03/27/2017 Focused Stock Trader Team
First there was Brexit. Then we have Trump. Up next is the France election. Will we see the “populist wave” continue? If so, what does it mean for the global scene? What does it mean for the European Union? The world will be watching the France election. The stakes are big. If the next domino falls toward populism, the momentum will get even greater. As we write, the outlook for who will win the France election is a toss-up. The French will go to the polls in late April and early May. Candidates are pitted against each other. The first round takes place on April 23rd. The top two candidates face each other in a second round on May 7th.


03/27/2017 Focused Stock Trader Team
We observed quite the interesting turn of events this past week in Washington DC over healthcare reform. Trump campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare. He defined this issue as a central point of his agenda. He still does. Somewhere along the way, basically in the media, the notion grew that more or less all Trump has is his first 100 days in office to make any real change. This grew into a pressure cooker of a timeline for voting on a new healthcare plan. Trump, the Republicans, and the Democrats began frantically trying to reach a healthcare deal. After all, they recognized they must make a deal considering Trump’s campaign rhetoric on the topic or the “drain the swamp” rage will grow even louder. Even the stock market turned its attention this direction late Friday with all the major networks counting down the seconds until what was supposed to be a vote.

Snap IPO Could Get a Warm Reception

As Snap prepares to issue shares to the public this week, it seems to be overcoming qualms about profitability and slowing user growth. Instead, investors are focusing on the advertising potential of the popular social-media company, best known for its disappearing-message service. Wall Street’s view is that Snap is more Facebook (ticker: FB) than Twitter (TWTR), owing to an active user base of 158 million that checks the Snapchat app an average of 18 times a day, for an average of 25 to 30 minutes. Facebook shares have more than tripled to $135 since their 2012 IPO, as the company has turned into an advertising juggernaut. Twitter’s stock has sputtered, however, as growth has slowed. Its shares are down 38% from a 2013 IPO price to $16.

Trump Talk: The First Two Weeks

02/06/2017 Focused Stock Trader Team
Well, there he is, Trump finally sitting in the oval office after what was a brutal campaign and a very active transition period. It has only been a few weeks, but so much has happened. It’s nice to see our country moving at a quick pace. The world is changing so fast every day, we need leadership that can keep up.

The Artificial Intelligence Revolution To Superintelligence - Part III

01/27/2017 Focused Stock Trader Team
Welcome back to our series on The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Revolution. It is coming like a freight train. Very exciting stuff! In our last blog, we left off discussing how humans have conquered the lowest caliber of AI—Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI). The AI Revolution is the road from ANI, through Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), to Artificial Superintelligence (ASI)—a road we may or may not survive but that, either way, will change everything. Let’s take a closer look at what the leading thinkers in the field believe this road looks like and why this revolution might happen way sooner than you might think.

"Trump Plays" Lead IPO Deals Tonight

01/26/2017 Kris Tuttle, CEO, IPO Candy
Of the 5 IPO deals expected to price tonight 4 of them are "hot" according to the capital markets. Three of them are viewed as "Trump plays" in that they are in energy and manufacturing. Here's the skinny on them all with links to get the full story: Jagged Peak Energy (JAG) is a pure domestic energy play in the Delaware basin with excellent economics and no debt post the IPO. That makes it a grade-A play in this sector. Price talk is $17-18. Here is a link to the slide deck: JAG IPO Slides.

The Artificial Intelligence Revolution To Superintelligence - Part II

01/26/2017 Focused Stock Trader Team
Welcome back to our series on The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Revolution. It is coming like a freight train. Very exciting stuff! We are on the road to artificial superintelligence. What does this mean? What is AI? If you’re like us, you used to think Artificial Intelligence was a silly sci-fi concept, but lately you’ve been hearing it mentioned by serious people, and you don’t really quite get it. There are three reasons a lot of people are confused about the term AI: 1) We associate AI with movies. Star Wars. Terminator. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Even the Jetsons. And those are fiction, as are the robot characters. So it makes AI sound a little fictional to us.

The Artificial Intelligence Revolution To Superintelligence - Part 1

01/25/2017 Focused Stock Trader Team
Welcome to our new short series on The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Revolution. It is coming like a freight train. Very exciting stuff! What’s happening in the world of AI is not just an important topic, but by far one of THE most important topics for our future. We are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. The graph below paints a clear picture of what’s about to happen.

Trump Talk: Trump’s “To-Do” List—Infrastructure Spending

01/19/2017 Focused Stock Trader Team
While there are more details from the Trump camp on tax reform, there is less information on infrastructure spending. However, a paper by Mr. Ross and Prof. Navarro specifies the following. The Trump plan calls for about $1 trillion to be spent on America’s infrastructure. The plan assumes that the private sector will contribute as much as $167 billion in equity that will be leveraged 5 to 1. To encourage investors to commit such large amount the government would provide a tax credit equal to 82% of the equity amount. The paper mentions that companies paying 10% on the repatriation of overseas profits could use the tax credit on infrastructure equity investment to offset their tax liability.

Trump Talk: Trump’s “To-Do” List—Healthcare

01/18/2017 Focused Stock Trader Team
The healthcare sector is generally thought to be negatively impacted by a Trump Administration due to ongoing scrutiny over drug prices. However, underneath the surface, considering ACA changes along with other new policies, there are a few companies poised to outperform. The impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare) was adding 15 million enrollees to Medicaid, 11 million enrollees to exchanges, and decreasing uninsured Americans from 16.0% to 8.6%. However, now there is a political push to repeal and replace ACA. Congress is currently discussing repeal. It is the #1 goal of President-elect Trump. Next action date budget committee reports on January 27th. We are likely to move into a reconciliation bill to be voted on in February or March. Congress would need to create a replacement for the ACA. Replacement bill would begin no sooner than 2019, after the Congressional mid-term.

Trump Talk: Trump’s “To-Do” List—Taxes

01/17/2017 Focused Stock Trader Team
Trump’s tax plan has similarities with House Speaker Paul Ryan’s plan and will impact individual and corporate rates. Proposed changes to individual income taxes include the following. Consolidate the current seven tax brackets into three, with rates on ordinary income of 12%, 25%, and 33%. Increases the standard deduction, from $6,300 to $15,000 for singles and from $12,600 to $30,000 for married couples filing jointly. Eliminate the individual alternative minimum tax. Cap itemized deductions at $100,000 for single filers and $200,000 for married couples filing jointly. Proposed changes to corporate income taxes include the following. Reduce the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 15%. Eliminate the corporate alternative minimum tax. Eliminate the deductibility of interest payments. Allow repatriation of currently deferred foreign profits, at a tax rate of 10%.

Trump Talk: Trump’s “To-Do” List—Introduction

01/15/2017 Focused Stock Trader Team
All the talking heads on TV are asking a lot of questions on Trump’s overall plan. So here is consolidated info on what we see happening especially with recent Senate nomination hearings for Tillerson and Mattison out of the way. Before you dive in, note that interest rates rose quite markedly following the election. While this trend has begun to reverse, Trump’s policy initiatives have clearly led this trend. Namely expectations for: (i) lower top marginal tax rates for corporations, from 35% to 15%, and for individuals, from 39.6% to 33%; (ii) a projected $1 trillion infrastructure bill carried questions of how this would be funded and how it would impact debt markets; and (iii) finally, reversal of policies, such as the promise to repeal and replace Obamacare and 180 degree shifts in immigration and environmental policies.