Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Five Trades That Most People Have Gotten Wrong – But We Have Gotten Right…

LINK: Five Trades That Most Have Gotten Wrong

1) Short Trump

*** we have added to equity positions ***

2) Long Dollar

*** our USD exposure in Euro accounts is completely hedged ***

3) Short bonds

*** we did not flee bonds and have added to names we like on price weakness ***

4) Long Banks

*** we do not have any targeted exposure to bank stocks ***

5) Short Healthcare

*** we have held onto our healthcare positions and have added to our biotech holdings on dips ***

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Amazon, Facebook, Google Could Replace Banks

medici zuckerberg

Banking has a fascinating history, and has played a seminal role in the forging of the modern world.

Today, as banks furiously try to keep up with technologies and new ways of attracting and maintaining clients, it bears consideration as to what their roles will be in the future. Will they fall pray to today’s aggregators and connectors? Quite possibly.

In a world where more and more of your everyday purchases are sourced from Amazon, why not carry a balance on your Amazon account? Surely they could come up with enticing reasons for you to do so. Looking for a loan? Surely Google could personalize and rank your best options. Need to make a payment? Facebook has a decently sized network of users (1.6 billion and counting)…

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Shopify Hits New Highs

shop 18jan17

Yesterday, Shopify (SHOP US) powered to new highs. Shopify is a small cap stock, but we have long been intrigued by its incredible potential and ability to successful grow its sales platform. As such, it is one of our biggest equity holdings and has delivered tremendous alfa to our equity portfolios.

We first wrote about Shopify in August of last year:

LINK: Take a Look at Shopify’s #s Today

LINK: Analysts Liked Shopify’s #s

In December of 2016, ‘The Motley Fool’ recommended Shopify as a top pick, and followed up its recommendation this week:

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Davos Wonders If It Is Part of the Problem

The World Economic Forum is currently underway in Davos, Switzerland. It seems that this year the Masters of the Universe that assemble there on a yearly basis are concerned about the global upswing in populism and the shade it tends to cast on the localized effects of globalization:

LINK: Davos Wonders If It’s Part of the Problem

Here are some charts that further illustrate the ‘Davos Disconnect’:

LINK: Davos Disconnect

davos trump

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Emerging Market Bonds – Still an Attractive Asset Class

em bonds

The majority of our fixed income returns over the past number of years have come from Emerging Market bonds.

In the wake of Trump’s election victory, rising rate assumptions, a higher US dollar and a higher anticipated degree of trade protectionism led to a strong sell off in Emerging Market bonds. We took this sell-off as a buying opportunity.

The following link sums up our investment rationale quite well:

LINK: Fear Not Emerging Market Bonds

Although mark to market pricing and wider bid-ask spreads can lead to higher volatility in Emerging Market bonds, we have found that choosing healthy companies in the right sectors can generate outstanding risk adjusted returns for long term investors.

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Amazon’s Way to the Top

Only ten years ago, four of ten largest companies in the world by market cap were from oil and gas industry and only one tech company (Microsoft) was included in the list.

As of December 30, 2016, five of ten largest companies in the world are tech companies and only one is from oil and gas industry (Exxon Mobil).

Top 10 companies by market cap
Rank 2006 2016
1 Exxon Mobil Apple
2 General Electric Alphabet
3 Microsoft Microsoft
4 Citigroup Berkshire Hathaway
5 Gazprom Amazon
6 Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Exxon Mobil
7 Toyota Motor Corporation Facebook
8 Bank of America Johnson & Johnson
9 Royal Dutch Shell JPMorgan Chase
10 BP General Electric


Right now we are not interested in the demise of oil & gas companies or decrease in the number of banks between top ten companies. We would like to turn your attention to tech companies.

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Netflix’s Original Shows Are Crushing The Competition


Netflix keeps on widening the moat when comes to original programming. Now Netflix is not a ‘Warren Buffett stock’, but it has some very salient features that Buffett has sought out in his favourite holdings, namely pricing power. The more people Netflix gets hooked on their shows, the more leverage they have in terms of pricing.

We got into Netflix under $100. Its done very well:


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