I looked at my Jubak Picks Portfolio with more than a tinge of seller’s remorse this morning. I sold shares of First Majestic Silver (AG) out of that portfolio on Friday, January 29, after the stock rose 21.38% on Thursday. That gave me a gain of 45.52% since I began this position on July 6, 2019.
I argued in justification for this sell that the attempt by individual investors on Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum to force a short squeeze in silver, as they had in GameStop (GME), were likely to fail because there was such a big stockpile of physical silver ready to enter the market.
So I took my profit.
Only to have the stock climb an other 21.3% today, February 1, as of 2:30 p.m. New York time as individual investors did indeed drive up the price of silver futures. The Shares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 6.40% as of 2:30 New York time today as the intraday price of silver limbed to the highest level since 2013.
And then I thought about that seller’s remorse. And my ability to calculate a price for an exit from this position.
Far be it from me to argue that Wall Street’s big institutions never manipulate prices–and that the charge on WallStreetBets post that banks are “manipulating gold and silver to cover real inflation” doesn’t have some basis.
Another post on WallStreetBets argued that “AG is essentially GME for Silver, highest short float in the sector, nice leverage to silver, and just broke out above 10 year resistance too.”
The analogy seems dubious to me, but, that’s not the point in this part of the market. Enough traders on WallStreetBets found the logic compelling–or cynically bought even though they disagreed with the argument–to send the price of AG, First Majestic Silver up 20% today.
My question to myself–and to you–is “Is there any way to figure out what price to pay for GameStop, or First Majestic Silver, or AMC (AMC) or Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) or another other small cap stock with a big short exposure?
To come up with some kind of price target here, you’ve got to believe that you can read the sentiment and the collective mind of WallStreetBets or any other trading forum. I don’t think that’s possible. So while I’m not happy with having left 20% on the table, I’m not kicking myself too hard today. There are parts of the market–or perhaps all of the market depending on your view of current valuations–where it’s not possible to figure out what the price of an asset will be tomorrow or what it should be.
One thing I would look at, though, is pricing in the options market. The individual traders who pushed GameStop so high so fast used Call Options to leverage their bets. At the beginning of the GameStop rocket, buying a call option on GameStop was relatively cheap. A trader didn’t have to risk all that much to get big exposure to potential gains in the underlying stock. This morning, before GameStop’s 27.69% retreat (as of 2:30 p.m. New York time) a Call Option to with a strike price of $235 and a February 19 expiration date sold for $278-roughly the $322 price of the underlying share. The options buyer wasn’t getting all that much bang for the options buck. (Which is why some of the short-squeeze action has moved on to other stocks.)
Does this mean that the GameStop rocket is ready to fall back to earth? Got me. But it does say that one source of fuel for that rocket–options purchases–is in reduced supply.
Which doesn’t tell me much that useful about where to buy and sell a stock like GameStop or First Majestic Silver. Even though it does tell me something important about how much risk I’m taking if I buy in now or decide to hold (instead of selling.)
One side effect of the GameStop/WallStreetBets episode is that I’m seeing big moves in other relatively small cap stocks–recent addition to my new Millennial Portfolio Danimer (DNMR), for example, up early 70% from my January 10, 2021 recommendation, or coronavirus vaccine candidate Vaxart (VXRT), up 23.79% today, February 1, as of 3 p.m. in New York. And that I can’t find any news to justify the big price moves.
The story of the current market, I’m afraid.