Bulls Eye Investor

The Life of a Contrarian

February 2015

I assumed the responsibilities of the editor of Bull’s Eye Investor about six months ago, but it feels like we haven’t been properly acquainted. So I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself and how my thinking got so upside down. I used to be an officer in the Coast Guard. I graduated from the US Coast Guard Academy in 1996, and from there I headed out to Washington state for…

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The Crash Up

January 2015

What is the probability that the stock market goes down 50% in a year? The more statistically inclined among us rely on probability distributions of annual stock price returns that resemble a bell curve. So for a moment, forget everything you think you know about the stock market. Let’s just look at the math. If you had a good estimate for annualized volatility, you could figure it out pretty easily, but let’s…

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No Assets, No Savings, Just Debt and Rent

December 2014

As an investor, it’s important to keep track of big, demographic shifts. Truly, that’s where the money is. It is hard to time these trades because one day they’re not important, and then suddenly they are. I’ve never had much success trading on demographics—at least until recently. You see, if you’re going to invest in something like the WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (DXJ), you have to understand Japan demographically and culturally.

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A Stock Market Unicorn: The Rare and Elusive V-Bottom

November 2014

You’ve probably figured out by now that even though I’m an analyst and have an ultra-long-term time horizon, I still look at things through the eyes of a trader, since that’s what I did for so many years. When I worked at Lehman Brothers, if I wasn’t making markets in ETFs or doing proprietary trading across asset classes, I was day-trading S&P 500 futures.  

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The Final Frontier (and It’s Not Space)

October 2014

I have a close friend who works in East Africa. She travels there a lot, for a few months out of the year. She has been going there since 2006. I’ve never traveled to Africa, but I started to learn a lot about it through her. For example, Kenya’s capital Nairobi is not that hot. It’s at a very high elevation and has natural air conditioning. And it’s a real city, with some skyscrapers—and…

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To Err Is Equities; To Really Screw Things Up Takes Fixed Income

September 2014

Two years ago, John approached me to ask if I’d be interested in writing his flagship investment letter, Bull’s Eye Investor (BEI). I was honored to be asked and agreed without hesitation. Two years later, the time has come for me to move on in order to concentrate on several other projects, but I wasn’t about to make that move until we’d identified a suitable replacement to take over the reins of BEI.…

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Holy Trinity

August 2014

Ordinarily, you’d think that manufacturing butane tanks in a mule barn would be a bad idea; and ordinarily, you’d be right. However, when J.C. Bender founded Trinity Steel in Dallas in 1933, that’s exactly what he started out doing, and you’d have to say things worked out pretty well.  

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Royal Oil

June 2014

In the mid-19th century, Patty and Mildred J. Hill sang a new song to their kindergarten class in Kentucky. The song was called “Good Morning to All.” It consisted of just four lines. The first two were identical in both lyric and melody; the third featured a minor lyric and melodic shift; and then the fourth and final line reverted back to the form of the first two. As songs go, it was…

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Balm of Gilead

May 2014

It’s not often that an investment once passed up by Warren Buffett offers the kind of promise we look for when constructing the Bull’s Eye portfolio, but this month we’re recommending one such company which we feel is on a trajectory that has likely already made Buffett rather wistful about a decision he made back in 1988 not to invest in the company nor to accept a seat on its board.  

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