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Philip R. Davis is a founder of Phil's Stock World (www.philstockworld.com), a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders. Mr. Davis is a serial entrepreneur, having founded software company Accu-Title, a real estate title insurance software solution, and is also the President of the Delphi Consulting Corp., an M&A consulting firm that helps large and small companies obtain funding and close deals. He was also the founder of Accu-Search, a property data corporation that was sold to DataTrace in 2004 and Personality Plus, a precursor to eHarmony.com. Phil was a former editor of a UMass/Amherst humor magazine and it shows in his writing -- which is filled with colorful commentary along with very specific ideas on stock option purchases (Phil rarely holds actual stocks).
Visit: Phil's Stock World (www.philstockworld.com)
I had my first passbook account in the 1960s, and lost money in the 1987 crash. Subsequently, I have run investor chat rooms and an investing blog. I also am a published author and write a film animation blog at animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com.
I bought my first Manhattan property in 1993 and also own property in Colorado. I enjoy investing in real estate and writing about it. I invest in income stocks such as REITs and consider that my area of expertise.
Oh, and I was mentioned in "Scam Dogs And Mo-Mo Mamas: Inside the Wild and Woolly World of Internet Stock Trading" (2000), by Wall Street Journal reporter John R. Emshwiller, a good guy. It's about the bad old dot.com days.
If you’re on my profile page, you probably want to know a little more about me before signing up for the Mortgage REIT Forum. That seems reasonable.
Why is my name hidden?
I see things that are problems in the world and I work to correct them. I shine a light on places where companies don't want anyone looking. A few CEOs have reached out to me because they appreciated the thorough analysis; others have taken great offense because I go against the grain by calling out poor investments. Most analysts simply apply hold ratings or move on to find a different company to discuss. Executives of companies that are performing poorly on a fundamental level don’t want extra attention, so ignoring them is the safer course. Since I choose to highlight those problems, I keep my name off the site. Hiding my name makes it a little more difficult for those companies to try to silence me with nuisance suits.
Why did I pick mortgage REITs?
As I learned the sector, I began building more and more complicated models to estimate the fluctuations in value and performance across different mortgage REITs. I became even more interested as I found certain economic theories, such as efficient market prices, clearly did not apply. The lack of high quality public analysis meant investors were often poorly informed which set the stage for price failures. Economics would suggest that the rewards from this analysis must be the fair compensation for the talent that goes into finding them, but efficient markets still requires that the adjustment be immediate. It is not. Do you want an example? Look at the price movement in Resource Capital Corporation leading up to and following the earnings release (03/14/2017). There was a gap, even the morning of the earnings release, because the other professionals covering them needed time to update their expectations.
How did I build my system?
I was good at math and decent (certainly not great) at excel. I spent a great deal of time theorizing about how things worked and building models to represent that view. Then I would pull historical data from a company and see if my model was correct. If it was, great, I could expand the sample size. If it was wrong, I would look for the reason. I try to nail down as many variables as possible. The result of working long hours and constantly reassessing my beliefs as I tested them against the historical data was a deeper understanding of how the parts actually worked. This is why you may see me criticize analysts that put in a weak effort or try to cut large corners.
What is my view on risk?
There is a world of difference between the ways an investor can generate their returns. The traditional view is to see earning excess returns as compensation for taking on high levels of risk. I believe it is far better to focus on earning returns from catching market failures. These failures happen due to poor liquidity and investors (including analysts) working with incomplete information. I believe that by knowing the individual companies well, the investor can step in when the “risk” is heavily skewed in favor of “returns”. They should hunt for opportunities where there should be sufficient room for positive returns and very low probabilities of any major decline.
That theory guides my investment decision making. I do not try to generate higher returns, I try to generate more consistent returns by reducing the downwards risk. Occasionally that results in exceptionally high returns when something corrects, but it also means I am willing to pass on several decent opportunities because I want the risk/return profile skewed heavily in my favor.
It is also a reason you’ll see me emphasize preferred shares as an investment strategy. Some of these have very stable valuations and strong yields. At the same time, I will also look to sell the shares if I believe they are overvalued. This can be challenging for many buy and hold investors, but it is another way to take advantage of liquidity. I pay less attention to setting up those limit-sell orders on the preferred shares if I have a large cash position already, but if I see several things at attractive prices then I don’t want to stay in a share if I could reallocate the capital to something that is materially more attractive.
The subscription platform allows me to do a few things very well. It allows me to share the research I’m doing for my own investment decision making. It allows me to communicate rapidly with investors that are willing to pay for my best work. The editorial process takes time, but subscription articles can be posted as quickly as I can write them and upload the file. This is critical for updating investors to a liquidity event.
It also allows me to diversify income streams. With the growth in ad-blocking technologies and widespread use of mobile devices, I want more sources of revenue for my work. This is the only method I’ve found that works. Don’t take my word for it though, consider reviews from my subscribers. I’m still maintaining a perfect 5 star average rating.
Want Recent Examples?
Look at the tickers for RSO, ORC, and WMC. I was able to call a buy rating and two sell ratings. I would consider RSO and ORC homeruns (price movement over 15% within a month) and WMC a solid double (falling 7% to 8% to land within my suggested range for closing shorts). Disclosure: Long RSO.
I have been an active investor for almost 20 years. My main focus is on high-yield stocks, particularly MLPs, and high-growth oil companies in the Eagle Ford shale. I have a portion of my portfolio allocated to short-term trading, with a focus on over-reactions to company news and directional plays on VIX-based ETFs. I am happy to answer just about any question sent my way, especially from those new to the stock market.