Wednesday Morning Reads

Wednesday Morning Reads



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AMC (NYSE:AMC) looked to hit all the right notes for its devoted retail investors on the earnings call, but an early pop in shares fizzled, wiping out the gains heading into the report. The stock closed down 6% yesterday and nearly 14% from where shares opened when it looked like another push from the "Ape Army" was on its way.

CEO Adam Aron, known to the Army as Silverback, played to that crowd in the earnings call, floating ideas for a retail audience that cares much more about wild innovation than classic valuation.

Yes, AMC would consider partnering with GameStop (NYSE:GME). Sure, you will be able to pay for tickets and concessions with bitcoin (BTC-USD) by the end of the year. But Aron did balk at the idea of making a gorilla the official AMC mascot and dismissed a return of drive-in theaters as simply a bad economic idea. You can read the full transcript of the earnings call on Seeking Alpha.

From a more fundamental perspective AMC's results looked good at first blush, beating estimates and noting $2B in liquidity. That led to the initial extended-hours pop in shares. But big concerns about the business model remain.

SA contributor ASB Capital is says that attendance is simply not improving enough. Another SA contributor The Asian Investor notes that the "size of AMC’s losses and the deeply negative cash flow in Q2'21 show that AMC faces numerous business challenges that are so far unaddressed, especially the high cash burn."

Aron is "telling you that the industry will not be back to normal in 2021, probably will not be back to normal in 2022, and the company only 'maybe' has enough cash to survive anything much less than a full recovery in two years." Unsurprisingly, short-seller Jim Chanos, who is betting on AMC to fall, blasted the Apes for trading for "misguided reasons" and not seeing the risks in the company model or the high valuation. "If you keep doing dumb things, if you keep saying, 'I'm a nihilist, I eat crayons, I don't care about this, I don't care about that,' well if you end up losing money, you only have yourself to blame," he said.

Retail interest rising: As AMC devotees prepare to make another stand for the stock at the $30 level, there are few signs of a new big meme name on the cusp of unprecedented gains. EV battery company Microvast (NASDAQ:MVST) has recently topped the mentions list for the WallStreetBets subreddit, according to Quiver Quantitative. But its moves, while big, have been choppy rather than straight up.

However, Morgan Stanley notes that retail investing interest is picking up recently, with a bias towards more buying. "Retail participation is currently at 9.4% of the total market volume, which is in the 76th percentile relative to the last 5 years," Morgan Stanley's Quantitative Equity Strategy team writes. "Order imbalance has remained slightly positive. It currently sits at 0.6% or 62nd percentile relative to the last 5 years."

Real Estate (NYSEARCA:XLRE) and Health Care (NYSEARCA:XLV) have the biggest positive buy/sell imbalances among retail traders, so the next meme favorite could come from those sectors. Materials (NYSEARCA:XLB) and Consumer Staples (NYSEARCA:XLP), also not readily associated with the retail crowd, have positive imbalances as well. Only Energy (NYSEARCA:XLE) and Industrials (NYSEARCA:XLI) are negative. (3 comments)

Is China ‘uninvestable?’

ARK Investment Management CEO Cathie Wood dumped her Chinese tech holdings in the wake of the country's regulatory crackdown, but she's not closing the door completely. In ARK's monthly webinar yesterday, Wood, whose flagship ARK Innovation ETF (NYSEARCA:ARKK) is down 3% in the past month, raised the question of whether China is "uninvestable" herself.

“Well, I would say in any of the areas we are looking right now the multiples structure, the valuation structure of those companies is down and probably not going to come back quickly and may even go down more.” But she later said: "I'm sure we’re going to find some very interesting companies in the innovation space, and so we’re going to keep an open mind there.”

ARK also noted Tuesday that there are opportunities in Chinese healthcare for two critical reasons: overwhelmed physicians and underfunding.

China's long-term goals: UBS came out with a note this week arguing that the "uninvestable" concerns are overstated. "First, these (listing) actions do not change China’s long-term priority to develop strategically important industries and technologies, which offer compelling growth opportunities to investors," emerging market strategists wrote. "Second, China has engaged in a multi-year process of opening up its financial markets to global investors, and there is no indication of a reversal of that process. Any changes to the VIE structure or other measures that would deter foreign investor interest would be at odds with this policy objective. Third, the markets are already pricing a sizable policy risk premium into Chinese equities, and while that doesn’t preclude further downside in the near term, we see long-term value being created as a result of the recent market declines. Fourth, potential delistings do create possible disruptions for U.S. investors that own, either directly or indirectly, the ADRs, but these should be temporary and can be managed."

UBS does expect more regulatory moves, so is staying neutral on China stocks for the next 6-12 months, leaning to sectors with less policy headwinds like green tech, consumer durables and energy and away from healthcare, property and Internet. (8 comments)

ViacomCBS courts suitors

ViacomCBS (VIACVIACA) is halting any potential talks with Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) as Chairman Shari Redstone puts an eye toward lining up more suitors for the company, the New York Post reports.

Redstone reportedly is pushing any more talks (about a merger, or joint venture on streaming) with Comcast chief Brian Roberts into next year, according to the report.

Board members are reportedly telling Redstone that there are multiple suitors for the business if she shops around and doesn't give in to consolidation panic. (99 comments)

$600M crypto hack

Cross-chain protocol Poly Network was hacked for $611M, the largest DeFi hack to date, The Block reports. The Poly Network is a protocol used to trade tokens among a variety of blockchains. Apparently, the root cause of the hack was a cryptography issue, which is not usually the case.

Assets that were stolen in the hack include $273M of Ethereum (ETH-USD) tokens, $253M of Binance Smart Chain tokens, and $85M in USCoin (USDC-USD) on the Polygon Network. (58 comments)

Final COVID wave?

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the FDA, has told CNBC that the current surge in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. may be the “final wave” of the pandemic in the U.S. “I don’t think COVID is going to be epidemic all through the fall and the winter. I think that this is the final wave, the final act, assuming we don’t have a variant emerge that pierces the immunity offered by prior infection or vaccination,” he said.

Dr. Gottlieb thinks that the high transmissibility of the Delta variant combined with the rising vaccination rates could transform the course of future infections. (197 comments)

TMZ for sale

AT&T's (NYSE:T) WarnerMedia is in discussions to sell its tabloid entertainment brand TMZ to Fox (FOXFOXA), The Information reports.

It's the latest move from AT&T to sell off its businesses in order to focus on connectivity - moves that will find their nexus in the planned spinoff and merger of WarnerMedia itself to merge with Discovery (NASDAQ:DISCA). (74 comments)

Today's Markets

In Asia, Japan +0.65%. Hong Kong -0.22%. China +0.1%. India -0.3%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.38%. Paris +0.23%. Frankfurt +0.1%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow -0.02%. S&P -0.13%. Nasdaq -0.25%. Crude -0.01% at $68.28. Gold +0.14% at $1734. Bitcoin +0.16% at $46229.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +3.1 bps to 1.374%

Today's Economic Calendar

7:00 MBA Mortgage Applications
8:30 Consumer Price Index
10:00 Atlanta Fed's Business Inflation Expectations
10:30 EIA Petroleum Inventories
10:30 Fed's Bostic: "The Federal Reserve's Role in Making This an Economy That Works for Everyone"
12:00 PM Fed's George: "A View from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City"
1:00 PM Results of $41B, 10-Year Note Auction
2:00 PM Treasury Budget

Known to most as Uranium Pinto Beans, Jason has more than 15 years under his belt of trading stocks, options and currencies. His expertise primarily lies in chart analysis, and he has a strong eye for undervalued stock. Because he’s got the ability to identify great risk/reward trades he usually enjoys taking the path less traveled and reaping the benefits from the adventure.

He is a co-founder of Option Millionaires, and he is best known for his weekly webinars with Scott, as well as his high level training webinars and charts found in the forums.

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