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Sidni Standard's avatar
$28.2m follower assets
The Future of Banking is PRO Crypto
Yesterday, Elizabeth Warren announced that she is "building an anti-crypto army" and the crypto and tech community was NOT having it.

Given everything that just happened with SVB, this announcement seems a bit... tone-deaf. As the Fed continues to mindlessly print money, and countries like China and Brazil decide to pass on the dollar in favor of their own currencies, running on this kind of platform kills a campaign before it even starts. No one wants to be in a situation of hyperinflation, and by not embracing crypto in this current climate, it's almost to be in favor of it.

Not only that, a recent article from The Block asserts that 'The future of banking has no banks,' Bernstein says. Welcome to 'hyper-bitcoinization'. There are a ton of benefits to crypto, although it definitely has its downsides as well. One of my major qualms with it is that when we go completely digital, there's no way to hide money anymore, which would obviously be necessary in an apocolyptic situation (not hoping for that, just important to always be prepared for a situation like that so you don't get caught off guard). My apocalyptic views aside (lol), the article presents a more rosy view of what is more likely to occur as a result of crypto:

With $BTC.X currently trading at over $28,000, $ETC.X at over $1,800, and $XRP.X at over $0.53 amid rumors of an XRP settlement in the favor of Ripple, it seems pretty clear to me that the future is in fact PRO crypto.

Below are some tweets in response to Elizabeth Warren's "Building an anti-crypto army" announcement.

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The idea that crypto "allows working families to break generational poverty" is laughable. Crypto is a haven for scams, frauds, and excessive transfer fees. It's an investment, and one of the riskiest ones out there. Not a single one of them is currency.

And yes, I do own and understand crypto. My $BTC.X and my $ETH.X sit on my Nano X which sits right here on my desk on top of my puzzle box that holds trinkets. Crypto will never be the godsend people think it is until it's regulated.
The Friday Wrap-Up
The Friday Wrap-Up is our weekly update for our institutional clients. Here is a snapshot of what happened this week.

No Bank Run this Week.

Our Focus narrows to Companies that Prey on Consumers.

We are deeply concerned about the consumer's financial health triggered by the predatory Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) companies. Household debt reached an all-time peak of $16.5 trillion in the fourth quarter, up 2.4% from the third quarter.

"Although historically low unemployment has kept consumer's financial footing generally strong, stubbornly high prices and climbing interest rates may be testing some borrowers' ability to repay their debts."- New York Federal Reserve.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Center for Microeconomic Data issued its Quarterly Household Debt and Credit Report. The report shows an increase in total household debt in the fourth quarter of 2022, increasing by $394 billion (2.4%) to $16.90 trillion. In addition, balances now stand $2.75 trillion higher than at the end of 2019, before the pandemic recession.

Serious Problems with BNPL "Dealers"
BNPL products lack transparency, causing harm to consumers unaware of the loan terms and or penalty from the lender.

The BNPL product is often structured in ways that may present borrowers with undesirable operational hurdles, including the lack of clear disclosures of loan terms, challenges in filing and resolving disputes, and a requirement to use autopay for all loan payments.

Over the past decade, predatory lenders have morphed into FinTech lenders, offering consumers easy access to credit with vague terms and conditions.

As a result, Unicus Research has officially filed the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) with New York Attorney General's Office and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau requesting any and all information related to consumer complaints, lending terms of subprime consumers, on fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair lending practices enforced by the unregulated Shadow Bankers like....

read more.

Very cool to see you taking action and filing all that paperwork for the Freedom of Information Act request. Let us know if they release information on BNPL lending terms to subprime consumers. That would be very interesting. Great research.
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Arnaldo Trezzi's avatar
$19m follower assets
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crazy!this company is basically worthless. They have some cash but won't last long.

See more of what you want

S&P 500 - 2023 performance & holdings weight
Mega caps making most of the gains this year

Top 7 & Bottom 7 by contribution (basis points):
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Wait a minute! Apple is up 25% this year? My goodness! What a bounce.
Eugene Ng's avatar
$19m follower assets
Is it relevant or irrelevant?

Is it reliable or unreliable?

Is it signal or noise?

Is it expected or unexpected?

Is it important or unimportant?

Remember information is only valuable if it changes your decision.
The information must be relevant, actionable and timely.
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$GOEV is a DUD from day one.
We have been short Canoo from February 2021 at approximately $14.
Our thesis was:

"Canoo is in a highly competitive space. Unlike Tesla or its other competitors, GOEV is active only on prototype and projections. We are skeptical whether the actual product can be delivered in the projected timeframe. Even if it did, we do not have confidence that consumer will adapt to the steer by wire and subscription feature. Canoo is competing with Tesla, the major OEMs, and Fisker.
Canoo promises to be the first true steer-by-wire vehicle on the market, dispensing with any mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the wheels. While the driving components are built into the car, riders use their own phone to control applications that don't actively move the vehicle, such as navigation, music, and heating and cooling. Canoo’s unique features are hardly a disruptor. Rather, Canoo is annoyingly unique compared to its competition – not in a good way."- from our initial report.

We spoke with numerous industry experts and a ex-founder. In our last report, we called $GOEV a ZERO. here is the report for an interesting read....

If you are interested to follow more of what we do, you can go to our substack newsletter page: contrarianunicus.substack.com
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Leon's avatar
$19.3m follower assets
US iGaming supplier
Evolution maintains the top US iGaming supplier in March '23 but it’s share fell from 26.6% in February to 24.6%. Followed by IGT with 17.9% (vs. 20.8%) and L&W with 17.2% (vs. 18.7%).

The report tracks 30 online casino sites and >42.000 games which corresponds to ~59% of the market. $EVVTY
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Thank you for sharing this Leon!
Investacus's avatar
$1.4m follower assets
What Investors Need to Know About the Lipstick Theory
Have you ever heard of the lipstick theory?

It's the idea that during tough economic times, sales of cosmetics, particularly lipstick, tend to rise. The theory suggests that in times of economic uncertainty, people tend to focus on small indulgences, such as a new tube of lipstick, to boost their mood and feel better about their appearance, even if they can't afford to splurge on larger luxuries.

But what does this theory mean for investors? Let's explore.

The lipstick effect is a real phenomenon. It's been observed during past economic downturns, such as the Great Recession of 2008, and is likely to occur again in future recessions (and the current[?]). For investors, this means that certain industries, such as cosmetics, could see increased sales during tough economic times while others may struggle.

The concept of the lipstick theory can be extended beyond the cosmetics industry to other sectors. It involves the transfer of higher-cost items to lower-cost alternatives due to economic conditions. For instance,people are opting to purchase used cars or repair their existing vehicles instead of buying new ones due to the decreasing disposable income. Similarly, instead of traveling to resorts for a week-long vacation, people are opting for domestic or weekend trips. In an economic downturn, individuals must prioritize and compromise their spending.

While some industries, such as gambling, alcohol, and sex toys, have seen an increase in sales during economic downturns, this theory does not apply to luxury goods. High-end products are more stable than mid-end and low-end products due to the wealth of their customer base. Customers who can afford to spend tens of thousands on luxury items do not compromise on quality, as they have a considerable amount of disposable income. In contrast, mid-end and low-end customers have less disposable income and are more sensitive to price changes.

Even high-end companies are affected during economic downturns. Mid-end customers who have ventured into the high-end market may revert back to the mid-end market once the economy stabilizes. Therefore, the impact of the lipstick theory varies across industries and customer segments.

The lipstick theory comes down to the positioning of the company and its strategy. Reverting back to the framework of Michael Porter and his Power model. See my article on the model. Two strategies he proposed for a company to pursue are low-cost provider and differentiation. We are seeing how these two strategies benefit two different kinds of companies, the low-end companies, as more will be prudent with their spending, and the high-end companies’ customer group is stable through an economic downturn.

Additionally, the lipstick effect may not be as pronounced in today's economy as it was in the past. With the rise of social media and the emphasis on personal branding, people may be more likely to invest in higher-end makeup products rather than just picking up a drugstore tube of lipstick.

So, what should investors keep in mind when considering the lipstick theory? Here are a few key takeaways:

  • The lipstick theory refers to a phenomenon observed during economic downturns, where a decrease in disposable income alters spending behavior.

  • The theory originated from the observation that lipstick sales tend to increase during bad economic times. The argument is that even when consumers can no longer afford their usual luxuries, they still desire a cheaper substitute to fulfill their luxury needs.

  • High-end luxury items are less impacted by the lipstick effect since their customer base tends to be less affected by economic downturns.

  • The lipstick theory is not exclusive to the cosmetics industry and can be applied to other sectors. For example, the sales of gambling, sex toys, and alcohol have increased during economic downturns.

In summary, the lipstick theory can provide investors with some insights into consumer behavior during economic downturns, but it should not be the only factor in investment decisions. Investors need to dig deeper and consider a variety of factors when evaluating potential investments.
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First Quarter in Review: Where Do We Go From Here? Jarvis® Update March 31, 2023
The first quarter in the markets has been anything but dull.

We've seen volatility in interest rates, Federal Reserve rate hikes, and a mini-banking crisis, but we've still weathered the storm. We are as optimistic as ever, but also with the understanding the prices may not move up in a straight line from here.

The opportunities both in growth stocks and in fixed rate securities are still plentiful, but we see interest rates starting to fall, which means the chance to lock in 7-8% annual return in quality corporate bonds won't be here for much longer.

Take a listen to our first quarter review and the thoughts of CEO Noland Langford and Director of Research, Brian Dress, for the rest of 2023 (and beyond). We welcome your thoughts in the comments and we'd be happy to answer any questions.

If you still have cash sitting in the bank, now is the time to act to get something locked in with a higher return for a longer duration. Reach out and we can set up a time to talk in more detail!

Topic 1: First Quarter in Review
Topic 2: Outlook for the Rest of 2023 (and Beyond)

Sidni Standard's avatar
$28.2m follower assets
Gamify Your Way to Success: How Businesses Can Benefit from Gamification
Have you ever found yourself completely absorbed in a game, losing track of time as you strive to reach the next level or unlock a new achievement? If so, you've experienced the power of gamification.

Gamification is the practice of using game mechanics and psychology to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. By tapping into our innate desire for competition, achievement, and reward, gamification can drive increased engagement, loyalty, and revenue.

But gamification is not just for games. It can be applied across a wide range of industries, from fitness apps to stock trading platforms. In this post, we'll explore the pros and cons of gamification, look at some successful examples of gamification in action, and provide tips for how to design an effective gamification system for your business.

I used Chat GPT to help me compile my full post which you can find here, but here's an example of one of the companies profiled that is successfully utilizing gamification (and it's a company that I did a full write-up on once-upon-a-time, $RBLX.

Roblox Corporation is a massively popular gaming platform that utilizes gamification techniques to keep its over 150 million monthly active users engaged. The platform allows users to create their own games and experiences, share them with others, and even monetize them. Since its initial public offering (IPO) in March 2021, Roblox's stock price has risen steadily, making it a highly profitable company for investors. Its shares were priced at $45 during the IPO and have since risen to over $100 as of March 2023. Incorporating gamification techniques into business models can be highly effective in increasing engagement and profitability. Companies can learn from successful examples like Roblox and tailor their own offerings to include rewards and incentives for users. By doing so, they can not only enhance the user experience but also drive growth and revenue for their business.

Full $RBLX post here:
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Who could ever forget the confetti feature of Robinhood !
We never had a Robinhood account because we're old school, but reading about it was wild.
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Steve Matt's avatar
$19.7m follower assets
Globant ($GLOB) and Google ($GOOG/$GOOGL) expand their partnership with the creation of Globant's Google Cloud Studio.
"Through its newly established Google Cloud Studio, a new business unit, Globant will grow its dedicated team of experts with deeper and wider reach in Google Cloud Platform products. This new studio will leverage the wide range of Google Cloud tools to benefit organizations across all verticals in their business transformation."

The bullet points from the press release (which I've linked below)

As part of the expanded partnership, Globant, and Google Cloud will also work together to:
  • Deep dive into AI by helping clients and their customers to leverage Google Cloud's cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools and applications to unlock automation and business value in data science, AI infrastructure, responsible AI/ML, deep learning, and more.
  • Focus on innovative client solutions across multiple industries, based on Globant's existing expertise in Telecom, Media & Entertainment, Gaming, Professional Services, Financial Services, Retail, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Airlines, Hospitality & Leisure, Retail, and Manufacturing with domain-specific knowledge and solutions.
  • Prioritize enterprise modernization solutions, including migrations and platform modernization for the cloud, databases, data lakes, app modernization, data analytics, and security.

Globant’s numbers always looked good to me, but I just can’t explain what they actually do in simple terms. 😂
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Good morning contrarians! Stock futures are moving higher as bonds sell off ahead of the Fed’s preferred inflation reading, out at 0830.

So it’s hard to see how this reading, the PCE Deflator, will make much of an impact however. It’s dated information and the market has moved on. Of course, the events that seemed so transformative just one week ago have now themselves kind of faded. Indeed we are officially back in bull market territory for tech stocks, this after one year and about three weeks of a bear market:

More on the state of play here:
John Wick: Chapter 4 continues to display higher momentum than its predecessors
The beauty of the John Wick franchise is that each movie becomes more popular than its predecessor. That type of growth is rare in entertainment and it's the type of growth that signifies a franchise with immense potential down the road. Many of the new John Wick fans got into the franchise since the pandemic and have waited a long time for this movie to come out.

Internationally, the film has made more than $150 million. Have you seen John Wick: Chapter 4?

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Thx for sharing. Really like the John Wick franchise. Haven't watched Chapter 4 yet but looking at the data it seems good :D
Rich Excell's avatar
$16.9m follower assets
Chart of the Day - Maintain an intellectual curiosity and stay thirsty for knowledge
Rule #4 on my rules of personal investing is to constantly keep learning. I was fortunate to be forced to do this as I worked in many different asset classes in many different countries

A skill that has helped me try to consolidate the thinking is the intermarket analysis learned in the CMT examination process. We can learn from the drivers of the flows of money in the various corners of the market. We may spot early trends or outliers

For instance, consider the chart today. I have on here the US 30 year yields (inverted) in orange. I compare to the NDX outperformance of SPX in white, Bitcoin in blue and the ratio of copper to gold in purple.

Many if not most of you may be thinking that I have lost the plot and these assets or ratios have little to do with each other. However, a view of them over the last 18 months suggests perhaps there is a common thread. Spurious correlation? Maybe, maybe not.

You see, the concern over the last 18 months has been inflation, and the central bank response to inflation. As central bankers realized inflation was not transitory, they were forced to raise rates aggressively. This happened globally even though the Fed gets the media buzz.

Going into this period, we had a bubble in duration. Free money in the form of 0 interest rates combined with fiscal & monetary stimulus post Covid led to a sharp rise in long duration assets in every asset class.

This unwound as rates rose. We clearly see this in the 30 year which is where most focus on duration. However, NDX stocks are longer duration than SPX & we saw it here. Crypto, especially Bitcoin, is very long duration as there are few cash flows.

Copper to Gold ratio is the commodity mkts measure of global growth. It also fell as rates rose with commodity traders anticipating a global growth slowdown. That helps describe late 2021 and all of 2022 but what about now?

We see NDX meaningfully beating SPX. We have even seen Bitcoin move off the lows. Have we seen duration in bonds keep up? Not really. Bond seem to suggest inflation may drop near term but could be a problem longer term still

Maybe this is driven by global growth expectation then. Is copper outperforming gold? Not at all. In fact quite the opposite. Commodity mkts seem more concerned about a recession than stocks

What does this mean? Is the NDX more clued up than these other mkts? Or are equity investors forcing the idea a little too much? I will let you decide, but I think you know my answer.

There is much we can learn from other investors, even those in other asset classes. It is important to keep learning.

Stay Vigilant
#markets #investing #stocks #bonds #cryptocurrency #commodities
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Would the takeaway here be that equity investors are more hopeful, while bond and commodity investors are still worried about a recession?
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Jeff Sanders's avatar
$16.4m follower assets
3/31/23 Port Performance
+3.04% gain for the day
+5.19% gain for the week
+8.01% gain for the month
+26.02% gain YTD
Recap for March 2023

Sold $DDOG and $ZS
Bought $ENPH and $PAYC
Daily adds to $O and $SCHD
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Lester Leong's avatar
$20.4m follower assets
Idiosyncratic Risk Only
So found this interesting read where Risk.net wrote a piece on how Citadel keeps beta returns at bay. Made me curious about looking some stuff up over the weekend.

For those that wanted a more humourous summary, here's the laydown written in style for regards:

Let me tell ya about our lord and savior Citadel, who had a stellar year while most of us probably lost our tendies 🚀. Their equity fund soared 21% while the S&P 500 dropped 20% - these guys are playing 4D chess, and we're still figuring out checkers. Citadel's got no time for beta or factor themes; they're all about those sweet, sweet idiosyncratic winners and losers 🎯.
Their secret sauce ain't sexy, but it's all about risk management and high-tech magic ✨. They've got floor-to-ceiling touchscreens that make Tony Stark jealous, and they're so dedicated to stress-testing that it's almost creepy 👀.
Wanna know what makes them tick? They give their PMs a straitjacket of risk parameters, but still want them to flex their decision-making muscles 💪. Oh, and they're always prepared for whatever the market throws at them - like the Russia-Ukraine conflict 🌍.
So, while Citadel keeps crushing it with their ultra-disciplined, data-driven approach, we'll be here YOLOing on FDs and praying for the next meme stock to take us to the moon 🌕.

Too bad in the recent recession, all of my long plays that worked out were just going long oil.
Profiles in Investing : Leon Cooperman
Don’t forget to check out my Substack. I’m dropping a post today :

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Interesting point about how the sell-side isn’t allowed to hold positions I. The securities they cover. On one hand that makes sense, because their reports can affect the direction of the stock. On the other hand, I understand the frustration of not being able to use the knowledge one has gained.

Do we know what the current rules are regarding this? (Since this article is from 2004)
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$16.6m follower assets
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$YEXT, $SE, $PLTR , $AI, $NNDM $MARA, $KC General portfolio add
Just topping up my counters.
Fun that Kingsoft Cloud Holdings has the same ticker as your name 😄
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