Week 282: Two Big Events
Top 10 Holdings
See the end of the post for my full portfolio breakdown and the last four weeks of trades
Thoughts and Review
My portfolio bounced back this month. This was somewhat remarkable given that my two largest positions, Radisys (RSYS) and Radcom (RDCM), continued to perform poorly. I don’t expect much from either of these stocks until they are able to secure additional contracts with service providers. With year end coming up, I am hopeful (but not counting on) some news on that front.
The rest of my portfolio did extremely well, benefiting from the rotation to small caps that occurred after the election of Donald Trump. I didn’t anticipate the market move or the small cap revival. But I wasn’t the only one, in fact I didn’t hear that prediction from anything I read. I would be interested if anyone else knows of an expert, newsletter writer or manager that predicted the move? They would be worth following.
In retrospect it makes sense; expectations of significantly lower taxes and a relaxation of regulations would lead to a market rally with a bias on small caps with domestic exposure and few tax loop holes. The stocks that have performed the best for me have had that characteristic.
Willdan Group (WLDN) is a text book example. Willdan has always paid a high tax rate, sometimes over 40%. If the companies tax is cut in half, which is not impossible under a Republican government, earnings go up by 30%. They are also essentially an infrastructure play, another positive. The stock has moved from $16 to $24 in the month since the election.
Adding Healthcare, Infrastructure, Biotech
While I wasn’t positioned for a rally leading into November 8th, I adapted as the market moved higher. As I’ve written about here, I added Health Insurance Innovations shortly after the election on the expectation that changes to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) would open up competition, which would be positive for their business.
I also added an infrastructure play, Smith-Midland (SMID), as it seems that this will be the focus of spending under the Trump administration. Smith-Midland makes make pre-cast concrete products like barriers, sound walls, small buildings, and manholes. They have a market capitalization of $25 million and even after having run up to $5 are not expensive. There is a good article on the company here. I also added to my existing position in Limbach Holdings, another infrastructure play.
My last move in response to the election result was to add to a few biotech names. This worked out initially but interest has waned in the last couple of weeks. I added to my position in Supernus (SUPN), to Bovie Medical (BVX) and added back some TG Therapeutics (TGTX). I may jettison the latter position soon.
Responding to OPEC
The Trump move was followed by the OPEC move, which I again don’t profess to have predicted. I was agnostic going into the OPEC meetings; I held my usual weighting of energy positions, but did not pile into them as a bet that a deal would be reached.
Instead, as is my typical strategy, I chased the news, adding to energy names on the heels of the announcement. By waiting I missed out on the first 10% move, but once the deal was announced it was a far lower-risk entry into stocks on my watchlist.
It can be argued that OPEC’s cut will only lead to high US production, or that it will be diluted by cheating by OPEC members, but nevertheless its difficult to argue that this doesn’t put a floor on prices. And if there is a floor, stocks that previously had to discount the possibility of another move into the $30’s do not have to anymore. Therefore stock prices needed to move higher. I think they still do.
Many of the names I am interested in are small enough that they do not move immediately with the market. Thus I have been able to add to Journey Energy (JOY) and Zargon Oil and Gas (ZAR) at prices not too different to what they were leading up to the announcement. There is a good SeekingAlpha article (and comments, in particular note those on the interim CFO hire) on Zargon here. I haven’t seen any analysis on Journey, and I will try to write up a summary on the stock in the next couple of weeks.
A second energy name that I added to and am in the process of writing up is Swift Energy. As I tweeted on Friday:
$SWTF not moving with rest of oils b/c still on OTC, but trades at around 1/2 of eagleford peers, imo that’s b/c its under everyone’s radar
— LSigurd (@LSigurd) December 2, 2016
I also added Resolute Energy (REN), a Permian player I have been in and out of over the past 6 months, and added back Granite Oil (GXO). There was a good comment to my last portfolio update that gave me some perspective on the concerns I had raised about Granite. I wanted to add to Jones Energy (JONE), but it moved so quickly off of the OPEC news that I didn’t get a chance.
Finally I added to a derivative play, CUI Global. CUI Global is a bet on Trump as well as OPEC. The company has said in their presentations that they have struggled gaining traction with their GasPT products in North America because of the dour investment climate for oil and gas infrastructure. This should change under Trump and with support to oil prices. Its no guarantee that CUI Global will be the beneficiary, but if their product is as good as they profess it to be, it should be the preferred measurement tool for new projects.
I also added a position in Contura Energy. It was written up here. I think this article will move behind the paywall soon, so I would recommend reading it sooner than later.
Where we go from here?
I’ve taken on some risk as the market has moved higher and especially after the OPEC agreement. But I do not expect this to last long. I’ll be paring back positions over the next few weeks.
I don’t feel like I know what to expect from this new US regime. Tweets like the one’s Donald Trump made over the weekend, promising a 35% tax against companies moving production abroad, leave me wondering where we end up? Are these just empty threats, impossible to implement? Or is this only going to escalate?
It’s uncharted territory. If government spending increases significantly, taxes are cut and trade restrictions are imposed, I’m not sure where it leaves us. Will bond yields rise, setting off a negative market event? Will investors continue to pile into domestic US equities? Will stocks based in foreign locales or with manufacturing operations abroad sell-off on concerns over tariffs being implemented. The answers are just way beyond me.
Lacking confidence in the answers means I have to get smaller. That’s the only response. Since July (my year end) I am up nearly 30%. I feel like I am pushing my luck asking for the same kind of performance in the second half of my fiscal year.
Click here for the last four weeks of trades.