My Investment Journey

Discussion in 'Investing' started by Jsmfof, Jun 7, 2021.

  1. Jsmfof

    Jsmfof New Member

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    Hi everyone. I’m a new investor in the stock market. I just opened a brokerage account at the end of this past February but I’ve been fairly obsessed with learning as much as possible about it since that time. As I’m new, my beliefs have been changing fairly regularly as I’ve acquired new information and experience. Nonetheless, they’ve started to become fixed enough that I doubt they’ll change too drastically until after the market provides me feedback through my returns.

    As I’ve been researching and evaluating material individually to this point, I’d like to post my current stock picks/thoughts to not only document my journey, but also to see the responses others have to my views.

    My biggest influence so far has been Michael Burry and my interpretation of his methods in his writings on MSN Money. My stock picking decisions will be made based on trying to learn as much as possible about companies with promising fundamentals and a strong balance sheet.


    Current Portfolio:

    BABA

    MSFT

    FIVE (five below)

    SMLR (semler scientific)

    TOMZ (tomi environmental solutions)


    I’m currently looking at BHAT (blue hat interactive entertainment technology) and PRDO (perdoceo education corporation)
     
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  2. T0rm3nted

    T0rm3nted Moderator
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    Welcome, looking forward to watching your progress :)
     
  3. anotherdevilsadvocate

    anotherdevilsadvocate Well-Known Member

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    Cool intro, seeing there can be all kinds of influences.

    Do you see FIVE being better than DG (Dollar General)? DLTR (Dollar Tree) is the weakest of those dollar stores.

    SMLR fundamentals caught my eye before but I can't touch something that trades 10,000 shares a day.
     
  4. Jsmfof

    Jsmfof New Member

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    Thanks and good luck to you in your money-making endeavors
     
  5. Jsmfof

    Jsmfof New Member

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    My opinions on those two stocks have changed since I first bought them. I just opened my brokerage account at the end of February and I bought FIVE sometime in March before I read my first sec filing. SMLR was the first stock where I actually took the time to read the latest quarterly report and listened in on the earnings call. Knowing what I know now about pricing, I wouldn’t necessarily buy them at that time if I had a redo because some of the growth had been incorporated into the share price. That being said, I do believe they’ll yield good returns and they’re still worth holding.

    I was waiting on the first quarter results for FIVE before I did a deeper analysis of it, but I’d say that it superficially seems better than DG at the moment. I read up on stocks when I have time and it takes me a few days to decide if I can come up with a viable thesis for any particular issue. I wanted to get started on FIVE today so I’m going to do that and I’ll probably post my thoughts on it after the next few days.
     
  6. Jsmfof

    Jsmfof New Member

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    FIVE @ 6/21

    The latest 10k shows the spread of stores and distribution centers as of the end of January, 2021. Currently, the company has established a presence in the eastern and southern regions of the country and is progressing westward. Expansion continues as the concentration of stores reaches optimal levels in relation to nearby distribution centers. The benefit of concentrating stores around a particular area lies in the ability to utilize certain fixed costs to pay for multiple stores. This increases a company’s operating margin. For example, if certain shipping routes are utilized to bring product to a particular store, it makes sense to open another store somewhat close by and just double the amount of product being shipped. Additionally, if brand recognition increases in a particular area due to advertising for a particular store, another store can be opened nearby and the costs for generating brand awareness can be spread more efficiently between stores. These fixed costs provide potential for increases in earnings proportionally greater than the associated increases in revenue. So, if revenues were to increase by 20 percent, earnings would increase by a greater percentage, depending on how much of the operating margin is determined by fixed costs that can be used for multiple stores.


    The company is planning on opening distribution centers in Indianapolis and Tucson this year along with a total of 170-180 new stores. This, combined with all other capital expenditures for the year, is expected to total 315 million in capital expenses for 2021 (excluding tenant allowances). They have already opened over 60 stores in q1 and 6 of them made the company’s list of top 25 spring openings for new stores despite less marketing and fewer store hours. The goal is to eventually have 2,500 stores spread across the country. As it is quite apparent there will be a great deal of growth in the future, understanding the future prospects of FIVE’s share price requires some concrete understanding of the numbers behind the company’s fixed costs, sales, and comparable store sales growth.


    I wasn’t sure whether or not this operating leverage would actually be visible in the financial statements of the company, so I collected data going back through 2018 and did some simple calculations. I rounded numbers while I was doing these calculations so they aren’t exact. I grouped together the percent of sales that was lost to operating expenses, the total sales (in thousands of dollars), the average sales per store, and the corresponding operating margin. If the theory behind the operating margins was correct, it would be expected that operating margins would go up as total sales go up during times when the average sales per store was the same. This is because the sales per store would be constant but the total number of stores would be up and they would ostensibly be concentrated so as to lower average costs per store.


    [89% 598,000 q1 2021 0.6, 11%]

    [95% 477,000 q3 2020 0.5, 5%]

    [92% 426,000 q2 2020 0.4, 8%]

    [97% 377,000 q3 2019 0.4, 3%]

    [91% 417,000 q2 2019 0.5, 9%]

    [93% 365,000 q1 2019 0.5, 7%]

    [95% 313,000 q3 2018 0.4, 5%]

    [91% 348,000 q2 2018 0.5, 9%]

    [92% 296,000 q1 2018 0.5, 8%]


    This doesn’t really show any clear trend in margins. However, these operating costs include the expenses made to fuel the growth of the company. Thus, the company is at least growing while maintaining margins. So as the total sales increase, the earnings per share should increase somewhat proportionally. However, these numbers aside, there are currently measures being taken to increase efficiency and drive sales. The biggest change is the remodeling of their stores to fit the new prototype. By the end of the year it is expected that 30% of all stores will be remodeled. The new store type has been tested and been proven to be successful. The new prototype has a 5 Beyond section for more expensive items, an associate assisted checkout (so customers can check themselves out and employees will be free to help customers that are shopping), and other features to increase sales.


    The last quarter had the largest ticket size per customer ever. Revenues per store hit a new record even with less customers than average. The operating margin was also significantly better and management amended their guidance by increasing expected earnings for q2 after monitoring the first third of the quarter. Even though the fixed cost leveraging effect wasn’t that apparent in the previous quarters, management claimed that it played a large role in increasing margins in q1 of this year.


    This all indicates that the company has good prospects for future growth. The only problem is that the pe ratio is in the 40s. If the strong performance of q1 can be maintained then it doesn’t matter, but otherwise that ratio is currently very high. This is why I no longer look at stocks that already have future growth included in the share price.


    Last quarter was unexpectedly profitable, and the company claimed that the new initiatives along with fixed cost leverage provided the means for it to achieve the profits it recorded. Things are seemingly going better than normal this quarter as well and management has amended its forecast accordingly. Therefore, I’m still happy to leave my money in the stock, but not sure about the sustainability of the recent rate of growth.


    The main draw that still holds me to this company as opposed to other value retailers is the particular market space it occupies. It is not simply an extreme value retail store like Dollar General or Dollar Tree where people just want cheap purchases. I picture it more like a Wal Mart for kids. The environment is fun and kid friendly in a way the other stores aren’t. Additionally, its new 5 beyond section has slightly more expensive items that are still a bargain buy. If it doesn’t tie itself down to any specific price points and markets itself as simply a value store for kids, then it has some flexibility in its price range. So far people have been buying the higher priced items. I think 5 Below has its own niche/brand and doesn’t necessarily have to compete with other value retailers for the same type of customers.
     
  7. Jsmfof

    Jsmfof New Member

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    So right now the stock I have the most faith in is actually TOMZ. I started buying it a little while ago around 2.59 and it's currently just under 3 dollars per share. I believe it has the potential to at least double from the initial value of 2.59 during the course of this year, but it might increase by more. If it underperforms then I'll see why and reassess. The product, financial position, and insider ownership of this company are all ideal to me so I don't mind holding for awhile in case of short term problems.
     
  8. Jsmfof

    Jsmfof New Member

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    TOMZ- TOMI Environmental Solutions Inc @ 05/25/2021


    Insiders

    -insider holding situation is ideal, no recent selling, and acquisitions were made at a much higher stock price (in the 4s, while it is currently in the 2s)


    SteraMist

    -business is centered around steramist administration, which is a proprietary (patented, and patents have been defended previously) method of aerosolizing a hydrogen peroxide containing solution to clean surfaces rapidly with 6 log (99.9999%) efficiency, minimal damage, minimal residue, and a high degree of safety since the product essentially converts to water and oxygen

    -study showed steramist application cleaned much faster in hospital setting than manual cleaning protocol, and there is a study showing that steramist is effective at cleaning ppe such as n95 masks

    -numerous other studies showing its effectiveness at killing various microbes, but the main point is that it seems to be a solid product and has passed sufficient regulatory requirements

    -there are currently 5 main divisions of the company: hospital/healthcare, lifesciences (labs and such), TSN (network of companies licensed and trained to provide TOMI cleaning services), food safety (mainly food production materials and facilities rather than the actual food at this point), and commercial (a new division that grew during covid and services many places like schools, apartments, fire departments, etc.)

    -TOMI also provides support and direct services


    Recent Company Story

    -2017 was when selling of products began

    -revenues had not become consistent prior to the pandemic

    -planned for 18 million in revenue at the start of 2020, but hit 25 million due to pandemic

    -1.3 mil 2019 international revenue (domestic 5 mil), 6.7 mil int and 18.4 mil dom in 2020

    -service revenue 2 mil 2020 and 1.3 mil 2019

    -mainly hospital, tsn, commercial division growth in first half 2020

    -after 2020 planned for 40 million in revenue in 2021

    -earnings have been falling since early quarantine boom


    Company Explanation for Lagging Sales

    -when sales exploded in the first half of last year many companies were also buying extra solution in anticipation of a shortage

    -many previous customers in healthcare and the lifesciences were closed in the second half of last year

    -difficult to demo equipment in nonessential lifesciences and hospital settings because of quarantine, and this hurt sales since switching to steramist solution can be more time-efficient and effective but also more expensive and customer education is required before they’re willing to switch

    -trade shows were important in generating sales prior to pandemic and were discontinued during pandemic

    -second half of 2020 showed customers wanted cheaper electrostatic spraying devices even though they were functionally inferior, especially in foreign markets


    Company Explanation for Positive Outlook

    -previous customers will resume regular business and efforts will be made to refocus on core customers

    -expecting federal funds by mid 2021 to help protect against future pandemics

    -spending more on capex and opex (sales team increased)

    -need more competitive pricing so cheaper sterapak going to be released q2 2021

    -at the start of 2021 budgeted to sell 2000 units of sterapak

    -cheaper sterapak unit to be released will hopefully gain foothold in foreign markets through ISSA, IEHA, EMEA

    -late 2021 efficiency results expected from many hospitals onboarded in 2020

    -future use for steramist in directly cleaning food and ppe (such as n95 masks)

    -still expecting 35-40 mil in revenue this year even after q1 earnings report


    My Interpretation

    -TOMI Environmental Solutions was getting ready to ramp up sales in 2020 and so aimed for 18 million. Instead, the pandemic caused a larger spike in revenues than expected. However, some of the customers would have not had any interest in the company prior to the pandemic and the profits garnered from selling to them would be unsustainable. Though the product is very time-efficient in relation to the breadth of its killing effectiveness, it costs more money than regular spraying/wiping. Many customers that don’t think that level of efficiency is worth it might not be repeat purchasers. I am particularly skeptical of the entire commercial division that sprouted up during the pandemic. Some may continue to buy, but I feel many won’t. My gym for example, while it didn’t necessarily use steramist, was continually spraying the weights and equipment in between sessions earlier during the pandemic, but recently stopped completely. I think the exposure granted to the company could help it expand to serve customers in the same sectors as those pre-pandemic. When previous customers resume normal business, this coupled with some retained business from the quarantine will increase sales and allow the company to continue on its natural growth path.


    The company has increased its sales team/efforts, which has noticeably increased expenses, with the aim of greatly increasing revenue this year. The debt/equity ratio is decent. The company had an operating loss in q1 2021, but has some cash reserves and is confident in its ability to sustain itself. The CEO said he still expects 35-40 mil in revenue this year. The fact that the company seems to be operating as if they expect sales to increase seems to me that some sort of improvement in profits is likely.


    The dip in TOMI’s stock price that has occurred since it’s last earnings report is shortsighted in regards to the company’s overall future. Lowered earnings weren’t that unexpected since much of their profit growth was largely artificial. Many of the preliminary steps, such as obtaining patents and conducting studies to meet regulatory requirements, have already been met. More organic growth will follow and I think that the stock should noticeably increase in price.
     
  9. Jsmfof

    Jsmfof New Member

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    I just called investor relations for the first time. I didn’t realize they just repeat what’s in the sec filings and earnings calls. I probably should have asked about competitors and changes in the sector or something instead of their actual company.
     
  10. Jsmfof

    Jsmfof New Member

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    Agrofresh Solutions Inc (agfs) is a stock I’ve recently been researching. I just finished reading through their last 10k. I’ll have to look over it more to make sure I’m interpreting things correctly and I have the dates/numbers correct, but I have developed a story in my mind about the progression of the company over the years. It was also near a 52 week low when I noticed it.


    The business is primarily concerned with increasing crop yields and reducing spoilage at all stages of the process from pre harvest to the retail store itself. Climacteric fruits continue to ripen after being harvested, and this was the initial concern of the business. They had a patent for their use of 1-mcp to block receptors in the fruit that caused the ripening process to continue. For various reasons, their business was primarily centered around using this on apples post harvest. Whatever relevant patents existed expired in 2014.


    With the expiration of the patents, the company seemed to lose its value. The stock price has been declining since that time. In 2015 a loan of over 400 million was taken out to finance the company’s future projects. Some acquisitions, such as that of Technidex, have been made. Some new products, such as Harvista for pre harvest, were created. Nonetheless, successful and sustainable growth could not be achieved. The company has been posting negative yearly earnings.


    All that aside, the crux of the issue concerning this company is that the loan was due to be repaid this year. This was clearly not feasible so agrofresh reworked their financing such that they’d have to repay their debts by 2024. This new debt structure was made possible because they sold something like 140 or 150 million in preferred stock and used the money raised to pay down what they could of the outstanding debt in 2020. They now have to pay dividends on the preferred stock and this has not solved the debt problem. The profits generated in the year 2013 and those years before the expiration of the patents weren’t enough to warrant the ability to pay back such a loan. Additional measures will have to be taken in the future to address this issue.


    I’m going to try to understand exactly what the plan is in terms of the debt and whether or not I’m interpreting the financial statements and general situation correctly. If things play out as I’m initially envisioning them doing, then the price should continue to fall. However, if the debt situation ever becomes manageable at some point in the future, the company should be a bargain buy. Right now the entire market cap of the company is less than the yearly revenue. In fact, the market cap is only about 4 times the 2013 net income if I’m remembering the numbers accurately. If the share price falls further than it should be even cheaper in comparison.


    I suppose the appropriate next step should be to just forget this company entirely, but I’ll continue to watch it a little so that I don’t feel like my efforts so far were totally wasted.
     
  11. Jsmfof

    Jsmfof New Member

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    I’ve dropped PRDO and BHAT from my watch list. I’m watching AGFS, but not with the intention of buying it at the moment. I need to find other well-priced stocks to put my money in. BABA is certainly still undervalued, and I believe TOMZ is as well, but I’d like to find other opportunities in the market instead of just continuing to put my money in those two stocks.


    Since I mentioned what was in my portfolio on June 7th, the market has been doing pretty well. I want to try to find overlooked situations to invest in so my portfolio won’t exactly follow the market, but I’ve also been doing well.


    BABA: 216.9 to 228.59, 5.39%

    MSFT: 253.81 to 268.72, 5.87%

    FIVE: 185.47 to 195.46, 5.39%

    SMLR: 110.5 to 108.50, -2.81%

    TOMZ: 2.82 to 2.96, 4.96%
     
  12. Stockman2015

    Stockman2015 New Member

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    Hello there and welcome to the stock market! I'm kinda like you, I stopped trading a while ago and recently got back again. All the knowledge I have before was a little blurry so I have to study again. It's like 3 months when I got back but I am still careful about what I invest in. As of now, I am into ATOS, BTCS, EEENF. Those are the three that I got right now. I remember checking out SMLR but some people were a bit skeptical since there are a lot of stocks getting traded.
     
  13. Jsmfof

    Jsmfof New Member

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    Thanks! I’ll have to look those up. When I first started I didn’t really know how to read up and analyze a stock so it was a lot easier to just pick stuff to buy. Now that I know a little more it’s difficult to find stuff and be comfortable with it, so I’m always looking for good ideas.

    I was in medical school for awhile so I was able to understand what SMLR was selling and what their future research was going to be focused on. I also liked that they’d already become profitable and were licensing their product rather than manufacturing/distributing themselves. They were an asset-light company and didn’t really have much in the way of fixed costs, so I figured they’d be able to get higher revenues without as much of an increase in their cost of sales. The risk was that the price was pretty high for the stock, but I thought the company had a lot of potential, at least while it’s technology was still patented. I figured I’d start making nice gains after a year or two at most.

    There’s not really much news to read up on with these microcap stocks so I haven’t really paid much attention to it recently. I check every once in awhile to see if there’s anything going on, but I’m mainly just waiting for the next 10q.
     
  14. Jsmfof

    Jsmfof New Member

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    So TOMZ and BABA are two of my main stocks. There was recently important news regarding both that resulted in significant drops in price. TOMZ dropped about 8% and BABA dropped about 2.8%. The problems with DIDI and the recent news about the Alibaba founders failing to disclose that they’d used their shares as collateral for a loan caused some negative sentiment. However, these issues are not related to the actual economics of BABA and I’m not worried about the stock price rising back to a more reasonable amount. The price of BABA is still tremendously below what it should be. It was over 300 last year and is now generating greater revenues. If it rises to even 240 sometime before the year is over I should be at a 10 percent profit, but I intend on holding onto the stock as I see it becoming much more valuable with time.


    In regards to TOMZ, action was taken to grant shares in accordance with the employee benefit plan laid out in 2016. There were a total of 2 million shares available, and approximately 1.375 million were recently set aside at a price of 2.93 per share. The aggregate offering price was 4.028 million. I’m guessing the recent drop in stock price was due to share dilution? I’m not sure entirely why it occurred. I bought the stock initially because I expected them to have a substantially better performance as the year went on and I felt that the stock price would rise significantly. Management would already be aware of the q2 financial performance and would clearly have an insight into how the stock price would change with the release of those results. If they want to make the stock available at this price then I feel they’ve also come to the conclusion that the price will likely be higher in the future. I don’t know what the thinking is when these types of employee benefit programs are put into action, so maybe I’m interpreting it incorrectly. However, to me it seems logical that the company would chose this price if they felt the stock price would grow from here. All of this reasoning aside, the offering price was 4.028 million and the company’s been maintaining a market cap around 50 million. 50/(50+4)=0.926 and 1-0.926=0.074, so if the drop is related to this somehow having to do with market dilution, then each share being worth 7.4% less is close to the 8% drop in price that occurred today so it might be a reasonable drop. Regardless of how the employee benefit plan works in relation to the stock price, I still expect good news this year so I'm continuing to buy as much as possible when there are major drops in price.
     
  15. Jsmfof

    Jsmfof New Member

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    I wish I had more money to spend. Everyone’s freaking out about covid and prices are dropping. Smlr hit a new high the other day so it’s still going up off of the technicals and the traders watching them. Tomz is up 6% but it’s hard to say what the actual price will be at the close due to the volatility. I’m fairly certain that the massive price drop over the last two days was nonsense and largely due to emotion so I think the stock will go back up. However, if the fears about the delta variant and some type of covid reemergence prove sound, Tomz could experience another boost to earnings and share price at a smaller scale than it did during the start of the pandemic.
     
  16. Jsmfof

    Jsmfof New Member

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    So I haven't really been doing much besides waiting up until recently. I bought into the class A shares of Seneca Food Corp on July 22. I bought the stock because it looked massively undervalued. They released their earnings for the last quarter a few days ago and I have to evaluate what the numbers look like sometime soon. I bought into Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) on July 26th, Performant Financial Corp (PFMT) on August 2nd, and Smile Direct Club (SDC) on August 10th after the earnings call caused the stock to plummet. I need to read the last 10k and latest 10q for SDC before I buy more.

    In regards to the stocks I've got currently, SMLR dipped below my initial investment price so I'm thinking of buying more, BABA's been getting cheaper but the price might be depressed for awhile so I don't feel too rushed to buy more immediately, MSFT hit a new high, FIVE hit a new high, and TOMZ plummeted. As there's been no actual negative news this quarter regarding TOMZ, I'm not concerned about it. The next earnings call is this Monday so I'll be able to get some degree of clarity on whether my initial investment idea was correct or incorrect. TOMZ is currently my largest position, as I thought last quarter's guidance, last quarter's spending, the reopening of many old and prospective clients, and the release of the new sterapak would result in revenues substantially higher than pre-pandemic levels. There's also been a push to use the cheaper sterapak to reach further into foreign markets. This should all begin to unfold through the end of this year and the start of next year. I'm hoping Monday's earnings call confirms that this is likely. I'm not aware of any relevant analysts covering TOMZ, so I spent a fairly large amount of time reading through the SEC filings myself. I decided to be confident in my interpretation of quantitative and qualitative information and made a big bet. I'll try to be objective when the results come out this Monday.
     
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  17. Jsmfof

    Jsmfof New Member

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    A relevant update regarding PFMT- the share price has fallen recently due to the company planning to raise another 40,000,000 through selling more shares. I don't have any problem with this since they are attempting to eliminate debt and that would cover over half of the total liabilities listed on the last quarterly report. This would potentially help decrease interest expense payments and increase the ensuing free cash flow generation.

    As for TOMZ, I believe I did not do the proper due diligence before buying this stock. With stocks displaying patterns in financial growth, it is possible to get some understanding of future prospects by looking at the financial data in the sec filings. In the case of TOMZ, I was buying the company with the idea that events would unfold differently than they had in the past. The evidence I used to support my case was their excellent product, the behavior of management, their projections of 40 million in revenue for the year, and the events they outlined which would all increase revenue. After half of 2021, the total revenue has been 4 million. The company did not have a history of making wild claims that I saw when I looked for previous guidance from management. They had anticipated 18 million in revenue in 2020 prior to the pandemic. They surpassed that number due to pandemic sales. However, with the onset of the pandemic their customer pool greatly expanded (since they are in the disinfection/sterilization business). I suspected that with the developments they mentioned, the reopening of the economy, their previous belief in being able to do 18 million, and the great deal of exposure they received during the pandemic, they would be able to at least achieve 12-15 million in sales. Management was very wrong and I believe that they did actually expect they were going to do much better than they did up until this point. However, the lesson I've learned is to base my beliefs around numbers. For example, while previous healthcare and life sciences clients would reopen and add to existing revenues, and the reopening of the economy would allow for more direct product demonstrations and better sales (as this was previously very important in the company's ability to acquire new clients), I need to be able to provide concrete numbers. Even if it is a range, I need to know how much the alteration of the economic conditions would numerically affect sales.

    Currently, I'm simply holding TOMZ. The outlook still holds a lot of potential if events play out in a certain way through q4 or q1 of 2022, and their hydrogen peroxide solution does work very effectively. However, I believe their product line could be better. Their new sterapak is a step in the right direction. I wish there were more products that were cheap and did not require much in the way of commitment or capital investment by customers. Also, while the Covid situation is presently ongoing, businesses are not facing the pressure to disinfect that they had in 2020. I wish that the company would utilize their 2020 revenues to focus on a more natural growth path instead of relying too much on Covid. The company's actions and previous guidance give me the impression that management was not managing properly, which is concerning. However, the core disinfectant solution and patented application method are still the best available. In the end, there's just a lot of uncertainty. This might be a good or bad investment. I'm going to try to find out more information before before the next earnings call.
     
  18. sashatrew

    sashatrew New Member

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    Hello all investors! I have been familiar with this field for a long time, but my first experience with stock trading was unsuccessful. I went into significant losses. Then I realized that it was not the right time to do it yet and decided to give it up. I came back only when I gained experience and knowledge. Courses on trading, various forums, and articles on the Internet helped me. I learned how to apply the theory in practice, figured out how this or that strategy worked, and I was successful in it. I earned my first profit thanks to swing trading I learned about on this site https://timthomas.co/swing-trading-strategies/. Since then, I have been using only this strategy because it suits me the best. I realized one thing for myself: it is better not to try this kind of trading without experience.
     
    #18 sashatrew, Sep 6, 2021
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2021

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