A large majority of investors (and less so traders) understand the reasoning behind short selling. Some people actually think it is an evil act that manipulates stock prices or indirectly hurt companies via equity or news. It's actually quite the opposite. It generates a healthy market environment, keeps abnormalities in check, and sometimes serious overvaluation from occurring. It's simply the opposite of buying, nothing more. I look for candidates with extreme overvaluation or underlying issues within a business (competition, lack of growth, deteriorating SHV, bankruptcy, etc). My has included LULU, ULTA, TSLA, BKS, GLD, SLV and a variety of lesser known names.
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I look for opportunities to invest where the expected value is sufficiently greater than the cost to invest and look to invest the appropriate portion of the total funds available. To make a gambling analogy, a highly favorable investment would be one where you could invest $1 on a flip of a coin and receive $10 if it flipped heads and lose only $1 if it came up tails. However, you would not want to invest all of your funds because you would be broke if the coin turned up tails. Thus, the goal is to find investments where the edge is sufficiently large and then invest the appropriate portion of the funds. The Kelly formula provides a theoretical basis for the appropriate percentage of total funds to invest in a single opportunity.
However, in the real world, the precise odds are rarely known. Thus, I seek to develop the ability and obtain the knowledge to calculate the odds with a degree of accuracy, and conservatively enough, to be able to make intelligent invesments.
With regards to equities, which I have primarily invested in, I seek to understand the economics of the business so as to evaluate its potential for long term success or failure. I seek to use this understanding, along with an examination of its financial statements, to determine if the company is undervalued or overvalued. I may then decide to go long undervalued companies and I may decide to short overvalued companies. My preference is to find companies to purchase, rather than to short.
Equanimity is one of the most powerful characteristics to possess in investment management. Opportunities are always available in the market but it is a job that requires extensive research, analysis, objectiveness, and sometimes secondary opinion.
Disclaimer: All articles provided are for entertainment purposes only. Interpret everything as opinion rather than fact and do your own due diligence. These statements are not an offer to buy or sell any security.
Jeff is the President of NewArc Investments Inc., manager of both individual and institutional investments. Jeff is a registered investment advisor, and portfolio manager for NewArc's investment programs. Jeff is a former college professor with a hands-on, real world attitude. His quantitative modeling helped inform state and local officials in Wisconsin for more than a decade. A Public Policy analyst, he taught advanced research methods at the University of Wisconsin, and analyzed many issues related to state tax policy. Jeff began in the financial business as Research Director for trading firm at the Chicago Board Options Exchange. He investigated anomalies in the standard option pricing models, taught classes for beginning options traders, and developed new forecasting techniques. In 1991 he established a general research consultancy, working with professional traders at all of the Chicago financial exchanges. In 1998 he started NewArc Investments, Inc. Jeff has a commitment to the specific needs of individual investors. It is not a one-size-fits all approach, but one that emphasizes the unique circumstances of each client. Jeff also serves on the board of two small technology companies (currently Chairman at one). He is occasionally as an expert witness in legal cases involving financial markets and hedging.
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