In Q2 I returned +3.2% versus +8.7% for the S&P 500 (SPY). In 2023, I’ve returned +11.6% versus +16.9% for the index, underperforming the index by a major quantity. Worse, I outperformed considerably in January and have underperformed ever since.
This was a quiet quarter on the investing entrance for me, the place I didn’t provoke any new positions apart from brief time period trades, which have achieved nicely. I bought my small Hersha (HT) stake at a 5% acquire based mostly on suggestions from fellow analyst and good friend Siyu LI who rightly identified how egregious the chief compensation was.
What I did proper:
- I have not shorted something, nor do I plan to. I’ve all of the respect on the planet for managers that run over 100% lengthy whereas sustaining a brief guide as a hedge, however I’ve realized that this is not for me. The most important key to outperforming in the long term is to keep away from doing one thing silly, and for me, having shorts open will increase the possibilities of doing that.
- I have not considerably added to my vitality holdings, regardless of it being one of many sectors I perceive finest. I made life altering cash final 12 months in vitality and bought quite a bit close to the highs, so there is a pure inclination to return to what you already know when it is “on sale.” My largest vitality holding, Vitality Switch (ET), has achieved nicely. I nonetheless see worth on this sector, however I am pragmatic about it. Requires oil returning to and staying above $100 are optimistic. Final 12 months confirmed that there’s each a provide and demand response above this degree.
What I might have achieved higher:
- Final 12 months round this time, everybody “knew” there was going to be a recession in 2023 – the one debate was wouldn’t it be a “brief and shallow” recession or “lengthy and protracted.” When everybody believes in a selected consequence, it nearly by no means occurs. I wasn’t loopy bearish, and I initiated my Dole (DOLE) place in late September just about on the low, and I loaded up in late December for some well-timed January bounces, however my bearish bias had led me to lacking some alternatives. We nonetheless have affordable GDP progress, labor remains to be robust, and inflation is dropping. This doesn’t suggest I am bullish (I will cowl extra in my outlook under), but it surely brought about me to stay too rigid relating to what, in hindsight, have been some very simple setups. In every of those instances, I did a major quantity of labor and in the end handed – not for basic causes, however as a result of I used to be too bearish on the general market. This value me at the very least 5% in total efficiency.
- Lacking the rally in expertise shares nonetheless stings, particularly the alternatives in Google (GOOG) underneath $90 (twice!), Microsoft (MSFT) underneath $240, and Meta (META). I knew all three corporations very nicely, and will have purchased.
Money and brief period bond funds (40%)
Nonetheless holding essentially the most money I ever have held, whereas opportunistically deploying it for trades. I nonetheless consider this can be a time to be defensive, and that is nonetheless extra cash than I would like.
PBF Vitality (6%)
Boy, this has been a enjoyable holding. I’ve traded round my PBF holding total for an inexpensive acquire. I nonetheless assume it has some upside, however this has been fairly a run from the low $30’s. PBF closed on half of the Eni (E) deal on June twenty eighth, receiving $431 million (8% of their market cap!) The opposite half of the $835 million transaction ought to shut quickly.
The primary half of 2023 featured a whole lot of money outflows for PBF: repaying $525 million PBFX debt, vital CapEx from TAR’s and the RD buildout, and fee of some RIN’s. The second half of this 12 months, PBF ought to have some severe money coming in as crack spreads stay robust (particularly in California) and the second half of PBF deal closes. PBF might repurchase a major quantity of shares within the second half of this 12 months.
Cenovus Vitality (4%)
Nonetheless holding my place in Cenovus, and stay bullish on the corporate long run. Cenovus returning 100% of capital in dividends and repurchases is getting nearer.
Vitality Switch (18%) items (13%) and most popular shares (5%)
I added a small quantity of frequent items within the low $12’s, and added extra of the Collection E (ET.PE) underneath $23. Round $13, I nonetheless consider Vitality Switch is without doubt one of the best setups available in the market and customary items are value between $18-$20.
Berkshire Hathaway (10%)
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) (BRK.B) stays an anchor in my portfolio, although its valuation is definitely on the “excessive finish” of honest. I just lately purchased again my brief Jan24 $350 name place at a ~20% revenue.
Genesis Vitality (6%)
Written up most just lately as Thesis Getting Stronger.
It has been a irritating quarter for Genesis (GEL) with it hovering close to my buy value. Trying ahead to a stronger second half, hopefully on earnings and oil strengthening. Persistence is vital for this holding and I am not anticipating a whole lot of motion till 2024, truthfully, however there’s just a few catalysts I see that might transfer items up earlier than then:
- Further GoM connections that tie-back with minimal extra capital (GoM lease gross sales have been sturdy recently.)
- Soda Ash pricing strengthening in time for 2024 pricing negotiations.
- A sale of the Soda Ash enterprise.
Privately held WE Soda, which produces roughly the identical quantity of Soda Ash as Genesis, just lately sought an IPO at a $7.5 billion valuation (it was referred to as off final month because of “investor warning”.) If Genesis might discover a purchaser for its Soda Ash enterprise at even $4-$5 billion, which I consider is within the vary of honest worth, particularly to a strategic investor, they might develop into web debt free in a single day and the items would triple. Additionally value mentioning, the closest factor left to a publicly traded comp now that Sisecam was purchased out, Pure Useful resource Companions (NRP) is at a 52-week excessive regardless of Met Coal (its different enterprise apart from Soda Ash) pricing being at 52-week lows.
H&R Block (6%)
Low cost once more at 8x ahead P/E with double digit earnings progress forecast till 2025. Since they repurchase a whole lot of their very own shares, a decrease share value will increase the long run EPS progress price. Solidly holding this. I wager it finishes the 12 months close to $40 once more.
Dole is up 60% since my October buy. I’ve trimmed among the shares in my non-taxable account. Patiently ready for the Recent Vegetable sale to shut. Shares most likely stay rangebound till then.
JPMorgan Chase (3%)
I nonetheless maintain a small JPMorgan Chase (JPM) place from my unique $90 buy value.
NuStar Most well-liked C Shares (3%)
These have traded up properly since my purchases within the mid $23 vary. They’re in a taxable account, so no plans to promote at the very least till someday subsequent 12 months. These get safer by the quarter as the corporate continues to redeem the privately held class D Prefs.
Outlook for the remainder of 2023
The massive cash just isn’t within the shopping for and promoting, however within the ready.
With the S&P500 above 4500, I believe now could be a poor time to be chasing shares, particularly when you may earn 5% in Treasuries. I am seeing an terrible lot of victory laps from bullish buyers lately. Whereas I am certain there are some people left to chase, I am unsure what number of people are nonetheless left to purchase shares up right here.
The brief time period treasury price is the very best it has been in 10 years, and we have raised it awfully quick. Simply because we have not damaged something but (nicely, apart from regional banks, CRE, and the federal price range) doesn’t suggest that we’re not going to. The Fed retains participating in unprecedented coverage: first by forcing an unimaginable sum of money into the system in a brief period of time and never having any concept on what would occur (guess it wasn’t simply transitory, in any case) and now tightening in the identical manner. Couple this with a reckless Congress and that’s operating a *1.5 trillion* greenback deficit outdoors of a significant recession, and I am cautious. I am not a permabear doomer, however I’ve to acknowledge that this atmosphere is something however regular and predictable.
In the identical manner that everybody was bearish in late September, now I see everybody saying “See! All the pieces is ok! Oh look, AI!” Each micro-dip will get purchased. Sentiment has definitely shifted, many main indicators have been weak, and I’ve severe considerations concerning the shopper. I believe this can be a time to be taking some chips off the desk.
So, proper now, I am pleased with what I am holding, on the lookout for alternatives, and ready for the fats pitch.
Editor’s Observe: This text discusses a number of securities that don’t commerce on a significant U.S. alternate. Please concentrate on the dangers related to these shares.