George Soros is Betting Against the Market and Why Investors Should Take Notice

George Soros is Betting Against the Market and Why Investors Should Take Notice

For institutional investors, keeping secrets for long is an impossible task. The Securities and Exchange Commission requires these entities to file a 13F, a quarterly filing required of investment managers of assets of $100 million or more, which contains information regarding the asset manager’s investment style and potentially even a list of equities owned.It’s a good gauge of what an investment company did in the last quarter. Taking a look back at prior quarters can paint a fairly accurate picture of what direction they’re assuming the market will take and how they’re positioning themselves to prepare – long, short, equities, derivatives, and so on.When an investor like George Soros suddenly increases a bearish position by 605% in a quarter, it raises more than a few eyebrows.For the quarter ending on June 30th, Soros Fund Management reported a large investment in puts, options that give an investor the right, but not the obligation, to sell a security at a given price, for an ETF that tracks the S&P 500.Breaking Down Soros’ PositionNormally, a large investment firm will place hedges on positions, whether long or short, in order to mitigate risk. However, Soros increased his put position from 1.6 million to 11.29 million shares. That’s the equivalent of going from $299 million to $2.2 billion in notional value.Skeptical investors dismiss any worries about an imminent market collapse due to the fact the Soros added to a few holdings like Facebook (FB) and Apple (AAPL) as well as added 182 brand new stocks. They believe his short position is simply a hedge or part of a longer term trading strategy.I’m not sure...
Target’s Problems May Signal the Beginning of a Paradigm Shift In the Retail Industry

Target’s Problems May Signal the Beginning of a Paradigm Shift In the Retail Industry

The retail sector has lagged behind the averages this year. Just take a look at the SPDR S&P Retail ETF’s (XRT) performance – down almost 4.5% year-to-date. The S&P 500 Index however has risen 5.7% over the same time period. This data seems to contradict the growing feeling of economic recovery and it’s clear that the reasons for retail’s sluggishness are more than skin deep.According to the Fed’s Beige Book, a collection of anecdotal economic information, regional banks saw moderate to modest growth in their local economies. Consumer spending, while not necessarily robust, has certainly seen a boost from its levels back in 2009 and has increased each year since. Yet despite this positive news, major retailers are reporting consistently disappointing earnings and lowering forward-looking guidance.Target Disappoints, AgainOne of the kings of retail, Target (TGT) has been suffering for a while now. The company’s recent 2nd quarter results weren’t completely unexpected with higher expenses and lower EPS guidance for next year. All seemingly related to the major security breach that occurred in 2013. Costs have risen exponentially since its computer network was hacked and customer’s credit card information was compromised.Digging a little deeper though, we find that an information breach isn’t the only thing dragging down numbers.Same-store sales figures are the go-to fundamental statistic used as a gauge for how a retailer’s stores (that have been operating for at least one year) are experiencing growth. In Target’s case, the figures are flat, meaning growth isn’t happening at all. If the slump continues, Target may even reduce its dividend, drop share buy-backs, and suffer another drop in its credit rating....
Best Companies To Invest In For ‘The Internet Of Things’

Best Companies To Invest In For ‘The Internet Of Things’

Best Companies To Invest In For ‘The Internet Of Things’The Internet of Things. A somewhat nebulous and colorless title for a concept that could revolutionize the world in much the same way the internet originally did. The idea is that everyday objects will be interconnected and able to identify themselves to other devices.The best way of explaining IoT is with examples. Picture a power generator that’s able to let maintenance know when there’s a problem without first being inspected, or remote monitoring systems that enable home automation – imagine your appliances being connected via wi-fi enabling it to download updates and ensure smooth operations. Recent additions to the IoT include automated car sensors that activate brakes when objects enter a field of range and bio-chip implants in farm animals to make them easy to track and catalog.The Internet of Things is in its infancy and yet we can already see the impact it’s having on the world. Mobile payments allow consumers to pay for basic services like fast food by simply tapping their phone, building on technologies like RFID, near-field communications, QR codes, and digital watermarking. Applications in environmental monitoring, infrastructure management, and medical and healthcare systems are revolutionizing the way we go about our day-to-day lives, and the long term benefits could be exponential.ABI Research indicates that there are over 10 billion devices connected in the world wirelessly with more than 30 billion expected by 2020. Gartner, Inc. says that the IoT will grow to 26 billion units installed by the same year resulting in a global economic value addition of $1.9 trillion. This expectation far outstrips the...