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Changes For 2021, Sentiment Cycle Update, New Youtube Channel

Jan. 18, 2021 12:05 PM ETINTC, LKQ, RSP, ULTA10 Comments
Please Note: Blog posts are not selected, edited or screened by Seeking Alpha editors.


  • Due to changes being made at Seeking Alpha in content access and distribution, I've had to make some adjustments regarding how I share my strategies and analysis.
  • This article is an update about some changes I'm making for 2021.
  • I'll be distributing content in 3 ways: Free, unrestricted access via my youtube channel, limited access via normal SA articles, and full, real-time access via the Cyclical Investor's Club.
  • I also have an update on my Sentiment Cycle Series.


2020 was an incredibly fast-moving year for investors. We have essentially condensed what would normally be a 5-year+ economic cycle into a single year's time. I can count the number of full days I took off work this year on one hand, and even doing so, I was barely able to stay a step ahead of this rapidly changing market. In such a fast-moving environment, it's understandable that a tech company like Seeking Alpha needs to change and adapt to the situation. Normal SA readers have probably noticed some metering when it comes to free article reads on SA. This was a necessary change that SA needed to make in order to ensure long-term prosperity and viability as a platform. I have been a firm believer that the core of any social media/crowd-sourced platform has to be subscriptions, and that advertising should always be a secondary source of revenue.

The problem is, and always has been, that there is a disconnect between content that attracts clicks, and content that helps investors actually make better investment decisions. I, personally, have always found this the most difficult paradox to deal with as a stock writer, and I'm sure SA does, too. The basic truth is that over the medium and long-term, the most popular investing approaches and the most popular stocks, at any given time, are usually not the best investments. Yet, from a click-based perspective, they are the most profitable to write about from a writer's perspective, and the most profitable, over the short-term, for a web publisher to publish. 

I chose very early on as a stock writer to first and foremost always focus on sharing ideas and strategies that generated above-average returns. And only secondarily would I focus on attracting clicks. I believe this approach has led to a smaller, but more loyal (and more successful) group of followers of my work. My view is that if I ever have to put chasing clicks over achieving good performance, I will simply quit doing this and find a different job. 

For 2021, because things are changing a little bit around here (mostly for the better) I simply want to share some of the changes I'm making regarding how I distribute content to my readers. There will basically be three or four different formats in which you'll be able to access my work. The first, and best, format is via my marketplace service The Cyclical Investor's Club. Because of the real-time, unfiltered nature of the service, this is where members can gain the full benefits of my ideas, strategies, and research. We just had our two-year anniversary, producing returns of a little over 24% in both 2019 and in 2020 (and we were about 1/3 cash for most of 2021 and still managed a 24% return on the ideas, including a 0% return on the cash). At only $287 per year, the CIC is one of the least expensive and most accessible marketplace services available. But most importantly, my approaches are all developed by me from the ground up, so there is no duplicate service available that does what we do in the CIC. 

The second way I share my ideas with readers is via normal articles that are exclusive to Seeking Alpha. This is where there are going to be some changes. My policy for the past two years has been to share ideas that involve strategy or stocks that compose the S&P 500 via these Seeking Alpha articles. (Unlike many Marketplace Services, I don't first share ideas with members, and then go out and pump those ideas to the public after members have bought them. If this happens with my ideas, it is only by accident, because I don't have enough time to write timely public articles, as happened back in March.) During normal times, when the market isn't moving at light-speed, I can write public articles, as I did with Intel (INTC) or LKQ (LKQ) last fall. But there are other stocks like Ulta Beauty (ULTA) that I simply didn't have enough time to write a public article on before the stock rose 30%+. The big change that is happening here is that SA's compensation system has changed. Whereas before I could count on a basic standard of pay no matter when I wrote about a stock, now that pay is highly variable, and it may not be worth the time for me to write public articles at the times when I want to write them. So, the big change here is that the stocks I choose to write publicly about will be more variable than they otherwise might be, and that means some of my best ideas might not get written about via SA's normal articles. (Though I will try my best to find a balance.)

This brings me to my third, new way, in which I'll be sharing ideas. This will be via the Cyclical Investor's Club youtube channel. Here, I can have direct access to viewers without editorial input or restrictions, and viewers can watch the videos for free without a subscription. Each week, I plan to share an S&P 500 stock I think is a good relative buy compared to the index, a stock that is high-quality but expensive enough to take profits in, and a stock that I would avoid, either because it's too hard to figure out, or because there may be something troubling about the business. I'll also post videos about general investing concepts. For the first few weeks, I've been combining all of these into one big weekly video, but I'll probably be breaking them up into shorter videos, spread throughout the week, in the future. Here is this week's video:

And, lastly, as you are probably noticing, this blog is the fourth way I plan to reach out to readers in 2021. My goal is to have it be a weekly round-up sort of thing, where I share quick thoughts about the market, and share quick, embedded links to my videos for those who would rather watch them on this platform. 

Sentiment Cycle Update

Long-time followers will have noticed that after three years I wrapped up the How Far Could They Fall? series this month. I'm due for an update on my second series, the Sentiment Cycle series. I'm going to miss this update simply because I don't have time to write it, and I'm trying to figure out a good way to reduce the 60+ charts I've been including in each update. Additionally, since we are past the end of the year and have avoided disaster and another market dip, I would rotate the current cash positions back into (RSP) as of January 1st. And I need to figure out the best way to write about that in a coherent way. I also would like to compare what the results would have been if I hadn't chosen to stay in cash between June and January (which was the original strategy). So, it's a lot to figure out, and I didn't have time to do it this month. I do want to continue on with the series, though, so perhaps if things slow down in the market for a while, I can update in April with some useful information. 


Here are the ways you can follow my research going forward:

  • Free: Subscribe to my youtube channel or become a 'real-time' subscriber on SA, so you will be notified when I write blogs like this.
  • Free, limited access: Follow me on SA, and you will get limited access to my public SA articles, which will continue on a regular basis.
  • Subscription: Sign up for a membership to the Cyclical Investor's Club. There is a huge gap in value one gets from the free articles and videos compared to the CIC, especially when it comes to timely ideas and portfolio strategies. There was really no substitute for the CIC in March 2020 when the market fell quickly. We've had over 15+ individual stock ideas of well-established high-quality businesses that returned over 100% in 2020. Obviously, this isn't a typical year, but the breadth of high-quality ideas is unlikely to be found elsewhere. 

Thanks for following my work on SA. I hope you'll also consider joining or following some of the other outlets for my work. 


Analyst's Disclosure: I am/we are long INTC, ULTA, LKQ.

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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