Bullseye Brief presents three thematic, actionable investment ideas every other week. My goal is to help identify only those opportunities most worthy of your time… by analyzing data, distilling complexity and sharing insights from a deep network of experts. I love what I do and invite you to join me.
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Adam Johnson

Adam Johnson anchored several business programs at Bloomberg Television over five years, interviewing CEOs, heads of state, and Nobel laureates. His daily video investment blog, Insight and Action was sponsored by a major U.S. lender. Previously he managed global risk assets for ING Furman Selz and Louis Dreyfus, trading oil futures, listed equities and equity options. Adam began his career at Merrill Lynch with a degree in economics at Princeton.


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Utah Stampede

Boon for Banking

  • Business-friendly western states with low tax rates attract the highest influx of new residents in the US
  • Expanding regional economies drive rising loan demand from borrowers with superior credit quality
  • Leading Utah-based bank posts loan growth nearly three times stronger than coast-to-coast rivals

Have you visited Utah lately? It’s boomtown. I recently flew into Salt Lake City, and I was amazed how far the airplane had to taxi in order to avoid construction for the new terminal. The project is absolutely massive, and it’s a good indication of what’s happening across the region. Utah is the second fastest growing state in the nation, thanks in large part to low tax rates and a hands-off approach by local government… a reflection of its past as a haven for independent-minded Mormon homesteaders. The state has become a magnate new jobs in tech, finance and manufacturing, bolstering an economy already well supported by mining and tourism. If you wonder where high-tax refugees are going, Utah is a good place to start. Critically, the influx of high-paid professionals has powered a lending boom for well-capitalized local banks, one of which has caught my attention. I already believe the current US economic expansion will last longer than many expect, and by investing in a bank levered to regional strength, I further enhance my probability of success. I like those odds.


May 11, 2019

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Flags Are Up

Too Many IPOs?

  • IPO issuance of $24B YTD implies a glide path which could approach records set in 1999 and 2000
  • Price to sales multiples for recent IPOs are well above market averages suggesting considerable optimism
  • Technology companies account for more than half of this year’s 155 priced/pending transactions

Initial Public Offerings are taking Wall Street by storm… or are they? The past few weeks have felt a bit like 1999 to me. I recall sitting in the back of a NYC taxi cab and being lectured by the driver because I hadn’t bought Yahoo. Seriously. This week I’m having to endure endless explanations of how Beyond Meat is changing the world… at 60 times sales. I admit there have been some compelling stories unfolding in the press, but for all of the breathless commentary on CNBC, IPOs are merely performing inline with the S&P 500 (both are up about 9% over the past 12 months). Digging a little deeper, I’ve noticed some key metrics don’t quite match the hype. Uber for example, is the largest IPO since Alibaba’s $22B debut in 2014, but at $10B it’s less than half the size. So are we witnessing 1999 all over again? Not entirely, at least not yet. It’s more like waves are getting big and we’re watching for undertow. Swim if you like, but flags are up.


May 11, 2019

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Beyond Meat

Not Beyond Reproach

  • The year’s hottest IPO posts the largest one week gain since China’s Yoku in 2010
  • Beyond Meat trades at the one of the highest Price/Sales multiples of all IPOs in decades
  • BYND targets the $4.6B meat-substitute market and is the sector’s only publicly traded pure-play

Wall Street has upped the ante on what defines “hot” IPO, and traders should probably ditch everything they thought they knew. This year’s hot IPO is Beyond Meat, which tripled on its first day and rose to an eye-popping valuation of 60 times trailing sales. Think about that. You’d have to sell 60 years worth of product just to equal the market capitalization of the stock… that’s practically a lifetime. You won’t find a more expensive stock in the entire S&P 1500, and I know because I checked. Even if we believe the company can double sales this year… and I admit sales did double in Q1… Beyond Meat would still rank as the 5th most expensive company in the US. I’ll pay up for burgers but not for stock, especially since Beyond Meat is later to the game than marketers would have us believe. The company commands only 4% market share and faces a barrage of deep-pocketed competitors. Hot IPOs are one thing, getting burned is another. Then again, we can always go short.


May 11, 2019

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1.7

As in Tokyo’s vacancy rate falls to a record low 1.7%.
#WishTheNikkeiWereAsStrong

45

As in Uber’s $45 IPO proves too expensive and the stock falls 8% on its first day, making it one of the five worst performing IPOs since 2016.
#StillPriceyAtSevenTimesSales

183,000

As in speculative shorts on VIX futures total 183,000… the highest on record.
#JustInTimeForTheSelloff

 

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“My ideal investing is stuff that looks a little crazy now and in 3-5 years is obvious.”
Reed Hoffman, Co-Founder LinkedIn.
#AmericanIngenuity

“It’s not just about gender. It’s about race, how you’ve been brought up, your personality, your behavior, your strengths. All of that coming together is what makes a team stronger.”
— Atlassian CEO Archana Rao on why diversity matters.
#Truth

“Fairly well.”
–China Vice-Premier Liu He describing the latest round of trade talks in Washington.
#MarketWantsMore