Global Market Comments
November 21, 2019
SPECIAL TESLA ISSUE
(TESLA TALES), (TSLA)
Global Market Comments
November 21, 2019
SPECIAL TESLA ISSUE
(TESLA TALES), (TSLA)
When a guest asked me to name a clear ten bagger stock for the coming decade at the Mad Hedge Technology Letter, I didn’t hesitate. It was Tesla (TSLA).
At long last, investors are perking up and taking notice of the Fremont, California based electric car manufacturer whose shares have been trapped in a highly volatile three-year trading range.
Tesla was the top-performing stock in the market over the last five months, soaring some 96% from $178 to $356.
Of course, ramping up production to over 360,000 units this year has given Tesla new respectability. Elon Musk pulled this off by building a huge tent in the Tesla Fremont parking lot and constructing a third assembly line, all in three short weeks.
He also used workers to replace the German Kuka and Japanese Fanuc robots which had a bad habit of breaking down during peak production. Output instantly leaped by 50%. It was one of the most aggressive and brilliant moves in business history.
Total production of Tesla’s since the 2010 inception of Model S-1 manufacturing will reach 1 million by January 2020.
They are also encouraged by the appointment of Larry Ellison to the board of directors, a new supervising adult and Musk friend. The short answer is that they will go up a lot, certainly after they break through the old $394 high.
I was one of the first buyers of Tesla shares at $16 ½ in the aftermath of its IPO debacle during the Great Recession. I bought one of the first Tesla Model S-1’s, chassis no. 125, in 2011.
I’ve toured the Fremont factory countless times and have even taken a couple apart after I totaled them. Suffice it to say that I know which end of a Tesla to hold upwards.
So it’s time for all of us to become more familiar with this vehicle that is 20 years from the future. I have been driving the latest Model X with every possible upgrade for the past year, which included the hardware for the point-to-point autopilot that will be activated in two years.
What I learned was amazing.
While the media focus is overwhelmingly on the 1,100-pound liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery, it is fact one of the least important aspects of Elon Musk’s vision.
The car has 80% fewer parts than any other modern vehicle. That enables Tesla to cut production costs to the extent that it can afford to install a $10,000 battery in every Model 100D shipped.
And here’s the interesting part. Since I started driving electric cars 11 years ago with the Nissan Leaf, the battery cost has cratered from $1,000 to $120 per kilowatt-hour. With the completion of the second Gigafactory in Sparks, NV, that cost will drop well below $100/kWh. That’s what will make Tesla’s low-end Tesla 3 to become profitable….and go global.
I am constantly learning new things about these elegant, well thought out machines. When I picked up my last one, the configuration was all wrong. No problem. After 30 minutes in the shop, it came back to the specifications I ordered.
It was then I realized that all the options and upgrades are modular and can be snapped, fitted, or screwed on in minutes. That greatly simplified production, distribution, and versatility.
The downside is that Tesla is expanding so fast that the man who sold it to me knew virtually nothing about the car, being a former Mercedes salesman, and REGISTERED THE CAR IN THE WRONG STATE. But then it’s tough to find any good people today in this full-employment economy.
Ever the scientist, I designed a series of grueling experiments to put my “X” through during my Christmas vacation at Lake Tahoe.
I was able to make the 200 miles from the San Francisco Bay Area to Lake Tahoe on a single charge, a vertical climb of 7,200 feet. Better to stop at the Safeway in Truckee, CA which offers 16 superchargers, do your grocery shopping, and get a top-up.
Having flown small aircraft across the Atlantic, I am somewhat sensitive to range considerations. I once flew a Cessna 340 from Newfoundland to Iceland. Over Greenland, the wind shifted from a 50 miles tailwind to a 50 miles headwind, but we didn’t know it because GPS was not yet available to civilians. I ended up landing in Reykjavik with 15 minutes of fuel. An Icelandic Air Force helicopter escorted me the last 20 miles as a precaution.
And by the way, it is impossible to put on an orange survival floatation suite while you’re flying a plane. But I diverge.
I drove from the Tesla Supercharger station at the Atlantis Hotel & Casino in Reno, NV to my home in Incline Village, a distance of 30 miles. That meant crossing the Mount Rose Pass, a climb of 5,000 feet at zero degrees Fahrenheit. The “X” burned through 80 miles of range. The black ice was a killer, and I passed three accidents.
However, when I made the return trip, the vehicle used only 20 miles of range. That’s because each of the four wheels is a dynamo that recharges the battery on any decline. The car is in effect gravity-powered.
There has also been a lot of media fascination with the autopilot. Because of the three fatal crashes, its use has been cut back by Tesla to one minute at a time. You have to grip the wheel to reactivate it to prove you haven’t fallen asleep. After a while, your fingers get sore. Still, it’s useful to make phone calls or search Slacker for new music while you’re driving. And the car certainly drives better than I can late at night after a bottle of fine cabernet.
Still, Bay Area police are arresting Tesla drivers found dozing at the wheel driving 70 mph. Maybe it’s those punishing Silicon Valley hours that’s doing it.
Far more useful is the radar-controlled cruise control. The car will automatically slow down when it catches up with the car in front. The problem is that at my advanced age, I can’t remember if I’m on autopilot or cruise control. I only find out when the car starts to drift over into the next lane.
A foot of fresh powder at Tahoe allowed me to test out the four-wheel-drive traction. It did fine driving up steep Sierra mountains. The all-season Pirelli Scorpion tires lived up to their billing, neatly handling an inch of clear ice on a 15-degree slope.
I learned a lot about electric cars, in general, hanging out at the ChargePoint station at the Diamond Peak Ski Resort where they offer free charging. Virtually all other competing cars only have an 80-mile range for the same price despite what their advertising says. A lot of businesses are now offering this service to lure high-end clientele, but you need a ChargePoint membership card to access the charging system.
Tahoe was a great place to test out the cold weather capability of the X where temperatures frequently can drop below zero degrees Fahrenheit at night. If you start the car cold in the morning, you’ll lose 50% of your range right off the bat.
However, if you pre-heat your car 20 minutes ahead of time by activating a handy iPhone app the loss only drops to 20% of the 295 miles range. It’s best to trickle charge the car all night at 20 watts/hour.
Playing with the 12-sensor radar is fun, whizzing past cars and trucks on the display as you pass them. It recognized my tail hitch mounted ski rack as a tailgating motorcycle. Apparently, algorithms don’t know everything….yet.
And here’s Tesla’s dirty little secret. All of the Model X’s and S’s have the same identical battery back. The ranges for the cheaper 60 and 70 kWh models are only software limited. That’s how Tesla instantly extended the range of every vehicle in Florida by 50 miles with a single command from headquarters with the onset of Hurricane Michael.
We’ll all be learning a lot more about Tesla soon. The $37,000 stripped-down Tesla 3’s are now for sale at the same price but three times the range and vastly more manufacturing experience than other electric vehicles. Sometimes they offer free charging for life.
That’s when Tesla’s will truly take over the roads.
Global Market Comments
November 20, 2019
(THE GOVERNMENT’S WAR ON MONEY)
Some might say that we were due for a revaluation of growth tech stocks.
They have contributed greatly in this nine-year bull market.
Profit-generating software stocks are the order of the day.
Tech has led the overall market higher after projected quarterly earnings growth of -9% came in better than expected at -5%.
We have ebbed and flowed from pricing in a full-out recession in mid-2020 to now believing a recession is further off than first thought.
The pendulum swing ruptured many growth stocks from Workday (WKDAY) to The Trade Desk, Inc. (TTD) plummeting 30%.
We have retraced some of those losses but momentum in share appreciation has shifted to the perceived safer variation of tech stocks.
Investors have cut volatility and headed into bulletproof companies of Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOGL), and Microsoft (MSFT).
These companies have significant competitive advantages, Teflon balance sheets, and print money.
The tech markets just about priced in the U.S – China trade war in the fall as broad-based volatility plummeted because of optimism around making a deal.
This, in turn, has boosted chips stocks along with investors front running the 5G revolution and the administration granting Huawei a reprieve was a cherry on top.
The Mad Hedge Technology Letter has taken every dip to initiate new longs in safe trades like software companies Adobe (ADBE) and Veeva Systems (VEEV).
Tech is at the point that all loss-making companies are out of the running for tech alerts because the moment there is a recession scare, these shares drop 10% and often don’t stop until they lose 30%.
Now there is a deeply embedded set of narrow tech leadership by a few dominant tech companies buttressed by a select set of second-tier software stocks.
I would put PayPal (PYPL) and Twitter (TWTR), which I currently have open trades on, in the ranks of the second tier and they should do well as long as economic growth does better than expected.
Their share prices dipped on weak guidance and the bad news appears to have been shaken out of these names.
Professional investors could also be hanging on to meet end-of-year performance targets.
I do expect unique entry points on software stocks that drop after bad future guidance.
Profitability has moved to the fore as the biggest factor in holding a name or not.
Newly minted IPOs have fared even worse showing the markets’ waning appetite for loss makers like Uber (UBER) and Lyft (LYFT).
Loss-making companies often tout their ability to change the world and disrupt industry, but that has been discovered as nothing more than a ruse.
They aren’t disrupting the way we change the world. For example, Uber is a dressed-up taxi service and the new CEO has failed to create any new momentum in the unit economics that spectacularly fail by any type of metric.
Even worse for these growth stocks, as the economy starts to falter, there will be even less appetite for them, and even more appetite for safer tech stocks.
A worst-case scenario would see Uber drop to $10 and Lyft to $20.
New all-time highs have crystalized with Google (GOOGL) under the gauntlet of regulation hysteria displaying the domination of these big tech machines.
The ongoing, consistent rotation out of growth and into value hasn’t run its course yet and fortunately, by identifying this important trend, our readers will be well placed to advantageously position themselves going into 2020.
Growth stocks won’t make a comeback anytime soon and deteriorating conditions could trigger renewed synchronized global monetary policy easing and central bank stimulus.
And yes, more negative rates.
I believe Oracle (ORCL), Fortinet (FTNT), Akamai Technologies, Inc. (AKAM) could weather the storm next year.
Tech growth is slowing and trade uncertainty is high, and readers must have a sense of urgency to avoid the losers in this scenario.
U.S. economic growth could slow to 1.3% next year, avoiding a recession, and the lack of enterprise spend will reduce software sales and combine that with peak smartphone growth and it won’t be smooth sailing.
The Mad Hedge Technology Letter has the pulse of the tech market and will show you how to navigate this minefield.
Global Market Comments
November 19, 2019
(BLACK FRIDAY DISCOUNT OFFER FOR THE MAD HEDGE TECHNOLOGY LETTER),
(ADBE), (EBAY), (PANW)
The Mad Hedge Technology Letter has been on an absolute tear lately.
It has posted an eye-popping 25.25% net profit since August. The last 14 consecutive trade alerts have been profitable, a success rate of 100%. Some 20 out of the last 22 trade alerts have been profitable, a success rate of 90.9%.
We nailed the 27.3% move in the multimedia software company, Adobe (ADBE). We killed the 23.28% pop in e-commerce leader eBay (EBAY). And we hit a total home run with a positively ballistic 30.42% gain in cybersecurity giant Palo Alto Networks (PANW).
And here’s the method to our madness. While no one was looking, the stock market has made a dramatic shift from buying in large-cap tech techs to smaller cap ones. In order words, we’ve moved from the FANGs to the mini FANG’s, and WE CAUGHT ALL OF IT!
Which brings me to the topic at hand. You absolutely HAVE to get in on this move, the most important of the year. And I’m going to make it incredibly easy for you to do so. For here at Mad Hedge Fund Trader, Black Friday comes early.
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“First, get your facts straight. Then, distort them at your leisure,” said the humorist, Mark Twain.
First, Apple (APPL) collaborates with Goldman Sachs’ (GS) offering of a credit card even giving credit access to subprime borrowers.
And now Google (GOOGL) has its eyes on the banking industry — specifically, it’ll soon offer checking accounts.
In a copycat league where anything and everything is fair game, we are seeing a huge influx of big tech companies vie for the digital wallets of Americans.
The project is aptly named Cache and accounts will be handled by Citibank (C) and a credit union at Stanford.
Google’s spokesman shared with us admitting that Google hopes to “partner deeply with banks and the financial system,” and further added, “If we can help more people do more stuff in a digital way online, it’s good for the internet and good for us.”
I would disagree with the marginal statement that it would be good for us.
Facebook (FB) is now offering a Pay option and how long will it be until Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT), and others throw their name into the banking mix.
I believe there will be some monumental failures because it appears that these tech companies won’t offer anything that current bank intuitions aren’t offering already.
Moving forward, the odd that digital banking products will become saturated quickly is high.
Let’s cut to the chase, this is a pure data grab, and not in the vein of offering innovative services that force the consumer down a revolutionary product experience.
As the consumer starts to smarten up, will they happily reveal every single data point possible to these tech companies?
Big tech continues to be adamant that personal data is secure with them, but their track records are pitiful.
Even if Google doesn’t sell “individual data”, there are easy workarounds by just slapping number tags on aggregated data, then aggregated data can be reverse-engineered by extracting specific data with number tags.
The cracks have already started to surface, Co-Founder of Apple Steve Wozniak has already claimed that the credit algorithm for Apple’s Goldman Sach’s credit card is sexist and flawed.
Time is ticking until the first mass data theft as well and let me add that the result of this is usually a slap on the wrist incentivizing bad behavior.
I believe big tech companies should be banned from issuing banking products.
Only 4% of consumers switched banks last year, and a 2017 survey by Bankrate shows that the average American adult keeps the same checking account for around 16 years.
As anti-trust regulation starts to gather more steam, I envision lawmakers snuffing out any and every attempt for big tech to diversify into fintech.
It’s fair to say that Google should have done this 10 years ago when the regulatory issues were nonexistent.
Now they have regulators breathing down their necks.
Let me remind readers that the reason why Facebook abandoned their digital currency Libra was because of the pressure lawmakers applied to every company interesting in working with Facebook’s Libra.
Lawmakers threatened Visa and Mastercard that they would investigate every part of their business, including the parts that have nothing to do with Facebook’s Libra, if they went ahead with the Libra project.
The most telling insight comes from the best tech company Microsoft who has raised the bar in terms of protecting their reputation on data and trust.
They decided to stay away from financial products like the black plague.
Better to stay in their lane than take wild shots that incur unneeded high risks.
When U.S. Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat on the Senate panel that oversees banking, was asked about Google and banking, he quipped, “There ought to be very strict scrutiny.”
Big tech is now on the verge of getting ferociously regulated and that could turn out positive for the big American banks, PayPal (PYPL), Visa (V), Mastercard (MA) and Square (SQ).
I heavily doubt that Google will turn Cache into a meaningful business unless Google offers some jaw-dropping interest rates or elevated points to move the needle.
Google has canceled weekly all-hands meetings because of the tension between staff members and Facebook is also just as dysfunctional at the employee level.
Whoever said it’s easy to manage a high-stake, too-big-to-fail tech firm?
Even with all the negativity, Google is still a cash cow and if regulatory headwinds are 2-3 years off, they are a buy and hold until they are not.
The recent tech rally, after the rotation to value, has seen investors flood into Apple, Microsoft, and Google as de-facto safe haven tech plays.
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