Fake (or just dumb) tender offer PR leads to brief Freeseas $FREEF spike

Yesterday Havensight Capital LLC put out a press release announcing a tender offer for the shares of FreeSeas (FREEF), a distressed shipping company. For posterity the press release is quoted in full below. As of the writing of this post the PR has been removed from Yahoo Finance but is still on the OTCMarkets website.

Havensight Capital makes Tender Offer for Free Seas Inc. and Launches theSuperMallofWebsites.com

Jun 16, 2016
OTC Disclosure & News Service

CHRISTIANSTED, United States Virgin Islands, June 16, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Havensight Capital LLC makes tender offer for 85% of the outstanding common shares of Free Seas Inc. (FREEF) for U.S. $0.43 a share, commencing on July 25th, 2016, and ending November 25, 2016. Havensight Capital LLC will serve as the paying agent. Mr. Benjamin Woodhouse, Director, Havensight Capital LLC said, “Global transportation logistics are a critical component to the World economy, we are very excited about the potential to now capitalize on growth trends in this market.”

Havensight Capital LLC also announced the launch of the Super Mall of Websites.com. The Super Mall of Websites.com offers world class website design, hosting, and maintenance, all, for one low published rate. Customers can access the Super Mall of Websites.com team by going to www.thesupermallofwebsites.com and placing an order online. Mr. Benjamin Woodhouse, Director, Havensight Capital LLC said, “we have been pleased with the incredible global demand for our soccer brand, St. Thomas F.C., www.stthomasfc.com, and we are now capitalizing on such momentum, by adding a leading technology service provider to our portfolio.”

About Havensight Capital LLC

Havensight Capital LLC is a leading private equity firm, which is based in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Firm specializes in investing in stellar consumer product companies that have, either, a technological advantage, or, have the potential to be exceptionally disruptive in their respective markets. The Firm seeks to actively maximize the potential of each, and every investment. Currently, Havensight Capital LLC owns, and operates, St. Thomas F.C. soccer brand, St. Thomas G.C. golf brand, Creditcard2cash.com, Coffee Ostrich consumer products, and the Super Mall of Websites.com.
Contact:

Ben Woodhouse
Director
Havensight Capital LLC
5030 Anchor Way
Christiansted, VI. 00820
(805) 478 1958
Copyright © 2016 GlobeNewswire. All Rights Reserved

Unfortunately I was away from my computer for 20 minutes when the press release was put out otherwise I would have shorted into the stock’s spike. With the clarity of hindsight I can say now that I should have shorted even after it had already dropped because it was likely to completely erase the gains from that press release. Below is a one-minute chart of the stock.

There were a few things about the press release that struck me as odd and made me suspect that it was a fake. First, Havensight Capital is a no-name firm and their website lists their portfolio companies (also no-name companies) and includes Freeseas (when they have never filed a 13G or 13D or form 4 to indicate ownership of Freeseas stock). Also, the tender offer is way higher than the current stock price of FreeSeas and with the company’s troubles (all shippers have had a hard time the last few years) it would not make sense to me to buy the equity. Anyone interested in Freeseas could likely buy its debt at a steep discount and then take over after the company enters bankruptcy. For me though the biggest indicator that the press release was not serious was that half the press release was about Havensight Capital’s other companies; I have never seen anything like that before in a tender offer or buyout offer press release.

This morning FreeSeas put out a press release calling the Havensight Capital LLC tender offer “false and misleading.” The full press release is below:

FreeSeas Inc. Responds to Havensight Capital Misleading Press Release

Athens, June 17, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — FreeSeas Inc. (FREEF) (“FreeSeas” or the “Company”), a transporter of dry-bulk cargoes through the ownership and operation of a fleet of Handysize vessels and an owner of a controlling stake in a company commercially operating tankers, responded today to a press release published yesterday afternoon by Havensight Capital LLC (“Havensight”).

In its press release, Havensight indicated that it was making a purported tender offer to acquire 85% of the Company’s common stock at a price of $0.43 per share.  FreeSeas was not aware of Havensight’s intention to issue such a press release and did not authorize Havensight to use the Company’s name and symbol so that the press release would appear in the FreeSeas’ news feed.  Further, upon learning of the press release, the Company reached out to regulatory authorities to alert them to the actions of Havensight.

FreeSeas believes that the Havensight press release is false and misleading, in that it failed to disclose material facts.  In particular, the Havensight press release fails to disclose that Havensight has not made the necessary filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in order to commence a tender offer.  Such tender offer filing would require Havensight to provide significant disclosures about itself, its financial position, the source of the funds in order to complete the tender offer, among other required disclosures.

Unless and until a valid tender offer is made, the Company will not comment further regarding the actions of Havensight.  The Company believes Havensight may continue to disseminate false and misleading information. Public investors are urged to rely only on information authorized for dissemination by FreeSeas.

About FreeSeas Inc.

FreeSeas Inc. is a Marshall Islands corporation with principal offices in Athens, Greece. FreeSeas is engaged in the transportation of drybulk cargoes through the ownership and operation of drybulk carriers and also is an owner of a controlling stake in a company commercially operating tankers. Currently, it has a fleet of Handysize vessels. FreeSeas’ common stock trades on the OTCQB Market run by OTC Markets Inc. under the symbol FREEF. Risks and uncertainties are described in reports filed by FreeSeas Inc. with the SEC, which can be obtained free of charge on the SEC’s website at  http://www.sec.gov . For more information about FreeSeas Inc., please visit the corporate website, www.freeseas.gr.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements (as defined in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended) concerning future events and the Company’s growth strategy and measures to implement such strategy. Words such as ”expects,” ”intends,” ”plans,” ”believes,” ”anticipates,” ”hopes,” ”estimates,” and variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, no assurance can be given that such expectations will prove to be correct. These statements involve known and unknown risks and are based upon a number of assumptions and estimates, which are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to, changes in the demand for dry bulk vessels; competitive factors in the market in which the Company operates; risks associated with operations outside the United States; and other factors listed from time to time in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the Company’s expectations with respect thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any statement is based.

Contact Information:

At the Company

FreeSeas Inc.
Dimitris Papadopoulos, Chief Financial Officer
011-30-210-45-28-770
Fax: 011-30-210-429-10-10
[email protected]
www.freeseas.gr

The one big question I am left with at this point is why Havensight Capital LLC would put out such an obviously misleading press release. I have seen fake tender offers and buyouts before but they are usually from fake companies. Havensight Capital is real (see for example their lawsuit against Google from a year ago). Either they put out a fake PR to manipulate the stock (in which case they will be quickly sued and sanctioned by the SEC) or they actually intend to buy those shares (there aren’t many outstanding), in which case they are complete morons because their ownership position will be highly diluted by convertible shares and warrants already outstanding:

As of May 10, 2016, we had 1,832,807 shares of common stock issued and outstanding, convertible notes outstanding that may be converted into an estimated 138,774,955 shares of common stock at current market prices and outstanding warrants to purchase 7.346 shares of our common stock that could result in our issuance of 131,262,660 shares of common stock based upon the exchange formula contained therein at current market prices. Although the investors may not convert their secured convertible note and/or exchange the Series C Preferred Shares if such conversion or exchange would cause them to own more than 4.99% of our outstanding common stock, this restriction does not prevent the investors from converting and/or exchanging some of their holdings and then converting the rest of their holdings. In this way, the investors could sell more than this limit while never holding more than this limit. There is no upper limit on the number of shares that may be issued which will have the effect of further diluting the proportionate equity interest and voting power of holders of our common stock. The conversion or exercise of our outstanding convertible securities could result in substantial dilution to our existing holders, and the sales of such material amounts of our common stock issued upon conversion or exercise could cause the market price for our common stock to decline.

The above is from Freeseas’ most recent 20-F (annual report) filing.

Disclaimer. I have no position in any stock mentioned above. I have no relationship with any parties mentioned above. This blog has a terms of use that is incorporated by reference into this post; you can find all my disclaimers and disclosures there as well.

 

Cantabio Pharmaceuticals $CTBO promoted on purported Alzheimer’s cure

A recent low-volume landing page pump and dump is of Cantabio Pharmaceuticals. See landing page here: http://biosciencereport.com/ctbo/main/ctv1.php

ctbo

Disclosed budget: $150,000 per week
Promoter:  Biosciencereport.com / KyIne Ltd
Paying party:  Ikon Media
Shares outstanding: 26,805,270
Previous closing price: $2.27
Market capitalization: $60 million

Disclaimer (emphasis added by me):

IMPORTANT NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER: This stock profile should be viewed as a paid advertisement. The BioScience Report is published by Kylne Ltd. In an effort to enhance public awareness of Cantabio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (“CTBO”) and its securities through the distribution of this advertisement, Ikon Media has provided the publisher with a weekly budget of approximately $150,000 to cover the costs associated with creating, printing and distribution of this advertisement. The publisher will retain any excess sums after expenses as its compensation. The publisher has not undertaken to determine if Ikon Media is, or intends to be in the future, directly or indirectly, a CTBO shareholder as it has no meaningful way to verify such facts. Readers should take this into consideration in evaluating bias. The name Cooper Stevens is a pseudonym for the editor who was paid $5,000 for his/her contributions to the report. If successful, this advertisement will increase investor and market awareness, which may result in increased numbers of shareholders owning and trading the common stock of CTBO, increased trading volumes, and possibly increased share price of CTBO’s common stock. This publication is not, and should not be construed to be, an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security. This publication, its publisher, and its editor do not purport to provide a complete analysis of any company’s financial position. The publisher and editor are not, and do not purport to be, broker-dealers or registered investment advisors. This publication is not, and should not be construed to be, personalized investment advice directed to or appropriate for any particular investor. Any investment should be made only after consulting a professional investment advisor and only after reviewing the financial statements and other pertinent corporate information about the company. Further, readers are advised to read and carefully consider the Risk Factors identified and discussed in the advertised company’s SEC filings. Investing in securities, particularly micro cap securities such as CTBO, is speculative and carries a high degree of risk. Past performance does not guarantee future results. This publication is based exclusively on information generally available to the public and does not contain any material, non-public information. The information on which it is based is believed to be reliable. Nevertheless, the publisher cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information. This publication contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding expected continual growth of the featured company and/or industry. The publisher notes that statements contained herein that look forward in time, which include everything other than historical information, involve risks and uncertainties that may affect the company’s actual results of operations. Factors that could cause actual results to differ include the size and growth of the market for the company’s products and services, the ultimate degree of success in the company’s gaming apps in the near term and long term, etc. The BioScience Report is the publisher’s trademark. All other trademarks used in this publication are the property of their respective trademark holders. The publisher is not affiliated, connected, or associated with, and is not sponsored, approved, or originated by, the trademark holders unless otherwise stated. No claim is made by the publisher to any rights in any third- party trademarks.

Copy of pump landing page (PDF)

Disclaimer. I have no position in any stock mentioned above. I have no relationship with any parties mentioned above. This blog has a terms of use that is incorporated by reference into this post; you can find all my disclaimers and disclosures there as well.

Life Clips $LCLP: The biggest recent landing page pump & dump

With the SEC and DoJ cracking down on illegal stock promotions (it is possible to legally promote a stock but misleading statements and manipulation are more effective) over the last couple years the number of effective pumps has declined tremendously. The number of hard mailer pumps with good volume has decreased from dozens per year to just one last year (Nugene NUGN) and none so far this year.

The only landing page promotion so far this year that has gotten much volume has been Life Clips (LCLP) and it is ongoing. I have been short Life Clips for awhile and it looks to be slowly fading now. The promotion landing page can be found at http://techstockinsider.com/wp-content/landing-pages/sitefiles/index.html and there is also a PDF version of the promotion: http://fliphtml5.com/nueh/ehcc

Life Clips is one of the few pumps actually paid for by the company itself.lclp_chart

Disclosed budget: $150,000
Promoter:  Midam Ventures LLC / Techstockinsider.com
Paying party:  Life Clips, Inc
Shares outstanding: 53.332.576
Previous closing price: $0.643
Market capitalization: $34 million

Below are a few ads for Life Clips that I have seen.

lclp_ad

Banner ad for LCLP on Ad Choices network on a stock trading website:

LCLP_ad2

LCLP disclaimer:

© 2016 TECHSTOCKINSIDER.COM. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PLEASE NOTE WELL: THIS LCLP STOCK REPORT IS A COMMERCIAL ADVERTISEMENT AND IS FOR GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. WE ARE ENGAGED IN THE BUSINESS OF MARKETING AND ADVERTISING COMPANIES FOR MONETARY COMPENSATION. MIDAM VENTURES, LLC OWNER AND OPERATOR OF TECHSTOCKINSIDER.COM WAS PAID AN ADVERTISING FEE OF $75,000 CASH PER MONTH & ZERO RESTRICTED COMMON SHARES BY LIFE CLIPS, INC. (LCLP) FOR VISUAL SPONSORSHIP OF TECHSTOCKINSIDER.COM AND FOR VISUAL PLACEMENT LIFE CLIPS, INC. (LCLP) WITHIN WRITTEN MATERIALS. FOR A DURATION OF 30 DAYS BEGINNING 5/4/2016. & ENDING 11/3/2016 * PLEASE NOTE WELL: TECHSTOCKINSIDER.COM AND ITS EMPLOYEES ARE NOT A REGISTERED INVESTMENT ADVISOR, BROKER DEALER OR A MEMBER OF ANY ASSOCIATION FOR OTHER RESEARCH PROVIDERS IN ANY JURISDICTION WHATSOEVER AND WE ARE NOT QUALIFIED TO GIVE FINANCIAL ADVICE. TECHSTOCKINSIDER.COM WILL NEVER SELL, TRADE, BARTER, GIVEAWAY AND OR LOAN ANY INFORMATION PROVIDED TO TECHSTOCKINSIDER.COM. BY FILLING OUT THE ABOVE FORM YOU GIVE TECHSTOCKINSIDER.COM EXPLICIT PERMISSION TO CONTACT YOU. * OUR WEBSITE AND NEWSLETTER ARE FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. THIS NEWSLETTER IS NOT A SOURCE OF UNBIASED INFORMATION. NEVER INVEST IN ANY STOCK FEATURED ON OUR SITE OR EMAILS UNLESS YOU CAN AFFORD TO LOSE YOUR ENTIRE INVESTMENT. THE DISCLAIMER IS TO BE READ AND FULLY UNDERSTOOD BEFORE USING OUR SITE, OR JOINING OUR EMAIL LIST. FULL DISCLAIMER CAN BE READ AT

 

PDF copy of pump.

 

Disclaimer. I am short LCLP and may close out or add to that position at any time. I have no relationship with any parties mentioned above. This blog has a terms of use that is incorporated by reference into this post; you can find all my disclaimers and disclosures there as well.

Algos for everyone: Interactive Brokers’ adaptive algo could be a great tool

Recently I wrote about customizing IB’s smart routing. Particularly for larger orders though it is desirable to break orders into smaller chunks so as not to give the market too much information which can lead to other traders front-running large orders. Iceberg orders work fine but are so-so at best at limiting information leakage — any trader watching time and sales on a stock will quickly notice if a small bid/offer keeps filling many more shares than are displayed. One solution is simply to send multiple different small orders by hand. This can be slow and increases the probability of fat-finger errors (selling/buying too many or too few shares by accident).

IB has multiple different algorithmic order types but until now they have been relatively esoteric and not geared towards the smaller trader. But with the introduction of IB’s adaptive algorithm order real power is given to small traders. Just tell the algorithm your limit price and how aggressive you want it to be and it will take care of the rest for you, splitting your order up, attempting to offer price improvement and good fills.

I tried the adaptive algo for the first time today with the patient setting on a short sell limit $0.42 for 3,000 shares of CJES. I had earlier sold 3,000 shares on the offer through NSX, getting an easy fill with low cost ($3.78 net commission).

Here is the chart of the stock as I was selling short:
adaptive-algo

Here are my fills:
cjes

One trade is not enough to draw any conclusions but the algo did a good job at splitting up my order and filling on the offer. I look forward to getting a chance to try the aggressive settings on this algo.

 

Disclaimer: I am short CJES. I have no relationship with any parties mentioned above (other than IB being one of my brokers). This blog has a terms of use that is incorporated by reference into this post; you can find all my disclaimers and disclosures there as well.

SEC Obtains asset freeze of trader who filed false $IDT takeover filing

On April 12th Nauman A. Aly made an SC-13D SEC filing indicating that a group of investors had taken a 5.1% stake in IDT Corp (IDT) and was offering to take over the company at a 65% premium to the then-current stock price. Soon after, a revised filing showed that the group had sold a number of call options and was no longer attempting to take the company over.

The SEC was able to identify the alleged perpetrator of the scheme, who used the same IP address to make the SEC filings as to access his trading account. And prior to the first filing he had bought a large number of short-dated out of the money calls that he quickly sold for $425,000 in profits (on a $18,500 initial investment). The SEC was able to freeze Aly’s brokerage account so the profits could not be withdrawn.

According to the SEC:

  • At 12:08 p.m., Aly filed a form known as a Schedule 13D on the SEC’s EDGAR system and falsely stated that his group of investors had a 5.1 percent beneficial ownership of IDT and had sent a letter to the board of directors offering to acquire all of the company’s shares for a price that represented a 65 percent premium.
  • The market reacted quickly to the filing, and IDT’s stock price increased by more than 25 percent in less than 10 minutes.
  • At 12:18 p.m., Aly sold all of the options for the illicit $425,000 profit.  He then filed another Schedule 13D stating that his group of investors no longer owned more than 5 percent of IDT after his options sales.
  • Aly used the same IP address for the options trades that he used to make the false filings.
  • Aly’s group of investors never actually owned 5.1 percent of IDT and never contacted IDT to buy all of its shares.

This is not the first time someone has filed a false SEC filing to manipulate the market and it won’t be the last. Aly’s alleged actions were stupidly obvious but the next market manipulator might not be so dumb. Rather than acquiring short-dated out of the money call options, a smarter trader could wait until his false filing spiked the stock before then buying a bunch of short-dated out of the money put options. Still, to generate a significant profit the trade size would have to be large and those large and highly profitable trades would be a huge red flag, particularly if done in an account that has not made many similar trades.

Here is a 1-minute intraday chart of IDT showing the stock’s reaction to the false filings (click to embiggen):2016-4-12 IDTI 1m fake buyout 13D

As you can see from the little green and red arrows I shorted IDT after it had already dropped most of the way back down. I regret being so slow to react to the false filings.

Disclaimer: I have no position in any stock stock mentioned above. I have no relationship with any parties mentioned above. This blog has a terms of use that is incorporated by reference into this post; you can find all my disclaimers and disclosures there as well.

 

Get SMART: Customizing Interactive Brokers’ smart routing

Interactive Brokers has been one of my main brokers since 2007. Yet I didn’t realize until today that you can customize the smart routing of orders. I was trying to figure out how to set a hotkey to set a market/ECN destination (route) and stumbled across the smart routing configuration which is even better than what I was looking for. Read IB’s description of how it works.

The simple explanation is that you can set the smart router to prioritize execution (in various ways) or prioritize ECN rebates. This only affects orders where you are adding liquidity (when you are taking liquidity the smart routing always prioritizes execution). For someone who trades a lot of low-priced stocks, ECN fees and IB’s per share commissions add up fast. By setting my smart routing to always go to the highest rebate venue I will dramatically lower my trading fees on low-priced stocks. Simply put, I should have looked into this long ago and saved thousands of dollars in commissions.

For the record, for adding liquidity on Nasdaq stocks under $1, the best route is NSX, which offers a rebate of 0.25% of the trade value.

Here is a screenshot of how I have my smart routing configured now:

SMART

Disclaimer: No position in any stock stock mentioned above. I have no relationship with any parties mentioned above except that Interactive Brokers is one of my brokers. This blog has a terms of use that is incorporated by reference into this post; you can find all my disclaimers and disclosures there as well.

Code Rebel $CDRB SEC suspension: Only 2nd ever SEC suspension of listed stock

On May 5th the SEC suspended trading in Code Rebel (CDRB) for two weeks. The stock will resume trading on May 20th on the grey market. Code Rebel had been promoted multiple times by stock promoters and was most recently promoted on May 2nd. The reason for the trading suspension as given by the SEC:

The Commission temporarily suspended trading in the securities of Code Rebel Corporation because of questions regarding the accuracy of statements in CDRB’s Forms 10-Q for the quarters ended June 30, 2015 and September 30, 2015, and the Form 10-K for the year ending December 31, 2015, concerning the company’s assets and financial condition.

SEC trading suspension (PDF)
SEC trading suspension order (PDF)

What is most interesting is that this is only the second time the SEC has suspended trading in a stock listed on a stock exchange. Normally if the SEC is investigating a listed stock the exchange will halt the stock and then the stock will be suspended by the SEC only after the stock has delisted.

The only other stock to have received an SEC trading suspension while listed on an exchange is Forcefield Energy (FNRG). Of note, there was also a criminal case against individuals involved in FNRG, and in the case of FNRG the Nasdaq had halted trading a day prior to the SEC trading suspension.

 

cdrb

Disclaimer from most recent email promotion of CDRB:cdrb_pump

Disclaimer No position in any stock stock mentioned above. I have no relationship with any parties mentioned above. This blog has a terms of use that is incorporated by reference into this post; you can find all my disclaimers and disclosures there as well.

SEC Suspends trading in FinestPennyStock pump Broke Out $BRKO

Today, less than two minutes prior to the market open, the SEC suspended trader in Broke Out (BRKO), the current FinestPennystock.com pump that has squeezed shorts like crazy the last two days. The stock will resume trading on April 1st. Likely among those shorts getting squeezed the last couple days is Hunter Adams of The Street Sweeper, which had two negative reports on BRKO and reported being short BRKO in those reports.

I think it likely that this suspension will kill or at least greatly reduce the efficacy of FinestPennystock. AwesomePennystocks was forced to ‘retire’ by SEC trading suspensions on two consecutive pumps and Stocktips.com became much less effective after the May 2014 trading suspension of PGFY. FinestPennyStocks has connections to Awesomepennystocks so this SEC trading suspension is surprising to me only in how long it took since FinestPennystocks started pumping successfully 18 months ago.

 

SEC suspension press release (PDF)
SEC suspension order (PDF)

 

From the SEC press release:

The Commission temporarily suspended trading in the securities of BRKO because of concerns regarding the accuracy and adequacy of information in the marketplace and potentially manipulative transactions in BRKO’s common stock.

 

BRKO

2016-3-17 BRKO 1m

Below are the FinestPennyStocks websites from which I have received BRKO pump emails:

PennyStocksWinner.com
FinestPennyStocks.com
SmartStockChoices.com
Pennystocksforme.com
BestAmericanStocks.com
SmartStockWinners.com
PennyPros.net
SmartstockWinners.com

The prior FinestPennyStocks pump was CLOW which was preceded by EURI.

Disclaimer No position in any stock stock mentioned above. I have no relationship with any parties mentioned above. This blog has a terms of use that is incorporated by reference into this post; you can find all my disclaimers and disclosures there as well.

Great new technologies, horrid investments: Does this describe Editas $EDIT?

One thing growth investors and stock promoters love is a brand new industry that is growing quickly and revolutionizing our lives. The problem is most of the time much of the companies end up losing money and even going bankrupt even as the new industry blossoms because of fierce competition. This happened with railroad companies in Britain in the mid 1800s, electronics companies in the US in the 1960s, computer companies in the 1980s, internet companies during the tech bubble in 1999, and has happened over the last few years in LEDs and solar panels. In most of these cases most companies did poorly and there were only a few companies that came to dominate the industry or if there were no good barriers to entry or many competing technologies, cutthroat competition has continued. Most of these stories have been told before and better than I could tell. So I will concentrate on the LED industry which is one I know well and has not been well followed by most people.

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) have been around for decades but only in the last decade have there been improvements in the technology such that they could be used in normal lighting situations rather than just as indicator lights. The first LED light bulb I bought back in 2008 produced 200 lumens of bluish-white light (~7000k). For comparison, 800 lumens is what a standard 60-watt incandescent bulb produces. That bulb was made by Lighting Science Group Corp (LSCG) and cost about $50. The most recent LED bulbs I bought (made by GE and sold at Home Depot) cost $3.13 each and produce 760 lumens or warm white light (2700k).

I just finished converting my house entirely to LEDs. The light quality is as good as incandescent bulbs, they use much less electricity, and they stay cool (which means less chance of fires and lower air conditioner usage). They also on average last far longer. The problem for manufacturers of LEDs is that no manufacturers have technology that is vastly superior to the others or patents on essential technologies. So while LEDs are high-tech, producing them is a brutal business. There are a handful of large manufacturers of the actual LEDs (e.g., Seoul Semiconductor, Epistar, Cree, Philips, Osram, and others) while there are thousands of companies putting those LEDs together with the electronics to drive them in bulbs. The large producers make a normal profit but most of the producers of LED bulbs make little.

Here is a chart of CREE, one of the ‘winners’:

cree

Cree has done well but the company’s stock is where it was essentially a decade ago.

Here is the chart of one of the losers, Lighting Science Group (LSCG):

lscg

Lighting Science of course was my most profitable short ever back in 2008. Even though the company did go on to successfully market its products, they have not been profitable because of lower-cost competition.

 

LED lights are pretty awesome and within a decade 90% of new fixtures will use them. In two decades’ time LEDs will have 99%+ market share in general lighting for home and industry. Besides their aforementioned advantages, their unique properties also have made it possible for many of the poorest in the world to use a small solar cell and battery to power LED lights and charge phones, reducing the use of kerosene lamps and resulting in cleaner air and better health.

Why bring this up now? I am really excited about CRISPR-Cas9 and have publicly said that I would love to invest in any company in that space. Editas (EDIT) just filed an S-1 prospectus to go public. Anyone who is in awe of the possibilities of this gene editing technique including myself would do well to consider the similarities to past highly-hyped new industries. That is not even considering the legal morass that CRISPR is in right now with multiple groups having filed competing patents.

 

Disclaimer: No positions in any stocks mentioned. I have no relationship with any other parties mentioned above. This blog has a terms of use that is incorporated by reference into this post; you can find all my disclaimers and disclosures there as well.

 

(By the way, if you are looking to get a large number of non-standard LED lights (such as T-8 lights), I recommend Chong Ming LED — I found them through Alibaba and purchased 180 T-8 tube lights for an LED retrofit at the daycare run by my church. I also highly recommend Hyperikon, which has a large selection of bulbs available on Amazon.)

 

How to be dead wrong about Kalobios Pharmaceuticals $KBIO

Needless to say, my previous post on KaloBios Pharmaceuticals was dead wrong. Martin Shkreli and friends bought up the majority of the company over the past couple days (at under $2 per share on average) and their SEC Form 4s after the close yesterday caused a massive short squeeze that sent the stock up to $24 in premarket today. The one thing I did not account for was the possibility that someone would see value in the company’s drugs and rescue the company. That is essentially what Shkreli is doing, as he explained to Fierce Biotech. In the future I will avoid any such overnight shorts on companies with substantial intellectual property even if I think it has little value, particularly if the market cap of the stock is low. Even a small risk of a catastrophic loss on a trade is too much.

I apologize for completely failing in my analysis. Luckily I had set up an alert for SEC filings on KBIO so I was able to cover my short for a small loss (around $4,000 net) at $2.0833. Hopefully my readers also avoided catastrophic losses. If you look at my trades on Profit.ly you will see a large loss at IB but a slightly smaller large gain at CenterPoint Securities. It is quicker for me to trade at CenterPoint so I just bought there at first to get flat.

Below is a screenshot of my posts in TimAlerts chat mentioning my cover and the news:

KBIO_chat

See all my posts here.

Disclaimer: I have no position in KBIO but I will likely trade it after posting this article. I have a close business relationship with Tim Sykes (see Terms of Use for details). I have no relationship with any other parties mentioned above. This blog has a terms of use that is incorporated by reference into this post; you can find all my disclaimers and disclosures there as well.