think I've just proven the opposite correlation.

Bonds, bills, Gold and "inflation"

People laugh at bond bulls or at people buying bonds due to the dropping yields. "Haha you're stupid you're buying an asset which matures in 10 years and yields 5.3% STONKS go up way more!".Let me stop you right there.
Why do you buy stocks? Will you hold those stocks until you die so that you regain your initial investment through dividends? No. You buy them because you expect them to go up based on fundamental analysis, news like earnings or other things. Then you sell them when you see your price target reached. The assets appreciated.Why do you buy options? You don't want to hold them until expiration unless they're -90% (what happens most of the time in WSB). You wait until the underlying asset does what you expect it does and then you sell the options to collect the premium. Again, the assets appreciated.
It's the exact same thing with treasury securities. The people who've been buying bonds for the past years or even decades didn't want to wait until they mature. Those people want to sell the bonds as they appreciate. Bond prices have an inverse relationship with their yields which is logical when you think about it. Someone who desperately wants and needs the bonds for various reasons will accept to pay a higher price (supply and demand, ya know) and therefore accept a lower yield.
By the way, both JP Morgan and Goldmans Sachs posted an unexpected profit this quarter, why? They made a killing trading bonds.
US treasury securities are the most liquid asset in the world and they're also the safest asset you can hold. After all, if the US default on their debt you know that the world is doomed. So if US treasuries become worthless anything else has already become worthless.
Now why is there so much demand for the safest and most liquid asset in the world? That demand isn't new but it's caused by the situation the global economy is in. Trade and travel are down and probably won't recover anytime soon, emerging markets are struggling both with the virus and their dollar-denominated debt and central banks around the world struggle to find solutions for the problems in the financial markets.
How do we now that the markets aren't trusting central banks? Well, bonds tell us that and actually Gold tells us the same!
TLT chartGold spot price chart
TLT is an ETF which reflects the price of US treasuries with 20 or more years left until maturity. Basically the inverse of the 30 year treasury yield.
As you can see from the 5Y chart bonds haven't been doing much from 2016 to mid-2019. Then the repo crisis of September 2019took place and TLT actually rallied in August 2019 before the repo crisis finally occurred!So the bond market signaled that something is wrong in the financial markets and that "something" manifested itself in the repo crisis.
After the repo market crisis ended (the Fed didn't really do much to help it, before you ask), bonds again were quiet for three months and started rallying in January (!) while most of the world was sitting on their asses and downplaying the Coronavirus threat.
But wait, how does Gold come into play? The Gold chart basically follows the same pattern as the TLT chart. Doing basically nothing from 2016 to mid-2019. From June until August Gold rose a staggering 200 dollars and then again stayed flat until December 2019. After that, Gold had another rally until March when it finally collapsed.
Many people think rising Gold prices are a sign of inflation. But where is the inflation? We saw PCE price indices on Friday July 31st and they're at roughly 1%. We've seen CPIs from European countries and the EU itself. France and the EU (July 31st) as a whole had a very slight uptick in CPI while Germany (July 30th), Italy (July 31st) and Spain (July 30th) saw deflationary prints.There is no inflation, nowhere in the world. I'm sorry to burst that bubble.
Yet, Gold prices still go up even when the Dollar rallies through the DXY (sadly I have to measure it that way now since the trade-weighted index isn't updated daily) and we know that there is no inflation from a monetary perspective. In fact, Fed chairman JPow, apparently the final boss for all bears, said on Wednesday July 29th that the Coronavirus pandemic is a deflationary disinflationary event. Someone correct me there, thank you. But deflationary forces are still in place even if JPow wouldn't admit it.
To conclude this rather long section: Both bonds and Gold are indicators for an upcoming financial crisis. Bond prices should fall and yields should go up to signal an economic recovery. But the opposite is happening. in that regard heavily rising Gold prices are a very bad signal for the future. Both bonds and Gold are screaming: "The central banks haven't solved the problems".
By the way, Gold is also a very liquid asset if you want quick cash, that's why we saw it sell off in March because people needed dollars thanks to repo problems and margin calls.When the deflationary shock happens and another liquidity event occurs there will be another big price drop in precious metals and that's the dip which you could use to load up on metals by the way.

Dismantling the money printer

But the Fed! The M2 money stock is SHOOTING THROUGH THE ROOF! The printers are real!By the way, velocity of M2 was updated on July 30th and saw another sharp decline. If you take a closer look at the M2 stock you see three parts absolutely skyrocketing: savings, demand deposits and institutional money funds. Inflationary? No.
So, the printers aren't real. I'm sorry.Quantitative easing (QE) is the biggest part of the Fed's operations to help the economy get back on its feet. What is QE?Upon doing QE the Fed "purchases" treasury and mortgage-backed securities from the commercial banks. The Fed forces the commercial banks to hand over those securities and in return the commercial banks reserve additional bank reserves at an account in the Federal Reserve.
This may sound very confusing to everyone so let's make it simple by an analogy.I want to borrow a camera from you, I need it for my road trip. You agree but only if I give you some kind of security - for example 100 bucks as collateral.You keep the 100 bucks safe in your house and wait for me to return safely. You just wait and wait. You can't do anything else in this situation. Maybe my road trip takes a year. Maybe I come back earlier. But as long as I have your camera, the 100 bucks need to stay with you.
In this analogy, I am the Fed. You = commercial banks. Camera = treasuries/MBS. 100 bucks = additional bank reserves held at the Fed.

Revisiting 2008 briefly: the true money printers

The true money printers are the commercial banks, not the central banks. The commercial banks give out loans and demand interest payments. Through those interest payments they create money out of thin air! At the end they'll have more money than before giving out the loan.
That additional money can be used to give out more loans, buy more treasury/MBS Securities or gain more money through investing and trading.
Before the global financial crisis commercial banks were really loose with their policy. You know, the whole "Big Short" story, housing bubble, NINJA loans and so on. The reckless handling of money by the commercial banks led to actual money printing and inflation, until the music suddenly stopped. Bear Stearns went tits up. Lehman went tits up.
The banks learned from those years and completely changed, forever. They became very strict with their lending resulting in the Fed and the ECB not being able to raise their rates. By keeping the Fed funds rate low the Federal Reserve wants to encourage commercial banks to give out loans to stimulate the economy. But commercial banks are not playing along. They even accept negative rates in Europe rather than taking risks in the actual economy.
The GFC of 2008 completely changed the financial landscape and the central banks have struggled to understand that. The system wasn't working anymore because the main players (the commercial banks) stopped playing with each other. That's also the reason why we see repeated problems in the repo market.

How QE actually decreases liquidity before it's effective

The funny thing about QE is that it achieves the complete opposite of what it's supposed to achieve before actually leading to an economic recovery.
What does that mean? Let's go back to my analogy with the camera.
Before I take away your camera, you can do several things with it. If you need cash, you can sell it or go to a pawn shop. You can even lend your camera to someone for a daily fee and collect money through that.But then I come along and just take away your camera for a road trip for 100 bucks in collateral.
What can you do with those 100 bucks? Basically nothing. You can't buy something else with those. You can't lend the money to someone else. It's basically dead capital. You can just look at it and wait until I come back.
And this is what is happening with QE.
Commercial banks buy treasuries and MBS due to many reasons, of course they're legally obliged to hold some treasuries, but they also need them to make business.When a commercial bank has a treasury security, they can do the following things with it:- Sell it to get cash- Give out loans against the treasury security- Lend the security to a short seller who wants to short bonds
Now the commercial banks received a cash reserve account at the Fed in exchange for their treasury security. What can they do with that?- Give out loans against the reserve account
That's it. The bank had to give away a very liquid and flexible asset and received an illiquid asset for it. Well done, Fed.
The goal of the Fed is to encourage lending and borrowing through suppressing yields via QE. But it's not happening and we can see that in the H.8 data (assets and liabilities of the commercial banks).There is no recovery to be seen in the credit sector while the commercial banks continue to collect treasury securities and MBS. On one hand, they need to sell a portion of them to the Fed on the other hand they profit off those securities by trading them - remember JPM's earnings.
So we see that while the Fed is actually decreasing liquidity in the markets by collecting all the treasuries it has collected in the past, interest rates are still too high. People are scared, and commercial banks don't want to give out loans. This means that as the economic recovery is stalling (another whopping 1.4M jobless claims on Thursday July 30th) the Fed needs to suppress interest rates even more. That means: more QE. that means: the liquidity dries up even more, thanks to the Fed.
We heard JPow saying on Wednesday that the Fed will keep their minimum of 120 billion QE per month, but, and this is important, they can increase that amount anytime they see an emergency.And that's exactly what he will do. He will ramp up the QE machine again, removing more bond supply from the market and therefore decreasing the liquidity in financial markets even more. That's his Hail Mary play to force Americans back to taking on debt again.All of that while the government is taking on record debt due to "stimulus" (which is apparently only going to Apple, Amazon and Robinhood). Who pays for the government debt? The taxpayers. The wealthy people. The people who create jobs and opportunities. But in the future they have to pay more taxes to pay down the government debt (or at least pay for the interest). This means that they can't create opportunities right now due to the government going insane with their debt - and of course, there's still the Coronavirus.

"Without the Fed, yields would skyrocket"

This is wrong. The Fed has been keeping their basic level QE of 120 billion per month for months now. But ignoring the fake breakout in the beginning of June (thanks to reopening hopes), yields have been on a steady decline.
Let's take a look at the Fed's balance sheet.
The Fed has thankfully stayed away from purchasing more treasury bills (short term treasury securities). Bills are important for the repo market as collateral. They're the best collateral you can have and the Fed has already done enough damage by buying those treasury bills in March, destroying even more liquidity than usual.
More interesting is the point "notes and bonds, nominal". The Fed added 13.691 billion worth of US treasury notes and bonds to their balance sheet. Luckily for us, the US Department of Treasury releases the results of treasury auctions when they occur. On July 28th there was an auction for the 7 year treasury note. You can find the results under "Note -> Term: 7-year -> Auction Date 07/28/2020 -> Competitive Results PDF". Or here's a link.
What do we see? Indirect bidders, which are foreigners by the way, took 28 billion out of the total 44 billion. That's roughly 64% of the entire auction. Primary dealers are the ones which sell the securities to the commercial banks. Direct bidders are domestic buyers of treasuries.
The conclusion is: There's insane demand for US treasury notes and bonds by foreigners. Those US treasuries are basically equivalent to US dollars. Now dollar bears should ask themselves this question: If the dollar is close to a collapse and the world wants to get rid fo the US dollar, why do foreigners (i.e. foreign central banks) continue to take 60-70% of every bond auction? They do it because they desperately need dollars and hope to drive prices up, supported by the Federal Reserve itself, in an attempt to have the dollar reserves when the next liquidity event occurs.
So foreigners are buying way more treasuries than the Fed does. Final conclusion: the bond market has adjusted to the Fed being a player long time ago. It isn't the first time the Fed has messed around in the bond market.

How market participants are positioned

We know that commercial banks made good money trading bonds and stocks in the past quarter. Besides big tech the stock market is being stagnant, plain and simple. All the stimulus, stimulus#2, vaccinetalksgoingwell.exe, public appearances by Trump, Powell and their friends, the "money printing" (which isn't money printing) by the Fed couldn't push SPY back to ATH which is 339.08 btw.
Who can we look at? Several people but let's take Bill Ackman. The one who made a killing with Credit Default Swaps in March and then went LONG (he said it live on TV). Well, there's an update about him:Bill Ackman saying he's effectively 100% longHe says that around the 2 minute mark.
Of course, we shouldn't just believe what he says. After all he is a hedge fund manager and wants to make money. But we have to assume that he's long at a significant percentage - it doesn't even make sense to get rid of positions like Hilton when they haven't even recovered yet.
Then again, there are sources to get a peek into the positions of hedge funds, let's take Hedgopia.We see: Hedge funds are starting to go long on the 10 year bond. They are very short the 30 year bond. They are very long the Euro, very short on VIX futures and short on the Dollar.

Endgame

This is the perfect setup for a market meltdown. If hedge funds are really positioned like Ackman and Hedgopia describes, the situation could unwind after a liquidity event:The Fed increases QE to bring down the 30 year yield because the economy isn't recovering yet. We've already seen the correlation of QE and USD and QE and bond prices.That causes a giant short squeeze of hedge funds who are very short the 30 year bond. They need to cover their short positions. But Ackman said they're basically 100% long the stock market and nothing else. So what do they do? They need to sell stocks. Quickly. And what happens when there is a rapid sell-off in stocks? People start to hedge via put options. The VIX rises. But wait, hedge funds are short VIX futures, long Euro and short DXY. To cover their short positions on VIX futures, they need to go long there. VIX continues to go up and the prices of options go suborbital (as far as I can see).Also they need to get rid of Euro futures and cover their short DXY positions. That causes the USD to go up even more.
And the Fed will sit there and do their things again: more QE, infinity QE^2, dollar swap lines, repo operations, TARP and whatever. The Fed will be helpless against the forces of the market and have to watch the stock market burn down and they won't even realize that they created the circumstances for it to happen - by their programs to "help the economy" and their talking on TV. Do you remember JPow on 60minutes talking about how they flooded the world with dollars and print it digitally? He wanted us poor people to believe that the Fed is causing hyperinflation and we should take on debt and invest into the stock market. After all, the Fed has it covered.
But the Fed hasn't got it covered. And Powell knows it. That's why he's being a bear in the FOMC statements. He knows what's going on. But he can't do anything about it except what's apparently proven to be correct - QE, QE and more QE.

A final note about "stock market is not the economy"

It's true. The stock market doesn't reflect the current state of the economy. The current economy is in complete shambles.
But a wise man told me that the stock market is the reflection of the first and second derivatives of the economy. That means: velocity and acceleration of the economy. In retrospect this makes sense.
The economy was basically halted all around the world in March. Of course it's easy to have an insane acceleration of the economy when the economy is at 0 and the stock market reflected that. The peak of that accelerating economy ("max velocity" if you want to look at it like that) was in the beginning of June. All countries were reopening, vaccine hopes, JPow injecting confidence into the markets. Since then, SPY is stagnant, IWM/RUT, which is probably the most accurate reflection of the actual economy, has slightly gone down and people have bid up tech stocks in absolute panic mode.
Even JPow admitted it. The economic recovery has slowed down and if we look at economic data, the recovery has already stopped completely. The economy is rolling over as we can see in the continued high initial unemployment claims. Another fact to factor into the stock market.

TLDR and positions or ban?

TLDR: global economy bad and dollar shortage. economy not recovering, JPow back to doing QE Infinity. QE Infinity will cause the final squeeze in both the bond and stock market and will force the unwinding of the whole system.
Positions: idk. I'll throw in TLT 190c 12/18, SPY 220p 12/18, UUP 26c 12/18.That UUP call had 12.5k volume on Friday 7/31 btw.

Edit about positions and hedge funds

My current positions. You can laugh at my ZEN calls I completely failed with those.I personally will be entering one of the positions mentioned in the end - or similar ones. My personal opinion is that the SPY puts are the weakest try because you have to pay a lot of premium.
Also I forgot talking about why hedge funds are shorting the 30 year bond. Someone asked me in the comments and here's my reply:
"If you look at treasury yields and stock prices they're pretty much positively correlated. Yields go up, then stocks go up. Yields go down (like in March), then stocks go down.
What hedge funds are doing is extremely risky but then again, "hedge funds" is just a name and the hedgies are known for doing extremely risky stuff. They're shorting the 30 year bond because they needs 30y yields to go UP to validate their long positions in the equity market. 30y yields going up means that people are welcoming risk again, taking on debt, spending in the economy.
Milton Friedman labeled this the "interest rate fallacy". People usually think that low interest rates mean "easy money" but it's the opposite. Low interest rates mean that money is really tight and hard to get. Rising interest rates on the other hand signal an economic recovery, an increase in economic activity.
So hedge funds try to fight the Fed - the Fed is buying the 30 year bonds! - to try to validate their stock market positions. They also short VIX futures to do the same thing. Equity bulls don't want to see VIX higher than 15. They're also short the dollar because it would also validate their position: if the economic recovery happens and the global US dollar cycle gets restored then it will be easy to get dollars and the USD will continue to go down.
Then again, they're also fighting against the Fed in this situation because QE and the USD are correlated in my opinion.
Another Redditor told me that people who shorted Japanese government bonds completely blew up because the Japanese central bank bought the bonds and the "widow maker trade" was born:https://www.investopedia.com/terms/w/widow-maker.asp"

Edit #2

Since I've mentioned him a lot in the comments, I recommend you check out Steven van Metre's YouTube channel. Especially the bottom passages of my post are based on the knowledge I received from watching his videos. Even if didn't agree with him on the fundamental issues (there are some things like Gold which I view differently than him) I took it as an inspiration to dig deeper. I think he's a great person and even if you're bullish on stocks you can learn something from Steven!

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Daily Discussion Thread - July 26, 2020

Please use this thread to discuss whatever you have been thinking of buying or trading. Also use this thread to discuss any query related to Stock Market & Trading. Join the discord if you haven't already! Here you can talk to mods and fellow autists about the market. If you have no idea how to become an autist, then visit our wiki. Also, dont forget to follow us on Twitter @ISB_Reddit.
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$PSTG: PURE STORAGE for them, PURE TENDIES for you

$PSTG: PURE STORAGE for them, PURE TENDIES for you
This is actually my first DD I've ever posted so fuck you and forgive me if this doesn't work out for you.I've been looking at $PSTG for a while now and if my buying power didn't get so fucked from my decision to buy 8/7 UBER puts, I would have been already all over this play.
What had got me looking into Pure Storage was an unusual options activity alert. I've looked into this company before but didn't entirely understand what they do. Now after looking at them again, I'm still not exactly sure wtf they do....BUT I've gotten a better clue. Basically what I got from my research is that these guys fuck with "all-FLASH data storage solutions (enabling cloud solutions and other low-latency applications where tape/disk storage does not meet the needs)."......and ultimately what this all means to me is that these are the motherfuckers making those stupid fast laser money printers with the rocket ships attached. And that's something I'm interested in.
Now, here is the DailyDick you all degenerates have all been fiending for:
Fundamentally: PureStorage remains one of the few hardware companies in tech that is consistently growing double motherfucking digits, yet remains constantly cucked and neglected by investors (trading at 1.9x EV/Sales).
https://preview.redd.it/ek7ugjsewnf51.png?width=1118&format=png&auto=webp&s=f9c7e72c95e450a105e44223937422d896eeeb21
The 36 Months beta value for PSTG stock is at 1.62. 74% Buy Rating on RH. PSTG has a short float of 7.28% and public float of 243.36M with average trading volume of 3.16M shares. This was trading at around $18 on Wednesday 8/5 when I started writing this and as of right now, it's about $17.33 💸
The company has a market capitalization of ~$4.6 billion. In the last quarter, PSTG reported a ballin'-ass profit of $256.82 million. Pure Storage also saw revenues increase to $367.12 million. IMO, they should rename themselves PURE PROFIT. As of 04-2020, they got the cash monies flowing at $11.32 million . The company’s EBITDA came in at -$62.81 million which compares very fucking well among its dinosaur ass peers like HPE, Dell, IBM and NetApp. Pure Storage keeps taking market share from them old farts while growing the chad-like revenue #s of 33% in F2019, 21% in F2020, and 12% in F1Q21.
Chart of their financial growth since IPO in 2015:
https://preview.redd.it/gwlmy82v4nf51.png?width=640&format=png&auto=webp&s=b6508cd5f641da4086b70d8b8007da034e982fd7
At the end of last quarter, Pure Storage had cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities of $1.274B, compared with $1.299B as of Feb 2, 2020. The total Debt to Equity ratio for PSTG is recording at 0.64 and as of 8/6, Long term Debt to Equity ratio is at 0.64.Earning highlights from last quarter:
  • Revenue $367.1 million, up 12% year-over-year
  • Subscription Services revenue $120.2 million, up 37% year-over-year
  • GAAP gross margin 70.0%; non-GAAP gross margin 71.9%
  • GAAP operating loss $(84.9) million; non-GAAP operating loss $(5.4) million
  • Operating cash flow was $35.1 million, up $28.5 million year-over-year
  • Free cash flow was $11.3 million, up $29.0 million year-over-year
  • Total cash and investments of $1.3 billion
I bolded the Subscription Services Revenue bullet because to me that's a big deal. Pure Storage keeps them coming back with products such as Pure-as-a-service and Cloud Block Store and everybody knows that the recurring revenue model is best model. Big ass enterprises buy storage from vendors such as Pure Storage in the cloud to prevent vendor lock-in by the cloud providers. $$$ >!💰<
What are Pure Storage's other revenue drivers? Well these motherfuckers also have the products to address the growth of Cloud storage as well as the products to drive the growth of on-prem storage. For on-prem data center, Pure sells Flash Array to address block storage workloads (for databases and other mission-critical workloads) and FlashBlade for unstructured or file data workloads. On-prem storage revenue is mainly driven by legacy storage array replacement cycle.
https://preview.redd.it/01su6chrwnf51.png?width=1129&format=png&auto=webp&s=16e6a705f9392291bc0c3932c815802d9101365e
So far, it seems like Pure Storage's obviously passionate and smart as fuck CEO has been spot on with his prediction of the flash storage sector's direction. Also seems like he's not camera shy either. Pure Storage's "Pure-as-a-Service and Cloud Block Store" unified subscription offerings is fo sho gaining momentum it. This shit is catching on with enterprises, both big and small. COVID-19 increased the acceleration of our digital transformation and the subsequent shift to the cloud. This increased demand in data-centers is going to drastically help Pure Storage's future top and bottom line. To top it off, NAND prices are recovering! (inferred from MU earnings). I expect Pure Storage to get some relief on the pricing front because of this which obviously in turn should improve revenues.
PSTG's numbers look pretty good to me so far but are they a good company overall? Even when scalping and trading, I don't like to fuck with overall shitty companies so I always check for basic things like customer satisfaction, analyst ratings/targets, broad-view industry trends, and hedge fund positioning.. that sort of thing.Pure Storage stands out in all of these fields for me.
https://preview.redd.it/4n0e5nve5of51.png?width=373&format=png&auto=webp&s=495416bb6f5a2dab77f3ac483ca4d9510b39037c
Customers like Dominos Pizza and many others all seem to be happy AF with no issues. I can hardly even find a negative review online. Their products seems to be universally applauded. Gartner and other third party independent analysts also consider Pure Storage's product line-up some of the best in the industry.
The industry average for this sector is a piss poor 65.Pure Storage has a 2020 Net Promoter Score of 86
https://preview.redd.it/3w51io8yvmf51.png?width=698&format=png&auto=webp&s=4f7d06825d0ad9d126216e5069af2f9c3636f86a
Enterprises are upgrading their existing storage infrastructure with newer and more modern data arrays, based on NAND flash. They do this because they're forced to keep up with the increasing speed of business inter-connectivity. This shit is the 5g revolution sort to speak of the corporate business world. Storage demands and needs aren't changing because of the pandemic and isn't changing in the future. The newer storage arrays are smaller, consume less power, are less noisy and do not generate excess heat in the data center and hence do not need to be cooled like the fat fucks at IBM need to be. Flash storage arrays in general are cheaper to operate and are extremely fast, speeding up applications. Pure Storage by all accounts makes the best storage arrays in the industry and continues to grow faster than the old school storage vendors like bitchass NetApp, Dell, HPE and IBM.
Pure Storage’s market share was 12.7% in C1Q20 and was up from 10.1% in the prior year - LIKE A PROPER HIGH GROWTH COMPANY.HPE, NetApp and IBM, like the losers they are, lost market share.According to blocksandfiles.com, AFA vendor market share sizes and shifts are paraphrased below:
  • “Dell EMC – 34.8% (calculated $766m) vs. 33.7% a year ago
  • NetApp – 19.3% at $425m vs. 26.7% a year ago
  • Pure Storage – 12.7% at calculated $279.7m vs. 10.1% a year ago
  • HPE – 8.4% – $185m vs. 10% a year ago"
Pure has been gaining marketshare almost every year since it began selling storage arrays in 2011. Pure Storage is consistently rated the highest for the completeness of vision as this chart shows:
https://preview.redd.it/5agj17gcgnf51.png?width=428&format=png&auto=webp&s=da9c6389baccab85261d6e0f71b3474e84b90d3c
Hedge Funds are on this like flies on shit.
Alliancebernstein L.P. grew its position in Pure Storage by 0.5% in the 4th quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 104,390 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $1,786,000 after purchasing an additional 560 shares during the last quarter.
Legal & General Group Plc grew its position in Pure Storage by 0.3% in the 1st quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 258,791 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $3,213,000 after purchasing an additional 753 shares during the last quarter.
Sunbelt Securities Inc. acquired a new stake in Pure Storage in the 4th quarter worth $4,106,000.
CENTRAL TRUST Co grew its position in Pure Storage by 79.8% in the 2nd quarter. CENTRAL TRUST Co now owns 3,226 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $56,000 after purchasing an additional 1,432 shares during the last quarter.
Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. grew its position in Pure Storage by 203.0% in the 1st quarter. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. now owns 2,312 shares of the technology company’s stock worth $28,000 after purchasing an additional 1,549 shares during the last quarter.
Also, everybody's favorite wall street TSLA bull, Cathie Wood has been busy steadily purchasing big lots of PSTG for her ARK ETF funds for a while now...Even going as far as selling TSLA in order to re-balance!
https://preview.redd.it/zjxuakjosnf51.png?width=1125&format=png&auto=webp&s=f34abdd3b35791eb207d31d72ea0f6fb11beec30
https://preview.redd.it/bkf1uzb2tmf51.png?width=2048&format=png&auto=webp&s=a9870ec41cfb4ce468ba61d83f2f8a4151927a4e
Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 78.93% of the company’s stock and it seems like more are piling in every day.
Tons of active options, too -Pretty good volume lately with the spreads looking decent.
Over 5,000 September $20 Calls added just on 8/3 alone 🤔
Order flow helps my thesis here, showing a recent influx of big dick money moving into PSTG.
https://preview.redd.it/liychuhblnf51.png?width=592&format=png&auto=webp&s=ca6a60d54a9eb8bd9e32e0ef70992b8282c29e70
Google Search Trends showing uptick in interest: SPY420 baby
https://preview.redd.it/joo0b9wxinf51.png?width=1710&format=png&auto=webp&s=24eb18f18be18b9b771ff1911c09c5479ba2f1a0
Robinhood Trends showing the YOLO is trending up
https://preview.redd.it/4gk5yjdxmnf51.png?width=1538&format=png&auto=webp&s=76c4b114c133c493c84386d1705f85229f5f7d44
Increased job postings on LinkedIn all across the globe, further supporting the idea that Pure Cloud Adoption is looking strong.
https://preview.redd.it/5zenasprznf51.png?width=1092&format=png&auto=webp&s=a492e227e2208fe89925c9b7fe365634f7ffde6a
Technically: This broke out through down-trend line a couple of days ago and as of right now looks to be pretty oversold. Looks like its found support at the 50 DMA and zooming out , the chart just looks like to me that it's coiling up for a big breakout.
https://preview.redd.it/wxtz8minmnf51.png?width=1208&format=png&auto=webp&s=7baabbd3e8f97dfc8bd0d5bfa512613c2eea4921
These fucking shorts are going to get squeezed out hard. Potential short squeeze coming?
https://preview.redd.it/lh8lp08funf51.png?width=1533&format=png&auto=webp&s=921b6684369e25e94f00ed96a404458028e540c8
**So what's the play?**I'd like to see RSI break out of the downtrend and the divergence between price & momentum ends at some point. If/when RSI breaks out, I want to play this thing aggressively with bullish call calendar spreads....THAT IS IF I HAD SOME FUCKING BUYING POWER (FUCK YOU UBER)....Soooo really what I'll be doing is asking my wife's boyfriend sometime this weekend for a loan. That way on Monday I can buy some $PSTG 9/18 $17.5 & $20 calls at open and YOLO my saddness away for a week.God forbid, I might even buy of those things called "shares" I heard about from /investing if at all possible because in all honesty, I really do feel like this is a good company to hold in a long term growth portfolio.Pure Storage is NOT looking like your average KODK prostitute to flip or scalp and actually more like someone you'd bring home to your dads.
EARNING DATE: 8/25
Pure Storage has a history of beating estimates and rocketing up. Over the last 20 quarters, the company beat revenue 17 quarters by an average of $4.9 million or about 3%. Out of the three times that the company missed on revenues, once was due to supply fuck-ups at one of its distributors and the other two times were due to Average Selling Prices declining faster than the company forecasted. Higher-than-expected ASP declines (due to NAND oversupply) is one of the risks of the storage business...but then again NAND prices look to be recovering now if MU's earning isn't fucking with us and telling us fibs. Big money is forecasting revenue to be around $396 million, essentially flat year-over-year, and EPS of a disrespectful ass penny....Fuck that conservative ass guidance! I think PSTG is going to blow that shit out the water. This chart shows Pure Storage’s past performance and we all know for sure that past performance = future results.....right?
https://preview.redd.it/4xflpezdhnf51.png?width=623&format=png&auto=webp&s=c1660a80a1a1821ef8098791a8cee632e25f1445
My Prediction: After ER8/25, Pure Storage will hit new 52 week highs.$20.50 - $23.50 is my guess. Bold prediction, $27.50+ by the EOY and $50 by December 2021.
tldr: PSTG 9/18 $17.5 & $20 calls

edit: for those that bought into this, I'm in this with you!
Let's pray for a rebound next week. also, Fuck Cisco!
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[Comic Books/Batman] A Death in the Family, or: How DC Comics Let a Phone Vote Kill Robin.

DC Comics has published literally thousands of Batman comics in the character's eighty-odd years of existence, but few are more infamous than A Death in the Family, when DC let fans decide whether Jason Todd, the second character to use the identity of Robin, lived or died.
An apology in advance: many primary sources for this drama have been lost to the annals of history: this was the 1980s, the Internet wasn't really a thing yet, so fan discussion around comics mostly took place in Usenet newsgroups and comic book letter columns, both of which are very difficult to find archives of today. I've reconstructed the story as best as I can, but I wish I could find more quotes from fans at the time.
Also, SPOILER WARNING. There are unmarked spoilers for Batman comics from the 1980s below this line. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Who was Jason Todd?

Jason Todd was a character introduced in 1983's Batman #357 by writer Gerry Conway and artist Don Newton and under the auspices of editor Len Wein, as a replacement for Dick Grayson as Robin. Grayson had outgrown the pixie boots and scaly shorts of the Robin identity, and graduated to his own identity as Nightwing, over in The New Teen Titans. But Conway felt that Batman still needed a Robin, so Todd was born:
Gerry Conway (writer, Batman and Detective Comics, 1981-1983): I always felt that Batman worked really well with a sidekick like Robin. My interest in the character was the version of Batman as a detective, the version of Batman as a guardian of Gotham. This was prior, I believe, to the deep-dive into the “dark knight” kind of concept of Batman, so, for that end, the idea of a younger sidekick who could bring out a little more levity in the character seemed useful. But Dick Grayson as a character had grown into a young adult and was integral to the Teen Titans series, and had his own life and his own storylines that were developing separately from Batman, and [he] couldn’t really play that secondary role that I was interested in exploring. [1]
Todd was introduced as the son of two acrobats who had been murdered by Batman's enemy Killer Croc, in a striking similarity to Dick Grayson's origin written forty years prior. Todd would officially become the new Robin in Batman #368, published February 1984, and would continue to go on adventures (written by Conway and then by Doug Moench) with Batman until 1986's Batman #400. During this period, he's probably best remembered for a. being involved in a custody battle between Batman and a vampire, and b. getting the drop on Mongul in the classic Superman story "For the Man Who Has Everything" by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons.
But then the Crisis happened, and everything changed for Jason.

The Crisis

You don't have a comic book company for almost fifty years without running into some hurdles along the way, especially where characters and continuity are concerned. In 1954, psychologist Frederick Wertham published Seduction of the Innocent, a book asserting that comic books were harming the children of the day, causing them to turn into delinquents. As a result, the bustling superhero genre of comics at the time slowed to a crawl, with most of DC's (then known as National Periodical Publications) characters, such as the Green Lantern and the Flash, ceasing publication and being replaced with comics about talking animals, romance stories, and giant alien monsters.
Just a few short years later, in October 1956, creators Robert Kangher and Carmine Infantino would introduce a new version of the Flash in Showcase #4, and the Silver Age of comics had begun. Eventually, the Golden Age Flash was reintroduced, and it was established that the Silver Age characters resided on Earth-One, while the Golden Age characters were from Earth-Two. Everything was fine and dandy, until DC decided things had become too confusing and that they needed to kill their multiverse.
In 1986, DC published one of the very first comic crossover events - Crisis on Infinite Earths, an earth-shattering story that pitted almost every hero in company history against the threat of the Anti-Monitor. The outcome was that all the characters and stories from Earth-One, Earth-Two, and several other alternate Earths that had appeared over the years were consolidated into a single, streamlined universe, and with that came changes for several other characters, Jason Todd among them.

The New Jason Todd

After Crisis, new blood was in the Batman editorial offices. Former Batman writer Denny O'Neil had taken over as editor of the Batman family of titles, and he had a different opinion on Robin than that of Wein and Conway before him.
O’Neil: There was a time right before I took over as Batman editor when he seemed to be much closer to a family man, much closer to a nice guy. He seemed to have a love life and he seemed to be very paternal towards Robin. My version is a lot nastier than that. He has a lot more edge to him. [1]
In keeping with the desire for a darker, edgier Dark Knight (it was the 1980s, after all), this version of Batman debuted without a Robin by his side. Dick Grayson was still Nightwing, but Jason Todd was nowhere to be seen. This darker interpretation of Batman was only solidified once Frank Miller put his touch on the franchise with "Batman: Year One" in Batman #404-407, and the standalone graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns, the impact of which cannot be understated.
The Dark Knight Returns was a pivotal moment in the formation of what we would consider a recognizably “modern” incarnation of Batman, someone who is brooding and dark, a loner who isolates himself from society to obsessively carry out his one man crusade by any brutally violent means necessary. It was also an important milestone for comics a medium when it landed on top of the Young Adult Hardcover New York Times bestsellers list—a feat it only qualified for thanks to its release as a trade paperback in bookstores. For the first time, mainstream audiences were zeroing in on Batman, and not because of a popular TV show or serialized movies, but because of a comic book. 2
Immediately following "Year One," O'Neil asked writer Max Allan Collins to reintroduce Jason Todd as Robin into the continuity, in a storyline titled "Batman: The New Adventures" starting in Batman #408. The new Todd was a delinquent orphan, caught by Batman when he tried to steal the tires from the Batmobile and taken in and trained to be the new Robin.
At first, the change was controversial among the fandom, especially given the wildly contrasting takes between Mike W. Barr's softer portrayal of the Dynamic Duo in Detective Comics and the harsher portrayal from creators such as Collins, Jim Aparo, and Jim Starlin (best known now as the creator of Thanos) in Batman. But nobody was clamoring for his death yet, and the intensity of debates around the new Jason Todd, fought out through comic book letter columns, were milder in comparison to those around whether there should be a yellow oval on the Batsuit or not. [3]
Over the next few years, fan hatred for Jason began to grow, as the new incarnation of the character was not only a replacement for a highly beloved character, but also had a lot of anger issues to sort through. But then came the boiling point - Batman #424, written by Starlin and pencilled by Mark Bright, released October 1988. In that story, Todd confronts Felipe, son of a South American diplomat who was heavily involved in the cocaine trade. Batman reasons that, because Felipe has diplomatic immunity, there's nothing he can do to stop him, but Todd thinks otherwise. Felipe falls from a skyscraper to his death, leaving Batman to wonder: "did Felipe fall... Or was he pushed?"
(Starlin, for what it was worth, hated Todd from the get-go, and specifically wrote this story to play to the controversy:
Starlin: In the one Batman issue I wrote with Robin featured, I had him do something underhanded, as I recall. Denny had told me that the character was very unpopular with fans, so I decided to play on that dislike. [1]
He had also tried to have Todd killed beforehand, of AIDS:
Well, I always thought that the whole idea of a kid side-kick was sheer insanity. So when I started writing Batman, I immediately started lobbying to kill off Robin. At one point DC had this AIDS book they wanted to do. They sent around memos to everybody saying “What character do you think we should, you know, have him get AIDS and do this dramatic thing” and they never ended up doing this project. I kept sending them things saying “Oh, do Robin! Do Robin!” And Denny O’Neill said “We can’t kill Robin off”. [4]

A Death in the Family

By 1988, though, O'Neil had changed his tune. Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's The Killing Joke had left longtime supporting character Batgirl crippled and confined to a wheelchair, to major praise from fans and critics alike, and there was blood in the water. Sales for Batman were at levels not seen for over a decade thanks to the works of Miller and Moore, Tim Burton's Batman feature film was on the horizon, far removed from the camp aesthetic of Adam West and Burt Ward and entirely Robin-free, and fan hatred for Todd was at an all-time high.
Jenette Kahn (publisher, DC Comics, 1976-1989; president, 1981-2003; editor-in-chief, 1989-2003) : Many of our readers were unhappy with Jason Todd. We weren’t certain why or how widespread the discontent was, but we wanted to address it. Rather than autocratically write Jason out of the comics and bring in a new Robin, we thought we’d let our readers weigh in. [1]
O'Neil and his team of editors brainstormed how they could remove Jason from the story, and the answer was clear: kill him, just as Starlin had suggested time and time again. Recalling the success of a 1982 Saturday Night Live sketch in which Eddie Murphy let viewers vote via phone on whether he would cook or spare a live lobester, O'Neil proposed a similar system to Kahn, who loved the idea.
So, A Death in the Family began in Batman #426, written by Starlin and illustrated by Jim Aparo. When Jason receives word that his missing mother is alive, he follows a set of leads across the world to find her, only to discover that she was being blackmailed by the Joker. Jason's mother hands him over to the Clown Prince of Crime, and that's how Batman #427 ends. On the back cover of that issue, DC ran a full-page ad, proclaiming: "Robin Will Die Because the Joker Wants Revenge, But You Can Prevent It With a Telephone Call" and giving two 1-900 numbers: one to call to save Jason, and one to kill him.
Two versions of issue #428 were written and drawn. One where Jason lived, and another, where he died. Both went into a drawer in O'Neil's desk, and the fans would choose which one would ever see the light of day.
The fans went rabid. One letter, published in Batman #428, read as follows:
"Dear Denny, I heard some of what you are planning for "A Death In the Family" story line, including the phone-in number wrinkle, and I don't want to take any chances whatsoever. Kill him. Your pal, Rich Kreiner."
From 9:00 in the morning on Thursday, September 15, 1988 until 8:00 in the evening on Friday, September 16, fans could call in to either of the two numbers for fifty cents a call and cast their vote. In the end, the votes were tallied: 5,271 voted for Todd to survive, and 5,343 voted for him to die. By a margin of 72 votes, Robin died in the pages of Batman #428, beaten to death with a crowbar by the Joker. The image of Batman cradling Robin's dead body became immediately iconic.

The Reaction

Fan reaction to the story was mixed, despite the seeming fervor for Todd's death and the blood that was on their hands. The letters pages for Batman #430 (1, 2) show a mixture of celebration over Jason's death, remorse over individuals' decisions to vote for death, and hope that Robin's absence would lead to more mature Batman stories in the future. However, every issue of A Death in the Family was a best-seller, and a collected edition was rushed out in early December of 1988, only a week after the final issue in the arc was released to stores.
But now that the fan feeding frenzy was (mostly) over, the media feeding frenzy had begun. You don't just kill Robin and get away with it without media attention. USA Today and Reuters ran articles on the story, and DC was besieged with interview requests from radio and TV stations.
O’Neil: I spent three days doing nothing but talking on the radio. I thought it would get us some ink here and there and maybe a couple of radio interviews. I had no idea—nor did anyone else—it would have the effect it did. Peggy [May], our publicity person, finally just said, “Stop, no more, we can’t do anymore,” or I would probably still be talking. She also nixed any television appearances. At the time, I wondered about that but now I am very glad she did, because there was a nasty backlash and I came to be very grateful that people could not associate my face with the guy who killed Robin. [1]
Internally at DC, there were suspicions that the vote had been rigged in some fashion.
O'Neil: "I heard it was one guy, who programmed his computer to dial the thumbs down number every ninety seconds for eight hours, who made the difference." [5]
But regardless of whether it was or not, Jason Todd was dead, and he would remain dead for as long as O'Neil stayed at DC - long enough for the phrase to be coined: "nobody in comics stays dead except for Uncle Ben, Bucky, and Jason Todd." But he wouldn't remain dead forever.

Legacy

Jason would be succeeded by a new Robin, less than a year after his death. In a crossover storyline between Batman and New Titans written by Marv Wolfman and illustrated by George Perez and Jim Aparo, entitled "A Lonely Place of Dying", the character of Tim Drake would be introduced. Unlike Todd and Grayson before him, Drake would challenge the assumptions made about the character of Robin - he figured out Batman's secret identity on his own, and deduced that Batman needed a Robin by his side, to ensure he wouldn't take unneeded risks.
Gone were the short pants of yesteryear - Drake wore a full-body suit with an armored cape, and was more of a detective than a fighter. He debuted to mixed reactions, although fans soon grew to love him under the pen of Chuck Dixon, who would be one of the major architects of Batman in the 1990s.
Todd would get a second chance at life seventeen years later. In 2005, writer Judd Winick wrote the storyline "Under the Hood," published in Batman #635-641, 645-650, and Annual #25. There, it's revealed that Todd returned to life thanks to an alternate version of Superboy punching reality (it's comics, don't ask) and the aid of R'as al Ghul's Lazarus Pits, and donned the identity of the crime lord the Red Hood in his quest for revenge against the Joker.
Todd, as the Red Hood, persists as a popular character today, a lasting symbol of Batman's failure, as he operates as a pragmatic vigilante, willing to take risks Batman isn't.
More recently, in July 2020, DC announced a Death in the Family animated interactive feature film in the vein of Black Mirror's "Bandersnatch" - again, viewers can choose whether Todd lives or dies, among other options.
Edit: fixed a typo.
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Singapore is a Meritocracy* [EXTRA LONG POST]

Singapore is a Meritocracy* [EXTRA LONG POST]
Edit: Thank you for all the comments and chat messages! I'm trying to go through each one. Writing thoughtful comments in the midst of having a full-time job is HARD WORK. I think I've missed a few questions, drop me a message if you're interested in continuing a discussion, I'm open to listening! There has been a lot of good comments, a few with great perspectives, and now I have a whole lot of things to read up on.
---
Now that the 2020 General Election is firmly in our rear-view mirror, there is something that I have been meaning to write about: institutionalized racism affecting the minorities, especially the Malays, in Singapore. If you are groaning at this thinking you have been misled by this post’s title, I assure you that by the end of this post you will understand the caveat behind the above-mentioned title. I plead for a little of your time and patience.
We have seen many discussions online about majority privilege and systemic racism impacting the minorities. Many of you may have even participated in some of these discussions. I will not try to explain those terms for they have already been repeatedly debated to death. What this post aims to achieve is to bring to light Singapore’s history and government policies that have either benefited the majority race or kneecapped the minority race. Or both.
Why am I doing this?
It is frustrating to see some Singaporeans fully buying into the narrative that Singapore is a truly meritocratic society; that the government’s policies do not discriminate against minorities, or if a Singaporean worked hard enough he or she will succeed (whatever the definition of success is), or that we have anti-discriminatory laws that protect the minorities. Some even claim that the Malays enjoy special privileges due to Section 152 of the Constitution describing the special position of Malays, and that the Malays are blessed with free education in Singapore.
Section 152, “Special Position”, free education for all Malays?
Minorities and special position of Malays
152.—(1) It shall be the responsibility of the Government constantly to care for the interests of the racial and religious minorities in Singapore.
(2) The Government shall exercise its functions in such manner as to recognise the special position of the Malays, who are the indigenous people of Singapore, and accordingly it shall be the responsibility of the Government to protect, safeguard, support, foster and promote their political, educational, religious, economic, social and cultural interests and the Malay language.
The oft-mentioned Section 152 of the Constitution was an administrative continuation of previously existing colonial policy towards the Malays [Col: 126]. Regardless of the “special position” of the Malays, the only form of assistance rendered to the Malays was the policy of free education for all Malay students. This minimal approach of the government did little to improve the educational and socio-economic standing of the Malays as revealed by the 1980 national census. The free tertiary education policy was ultimately removed in 1990, despite opposition from Malays who questioned the constitutionality of its removal [col: 126].
With free education for all Malays, why haven’t their socio-economic and educational standings improved?
There are many factors to look at, and the issue goes way back to the colonial era so that’s where we shall start. The colonial administrators of Singapore, in their pursuit of capitalistic gains, had little use for the native inhabitants. The natives who were already living off their own land had no desire to work for the British as labourers. The British saw this unwillingness to work for them as indolence, and ascribed many other negative cultural stereotypes to the locals [pdf]. Nailing home the capitalistic intent of colonial presence in Singapore, the British Director of Education R. O. Winstedt explained their policy for education for the natives in 1920 [pg. 2]:
"The aim of the government is not to turn out a few well-educated youths, nor a number of less well-educated boys; rather it is to improve the bulk of the people, and to make the son of a fisherman or a peasant a more intelligent fisherman or peasant than his father had been, and a man whose education will enable him to understand how his lot in life fits in with the scheme of life around him".
And in 1915, a British resident revealed the colonial attitude towards education [pg. 3]:
"The great object of education is to train a man to make a living.... you can teach Malays so that they do not lose their skill and craft in fishing and jungle work. Teach them the dignity of manual labour, so that they do not all become krannies (clerks) and I am sure you will not have the trouble which has arisen in India through over education"
The type and quality of education that the British set up for the native inhabitants show that they had no intentions to empower the locals with skills for a new economy. The education provided, while free, was to make sure the locals were kept out of trouble for the British, and remain subservient to the colonial causes. Further impeding the socio-economic status of Malays, the British actively discouraged Malays in switching from agricultural production to more lucrative cash crops, preventing the building of wealth among the Malay communities (Shahruddin Ma’arof, 1988: 51). In contrast to the British suppression of the buildup of Malay wealth and provision of vernacular education, Chinese businessmen, clan associations and Christian missionaries established Chinese schools where students were taught skills like letter-writing and the use of the abacus. By the turn of the 20th century, the curriculum in these Chinese-language schools expanded to include arithmetic, science, history and geography while Malay-language schools under Winstedt’s educational policies focused on vernacular subjects such as basket-weaving.
So, when Singapore attained self-governance, did things get better?
Discontent with the education system and social inequalities was already a big issue in the mid 1950s that the parties that contested for the Legislative Assembly championed for reforms to social issues like better education systems, housing subsidies and workers rights.
The People’s Action Party (PAP) won the 1959 Legislative Assembly general elections by running on a rather progressive platform of low-cost housing, improvement of employment opportunities for locals and a stronger education. They also campaigned for abolishing the inequality of wealth in their election manifesto (Petir, 1958: 2), with PAP chairman Dr Toh Chin Chye expressing his disgust at seeing “so many of our people reduced to living like animals because under the present social and economic system, the good things of life are for the ruthless few, those who believe that the poor and the humble are despicable failures.”
With the PAP in power, assurances were made to Singaporeans that no community would be left behind. In 1965, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew promised aid specifically to help raise the economic and education levels of the Malays. In 1967 during a mass rally at Geylang Serai, PM Lee again promised that “the Government with the support of the non-Malays are prepared to concentrate more than the average share of our resources on our Malay citizens [pdf].” He emphasized the importance of lifting all sections of the community to an even footing, reasoning that “if one section of the community were to lag behind it would harm the unity and integrity of the nation” (Bedlington, 1974: 289).
Despite these promises to help the minorities narrow the inequality gap, very little was done to realize it. Instead, the government took a ruthless approach towards economic growth, sparing no expense. Deputy Prime Minister Goh Keng Swee explained the government’s main concern was “to generate fast economic growth by any and every possible means. . . . If unequal distribution of income induced greater savings and investment . . . then this must be accepted as the price of fighting unemployment.” (Goh, 1972: 275)
By the late 1970s, a strong shift in parents’ preference towards an English-medium education for their children had resulted in a rapid decline in the number of vernacular schools.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, there was a shift of parents’ preference towards educating their child in the English stream. This shift, together with a period of minimal intervention in terms of educational policy and assistance to the minorities by the government, caused the number of enrolments in vernacular schools to rapidly decline. The socio-economic gap also widened between the Malays and Chinese, as the Chinese community enjoyed greater occupational mobility relative to the minorities. This can be seen in the shift in the lower manual occupation category, from a relatively equal proportion in 1957 to a 10 percent difference in 1980 [Table A]. In 1980, the average Malay household income was only 73.8 percent of the average Chinese household income. The income gap widened considerably by 1990, where the average Malay household income dropped to 69.8 percent of the average Chinese household income [Table B] (Rahim, 1998: 19-22). Decades after the lofty promises were made by the government, the Malay community’s slide into marginality continued.
Table A

Table B
Wait, the gap got bigger? Did the government do anything?
In 1979, Education Minister Dr Goh Keng Swee with the Education Study Team released a report on the Ministry of Education, more widely known as the Goh Report. The team was made up of 13 members, most of them systems analysts and economists, and none of whom ‘possess much knowledge or expertise on education’ (Goh Report, 1979: 1). The all-Chinese team excluded social scientists and educationalists, as the Education Minister had little regard for their expertise (Rahim, 1998: 121). The Goh Report made recommendations for radical changes to the educational system, recommendations which then became the basis of the New Education System (NES).
During a time when Tamil, Malay and Chinese schools were getting closed down due to declining enrolment numbers due to the popularity of English medium ones, the Special Assistance Plan (SAP) was introduced in 1978 to preserve and develop nine Chinese schools into bilingual (Mandarin and English) schools while retaining the values and traditions of a Chinese school. As part of the NES, these schools were to be the only ones to offer the Special course which the top 10 percent scorers of the PSLE are eligible to opt for. With these schools getting more resources, better facilities and the best teachers, the SAP contradicts the multi-racial principle of giving equal treatment to the non-English language streams. This exclusivity and the elite status of SAP schools affords its students better opportunities and advantages that are virtually out of reach for many minorities in Singapore. Effectively, the SAP is an institutionalized form of ethnic/cultural favouritism (Rahim, 1998: 130)
The NES also introduced early streaming for students which further exacerbated existing inequalities. Despite primary school education being free for all Singaporeans, families with better financial means have a huge advantage in preparing their child for streaming through additional tuition and better preschool choices#. (Barr & Low, 2005: 177) As we have seen from the disparity in household incomes between the Chinese and Malays, early streaming served to widen the gap between the haves and have-nots. The have-nots, more often than not, find themselves in the lower streams, trapped with very limited options providing upward social mobility. They will have to face an insurmountable task to lift themselves and their future generations out of their current predicament.
In 1982, the PAP slogan “a more just and equal society” was quietly dropped from the party’s constitution. This signaled an end to the socialist ideals that the party built its identity upon.
Why? It can’t be that the government favours one race over another...can it?
Examining the PAP leadership’s attitude towards the different cultures and ethnicities is key to understanding what the government values and how these values shaped its policies. Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, as quoted in the Goh Report, extolled the values of East Asian philosophies: "The greatest value in the teaching and learning of Chinese is in the transmission of the norms of social or moral behaviour. This means principally Confucianist beliefs and ideas, of man [sic], society and the state" (Goh, 1979: v). The government’s championing of SAP schools and ‘Chinese values’ is also complemented by the launch of ‘Speak Mandarin Campaign’ in 1979.
In 1991, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong espoused similar values as his predecessor, praising the virtues of ‘Confucian dynamism’ and claiming that Singapore would not be able to thrive and prosper without the Confucian core values of thrift, hard work and group cohesion. The fear of erosion of the Chinese cultural identity was never matched with a similar concern for the erosion of minority cultural identities, where the minorities were “expected to submit to a form of partial or incomplete assimilation into a Chinese-generated, Chinese-dominated society.#” (Barr & Low, 2005: 167)
On top of favouring Chinese cultural values and identities, the PAP leadership associated the cultures of the minorities with negative connotations. Speaking about a Malay who did well in business, Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew described the man as “acting just like a Chinese. You know, he’s bouncing around, running around, to-ing and fro-ing. In the old culture, he would not be doing that” (Han, et al., 1998: 184). In a Straits Times article on 26 June 1992, SM Lee also implied that the Chinese are inherently better at Maths, and that "If you pretend that the problem does not exist, and that in fact (the Malays) can score as well as the Chinese in Maths, then you have created yourself an enormous myth which you will be stuck with.+"
These attitudes from the ruling elite translated into more policies that preserved the advantage of the majority. When faced with the “pressing national problem”* of a declining birth-rate of the Chinese, the government took steps to ensure Chinese numerical dominance in Singapore. The Singapore government encouraged the immigration of skilled workers from countries like Hong Kong, Korea, and Macau, countries which were accorded the status of ‘traditional sources’ of foreign labour (Rahim, 1998: 72). Meanwhile, showing the government’s preference and/or dislike for specific groups of people, Malaysian Malays faced great difficulty in getting work permits. (“‘Harder’ for bumiputras to get S’pore work permits.+”, The Straits Times, 7 Mar 1991)
Another policy which worked to preserve the advantage of the majority was the urban resettlement programmes of the 1960s and 1970s. This resulted in the dissolution of the Malay electoral strongholds in the east, undermining the organic growth of Malay political grassroots. When it became apparent in the 1980s that the Malays were moving back to the traditional Malay residential areas, an ethnic residential quota, labelled the Ethnic Integration Policy, was implemented. The rationale behind the quota was to ensure a balanced racial mix, purportedly for racial harmony. However, this rationale does not stand up to scrutiny in the face of numerous academic studies on interethnic urban attitudes and relations**. Another consequence of the policy is the reinforcement of racial segregation when taking into account the income disparity between the races. Underlining the weakness of the government’s reasoning, constituencies like Hougang were allowed to remain Chinese residential enclaves despite its population being approximately 80 percent Chinese. (Rahim, 1998: 73-77)
Perhaps the most controversial policy introduced was the Graduate Mothers Scheme. It was introduced in 1983 to reverse the trend of falling fertility rates of graduate women versus the rising birth-rate of non-graduate women***. In a push to encourage graduate mothers to get married and have children, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Goh Keng Swee unveiled a suite of incentives; all-expenses paid love-boat cruises for eligible graduate singles in the civil service, a computer dating service, fiscal incentives, and special admissions to National University of Singapore (NUS) to even out the male-female student ratio#. At the other end of the spectrum, lesser-educated women were encouraged to have smaller families in a scheme called the Small Family Incentive Scheme. This was achieved by paying out a housing grant worth S$10,000 to women who were able to meet the following set of conditions: be below 30 years of age, have two or less children, educational level not beyond secondary school, have a household income totalling not more than S$1,500 and willing to be sterilized#.
Based on the average household income statistics, a simple deduction could be made that those eligible for the sterilization programme were disproportionately from the minority communities.
Isn’t that eugenics?
Yes. Singapore had a government-established Eugenics Board.
The graduate mothers and sterilization programmes were greatly unpopular and were ultimately abandoned or modified after the PAP’s mandate took a 12.9 percent hit in the 1984 general election. However that did not mean that eugenics stopped being an influence in policy-making.
In his 1983 National Day address, PM Lee stated that when it comes to intelligence, “80 per cent is nature, or inherited, and 20 per cent the differences from different environments and upbringing.” This is telling of the role that eugenics, biological determinist and cultural deficit theories played in the formation of PAP policies.
To further safeguard Singapore from “genetic pollution” (Rahim, 1998: 55, Tremewan, 1994: 113), the Ministry of Labour in 1984 issued a marriage restriction between work permit holders and Singaporeans. The work permit holder would have his work permit cancelled, be deported and be permanently barred from re-entering Singapore if he were to marry a Singaporean or permanent resident without obtaining prior approval. Approval from the Commissioner for Employment would only be given if the work permit holder possesses skills and qualifications of value to Singapore.
Doesn’t sound to me like the government targets any particular race with its policies.
Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 1987 rationalized that certain posts in the Singapore Armed Forces had been closed to Malays for "national security" reasons. He claimed that this policy was implemented to avoid placing Malays in an awkward position when loyalty to nation and religion came into conflict. PM Lee also added that the Malays behaved more as Malay Muslims than as loyal Singaporeans. PM Lee and DPM Lee’s statements finally made explicit what many suspected to have been an implicit rule. It could be observed that, despite being overrepresented in the civil service, Malays tend to stay in the lower-to-middle rungs of organizations like the SAF. It is also noteworthy that, to date, no Malay has held important Cabinet portfolios such as Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Minister of Trade and Industry.
The conflation of loyalty to the country with approval of the ruling party proved to be patently flawed, as studies by the Institute of Policy Studies (ST, 30 Sept 1990: 22; IPS, 2010) indicate that Singaporean Malays showed a stronger sense of national pride and identification compared to the other major ethnic groups. The study also found that Citizen-Nation Psychological Ties (CNP) scores, that is, national loyalty, weakens with: higher socio-economic status, Chinese, youth, and political alienation. Even when the Malays have been historically disenfranchised, they were found to be proud to be Singaporeans, loyal to Singapore and more willing to sacrifice for the nation than the other ethnic groups.
Additionally, Minister of Defence and Deputy Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong threatened to withhold aid to the Malay self-help organization Mendaki in 1988. The threat was issued over an incident during election night where several Malays in a crowd of Workers Party supporters had jeered at PM Goh at a vote counting centre. It became apparent from this incident that any aid offered by the government was tied to loyalty to the PAP instead of it being the duty of the government to serve Singaporeans regardless of party affiliation^^.
There have always been Malay PAP Members of Parliament (MP), did they not help fight for these issues?
The Malay PAP MPs are in the unique position of having to represent not only people of their constituents but also the rest of the Malay Singaporeans while toeing the party line. With many of the government policies being unhelpful towards the Malays, it is near impossible to fulfill this role satisfactorily. PAP MPs Ahmad Haleem (Telok Blangah) and Sha’ari Tadin (Kampong Chai Chee, Bedok) were both made to enjoy early retirements from their political careers for bringing up “sensitive” issues of the Malay community^^^. This set the tone for future PAP Malay MPs to remain unquestioningly in step with the leadership, regardless of their personal agreement, in order to have a long career within the party. Today, Malay PAP MPs have continued with the trend of parroting PAP policies that ran against the interests of the Malay/Muslim community (e.g. Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim with regards to the tudung issue).
What about the Mendaki and the Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy (TTFS)?
The policy providing free education for all Malays was ended in 1990 despite opposition from the Malays and the opposition party[Col: 126]. In its place, Mendaki introduced TTFS in 1991 to subsidise the cost of tertiary education in local institutions for those living in low household income. Due to the long history of marginalization and the widening of the inequality gap, the number of Malays who were able to make it to tertiary education institutions, especially in local universities, have been disproportionately low compared to the other ethnic groups. As such, the number of students able to benefit from this subsidy is even lower.
It was only recently, 20 years after the introduction of the subsidy, that the criteria for eligibility underwent revision. The revision takes into account the size of the family of the applicant, allowing for more Malay students to benefit from it. However, this subsidy is only one measure in an attempt to ensure that Malays students who were able to qualify for tertiary education are able to do so. Short of totally ditching streaming, more care, thought and resources are needed to lift the quality and accessibility of education for the Malays, especially in the early years of a child’s education.
So what needs to happen now?
Singaporeans, especially politicians, need to move on from making assertions similar to what PM Lee had made in 1987, that the "problem is psychological . . . if they try hard enough and long enough, then the education gap between them and the Chinese, or them and the Indians, would close. . . . Progress or achievement depends on ability and effort." It is important for Singaporeans to recognize the nearly Sisyphean task faced by marginalized communities in improving their socio-economic standing. Handicapped right from the start, their perceived failures in our “meritocratic” society should not be judged as an indictment of their efforts, but influenced in no small measure by the failings of the state in dragging their feet to take action. As a community, Singaporeans need to actively combat negative stereotyping, and move away from policies that were rooted in eugenics. Government intervention into ensuring unbiased, fair hiring practices would also help in raising the standing of the marginalized minorities. It would be impossible for Singapore to live up to its multiracial, meritocratic ideals without making fundamental changes to the above mentioned policies.
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# Academic journal behind a paywall. Most tertiary institutions should have partnerships with these journals, so you are likely able view them if you have a student email address.
+ Online scan of the article is unavailable
\* The declining birth-rate of the Chinese was one of three pressing national problems, according to PM Lee in a National Day rally speech in 1988; the others being education and the growing number of unmarried graduates [at approx 29 mins].
\* From Lily Zubaidah Rahim’s* The Singapore Dilemma (1998: 76-77): Rabushka’s (Rabushka, Alvin (1971), ‘Integration in Urban Malaya: Ethnic Attitudes Among Malays and Chinese’, 91-107) study found that it was common for people living in ethnically homogeneous areas to adopt favourable attitudes towards other ethnic groups. People who resided in ethnically mixed areas but did not mix with other ethnic groups were also found to hold negative attitudes towards others. He postulated that physical proximity coupled with superficial interaction across ethnic lines may in fact lead to heightened contempt for other ethnic groups. Urban studies (Fischer, Claude (1976), The Urban Experiment*) have similarly found that close physical distance of different ethnic groups does not necessarily result in narrowing the social distance between the communities. Indeed, physical ethnic proximity in large cities may well engender mutual revulsion and a heightening of ethnocentrism. These research findings have been corroborated by several Singaporean studies (Hassan, Riaz (1977),* ‘Families in Flats: A Study of Low Income Families in Public Housing’; Lai, Ah Eng (1995), ‘Meanings of Multiethnicity: A Case Study of Ethnicity and Ethnic Relations in Singapore’) which have found interethnic relations in the ethnically integrated public housing flats to be relatively superficial.
\** In the same article, PM Lee drew a straight line connecting the Malays with lower educational levels in this line of rhetoric questioning: “Why is the birth rate between the Malays, and the Chinese and Indians so different? Because the educational levels achieved are also different.”*
^ The stronger representation of Malays in civil service and Western multinational corporations was likely due to the difficulty in seeking employment in local firms. Prevalence of negative stereotyping of Malays meant that a Malay job applicant has to be much better qualified to be considered for a job in a local firm (Rahim, 1998: 25). A recent study into this phenomenon can be found here#.
^^ The PAP’s quid pro quo policy was put under the spotlight again in 2011, when PM Lee made it clear that the government’s neighbourhood upgrading programmes prioritised PAP wards over opposition wards.
^^^ PAP MP Ahmad Haleem raised the “sensitive” issue of the government’s exclusionary policy towards Malays in National Service, which adversely affected socio-economic standing of the Malay community [Col: 144]. PAP MP Sha’ari Tadin was actively involved in Malay community organizations and helped to organize a 1971 seminar on Malay participation in national development (Rahim, 1998: 90).
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Recommended Reading:
The Myth of the Lazy Native: A study of the image of the Malays, Filipinos and Javanese from the 16th to the 20th century and its function in the ideology of colonial capitalism [pdf].
The Singapore Dilemma: The Political and Educational Marginality of the Malay Community.
Eugenics on the rise: A report from Singapore#.
Assimilation as multiracialism: The case of Singapore’s Malay#.
Racism and the Pinkerton syndrome in Singapore: effects of race on hiring decisions#.
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References:
Bedlington, Stanley (1974), The Singapore Malay Community: The Politics of State Integration, Ph.D. thesis, Cornell University.
Chew, Peter K.H. (2008), Racism in Singapore: A Review and Recommendations for Future Research, James Cook University, Singapore.
Fook Kwang Han, Warren Fernandez, Sumiko Tan (1998) Lee Kuan Yew, the Man and His Ideas, Singapore Press Holding.
Goh, Keng Swee (1972), The Economics of Modernization and Other Essays, Singapore: Asia Pacific Press.
Michael D. Barr & Jevon Low (2005) Assimilation as multiracialism: The case of Singapore's Malays, Asian Ethnicity, 6:3, 161-182, DOI: 10.1080/14631360500226606
Rahim, Lily Z. (1998), The Singapore Dilemma: The political and educational marginality of the Malay community, Kuala Lumpur, Oxford University Press.
Shaharuddin Ma’aruf (1988), Malay Ideas on Development: From Feudal Lord to Capitalist, Times Book International, Singapore.
Tremewan, Christopher (1994), The Political Economy of Social Control in Singapore, London, Macmillan.
submitted by cherenkov_blue to singapore [link] [comments]

Rey Rivera, Foul Play, Murder, note is a code

Not claiming to be an expert on anything.
My opinion: Rey Rivera did not commit suicide, foul play was involved, and his note may be a code trying to implicate those who may be involved.
I believe there is much more circumstantial and direct evidence that points towards a homicide rather than a suicide. I try to give credit where it is due and if I am repeating things that have already been posted, I apologize.
Please, since it has already been discussed so much in many other posts, if you are going to insist on speculating about his mental state on this post too, include a diagnostic criteria for the condition/diagnosis you are claiming and evidence of how Rey fits each criteria. You cannot make conclusions on anyone's mental state simply based off reading a book, articles and Netflix. Either Stansberry’s crisis management team has people on Reddit, or a very large amount of people believe they became overnight experts in mental health. Neither of these will hold up in court. Unless you are a psychiatrist or psychologist, you are not qualified to make assumptions about his mental health that would be permissible as evidence in a court of law so let's leave that to them.
I believe there were real reasons behind Rey’s paranoia, and I believe the note is code for the corruption he was dragged into. The note has been hypothesized to be a coded message or a tone reel for a movie, there is no evidence to prove it was or wasn't that, vs. being considered ramblings during a psychotic break as others have speculated (there is no direct evidence to support this). There is also no evidence to prove that it wasn’t planted there, considering he had two attempted break-ins at his house right before his death and the house was left vacant for hours after his death until Allison returned back to Baltimore. My opinion is that Rey wrote it as a coded message in the form of a tone reel since he was a writer and filmmaker first and I’ll state what I believe to be proof of this below.
Facts :
  1. He had 2 recent alarms triggered at his house the days before his death which could have been possible break-in attempts
  2. Someone form the Stansberry & Associates building was the last person reported to talk to him before his death. He worked for a very shady company (some evidence at the bottom of this post), that placed a call to him around 6:30pm the night he went missing, causing him to run out of his house.
Both of the facts above warranted a better investigation by the Baltimore Police Department that did not happen. The last reported person to talk to a victim is often the first POI to investigative authorities. to him was someone that called him around 6:30 from the Stansberry and Associates building.
  1. Before this, the last reported person to talk to him at 4pm stated nothing out of the usual with Rey AND that he was intent on renting video equipment to complete a work deadline for that very weekend. This does not sound like someone planning to commit suicide to me. https://www.reddit.com/UnsolvedMysteries/comments/hkdsmo/apparently_i_was_one_of_the_last_people_to_talk/ This man was cited in news articles and talked to the police right after Rey's death too.
  2. Rey’s death is currently classified as a homicide
  3. Stansberry and Associates either put a gag order on the company (and a recent memo released stating they didnt is a lie) OR all Stansberry and Agora employees were instructed to not talk to anyone about Rey’s death as proven and reported by law enforcement, many reporters, family members, and the author of the book An Unexplained Death when they received that answer while attempting to reach out to the company and to Porter.
  4. Stansberry & Associates hired a Crisis management team for the firm 6 months ago after their cease and desist letter aimed at stopping the airing of the Netflix documentary regarding Rey's death did not work.
  5. There were 0 witnesses that saw Rey enter or in the building previously known as the Belvedere that night, which law enforcement reported he frequented. You would have thought at least one employee or concierge for the condominium would have seen him come in if he did jump from there, considering it is part of their job to greet and provide assistance to those entering.
? looking to confirm: There were no signs of Rey's shirt being torn when his body was found.
  1. The coroner also reported the cause of death as undetermined and could not conclude it was a suicide. We should start another post to discuss the autopsy results in detail.
  2. The FBI report on the note states that overall themes and language are “consistent with someone who suffers from a delusional disorder” It describes delusional disorders, how they are relatively rare affecting 24-30 out of every 100,000 people and that the onset is relatively late with average age being 40-49. It does not appear that they looked into connections it had to any code, or that they knew what a tone reel was.
The report also states “BAU is unable to confirm the identity of the author of the letter without further analysis.” There is then a full page of “Investigative Suggestions" for the BPD to investigate: (There is also question as to what, if any, from that list of suggestions was actually investigated after the report.)
* BAU suggests [redacted] several meetings/interviews. [full sentence redacted]. The purpose of these interviews to develop additional leads…[>2 lines redacted]. As mentioned by BPD, [redacted]. These interviews should take place in a non-threatening environment. [2 lines redacted] In an effort to generate further leads, investigators should carefully review [2 lines redacted]. Rivera’s family members (brothers, sisters, parents) should also be re-interviewed regarding his health. (per the Netflix documentary, we know the family does not believe he was suffering from mental delusions.)
* BAU recommends [>3 lines redacted]. FBI Baltimore may be able to assist BPD…[>3 lines redacted].* BAU recommends determining [redacted].* BAU recommends requesting forensic testing [redacted]. BAU understands that [redacted] during the investigation [> 2 lines redacted]. BPD should also determine [redacted]. * BAU recommends requesting forensic analysis of the computer printer where the letter was found. [>3 lines redacted]. FBI Baltimore’s Computer Analysis Response Team can assist with the analysis of Rivera’s computer [>3 lines redacted]. * BAU offered to [redacted]. It is recommended that BPD provide BAU with [redacted]. * BAU recommends that BPD [>2lines redacted].
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Things being used to defend this deteriorating mental health theory are:
  1. his wife noticed him paranoid and stressed the weeks leading up to his death.
  2. The note that he allegedly left - more details below at 2a
  1. Recent Researching of Freemasons
1a. paranoia - Rey had real reasons behind his paranoia. Rey Rivera was working for a shady financial firm and making millions of dollars. These firms are notorious for having connections to powerful underground criminals. He was hired by this firm to “clean up their image” and write the Rebound Report one year after the SEC had filed a complaint against Stansberry & Associates for giving false advice on stocks that later tanked. So, a filmmaker with no finance experience was hired to write about suggesting cheap stocks that were supposedly going to make a quick turnaround. People were angry and had lost millions of dollars after the SEC filing. There is an article about the exact details below. Additionally, Rey's friend who also worked for Agora - Hickling- had died just a couple months before Rey’s death allegedly in a car accident in Zambia. Rey had two tripped alarms in his house (suggesting attempted break-ins) in the nights leading up to his death. He had valid reasons to be paranoid. There were valid reasons for people to be after him, and there were valid reasons for him to be concerned and protective of his wife as many times these criminals will come after the person closest to them instead of the individual themself.
2a. The note- Many film creators have said the note looks not similar, but exactly like a tone reel. Also hypothesized are that it could have been a code for something or that it could have also been planted there, since there were 2 tripped alarms at his house. Many who have attempted to piece together the note from screenshots also point out that there are multiple versions of it, suggesting that if he did write it, it was written over a longer period of time than a day. In my opinion, all these theories have the same validity/amount of evidence as the delusional theory.
Some theories and opinions on the note: many made by Reddit users under the google doc that TrueCrime Pyrex started (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CUynVxK37ReWqJ2r3jyue0hUMh36GfiRAzYXG-Q8IE8/edit#)
According to https://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0911/how-september-11-affected-the-u.s.-stock-market.aspx):Some sectors, however, prospered as a result of the attacks. Certain technology companies, as well as defense and weaponry contractors, saw prices for their shares increase substantially... Stock prices also spiked upward for communications and pharmaceutical firms. On the nation's options exchanges, including the Chicago Board Options Exchange (the world's largest), put and call volume increased correspondingly. Put options, which allow an investor to profit if a specific stock declines in price, were purchased in large numbers on airline, banking, and insurance shares.

3a. Freemasons. The act alone of researching Freemasons does not indicate a psychotic state. In the book, An Unexplained Death, Mikita Brottman writes:
"Stein learns from a Master Mason that Fred Bealefield, who was the chief of detectives during the Rivera case and later police commissioner, is also a Master Mason. This news does not surprise me. Many policemen are members of the Freemasons; it does not make either the police of the Freemasons especially sinister. I often invite Master Masons to speak to my classes about the history of their organization, which I have come to see as a benevolent fraternal charity with an archaic structure and hierarchy, not a malevolent force running the universe, or even the city. In other words, I think the Masonic angle is a red herring. I believe Rey's interest in the group was part of his research for something new he was writing."
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Per those close to Rey, their theory is that has something to do with the Rebound Report, and the fact that the company had just come out of being fined 1.x millions dollars for misleading investors. (Also The Rebound Report may not have been accurate?) I believe looking into these reports would provide further information. Also mentioned, If Rey were to go meet someone at the condominium he allegedly jumped from, he would not have worn flip-flops and track pants. He was going to go see someone he knew.
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Circumstantial and direct indicators of foul play/cover-up:
- In An Unexplained Death, Mikita Brottman writes:
'An anonymous comment on an article about the case by Stephen Janis posted at the Baltimore Examiner website puts this theory in a nutshell. "Rey was a very inquisitive man, a truth-seeker. He had information that threatened something larger than himself and was murdered for it." '
'Others have suggested that Rey's death may have been connected to developments in Nicaragua, where Agora owns a large stretch of coastline. Those who have studied the case often refer to "Nicaragua" in cryptic terms.'
"Bizarre is also how Allison Rivera describe the obstacles she encountered trying to help police search for clues. Confident that her husband’s death was foul play, she hired a private detective who accompanied her to The Belvedere to review the video surveillance. But Allison soon discovered that the surveillance system malfunctioned on the day her husband disappeared. “Somebody put 'protect' on the day of the 15th that consumed about 85 percent of the hard drive,” she recalled learning. “Somebody hit 'protect' on the system; there is button on the key board in the concierge areas, and there is a computer in the back.” The timing of the erasure is troubling, Allison said.“If it was on May 1, that's an accident but if it's on May 15, that is a totally different story.”An employee of the former hotel who has knowledge of the camera system but asked to remain anonymous could not confirm Allison's allegations. The employee said that police had confiscated the hard drives."
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Below here are a few news article links and old posts from disgruntled investors regarding the shady practices of Agora and possible motives for killing. Many article links have since been removed from the internet. Please bear in mind I am not citing below things as facts, although many have since proven to be. I find it interesting and possibly relevant to Rey Rivera's death
From the desk of Porter Stansberry:
When my best friend, Rey Rivera, disappeared last year, we had to find his car (and then his .... Porter Stansberry Baltimore, Maryland December 21, 2006 ...
Porter Comments:'The Baltimore sheriff is after me…'-Porter Stansberry

If I ever had any doubts whatsoever about your corruption and cover up and disinformation propaganda re 9/11…your promotion of Agora Inc.'s stock fraudster and murder suspect,(in the case of his 'friend' Rey Rivera of Agora Inc Rebound Report fraud,etc.),has ended all that. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were also part of Agora Inc.'s fraud that helped send the housing market and government subsidized housing loans crashing as well.Also when it did ex SEC Chairman Christopher 'WMDS' Cox lied about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shares being 'naked shorted',a term that can be tracked back to Agora Inc.'s and National Taxpayers Union founder James Dale Davidson himself. Both Stansberry, Davidson and Agora scumbag Bill Bonner have a UK connection and their association with with the U.K.'s Lord or Lard William Rees-Mogg guarantees a Rothschild connection…I no longer have any doubt even an idiot such as yourself, with your far right women's rights denier Ron Paul connections, that you know you are in cahoots with the CIA because his and your pals at Agora Inc have CIA and George Tenet connections…Sincerely, Tony Ryals
Corrupt SEC attorney Karen Martinez who along with SEC attorney Brent Baker removed all charges against Stansberry and James Dale Davidson regarding their illegal pumps and dumps of biotech penny stock frauds **Endovasc and Genemax in 2003 tries to blame or insinuate the probable murder of Rey Rivera was done by defrauded investors such as myself mno doubt.**And I myself suspect that Stansberry's and Lila Rajiva's invitation to me to visit his office in 2005 was either as a set up or to murder me as well .Shortly after removal of all charges against James Dale Davidson and Porter Stansberry regarding their promotion of worthless Endovasc and Genmax shares Brent Baker 'retired' from his SEC job and was rewarded or bribed by Patrick Byrne of Overstock.com and himself began to openly promote the lie that Overstock shares were like the other penny stocks a victim of 'naked shorting' or naked short selling by some unknown entity. Byrne even claimed it was a or the 'Sith Lord' !
Davidson's NAANSS or National Association Against Naked Short Selling' was disapeared from the internet in 2005 and replaced with NCANS or National Coalition Against Naked Shorting with a number of lieing websites claiming a huge amount of stock frauds were really victims of 'naked shorting' ! In 2008 even the ex SEC Chairman lied on the sec.goc website about Fannie Mae,Freddie Mac,AIG,UBS and even Goldman Sachs shares collpsed in value due to 'naked short selling' ! -Tony Ryals
Missing Baltimore Man Getting National Attention - wjz.com23 May 2006 ... It's been a week since a Northeast Baltimore man was last seen, and police say there is still no sign of 32-year old Rey Rivera. http://www.wjz.com/topstories/Rey.Rivera.Missing.2.422531.html
Suicide Or Murder? Evidence Reviewed - Baltimore, Maryland News ...BALTIMORE -- The mystery behind a Baltimore businessman who fell to his ... http://www.wbaltv.com/13334811/detail.html
http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/man-found-dead-belvedere-worked-comp
Man found dead at Belvedere worked at company that had SEC complaint By: Stephen Janis 06/01/06 2:00 AM Examiner Staff Writer
Karen Martinez, one of the SEC attorneys who filed the complaint against Stansberry, said investors who paid for the tip are angry. "Many investors testified in discovery that they lost substantial amounts of money based on the investment advice of the company," Martinez said. "Investors said they were very unhappy," she added.
An official speaking on behalf of Stansberry Associates said they had no comment on the SEC complaint. Martinez said Stansberry denied the allegations in court and that the case was pending, awaiting the judge?s decision, she said.
Who killed Rey Rivera? | What's Inside Our Brains6 Feb 2010 ... suicide of Rey Rivera, whose body was found on a roof of the Belvedere building in Mt. Vernon in 2006. As I recall from the original ... http://www.whatsinsideourbrains.com/?p=292
LAND OF THE UNSOLVED - The last days of Rey Rivera10 Aug 2009 ... But the patch over the bituminous paving atop a second-floor office at The Belvedere hides a secret the widow of filmaker Rey Rivera thinks ... http://www.investigativevoice.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=:the-land-of-the-unsolved-the-last-days-of-rey-rivera&catid=25:the-project&Itemid=44
Working links:
Baltimore Crime: Rey Rivera10 Aug 2009 ... can see Rey Rivera's 'friend' and employer Porter Stansberry invited me to visit Agora Inc. and Baltimore in 2005. ... http://www.baltimorecrime.blogspot.com/2009/08/rey-rivera.html
“I briefly quote and provide link from Bill Bonner's Baltimore co-author Lila Rajiva herself who wrote an article about her employers' Goldcor connection and the strange 'suicide' of Goldcor President Richard Brown who was found with a bullet in his head in November 1991 as Goldcor began to unravel.
http://baltimore.indymedia.org/newswire/display/11382/index.php …link no longer works either
http://neworleans.indymedia.org/news/2010/03/14797.phpDeath In Baltimore:Agora Inc.,Rey Rivera,Porter Stansberry,James Dale Davidson,Bill Bonner “This post has to do with the mysterious death of Agora Inc employee Rey Rivera in 2006 who was committing stock fraud for his own personal gain and more so for the profits of his bosses at Agora Inc that included his evil 'friend' of years past,Porter Stansberry, as well as Bill Bonner,James Dale Davidson and the evil Lord William Rees-Mogg of UK who founded or who have been behind Agora Inc stock fraud and money laundering operation for decades. .”
submitted by BoriOno to UnsolvedMysteries [link] [comments]

[OC] CASH ME OUTSIDE: Which future free agents have the most to gain or lose if basketball resumes in the Orlando bubble ?

Back in 2016, young Danielle Bregoli appeared in a Dr. Phil segment eloquently titled: "I Want To Give Up My Car-Stealing, Knife-Wielding, Twerking 13-Year-Old Daughter Who Tried To Frame Me For A Crime." She made the most of it, and even gained fame for her instant catchphrase "cash me outside". Usually, that's where a viral moment ends. However, Bregoli (now known as Bhad Bhabie) has actually parlayed that one moment into a legitimate career. She's a rapper signed by Atlantic Records, and her videos have millions and millions of views.
We see this happen often in sports and in basketball specifically. The national media and even front offices start paying more attention to high-profile televised games -- the NCAA tournament, the NBA playoffs, etc. If a player can make the most out of their time in the spotlight, then they can parlay that into huge success themselves. College players who have big tournaments shoot up draft boards. NBA players who have good playoff performances can drive up their prices in free agency. We've seen it time and time again, from Austin Croshere, to Jerome James, to Ian Mahinmi.
The continuation of the NBA season (barring a Kyrie Irving led rebellion) means that some players are going to get their time in the spotlight again. That's hugely important for players who are about to reach free agency.
Now, there are a lot of big name free agents that are going to cash in regardless. Anthony Davis has a player option; I suspect he'll do all right. Similarly, there are veteran players like Danilo Gallinari or Joe Harris who are more "known commodities." We've seen plenty of them, and we understand their skill sets and values. Their prices are somewhat fixed (aside from concerns about a COVID-infected cap.)
Alternatively, there are a group of future free agents that have more volatile stock. They have a lot to gain -- but they have a lot to lose. This is their moment. This is their last impression. They're heading into the Orlando bubble to do business, with the hope that teams will cash them outside.
READY FOR THEIR CLOSE-UP
C Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio
If you just glanced at the raw stats, you might not understand why anyone would fuss about Jakob Poeltl. He averages 5.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Ho hum. He's only started a grand total of 38 games in his four-year career so far. Yawn. He's a true center who can't shoot threes? Yikes, go back to 1973. Can we move on to free agents who actually matter?
Not so fast, my friend. Jakob Poeltl is a lot more interesting than those numbers suggest. He may be a 7-foot true center from Austria, but he's hardly a stereotypical "stiff." He's more nimble than you'd expect, and shows good defensive instincts inside. Overall, he's a smart player with a natural feel for the game.
Those skills are born out in the advanced stats, which LOVE Poeltl's impact. Over the course of his career (4-year sample size here), teams with Poeltl on the court have scored 126 points per 100 possessions, and only allowed 107 per 100 possessions. That's the type of difference (+19) that ranks up with the elite in the NBA. Now, we have to take those numbers with a grain of salt. On/off figures rely heavily on your teammates, and Poeltl's had the good fortune of being on some great bench units in Toronto and now San Antonio. Still, you'd have to guess that he's contributing to those units in a major way.
Fortunately for teams and for Poeltl, we don't have to "guess" much more. LaMarcus Aldridge (who had been playing 95% of his minutes at center) is out for the season, clearing a huge pathway for Poeltl to play 25-30 minutes a game and prove his worth. Or not. This is exactly the type of volatility we're looking for in this exercise.
upside/downside: If the season had ended prematurely, the Spurs could have effectively "hidden" Jakob Poeltl and retained him for a modest price. As a restricted free agent, his value may have been depressed even more. He may have returned on his qualifying offer ($5M) or signed a team-friendly extension in the neighborhood of $6-8M a year. However, if he has a monster bubble-bracket showing, then teams are going to look at him as a potential starter and pay him accordingly. Gone are the days when Ian Mahinmi or Timo Mozgov would get $15M a season, but $10-12M isn't unrealistic. Heck, Mason (the good one) and Miles (the bad one) Plumlee both got more than that.
PG Shabazz Napier, Washington
Shabazz Napier knows all about shining under the spotlight. He helped UConn pull off an upset NCAA title, and consequently boosted his draft stock. LeBron James even publicly praised him as his "favorite player in the draft." The Miami Heat then acquired Napier (perhaps as a way to keep the King happy?) However, James left in free agency that summer anyway, and the Heat never seemed too invested in Napier after that. He'd be in Orlando the next year, and Portland the following year. Napier's kept bouncing around since then. In fact, he's already been traded SIX times in his young career.
In his journey around the league, Napier has been up or down. Sometimes he flashes and makes you think he could be a high-end backup or even a low-end stopgap starter. Other times, he disappears or shoots poorly, and you start using his name as a trade filler contract.
This bubble in Orlando may represent Napier's best chance at latching on to a role and a landing a decent contract. At the moment, he's soaking up minutes for the Washington Wizards, who have lost John Wall to an Achilles injury and have lost Isaiah Thomas to awful defense-itis. In their wake, Napier and veteran Ish Smith are platooning at PG, and both trying to show their competence. If Napier can take advantage of these 25-30 minutes he's getting, then he will go a long way to securing his future in the league.
upside/downside: If Shabazz Napier can outplay Ish Smith and hold the fort well at PG, then teams may start viewing him, as mentioned, as a high-end backup/low-end starter. That may not sound like any great shakes, but that's a lucrative role. Ish Smith himself makes $6M a year -- D.J. Augustin makes $7M. Those figures would represent a major pay raise for Napier, who's never made as much as $2.5M in any season so far. On the other hand, if he flops and the Wizards fold, then he'll be back to looking at 3rd PG spots and fighting to stay in the league.
BREAKOUT STARS WHO CAN'T AFFORD TO BREAK DOWN
PG Fred VanVleet, Toronto
Fred VanVleet had to work hard to convince NBA teams to buy into him. That's bound to happen any time you're an undrafted player who looks like he should be selling pretzels at a game at not playing point guard.
But finally, after several years of proving himself, Fred VanVleet put himself in prime position to cash in this summer (or whenever free agency actually happens.) He carried over his great Finals performance to this regular season, averaging 17.6 points and 6.6 assists. He can shoot -- he can defend. Hell, he can even defend across positions despite his limited height thanks to his strength and his basketball IQ. In fact, basketball-reference listed VanVleet at SG for 54% of his minutes this season. Presumably, FVV will be a lead guard going forward, but that versatility only adds to his value. You can make an argument that he offers similar value to a player like Malcolm Brogdon, who got over $20M in salary in Indiana.
What's the "volatility" here? Why can't we lock in VanVleet for a fat contract yet?
Well, VanVleet needs to finish the job, essentially. We all remember how great he played in the Finals, but we tend to forget how badly he played in the playoffs prior to that. In their seven game war against Philadelphia, VanVleet shot a combined 3-24 from the field (12.9%) and averaged 2.0 points per game. Perhaps he was distracted by issues at home, but he was also rattled by the Sixers' length. He can't have that happen again, or else it'd leave a sour taste in the mouth of the NBA front offices, and scare them from trusting him as a surefire starter going forward.
upside/downside: If Fred VanVleet plays well (the same level as he's played throughout the year), then he's looking at a healthy deal. He's 26 right now, so he may land a 4-year deal in excess of $60M ($15M per year). But if he struggles in the playoffs, then that may go down to something like 3 years, $40M ($13M per year) as teams view him as more of a fringe starter instead.
C Montrezl Harrell, L.A. Clippers
Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers will enter the bubble with genuine and realistic title aspirations. They're loaded from top to bottom, and as deep as any team in the field.
That said, they may be too deep for their own good. In some ways, it still feels like two teams fused together like the Man with Two Heads. On one shoulder, there's the "old Clippers" from last year -- the plucky overachievers fueled by the chemistry of Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell. On the other shoulder, the "new Clippers" -- the would-be Super Team featuring two superstars in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Because the Clippers have been coasting through the regular season and load managing their stars, they haven't gotten the chance to lock in rotations and nail down their final form as a cohesive group yet.
That's especially apparent in terms of the PF/C spot. Like last year, the team starts young center Ivica Zubac, but then cedes major minutes and a bigger role to Harrell off the bench. However, they've also brought in PF Marcus Morris, fresh off a strong half-season for the Knicks. There are contenders here, but no clear plan. When push comes to shove, is the team going to play a traditional lineup with a PF and a C? And if so, which center will close out games? And if the team needs to adjust and go to a "smallball" approach against a team like Houston, who will that lone big be -- Harrell or Marcus Morris?
For Harrell, winning that role will be important as a matter of pride, but also important as a matter of market value. He'll be an unrestricted free agent (as will Marcus Morris). But unlike Morris, Harrell hasn't gotten a huge contract in the NBA yet. This summer was supposed to be his year to cash in. However, if Doc Rivers and the Clippers don't feel like he can hang on D at the end of games, then that will give his stock a big hit.
upside/downside: If you're a free agent coming off a championship team, you're bound to get paid (and likely overpaid.) Of course, to benefit from that ring, you'd have to be seen as a key member of that team. As a result, Harrell needs to lock down the closing minutes at center. If that happens, then he's in line for a big contract in the range of $15M per year. However, the nightmare scenario for him would be if he gets played off the court due to his defense; if that happens, then he'll be seen as a niche role player and his contract will likely go down to the $10-12M range.
LAST CHANCE FOR A BIG CONTRACT
SF Jae Crowder, Miami
Veteran Jae Crowder is a great addition to any contending team. He's a strong, dogged defender. He can hit threes. In a world that craves 3+D players, he fits the bill to a T.
At least, that's his reputation. In reality, Crowder has never reached the heights that he did back in Boston (a familiar trend among former Celtics, it appears.) The most obvious issue is the inconsistent shooting. He had never been seen as a shooter originally, but he worked on that aspect of his game. In 2016-17, Crowder hit on 39.8% of his three-point attempts. The presumption is that he'd finally clicked into another gear, and could only get better from there. He became a valuable trade piece (and ended up going to Cleveland in the Kyrie Irving deal.)
More and more, it's starting to look like that one season was an outlier. Crowder's three-point percentage has fallen back down to Earth, registering 32%, 33%, and 32% over the next three seasons. His defense also may have been overrated. At 6'6" with a 6'9" wingspan, he has only average size for a SF and only registered an average impact in terms of advanced stats. He's bounced around lately, from Cleveland to Utah to Memphis and now to Miami.
Interestingly enough, Crowder got off to a hot start in Miami, and may have started to resurrect his stock. The Heat had been playing him more as a smallball four (basketball reference listed him at PF for 60% of his minutes), and he looked rejuvenated by that change. He hit on 39.3% of his threes (13 game sample size) and also looked better defensively as well.
The question now is... can that continue? Miami will be healthier coming back from the break, and may not envision heavy minutes for Crowder in this playoffs. Are they going to rely on him? Or bury him? TBD. These next few months will be crucial for Crowder's stock as he heads into unrestricted free agency.
upside/downside: If Jae Crowder can continue to play well as a smallball PF (and also soak up minutes at SF), then it'd give credence to the idea that he's a legitimate starter. And as a result, he'd be looking at salaries in the $10M+ range. However, there's also a lot of potential downside here. If his shooting stumbles again, it's difficult to imagine smart teams viewing him as anything more than a depth player at this stage (29, turning 30 in July.) He may have trouble matching his current salary of $7.5M.
C Derrick Favors, New Orleans
We're trying to focus on players with "volatile" stock and some unknown elements to their game. I'm not sure that describes New Orleans big man Derrick Favors right now. After some very high expectations as the # 3 pick, he appears to have settled into a known commodity right now at age 28. He's never going to be an All-Star, but he's developed into a capable starter (9.2 points, 9.9 rebounds this year) who is particularly sturdy on the defensive end.
So what's the lingering question here? For Favors, it's more about a matter about whether he's a long-term "fit" with this New Orleans team. After rotating between PF and C in Utah, Favors has been locked in as a true center with the Pelicans, playing 100% of his minutes as a 5. That certainly feels like his best position moving forward.
But the question is... do the Pelicans need a center? They just invested the # 8 overall pick in Jaxson Hayes, a naturally springy 7-footer. Moreover, there's still the lingering question about whether Zion Williamson may be best served as a smallball center himself. Between the two, there may not be loads of minutes at the 5 in New Orleans. Realistically, the team could retain Favors on a 1 or 2 year deal and utilize him as a placeholder until Hayes fills out and develops into a viable starter. At the same time, Favors is likely looking for a longer-term deal than that; this may be his last big contract.
The Pelicans haven't had their full roster together all season, so they still need to work out their rotations. Will coach Alvin Gentry want to lock Favors in at the 5 (with Zion Williamson at the 4)? If push comes to shove, will Favors be squeezed out? Those decisions may go a long way to determining his free agency future.
upside/downside: As mentioned, Derrick Favors' "value" may be more locked into place than his peers on the list. He's likely worth around a 3 year, $40M contract ($13.3M per year.) But for him, the question will be where that money will come from. A lot of the playoff teams that could use him (say Boston, for instance) don't have the cap space to offer those prices. If he wants to get bowled over with money, it'll likely come from a young team with cap room (like an Atlanta or Charlotte). But for them to justify paying big money to a big man, he'll have to keep playing heavy minutes and keep putting up solid numbers.
THE COMPLETE WILD CARD
SG Andre Roberson, Oklahoma City
Remember him? There are younger fans out there (the babies and toddlers among us) who may not even recall the extreme strengths of weaknesses of Andre Roberson.
It's not an exaggeration to say that, at his peak, Andre Roberson was the best perimeter defender in the NBA. Armed with length (6'11" wingspan), nimble feet, and a tenacious style of play, he could slow down anyone from 1-4. In 2017-18, ESPN's real plus minus metric graded his defensive impact as a +4.3 per 100 possessions, second best in the league behind Rudy Gobert.
Alas, Roberson only checked one box on the 3+D prototype. He's a career 25.7% shooter from beyond the arc, and a particularly ugly 46.7% at the free throw line. That free throw percentage even dipped as low as 31.6% in that 2017-18 season.
So why do I keep citing the 2017-18 season? Because that's the last time we actually saw Andre Roberson play. He ruptured a patellar tendon, then had setbacks in rehab. All in all, he missed the entire 2018-19 season, and he's missed the entire 2019-20 season so far as well.
Allegedly, Roberson is ready to come back now. If that's true, that would be a huge boon to his stock as he approaches unrestricted free agency. If any team is going to pay Roberson, they want to see that he's healthy and that he can keep up his defensive impact. And hey, if his shooting form looks like it's improved, then that'd be a major bonus.
The mystery is likely to continue though, because we're not sure if Roberson is healthy, and we're not sure if he'd actually play even if he is healthy. Oklahoma City has found a good rhythm right now, and has had success combining their guards in lineups together. If Shai Gilgeous-Alexander can serviceably guard SGs and SFs, then there's not a huge need for Roberson in the starting lineup. At the same time, the wing depth is still pretty thin, so a healthy Roberson could help on the margins.
upside/downside: It's difficult to imagine Billy Donovan throwing Andre Roberson out there for 20+ minutes a night after such a long layoff. Given that, the most likely scenario is that we see faint glimpses of Roberson this season, which forces him to take a modest one-year "prove it" deal in 2020-21 to rehab his stock. However, IF Oklahoma City finds itself struggling to contain a player like James Harden in the playoffs, then you'd figure they'd break the glass in case of emergency and call in Roberson. If Roberson can prove that he's back to his old stopper ways, then he's a valuable piece for a team. He'll never get HUGE money if his shooting continues to suck, but he can be a $8-10M role player. And if he ever learns to shoot at a modest clip (even 33% from three) then his stock will balloon.
submitted by ZandrickEllison to nba [link] [comments]

Conspiracy: SEBI is taking away your margin because they know retail bears want to short the market and create an artificial crash. Deep down everyone is waiting for world to end.

Discount brokers have created large trader and investor base in last few years. These chillar investors and autist traders might not have large volume but they have unlimited leverage from retard brokers.
And guess who trades 1L worth of Position in 5k, PR Sundar possesed souls who do Trading as side gig and call themselve Intelligent Investor because they read the wiki over the IndiaInvestments .
SEBI knows these retards can't touch the big boys but if they become autistic at same time they will crush the established system, because guess who keep on selling when they see big red didlos and eating profit in muffins and shitting losses as cakes those days are gone. No one wants to hurt big boys, but retailers are becoming smart. They know how motabhai farts and Nifty start running like Usain Bolt.They also know how to piggy back Big Boys.
So what's the solution, it is simple... just take thier fucking money. Retailers are already poor (they must have taken our Rs.130 trading account guy as key consideration) and all the autistic trades they do are funded by there Orphan broker, let's fuck both of them by taking away the margin and let them wait for their funds forever.
TLDR; SEBI knows Ratail Investor is the baboon with fire power.
submitted by zedex786 to IndianStreetBets [link] [comments]

Due Diligence: Toromont Industries Ltd. - Building Together For An Exciting Future

Due Diligence: Toromont Industries Ltd. - Building Together For An Exciting Future
Hi,
This is my first attempt at writing a DD report. I hope it makes sense.
Just a few cautionary words:
  • Grammar (and English in general) is not a skill of mine. There will be a few parts that you might have to decipher, good luck.
  • I tried not to provide too much commentary and stick to the facts. I know you are spending your valuable time reading this and you probably don't want to listen to some random guy on the internet pontificate.
  • For those of you who are easily offended/triggered, can't take a joke, or sarcasm isn't your taste, DO NOT click the spoilers.
Lastly, the following is just my findings, by no means is it a representation of all the information out there. It is just the baseline for me to have confidence in becoming an owner of the Company. Do your own due diligence or talk to a financial advisor to find what is best for you and your financial situation.
Happy reading!

Highlights

  • Over the last 5 years the stock price has more than doubled.
  • Toromont dominates market share over everything east of Manitoba in Canada.
  • Customer base is heavily diversified, giving the Company many opportunities to expand into multiple industries.
  • Dividend has increased for 31 consecutive years. It has been paid for 52 consecutive years
  • The management team is extremely knowledgeable and have a good track record

Introduction

Toromont Industries Ltd. (TSE:TIH) provides specialized equipment in Canada and the United States. The Company operates two business segments: The Equipment Group and CIMCO. The Equipment Group supplies specialized mobile equipment and industrial engines for Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT). Customers for this business segment vary from infrastructure contractors, residential and commercial contractors, mining companies, forestry companies, pulp and paper producers, general contractors, utilities, municipalities, marine companies, waste handling companies, and agricultural enterprises. CIMCO offers design, engineering, fabrication, and installation of industrial and recreational refrigeration systems.
The Company was founded in 1961 and operates out of Concord, Ontario. As at December 31, 2019, Toromont employed over 6,500 people in more than 150 locations across central/eastern Canada and the upper eastern United States.
The primary objective of the Company is to build shareholder value through sustainable and profitable growth, supported by a strong financial foundation.

Description of the 2 Main Business Segments

  1. The Equipment Group includes the following 6 business units:
  • Toromont CAT: one of the world’s largest Caterpillar dealerships which supplies, rents, and provides product support services for specialized mobile equipment and industrial engines
  • Battlefield Equipment Rentals: supplies and rents specialized mobile equipment as well as specialty supplies and tools.
  • Toromont Material Handling: supplies, rents, and provides product support services for material handling lift trucks
  • AgWest: an agricultural equipment and solutions dealer representing AGCO, CLAAS and other manufacturers’ products
  • SITECH: provides Trimble Inc (NASDAQ:TRMB technology products and services. Trimble is a SaaS company that provides positioning, modeling, connectivity, and data analytics software which enable customers to improve productivity, quality, safety, and sustainability. Target industries: land survey, construction, agriculture, transportation, telecommunications, asset tracking, mapping, railways, utilities, mobile resource management, and government.)
  • Toromont Energy: supplies, constructs, and operates high efficiency power plants up to 50 MW, using Caterpillar's leading power generation technologies. Toromont Energy operates plants that supply energy to hospitals, district energy systems, and industrial processes.
  • Performance in this segment mainly depends on the activity in several industries: road building and other infrastructure-related activities, mining, residential and commercial construction, power generation, aggregates, waste management, steel, forestry, and agriculture.
  • Revenues are driven by the sale, rental, and servicing of mobile equipment for Caterpillar and other manufacturers to the industries listed above.
  • In addition, Toromont is the MaK engine dealer for the Eastern seaboard of the United States, from Maine to Virginia.
  • MaK engine is a marine diesel engine manufactured by Caterpillar
  1. CIMCO is a market leader in the design, engineering, fabrication, installation and after-sale support of refrigeration systems
  • Performance in this segment is dependent on the activity in several industries: beverage and food processing, cold storage, food distribution, mining, and recreational ice rinks.
  • CIMCO has manufacturing facilities in Canada and the United States and sells its solutions globally.
  • CIMCO services the ice rinks of 23 out of 31 NHL teams. So if you are watching a game and the ice is shitty, you know who to blame… the Ice Girls, obviously.
  • For those of you who live in the GTA and have skated on The Barbara Ann Scott Ice Trail at College Park, the trail was created using CIMCO proprietary CO2 refrigeration technology.

Management

CEO, Scott J. Medhurst has been with the company since 1988. He was appointed President of Toromont CAT in 2004 and he came into his current position as President and CEO in 2012. He is a graduate of Toromont’s Management Trainee Program.
CFO, Mike McMillan joined the executive team in March of 2020. His predecessor, Paul Jewer is retiring this year and has been working with McMillan during the transition period.
VP and COO, Michael Chuddy has been with Toromont since 1995.
On average, leaders have 29 years of business experience and have served at Toromont for 19 years. Seeing long tenures, good stock performance, excellent business planning and execution is usually a sign of strong leadership. In addition, insiders hold more than 3% (~$175 million) of the company’s outstanding shares. Medhurst owns more than 170 thousand shares, Chuddy owns just under 100 thousand shares and the former CEO and current Independent Chairman of Board of Directors, Robert Ogilvie owns more than 2 million shares, making him the 4th largest stockholder. High insider ownership typically signals confidence in a company's prospects. Compare this to Toromont’s main Canadian competitor, Finning, where insiders own less than 0.4% ($12 million) of the company (this number varies depending on where you look, I just took the highest one I found).
Recently insiders have been selling stock (Figure 1). I cannot speak to the reasons why insiders are selling but the remaining position owned by the insider is sizable and demonstrates that the executive still has confidence in the company. Some of the reasons insiders sell are: they don't believe in the company’s future, they need money for personal use, they are rebalancing their portfolio, among others.
Figure 1: Buy and selling activity of insiders (the data is from MarketBeat, so take that for what it's worth).
On a somewhat unrelated but still related note, 50% of Toromont employees are also shareholders.

Growth Strategies

Toromont has five growth strategies (expand markets, strengthen product support, broaden product offerings, invest in resources, and maintain a strong financial position). I chose to focus on the following two strategies, as they seemed most prevalent.
  1. Expand Markets
  • Toromont serves a wide variety of end markets: mining, road building, power generation, infrastructure, agriculture, and refrigeration. This allows for many opportunities for growth while staying true to their core competency. Further expansion into new markets doesn't require Toromont to build a whole new business model or learn the intricacies of the new industry because their products stays the same. Thus, the main concern is the application/selection of the products for the customer.
  • Expansion is generally incremental. Each business unit focuses on market share growth and when the right opportunity presents itself, geographic expansion is archived through acquisitions.
  1. Strengthening Product Support
  • In an industry where price competition is high, product support activities represent opportunities to develop closer relationships with customers and differentiate Toromont’s product and service offering from competitors. After-market support is an integral part of the customer's decision-making process when purchasing equipment.
  • Product support revenues are more consistent and profitable.

Growth Through Acquisition

Rapid growth in this industry is generally driven through acquisitions. Toromont has gone through multiple acquisitions since the 90’s:
  • Acquisition of the Battlefield Equipment Rentals in 1996
    • Toromont grew Battlefield from one location to 82 locations
  • Acquisition of two privately held agricultural dealerships in Manitoba to form AgWest Equipment Ltd
  • Acquisition of Hewitt Group of companies in Q3 2017 for a total consideration of $1.0177 billion
    • $917.7 million cash ($750 million of which was finances through unsecured debt) plus the issuance of 2.25 million Toromont shares (equating to $100 million based on the 10 day average share price)
Acquisition of Hewitt Group of companies
This acquisition allowed Toromont to make headway into the Quebec, Western Labrador, and Maritime markets, as Hewitt was the authorized Caterpillar dealer of these regions. Hewitt was also the Caterpillar lift truck dealer of Quebec and most of Ontario and the MaK marine engine dealer for Québec, the Maritimes, and the Eastern seaboard of the United States (from Maine to Virginia).
Toromont had total assets of $1.51 billion before the acquisition, the acquisition added $1.024 billion in assets, nearly doubling the balance sheet (look at Figure 2 for more details about the acquisition).
Figure 2: (all numbers are in thousands) The final allocation of the purchase price was as of Dec 31, 2018, Note 25 of 2018 Annual Report. $1.024 billion was added to the Toromont’s B/S
Large acquisitions like this one can be the downfall of a company. Here are some of the risks highlighted by management at the time of the acquisition:
  • Potential for liabilities assumed in the acquisition to exceed our estimates or for material undiscovered liabilities in the Hewitt Business
  • Changes in consumer and business confidence as a result of the change in ownership
  • Potential for third parties to terminate or alter their agreements or relationships with Toromont as a result of the acquisition
  • Whether the operations, systems, management, and cultures of Hewitt and Toromont can be integrated in an efficient and effective manner
In 2018, the Company started and successfully completed the integration of the Maritime dealerships acquired through Hewitt under Toromont’s decentralized branch model (bottom up approach). Under a decentralized model, regional leadership make business decisions based on local conditions, rather than taking top down mandates. A bottom up approach is an advantage in businesses like Toromont where the customer mix can vary vastly from region to region. It allows for decision-making that is better aligned with customemarket needs and more attuned to the key performance indicators used to manage the business. In 2019, the integration of the decentralized branch model was implemented in Quebec after its success in Atlantic Canada in 2018. Successful integration of Hewitt into the Toromont family shows the depth of industry and business knowledge possessed by the management team. Being able to maintain inherited customer relationships and ensure low turnover is no easy feat. Many companies have completely botched these kinds of acquisitions. One that comes to mind is Sobeys (the second largest food retailer in Canada) acquiring Safeway for $5.8 billion. Three years later, they wrote off $2.9 billion as a loss because they did not anticipate the differences in consumer habits in Western Canada vs Eastern Canada, among other oversights.
The result of the acquisition and Hewitt’s integration with Toromont’s existing business produced a 39% increase in EPS in 2018 and 14% increase in 2019.

Dividend

Toromont pays a quarterly dividend and has historically targeted a dividend rate that approximates 30 - 40% of trailing earnings from continuing operations.
In February 2020 the Board of Directors increased the quarterly dividend by 14.8% to $0.31 per share. This marked the 31st consecutive year of increasing dividends and 52nd consecutive year of making a dividend payment. The five-year dividend-growth rate is 12.09%.
Table 1: Information about the last eight dividends

Risks/Threats and Mitigation

Dependency on Caterpillar Inc.
It goes without saying that Toromont’s future is heavily dependent on Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT). For those who don't know, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives. It has a market cap in excess of $68 billion. All purchases made by Toromont must be made from Caterpillar. This agreement has been standing since 1993 and can be terminated by either side with 90 days notice.
Given that the vast majority of Toromont’s inventory is Caterpillar products, Caterpillar’s brand strength and market acceptance are essential factors for Toromont’s continued success. I would say that the probability of either of these being damaged to an unrecoverable point are low, but at the beginning of this year, I would have said the probability of the world coming to a complete stop was very low too and look at what happened. Anything is possible. The reason this is a major consideration is because it's a going concern issue. Going conference is an accounting term for a company that has the resources needed to continue operating indefinitely until it provides evidence to the contrary. This term also refers to a company's ability to make enough money to stay afloat or to avoid bankruptcy. If there was irrevocable damage to Caterpillar’s brand, Toromont is no longer a going concern, meaning the company would most likely be going bankrupt or liquidating assets. The whole Company might not go under because the CIMCO, SITECH, and AgWest business units would survive but, essentially ~80% of the business would be liquidated.
In addition to the morbid scenario I laid out above, Toromont is also dependent on Caterpillar for timely supply of equipment and parts. There is no assurance that Caterpillar will continue to supply its products in the quantities and time frames required by Toromont’s customers. So if there is supply chain shock, like the one we just saw, there is the chance that Toromont will not have access to sufficient inventory to meet demand. Which in turn would lead to the loss of revenue or even to the permanent loss of customers.
Again, both of these threats have low a probability of occurring but either could single handedly cripple Toromont’s business. As of now, Caterpillar continues to dominate a large market share (~38% as per Gurufocus) in the industry against large competitors like John Deere, CNH Industrial, Cummins, and others.
Caterpillar's stock has been on a slow decline for a couple years but that is due to reasons beyond the ones that directly concern Toromont’s day-to-day operations. I would say if you don't believe in Caterpillar’s continued market share dominance, investing in Toromont is probably not for you.
Shortage of Skilled Workers
Shortage of skilled tradesmen represents a pinch point for industry growth. Demographic trends are reducing the number of individuals entering the trades, thus making access to skilled individuals more difficult. Additionally, the company has several remote locations which makes attracting and retaining skilled individuals more difficult. The lack of such workers in Canada has caused Toromont to become more assertive and thoughtful in their recruitment efforts.
To combat this threat, Toromont has/is:
  • Recruited 303 technicians to achieve growth targets
  • Created 208 student apprenticeship programs
  • Working with 19 vocational institutions in Toronto to teach about best practices and introduce the Company as a future employer to students
As a result of these initiatives and others, Toromont saw their workforce grow by ~8% 2019. Growing the workforce is one of the primary building blocks for future growth.
Cyclical Business Cycle
Toromont’s business is cyclical due to its customers' businesses being cyclical. This affects factors such as exchange rates, commodity/precious metal pricing, interest rates, and most importantly, inventory management. To mitigate this issue, management has put more focus on increasing revenues from product support activities as they are more profitable than the equipment supply business and less volatile.
Environmental Regulations Affecting Customers
Toromont’s customers are subject to significant and ever-increasing environmental legislation and regulation. This leads to 2 impacts:
  1. Technical difficulty in meeting environmental requirements in product design -> increased costs
  2. Reduction in business activity of Toromont’s customers in environmentally sensitive areas -> reduced revenues
Threats such as these come with a business of this type. As an investor in Toromont, you can't do much to mitigate these kinds of threats because it's out of your hands. Oil and gas, mining, forestry, and infrastructure projects are major drivers of the Canadian economy, so I think there will always be opportunity for Toromont to make money, regardless of government action.
Impact of COVID19
While the company had been declared as an essential service in all jurisdictions that it operates in, Q1 2019 results were lower as a function of COVID19 reducing activity in many sectors that Toromont services. Decline in mining and construction projects lead to a decrease in demand for Toromont products in the latter part of the quarter. Revenues were trending for 5-7% growth for the quarter before the effects of COVID19 were felt.
Management cannot provide any guidance on how to evaluate the impact of COVID19 on future financial results. They are focusing on ensuring the continued safety of employees and working with customers and the jurisdiction they operate in to evaluate appropriate activity levels on a daily/weekly basis. Lastly, management is keeping a close eye on how this crisis has led to an increase in A/R delinquencies and financial hardship for customers.
The Executive Team and the Board of Directors have taken a voluntary compensation reduction. Wage increase freezes and temporary layoffs have been implanted on a selective basis. Management believes that expanding product offerings and services, strong financial position, and disciplined operating culture positions the Company well for continued growth in the long term.
Competition
Toromont competes with a large number of international, national, regional, and local suppliers. Although price competition can be strong, there are a number of factors that have enhanced Toromont’s ability to compete:
  • Range and quality of products and services
  • Ability to meet sophisticated customer requirements
  • Distribution capabilities including number and proximity of locations
  • Financing through CAT Finance
  • E-commerce solutions
  • Reputation
  • Financial health

Main Competitor in Canada: Finning International Inc.

Finning International Inc. (TSE:FTT) is the world's largest Caterpillar dealer that sells, rents and provides parts and service for equipment and engines to customers across diverse industries, including mining, construction, petroleum, forestry and a wide range of power systems applications. Finning was founded in 1933 and is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.

Toromont Industries Ltd Finning International Inc.
Market Cap $5.84B $3.02B
Price $65.66 $18.49
Dividend Yield 1.87% 4.36%
Number of Employees >6,500 >13,000
Revenues (ttm) $3.69B $7.57B
Trailing P/E Ratio 19x 11x
Price/Book 3.71x 1.35x
Profit Margin 7.71% 3.54%
Places of Operations Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland & Labrador, most of Nunavut, and the Northeastern United States British Columbia, Yukon, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, a portion of Nunavut, UK, Ireland, Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile
Table 2: A quick comparison between Toromont and Finning.
I am sure there are some people looking at this table and thinking Finning looks rather promising based on the metrics shown, especially in comparison to Toromont. Finning’s dividend yield, P/E, and price/book look more attractive. Their top line is 2x. Not to mention it operates worldwide and is the only distributor in the UK, while Toromont only operates in half of Canada.>! Before you go off thinking “I need to use my HELOC to buy some Finning,” as some people on this subreddit are prone to do, ask yourself: do you see any cause for concern in the metrics listed above? !<
One glaring question I have is: why is Finning trading at half of Toromont’s market cap given that it operates internationally and has twice the number of employees and revenues of Toromont?

Q1 2020 Financial Results


Figure 3: Q1 2020 Income Statement
Overall operating income, net earnings, and EPS all decreased even though Toromont saw an increase in revenue for the quarter compared to Q1 of 2019.
  • All of these decreases were contributed to COVID19, as the pandemic lead to increases in costs
Historically, Q1 has always been Toromont’s weakest quarter. Q1 accounts for ~20% of yearly earnings and is consistently the least profitable quarter. Toromont’s profit margin generally ranges from 5%-9% progressively increasing into the later half of the year. This is good news for investors with the thesis that the economy will return to "somewhat normal" in the latter half of this year. The majority of the earnings for 2020 are still on the table for Toromont to earn. If current conditions persist, or there is a second wave and lockdown later in the year, we will most likely see a regression in Toromont’s growth to last year’s levels or even lower.
Assuming the world does return to “normal,” many of Toromont’s customers (especially in mining and construction) may try to catch up for lost time with increases to their operational activity, leading to an increase in Toromont’s sales for the remainder of the year. Of course this is a major assumption but it’s a possibility.
Below is a comparison of the last eight quarters. You can see the clear cyclical nature of their business.
Figure 4: Last eight quarters of earnings

Sources of Liquidity

Credit
  • Toromont has access to a $500 million revolving credit facility, maturing in October 2022
  • On April 17 2020 they secured an additional $250 million as a one year syndicate facility
Cash Position
  • Cash increased by 22.6 million for the quarter
  • Cash from operations increased 13% Q1 2020 compared to Q1 2019
  • The company also drew $100 million from their revolving credit facility
  • $4 million dollars of stocks were repurchased during Q1 2020
Given their access to $750.0 million dollars of credit and cash on hand equaling $388.2 million, the Company should have sufficient liquidity to operate if COVID19 and its aftermath persist for an extended period of time.

Financial Analysis

Analysis of Debt
Historically, Toromont has had very low debt levels. The spike in late 2017 was due to the acquisition of Hewitt. Management paid off the debt aggressively in 2018. At the end of December 2019 Toromont had $650 million of debt maturing between 2025 and 2027. As a result of COVID19 the company has taken on more debt. This additional access to debt accounts of the slight uptick in historical debt in 2020 (Figure 5).
Figure 5: Toromont’s historical debt, equity, and cash
The long-term debt to capitalization ratio is a variation of the traditional debt-to-equity ratio. The long-total debt to capitalization ratio is a solvency measure that shows the proportion of debt a company uses to finance its assets, relative to the amount of equity used for the same purpose. A higher ratio means that a company is highly leveraged, which generally carries a higher risk of insolvency with it.
The debt-to-equity ratio is at 47% and debt-to-capitalization ratio is 32%, Toromont has $388 million in cash that could be used to pay down debt by nearly 50% and bring the net debt-to-equity to 23% and net debt-to-capitalization to 18%. As mentioned before, management is holding on to cash to insure sufficient liquidity during these times.
The implication of these ratios is that Toromont does not take on large amounts of debt to finance growth. Instead the Company leverages shareholders equity to drive growth.
For comparison, Finning has a debt-to-equity ratio of ~100% (it differs between WSJ, 99%, and Yahoo Finance, 101%). The nominal amount of their total debt is ~$2.2 billion, which gives them a long-term debt to capitalization ratio 62%. Finning carries $260 million in cash.
Figure 6: Toromont’s debt-to-capitalization and debt-to-equity ratios
Profitability Ratios
Return on equity (also known as return on net assets) measures how effectively management is using a company’s assets to create profits.
Toromont’s return on equity is generally around 20%. Go to Figure 6 to look at the ROE for the last 4 years. In comparison, Finning has had a ROE of ~11% for the last three years, about 3% in 2016 and a negative ROE in 2015 (as per Morningstar).
Return on capital employed (ROCE) tries to find the return relative to the total capital employed in the business (both debt & equity less short-term liabilities). Toromont’s ROCE (ttm) for March 31 2020 was 22%. This means for every dollar employed in the business 22 cents were earned in EBIT (earnings before interest and tax). Finning had a ROCE of 11% as of December 2019.
Liquidity Ratios
Working capital is the amount of cash and other current assets a business has available after all its current liabilities are accounted for. In the last ten years, Toromont’s working capital has fluctuated between 1.6 at its lowest (2018) to 2.8 at its highest (2016). At the end of 2019 it was at 1.8. Meaning current liabilities equate to 60% of current assets.
Interest coverage ratio is used to determine how easily a company can pay their interest expenses on outstanding debt. Toromont has an interest coverage ratio 15x (as per WSJ). Finning on the other hand is at 4x. At this point I feel like I'm just beating up on Finning.
For those of you who made it this far, I have to admit something to you. This whole post is just a facade to ask you a question that has never been asked on this subreddit before: Should I buy BPY.UN? It keeps going down and I'm worried if I buy it, it will keep going down and I'll lose money. I don't want to lose money. Although if you go through my post history, you'll see I've been looking at/buying penny stocks.

Key Performance Measures

Below is a chart with key financial measures for the last four years. A few things I want to highlight:
  • Toromont had large capital expenditure last year (most of it went to increasing inventory) so they have the choice to keep capital expenditure down this year and preserve cash
  • From the start of 2018 (aka end of 2017) to the end of 2018 Toromont stock was down about 3% while the TSX Composite was down more 12% and S&P was down 7%. This stock has a history of out performance not only on the upside but also on the downside. I'll go into a bit more detail in the next section.
Figure 7: Summary of key financial measure for the last four years

Price Chart Comparisons

I don't do technical analysis. To those who do, good luck to you because let's be real, you'll need it. This section is just to get an idea of past performance and evaluate the opportunity cost of investing in Toromont compared to a competitor or a board based index fund.
I thought it would be easier to look at pictures as opposed to reading a bunch of numbers off a table.
For the sake of not creating a picture album of screenshots, I just looked at charts for the last 5 years. If you're interested in looking at different time intervals you can do so on google finance.

  1. Toromont Industries Ltd v. Finning International Inc.
Figure 8: Five year price chart of TIH v. FTT
These are the only two Caterpillar distributors on the TSX, making them direct comparisons. If I was looking for exposure to this industry, I would be choosing between these two companies (on the TSX anyways). There isn't really much to evaluate here. It's like they saying: “A picture is a thousand words,” or in this case, it's 128%. If you have time, go look at the graph from August 1996 to now. I can safely say it hasn't been much of a competition. Toromont has outperformed by ~2500% in stock price appreciation alone. If you're a glass half full kind of person, I guess you could look at this disparity as Finning having enormous upside. LOL

  1. Toromont Industries Ltd v. S&P 500 Index
Figure 9: Five year price chart of TIH v. VFV
If I'm not buying individual stocks, I’m buying the S&P 500 and to a lesser extent a Nasdaq index fund. This gives me a second look at the opportunity cost of my money. The story is not as bad as the Finning comparison. If you had bought $100 dollars of Toromont stock 5 years ago, it would have turned into $207 today, whereas the same $100 dollars in VFV would have became $157.
Just a quick aside, you can see the volatility in Toromont’s stock is much higher compared to the VFV. VFV has a relatively smooth trend upwards while Toromont trends upwards in a jagged path. This is the risk of single stocks, they move up and down more erratically, leading inventors who don't have a grasp of the business or conviction in their pick to panic sell or post countless times on Reddit asking why their stocks keep going down. “I bought the stock last week and it's done 3% already, do you guys think it’s going bankrupt? I thought stonks only go up???”

  1. Toromont Industries Ltd v. S&P/TSX Capped Industrials Index
Figure 10: Five year price chart of TIH v. ^TTIN
The S&P/TSX Capped Industrials Index isn't my favourite comparison for Toromont because its constituents cover many industries ranging from waste management (WCN), to railways (CNCP), to Airlines (AC, lol, had to mention it. I miss the days when there were double digits posts about AC. I wonder where those people have gone, because I can tell you where AC stock has gone... absolutely nowhere). Regardless, I used TTIN because I deemed it a better comparison to Toromont than the entire TSX. The story is on par with the other two comparisons. Toromont’s out performance is significant.
I just threw this bonus chart in here because when I saw it, I was like BRUHHH (insert John Wall meme)… It's completely unsustainable but that's impressive given the vast differences between the two.
  1. Toromont Industries Ltd v. NASDAQ-100
Figure 11: Five year price chart of TIH v. ZQQ
Now, of course, past performance does not dictate future results and all that good stuff, but it really gets you thinking about how the rewards disproportionately favours winners compared to the overall market. People are generally happy getting market returns (i.e. the just buy VGRO people) but being able to pick even a few winners really pays. This reminds me of the Warren Buffet quote: “diversification is protection against ignorance.” The context of the quote is that if you are able to study a few industries in great depth and acquire a wealth of knowledge, you can see returns astronomically higher than those who diversify across the board market. The problem then becomes you put yourself at risk of having all your eggs in one basket. Look at what's happening with Wirecard in Europe right now. This is why the real skill in investing is managing risk.

Analyst Price Targets and Estimates

The prince targets set for by analysts range from $63-$81. The average price target is ~$72, with the majority of targets within the 70-$71 range. Given the current price of $65.66, there is a ~10% upside. These price targets haven't changed much due to COVID19 even though revenues and EPS forecasts have been downgraded for 2020. The consensus estimate on 2020 revenues is $3.36 billion, down from the actual revenues of $3.69 billion in 2019 and the consensus EPS for 2020 is $3.01 down from actual EPS of $3.52 for 2019 and $3.10 for 2018. The fact that revenues and EPS forecasts have been downgraded, yet price targets remain untouched, for the most part, indicates that the effects of COVID19 are expected to be short-lived.
Figure 12: Earnings and estimate ranges for Toromont. Note: EPS numbers in this graphic are diluted EPS numbers.

Valuation

Multiples
Assuming P/E ratio stays the same as it has been for the last 12 months (~19x) and EPS goes down to ~$3.00 (as per analyst consensus), the implied price would be $57.
Using the last 12 months of revenues, the EV-to-Revenues ratio is at 1.56x. Assuming that ratio stays the same and with revenues estimated to be ~$3.36 billion, enterprise value (EV) comes out to $5.2416 billion. Using Q1 2020 figures for shares outstanding (82.015 million), cash ($388.182 million), and debt ($745.703 million), the implied price for a share is $58.94*.
\Note: Enterprise Value is equal to market cap plus total debt minus cash.)
Dividend Discount Model
The dividend discount model (DDM) is a method of valuing a company's stock price based on the theory that its stock is worth the sum of all of its future dividend payments, discounted back to their present value.
The average dividend growth rate is 12% for the last 5 years is 12%. There is no way Toromont can increase the dividend at this pace in the long term, thus, I chose a long term dividend growth rate of 5%. This is the assumed rate in perpetuity. The required rate of return will equal WACC, 6.85% (averaged from 2019 Annual Report). The dividend over the last year is $1.16 (two payments of $0.27 in 2019 and two payments of $0.31 for 2020).
The fair value equals $65.84.
Figure 13: DDM calculation.

Closing Thoughts

There is no doubt that Toromont trades at a large premium. The current P/E is 19x and the CAPE ratio (Shiller P/E) is 26x. The fair value of the Company as per Morningstar research is in the mid $60 range.
Based on all valuations I did and analyst price targets, I would start buying in the high $50 range or maybe the very low $60 range, but my belief in the company has to do with long term thematic trends and how the Company operates, rather than today's price. Although I have to admit, the price does look more attractive now than it did in the beginning of June when the stock hit new all time highs. It seems like the only companies hitting new all time highs these days are tech companies, so it's refreshing to find a non-tech company achieving the same feat.
Toromont is not going to double next year or the year after that. It is a relatively low margin business, with slow growth and a cyclical business cycle. I like that the Company has strong financials, low debt, and good management. They don't take shortcuts or unwarranted risk. Future growth will mostly be driven through acquisition, but management is cautious with acquisitions and don't overextend themselves. One of the biggest problems Finning has been facing for the last couple years is political and social turmoil in South American countries which is affecting their mining clients and thus affecting revenues/margins.
The Q2 earnings are reported on July 22 202. We should have a clearer picture on the prospects of the Company from management. Hopefully we have a better idea of the COVID19 situation by then too. Regardless, I think the company is in a position where its services will always be in demand so short term fluctuations are not something that shake my confidence in this pick.

Limitations and Further Areas of Research

By no means is this an exhaustive due diligence report. This is enough for me to feel confident in the business and its trajectory. Limitations/further areas of the research include:
  • Looking into the growth of each sector Toromont services and extrapolating that growth to calculate Toromont’s future growth opportunity.
    • As per IBIS Research the heavy equipment rental market in Canada is ~$8.3 billion. It grew 1.1% yearly for the last 5 years.
    • The US market is estimated to be $47 billion, with an average growth of 2% for the last 5 years
      • Sorry but I couldn't get my hands on future projections as each report is $750
  • More research into competitors
    • I chose to include Finning only for simplicity’s sake. But there are many other competitors like:
      • United Rentals (NYSE:URI) provides similar services to Toromont/Finning in 49 U.S. states, 10 Canadian provinces, Puerto Rico and four European countries. The only thing being they aren't distributors for Caterpillar.
      • Rocky Mountain Dealerships Inc (TSE:RME) sells, leases, and provides product and warranty support for agriculture and industrial equipment in Western Canada
      • Holt Cat, N C Machinery, Ziegler CAT (none of these companies are publicly traded)
  • Further analysis can be done on the B/S and accounting treatments.
  • The effects of automation in the industry
    • Distributors in the US have started working with industrial automation companies to provide autonomous construction equipment on rent to contractors
      • Sunstate Equipment Co.'s partnership with Built Robotics
  • I was not able to do a discounted cash flow, which would be critical to finding the intrinsic value for Toromont and having true confidence in the company and its trajectory.
  • Further analysis of CIMCO and prospects of future growth
    • Based of the financials, CIMCO seemed like a small part of the business, which is why I mainly focused on the Caterpillar dealership side
These are not all the limitations or areas of further research, they are just the glaring one that came to mind.
>! I know I took a few shots at people in this post. It's all in good jest. If you're offended well.... maybe you should be. I don't know, you have to figure that out on your own or you could make a post on Reddit asking random people on the internet whether you should be offended or not. !<
Remember I'm not an expert, I'm just a random guy on the internet.

Disclosure

I am long Toromont. This information is not financial advice. Please do your own research and/or talk to a financial advisor. All data provided is current prior to the market opening on June 29, 2020. Inconsistencies in data can be due to many reasons, the foremost being that data was spruced from multiple different websites.
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