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Silver Isn't The Next GameStop

Feb. 02, 2021 3:01 AM ETGameStop Corp. (GME), SLVBB, NOK, NOKBF
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David Pinsen's Blog
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Portfolio Strategy

Seeking Alpha Analyst Since 2007

I developed the hedged portfolio method of investing at Portfolio Armor, and I run a Marketplace service at Seeking Alpha based on it called Bulletproof Investing.


  • We're still bullish on it, but Redditors aren't driving this one.
  • A hedge that gives you 3x as much potential upside on SLV as potential downside.

Don't expect to see billboards about SLV (image via r/WallStreetBets). 

We're Bullish On SLV

Let's get this out of the way, before we're accused of being silver bears: we've been bullish on the iShares Silver Trust ETF (SLV) for months. Each trading day, we rank all the securities in our universe by our estimate of their potential returns over the next six months. We base that on our analysis of their past returns as well as options market sentiment on them. We broke down this analysis for SLV in December (Why-Oh Silver). SLV was one of our top ten names in our most recently completed top names cohort, the July 30th one. 

And it was one of our top ten names repeatedly since then, including in our December 17th cohort. 

It was also one of our top ten names last Friday. Currently, it's #14. But it's not another GameStop (GME). Let's look at why, and then show a way you can stay long SLV while limiting your downside risk. 

Wall Street Bets Isn't Touting SLV

Contra claims that Reddit bros have branched out from GameStop to silver, top posters on r/WallStreetBets have warned the board against it. 

As we noted last week (Capital Insurrection), there's been a populist aspect to the GameStop short squeeze on Reddit: home gamers versus hedge funds. That's not the case with silver. The home gamers are aware that Citadel and other Wall Street firms they oppose are among the top holders of SLV. 

They're also aware, as this WallStreetBets post indicates, that the silver futures market adds an element of complexity not present in GME. In the event that leads to a reversal in silver over the next month, we'll post a compelling hedge for SLV below. First, a quick update on our takes on the meme stocks. 

Meme Stock Update

Of the tickers that get you free chicken tenders in the Popeye's Chicken app, we had been bullish recently only on the last two: BlackBerry (BB) and Nokia (NOK). 

Screen capture from an actual Popeye's tweet

We presented hedged trade ideas for BlackBerry here, and Nokia here. Neither scored as high as SLV on Monday's ranking. 

A Hedged Bet On SLV

You own 1,000 shares of SLV, or plan to buy, here's a way to aim for a large gain over the next month while strictly limiting your risk. This was the optimal collar, as of Monday's close, to hedge 1,000 shares of SLV against a >20% decline while not capping your possible upside at less than 60%. 

Capped upside, negative cost

Screen captures via the Portfolio Armor iPhone app. 

With this one, your maximum upside over the next month is 3x your maximum downside: best case, you're up 60%, and worst case you're down 20%. The cost here is negative: you would have collected a net credit of $130, or 0.49% of position value when opening this collar. That's assuming, to be conservative, that you placed both trades at the worst ends of their respective spreads (buying the puts at the ask and selling the calls at the bid). 

SLV Hedges Are Broadly Attractive

The hedge above is an example of a broader phenomenon with SLV now, related to its bullish options market sentiment. You can find optimal collars with attractive ratios of maximum upside to downside at a broad range of risk tolerances. If can't tolerate decline of as much as 20%, try scanning for one with threshold of 10%, or whatever you're comfortable with, and then experiment with different caps to find one that gives you the most possible upside at the right cost for you. 

Seeking Alpha's Disclosure: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. Any views or opinions expressed above may not reflect those of Seeking Alpha as a whole. Seeking Alpha is not a licensed securities dealer, broker or US investment adviser or investment bank. Our analysts are third party authors that include both professional investors and individual investors who may not be licensed or certified by any institute or regulatory body.

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