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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.