by Lawrence Meyers | June 12, 2014 11:53 am
I’m not a big short-seller. I generally prefer to wait for the company’s death knell, and the stock has already fallen a lot by that point.
So even with these three stocks to short, I’m personally wary of jumping in until I get some more confirmation. However, I do see these each as eventual shorts with very big downsides, which could result in huge profit potential. So technically, they are on my watchlist, but more adventurous traders may be ready to move now.
Here are a few stocks to short with enormous profit potential:
SodaStream International (SODA) has been on my short watchlist for a very long time. I wrote about it SODA stock almost two years ago. My thesis then, as now, was: “The world’s premier flavor houses are constantly creating an infinite selection of soda flavors … at prices that are ridiculously cheap. Why buy a product that requires me to exert labor, to achieve a product that isn’t any better, at much higher prices?” I also said that SODA stock would go higher on a short squeeze, which might be a good time to short.
I was right, as SODA stock spiked above $75 nine months later. Today, it is 50% off that price (perhaps the people who commented on that article would like to eat crow at this time). And despite such a hard fall, I don’t think SODA stock is done.
In Q1, EPS cratered to 8 cents per share, down from 57 cents because it had to aggressively market to the United States. Well, U.S. sales were down sequentially and down 28% year-over-year. The Q4 report indicated there was year-end discounting, which means products aren’t selling well. The company is free-cash-flow negative, and cash is starting to dwindle. It’s a stock to short and if you are shorting, I’d keep that position in place. Otherwise, consider shorting here with a 7-10% stop loss. I think this eventually goes to zero, or perhaps single digits where Coca-Cola (KO) buys it.
The next entry on our list of stocks to short isn’t much better than SODA. Papa Murphy’s Holdings (FRSH) is a recent IPO whose restaurant concept is called “Take N Bake.” Yes, it has lasted for 33 years. Yes, it has 1,425 stores in 38 states. The big idea is made-to-order pizzas … that you take home and bake. Personally, if I want a pizza, I’ll order it over the phone and have it delivered hot. Or go to a restaurant and eat it there.
Some FRSH stock investors would point to a massive store footprint as proof the concept works. Maybe it does, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good stock. Net income across the store base in Q1 was only $819,000 — a 15% YOY increase. Revenue increased 7.5%, and comp store sales were up 3.3%. That’s all good, but the stock has a $158 million market cap on a net income run rate of $3.2 million. That’s 50 times earnings.
That’s too expensive for this pizza pie, and it’s a stock to short with a target of $3.
Angie’s List, Inc. (ANGI) lands on our list of stocks to short because it just isn’t anything special.
Angie’s List doesn’t solve a problem. It’s basically Yelp (YELP) for professional services, except you have to pay for access. I don’t see the sustainable model, here.
ANGI consistently loses money and was cash flow negative up until last year, when it just barely made a blip on the positive side. Even at $11.64, it trades with an infinite P/E — because there are no earnings. I don’t see how ANGI stock goes anywhere, and I would call it a stock to short with a target of $5.
As of this writing, Lawrence Meyers did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. He is president of Asymmetrical Media Strategies, a crisis PR firm, and PDL Broker, Inc., which brokers financing, strategic investments and distressed asset purchases between private equity firms and businesses. He also has written two books and blogs about public policy, journalistic integrity, popular culture, and world affairs. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow his tweets at @ichabodscranium.
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