New Trade: Long Alphabet (GOOG) & Short eBay (EBAY)

By: ispeculatornew
Date posted: 08.22.2016 (3:00 am) | Write a Comment

Today I am opening my 17th trade of the year between between 2 names that I have traded quite a bit over the years, which will hopefully help me rebound from a few rocky weeks of long & short trading. As is always the case, you can see past 2016 (and previous years) trades here:

Let’s start off by looking at the numbers:

TickerNamePricePE RatioPE Next YearReturn YTDSales GrowthAnalyst ratingBook ValueBetaRevenue/ShareSales 5Y Avg GrowthEPS 5Y Avg Growth
EBAYeBay Inc30.6319.0214.7111.06-
GOOGAlphabet Inc775.42N/A19.312.4513.624.64N/A1.21N/A19.1913.78

Long Alphabet (GOOG)

Alphabet is a company I’ve traded less than you’d expect, mostly because as much as I love Google as a consumer, it’s not as straight forward in terms of investments. Why? Lack of discipline and transparency, but also the moonshots. While all of those issues still exist to some extent, I’d say they’re all getting better (with the hire of a new CFO, the new Alphabet structure, etc) so I do feel more confident in going long Google in a “short term” trade like this one.



Next earnings: October 13th 2016

Short eBay (EBAY)

While this could certainly look like I’m taking a negative view on eBay (in a way it is of course), this is more of a play on my strongs doubts about eBay being able to turn things around and/or come up with spectacular numbers. Ebay’s P/E and forward P/E ratio are not way off but do still point to more growth than what I think the company can pull off, especially in the face of Amazon, Walmart and others competing.



Next earnings: October 12th 2016

Disclaimer: Prior to opening this trade, I do not have a position on GOOG or EBAY

New Trade: Long Facebook ($FB) & Short Blue Nile ($NILE)

By: ispeculatornew
Date posted: 08.15.2016 (3:00 am) | Write a Comment

Today I am opening my 16th trade of the year between between 2 names that I have traded quite a bit over the years, which will hopefully help me rebound from a few rocky weeks of long & short trading. As is always the case, you can see past 2016 (and previous years) trades here:

Let’s start off by looking at the numbers:

TickerNamePricePE RatioPE Next YearReturn YTDSales GrowthAnalyst ratingBook ValueBetaRevenue/ShareSales 5Y Avg GrowthEPS 5Y Avg Growth
FBFacebook Inc124.8860.0524.5919.3443.824.617.560.986.448.81N/A
NILEBlue Nile Inc30.6634.6929.02-16.541.3831.291.0841.147.434.53

$FBLong Facebook (FB)

No surprise in me picking Facebook which has done great things for me personally. I continues to be my largest single position and Facebook continues to execute extremely well. I do have a bit more worries when I look at the landscape for Facebook, especially about its ability to position itself against Snapchat but for that I reason I did very much like the most recent Instagram move of launching stories. Facebook continues to deliver on the top and bottom lines and it’s crazy to me to see it trading at a comparable forward valuation as Blue Nile. In many ways Facebook qualifies as a “platform” and I continue to think those will be long term winners. Just think of a recent phenomenon Pokemon-Go. You could argue that Apple is making as much as any of the parties that are actually involved in creating and licensing the game. This is playing over and over and the platform players are getting their “tax” on each transaction.


Next earnings: November 2nd 2016

$NILEShort Blue Nile (NILE)

Long term readers of this blog know that I’ve been bearish regarding this stock for a very long time and have shorted it quite a bit over the years. For some reason this stock has traded at very high valuations over the years with very little to justify it. NILE has continued to show very little ability to generate growth and I continue to expect increased competition, eventually from the likes of Amazon which will certainly send the stock much lower.



Next earnings: November 3rd 2016

Disclaimer: This trade on FB-NILE will be done on today’s opening, but i am already long Facebook (FB) as a consequence of my long term speculative pick.

The fastest growing businesses in 2016

By: IS
Date posted: 08.12.2016 (1:37 pm) | Write a Comment


Despite the perils of Brexit, the fragility of the British pound and continued financial uncertainty in many markets, companies continue to drive forward with their business plans. Many success stories are making the headlines this year, as businesses innovate and diversify to uncover new products or business synergies to explore.

Leading the way, as is common, are the IT and technology-focused companies. A new trend for the year are smart artificial intelligence bots, improving customer interaction and automation. Led by the likes of Facebook, Cisco, Microsoft and many startup companies, they are helping bots take over on customer service phone lines, websites, in-store kiosks, reception areas and other locations to help people find the information, advice or products they need faster. Bots in the office can help staff find business documents, plan travel and find the lowest cost products or those that can be delivered fastest, all in a matter of seconds.

Another area of growth is communication services, with unified communications allowing workers to make themselves available by the most appropriate means, be it a traditional phone, voice over IP calls, mobile, chat or video message. A unified communications service can save a company on capital expenditure and expenses on its phone bills, line rentals, communications equipment and so on.

The final fast mover from the technology world this year is personal health, with a wide range of smart weighing scales, health and heart rate monitors, and smartphone apps all encouraging consumers to be healthier and stay fitter. Fitness brands are leading with the likes of British firm Under Armour and its new Healthbox, but smaller companies can find niches and appeal to specific demographics.

Perhaps in relation to that, many traditional businesses are also thriving in 2016. Health clubs and gym memberships are on the rise again, while many small businesses are starting up their own niche healthy living ranges like office-based exercise products . Finding a new type of exercise or one specifically for a particular age group or the time poor is one of this year’s major opportunities, encouraged by health insurance benefits and rewards. ‘Corporate wellness’, as the sector is known, benefits from many of these initiatives, as businesses try to encourage their staff to be healthy for a better working environment, less time off sick and improved morale. Any company investing or innovating in these areas will find plenty of opportunities in this and coming years.

Closing 2 New Trades

By: ispeculatornew
Date posted: 08.08.2016 (3:00 am) | Write a Comment

Wow, how things have turned around. I might have fixed issues on the website in regards to speed and the site showing up but I certainly didn’t fix the trading returns. I will be closing 2 very bad tech long & short trades this morning, they have turned out to both return around -40% as of my writing this.

Long Apple (AAPL) & Short eBay (EBAY): -41,47%: My sentiment on Apple has been changing over the past few months and while I remain bullish, I would probably not place it at the top of my list as I have done a few times. And no, that is not due to the fact that this particular trade crashed. In fact, the cause here is eBay which has been performing incredibly well.  When eBay spun off its Paypal (PYPL) position I believed I had a clear view on what it was. Yes, eBay has quite a few different divisions and websites but it does remain a big Amazon (AMZN) competitor which I don’t think will end well. In the meantime though, ebay has been showing strong growth and expanding its horizons. It doesn’t yet reach into broader areas such as SMS loans in Norway but it does remain a broad ecommerce play and for that reason ebay has been a bad short to have on the books this year.

TZOO_chartLong Facebook (FB) & Short Travelzoo (TZOO): -46.75%

Without a doubt, this is the one position that completely taken me by surprise. I didn’t see much risk in shorting Travelzoo and that has obviously been a very bad position to hold with the stock jumping by 45% in the last 5 months. I continue to have reading to do on this one (I’m behind on my Q2 earnings and earnings call readings) and will certainly report my findings but safe to say I didn’t see this one coming.

With all of this, the YTD return of the portfolio now stands at -12.90% which would be a second straight negative year if things don’t turn around. I will have some things to reflect on and write about if this keeps up:) Thankfully, it does remain a small part of my portfolio and despite the temptation to increase it given the long term solid history of returns, I did keep it around the same levels. As is always the case, you can see all of my current and past tech long & short trades here:


Closing 2 trades ($GOOG, $NILE, $TRIP, $YELP)

By: IS
Date posted: 07.06.2016 (6:15 am) | Write a Comment

This morning, I will be closing 2 trades that unfortunately have not lived up to expectations. This has dragged down the return of the overall portfolio to 3.50%, well below what it was a few months ago. The 2 trades are:

March 24th: Long Google (GOOG) / Short Blue Nile (NILE)


May 12th: Long Tripadvisor (TRIP) / Short Yelp (YELP)


As is always the case, you can see all of our 2016 (and past years) long & short stock tech trades here:


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Is Tech Making CFD trading Better or Worse?

By: IS
Date posted: 07.06.2016 (6:00 am) | Write a Comment

CFD basically stands for Contract for Difference. CFDs are derivative products that are contractual. The parties involved in CFDs are usually two. There may be a buyer and seller. The nature of the parties involved varies in this regard. What this means is, depending on the contract, the parties involved could also be a client and broker. CFDs usually reflect the movement of the asset that underlies it. When the asset moves in the financial market relative to the position taken, profits or losses may be realized. The asset itself is never owned by any of the parties involved.

The CFD centers on a binding agreement that the buyer will be paid by the seller the difference between an asset’s value at the time of the contract and its current value.

With CFDs, traders can benefit from the upward movement of prices in what is known as long positions. Even when the prices move down in short positions, traders can take advantage of the financial instruments underlying the particular derivative.

Is Tech Making CFD trading better or worse? The answer to this question is a resounding yes. There are a number of mobile and online trading platforms and software available. Financial giants like CMC Markets have been trendsetters in the technological aspects of CFD trading. Despite these technological advances in CFD trading, traders are still reliant on the behavior of markets and strategies that are employed when trading.

Practical and Effective Trading Tools

Modern CFD trading platforms have great trading tools and features to assist traders. These tools provide accurate analyses and real-time CFD trading news items.

Reliable Real-Time Data and Information

Online and mobile CFD trading platforms provide CMC Markets and Reuter’s News insights. Such insights are quite reliable and ensure that the trader is kept well informed of emerging trends in CFD trading.

Pattern and Trend Monitoring

Technological advances enable traders to use features like pattern recognition scanners. The scanners automatically detect any common patterns that are exhibited by the CFD trading market. This enables traders to make accurate trading decisions that are informed.

Technology also enables traders to access valuable and useful economic calendars on a real time basis. Such calendars are developed and powered by reliable CFD market trackers like Dow Jones. With economic calendars, traders are able to make trades based on established and reliable timelines that are dictated by current economic events. The calendars also allow the trader to be able to determine which particular economic event will affect their CFD trading and at what particular instance.

CFD trading benefits greatly from advances in technological fields in that a trader can make use of features like advanced order tickets when trading. The trading platforms also have integral price ladders. These ladders are able to indicate the extent and depth of various CFD prices.

Traders are also able to access economic announcements, briefs, technological patterns and CFD trading price alerts. Technology has ensured that CFD traders are able to closely monitor trends in the market. The tools also analyze CFD trading trends for the traders and eliminate the hassle of doing so.

Customizable Interfaces

CFD trading platforms are designed to be customizable. The trader can tweak the platform to suit their individual trading preferences and needs. The tools and features in the CFD trading platform can be organized using a variety of intelligent layout formats. The trader is also able to store the particular layout that appeals to their particular trading style.

Client Service

In case the CFD trading markets are still open at whatever time of day, traders have access to great client support services online. These services are quite useful in case the trader has a query or needs to resolve a particular trading issue.

With CFD trading, technology has been greatly beneficial and has changed the way traders’ trade using CFD financial derivatives.

Comparison Charts

CFD platforms typically have advanced charting tools with a number of preset candle patterns. They also have technological indicators that show various CFD parameters in a concise and accurate manner. The online or mobile CFD trading platforms also have a variety of charts and comparison charts.

Is Tech Making CFD trading better or worse? It is quite evident that CFD trading has benefited greatly from technological advances. These advances have enabled traders to trade more efficiently and effectively. Online price comparisons and analyses enable traders to make informed decisions. Technology has revolutionized CFD trading in a positive and beneficial way.


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Spotting Trends: The Growth of Fintech

By: ispeculatornew
Date posted: 06.27.2016 (8:35 pm) | Write a Comment

The financial services industry has always tried to embrace new technologies in order to offer additional convenience to customers and operate more efficiently. But in recent years with the rise of cloud-based apps and mobile technology, there has been a new wave of technological innovation that is driving growth and launching promising new businesses in the financial services sector: this is the rise of fintech. The fintech industry has become one of the most exciting industries for investors and technology enthusiasts because the rise of new financial technologies is making it possible for banks and financial firms to offer new levels of convenience, efficiency, cost savings and even the ability to develop entirely new financial products that were never possible before. Fintech startups are finding new ways to process payments, collect donations, and loan money – and they’re doing it with online software and an emphasis on speed, convenience and mobile technology.

Here are a few of the reasons why the fintech industry is worthy of its recent buzz:

The Financial Services Industry is Ripe for Disruption

The financial services sector is often thought of as being a slow-moving, heavily regulated industry that is full of big, entrenched players, making it slow to change. However, the truth is, financial services is one of the industries that is most prepared for disruption by innovative outsiders. According to a survey of Inc. 500 CEOs, financial services was rated #2 of the top five sectors that are ripe for disruption (#1 was health care). The established big banks should not be too smug and complacent – many small companies are looking for new ways to deliver financial services more efficiently and in a way that better serves customers, and customers are starting to notice that there are excellent online tools available to process payments and manage other banking tasks.

Fintech Cuts Costs

A recent article from The Economist found that online lenders (some of the most prominent fintech startups) tend to have a much lower cost structure than traditional banks. For example, online lenders typically have business expenses that are only about 2 percent of their average outstanding loan balance, compared to 5-7 percent for traditional bank lenders. Fintech firms are typically able to reduce costs because they often operate online, without the costs and bureaucracy of a traditional bank’s network of brick-and-mortar branch locations. Lower costs make it possible for online lenders to issue loans more affordably, or serve a broader base of customers who might not have been able to get loans from a traditional bank.

Consumers are Ready for Fintech

People love their smartphones, and mobile apps have quickly become the everyday assistants of billions of people all over the world. People are using their smartphones and mobile devices to research products, shop online, and exchange confidential information about health care, insurance and many other aspects of their personal and financial lives – so why should financial services be any different? Consumers (and small business owners) are more comfortable than ever with online banking, mobile technologies for financial services, and other key trends in the shift to mobile marketing. This presents a huge opportunity to fintech firms.

For example, an article from the Financial Times found that transaction volume at traditional brick-and-mortar bank branches has decreased by one third in the past six years, as consumers are starting to do more of their routine banking business via online and mobile banking. The Adobe 2015 Mobile Consumer report found that 75 percent of Millennials and Gen Xers want to do online banking each month, more than 20 percent of Millennials (and 14 percent of Gen Xers) say that they want to apply for banking products online, and more than half of U.S. and U.K. mobile consumers would like to use mobile-only banking services.

The rise of fintech is keeping with several other key trends: the rise of mobile technology, the innovation of online software apps, and the growing appetite of consumers for more online and mobile banking. Anyone who is interested in seeing the latest opportunities for business growth and the evolution of the consumer economy should pay attention to the continuing rise of the fintech sector.

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New Trade: Salesforce ($CRM) & Short Zillow ($Z)

By: ispeculatornew
Date posted: 06.21.2016 (3:46 am) | Write a Comment

Today I am opening my 15th trade of the year between between 2 names that have been part of a lot of M&A activity and rumors. Things have been going well so far this year and as is always the case, you can see past 2016 (and previous years) trades here:

Let’s start off by looking at the numbers:

TickerNamePricePE RatioPE Next YearReturn YTDSales GrowthAnalyst ratingBook ValueBetaRevenue/ShareSales 5Y Avg GrowthEPS 5Y Avg Growth
ZZillow Group Inc34.76N/A73.0745.0297.823.86N/AN/AN/A76.34N/A Inc81.22N/A61.082.6824.074.768.241.310.0830.74N/A

$CRMLong Salesforce ($CRM)

Salesforce is certainly an interesting company to follow. First off, as a SAAS company, traditional ratios such as price/earnings and even profitability numbers are not as useful. Why? Because Salesforce has a very significant portion of its cost upfront. There are several good readings that explain this but here is a short summary. If you are able to land a client for $50 of cost of sales, and can expect to make a $20 profit for 5 years, it’s a no-brainer right? It is, but the problem is that the first year, that client will show up as a losing money client. The more clients you land, the bigger the losses. That is until you start having more clients in those later years which bring in enough profits to compensate. All of that being said, I do think CRM trades at a higher valuation than I’d like but I think it is a good play in this context. It does have significant risk of being acquired, is a leader in its field and when compared to Zillow, I do feel like it’s valuation is attractive.




Next earnings: August 17th 2016

$ZShort Zillow (Z)

Zillow is an interesting company and certainly has has a nice run in the past few weeks/months but it does have its fair share of haters as well including well known short seller Citron research. The company continues to grow at a very steady rate and has a nice niche. In some ways, I don’t love the idea of shorting Z but I do think its valuation is rich right now and that the risk vs. reward on this trade is worth it.


Next earnings: August 2nd 2016

Disclaimer: This trade on CRM-Z will be done on today’s opening,
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New Trade: Paypal ($PYPL) & Short IAC Interactive ($IAC)

By: ispeculatornew
Date posted: 06.14.2016 (3:00 am) | Write a Comment

Today I am opening my 14th trade of the year between between 2 of the older players on my list. Things have been going well so far this year and as is always the case, you can see past 2016 (and previous years) trades here:

Let’s start off by looking at the numbers:

TickerNamePricePE RatioPE Next YearReturn YTDSales GrowthAnalyst ratingBook ValueBetaEarningsMkt CapRevenue/ShareSales 5Y Avg GrowthEPS 5Y Avg Growth
IACIAC/InterActiveCorp53.3159.9312.83- $4,313,765,104.09 38.9513.047.02
PYPLPayPal Holdings Inc36.5433.420.861.5715.244.0611.26N/A7/27/2016 $44,566,220,398.51 7.57N/AN/A

Paypal is fairly new as a separate company but still worth looking at my usual chart:



Long Paypal (PYPL)

Despite a growing level of competition in the online payments space, Paypal remains the one dominant player thanks mostly to the lock-in/network effects. It also has been the one dominant global player while others such as Amazon (AMZN), Appel (AAPL), and Stripe continue to work on expanding their capabilities. I do still have my doubts about PYPL’s longer term position but it has been making some smart bets in the form of Venmo for example. The biggest argument for buying PYPL today is that relative to its valuation, it remains cheap compared to most of my board. Also, there have been rumors of a possible takeover of Paypal (PYPL) and that is certainly a nice option.




Next earnings: July 27th 2016

Short IAC Interactive (IAC)

In many ways, IAC has been an incredible engine of growth over the past decade. Shareholders have done well on the condition that they kept shares of units that ended up being spun off such as Expedia (EXPE), Tripadvisor (TRIP), Match Group (MTCH) but if you look at the return of the parent company alone, it has not been as impressive and I’m willing to bet that will continue by taking a new short position on it.



Next earnings: July 25th 2016

Disclaimer: This trade on PYPL-IAC will be done on today’s opening,
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Closing 1 Trade ($MTCH, $IAC)

By: ispeculatornew
Date posted: 06.13.2016 (3:00 am) | Write a Comment

Good morning, I hope all of you had a good weekend! This morning, I will be closing a trade done on April 14th when I went long Match Group (MTCH) against IAC Interactive (IAC), two companies that were part of the same entity a few months ago. The trade has gone incredibly well and currently stands at +33%. You can see the details of our 2016 (and previous years) trading at:

You can expect 1-2 new trades this week. That’s it for now!

MTCH_IAC_chart (1)

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