Friday Edition- Big Sellers and Under the Radar Ideas

I read the headlines this morning, and it's really hard not to laugh out loud at the mainstream media and analyst community and see what they find surprising.

Everyone is surprised that retail sales do not match last month's. Sales were flat after the huge boom in March.

Why anyone is surprised is beyond me. March was all about using stimulus checks to buy things where the purchase had been put off to hoard cash because of COVID. Once they got those $1400 checks, folks replaced the washing machine, bought a new Smart TV, or put a down payment on a new car.

That money is spent. Unless Uncle Joe opens the wallet back up, the boom is over for now. We should see steady smaller gains as the economy continues to reopen around the United States.

The experts were surprised. Those of us who live in the real world were not.

As the so-called experts debate whether or not inflation will shake up the markets, one group of investors is not waiting to find out. They are selling with both hands and collecting cash.

Jeff Bezos has sold $6.7 billion worth of Amazon stock (AMZN) this year.

Zoom Video Communications founder Eric Yuan is selling about 100,000 shares of stock every month in recent months. Last week he really picked up the pace and offloaded stock. This month he got serious and sold 270,000 shares.

Larry Ellison dumped 7 million shares of Oracle last week for over $550 million in cash.

Google Founder Sergey Brin has sold $163 million of Alphabet and is expected to sell up to 250,000 more shares.

Worried about higher interest rates to curb inflation and proposed capital gains tax increases, the big tech executives are selling as fast as they can right now. Since last March, the shares have been running up, and valuations are stretched, so the big money is exiting to the highest degree possible.

Do with that as you will, but I would take it as an indication that this was not the right time to be buying big technology companies.

Now, I am just going to take a stroll around some of the corners of the market and see if we can find anything that looks interesting and might be worth buying no matter what the stock market does.

Equity Commonwealth (EQC), a REIT I have been involved with since the original activist campaign that put Sam Zell and his team in charge back in 2015 or so, is buying Industrial REIT Monmouth Properties. The interesting part of this deal is that Equity Commonwealth is issuing stock, so its $2.5 billion cash pile will still be available after the deal.

Zell had been liquidating the Equity Commonwealth portfolio over several years. They used the proceeds to pay off all debt and preferred stock obligations, so this is just a huge pile of cash looking for ways to get to work on favorable terms. They have used some of the cash to buy back stock and pay special dividends as well.

Equity will be selling the last few office buildings they own and plans to sell off the $126 million REIT portfolio that Monmouth owns to increase the cash pile further.

After the deal closes, the new REIT will have a 120-property industrial portfolio with 24.5 million square feet of space.

Equity Commonwealth is using.67 shares of stock for each Monmouth share. Right now, .67 shares of Equity are worth $18.12, while Monmouth shares are at $18.99.

That's makes Equity shares the cheap part of the deal this morning. I think you want to own this for the long haul. With cash flows and lots of cash on hand, Zell's team could end up dominating the industrial space in the United States.

E-commerce and the rebuild of the supply chain will be a huge part of driving massive returns in Industrial Real Estate.

For those among us who might be interested in investing in the space business, shares of Maxar Technologies (MAXR) have been weak lately. Maxar offers both earth intelligence and space infrastructure solutions around the world.

The Earth Intelligence business helps customers map, detect and predict change across the globe. They use satellite imagery, extensive data sources, and artificial intelligence to accomplish this.

As you might imagine, the US Government and Military are pretty big customers.

The space part of the business has been doing business with NASA for over 60 years now. Over that time, they have launched 285 spacecraft with has 90 geostationary satellites still in orbit. They also build robotics for spacecraft, as well as satellite intelligence systems and space platforms.

They just delivered a new platform to NASA for the Psyche Mission to an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter. According to the company, " The EP Chassis built for Psyche is Maxar's lightest and smallest graphite 1300-class spacecraft platform, roughly the size of a small car. It is combined with a medium-sized solar array, a high-gain antenna, and Maxar's latest solar electric propulsion system. The spacecraft has been specifically designed to function in a low-power environment because of the Psyche asteroid's distance from the sun."

That's cool enough for me to think about adding some of this to the World s Most Beautiful Granddaughter's account. This should be a huge 20-year return stock.

They missed estimates last quarter because of some charges related to trying to recover its SiriusXM satellite (satellites do break occasionally). Still, this company is in the right place and the right time for the Space industry.

Insiders think so as several of them, including the CEO and CFO, were buyers of the stock on the sell-off.

Unlike other space stocks, this is not badly priced at 25 times next year's earnings and 1.2 times sales.

I am not ready to pull the trigger, but security analytics company Cognyte (CGNT) at least has my attention. The company was spun out of Verint Systems (VRNT) earlier this year and has steadily sold off since. They provide cybersecurity analytics, security investigations, operational intelligence, and a bunch of other security analytics to over 1000 governments and enterprises around the world.

Data analytics and security, both cyber and physical, will be among the fastest-growing sectors for a very long time. This is especially true in their home market of Israel.

This stock is working on being cheap enough to buy and tuck away.

Posted to The Community Bank Investor… on May 14, 2021 — 3:05 PM
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