The Stock Market’s Great Fool Theory – Gold Seek

 — Published: Wednesday, 17 April 2019 | Print  | Disqus 

By: Dave Kranzler

The current stock market is the most dangerous stock market I have seen in my 34+ year career as a financial markets professional. This includes 1987, 1999-2000 and 2007-2008. The run-up in stocks has been largely a product of momentum-chasing hedge fund algos on behalf of the large universe of sophisticated hedge funds which are desperate for performance. In the context of the obviously deteriorating economic fundamentals, the performance-chasing game has become a combination of FOMO – “fear of missing out” – and the Greater Fool Theory – praying someone else will pay more for the stock than you just paid. There’s also likely some official intervention going on as well per the chart below.

Most, if not all, of you are aware of the degree to which the Trump Administration – primarily The Donald and Larry Kudlow – are using the ongoing the trade negotiations to issue opportunistic headline statements about the progress of a potential deal at times when the market appears ready to drop off a cliff and for which Trump’s advisors know the hedge fund fund algos will respond positively. This chart shows this “positive trade war news” effect (from Northman Trader w/my edits):

The problem with relying on this device is that eventually the market will fatigue of “false-positive” news releases and revert to bona-fide price-discovery.

To see an example of the algos’ response to a headline report and the subsequent “price-discovery” action, let’s examine the release of Bed Bath and Beyond’s (BBBY – $17.99) earnings. BBBY announced its Q4 2018 earnings on Wednesday this past week after the close:

The initial headlines reported an earnings “beat.” The algos drove the stock from its $19.40 closing price to as high as $21.27 on those headlines. But in the real world, the details of BBBY’s financial statements showed that sales declined both in Q4 vs Q4 2018 and for the full-year 2018 vs 2017. Even adding back the large impairment charge which BBBY took in Q4 this year, operating income was still down 37% vs Q4 2017. The stock closed Wednesday’s extended hours trading session 18% below the headline-driven high-tick. This is what happens when reality gets its claws into the market.

The best example of the Greater Fool Theory right now is the semiconductor sector. Semiconductors are “hyper” cyclical. The companies mint money in a strong economy and come close to hemorrhaging to death in recessions. The SMH ETF has gone up 55% since the Fed/Trump began re-inflating the stock bubble. Some individual stocks have nearly doubled.

I’m sorry I missed the opportunity to get long this sector on December 26th. But, given that the move up has been in complete defiance of the actual industry fundamentals, would I have held onto a long position until today? Probably not. The momentum-junkies have been chasing the sector higher with fury based on the faith in the “second-half of 2019” recovery narrative currently preached by CEO’s who have to deliver bad results in Q1 and take a chain-saw to guidance for 2Q. But the message is: “trust me, there’s a huge recovery coming in Q3”

Semiconductor CEO’s are notorious for rose-colored forecasts for the market out in the future. Interestingly, a German wafer manufacturer issued stern, if not refreshingly honest, guidance for 2019 when it said that previous guidance was “under the condition that order intake would need to revive meaningfully in the second half of 2019.” The Company went on to explain that “because of the general economic slowdown and geopolitical uncertainties as well as ongoing inventory corrections in the whole value chain, the timing of a market rebound is not visible.”

Wafers are the building block for semiconductors and integrate circuits. Siltronic is a leading global wafer manufacturer. If Siltronic is seeing a meaningful decline in wafer orders, it means the companies that make the semiconductors and integrated circuits are flush with inventory that reflects lack of demand from companies that use chips to manufacture the end-user products.

The higher probability trade right now is to short the semiconductor sector (along with the overall stock market). Trading volume across the board is declining, standard market internals are fading and sentiment is back to extreme bullishness (Barron’s cover two weeks ago wondered, “is the bull unstoppable?”).

I can hear a bell in the distance signalling the top. I suspect a large herd of price-chasers will realize collectively all at once that there’s going to be a rush to find the next Greater Fool but the Greater Fool will be those stuck at the top.

The above commentary is an excerpt from my weekly subscription newsletter. I bought puts on a semiconductor stock today that has gone parabolic despite horrendous numbers for Q4.  I’ll be discussing that stock and a couple others this Sunday. To learn more, click on this link:  Short Seller’s Journal information

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 — Published: Wednesday, 17 April 2019 | E-Mail  | Print  | Source:


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GRTX – Galera Therapeutics Announces Interim Data from Pilot Phase 1/2 Trial of GC4419 in Combination with Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy Showed Improved Overall Survival in Patients with Locally Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

Initial results from pilot Phase 1/2 clinical trial in patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer presented during virtual ASTRO Annual MeetingFirst trial to evaluate anti-cancer activity of one of Galera’s dismutase mimetics in combination with SBRTManagement will host a live audio webcast at 4:30 p.m. EDTMALVERN, Pa., Oct. 27, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Galera Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: GRTX), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing a pipeline of novel, proprietary therapeutics that have the potential to transform radiotherapy in cancer, today announced interim data from the full patient population (n=42) in its Phase 1/2 clinical trial of avasopasem manganese (GC4419) in combination with stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) in patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer (LAPC). The data were presented today during the late-breaker special session of the 2020 American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) virtual Annual Meeting.GC4419 is an investigational, highly selective small molecule superoxide dismutase mimetic designed to rapidly and selectively convert superoxide to hydrogen peroxide and oxygen. The randomized, double-blind, multicenter, placebo-controlled pilot dose escalation Phase 1/2 trial was designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of GC4419 in combination with SBRT, compared with SBRT and placebo, in patients with LAPC. The trial assessed safety and efficacy of SBRT when combined with GC4419 or placebo. After completion of induction chemotherapy, patients were randomized (1:1) to receive five-fraction SBRT and 90 mg of GC4419 or placebo control by intravenous infusion one hour prior to each SBRT fraction.In the interim analysis of the intent-to-treat population (n=42), median overall survival (OS) had not been reached at the data cutoff (date of August 24, 2020) in the GC4419 arm, compared to 38.7 weeks (HR=0.4; 95% CI: 0.12-1.11; p=0.06) in the placebo arm. Six-to-eight weeks post-SBRT, patients underwent protocol-specified evaluation for resection, and seven underwent resection. Of the patients in the GC4419 arm who were surgically resected (n=5), all achieved clear / negative margins (R0), one achieved pathological complete response (pCR) and four achieved pathological partial response (pPR), compared to one R0 and pPR of the two surgically resected patients in the placebo arm. No statistically significant differences in progression-free survival (PFS) were observed between GC4419 and placebo (HR=0.6; 95% CI: 0.23-1.56; p=0.29). However, patients were censored for PFS at the date of surgical resection or due to short interval follow up. Toxicity was comparable across both treatment arms, with no significant differences in acute (

HYLN – Investors Should Not Buy Hyliion Stock

Hyliion Holdings (NYSE:HYLN) stock has had a difficult launch since it closed its reverse merger with Tortoise Acquisition Corp. Hyliion stock, trading at $22.80 this afternoon, has fallen over 50% since Sept. 28 when it was changing hands for $48. That was the same day that the reverse merger was approved by the shareholders of both companies.

Source: Shutterstock

Since Oct. 14, the day that the merger closed and the trading symbol was changed to HYLN, the stock is down nearly 30%
But to be fair, the stock, which  previously traded under the symbol SHLL, has risen significantly since the deal was announced on June 19. The stock closed on that day at $14.04.
Assessing Hyliion Holdings
Here is where things stand now for Hyliion, which develops electrified powertrain solutions  for Class 8 commercial trucks. Its pro-forma market capitalization is $3.29 billion. This is for a company that has generated pro-forma revenue of about $1 million in 2020. The company expects to sell 20 of its electrified powertrains in 2020.
However, it does have $520 million of cash and no debt on its balance sheet as a result of PIPE investment (private investment in public equities) funds that it received.
On page 28 of the company’s June 19 slide presentation, it  published a forecast through the end of 2024. The forecast includes the number of electrified powertrains it expects to sell, along with estimates of its revenue, costs, and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization).
Hyliion expects to sell 300 electrified powertrains in 2021 and 6,600 in 2022. So the company predicts that its revenue and total number of products sold will surge 22 times in 2022 versus 2021.

Those estimates might be a little hard for some to believe. Most manufacturing companies do not experience massive leaps in production and deliveries like that in just one year.
That could be a key reason why many have been bearish towards Hyliion stock, which has a high valuation. That pessimism could lead to a further drop in the stock price going forward.
Investors are going to very carefully monitor the company’s production in 2021. By Q4 of 2021, if its  production and deliveries are growing at a rate which indicates that it can sell 6,600 products in 2022, the shares might recover.
What To Do With Hyliion Stock
Some analysts are decidedly negative on the stock. For example, Jacob Kilby, writing in Seeking Alpha, contended that the company will not “electrify the global haulage industry.”
He argues that Hyliion is highly dependent on one customer that is also an investor and calls its sales to that entity an intercompany transfer.
Moreover, much of its production is carried out by many subcontractors, third parties, and others. In terms of costs, Hyliion really does not control its supply chain very well.
According to Bloomberg, the fact  that Hyllion stock has made  28-year-old founder Thomas Healy a billionaire  before the firm has generated much revenue shows that the company has “much to prove.” The woes that Nikola Corp (NASDAQ:NKLA) has experienced provides backing for that point.
The article points out that Healy can only sell 10% of his holdings in the next six months and that he must wait at least two years before he can unload most of the rest of his shares.
I suspect that most investors will want to see several quarterly reports from the newly merged company before buying its shares. I do not recommend buying the shares now.
On the date of publication, Mark R. Hake did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in any of the securities mentioned in this article.
Mark Hake runs the Total Yield Value Guide which you can review here.

MRTX – Mirati Shares Hit Record High on Cancer Study Results

Promising results from a study of its cancer drug pushed Mirati Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:MRTX) to an all-time high Monday. Shares of the San Diego-based biotech hit more than $210 and are at about $205 on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the stock of rival Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) slid to a four-month low before closing at just under $225.
Mirati and Amgen are in a race to find which of the companies’ drugs work best in treating defects in the gene called KRAS. KRAS mutations are found in many lung, colorectal and pancreatic cancers, and the lack of an approved therapy designed to attack mutant KRAS signaling means tumors positive for the mutation are often difficult to treat, according to an article in Biopharma Dive.

The surge in Mirati shares is tied to data the company released at a cancer therapeutics conference Sunday. It shows that the Mirati drug adagrasib to treat cancer tumors with the mutation outperformed the Amgen treatment sotorasib. Analysts were quick to respond.
“Simply put, Mirati now appears to have the edge with this data set and a planned NDA (New Drug Application) filing in 2021,” Credit Suisse’s Evan Seigerman said in a note to clients. Credit Suisse rates Murati stock Outperform. SVB Leerink analyst Andrew Berens bumped up his target price on Mirati shares to $195 from $134 and rated the stock outperform.

Adagrasib is potentially “best-in-class,” wrote Goldman Sachs analyst Salveen Richter, who raised her price target to $267 from $152, according to Bloomberg. She thinks yearly sales of the drug could hit $3.4 billion in lung cancer either by itself or in combination with other medicines. Meanwhile, JonesTrading analysts jumped on the bandwagon, raising their target to a Wall Street high of $300.
Mizuho Securities analyst Salim Syed is less sanguine. He told clients the data “wasn’t super clean…and there are still questions that remain.”
Safety differences between the two drugs could tip the balance. The data suggest Amgen may have an edge over Mirati in terms of safety and tolerability. ” Compared to sotorasib, adagrasib had a higher rate of serious treatment-related adverse events,” analysts at SVB Leerink wrote in a note to investors.
Monday’s results are a first pass at determining whether Mirati’s therapy can perform as well as Amgen’s medication, studies of which have shown it is helpful in about half the patients who have lung cancer. However, with results from so few patients right now it’s difficult to determine which drug is more effective, according to Pasi Jänne, director of the Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and paid consultant for Mirati.
“Once more patients are enrolled in the two companies’ studies, I think you can make comparisons,” said Pasi Jänne, director of the Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and also a paid consultant for Mirati.
“But I think it’s encouraging that both agents are showing clinical activity for a disease where we have not had targeted therapies before,” she added.
Disclosure: The author has a position in Amgen.
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Barry Cohen
Barry Cohen has nearly 40 years experience in communications and marketing, the majority in senior positions at large international health care companies, including Abbott Laboratories and Bayer Inc.He has contributed to a number of financial websites, writing primarily about the stocks of health care companies.

RH – Why Is No One Talking About RH Stock?

The pandemic-laden year that is 2020 will be remembered as one that accelerated technological shifts such as e-commerce, working from home, and cord-cutting. While investors’ minds are fixated on high-flying tech stocks with outrageous valuations, RH (NYSE:RH), the high-end furniture supplier formerly known as Restoration Hardware, is up 79% this year.You would think a company with the stamp of approval from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway would be the talk of Wall Street, but it isn’t. In addition to being a mid-cap stock, there are a couple reasons I believe RH goes under the radar.
Selling furniture is boring
Few things make people yawn more than having to buy furniture, but this is RH’s bread and butter. The company sells home furnishings, including furniture, lighting, textiles, and outdoor and garden products. I know this doesn’t get the heart racing as much as videoconferencing or connected home fitness equipment does, but the numbers last quarter were impressive.
Image source: Getty Images.

In the second quarter of 2020, RH achieved a record adjusted operating margin of 21.8% on revenue of $709.3 million. This kind of margin from a furniture shop is jaw dropping, and instead resembles metrics a luxury designer might have. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the French fashion house, had an operating margin of 21.4% in 2019.
RH Chairman and CEO Gary Friedman wants the company to do more than sell furniture. He sees RH as a $20 billion global luxury and lifestyle brand that will eventually attack the larger hospitality and housing industries. The recent success of RH, coupled with the fact that it is still very early in its growth trajectory, should warrant much more chatter.
Transforming a boring, commoditized business like furniture merchandising into a high-margin, differentiated, lifestyle brand is exciting, as RH’s stock performance year to date shows.
Isn’t retail dead?
Another key reason RH isn’t being talked about much is because it’s in the retail sector. While the financial media (rightfully) focuses on the countless closures happening this year, core to RH’s growth strategy is to open more locations. Its Design Galleries, which average 33,000 square feet in size, are necessary for RH to “climb the luxury mountain,” as Friedman says. He dislikes a digital-only strategy, and believes that RH’s desire to sell entire collections instead of individual pieces of furniture requires an immersive, in-person experience that can’t happen solely online.
Friedman emphasized this point in the Q2 shareholder letter: “In our industry, even digital native brands, the ones who have made it, have all done so by opening retail stores. Retailers who claim they make more money online than they do in their retail stores are most likely not allocating their costs by channel correctly, and to the ones who believe that their website traffic would not be negatively impacted if they closed their stores, well good luck with that strategy.”
As it continues to be overshadowed by the ongoing retail apocalypse, RH will keep going against conventional wisdom and expanding its physical footprint.

These are the best opportunities
The biggest winners for stock market investors oftentimes are the companies that were purchased when no one paid attention to them. RH’s stock has outperformed the market since its IPO in 2012, and yet it still flies under the radar primarily because of the industry it operates in. Management has ambitious plans to build a vast international brand. Investors need to buy the stock now before it’s too late.