FROM INSIDE SILICON VALLEY: Sorting the truth or likely truth from the noise is a key attribute of the successful investor. My commentary is a distillation of some of this effort relative to particular stocks and investment areas. My publishing at this point in time is limited to the blogsphere, Stocktwits as a Tweeter (@RobertinGatos), and Seeking Alpha posts as both an author (one article and trying to find time for more) and frequent commentator. I have no doubt that this truth seeking effort has been a great aid in my own efforts to be a successful high tech stock investor, which now goes back over 30 years.
Professionally, I was an Engineering Manager in two pioneering Silicon Valley high technology companies, Intel and Fairchild Semiconductor. Some will recall that Fairchild was formed by the group that William Shockley, co-inventor of the transistor of Bell Labs fame. had brought together at Shockley Labs to commercialize this device. I joined Fairchild Semiconductor R&D Labs in Palo Alto in 1973. It was at the time affectionately called "Fairchild Tech" due to its propensity to create spinoffs including National Semiconductor, AMD and Intel.
I joined Intel in in 1977 as Manager of their Analytical Lab start up and retired from Intel's senior management ranks in 1998. I joined a startup called Metara as a BOD member and ultimately as VP and Chief Technology Officer. I facilitated the generation of 17 automated mass spectrometry patents and became an expert on analytical technology patents as a result. I retired a second time in 2006 due to the fact that Metara ran out of capital before the first product was fully debugged. Venture caps can be fickle people.
Through out this time, I was surrounded by high tech business activity including management and ultimately startup financing. I stayed familiar with the high tech business press throughout this time and attended relevant Silicon Valley events including many Valley technology investment conferences and shareholder meetings beginning well before the Santa Clara Valley area was called Silicon Valley.
My start as a high tech investor occurred in 1981 when my first Intel stock options became exercisable. I used margin to exercise, buy and hold my Intel stock while I added margin to buy companies like MSFT, CSCO, ORCL, JDSU, SUNW and QCOM from the 80's forward. Needless to say the returns were outstanding. I had the luck of being exposed to long term LEAP call investing by a follow Intel manager and used this technique as additional leverage for most of my tech investments since the very beginning.
I used to love to bet against Merrill Lynch'sTom Kurlak who was known as THE Intel analyst of the time. He would make a negative call on Intel that I knew was way off the mark and use this opportunity for entry into my next set of Intel LEAP calls. That taught me to take advantage of Wall Street whenever possible rather than be their victim.
My original investment specialty was tech stocks however I have expanded my expertise in many key sectors. I follow high tech trends and business activity on a daily basis. I have added Financials to this tracking in particular since the bad behavior of the Investment Banks and now regular Banks (derivatives and lending practices) has led to multiple ugly stock market crashes. Notable examples include the crash of 2008 and the 2000 dot.com bubble with more yet to come, at least in the absence of better regulation.
I am a firm believer in understanding the business model, the business fundamentals and competitive environment for any company that I invest in. I look for competent management and high performance financials that demonstrate a strong possibility of on-going earnings and revenue growth. I read CEO pronouncements with my competence and BS detector on high (for example Ballmer pegs both needles - I'll let you guess which end of the scales). Drilling into a company’s financial fundamentals is a downstream step. Excessive debt is a red flag even if it is for so called good reason -- it limits company margins and business options, and can be representative a poofly performing business segment a company is in. I avoid those kinds of businesses in spite of what may be labeled as strong positive cash flow. Debt leads to sluggish earnings growth and limits company flexibility. It can also lead to ugly surprises, stock dilution for example. Technology company stock buybacks leave me cold. If they cannot make more money by growing their own business with the money, they will flatline or worse.
When the opportunity permits, I try to be ready to buy good companies that I believe have been beaten up inappropriately or are under appreciated (the Tom Kurlak example). I also try to buy companies that I know and understand inside and out or work on getting to there if I invest. Fewer companies,
DISCLAIMER: Each article or comment written by this author is intended as general information only, and is not intended to provide specific advice, or due diligence to be relied on. As such, the information presented in any article or comment does not consider any reader’s personal investment objectives or financial situation; therefore, no articles or comments make investment recommendations. The opinions expressed in any articles or comments on this website are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of any third party. I am not responsible for actions taken, or not taken based the content of this site.
Investment strategies or securities mentioned in any article may not be suitable for all investors. The risk of loss in trading securities, including options, and futures can be substantial. Options involve risk and are not suitable for all investors. Please understand all risks associated with investing before investing. Prior to buying or selling an option, a person should read a copy of Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options (http://www.optionsclearing.com/about/publications/character-risks.jsp). Options or other transactions could involve complex tax considerations that should be carefully reviewed and considered along with each reader’s personal financial situation and all other relevant risk factors prior to entering into any transaction. Probability analysis results are theoretical and in nature, and do not reflect any degree of certainty of an event occurring or not occurring.
While I believe the information provided in any article or comment is reliable; however, I do not guarantee its accuracy, timelines, or completeness. Financial information changes daily and articles and comments are not updated for subsequent changes in financial position or share prices. Transaction costs (commissions and fees) should be considered before entering trades and not accounted for in analyses presented.
Past performance referenced in any article or comment is not a guarantee of future performance. You should always consider the risks of investing in the light of your personal circumstances and your due diligence should include consulting with your professional advisor.
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I graudated summa cum laude with a M.S (Accounting & Information Analysis) and a B.S. (Finance & Accounting). I have over four years of financial markets experience. I actively follow equities with a focus on technology, high yield, and value stocks. In addition, I focus on conservative option strategies such as covered calls and cash secured puts to generate additional income in an effort to outperform the market.
My name is Nathaniel Munson and I've always been fascinated by finances and numbers. I've recently taken an even greater interest in the stock market in general and find it helpful to compile my thoughts into articles about stocks and industries that interest me.
My name is Phil Mause. I am a Senior Advisor with the Pacific Economics Group, focusing on energy, regulatory and valuation issues. I retired from 40 years of law practice earlier this year. I am a yield oriented investor and in the last two years, I have done reasonably well in junk bonds, BDCs, mortgage REITS, and dividend paying blue chip stocks. As an avocation, I dabble in stand up comedy.
Chief Information Officer ERA Living 1999 - 2009,
Owner Integrated Networks 1995-1999,
Information Technology Engineer Digitech Solutions 1987-1995,
Registered Investment Advisor 1980-1987,
Managing Partner Buttonwood Securities 1975-1980,
Registered Rep. Tucker Anthony & R.L. Day 1973-1975,
Amherst College, B.A. 1973
I am a market enthusiast and part-time trader. I started writing for Seeking Alpha in 2011, and it has been a tremendous opportunity and learning experience. I have been interested in the markets since elementary school, and hope to pursue a career in the investment management industry. I have been active in the markets for several years, and am primarily focused on long/short equities.
I hold a Bachelor of Science Degree from Lehigh University, where I double majored in Finance and Accounting, with a minor in History. My major track focused on Investments and Financial Analysis. While at Lehigh, I was the Head Portfolio Manager of the Investment Management Group, a student group that manages three portfolios, one long/short and two long only. I have had two internships, one a summer internship at a large bank, and another helping to manage the Lehigh University Endowment for nearly a year.
Disclaimer: Bill reminds investors to always due their own due diligence on any investment, and to consult their own financial adviser or representative when necessary. Any material provided is intended as general information only, and should not be considered or relied upon as a formal investment recommendation.
I have been trading max pain type data since 2007 after noting odd trading patterns centered around options expiry. I am a more conservative trader/investor and only take high probability trades. I prefer to know where stocks won’t be rather than guess where they will be. Trading with this mind set gives you 80% plus probability of being correct.
I have always been a stock market enthusiast. My formal training is that of informal. I am self taught, soaking up as much knowledge as can be absorbed. I love the financial industry and would work for free. I am a fundamental investor at heart and like crunching the numbers. I picked up on Max Pain theory and use option data as a main thesis in taking my positions.
In the beginning; when studying Max Pain I was truly amazed at the power it had in pulling or pushing AAPL around. I have seen the stock drop 5% out of nowhere with no news. The only news would be it was the 3rd Friday of the month. I then picked up on hitting the Max Pain strike was about 50/50 odds. Max Pain would give you a tell on what direction AAPL would start heading for expiry. I started to build a strategy from my studies. Using the Max Pain strike is not really tradable, good to know, but not tradable. So I started to study open interest (OI) and its affect on AAPL. Long story short, I have altered the original Max Pain theory and morphed it into what my own studies have concluded. I call this OI/Max Pain, it uses open interest and a range. This way it is tradable as I now have a high probability range. It doesn’t stop there, using OI will tell you so much more. How a stock reacts at each strike depending on the amount of OI is a major tell.
Conclusion: When using open interest you can accomplish multiple things. We can use it for OI/Max Pain when AAPL is stuck in a range and we can use it for catching breakouts, breakdowns, buy and sell points. Enjoy.
I want to give a special thanks to some of my early influences: Turley Muller, Andy Zaky and Jason Schwarz. I thank Philip Elmer-Dewitt for his coverage on AAPL and letting us have a voice, Horace Dediu for his tireless studies and anyone attached to the AAPL community.