Stock Portfolio Updates: Adding Short Positions
By: Christopher Mistal
July 13, 2017
Over the past month since last update, S&P 500 climbed 0.6% higher while Russell 2000 was up 0.4% as of yesterday’s close. The Almanac Investor Stock Portfolio’s blend of cash and long positions was not as strong, up 0.2% over the same time period excluding dividends and any trading costs. Our Large-Cap portfolio performed best, up 1.7% while Mid-Caps climbed 1.2%. Small-Caps edged 0.4% lower.
Small-cap performance was held in check by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (RMCF). Last updates 4.9% was completely surrendered and RMCF is now showing a minor 0.1% loss. The Hershey Company (HSY), in the Large-cap section of the portfolio, also experienced a similar decline of slightly greater magnitude; from a 5.2% gain last update to a 2.9% loss at yesterday’s close. Lower cocoa prices were the prime catalyst for purchasing RMCF and HSY and cocoa is once again near levels not seen in years. Even if demand for RMCF and HSY products slips during the hot summer months, lower input costs could still give profits a boost. RMCF and HSY are on Hold.
Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG) was the highlight of the Mid-cap portfolio, up almost 11% since last update and up 39.4% since addition to the portfolio. As we have said before, SMG’s hydroponic products and its well-established business make it a stock to consider if you are in search of cannabis industry exposure and are not comfortable owning many of the smaller plays in the sector. SMG is on Hold.
Per standard trading guidelines, half of the original position in Arista Networks (ANET) was sold on June 23 when it traded above $162.30. ANET did pullback with technology shares in late June, but it is rebounding and its long-term uptrend is still in place. ANET remains on Hold.
Last month’s Short Stock Basket trading ideas have been entered into the Stock Portfolio table below. Thus far, six short trade ideas have been added to the Stock Portfolio. Two each from small-, mid-, and large-cap sections have been added to the Almanac Investor Stock Portfolio. Short trade ideas can quickly be identified in the table below as they are designated with “(S)” following their names. PDFS, ASND, BPMC, IRWD, MOS and TSLA have been added to the portfolio and are currently on Hold. All other short positions can still be considered. As a reminder, the higher price listed in the “Presented Price” column is resistance and the lower price listed in “Current Advice” is support. Short positions can be executed at resistance or on a breakdown through support with corresponding negative technical indicators as confirmation. 
All other positions, not mentioned above, are currently on Hold. Please refer to the updated portfolio table below for Current Advice about each specific position. Please note that some stop losses have been updated. Although July is one of the “Worst Four Months” of the year, weakness typically does not begin until after the middle of July.
[Almanac Investor Stock Portfolio – July 12, 2017 Closes]
Disclosure Note: At press time, officers of the Hirsch Organization, or accounts they control held positions in, ANET, BUSE, CCS, HSY, MHO, RMCF and SMG.