Key Gainers & Losers
With tons of earnings reported in this month, February 2017 showed perhaps why the rally isn’t all about Trump; and more about companies actually showing earnings growth. The portfolio was up 9.2% helped by a 1.9% gain due to currency alone. Great earnings took the spotlight this month as Apple (AAPL), Bank of America (BAC), Mercadolibre (MELI), and Shopify (SHOP) all provided double digit gains on their quarterly earnings report. Apple got an exceptional boost on a record-breaking quarter; and then some staying power after it was reported that Warren Buffett quadrupled his investment in the company. If there’s one thing I regret, it’s not believing in Apple as a brand, and selling half my holdings and switching to Microsoft (a post to come on that soon).
American International Group (AIG) was the biggest sore spot of the month reporting terrible earnings as the company continues to go through transformation and attempts at improving operational efficiency. They haven’t consistently be able to get the combined ratio under 100 for all three segments. I’m starting to lose a bit of patience with the company (perhaps from how quickly gains were made at the start), but with warrants expiring in 2021, there’s plenty of time still on my side. Newly added Neulion (NLN) also did not help as they replaced their CFO (not a good sign) days before reporting earnings that were all trending down.
Saying Hi & Bye
Bye: Celgene Corporation (CELG) – As part of last month’s reshuffle to align some accounts to a more passive investment style, I’ve also started to clean up the portfolio. While I still like why I initially purchased Celgene (lots of existing drugs, and a massive potential pipeline), I also have never been successful investing in biotech and prefer to stay away from relying on binary events (i.e. drug is approved or not approved) to control where my investment goes.
Bye: Zeltiq Aesthetics Inc. (ZLTQ) – This one is relatively easy. We’re a little impatient waiting for the cash to come in from the buy-out offer from Allergan and with the account holdings being restructured, there wasn’t much advantage to holding onto the company for 3-6 months. Of course, with my luck, they will be a competing bid showing up just next week!
Hi: Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) – Much like top 10 holding The Middleby Corp (MIDD), I’ve been following the company for many years and have always wanted to buy what I believe is really the ultimate end-state of retail. The much discussed advantage Walmart had in supply chain is now Amazon’s advantage with online retail. Each time I’ve had an itch to buy, I’ve held off and continued to watch the stock keep going up. So, with the last earnings release dropping the share price a few points, I decided to just get my feet wet and buy a starting position. While starting positions are great (because at least I have some part of the company), they also lead to my portfolio size growing uncontrollably – but I believe Amazon will be one of the companies that I’ll slowly build on much like Intuitive Surgical (ISRG).
Hi: Short Tesla Inc. (TSLA) – I’ve written about Tesla multiple times, and nearly 3 years ago, I sold my shares due to what I saw as execution risk. While I still follow the company, I believe the stock should be traded and not owned (yet another blog topic to add to the pile). With hype of the Model 3 this year, Tesla was trading at 80% the market capitalization of Ford (F) – with less than 200K cars on the road! The short (pun intended) of the story is, I still believe there is tremendous execution risk to the company valued at $45B – and all eyes are on the company’s ability to succeed at mass producing the Model 3.