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Top 10 Ways To Make Money With Cryptocurrency By Trading
https://preview.redd.it/wuqdths9eaj51.jpg?width=2400&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=72b078a3339091e0511c612b10ff6877037e0dfe Cryptocurrencies need no introduction. In more than ten years, it has managed to become one of the most revolutionary changes in the work of digital transactions. However, when it comes to its applications, cryptocurrency has become a key attraction for many investors. When we talk about cryptocurrency, Bitcoin becomes a default choice. Although more than 5000 cryptocurrencies are floating in the market, Bitcoin remains the apple of the eye of many investors. So, here we are going to discuss what are the ten ways of making money with cryptocurrency or Bitcoin. 10 Ways To Make Money Using Cryptocurrency Trading : 1.HODLing- Buy and Hold Bitcoin- This is a simple rule of trading wherein the investor buys Bitcoin or cryptocurrency with an intent to hold it for a long time and then selling it in the future. It is a kind of long-term investment. 2.Bitcoin Arbitrage- In this, the investor buys Bitcoin at a low price from the cheapest exchange and then selling it at a higher price on another exchange. The difference in the price between the two platforms becomes the low-risk profit for the arbitrate trader. 3.Bitcoin futures trading- It allows the traders to assess the pricing of Bitcoin without actually owning the cryptocurrency. It works on betting long or short against the price of Bitcoin, or other cryptocurrencies. 4.Bitcoin solo mining- If you have a setup of a Bitcoin miner, then you can start as a solo-miner. You would need massive hash rates for this. 5.Bitcoin mining pools- It happens when different miners come together to increase the hashpower, it eventually helps in generating Blocks faster as the difficulty becomes more. 6.Bitcoin cloud mining- If you want to start mining in Bitcoin, then there is an option of hiring mining equipment in a remote location. The mining takes place remotely where it is affordable to mine. 7.Bitcoin network marketing- Different companies are offering bitcoin mining investment via structure where people get a commission on referral. These systems combine cryptocurrencies and network marketing. 8.Bitcoin affiliate programs- There are cryptocurrency companies that also give rewards in Bitcoin to the people who refer to a new customer. You can join any Bitcoin affiliate program and connect with other users on social media. For example, you can join the Bitcoin affiliate program, and then create YouTube videos about the product. 9.Bitcoin faucets- These are websites where you pay in Satoshis ( the smallest fraction of a bitcoin, 0.00000001 BTC)to complete a task like downloading the apps, completing the survey, or watching ads or videos. 10.Binary Trading with bitcoin- These have been there in the world of finance for a long time, and now it is moving in the world of cryptocurrencies. For example, you have two options to choose for Bitcoin price is $3000 now (at 10 AM), or you can invest in price, which is more than $3000 by 6 PM. Say the price of Bitcoin is higher than $3000 at 5 PM, then you can sell it at this time. Conclusion- These are a few of the ways that help you make money and earn more with Bitcoin or cryptocurrency.
Does anyone know of any academic whitepapers or studies on this? They have a rather unique risk profile. I believe I've found +EV divergence in pricing between exchanges, however given I can only trade binary calls I'm left exposed to delta as I can't use straddles. I'd like to hedge my delta for a more pure arbitrage opportunity. Shorting the futures won't work, due to sizing and leaving me uncapped on loss above the strike. I'm looking for serious replies here, I know it's binary options. I believe the recent influx in retail money, small market size and regulatory risk for larger players are creating this opportunity. I'm experienced in algo-trading so if I can get some help on establishing a hedge I'd like to start making a market with what I've found after more testing.
Trading, psychology, and the benefits of Trading Bots.
https://preview.redd.it/8lhgwekhbmv31.jpg?width=823&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=35c417aa683b9fcdf37a126127c2e60c3ab405c2 Most beginners who open trading accounts on cryptocurrency exchanges and start independent trading, see only one goal — to earn as quickly as possible. This is a big mistake. The fact is that trading on the stock exchange will only become truly profitable when it becomes a priority for the person who came to trading. As a rule, to combine trade with any other occupation and at the same time everywhere to succeed will not work. Trading for a novice trader should be if not the main, then a very important and priority occupation. No need to wait for quick results. Trading on the stock exchange — the same profession as a doctor, Builder or engineer. The only difference is that she can’t go to University. Just as one learns to be a Builder for five years, so it takes years to learn all the wisdom and secrets of the trade. Trading on the stock exchange is not a Stayer distance, it is a marathon. And the winner is the one who will find the courage to reach the end. In addition, trade is very much changing a person, showing his qualities, which in everyday life he does not know. Over time, if a trader really wants to succeed in trading, he must completely rethink his life, change the system of values and look at many things, change himself.
Fear as a Component of Trading
The strongest emotion known to man is, of course, fear. What gives rise to the exchange’s fears? We can not predict the behavior of the market, and therefore fully control their money invested in its instruments. In addition to the unknown, when there is no understanding of how to safely get out of a predicament, we are afraid in advance of what traumatized us earlier. Because fear is so emotional, you need to surround yourself with the right facts to drive it away. We need to know for sure that our trading system should not generate more than three consecutive losing trades. Winners plan what to do if their trades fail. So only a systematic approach will protect us from ourselves. That is why the investment rules written in the trading templates exist not only to communicate the best market opportunities but, more importantly, to protect us from our own internal “demons”.
Emotions in Trading
Seekers of strong emotions, adrenaline forget everything in pursuit of excitement. It follows that a novice investor, overtaken by the “adrenaline curse”, will trade at the slightest opportunity. Yet Dostoevsky, one of the most famous and avid players, said that for him the most acute feeling in life — to win money. The second most acute feeling is to lose them. Paradoxically, few things give more pleasure than getting rid of the pain and torment of being in a losing trade. This creates a mental internal conflict. Awareness of losses brings “excitement” or a sense of exaltation, and our emotionality does not care what we pay for these experiences losses in the brokerage account. “Adrenaline curse” will drive us into the trade for thrills and extract them from there, regardless of the price.
Intuition on the Exchange
The mind of an intuitive investor tries to construct mental constructions of events. I will try to explain what mental construction is by the example of a chess player’s thinking. The grandmaster understands and remembers the position of each figure in terms of its mental constructions and relationships inherent in the arrangement of figures. The random arrangement of the figures does not fit into any of his mental constructs, and he cannot structure what he sees. Market patterns on cryptocurrency charts compared to chess compositions include an excessive element of chaos so that they can be interpreted intuitively. Investors with intuition are able to achieve success with the help of” flair”, but this flair often leaves them. The intellect of the rational trader, on the contrary, is manifested in his ability to logically comprehend what is happening to him and to the reality around him and to make on this basis the simplest and most correct decision. Intuition is the ability of a person to penetrate into the essence of things not by reasoning or logical thinking, but by instantaneous, unconscious insight. This is the ability of a trader to “ see the market not with his mind but with his heart.” But, even with a highly developed intuition, you can not act on the market, using only it.This is the trap of intuitive trading — it is impossible to learn.
Fear of Taking Responsibility
What distinguishes successful traders from losers who lose money? First of all look at life. Most people are very passive. If you ask people if they are happy with their lives, the answer is likely to be negative. On the question of who is to blame, I would say that the fault of the parents who have not given a good education, why now not get a good job; blame the employer who delays wages; blame the dollar, which is rising, then falling; to blame the President and the government who do not pay pensions, etc., In their troubles and problems most of the people blame anyone but themselves. The same thing happens in the market because the exchange is a mirror of our life. Talk to the trader losing money, ask why he can’t make money in the market. He replied that the fault of the insiders, manipulators, blame the binary options broker too much Commission, to blame the neighbor who suggested the deal, which turned into a heavy loss. In other words, he himself would have been a millionaire long ago, but for a number of reasons, certainly beyond his control, until that happened. If a person wants to achieve something-not just to lead a life, which are millions of ordinary people (every day to go to work, save five years for a car, twenty years for an apartment, etc.), and to live a full life, so that the financial issue went into the background, to work for fun, not for money, he needs to take responsibility for everything that happens in his life. A person needs to realize that the cause of everything that happens to him is himself.It is this view that allows you to succeed in life and in any business. And trade is no exception. This is the way successful traders look at life. Once you realize that the cause of all your losses is yourself, and not some mythical manipulators, then the case will move forward. ******************************************************************************************************* In the age of digital technologies, when artificial intelligence develops, computer technologies improve, mankind creates various tools to facilitate their own life and everyday life. If we pay attention to trading, then this direction is actively developing, getting new and unique tools. Since any trader (beginner or experienced specialist) is subject to emotions and various psychological factors, there are tools such as trading bots.
A trading robot (bot) is a program that has a certain algorithm. It buys or sells cryptocurrency assets, focusing on the situation in the market. The first trading robots appeared in 2012, and since then they have become more and more perfect. Currently, according to some estimates, 90% of short-term transactions are made either by bots or with their participation. Bots are usually developed for specific trading platforms. Most cryptocurrency exchanges have an API, and they are generally positive about free auto trading within their platform. In contrast to the positive attitude to exchange robots, exchanges often have a negative attitude to arbitration robots. On the rules of trade can be found in the official documentation of the exchange, and if there is no such information, the question can be asked directly to technical support.Some people wonder: is it possible to write your bot trader? This is not an easy option, which is suitable only for experienced programmers. After writing, bots are tested for a long time in the market, corrected numerous errors, corrected strategy. A programmer can also write a bot based on someone else’s code. Some bots are open source, and anyone can find it on GitHub and modify it to fit their needs. Buy a bot for trading cryptocurrency: there are inexpensive programs for trading (about $ 10), and the cost of more high-quality and complex exceeds more than $ 200 and even $ 1000. There is no maximum price limit for bots, top bots are written to order $ 1500 and more. Users are usually offered a choice of several tariff plans for crypto bots, from economy to luxury. The inexpensive option includes the most basic trading algorithms, and the expensive one brings maximum profit and works on more complex algorithms. Arbitration bots are a more expensive exchange. Known cases when downloading the bot, people got on your computer virus-miner or virus-cipher, which encrypt all your personal files and demanded a ransom in bitcoin, usually in bitcoin. Naturally, after transferring the ransom to the specified wallet, no decryption of the files occurred. Trading strategy of stock and arbitrage bots can be very simple, for example:- When the price of cryptocurrency decreases, you need to buy it.- If the price rises, it should be sold.- Or much more complicated. The algorithm can take into account historical data for the last time, indicators, navigate by signals. Quality bots analyze more than a hundred parameters when placing orders. Some programs do not change the algorithm, and there are bots that can connect or configure additional parameters. This option is well suited for experienced traders who have their own preferences in the style of trading. A standard bot can perform such actions:- To assess the market situation, to monitor the rate at a given period of time, to make a forecast. In manual trading, it can show signals to the trader.- Create buy or sell orders.- To report on the profit or loss received. On the example of our IMBA-Exchange, we came to the conclusion that we also need to provide an opportunity for each trader to use bots so that they can be in a comfortable trading environment. Our exchange specialists are developing their own bot for cryptocurrency trading, which will be an excellent and convenient addition to every trader who wants to eliminate the psychological factor and seeks to get stable earnings without losing personal time. ******************************************************************************************************* IMBA-ExchangeMetronix botmakes life easier for every investor. For example, Ing. Michael Eder the CEO of IMBA-Exchange, who has 10 years of experience in trading and the last 3 years in cryptocurrency trading, has firmly decided for himself that in the current realities trading on the exchange simply needs bots:
Throughout the time that I have been trading, I can confidently say that today trading bots are necessary for all traders as the main tool. No matter how long you are in exchange trading, but the nature of the person is designed so that under the influence of psychological factors, market conditions, etc. You still make mistakes and, as a result, this leads to financial losses.OurMetronix Trading Botwill help to solve these problems and eliminate negative consequences. A bot is a tool; it has no feelings. He performs a specific task for a given program and performs it almost unmistakably. The task of the trader is to monitor the situation on the market and correctly, as well as at the right time to configure your bot.
NetCurrencyIndex is Voted ‘The Innovator’ and Best Investment Option for 2019
Within the last few months, NCI has gained immense momentum and its acceptance in the crypto niche has also surged exponentially. We have seen plenty of individuals and businesses investing with us in order to diversify their portfolio with something ‘much safer’.
CoinNewsTelegraph praises us
Well, that is not an ordinary thing and getting a tap on the back from one of the top crypto news agencies makes us fly a bit higher than the rest. Well, let’s get back to the business now. This year, CNT conducted a survey in which more than 120,000 tech geeks voted in NCI’s favor as being an innovator in the niche and the best investment option in 2019 as well. Before reading further, please note that our project happens to be an indexing and analyzing benchmark in the industry. Therefore, even though we are quite excited about getting this commendation, we think our highly dedicated team really deserved this.
How are we different?
The industry is still quite volatile even after 10 years of the launch of the pioneering crypto. Having said that, NetCurrencyIndex has tapped in the very area with an ambition to offer risk-free investment opportunities to the consumer base. It is also worth mentioning that NCI makes use of intelligent algorithms to shift the value of the indices naturally and that’s one of the primary reasons why we have set the benchmark in the industry. Moreover, NCI Volidex and Forecast systems make use of AI to offer risk-free investment and trading opportunities. The NCIgo app is due to launch in the Q4 of 2019. It gives a plethora of liberty to the users, allowing them to create and manage their crypto portfolios. It will also allow the members to experience a robust futures exchange and earn through social trading as well, in a fully automated way with the help of an AI-based NCIbot, using IBM Watson Machine Learning in connection with blockchain technology. Furthermore, our arbitrage system and up-comers list also enable the users to watch the possible direction of tokens and view the most profitable variants for trading. One of the coolest things is that the editorial team of CoinNewsTelegraph conducted an analysis on the beta version of our binary options trading for indices and they were quite moved with the positive results. Please note that this feature is due to be released this month and it will be an integral part of the NCIgo app as well.
It is quite evident that the pace at which NetCurrencyIndex is progressing is appreciable and not only our user base is expanding, but people (from different platforms) are also commending and joining our buckets for enhancing their capital investments. Based on the current progress, it is not so difficult to say that NCI might become the ‘next big thing’ in the crypto trading industry. Read more at: https://netcurrencyindex.com/news/ Visit our website: https://netcurrencyindex.com/
How do option chains price bi-modal (binary event) expectations?
EDIT: The consensus here seems to be that the IV smile will turn into a frown if we get close enough to an especially high IV earnings event. I'm not sure that definitely answers the question, but I'll commit to updating this over the next few days as we approach NFLX earnings because I am curious as well. :-) Implied volatility often (always?) rises as the strike price moves away from the current underlying price because the basis of options pricing models assumes that returns are normally (or lognormally, or whatever distribution with a mean and standard deviation you want) distributed around the current price. Delta (or dual delta) is an indication of the probability that an option will be ITM at expiration, and it too often (always?) declines are you move away from the current price. In normal market environments this works. But there are binary events (earnings announcements, drug trials) in which the market may be split on the direction, but not on the fact that the underlying will make a substantial move after the event (say +/- 5% as an example). Typically this results in an increase in implied volatility leading up to the event, which is reasonable, since a higher than usual movement is expected in a short period of time. But the shape of the IV smile, or the way that delta works, does not change. Even though the market expects a +/-5% move, delta still implies that the probability of those +/-5% strikes is lower than the current price, which is clearly wrong. But wouldn't that imply the ATM options are enormously overpriced if a substantial move is expected, since whatever that price is, it is overestimating the probability of ATM options being ITM? Isn't that a huge, easily captured arbitrage opportunity for a simple strategy that sells ATM options before a large binary event? Help me poke holes in this. Maybe the market makers will widen the spreads so that even though it appears to be a normal pricing structure if you look at the midpoints (which we do), when you look at the prices that trades actually execute at, they will resemble the appropriate chances of it happening? But for that to be the case, the ATM spread would have to be wider than the +/-5% spreads, which seems unlikely? Perhaps it has something to do with having to sell both sides, so that gains on one side are offset by declines in the other? But again, put call parity is at work with ATM options, so both are still overpriced, and both are arb opportunities if one is?
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Records LP, Comp, RE $ 27 Living Is Hard: West African Music In Britain, 1927-1929 Honest Jon's Records 2xLP, Comp $ 13 William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (Music From The Motion Picture) Capitol Records, UMe LP, Album $ 13 The Rough Guide To Legends Of Indian Music (180 Gram Limited Edition Vinyl) World Music Network, Music Rough Guides LP, Album, Ltd $ 12 Volto! Incitare Fantasy 2xLP, Album, Etch $ 17 Washed Out Paracosm Sub Pop LP, Album, Mar $ 35 Zen-Zin & Pawcut The Butterfly Effect JAKARTA LP, Album $ 15
"There is no possibility of not 'forking.' In fact a chain fork (hashpower referendum) happens at every block. Merely because the referendum has voted in the incumbent ruleset a great many times in a row does not imply a referendum (chain fork) is not happening every block." ~ u/ForkiusMaximus
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/68ju8a/utempatroy_uadam3us_unullc_ulukejr_dont_even/dgz7u1r https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/41lpisegwit_economics/cz3cazb/ Bitcoin, as a creature of the market, should be hard forking on a regular basis, because a hard fork is the only time the market gets an opportunity to express its will in anything other than a binary YES/NO fashion. That is, without a hard fork, the market only can push the price up or down, but with a hard fork it can actually select Option A over Option B. It can even assign a relative weighting to those options, especially if coins in the two sides of the fork are allowed to be bought and sold in advance by proxy through futures trading on exchanges (e.g., Bitfinex would let you buy futures in CoreCoins and/or ClassicCoins so that the matter could be resolved before the fork even happens, with the legendary accuracy of a prediction market). Anything controversial, on which many reasonable people are in disagreement, is the perfect time for a hard fork. The idea that controversial hard forks are to be avoided is not only exactly backwards, to even entertain the idea shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how Bitcoin works and calls into question everything else one might say on the subject. Hard forks are the market speaking. Soft forks on any issues where there is controversy are an attempt to smother the market in its sleep. Core's approach is fundamentally anti-market and against the very open-source ethos Bitcoin was founded on. EDIT: Looks like Ben Davenport is on the same page as far as "fork arbitrage." ~ u/ForkiusMaximus https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/61n9y9/bruce_fenton_core_supporters_if_you_dont_like_it/dffz6g1/ People saying Bitcoin isn't antifragile is a contrarian indicator. Look at how different things are now. People are actually debating the dynamics of a hard fork, fork trading, fork futures, and Core is on the run with them being the ones having to discuss a PoW change. Besides this happening pretty slowly, what more could you ask for? Wasn't this in the cards all along? Bitcoin will be the first cryptocurrency to dash the illusion of incorruptible leaders and blossom to a truly pluralistic development environment where no one dev or group of devs or foundation has de facto final say over changes. No major altcoin has overcome this yet, as all have their own trusty Gavin-like person or Bitcoin Wizards-like groups that is so far navigating everything well. The transition to fully realized Market Governance is a huge step, fraught with peril, but a necessary prerequisite for reaching trillion-dollar market caps. ~ u/ForkiusMaximus https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/4mbmrt/a_sanity_check_appeal_to_greg_co/d3u88jq/ In fairness, Greg and the others have raised one halfway decent point among all the weaseling around: what Classic did was probably the wrong way to get around Core. Classic framed it as a miner vote, which Greg is calling a coup against "the users." Of course he's trying to bullshit that Core = the community, but there is still a grain of truth left after the BS is washed away. The fact is, Bitcoin doesn't work by miner vote; it works - ultimately - by market vote. The miners should serve as a proxy for that, but due to mining becoming disconnected with nodes (pooled mining) there are indeed like 10 guys who sort of have some possible control over Bitcoin (yes people can just switch pools, but is this the ideal way?). The rightful remedy to this situation is to put competing forks up to a direct market test: commence fork futures trading on the major Bitcoin exchanges. Investors buy and sell 1MB-BTC futures and 2MB-BTC futures until a clear winner emerges. The market speaks. (And in the unlilely event that no clear winner emerges, the market has expressed its value for a persistent split.) In all cases, hodler purchasing power is unaffected. Then neither Classic nor any other such fork can be called any kind of coup against the users, by any stretch. The 75% hashpower threshold should be removed. And I don't mean it should be increased to 95%. The blocksize cap in Classic should just be 2MB straight up as a flag day (increase to 2MB at this block...or gradual stepwise increase if prefered). We have had endless debate because both alternatives were flawed: we should have no miner vote as proxy for a market vote; just a direct market vote. (In the event that the market chooses a persistent split, the minority chain would have to make some hashing and signing tweaks to prevent interference, of course.) ~ u/ForkiusMaximus
Bitcoin Futures Trading Brings Crypto Into Mainstream
This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 69%. (I'm a bot)
That's where trading in bitcoin futures opens Sunday evening, as the first major U.S. exchange offers a product pegged to the wildly fluctuating cryptocurrency. The futures offered by Cboe Global Markets Inc., and similar contracts that start trading in a week at at another Chicago-based exchange, CME Group Inc., may open the door to greater inflows of institutional money, while also making it easier to bet on bitcoin's decline. Derivatives trading is the culmination of a wild year for bitcoin, which captured imaginations and investment around the world, propelled by its stratospheric gains, and its anti-establishment mission as a currency without the backing of a government or a central bank, and a payment system without a reliance on banks. In addition to the contracts at Cboe and CME, which will start trading Dec. 18, Cantor Fitzgerald LP won approval from regulators to trade binary options, and LedgerX, a startup exchange, already trades bitcoin options. "There will be a ramp-up time," said Ari Paul, chief investment officer of Blocktower Capital Advisors LP. "There just isn't a rush. The professional traders will mostly be looking to do arbitrage, between the futures and bitcoin itself. I don't expect massive money flows right away but then I expect gradual buying from people who want passive exposure" without buying bitcoin directly. The exchange plans to impose trading limits to curb volatility, halting trading for two minutes if prices rise or fall 10 percent, and a five-minute halt kicks in at 20 percent.
Perpetual Option: Och-Ziff Capital Management Group (OZM)
In his book, You Can Be a Stock Market Genius, Greenblatt talks about using LEAPs to make leveraged bets. The book included his trade in Wells Fargo (WFC, another topic for a future post, I suppose). But sometimes, stocks get down so cheap that they become priced like options. In the Genius book, the WFC LEAPs were priced at $14 while the stock was at around $77. Here, we have a hedge fund manager trading less than $3.00/share, which is a typical price for regular options, not even LEAPs. Of course, all stocks are options on the residual value of businesses. But sometimes things are priced for either a large gain or zero, just like an option. I call this a perpetual option, but that reminds me of those lifetime warranties. Like, who's lifetime? The manufacturer's? The store's? Yours? Nothing is forever, so I guess there really is no such thing as a perpetual option. But anyway... Och-Ziff IPO'ed in 2007 at $32/share and traded in the mid $20's right before the crisis, then down to below $5.00 during the crisis and back up to the mid-teens. I've been watching this since the IPO and looked at it again when it was trading around $10/share. It's down quite a bit since then. I didn't own it back then but I did take a small bite down at $5.00/share. I have mentioned other private equity and hedge fund managers here in the past but haven't owned most of them because of the amount of money that seemed to be going into alternatives. I was just worried that the AUM's of all of these alternative managers were going up so quickly that I couldn't imagine them earning the high returns that made everyone rush to them in the first place. Look at the presentation of any of these alternative managers and their AUM growth is just staggering. Extremely Contrarian We investors walk around and think about all sorts of things; look at store traffic, taste new foods/restaurant concepts, count how many Apple watches people are wearing (I recently biked around the city with my kid (Brooklyn to Central Park, around the park (around the big loop) and all the way downtown back to Brooklyn (30+ miles) and I think I counted two Apple watches that I saw compared to countless iPhones. And this was in the summer so no coats or long sleeves to hide wrists). And a couple of the things that we tend to think about are, What does everybody absolutely love, and what are they 100% sure of (other than that Hillary will win the election and that the market will crash if Trump wins), and What do people absolutely, 100% hate and don't even want to talk about? In the investing world right now, it seems like the one thing that everybody seems to agree with is that active investing is dead (OK, not completely true because we active investors never really lose faith in it). The data points to it (active managers underperforming for many years, legendary stock pickers too not performing all too well, star hedge funds not doing well etc...). The money flows point to it (cash flowing out of active managers and into passive funds, boom in index funds / ETFs; this reminds me of the 1990's when there were more mutual funds than listed companies. There are probably more ETFs now than listed companies). Sentiment points to it (stars and heroes now are ETF managers, quants etc.). By the Way Oh, and by the way, in case people say that it is no longer possible due to this or that reason for humans to outperform indices or robots, I would just say that we have seen this before. Things in finance are cyclical and we've seen this movie before. From the 1985 Berkshire Hathaway Letter, Most institutional investors in the early 1970s, on the other hand, regarded business value as of only minor relevance when they were deciding the prices at which they would buy or sell. This now seems hard to believe. However, these institutions were then under the spell of academics at prestigious business schools who were preaching newly-fashioned theory: the stock market was totally efficient, and therefore calculations of business value -- and even thought, itself -- were of no importance in investment activities. (We are enormously indebted to those academics: what could be more advantageous in an intellectual contest -- whether it be bridge, chess or stock selection than to have opponents who have been taught that thinking is a waste of energy?) What Do People Hate? So, back to what people absolutely hate. People hate active managers. It's not even stocks that they are not interested in. They hate active managers. Nobody outperforms and their fees are not worth it. What else do they hate? They hate hedge funds. I don't need to write a list here, but you just keep reading one institution after another reducing their exposure to hedge funds. There is a massive shakeout going on now with money leaving hedge funds. Others like Blackstone argues that this is not true; assets are just moving out of mediocre hedge funds and moving into theirs. This is a theme I will be going back to in later posts, but for now I am just going to look at OZM. OZM OZM is a well-known hedge fund firm so I won't go into much detail here. To me, it's sort of a conventional equity-oriented hedge fund that runs strategies very typical of pre-Volcker rule Wall Street investment banks; equity long/short, merger arb, convertible arb etc. They have been expanding into credit and real estate with decent results. But a lot of their AUM is still in the conventional equity strategies. What makes OZM interesting now is that chart from the Pzena Investment report (see here). These charts make it obvious why active managers have had such a hard time. The value spread has just continued to widen since 2004/2005 through now. Cheap stocks get cheaper and expensive stocks get more so. You can see how this sort of environment could be the worst for long/short strategies (and value-oriented long strategies, and even naked short strategies for that matter). Things have just been going the wrong way with no mean reversion. But if you look at where those charts are now, you can see that it is probably exactly the wrong time to give up on value strategies or value-based long/short strategies; in fact it looks like the best time ever to be looking at these strategies. Seeing that, does it surprise me that many pension funds are running the other way? Not at all. Many large institutions chase performance and not future potential. Conceptually speaking, they would rather buy a stock at 80x P/E that has gone up 30%/year in the past five years that is about to tank rather than buy an 8x P/E stock that has gone nowhere in the past five years but is about to take off; they are driven by historic (or recent historic) performance. OZM Performance Anyway, let's look at the long term performance of OZM. This excludes their credit and real estate funds which are doing much better and are growing AUM. This is their performance since 1994 through the end of 2015: OZM fund S&P500 1994 28.50% 5.30% 1995 23.50% 27.40% 1996 27.40% 23.00% 1997 26.70% 33.40% 1998 11.10% 28.60% 1999 18.80% 21.00% 2000 20.60% -9.10% 2001 6.30% -11.90% 2002 -1.60% -22.10% 2003 24.00% 28.70% 2004 11.10% 10.90% 2005 8.80% 4.90% 2006 14.80% 15.80% 2007 11.50% 5.50% 2008 -15.90% -37.00% 2009 23.10% 26.50% 2010 8.50% 15.10% 2011 -0.50% 2.10% 2012 11.60% 16.00% 2013 13.90% 32.40% 2014 5.50% 13.70% 2015 -0.40% 1.40% 5 year avg 5.85% 12.57% 10 year avg 6.69% 7.32% Since 1994 12.05% 8.87% Since 2000 7.59% 5.01% Since 2007 5.14% 6.53% So they have not been doing too well, but it's really only the last couple of years that don't look too good. Their ten-year return through 2013 was +8.2%/year versus +7.4%/year for the S&P 500 index. It's pretty obvious that their alpha has been declining over time. For those who want more up-to-date figures, I redid the above table to include figures through September-end 2016. And instead of 5 year and 10 year returns, I use 4.75-year and 9.75-year returns; I thought that would be more comparable than saying 5.75-year and 10.75-year, and I didn't want to dig into quarterly figures to get actual 5 and 10s. OZM fund S&P500 1994 28.50% 5.30% 1995 23.50% 27.40% 1996 27.40% 23.00% 1997 26.70% 33.40% 1998 11.10% 28.60% 1999 18.80% 21.00% 2000 20.60% -9.10% 2001 6.30% -11.90% 2002 -1.60% -22.10% 2003 24.00% 28.70% 2004 11.10% 10.90% 2005 8.80% 4.90% 2006 14.80% 15.80% 2007 11.50% 5.50% 2008 -15.90% -37.00% 2009 23.10% 26.50% 2010 8.50% 15.10% 2011 -0.50% 2.10% 2012 11.60% 16.00% 2013 13.90% 32.40% 2014 5.50% 13.70% 2015 -0.40% 1.40% 2016* 1.10% 7.80% 4.75 year 6.53% 14.58% 9.75 year 5.48% 6.72% Since 1994 11.68% 8.92% Since 2000 7.29% 5.27% Since 2007 4.82% 6.86% So over time, they have good outperformance, but much of that is from the early years. As they get bigger, it's not hard to see why their spread would shrink. They are seriously underperforming in the 4.75 year, but that's because the S&P 500 index was coming off of a big bear market low and OZM didn't lose that much money, so I think that is irrelevant, especially for a long/short fund. More relevant would be figures from recent market peaks which sort of shows a through-the-cycle performance. Since the market peak in 2000, OZM has outperformed with a gain of +7.3%/year versus +5.3%/year for the S&P, but they have underperformed since the 2007 peak. A lot of this probably has to do with the previous charts about how value spreads have widened throughout this period. I would actually want to be increasing exposure to this area that hasn't worked well since 2007. Some of this, of course, is due to lower interest rates. Merger arb, for example, is highly dependent on interest rates as are other arbitrage type trades. (The less risk there is, the closer to the short term interest rate the return is going to be.) One thing that makes me scratch my head, though, in the 3Q 2016 10-Q is the following: OZ Master Fund’s merger arbitrage, convertible and derivative arbitrage, corporate credit and structured credit strategies have each generated strong year-to-date gains through September 30, 2016. In merger arbitrage, certain transactions in which OZ Master Fund participated closed during the third quarter, contributing to the strategy’s year-to-date gross return of +1.3%. Convertible and derivative arbitrage generated a gross return of +0.5% during the third quarter, driven by gains in convertible arbitrage positions, commodity-related volatility, commodity spreads and index volatility spread trades. Year-to-date, convertible and derivative arbitrage has generated a gross return of +1.3%. In OZ Master Fund’s credit-related strategies, widening credit spreads and certain event-driven situations added +0.4% to the gross return within corporate credit during the third quarter, while in structured credit, a +0.9% gross return during the quarter was attributable to the realization of recoveries in certain of our idiosyncratic situations. Year-to-date, the corporate credit and structured credit strategies are each up +1.2% on a gross basis. Gross returns of less than 2% are described as "strong". Hmm... I may be missing something here. Maybe it is 'strong' versus comparable strategies. I don't know. Anyway, moving on... Greenblatt Genius Strategies Oh yeah, and by the way, OZM is one of the funds that are heavily into the yellow book strategies. Here's a description of their equity long/short strategy: Long/short equity special situations, which consists of fundamental long/short and event-driven investing. Fundamental long/short investing involves analyzing companies and assets to profit where we believe mispricing or undervaluation exists. Event-driven investing attempts to realize gain from corporate events such as spin-offs, recapitalizations and other corporate restructurings, whether company specific or due to industry or economic conditions. This is still a large part of their book, which is a good thing if you believe that the valuation spreads will mean revert and that Greenblatt's yellow book strategies are still valid. One thing that may temper returns over time, though, is the AUM level. What you can do with $1 billion in AUM is not the same as when you have $10 billion or $30 billion. I don't think Greenblatt would have had such high returns if he let AUM grow too much. This seems to be an issue with a lot of hedge funds. Many of the old stars who were able to make insane returns with AUM under $1 billion seem to have much lower returns above that level. Here is OZM's AUM trend in the past ten years. Some of the lower return may correlate to the higher AUM, not to mention higher AUM at other hedge funds too reducing spreads (and potential profits). Just to refresh my memory, I grabbed the AUM chart from the OZM prospectus in 2007. Their AUM was under $6 billion until the end of 2003 and then really grew to over $30 billion by 2007. Their 10-year return through 2003 was 18%/year vs. 10.6%/year for the S&P 500 index. From the end of 2003 through the end of 2015, OZM's funds returned +7.2%/year versus +7.4%/year for the S&P 500 index. So their alpha basically went from 7.4%/year outperformance to flat. This is actually not so bad as these types of funds often offered 'equity-like' returns with lower volatility and drawdowns. The long/short nature of OZM funds means that investors achieved the same returns as the S&P 500 index without the full downside exposure. This is exactly what many institutions want, actually. But still, did their growth in AUM dampen returns? I think there is no doubt about that. These charts showing tremendous AUM growth is the reason why I never owned much of these alternative managers in the past few years I've been watching them. The question is how much of the lower returns are due to the higher AUM. Of course, some of this AUM growth is in other strategies so not all new AUM is squeezed into the same strategies. Will OZM ever go back to the returns of the 1990's? I doubt that. First of all, that was a tremendous bull market. Plus, OZM's AUM was much smaller so they had more opportunities to take advantage of yellow book ideas and other strategies. Boom/Bubble Doesn't Mean It's a Bad Idea By the way, another sort of tangent. Just because there is a big boom or bubble in something doesn't necessarily make that 'something' a bad idea. We had a stock market bubble in the late 1920's that ended badly, but owning parts of businesses never suddenly became a bad idea or anything. It's just that you didn't want to overpay, or buy stocks for the wrong reasons. We had a boom in the late 1990's in stocks that focused on picking stocks and owning them for the long term as exemplified by the Beardstown Ladies. Of course, the Beardstown Ladies didn't end well (basically a fraud), but owning good stocks for the long haul, I don't think, ever became a bad idea necessarily. We had a tremendous housing bubble and various real estate bubbles in recent years. But again, owning good, solid assets at reasonable prices for the long haul never became a bad idea despite the occasional bubbles and collapses. Similarly, hedge funds and alternative assets go through cycles too. I know many value investors are not with me here and will always hate hedge funds (like Buffett), but that's OK. We've had alternative cycles in the past. Usually the pattern is that there is a bull market in stocks and people rush into stocks. The bull market inevitably ends and people lose money. Institutions not wanting to lose money rush into 'alternative' assets. Eventually, the market turns and they rush back into equities. I think something similar is happening now, but the cycle seems a bit elongated and, and the low interest rates is having an effect as alternatives are now attracting capital formerly allocated to fixed income. In the past, alternatives seemed more like an equity substitution, risk asset. Valuation OK, so what is OZM worth? Well, a simple way of looking at it is that OZM has paid an average of $1.10/year in dividends in the last five years. During the past five years, the funds returned around 6%/year, so it's not an upside outlier in terms of fund performance. Put a 10x multiple on it and the stock is worth $11/share. Another way to look at it is that the market is telling you that it is unlikely that OZM will enjoy the success even of the past five years over the next few years. Assuming a scenario of failure (stock price = 0) or back to sort of past five years performance ($11), a $3.00 stock price reflects the odds of failure at 73% and only a 27% chance that OZM gets back to it's past five year average-like performance. Of course, OZM can just sort of keep doing what it's doing and stay at $3.00 for a long time too. There is a problem with this, though, as the dividends don't reflect equity-based compensation expense; OZM gives out a bunch of RSU's every year. To adjust for this, let's look at the economic earnings of the past five years including the costs of equity-based compensation. Equity-based compensation expense not included in economic income is listed below ($000): 2008 102,025 2009 122,461 2010 128,737 2011 128,916 2012 86,006 2013 120,125 2014 104,344 2015 106,565 It's odd that this doesn't seem to correlate to revenues, income or AUM; it's just basically flat all the way through. If we include this, economic income at OZM averaged around $520 million/year. With fully diluted 520 million shares outstanding, that's around $1.00/share in economic earnings per share that OZM earned on average over the past five years. So that's not too far off from the $1.10/share dividends we used above. One of the interesting things about investing is when you find alternative ways to value something instead of just the usual price-to-book values, P/E ratios etc. So how would you value this? What about adjusting the implied odds from the above. What if we said there's a 50/50 chance of recovery or failure. Let's say recovery is getting back to what it has done over the past five years on average, and failure is a zero on the stock. 50% x $0.00 + 50% x $10.00 = $5.00/share In that case, OZM is worth $5.00/share, or 70% higher than the current price. You are looking at a 60 cent dollar in that case. Let's say there is a 70% chance of recovery. 70% x $10.00 + 30% x $0.00 = $7.00/share. That's 130% higher, or a 40 cent dollar. By the way, the AUM averaged around $37 billion over the past five years, and remember, their return was around 5.9%/year so these figures aren't based on huge, abnormal returns or anything. As of the end of September 2016, AUM was $39.3 billion, and this went down to $37 billion as of November 1, 2016. OZM expects continued redemptions towards year-end both due to their Justice Department/SEC settlement and overall industry redemption trends. The above ignored balance sheet items, but you can deduct $0.60/share, maybe, of negative equity, or more if you think they need more cash on the balance sheet to run their business. Preferred Shares As for the $400 million settlement amount and preferred shares, the settlement amount is already on the balance sheet as a liability (which was paid out after the September quarter-end). The preferred shares were sold after the quarter ended. They have zero interest for three years so I don't think it impacts the above analysis. You would just add cash on the balance sheet and the preferreds on the liability side. If you want to deduct the full amount of the settlement of $400 million, you can knock off $0.77/share off the above valuation instead of the $0.60/share. Earnings Model The problem with these companies is that it's impossible, really, to predict what their AUM is going to be in the future or their performance. Of course, we can guess that if they do well, AUM will increase and vice-versa. But still, as a sanity check, we should see how things look with various assumptions in terms of valuation. First of all, let's look at 2015. In the full year to 2015, a year that the OZM funds were down (master fund), they paid a dividend of $0.87. Adjusted economic income was $240 million (economic income reported by OZM less equity-based comp expense) and using the current fully diluted shares outstanding of 520 million, that comes to $0.46/share. OK, it's funny to use current shares outstanding against last year's economic income, but I am trying to use last years' earnings as sort of a 'normalized' figure. Using these figures from a bad year, OZM is current trading at a 29% dividend yield (using $3.00/share price) and 6.5x adjusted economic income. This would be 8.3x if you added the $0.77/share from the settlement above. OK, so average AUM was $44 billion in 2015, so even in a bad year, they made tons in management fees. Fine. We'll get to that in a second. AUM is $37 billion as of November 2016, and is probably headed down towards year-end. 2016 Year-to-Date So let's look at how they are doing this year so far. Fund performance-wise, it hasn't been too good, but they do remain profitable. These fund businesses are designed so that their fixed expenses are covered by their management fees. Big bonuses are paid out only when the funds make money. Anyway, let's look at 2016 so far in terms of economic income. In the 3Q of 2016, economic income was $57.4 million. Equity-based compensation expense was $18.3 million so adjusted economic income was $39.1 million. Annualize that and you get $156 million. Using 520 million fully diluted shares (share amount used to calculate distributable earnings in the earnings press release), that comes to $0.30/share adjusted economic income. So at $3.00/share, OZM is trading at 10x arguably depressed earnings. (This excludes the FCPA settlement amount). If you include $400 million of the FCPA preferreds (total to be offered eventually), then the P/E would actually be closer to 12.6x. For the year to date, economic income was $195 million, and equity-based comp expense was $56 million so adjusted economic income was $139 million. Again using 520 million shares, that comes to $0.25/share in adjusted economic earnings per share. Annualize that and you get $0.33/share. So at $3.00/share, OZM is trading at 9x depressed earnings, or 11x including the FCPA preferred. OK, so maybe this is not really 'depressed'. With still a lot of AUM, it is possible that AUM keeps going down. AUM was $37 billion in November, but let's say it goes down to $30 billion. That's actually a big dip. But let's say AUM goes down there. And then let's assume 1% management fees, 20% incentive fees, and economic income margin of 50% (averaged 56% in past five years) and the OZM master fund return of 5%. In this case, economic income would be $300 million. Equity-based comp costs seems steady at around $100 million, so we deduct that to get adjusted economic income. This comes to $200 million. That comes to around $0.40/share. At $3.00/share, that's 7.5x adjusted economic earnings, or a 13% yield, or 9.4x and 10.6% yield including the FCPA preferreds. So that's not bad. We are assuming AUM dips to $30 billion and OZM funds only earn 5%/year, and with that assumption the stock is trading at this cheap level. Things, of course, can get much worse. If performance doesn't improve, AUM will keep going down. You can't really stress test these things as you can just say their returns will never recover and that's that. On the other hand, any improvement can get you considerable upside. If assets return to $40 billion and returns average 6% over time, economic income margin goes to 56% (average of past five years), adjust economic income per share is $0.76/share and the stock could be worth $7.60/share for more than a double. Here's a matrix of possibilities. Skeptics will say, where are the returns below 5% and AUM below $30 billion?! Well, OK. If returns persist at lower than 5%, it's safe to assume that AUM will go down and this may well end up a zero. That is certainly a possibility. It wouldn't shock many for another hedge fund to shut down. On the other hand, if things do stabilize, normalize and OZM recovers and does well, there is a lot of upside here. What is interesting to me is that the market is discounting a lot of bad and not pricing in much good. This is when opportunities occur, right? 5% 6% 7% 8% 9% 10% 30,000 $0.45 $0.52 $0.58 $0.65 $0.71 $0.78 35,000 $0.56 $0.64 $0.71 $0.79 $0.86 $0.94 40,000 $0.67 $0.76 $0.84 $0.93 $1.01 $1.10 45,000 $0.78 $0.87 $0.97 $1.07 $1.16 $1.26 50,000 $0.88 $0.99 $1.10 $1.21 $1.32 $1.42 55,000 $0.99 $1.11 $1.23 $1.35 $1.47 $1.58 60,000 $1.10 $1.23 $1.36 $1.49 $1.62 $1.75 The row above is the assumed return of the OZM funds. The left column is the AUM. Assumptions are 1% management fee, 20% incentive fee, 56% economic income margin (excluding equity-based comp expense) and $100 million/year in equity-based comp expense. It shows you that it doesn't take much for adjusted economic income per share to get back up to closer to $1.00, and can maintain $0.45/share even in a $30 billion AUM and 5% return scenario making the current stock price cheap even under that scenario. Conclusion Having said all that, there is still a lot of risk here. Low returns and low bonuses can easily make it hard for OZM to keep their best people. But if their best people perform, I assume they do get paid directly for their performance so that shouldn't be too much of an issue. A lot of the lower returns in recent years is no doubt due to their higher AUM. But it is also probably due to crowding of the hedge fund world and low interest rates leading to an overall lower return environment for all. If you think these things are highly cyclical, then you can expect interest rates to normalize at some point. Money flowing out of hedge funds should also be good for future returns in these strategies. The part of lower returns at OZM due to higher AUM may not reverse itself, though, if OZM succeeds in maintaining and increasing AUM over time. But even without the blowout, high returns of the 1990's, OZM can make decent returns over time as seen in the above table. In any case, unlike a few years ago, the stock prices of many alternative managers are cheap (and I demonstrated how cheap OZM might be here) and institutional money seems to be flowing out of these strategies. So: OZM is cheap and is in a seemingly universally hated industry Money is flowing out of these strategies, particularly performance chasing institutions (that you would often want to fade) there is a bear market in active managers and bubble in indexing (which may actually increase opportunities for active managers) value spreads are wide and has been widening for years making mean reversion overdue etc. These things make OZM a compelling play on these various themes. I would treat this more like an option, though. Buy it like you would buy an option, not like you would invest in, say, a Berkshire Hathaway. There are a lot of paths here to make good money, but there are also plenty of ways to lose. If you look at this like a binary option, it can be pretty interesting! Posted by kk at 8:11 PM No comments: Links to this post Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels: OZM Saturday, October 29, 2016 Gotham's New Fund Joel Greenblatt was in Barron's recently. He is one of my favorite investors so maybe it's a good time for another post. Anyway, this new fund is kind of interesting as I am sort of a tinkerer; this is like the product of some financial tinkering. I don't know if it's the right product for many, but we'll take a look. But first, let's see what he has to say about the stock market in general. The Market Greenblatt says that the market is "expensive". The market is in the 21st percentile of expensive in the past 25 years. Either a typo or he misspoke, he is quoted as saying that the market has been more expensive 79% of the time in the past 25 years. Of course, he means the market has been cheaper 79% of the time. The year forward expected return from this price level is between 2% to 7%, so he figures it averages out to 4% to 6% per year. In the past 25 years, the market has returned 9% to 10%/year so he figures the market is 12% to 13% more expensive than it used to be. He says: Well, one scenario could be that it drops 12% to 13% tomorrow and future returns would go back to 9% to 10%. Or you could underearn for three years at 4% to 6%. We're still expecting positive returns, just more muted. The intelligent strategy is to buy the cheapest things you can find and short the most expensive. But... Immediately, bears will say that this 25 year history is based during a period when interest rates went down. The 10 year bond rate was around 8% back in 1991, and is now 1.8%. In terms of valuation, this would have pushed up asset values by 6.2%/year ($1.00 discounted at 8%/year then and $1.00 discounted by 1.8% now). Declining rates were certainly a factor in stock returns over the past 25 years. Of course, the stock market didn't keep going up as rates kept going down. The P/E ratio of the S&P 500 index at the end of 1990 was around 15x, and now it's 25x according to Shiller's database (raw P/E, not CAPE). So the valuation gain over the 25 years accounted for around 2%/year of the 9-10% return Greenblatt states. Here are the EPS estimates for the S&P 500 index according to Goldman Sachs:
2016 $105 20.4x 2017 $116 18.5x 2018 $122 17.6x Earnings estimates are not all that reliable (estimates have been coming down consistently in the past year or so). But since most of 2016 is done, I suppose the $105 figure should be OK to use. I don't know if it's apples to apples (reported versus operating etc.), but if we assume the 'current' P/E of the market is 20x, then the valuation tailwind accounted for 1.2%/year of the 9-10%. But then of course, even if this was a fair comparison, there is still the aspect of lower interest rates boosting the economy by borrowing future demand (and therefore overstating historical earnings). In any case, one of the main bearish arguments is that this interest rate tailwind in the past will become a headwind going forward. Just about everyone agrees with that. But as I have mentioned before, calling turns in interest rates is very hard, Japan being a great example. If you look at interest rates over the past 100 years or more, you see that major turns in trend don't happen all that often; it's been a single trend of declining rates since the 1980/81 peak, basically. What are the chances that you are going to call the next big turn correctly? I would bet against anyone trying. OK, that didn't come out right. I wouldn't necessarily be long the bond market either. Gotham Index Plus So, back to the topic of Gotham's new fund. It is a fascinating idea. The fund will go long the S&P 500 index, 100% long, and then overlay a 90%/90% long/short portfolio of the S&P 500 stocks based on their valuations. The built-in leverage alone makes this sort of interesting. Many institutions may have an allocation to the S&P 500 index, and then some allocation to long/short equity hedge funds. The return of the Gotham Index plus would be much higher (when things go well). I think this sort of thing was popular at some point in the pension world; index plus alpha etc. Except I think a lot of those were institutions replacing their S&P 500 index portfolios with futures positions, and then using the cash raised to buy mortgage securities. Of course, when things turned bad, oops; they took big hits in S&P 500 futures, tried to post cash for the margin call and realized that their mortgage funds weren't liquid (and was worth a lot less than they thought). Or something like that. There is risk here too, of course. You are overlaying two risk positions on top of each other. When things turn bad, things can certainly get ugly. I think Greenblatt's calculation is that when things turn bad, the long/short usually does well. I haven't seen any backtests or anything, so I don't know what the odds of a blowup are. Expensive stocks tend to be high-beta stocks and cheaper stocks may be lower beta, so in a market correction, the high-beta, expensive names may go down a lot harder. To some extent, lower valuations may reflect more cyclicality, lower credit risk / lower balance sheet quality too so you have to be a little careful. In a financial crisis-like situation, lower valuation (lower credit quality) can tank and some higher valuation names may hold up (like the FANG-like stocks). But Greenblatt's screen is not just raw P/E or P/B, but is tied to return on capital, so maybe this is not as much of an issue compared to a pure P/B model. The argument for this structure is that people can't stay with a strategy if it can't keep up with the market. Here, the market return is built in from the beginning and you just hope for the "Plus" part to kick in. In a long/short portfolio, the beta is netted out to a large extent so can lower potential returns. This fixes that. But there is a cost to that. In any case, I do think it's a really interesting product, but keep in mind that it is a little riskier than Gotham's other offerings. Oh, and go read the article on why this new fund is a good idea. Greenblatt is always a great read. Chipotle (CMG) Well, Chipotle earnings came out and it was predictably horrible. The stock is not cheap so it hasn't been recommendable in a while, but I really like the company. There was a really long article on them recently which was a great read. It didn't really change my view of them all that much. I think they will get a lot of business back, eventually. The earnings call was OK, but what was depressing about it was that they decided to ditch Shophouse. I don't think any analysts asked about it so it was a given, I guess. I had it a couple of times in DC and liked it and was looking forward to it in NY, but I guess that's not going to happen. As an investor, that was not baked into the cake, I don't think, even though there was probably some hope that the CMG brand can be extended into other categories. This puts a lot of doubt into that idea. Someone said that brand extensions in restaurants/retail never work, and that has proven to be the case here. I wouldn't get too excited about pizza and burgers either. Burgers are really crowded now and will only get more so. If CMG has to look to Europe for growth, that is not so great either as the record of U.S. companies expanding into Europe is not good. I would not count on Europe growth. Anyway, this doesn't mean it's all over for CMG. I think they will come back, but there are some serious headwinds now other than their food poisoning problem; more competition etc. They were the only game in town for a while, but now everyone seemingly wants to become the next Chipotle, so there are a lot of options out there now. As for Ackman's interest in CMG, I have no idea what his plan is. There is no real estate here as CMG rents all their restaurants, and their restaurants had high 20's operating margins at their peak. I don't know if they will ever get back up there, but it's not like these guys don't know how to run an efficient operation. Maybe Ackman sees SGA opportunities, but pre-crisis, SGA was less than 7%, so there wouldn't be that much of a boost from cutting SGA. Or maybe he thinks it's time for CMG to do what everyone else is doing and go for the franchise model. Who knows? I look forward to seeing what his thoughts are; hopefully some 500 page presentation pops up somewhere... McDonalds I don't want to turn this into a food blog, but I can't resist mentioning this. I have been a lifelong MCD customer; I have no problem with it. OK, it may not be my first choice of a meal in most cases, but it's fine. And when you have a kid, you tend to go more often that you'd like. But still, it's OK. It is what it is, right? I like the remodelling that they are doing, and the fact that they have free wifi is great too. But here's a big clustermuck they had with their recent custom burger and kiosk idea. I walked into a MCD without knowing anything about any of this recently. A lady said I can order at the kiosk and I said, no, I'll just go to the counter, thank you. And I waited 10 minutes or so in line, looking up at the tasty looking special hamburgers on the HD, LCD menu board. It was finally my turn at the cash register and I said I want that tasty looking hamburger up there on the screen. And the lady said, oh, you can only order that at the kiosk. I was like, huh? That was really annoying. So I wait all this time and I can't get what I want; I have to walk all the way back and get in another line again? Come on! At that point, I didn't want any other burger so I just ordered a salad (and the usual for my kid). OK, so it's my fault, probably. User error. But as a service company, as far as I'm concerned, that was a massive fail on the part of MCD. OK, Now That I started... And by the way, since I got myself started, let me get these two out too. Yes, I spend too much time at fast food joints. Guilty. But still, here are my two peeves related to two of my favorite fast casual places: Shake Shack: Being dragged there all the time, I have learned to love the Shack-cago hot dog. Chicken Shack is awesome too, in case you don't want to eat hamburgers all the time. But I can't tell you how often they get take-out and stay wrong. I had a long run where they didn't get it right at all and had to ask for things to be packed to go. It is really annoying and wastes everyone's time. Chipotle: This hasn't happened to me the last couple of times, but this is the usual conversation that happens to me just about every time I go to Chipotle. CMG: "Hi, what can we get you today?" (or some such) Me: "Um, I'll have a burrito..." CMG: putting the tortilla in the tortilla warmecooker, "and would you like white rice or brown rice? Me: "White rice is fine" CMG: with tortilla still in the cooker, "and black beans or pinto beans?" Me: "black beans". CMG: laying a sheet of aluminum foil on the counter and placing the tortilla on it, moving over to the rice area, "Was that white rice or brown rice?" Me: "white rice" CMG: sliding over to the beans, "and black beans or pinto beans?". Me: "black". I can't tell you how many times this exact thing happened to me. If you can't remember what I say, don't ask beforehand! Just ask when we get to whatever you are going to ask me about! This is not rocket science, lol... Incredibly annoying. Anyway, I still love CMG and will keep eating there. Oh, and to make things interesting, I decided to post a contact email address in the "about" section of the blog. I will try to respond to every email, but keep in mind I may not look in that email box all the time. I will try to post more, though. http://brooklyninvestor.blogspot.com/2016/11/perpetual-option-och-ziff-capital.html (read original with tables)
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