Wall Street Consensus Trades Fell Apart in 2016: 16.2% Underperformance

Following Consensus Trades worked in 2013 and 2014, and started to lose some money in 2015. After running the numbers, we were shocked to see this developing consensus underperformance trend accelerate by 1270bps for 2016.

We analyzed Thomson Reuters’ I/B/E/S dataset and looked at instances where analysts were unanimously bullish or bearish on a stock.  It turns out that analysts recommendations correlated strongly with share price performance.  However, there was one tiny caveat: the buys dramatically underperformed the sells in 2016.  The unanimous buys were up 4.5% while the unanimous sells were up 20.7% so a market neutral consensus portfolio lost ~16.2% last year.  It turns out that 2016 was a year where betting against the analyst herd paid off!

share-price-distribution-chart-02
The chart above shows the distribution in share price performance between both cohorts. (The bullish group had outliers up +1618% and +1189% that are not shown.) While the winners in both groups performed roughly the same, the losers in the bullish group fell more than the bearish group.

One major factor behind the underperformance was the bullishness surrounding small-cap development-stage pharma stocks.  For healthcare stocks (which were mostly small-cap pharma names in our cohorts), the number of consensus buys outnumbered the sells by a factor of 13.7X versus a baseline rate of 2.24X.

Read More

Technical Thoughts: Sentieo’s Alexa Skill and the Three Fundamental Laws of Voice User Experience $AMZN $GOOGL $AAPL

Sentieo’s Alexa Skill is live! We present some thoughts from our technical team recapping our experiences for the benefit of those who are keen on considering the future of computer interfaces.

For Voice User Interfaces (VUIs) to have any chance of success, the future direction of Voice User Experience (VUX) will be strongly tied to physical, not software, constraints.

The three features of these will be:

1) At least 100 words per minute (wpm) input

2) close to 200wpm output

3) under 250ms response time.

We are nowhere close.

Read More

Oil & Gas Research the Smart Way with Sentieo $NFX $FANG $CLR $APC

The O&G industry reports tons of data in both volume and detail—from drilling rig and pressure pumping data to well production info. Looking for and analyzing all of this information for your investment ideas is a very necessary but time consuming process. Designed by buysiders for buysiders, Sentieo is the best tool on the market for leveraging technology to rapidly compress your research cycle and give you more time to generate true alpha insights.

In this post, I’m going to show you a glimpse into the world of oil & gas research using Sentieo—so that you can spend more time analyzing your the findings and try to come up with answers to questions such as:

Which E&P companies might be at risk of defaulting on their loan obligations?

Has an E&P operator you are following announced those new well results yet?

What would this company specific data would look if I plotted it against other metrics?

What are some ways I can use Sentieo to research industry trends?

What are companies are saying about break-even oil prices and well-economics?

How many drilled but uncompleted wells are in a company’s backlog?

Read More

$PLATED – Using Mosaic to ballpark unlisted company financials

This is a companion post to walk through our methodology for our post on WFM.

For full transparency, we wanted to go through in detail our math on the subscription meal-kit industry, where all players are unlisted. This is where Mosaic starts to come in handy to estimate real numbers.

Guesstimating Blue Apron as the anchor

The latest delivery number for Blue Apron is 8 million meals/month (more than double the June 2015 rate of 3 million meals/month) That Fortune article equates it to a $960m run rate on an ASP of $10, but we are skeptical as customers never pay the full list price with the myriad referral bonuses and other promotions common in the business. We reckon the real number is closer to $9, which puts Blue Apron on a still-impressive $720m revenue run rate.

Hellofresh as the other end of the vector

Hellofresh’s 2015 pre-IPO numbers were $290m globally, of which 60% is US revenues. That’s $150m for calendar 2015, over which the company quadrupled, so they exited with closer to $375m run rate in US revenues.

Using Mosaic and two known points to triangulate

We don’t know much about Plated and the other smaller players in the subscription kit space, but fortunately, they all run similar business models in the most transparent traffic market in the world. We used Mosaic to pull together three independent reads on Plated’s traffic and got extremely close results:

Using the market share data and known revenue numbers, we can put an estimate on Plated of about $135m in annual run rate:

wfmblog18

This sounds in the ballpark considering it was pinned at $100m from this Inc article in June 2015. The closeness of fit of a linear curve shows that the revenues are strongly tied to traffic acquisition, but also that there is no clear barrier to entry or topline benefit to scale:

plated2

Getting a Handle on Industry Growth

So we now know that the industry is doing roughly $1.4bn/yr today but that number is meaningless in isolation because the rate of growth presents a constantly moving target, something traditional investors in retail and staples aren’t used to. We need get a handle on growth as well. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a platform where you could easily pull up that data from multiple sources?

Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 5.17.42 PM 1

Plated’s March peak in traffic is a one-off bump thanks to their deal with Mark Cuban on Shark Tank, but we reckon that the industry has roughly doubled year-on-year, which means that there was at least $700m in incremental revenues over 2015, backend weighted. What is a reasonable estimate for forward projections?

Forecasting the future is more art than science. If the industry saw 100% growth in 2015, is it fair to say it will grow 100% again in 2016? On the one hand, you are starting off a higher base and are going from early adopters to followers. On the other hand, you have better funding and cash flow and scale in everything from customer base to marketing campaigns to logistics. It is hard to take the over/under. We think a fair conservative estimate is $800m in incremental revenues, which is a slight acceleration year on year in dollar terms but actually a sizable deceleration percentage-wise, to +60% forward growth. We think the risk to this number is higher rather than lower as more funding and entrants like Amazon come into the space.

Calculating the Comp Sensitivity for WFM

1% of WFM’s 2015 revenues of $15bn is $150m, and given that WFM is not closing stores in any meaningful scale, this is a directly applicable number to calculate impact on comparable store sales. Every $150m taken away from WFM is 1% less in comps.

However, WFM does not solely bear the brunt of the disruption. A number of WFM’s peers, from Kroger to Sprouts Farmers Market, have all called out or commented on the potential impact on subscription meal-kit services. While WFM is a major player, it would be unfair to attribute the full amount of the disruption to them. Since WFM is approximately 25% of grocery industry revenues, we think somewhere in that ballpark would be appropriate, though pricing and demographic characteristics make WFM more susceptible to disruption than the general industry.

Taking all of the above into consideration, we are able to stress test a simple model of WFM comp sensitivity to the subscription meal-kit services, which is how we finally arrive at our Comp Sensitivity table used in the main WFM blog post.

wfmblog14