Every year we call out a “turkey” stock teaser around Thanksgiving time and poke a bit of fun at some terrible investment ideas…
… so it seems only fair to highlight a few winners as well, and this week, when we’re otherwise closed for the holiday, seems a good time to spread some cheer and celebrate some good stuff.
So what were the top teaser picks of 2019?
You can always check out the (semi-updated) teaser tracking spreadsheets to see what’s going on lately, but as of a couple days ago these were the winners at the top (the date links to our original article):
|Date||Company||Ticker||Newsletter||Editor||Percent Change||Stock vs. S&P|
|1/16/2019||Ubiquiti Networks||UI||Five Star Trader||Mark Skousen||81.68%||59.41%|
|5/23/2019||Skyworks Solutions||SWKS||Near Future Report, The||Jeff Brown||73.05%||59.35%|
|9/19/2019||Maxar||MAXR||Global Energy Alert (from Oilprice.com)||56.37%||48.59%|
|6/20/2019||NVIDIA||NVDA||Near Future Report, The||Jeff Brown||56.19%||46.83%|
|6/20/2019||Advanced Micro Device||AMD||Near Future Report, The||Jeff Brown||56.01%||46.66%|
|6/25/2019||Antares Pharma||ATRS||Total Wealth Insider||Jeff Yastine||54.22%||43.53%|
|6/10/2019||Skyworks Solutions||SWKS||Stock Advisor Canada||Iain Butler||51.96%||40.67%|
|7/3/2019||Inseego||INSG||Automatic Fortunes||Ian King||47.23%||39.50%|
|6/28/2019||Inseego||INSG||The Power Elite||Jon Markman||46.03%||37.29%|
|6/20/2019||Taiwan Semiconductor||TSM||Near Future Report, The||Jeff Brown||43.66%||34.30%|
You can see some trends in there, no? There are a couple duplicates that were teased by more than one newsletter… and most of those were picks made mid-year, and are technology stocks. We do try to offset the timing issue by comparing the stock’s return to the S&P 500, and those are the top outperformers, but it also likely helped that a lot of those picks were in the volatile semiconductor sector and came in a doldrum time for the market (if a stock is volatile or has a “high beta,” as so many teaser stocks do, that means it rises more than the market when the market rises… and falls more than the market when the market falls).
And if you go to the tracking spreadsheets, you can also see that we’re pretty much on track with how teaser picks typically perform — usually about a third of them beat the broader market in any given year, and two thirds trail the market… we also usually have a few huge winners that gain 100% or more, and several that lose 90%+ or go bankrupt, and that’s about where we are today, though the winners have not been as big as in a typical year. That’s probably because the market leadership in 2019 has been so very narrow, almost all of the S&P’s extraordinary return this year came from just a few leading tech stocks, and nobody is teasing Apple (AAPL) as their top “secret stock.”
And which articles have been the most popular in 2019? Were they those winning teaser picks?
I’m afraid not… here are the most-read teaser solutions we posted in 2019, and usually that means these were some of the most aggressively marketed ideas (folks read the articles because they have questions… they have questions because they keep seeing the ads).
I’ve listed them with the day we first covered them — though many of these were re-touted and re-teased along the way, and some of these were first teased using similar ads before this year and might in a couple cases have done well since that original ad (the marketer’s creed: If you’ve found an ad that works, keep pushing it!)
Matt McCall’s Quantum Battery — (Ilika and others, 1/17/19)
Oxford Club’s Single Stock Retirement Plan (FoxConn, 7/16/18)
Motley Fool’s One Stock for the Coming Marijuana Boom (Shopify, 11/8/18)
“Federal Rent Checks” teased by D.R. Barton (Office Properties Income Trust, 3/14/19)
Dan Ferris’ “The Hands-Down No. 1 Pick of My Career” (Sprott, 6/26/19)
Alex Koyfman’s Perfect $1 Pot Stock (Crop Infrastructure, 1/8/18… also the Turkey of the Year)
Motley Fool’s “Betting “$523,059.77 on Tom’s Top Pick for 2019” (Arista Networks, 1/7/19)
Paul Mampilly’s “Tech Industry Set to Surge 76,000%” (Micron, 10/31/18)
Carr’s “America’s #1 Pot Stock” (MedMen, 3/26/19)
Jeff Brown’s “The 5G Device Every American Will Need” (Skyworks Solutions, 5/23/19)
There is one overlap story in those two lists, as you might notice — that’s Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) being teased by Jeff Brown, an idea which has beaten the market by almost 50% since it first circulated in May (and is being re-promoted these days, I’ve seen the ad a lot in the past few weeks). And in fact, this year Jeff Brown has more names in the top performers list than anyone else — at least in part because he had quite a few teaser pitches in the Spring and Summer when semiconductor stocks were a little low, and those have bounced back strong late in the year (and three of those stocks were teased in a single ad that I covered in late June).
Though did you notice, those winning picks from Brown were all from his Near Future Report? That’s the “entry level” tech newsletter that he writes and which is listed at $199 (but seems to usually be touted “on sale” at $99 or $49 or something similar). That letter serves as the entry into the marketing funnel that tries to get you to upgrade to his Exponential Tech Investor or other Bonner & Partners high-end letters.
Exponential Tech Investor is priced at $4,000 a year… for most of these publishers, particularly the ones in the Agoraplex, my impression is that the $50ish newsletters cover their costs, but their profit comes mostly from pushing those low-level subscribers to upgrade to the (usually nonrefundable) $500-$5,000 newsletters — the biggest hurdle is to get an investor to pay something for information, and once you’ve signed up to pay something, whether it’s $19 or $99 or whatever, then you immediately become the hottest prospect to whom they can pitch their $5,000 newsletter.
And though this is entirely anecdotal, I pretty routinely hear feedback from readers of all sorts of newsletters that it’s the “front end” newsletter that they really like, and they often regret committing to the “back end” version that costs so much more. People might love the Motley Fool Stock Advisor which they can usually get for something like $50 a year, but they’re grouchy about the high-priced portfolio services like Discovery: AI ($1,499) from that same publisher… they like Near Future Report but are disappointed by Exponential Tech Investor… they cheer for Paul Mampilly’s Profits Unlimited ($79/yr), but are unimpressed by his Extreme Fortunes ($5,000/yr). That’s not a fair generalization, I’m sure, and this is true for pretty much all publishers so I don’t mean to pick on those folks — it just reflects what I often hear from readers.
So yes, my friends, sometimes a teased pick works out… though it’s rare that the ones that work out are the ones that are the most heavily-touted, or the most popular. That’s why we keep sniffing around, looking at these ideas, and hoping to find something interesting… though I admit that sometimes the terrible ideas are the most fun to cover.
Stock Gumshoe will be on hiatus for a few more days to celebrate the holidays, have a Happy New Year and we’ll be back to solve teasers and blather thoughtfully about stocks for you in 2020!
Disclosure: Of the stocks mentioned above, I have a position (either equity or call options) in Shopify, NVIDIA, Office Properties Income Trust, Arista Networks and Antares. I will not trade in any covered stock for at least three days, per Stock Gumshoe’s trading rules.