Burry Finds Twitter, Japanese Net-Nets and How To Invest in Distress

We made it past Q1 2020. Are you still alive? Times like these remind us that one thing (truly) matters: Staying Alive.

Outsized returns are nice, of course. But what really matters is not losing your money. If you can keep some poker chips with you, you’ll always have a seat at the table. That’s our goal.

We’ve got a ton of news this week in the value space. But before we get to that, check out our latest podcast episodes.

Our Latest Podcast Episodes:

Here’s what we cover this week:

    • Michael Burry Got A Twitter
    • T. Fitzpatrick’s Latest Podcast
    • Opportunities in Japan
    • Luckin Goes Bust
    • Buffett Sells Airlines

And more!

Let’s rock and roll!


April 8, 2020

Small Business Help: If you’re a small business owner, you’re likely suffering from the effects of COVID-19. The US Gov’t has programs, loans and grants for you.

Here’s the link for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.

Here’s the link for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

Make sure you check which banks near you are participating in these programs.


Investor Spotlight: Michael Burry Found Twitter

GIFs by tenor

I’m a bit of a Michael Burry fan-boy. He’s my investing idol. I read his old annual letters at least once a quarter. In fact, I’ve molded my own investment strategy / philosophy after the man himself.

And finally … FINALLY the man joined Twitter.

I know. He doesn’t have the official blue check-mark next to his name. But let me have this one. He’s legit until proven guilty in my eyes.

Burry joined Twitter not to talk investments, but COVID-19. He has 53 tweets. Every one of those 53 involve COVID-19. At some point I think that’ll change. But clearly Burry has an agenda. Check out his timeline here.Shouting From The Rooftops

Following Bill Ackman’s footsteps, Burry’s using his platform as “Super-Investor” to spark change and public health idea generation.

I’d prefer idea generation on public equities and special situations than COVID-19 articles. Maybe that’s another good thing once this virus shuts down. Investors will get back to doing what they do best, investing.

That said, I sent a tweet asking Burry to join the Value Hive Podcast. If he joins the show, know that it will be the greatest achievement I’ve accomplished to date.


C.T. Fitzpatrick: Investing During Deep Distress

Fund manager C.T. Fitzpatrick went on the Value Investing with Legends podcast last week. C.T. is the CEO and portfolio manager of Vulcan Value Partners. Vulcan runs five investing strategies. Each of them ranks in the top 1% of their respective peer groups. An impressive feat.

The podcast dives deep into investing during crisis events.

When approaching these times, C.T. says, “It’s important to have the proper time horizon. If your time horizon is 3 months or 6 months, or even 1 year — you should be very worried … But we have a minimum timeline of five years.”

Here’s some other quotes I found impactful:

    • “We are big believers in strong balance sheets. Our portfolios look nothing like the market.”
    • “Our companies generally have net cash on the balance sheet. These balance sheets then become a tool to come out stronger from this [COVID-19].”
    • “It’s not the amount of debt you have, but how is it structured?”
    • “We really love volatility.”
    • “At the end of December, we had 27 names. Typically we fluctuate between 20 and 40 names.”

Time horizon is everything. Think about it. The next two years will look awful for most companies. The best way to combat these times is through conservative modeling over a five year time horizon.

It reminds me of Michael Mauboussin’s quote (and I’m paraphrasing):

“If you’re worried about COVID-19 effecting your investment, take a five year DCF model and put $0 for the next 1-2 years.”

Doing that reminds investors of how little the present day adds to a company’s long-term value. Remember, over 70% of the value of a company comes after 7-8 years of cash-flows. Think long-term.


Movers & Shakers: Luckin Burns Investors & Buffett Sells Airlines

Luckin Coffee burned investors last week. Third degree burns. Take a look at the charts (NSFW):

That’s a cool 80% drop in a week.

The decline came on the news that LK cooked their books. They over exaggerated their sales figures, and messed around with expenses. Inflating some, deflating others. In short, you can’t trust their financials. Shocking for a Chinese company, I know.

COO of LK, Jian Liu admitted to fabricating over $310M in sales during 2019.

Looks like that Muddy Waters anonymous report was right.

What We Learned From Luckin Coffee

The short answer: nothing. We didn’t learn anything that we haven’t already learned before. We can’t trust many Chinese companies. It’s that simple. Which sucks because the long-term drivers of economic growth are there. The reasons for investing in China are evident.

Will this be the final straw for US investors? I doubt it. It’ll sting for a while, but investors will be back to the Mainland. Hungry for capital gains.

One thing we can take from LK: When someone releases an 89-page short-report on a company, take it seriously. Even if it turns out wrong, there’s a reason someone spent 89 pages on this company’s short prospects.

Buffett Sells Airlines Before “Forever” Holding Period Ends

GIFs by tenor

Warren Buffett sold a s**t ton of airline stock last week. Here’s the numbers:

    • 13M shares of Delta Airlines (DAL) for $314M
    • 3M shares of Southwest Airlines (LUV) for $74M

I’m not sure what’s better, Buffett selling airlines a month after he said he wouldn’t, or FinTwit’s reaction to Buffett selling.

Here’s some of my favorite tweets on Buffett selling airlines:




That’s why I love Buffett. He’s never shy to change his mind when circumstances and probabilities change. He doesn’t restrict himself to anchoring bias. The man went on CNBC and said he wouldn’t sell airline stocks.

Imagine the chutzpah on Buffett to then sell airlines.

But it brings me to a larger point: Do your own work and hold your own convictions.

“Because Buffett invests in it” isn’t a good enough bull case.

Here’s how DAL and LUV’s charts look today:


Ideas of The Week: Japanese Stocks Below NCAV

Two of my favorite Twitter follows are DeepValueJapan and janeo. They are two of the most under-followed deep value investors on Twitter.

They specialize in Japanese net-nets and NCAV plays. Every week I scan their timeline to see if they’ve released any new names. This week was a feast.

Here’s their latest ideas with descriptions (from their tweet):

  • NKK Switches Co (6943)

  • Fukuvi Chemical (7871)

  • IChiken Company (1847)

  • Fujii Sangyo (9906)

Do yourself a favor and follow these two accounts. You’ll get great, deep value investing ideas on your timeline.


Shipping Chart Update: Base Building Development

Shipping stocks are all the rage within the value community. I received a lot of comments on Kuppy’s interview with Real Vision. Every day the trade looks better. The discount widens and the potential profits grow.

I’m tracking a basket of shipping stocks for potential short-term trades (read: shipping stocks are not long-term investments). Given the popularity of the theme, I’m going to track these charts each week as they develop. If you find this useful, let me know in an email.

Here’s my list (I am not long any of these names as of writing):

    • Scorpio Tankers (STNG)

    • Diamond S Shipping (DSSI)

    • Dorian LPG Limited (LPG)

    • Teekay Tankers (TNK)

    • Euronav (EURN)

No chart pattern developing

    • Overseas Shipholding Group (OSG)


Also, here’s an interesting article on the oil trade from Bloomberg.



That’s all I got for this week. Shoot me an email if you come across something interesting this week at brandon@macro-ops.com.

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Brandon Beylo

Value Investor

Brandon has been a professional investor focusing on value for over 13 years, spending his time in small to micro-cap companies, spin-offs, SPACs, and deep value liquidation situations. Over time, he’s developed a deeper understanding for what deep-value investing actually means, and refined his philosophy to include any business trading at a wild discount to what he thinks its worth in 3-5 years.

Brandon has a tenacious passion for investing, broad-based learning, and business. He previously worked for several leading investment firms before joining the team at Macro Ops. He lives by the famous Munger mantra of trying to get a little smarter each day.


Investing & Personal Finance

AK is the founder of Macro Ops and the host of Fallible.

He started out in corporate economics for a Fortune 50 company before moving to a long/short equity investment firm.

With Macro Ops focused primarily on institutional clients, AK moved to servicing new investors just starting their journey. He takes the professional research and education produced at Macro Ops and breaks it down for beginners. The goal is to help clients find the best solution for their investing needs through effective education.

Tyler Kling

Volatility & Options Trader

Former trade desk manager at $100+ million family office where he oversaw multiple traders and helped develop cutting edge quantitative strategies in the derivatives market.

He worked as a consultant to the family office’s in-house fund of funds in the areas of portfolio manager evaluation and capital allocation.

Certified in Quantitative Finance from the Fitch Learning Center in London, England where he studied under famous quants such as Paul Wilmott.

Alex Barrow

Macro Trader

Founder and head macro trader at Macro Ops. Alex joined the US Marine Corps on his 18th birthday just one month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He subsequently spent a decade in the military. Serving in various capacities from scout sniper to interrogator and counterintelligence specialist. Following his military service, he worked as a contract intelligence professional for a number of US agencies (from the DIA to FBI) with a focus on counterintelligence and terrorist financing. He also spent time consulting for a tech company that specialized in building analytic software for finance and intelligence analysis.

After leaving the field of intelligence he went to work at a global macro hedge fund. He’s been professionally involved in markets since 2005, has consulted with a number of the leading names in the hedge fund space, and now manages his own family office while running Macro Ops. He’s published over 300 white papers on complex financial and macroeconomic topics, writes regularly about investment/market trends, and frequently speaks at conferences on trading and investing.

Macro Ops is a market research firm geared toward professional and experienced retail traders and investors. Macro Ops’ research has been featured in Forbes, Marketwatch, Business Insider, and Real Vision as well as a number of other leading publications.

You can find out more about Alex on his LinkedIn account here and also find him on Twitter where he frequently shares his market research.