Friday Addition Edition-SPACs, Rates and Day Traders

Sorry for the delay with this today. I had most of it written before lunch, but the power went out, leaving me with no internet and the original document perched on a powerless desktop.

Now the dedicated folks at Florida Power and Light have the juice flowing again, and we are good to go.

We continue to live in a world of opposites struggling.The reality of rising cases is struggling against the anticipated vaccine for the most important coronavirus story. The hoped-for full reopening of the economy is grappling with the fact that we see shutdowns and cutbacks emerge as the virus continues to spread. The hopes of an economic recovery that gets everyone back to work are opposed because we added more than 700,000 people to the unemployment lines this week.

For the most part, the stock market has sided with the vaccine, the eventual recovery, and everyone being back to work any minute now. While I get that the market tends to anticipate the future, at the moment, it appears to be anticipating economic activities going right back to 2019 levels, and the reality is that we will not see that until 2022.

To a greater degree than I like to think about, the best market analyst of 2020 has been Dave "Davey Day Trader" Portnoy of Barstool Sports. He has insisted that stock only go up and has made bets on garbage stocks that have risen as money from the frat bros that follow him has helped push the stock higher.

He should have lost millions with the dumb bets he made on stocks this year.

He didn’t.

He made money buying random stocks without knowing much about the actual companies he was trading.

Then we have the Robinhood crow who have used the brokerage to become today trading legends in their own mind. One person making a stupid bet on a bankrupt company cannot accomplish anything. A few hundred thousand people doing that can temporarily turn trash into gold.

Someone got caught holding the burning match and singed their financial fingers, but as long as it was not me, I live to trade again another day.

It has been a weird year, to say the least.

It is only fitting that a year like 2020 saw the return and rise of the SPAC. Blank Check Acquisitions Companies have raised more money in 2020 than in all other years combined. The public has poured into them, and the internet chat boards are full of discussions about the wonderful deal makers and how good the acquisition they have made will perform.

They keep up this stupid chatter even as the deal falls upon closing as most SPACs do.

Most SPAC deals end up diluting the shareholders in favor of the sponsors. This year we have seen private equity get involved, and you have to know that if the PE guys are on the opposite side of the table, that is not going to end well for you.

You can make money in SPACS once you realize that trading SPACs is not growth investing, and it is not some sort of magic Pre-IPO.

Done correctly, making money in SPACs is arbitrage.

We wait to buy them for the value of the turs or less. If the SPAC moves higher when a deal is announced, we will sell our shares and take whatever gain we can get.

If it drops, we redeem our shares and get our money back and maybe even a very small profit if we bought at a discount to the trust value.

With a handful of deals with a nice initial pop and a bunch where we get a few percentage points, SPAC investing can get you a consistent low double digit returns that are as close to risk-free as you can possibly get.

It will not make you super rich overnight.

E.Merge Technology Acquisition Corp.(ETAC) is A SPAC that might get a decent initial pop when they announce a deal. They want to do a deal in a software or internet company, and that could get the Robinhood crowd in a temporary tizzy. The management team is led by Guy Gecht, the former chief executive of EFI, and Jeff Clarke, the former Kodak CEO. Steve Singh, who was previously CEO of travel booking tech firm Concur Technologies is the Chairman. They have the contacts and experience that might see a deal get done that excites the market.

You can buy the shares at a discount to the trust value right now, so worst case, you end up making 3% by tendering your shares back if the deal does not attract buying pressure.

You have an interesting shareholder list on the trade with you. Michael Dell's investment firm is a huge shareholder of EDAC. Bulldog Investors was a buyer. They have been very active in SPAC arbitrage and have done very well. Hedge Fund giant Apollo is in the deal as well. So is Mario Gabelli’s firm.

It is highly unlikely that SPACs will make you rich.

They can make you a low-risk profit if you learn the rules and follow them.

The one thing no one expects to happen is for interest rates to rise. Therefore, it makes sense to have at least one long term bet on rising rates in place.

One of the best ways to d this is to own a floating rate fund. These funds own bonds and loans that will move higher if interest rates start to climb. Most of them have some sort of rate floor in place as well to keep rates from going too close to zero.

Of course, we do not want to pay full price for our floating rate fund so let's turn to the closed-end und market place.

I like the portfolio at the Nuveen Floating Rate Income Opportunity (JRO) right now. They appear to have taken a less credit risk than many funds but still have a sufficient yield at 6.8% to be an attractive income holding. Should rates surprise us a spike higher, so would the yield on the fund.

The shares trade at a discount of 13% right now, which is almost twice the long-term average discount level for this fund

Saba Capital and Bulldog investors have both been buyers of this fund recently. As two of the most successful closed-end fund investors and activists, we can be sure they will be watching that discount level carefully.

Neither is afraid to push management to take steps to lower the discount level.

Next week is Thanksgiving, and like everything else, it has been downsized by COVID-19.This little bug is starting to piss me off. It's my favorite holiday of the year with all the food, wine, football and no gifts to buy for anyone.

Stay safe this Thanksgiving.

Posted to Banking on Profit on Nov 20, 2020 — 6:11 PM
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