Below please find subscribers’ Q&A for the March 3 Mad Hedge Fund Trader Global Strategy Webinar broadcast from frozen Incline Village, NV.
Q: Are SPACs here to stay?
A: Yes, but I think that in the next bear market, 80% of these SPACs (Special Purpose Acquisition Companies) will disappear, will deliver large losses, and will continue charging you enormous fees until then. It’s either that or they won’t invest their money at all and give it back, net of the fees. So, I’m avoiding the SPAC craze unless it's associated with a very specific investment play that I know well. The problem with SPACs is that they all come out expensive—there are no bargain basement SPACs on launch day. Me, being the eternal cheapskate that I am, always want to get a great bargain on everything. The time to buy these is actually in the next bear market, if they still exist, because then investors will be throwing their positions away at 10 or 20% discounts. That’s always what happens with specialized ETF, closed-end funds, and so on. They are roach motel investments; you can check-in, but you can never check out.
Q: What do you think of Elizabeth Warren's asset tax idea?
A: It’s idiotic. It would take years to figure out how much Jeff Bezos is worth. And even then, you probably couldn't come within ten billion dollars of a true number. We already pay asset taxes, our local county real estate taxes, and those are bad enough, delivering valuations that are miles from true market prices. There are many other ways to fix the tax system and get billionaires paying their fair share. There are only three things you really have to do: get rid of carried interest so hedge funds can’t operate tax-free, get rid of real estate loss carry forwards which allow the real estate industry to basically operate tax-free, and get rid of the oil depletion allowance, which has enabled the oil industry to operate tax-free for nearly 90 years. So those would be three easy ones to increase the fairness of the tax system without any immense restructuring of our accounting system.
Q: When will share buybacks start?
A: They’ve already started and have been happening all year. There are two ways the companies do this: they either have an outside accounting firm, buying religiously every day or at the end of every month or something like that, so they can’t be accused of insider trading; or they are in there buying on every dip. Certainly, all the big cash-heavy companies like Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) or Apple (AAPL) were buying their shares like crazy last March and April because they were trading such enormous discounts. So that is another trillion dollars sitting under the market, waiting to come in on any dip, which is yet another reason that we are not going to see any major sell-offs this year—just the 5%-10% variety that I have been predicting.
Q: Is it time to buy Salesforce (CRM)?
A: Yes, Marc Benioff’s goal is to double sales in two years, and the stock is relatively cheap right now because they’ve had a couple of weak quarters and are still digesting some big acquisitions.
Q: Is CRISPR Therapeutics (CRSP) good buy?
A: Yes, I would be buying right here; it’s a good LEAP candidate because the stock could easily double from here. We’ve only scratched the surface on CRISPR technology being adopted and the potential growth in this company is enormous—I'm surprised they haven’t been taken over already.
Q: Will you start a letter for investing advisors on how to deal with the prolific numbers of Bitcoin?
A: There are already too many Bitcoin newsletters; there are literally hundreds of them and thousands of experts on Bitcoin now because there’s nothing to know and nothing to analyze. It’s all a belief system; there are no earnings, there are no dividends, and there is no interest. So, you purely have to invest in the belief that somebody else is going to take you out at a higher price. I think there is a big overhang of selling in that when they raise the number of Bitcoin, we’ll get another one of those 90% crashes that Bitcoin is prone to. So, go elsewhere for your Bitcoin advice; your choices are essentially unlimited now, and they are much cheaper than me. In fact, people are literally giving away Bitcoin advice for free, which means you’re getting what you’re paying for. I buy Bitcoin when they have a customer support telephone number.
Q: Zoom (ZM) has come down a lot after a big earnings report—do you like it?
A: Long term, yes. Short term, no. You want to avoid all the stay-at-home stocks because no one is staying at home anymore. However, there is a long-term story in Zoom once they find their bottom because even after we come out of the pandemic, we’re all still using Zoom. I have like five or ten Zoom meetings a day, and my kids go to school on Zoom all day long. They’re also bringing out new products like telephone servers. They’re also raising their prices—I happen to be one of Zoom’s largest customers. I’m paying $1,100/month now, and that’s rising at 10% a year.
Q: What would be the best LEAP for Salesforce (CRM)?
A: The rule of thumb is that you want to go 30% out of the money on your first strike. So, find a current stock price; your first strike is up 30%, and then your second strike is up 35%. And all you need to double your money on that is a bounce back to the highs for this year, which is not unrealistic. That’s the lay-up there with Salesforce. That’s the basic formula; Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Walt Disney (DIS), Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB), Palantir (PLTR), and Nvidia (NVDA) are all good candidates for LEAPS.
Q: How often do you update the long-term stock portfolio?
A: Twice a year, and we just updated in January, which is posted on the website in your membership area. If you can't find it, just email customer support at email@example.com and they’ll tell you where to find it. And we only do this twice a year because there just aren't enough changes in the economy in six months to justify a more frequent update.
Q: When do you think real estate will come back?
A: It never left. We’ve had the hottest real estate market in history, with 20% annual gains in many cities in 2020. And that will continue, but not at the 20% rate, probably at a more sustainable 5% or 6% rate. Guess what the best inflation play in the world is? Real estate. If you’re worried about inflation, you want to run out and buy a house or two. The only thing that will really kill that market is a rise in 30-year fixed-rate mortgages to 5%, and that is years off. Or a rise in the ten-year treasury to 5% or 6%—that is several years off also. So, I think we’ve got a couple of good years of gains ahead of us. I at least want the market to stay hot until my kids get out of high school, and then I can sell my house and go live on some exotic tropical island with great broadband.
Q: When you’re doing LEAPS, do you just do the calls only or do you do these as spreads?
A: You can do both. Just do the math and see what works for you on a risk/reward basis. You can do a 30% out of the money call 2 years out and get anywhere from a 1,000% to a 10,000% return—people did get 10,000% returns buying deep out of the money LEAPS in Tesla (TSLA) a year ago (that’s where all the vintage bourbon is coming from). Or you can do it more conservatively and only make 500% in two years on Tesla spread. For example; do something like a Tesla January 2023 $900-$950 call spread. If Tesla shares rise to $950, that position is an easy quadruple. But do the numbers, figure out the cost today, what the expiration value is in two years, and there you go.
Q: Do you think overnight rates could go negative as some people predict?
A: Not for a long time. They will go negative at the next recession because we’re starting off such a low base—or when we get the next pandemic, which could be as early as next year. We could get another one at any time from a completely different virus, and it would generate the same stock market results that we got last time—down 40% in a month. We’re not out of the pandemic business, we’re just having a temporary break waiting for the next one to come along out of China or some other country, or even right here in the USA. So that may be a permanent aspect of investing in the future. It could be the price we pay having a global population that's at 7 billion heading to 9 billion.
Q: Expiration on LEAPS?
A: I always go out two years. The second year is almost free, that’s why. So why not go for the second year? It gives you twice as much time to be right, always useful.
Q: My two-year United States Treasury Bond Fund (TLT) $125 put LEAPS have turned very positive. Is this a good trade?
A: That is a good trade, which you should put on during the next (TLT) rally. If you think we’re going to $105 in 2 years, do something like a $127-$130 two-year put LEAP, and there's a nice four bagger right there.
Q: Your Amazon (AMZN) price target was recently listed at $3,500, below last year's high, but I’ve also seen a $5,000 forecast in two years. Are you sticking with that?
A: Yes, I think when you get a major recovery in the economy, Amazon will be one of the only pandemic plays that keeps on going. It’s just taking a rest here with the rest of big tech. The breakup value of Amazon is easily $5,000 a share or more. Plus, they’re still going gangbusters growing into new industries that they’ve barely touched so far, like pharmaceuticals, healthcare, and so on. So yes, I would definitely be a buyer of LEAPS, and you could do something like the January 2023 $3700-$4000 LEAP two years out and make a killing on that.
Q: Anything you can do in gold (GLD)?
A: Not really. Although gold and silver (SLV) have been a huge disappointment this year, I think this could be the beginning of a capitulation selloff in gold which will bring us a final bottom, but it may take another month or two to get there.
Q: How can I sell short the dollar?
A: You sell short the (UUP), or there are several 1X and 2X short ETFs in the currencies that you can do, like the ProShares Ultra Short Euro ETF (EUO). That is the way to do it.
Q: What is the best timing for buying LEAPS?
A: Buy at market bottoms. A year ago, I was sending out lists of 10 LEAPS at a time saying please buy all of these. You need both a short-term selloff in the stock, and then an upside target much higher than the current price so your LEAP expires at its maximum profit point. And if you’re in the right names, pretty much all the names that we talk about here, you will have 30%, if not 300% or 3,000% gains in them in the next two years.
Q: Do you think Tesla’s Starlink global satellite system will disrupt the cell tower industry?
A: Yes, that is the goal of Starlink—to wipe out all ground communication for WIFI and for cell phones. It may take them several years to do it, but if they do pull it off, then it just becomes a matter of pricing. The last Starlink pricing I looked at cost about $500 to set up, open the account, and get your dish installed. And the only flaw I see in the Starlink system is that the satellite dishes are tracking dishes, which means they lock onto satellites and then follow them as they pass overhead. Then when that signal leaves, it locks onto a new satellite; at any given time they’re locked onto four different satellites. That means moving parts, and you want to be careful of any industry that has moving parts—they wear out. That’s the great thing about software and online businesses; no moving parts, so they don’t wear out. And that’s also why Tesla has been a success; they eliminated the number of moving parts in cars by 80%. I’m waiting for Starlink to get working so I can use it, because I need Internet access 24 hours a day, even if all the local hubs are out because of a power outage. I’m now using something called Viasat (VSAT), which guarantees 100 megabyte/second service for $55 a month. It's not enough for me because I use a gigabyte service landline, but when that’s not available then I can go to satellite as a backup.
Q: Is there too much Fed liquidity in the market already? Why is the $1.9 trillion rescue package still positive for the market?
A: Firstly, there is too much liquidity in the market; that is screamingly obvious. If you look at liquidity over the decades, we are just staggeringly high right now. M2 is growing at 26% against the normal rate of 5%-6%. What the stimulus package does is get money to the people who did not participate in the bull market from last year. Those are low-income people, cities, and municipalities that are broke and can’t pay teachers, firemen, and policemen. It also goes to individual states which were not invested in the stock market. It turns out that states that were invested in the stock market like California have money coming out of their ears right now. And it gets money to low wage workers with kids who are certainly struggling right now. So, it is rather efficiently designed to get the money to people who need it the most. There is still half the country that doesn't own any stocks or even have savings of any kind. One or two people might get it who don’t deserve it but try doing anything in a 330 million population country and have it be 100% efficient.
Q: Is inflation coming?
A: Only incrementally in tiny pieces, so not enough to affect the stock market probably for several years. I still believe technology is advancing so fast that it wipes out any effort to raise prices or increase wages, and that may be what the perennially high 730,000 weekly jobless claims is all about. Those jobs that might have been there a year ago have been replaced by machines, have been outsourced overseas, or the demand for the product no longer exists. So, as long as you have a 10% unemployment rate and a weekly jobless claim at 730, inflation is the last thing you need to worry about.
Q: Is there any way to cash in on Reddit’s Wall Street Bets action?
A: No, and I would bet the majority of people who are trading off of these emojis and Reddit posts are losing money. You only hear about these things after it’s too late to do anything about them. I don't think you’ll get any more $4 to $450 moves like you did with GameStop (GME) because in that one case only, there was a short interest of 160%, which should have been illegal. All the other high short interest stocks have already been hit, with short interests all the way down to 30%, so I think that ship has sailed. It has no real investing merit whatsoever.
Good Luck and Stay Healthy.
CEO & Publisher
The Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader