Will More Companies Seek Bankruptcy As Opening Up Continues?

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the U.S. vs China trade war, JIT (Just in Time) or also known as the Lean Manufacturing method was the way to finish up production of a product line that is fast to bring the products to the market. JIT was made popular by Toyota in the 1930’s “The Toyota Way” production method. This method allows any company not to stock up raw materials and be overburdened with materials and parts in the production chain inventory, but instead, any company that uses JIT can just rely on an overseas or local third party to quickly deliver whatever stuff that a company needs to finish up production of a product line. JIT saves time, cost, and improves the efficiency of manufacturing. Unfortunately, the pandemic hit in early 2020 led to the shutdown of most parts of the world, and JIT isn’t viable as before. Shipping became more difficult, and shipping costs were rising tremendously. Furthermore, companies rather cut costs and shored up cash to protect the business during the uncertainty of the pandemic COVID-19. This pushed the JIT supply chain to the brink of collapse since companies weren’t ordered raw materials and whatever parts so freely as before.

The U.S. vs China trade war is still an ongoing thing, and JIT won’t be taken up favorably by the United States. The United States doesn’t want to be overly dependent on China for crucial and mission-critical materials and parts. One perfect example of this is rare earth minerals. China has cornered the rare earth mineral market, and with such influence, China could always use its power to subdue the United States to China’s demand by not selling rare earth minerals to the United States. Rare earth minerals, although the market isn’t big, these minerals are the absolute must for most electronic stuff that every country needs. To produce an electronic vehicle, smart TV, or just about any other electronic thing — rare earth materials must be present for such a thing to be successfully made. JIT is all about relying on a third partner/country to provide the raw materials and parts, but this could become a security nightmare for the United States in the rare earth mineral example. The pandemic has had only increased the divide between the United States and China in regards to how a global supply chain should be reformed onward.

As the United States and China try to promote different supply chain routes and methods for the globe, locally located companies aren’t yet weaning off the crisis of shortage of materials and parts such as microchip shortage — due to shipping difficulty and countries’ shutdowns across the globe — due to the pandemic is still an ongoing thing since many countries have yet to adequately allow the populations to be vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines. While the shortages of everything are on the menu, companies are trying to alleviate many shortages as possible by hoarding raw materials and parts. Some companies are trying to overproduce the finished products as these companies have seen the demands of goods rising to an unseen level since the pandemic hit. Thus, rising demands produce rising inflationary prices of finished goods. Shortages of raw materials also push the prices of raw materials to be more expensive such as lumbers. As raw materials get expensive, the expense would pass on to the customers in the finished goods. In general, finished goods are more costly as the demands are high and raw materials’ shortage. With high demands come shrewd business sense, and so companies would go overdrive in producing more finished goods, The question is then when the COVID-19 pandemic slowly goes away and the world is opening up again just like how it was in 2019, services will come back to life, and customers would spend less on goods but more on services — how are the demand bubbles of physical goods would fare in such a scenario?

I think as the opening up roaring back, the inflation would collapse into deflation in how physical goods are being priced — while innovation would continue to drive the costs down of stuff such as electronic — and so many companies that overly produce the finished goods will face the glut of inventory. This could be so inefficient that these companies may wish JIT would become fashionable again. Thus, I think the future earnings of such companies will be way less impressive than most investors would have liked to see. The service sector may pick up again, but companies that are in this sector may still have to face bankruptcy since these companies borrowed a lot of debts during the pandemic COVID-19 service shutdown across the globe. Thus, I don’t think we will see the normal as how we had gotten used to before 2020. Companies with heavy debts should be valued less even if these companies fall into the value investing category. This could be an opportunity or a value trap kind of thing. We could not know an overly burdened indebted company is a bargain or a value trap since such a company could file bankruptcy easily.

Is There A Disconnect Between The Reality and The Stock Market?

Investing can be fun, but it can also be bloody scary. I guess it all comes down to your temperament when bad things hit the fan. For example, I notice that I tend to sell a stock too early. By selling a stock too early, I had experienced missing out on huge gains. Also, whenever I get greedy in playing stock options, I would get slaughtered. Sometimes, the stock I invest in heavily would go way down. I tend to get slaughter when I buy puts of stock in thinking that stock would go down.

2020 is the year in which I think the stock market is acting incredibly weird. Out of nowhere, the COVID-19 pandemic spreads throughout the globe, causing the weirdness of the stock market to go on steroids. For example, in March of 2020, everything was going way down. In November of 2020, everything seems to be skyrocketed and unstoppable. Now, in December, somehow, I feel the stock market is somewhat sluggish. Still, the weirdness has yet to go away because I notice that a lot of retail investors push the valuation of newly minted SPACs out of proportion. For example, QuantumScape won’t produce solid-state batteries until 2024, and yet the market cap for this company is now above 20 billion dollars.

I feel like we’re revisiting 1999 when the Dot-com bubble burst. Nonetheless, this time I think it’s somewhat different since many SPACs are trying to merge with private companies that do have decent revenues. There always will be exceptions, and Nikola is one of these exceptions. Nikola has yet to produce a functional vehicle for the mass, but the retail investors at one point pushed Nikola stock over the moon. In September of 2020, a short seller known as Hindenburg Research targeted Nikola with a ghastly bashing report and got Nikola’s founder, Trevor Milton, fired. Nikola stock is now plunging steadily down.

As we speak, the interest rates are all-time low, the gold price is way high (around $1,800 plus), and the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging. President Trump is about to step down to allow president elected Biden to take over the administration in 2021. The dollar is slipping in strength. Unemployment is way high! Parts of the United States are in a lockdown state so people could have a social distance to fight the pandemic. Vaccines that could take on the COVID-19 pandemic is about to roll out soon. Things seem to be in limbo, and it could get worse. Somehow, the stock market is shooting way up! Is there a disconnect?

In the video right after the break, Deadnsyde Youtuber mentions that MicroStrategy’s stock price plunged so hard in 1999 might had been the reason that the Dot-com bubble popped in the first place. The surging of unfounded stock valuations of today’s stocks could also be the catalyst in which it may take only one over-valuated, well known stock such as Tesla to pop that could lead the bubble of today’s stock market to pop hard.

What do you think?

The Future Is EVs!

Electric vehicles are hot at the moment because these cars are being promoted as futuristic rides. Most importantly, companies that are trying to build EVs — are trying to marry the most futuristic technologies into these EVs such as fully autonomous driving. In the United States, we got Tesla, but in China, there are hundreds (or probably more since I don’t know the exact number but I know there are a lot of them) of new EV makers compete for the same niche but eat away the traditional ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) car market. For Chinese EV makers, I’m particularly interested in Nio, Geely, and now Aiways.

As we all know the largest EV market in the whole wide world is in China. So, it’s natural for me to be very interested in the Chinese EV makers. Aiways is different than the other two EV makers I mentioned because Aiways isn’t yet a public corporation/company — and only a three-year-old (private) company. Yet, Aiways can already deliver Aiways U5 to the European market. This means Aiways is the first Chinese car company to deliver EV cars outside of China (homegrown) market. This makes me wish for Aiways to start an IPO (Initial Public Offering) soon so investors around the world can begin investing in Aiways’ adventure as a hot new EV maker.

I just sold all of my Nio position when Nio hit $9.26. Now, Nio is like around $12.88 at closing for the day. I guess I had sold Nio a bit too early. Anyhow, why did I sell all of my Nio position? Well, I read several news articles that had mentioned that the U.S. is trying to pass a bill that would target several Chinese companies that are being listed on the U.S. stock exchange. Since Nio has the support of China’s local government Hefei (capital of Anhui province), I fear that Nio could be one of those Chinese companies that would be targeted since it’s being listed on the U.S. stock exchange. This bill was passed by the Senate and is now in the process of getting ready to go through the House. If the House is going to pass this bill too, I think the chance is high for many Chinese companies to be targeted by this bill. This bill is the reason I’m not so hot for Nio.

What I’ve read so far on the web is that several big-name Chinese companies such as Alibaba are either already listing or going to list their shares on Hong Kong’s stock exchange because they are ready for the days that they could no longer list their stocks on the U.S. stock exchanges. I surmise that Nio might think about this too but I have no insight on if Nio would do this or not. In reality, I got no info on what Nio would do as I’m just another investor who got his info on Nio through the Internet.

I have bought some shares of Geely on Hong Kong’s stock exchange through a U.S. stockbroker. I’m interested in Geely because this company is also trying to build awesome EVs. Geely also owns Volvo, a 10% share of Daimler (if I remember correctly), Lynk & Co, PROTON, and Lotus. I think Volvo is a very good brand, and Geely is doing an awesome job in upkeeping the brand’s good name. I also like Lotus since I love its new supercar Evija (2000hp).

Geely is also well known for making affordable cars for China’s local consumers. If I’m not wrong I think Geely delivered around 2.1 million cars in 2019. This means Geely is no joke! Latest but very well received compact SUV from Geely is Coolray.

Geely is also supporting Volvo’s Polestar to come out with their own EVs. I’m interested in Polestar Precept.

In conclusion, I’m interested in investing in China’s car market because I think China’s huge population of 1.4 billion people and counting is also interested in buying Chinese cars. Furthermore, Chinese car companies will venture out of their homegrown market and start selling cars in Europe and elsewhere in the world. As a small investor, I love to look for more ways to generate income, and so investing in Chinese automakers is a no brainer for me. I think EV automakers will be able to eat away a huge chunk of traditional (ICE) automakers’ market share. I think the future in terms of cars is EVs and not of ICE types of cars. Naturally, I’m interested in investing in EV automakers.

Disclaimer: I had bought shares of Nio but sold them. I’m currently owning some shares of Geely (Hong Kong) through a U.S. broker. Naturally, I’m biased toward Nio and Geely in a positive manner. This means I love to see these companies do well in developing futuristic cars and selling new cars. I do not give out stock advice. This blog post is all about my opinions on what I think of what stocks I like to invest or have invested in. So, please do your homework before investing in anything and do not take my opinions as stock advice and risk losing real money.

Nio’s Battery Swap Technology Is One Great Way In Producing More Jobs

I think Nio’s battery swap technology is one great way to produce jobs. For those who don’t know what is Nio — Nio is a company that is currently specializing in producing luxury electric vehicles (EVs) for Chinese consumers in China’s mainland only. Although Nio is only producing EVs for Chinese consumers, Nio so far had only listed its stock in the United States (surprisingly not yet in China). People like to compare Nio with Tesla and thinking that Nio is a Chinese Tesla, but I think Nio is uniquely different than Tesla besides the point that both of them are producing luxury EVs. Vaguely summing my gist, besides producing EVs, Nio is trying to promoting a lifestyle which caters to Chinese consumers in which Nio knows best — this means besides selling luxurious EVs, Nio is probably trying to provide other luxurious venues that complimentary with Nio EVs. Tesla is just concentrating on producing awesome EVs.

Back to the main point in which I had raised in the first paragraph. I think Nio’s battery swap technology is great for producing more jobs! I imagine that it would require more jobs to produce even more EV batteries for the expansion of battery swap stations. As battery technology improves, Nio has to scale up newer types of EV battery output to fill up each battery swap station — this means even more jobs. As consumers see that their EV isn’t stuck with just one old battery, they can feel confident in getting out to buy an EV since they know their Nio will always be able to swap an improved battery into their EV as each time they go to a battery swap station. As Nio set the standard for battery swap station and battery swap technology, a newer chain of supply for battery swap technology would spring up which creates even more jobs. Each presence of a Nio battery swap station is like a permanent advertisement that drivers would see on the road, and so this could boost Nio’s image in long term — this could allow Nio to grow and prosper which creates even more jobs. I mean I could go on and on…

Disclaimer: I do invest a little bit of my money in Nio. Thus, I do have a favorable outlook (bias) when writing on Nio. Nonetheless, I believe Nio is a great EV automaker in the making, and this is why I have invested some of my money into Nio’s stock.

My little dance with Luckin Coffee Inc Stock.

I was using an app to buy partial shares of Luckin Coffee Inc. (LK), and before I could heavily invest into LK the news broke out that there was a financial fraud report occurred for awhile while the chairman of the company was encouraging such a behavior — nonetheless, the whole incident pushed the stock price of LK way down. Luckily, I bought only around $300 worth of shares of the company since I was testing the water before I would see if I want to heavily go into LK — the loss wasn’t big at all and since then I didn’t even take a look at how much I had lost with the app I bought the partial shares of LK with.

Fast forward today, LK share price jumps 21% since I last checked, and all because there is a rumor that China’s Yum brand (if I remembered correctly) is intending to purchase LK’s China assets. I don’t know what are these assets, and now I’m curious. Whether this rumor is true or not, LK share price is now way higher than since their last drop. Last Friday they were at $1.41 per share, but today LK share price is closing at $2.59 per share.

Investors who are investing in LK are probably now worrying about LK is going to be delisted too since the news last broke that LK’s stock exchange had notified them about their decision of going to delist LK. Furthermore, the United States is trying to pass the law in which to delist all Chinese companies that do not report transparently to the United States’ whatever authorities (I think it’s SEC but I could be wrong). LK could be one of these companies that will get delist from the U.S. stock exchanges.

Personal opinion: I think I’m more confident with LK now since they fired their CEO/Chairman or whoever that got the most saying and was running the company fraudulently. Still, I won’t buy any more shares from LK since the delisting possibility is still there for LK. I also see LK won’t file bankruptcy and still be OK if they don’t sell any asset to Yum or whichever corporation (else) because LK is quite popular in China. Furthermore, LK got a lot of locations that they can easily raise the coffee price per cup just a bit and will make money like a bandit.

I won’t invest any more money into LK share unless LK got delisted from the U.S. and then relist elsewhere. Only when LK relist elsewhere that I could have more confidence in my decision in giving LK another chance. Perhaps then, I might heavily invest in LK, but obviously, I will wait and see how all of this will turn out for LK before I’ll try to do anything rash on LK. This means, even when LK relists elsewhere, I’ll wait a bit before I go strong on LK.

In The Face of Fraud Allegation Against GE by Harry Markopolos, Is It OK to Short GE’s Stock?

Harry Markopolos came out with a damning report which suggests there are some irregularities with GE’s accounting that have led him to believe GE is cooking the book. I haven’t read his report and so I don’t know the details, but this news has made many rounds in the mainstream media. Since the news broke, GE’s share price has dropped a bit too. As I’m writing this, GE’s share price is now $7.97 a share. Short interest in GE’s stock is climbing too.

The big question is what is going on with GE that has led a famous fraud investigator Harry Markopolos to stake his reputation on a report that alleges GE is a fraud? Even if GE is cooking the book, do you want to be brave and short GE’s stock? According to Statista.com, GE has employed about 283,000 people worldwide from 2005 to 2018. I don’t know how many employees GE is currently employed though. With so many employees are being employed by GE, will the government dare to throw GE under the bus even if the allegation may come true?

Whether the market is up or down, I think traders don’t care because they can make money either way. They can buy into the bull and they can also short into the bear. With the current trade war atmosphere that is going on between the U.S. and China, the market is having a seizure. It behaves erratically. It could spike 300 points in a day or it could also plunge into the abyss such as down 700 points in a day for the Dow. In this current atmosphere, I can see the temptation for shorting GE stock since Harry Markopolos’ report came out. Nonetheless, in this atmosphere, I could also see GE has a chance to weather the storm unless GE is unable to meet its financial obligations on all fronts.

GE is a veteran when it comes to weathering the storm since it’s a 127 years old company. Nonetheless, nothing could last forever, and so GE could be on its last leg. You never know, right? As I mentioned GE is employing a lot of people, and so I’m wondering even though Harry Markopolos may be right about GE is cooking the book — GE could very well be cruising along just fine throughout this storm since it’s a big company and may have the means to connect to the government and the right people to calm down the storm in coming days. When a big company like GE goes bankrupt, I could imagine a lot of people will lose jobs. This could negatively affect the company’s host country in a very big way!

As of writing this, I have not shorted GE’s stock. I’m thinking about shorting GE’s stock but fearing that Harry Markopolos’ report won’t affect GE’s stock price that much. Harry Markopolos said it’s impossible to make sense of GE’s balance sheet, and so I don’t know how much sense for one to go to take a deep look at GE’s balance sheet. Harry Markopolos is famous because he was very early in condemning Bernie Madoff for being a fraudster and he was proven to be very accurate. This man now stakes his reputation on GE is cooking the book, and he compares GE with Enron’s scandal. I think when there is smoke, there may be a fire. It’s just that how brave can you be when there is an opportunity which just appears right in front of you, right?