Seeking Alpha

David White's  Instablog

David White
  • on Financial
  • on REITs
Send Message
David White is a software/firmware/marketing professional and a long time investor. He has worked in the networking field, the semiconductor equipment field, the mainframe computer field, and the pharmaceutical/scientific instrumentation field. He has bachelor's degrees in bioresource sciences... More
View David White's Instablogs on:
  • Performance Claims

    I have heard some rumors asserting I may make false performance claims. however, the only claims I can remember making on SeekingAlpha were the following:

    1. I entered a CNBC contest (a 10 week contest) a few years ago. For the first several weeks, my main portfolio was up by more than 30%. This put me in the top 0.25% of contest entrants at that time (slightly better than that). The first few weeks results were then cancelled due to a bug in their program that allowed some unscrupulous people to rack up big gains in currency trading. I did very little currency trading. Virtually all of my gains were from stock trading; and I did not take advantage of any bugs in the CNBC program. Most of my gains were from either Basic Materials stocks' gains or from ETFs that short the overall market. These results were all publicly available online; and at that time could have been publicly verified. After CNBC cancelled the first few weeks results due to the error, I did not really participate in the end of the contest. First it was much shorter than I wanted. Second I felt cheated out of my completely legitimate results to that date. Third I was not getting paid for the contest.

    2. I have also claimed some results from a tracking portfolio. In that portfolio I have bought or shorted stocks based on some of the recommendations I have made in SeekingAlpha articles. Sometimes I used options strategies. The results cited were those the tool I was using told me I had. These results were from 2012 and 2013. They were good, even though I was not putting a lot of effort into maintaining my tracking portfolio. This was a paper trading portfolio.

    3. I have sometimes cited good results from a particular article. For instance, I called the gold downturn well to a large degree. I called a possible Patriot Coal downturn/bankruptcy, which occurred within a year of my article if memory serves. You should have heard the strident objections at the time of the article. I called a short of LULU at about $80 per share. I again called for a short in the $60's. I have recommended many stocks that have done well such as CLR. I have also recommended many high dividend paying stocks. I believe these have in general done well, although I don't have specific data to cite.

    4. On the negative side, I have been both right and wrong about a number of momentum stocks. I confess to having been frustrated in some of my calls on some hugely overpriced momentum names by a combination of the momentum/HFT people and the QE policies of the Fed and other central banks. My long calls have generally been good ones. My short calls have improved over time. However, they have been more of a mixed bag. Since a lot of long/short hedge funds significantly underperfomed the overall market in 2013 (and possibly in other big QE years), I believe I had a fair amount of company in being wrong in some of my short calls. I believe shorts, even when hugely fundamentally sound, have generally suffered from the Fed "easy money" policies and the consequent success of the momentum/HFT traders in pushing over valued momentum stocks upward.

    5. I have also on occasion cited the number of people and the quality of the people following me. This information is actually made available by SeekingAlpha to all subscribers. I cannot have "faked" any of these claims. Any claims I have made in this area can still be easily verified in a gross sense. I do not think there have been any gross changes, although the number of my followers has generally been increasing over time. That number is currently at approximately 55,000. I am followed by more than 3000 investment advisers, more than 3000 analysts, more than 9000 traders, more than 1000 fund managers/partners, more than 3000 corporate executives and IR people, etc. I am proud of both the number and the quality of my followers. I think I am deservedly proud. I am also aware that these numbers can vary considerably for a variety of reasons from author to author. I generally feel authors are worthy of respect once they have reached 1000 followers. I don't really decry anyone based on this. For instance, some authors do not write many articles. Hence they would likely not have many followers; but they might still be great authors to follow.

    I hope I have clarified for people any claims I have made. I do not think I have made any false claims. I am aware that the SEC in general does not like people to promise future results; and I don't believe I have done this.

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Jun 08 6:53 AM | Link | 2 Comments
  • How To Change A Law.

    Some rumors have been circulating about me setting a legal precedent in Small Claims Court (many years ago as a student). To clarify such rumors I have decided to explain it. My car was sideswiped by a tow truck while my car was parked. The owner of the tow truck was willing to have his insurance pay. His employee was after all guilty of the sideswipe action. As a student I had an old car, but I had maintained it well, so it was worth more than the "totalled" value, which is what the insurance company naturally wanted to pay.

    I cited a case in which a stolen car was sold to someone. That someone then insured the car against accidents and theft. That car was then stolen or totalled (I can't remember after all these years). Since it was a stolen car, the person who had insured it actually had no legal interest in the car. Therefore the insurance company argued that it should not have to pay off on the insurance policy. The court ruled that since the recent buyer bought the insurance policy in good faith, the insurance company had to pay off the "totalled" value of the car, even though the person actually had no legal ownership interest in the car.

    I argued that the court had in fact ruled that the insurance company had to pay off on the "believed interest" the policy owner thought he/she had in the car. Therefore the insurance company in my case should also have to pay off on the "reasonably believed" value I thought I had in my car. I presented evidence that that belief was significantly above the insurance company stated "totalled value". The court ruled in my favor. The current rumors are apparently saying that that ruling was a new legal precedent. I am guessing that prior to that the "totalled" value had to be accepted.

    Aug 16 5:44 PM | Link | 2 Comments
  • Some Are Challenging My Veracity Re A Grade Challenge In College.

    Some gossip seems to be using an old grade challenge in College (U.C. Berkeley) to try to say I am not truthful about my stock calls, etc. Hence I think I need to clarify this.

    I challenged about 20% of a full professor's answers on one final exam. To support my claim I got a letter from an expert in the field of each question. One letter came from one of the editors of a book titled "The Kidney". He was widely regarded as an expert on the kidney; and I talked to the biggest expert at Stanford too, who agreed with him. Another letter came from a UCSF professor who was doing research on the exact topic of the question. I located him through a highly esteemed full professor in Biochemistry at U.C. Berkeley. In other words some professors at U.C. Berkeley agreed that I deserved to win my challenge. That UCSF professor later became head of the UCSF Biotech Center. It would seem he was really an expert. A third professor did not fully agree with me on another question. However, she did think I had sufficient reason to challenge my grade. She did seem to believe that my grade did not reflect the actual level of my knowledge. I later heard a rumor that she started a research project to investigate my contention. I heard she end up proving me correct. I heard some comments about my advancing medical science to get my grade changed. Much of the rumors about the third case above was just rumor, as I have stated. However, there is probably at least a 75%-80% chance that what I heard happened exactly as I have stated.

    I further point out that I did not get my grade changed based on these disagreements. I only got the three professors involved (one especially) to agree that my test was not a fair test of my knowledge or performance. My argument was: the professor could not possibly have taught me how to answer the questions correctly, if he could not answer them correctly himself. I thought then and I think now that this was a fair argument.

    I won the right to take another test. I had to wait until the class was taught again to make it a fair situation. I got my grade changed to reflect my performance on that test and on the previous two test in the original class. I ended up with an A-. It was only that low because I didn't realize exactly what the professor was asking for on a large question on the second test. I had actually known all of the things the professor wanted me to write down. However, I did not understand that he was asking for all of that data. I gave what many would consider a stock answer to that question. That's the way it goes sometimes.

    At least two of the professors were very amicable throughout this process. They even seemed a bit grateful to me for updating some of their course material, although they were not grateful for all the extra trouble. I would say we were generally on good terms after this was all over.

    David White

    Tags: SPY
    Dec 18 12:59 AM | Link | 17 Comments
Full index of posts »
Latest Followers


  • MS' strategy people have been recommending making your investing very strategic. QE PUSHES EVERYTHING UP logic is thought to be mostly gone.
    about 7 hours ago
  • Performance is fleeting. You have to try to foresee the problems before they become too bad. Billionaires are getting out for a reason.
    about 7 hours ago
  • Oil has gotten hammered; but oil was doing great for years before. Another sector will get hammered soon. Perhaps the whole market soon?
    about 7 hours ago
More »
Posts by Themes
Instablogs are Seeking Alpha's free blogging platform customized for finance, with instant set up and exposure to millions of readers interested in the financial markets. Publish your own instablog in minutes.