General Body Meeting: 1/31/20

Welcome back! The first meeting of the decade started off right with a market update presented by Tate Harobin ’22, Nick Sant Foster ’22, and head analyst Emmett O’Toole ’19.

Following the market update, a successful buy pitch for Lululemon Athletica was delivered by Jack Evans ‘22 and Ian Lee ‘22. A new Lafayette Investment Club GroupMe chat was also created for all club members to join. Reach out to any club officers to be added to the group! 

To start the meeting, Nick discussed how the major indices finished strongly for 2019, with the S&P 500, DJIA, and NASDAQ up 28.9%, 22.3%, and 35.2% for the year, respectively; however, despite the stellar year, 2020 estimates for the S&P 500 are only 4.1%. Major headlines for the first month of 2020 and how these events could affect the economy and investor sentiment in the upcoming year were also covered. Among these include the Iran conflict that resulted in US airstrikes and the death of Iranian general, Qassim Soleimani, the recent outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan, China, and the transitional period for the UK in 2020 after its recent departure from the EU.

Tate highlighted the strong quarterly results reported by Apple, Tesla, Facebook, and Amazon. Boeing, a position in the club portfolio, posted its first annual loss since 1997. To conclude the market update, Emmett provided a recap for 2019 and described how US-China trade uncertainty did not affect the return of the major indices for the year as some investors had anticipated.

Upperclassmen members likely remember the previous Lululemon buy pitch that occurred a couple years ago during a general board meeting. At the time, the club ultimately decided to not invest in Lululemon and shares of Under Armour were purchased instead. A quick look at a three year chart of the performance of the S&P 500, Lululemon, and Under Armour demonstrates how Lululemon has exceeded club members and investor expectations.

Jack Evans and Ian Lee proposed to allocate ~1.1% of the club portfolio to Lululemon to further diversify our clothing retailer component, which currently consists of Canada Goose, LVMH Moet Hennessy, and Under Armour. While Lulu is trading at a premium relative to other companies in the retail sector, Jack and Ian discussed the company’s plan to double the size of its men’s inventory, double its digital revenues, and quadruple its international revenues by 2023. Additionally, they anticipate the company’s loyal customer base to continue to grow over the next few years. After several questions from members, the club voted to approve the Lululemon buy proposal.

End of Summer Update

Happy August! As summer break winds down, we look forward to an exciting year ahead and want to give all current and prospective members a quick update with respect to club happenings and events.

The Executive Board section of the site (which can be viewed here) has been updated. On that page, you can meet the current members of the Board and learn about some of the interesting things they’ve accomplished this past summer.

We meet in Simon Center L3

Lafayette officially begins classes on Monday, August 26th. An important date to mark on your calendar is the Student Involvement Fair on Tuesday, September 4th at 4:30 (on the Quad). There, you’ll be able to get to know some of our current members and learn more about the 100+ student groups Lafayette has to offer. Please feel free to come over to our table and chat with us and sign up for our email communications.

We’ll be holding our first meeting of the semester on Friday, September 9th at noon. Additionally, we will be meeting every Friday at noon in Simon L3 throughout the rest of the year — all are welcome and we’d love to see you there!

We look forward to another great year (with equally great market returns) and hope you will join us. Enjoy the remainder of your summer, see you soon!

General Body Meeting: 4/12

On Friday (4/12), the Investment Club held its first general body meeting under the newly elected Executive Board for the Fall 2019 term.

Parth Patel ’21 and Sam Klearman ’21 presented a market update, and Connor Thatcher ‘21 and Dylan Jainchill ‘21 successfully pitched Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE: TMO).

As a reminder, the Investment Club meets every Friday at noon in Simon L3. All students are welcome.

Parth and Sam discuss market news

Connor and Dylan field questions from the audience in response to their stock pitch

A Visit From Citi

This Friday, we were lucky enough to host three alumni from Citi who came to speak about their experiences and the Lafayette recruitment process at their company. Ryan Dodds ’15, Dante Piccolo ’17, and Scott McAvoy ’18 were accompanied by current seniors Andrew Chuma and Niki Stanton, who will both work for Citi after graduation.

The panel covered what they do at Citi, their experiences at Lafayette, general tips for networking and interviewing, and finally went through how Citi recruits through Lafayette and the corresponding time frame. Moral of the story: sophomores are up to bat, whether they like it or not.

For the first time in my tenure, the club nearly finished all the pizza order, with just a half pie remaining at the end of the meeting. If that’s not a sign of interest, I don’t know what is.

Thanks to the guys at Citi and Career Services for making this event happen! We cherish the strong connection Lafayette has to Citi and hope it sticks for years to come.

General Body Meeting: 2/22/19

Another day, another dollar. Let’s get moving with this week’s meeting. Between a classic market update from Tyler Furlong ’20 and head analyst Mac Erb ’20, a review of (in)famous trades from president Dave Perron and chairman Jeff Sikorsky, and a reminder of the springtime Finance Night in New York, the selection was a fine one today.

Markets were up since last week’s meeting, with both the S&P and Dow hovering around the 1.5% mark in gains. Some notable headlines included the opening of the 116th annual North American International Toy Fair, tapping into the $28 billion US toy market, turbulence surrounding Hasbro, Inc. revenues, discussion of FL, TTD, and AAPL stock, and a short bit about oil.

Dave and Jeff started off their piece about trading with Mark Cuban’s Yahoo story, which is complicated enough that I’ll go ahead and suggest you either click on the presentation at the bottom or go to this link to read about it. In short, Cuban was able to mostly protect himself from the values of his shares of Yahoo stock dropping steeply in value, at no cost.

The next example Dave and Jeff chose was a Blackstone deal from 2013, where the firm effectively paid itself. In short, Blackstone rolled a $100 million revolver for Codere SA in exchange for the Spanish gaming company to make an interest payment a few days late. Blackstone had swaps in place (effectively insurance) on its Codere bonds, which fell in value after the missed interest payment. This triggered a payout for Blackstone, when in reality, nothing much had changed for Codere. Read more about it here, or in the presentation below.

The last trade example was Elliot Management Corp.’s battle with the Argentinian government, where Paul Singer’s firm refused to agree to a restructuring of Argentina’s treasury, as they were a large holder of the country’s debt. The story climaxes with Elliot taking control of a docked Argentinian naval ship, and eventually receiving a cool $4.6 billion dollar payout.

Take a look at the full presentation here: General Body Meeting 2/22/19

General Body Meeting: 2/8/19

Tergel Khatanhaatar ’21 and Sam Klearman ’21 got things going this week with a market update. Looking at overall market trends since the beginning of the year, everything looks fantastic! The S&P’s up over 6% in a couple months, and about a percent since last week’s meeting. Presentation can be perceptive, though; when you look at the chart since last year, you see the dip and recovery from December’s pathetic performance, dropping nearly 20% from October to December 2018. Let this be a reminder of how much time horizon affects one’s goals and statistics, whether in the financial world or not.

Some of the headlines covered by Tergel included a brief discussion of recent bond performance and the implications for equities, the trends of the NASDAQ, Toyota’s $3.6 billion hit in holdings, and Uber’s international efforts. Also of note was Snap inching closer to the ever elusive goal of being a profitable firm.

Sam talked about currencies in general, trying to clear up some misconceptions and set the record straight about what changes in currencies’ values means for consumers and producers on different ends of business. Next, he moved into various companies’ earnings reports, as the season is upon us. Grubhub’s decent performance, Snap’s inching towards profitability, GM’s consistent pace, and Alphabet’s interesting report were included in the shuffle.

Next, board member Henry Lewand ’21 covered a plethora of investing apps and their effect on personal finance. The question posed by Henry for the crowd centered around whether these easy-to-use apps are actually a good thing for people. The end result was that it depends on the person – Henry concluded that one must be knowledgeable and aware of the power of leverage and speculating in general before diving into the market. Between low commissions, entertainment purposes, buying on margin, day trading, lack of reserves, and lack of education, the risks are high.

To round out the meeting, club president Dave Perron ’19 and analyst Emmett O’Toole ’20 gave an overview of various career paths and positions within the financial world. Dave, who worked for Wells Fargo as an investment banking summer analyst, covered the sell-side world, explaining various sectors within the sell-side and how one might find his or herself working there. Emmett, who interned at the Lafayette College Investment Office this summer, appropriately covered the buy side and its corresponding opportunities.

See the full presentation here: General Body Meeting 2/9/19

Free Lafayette Barron’s Subscription – Check It Out!

The above statistics refer to readers of Barron’s. If you like what you see, read below or click here to sign up for free.

If you have any interest in financial services (as a career or on the side), surely you’ve heard the importance of staying aware of market activity and financial news. Now you have a way to do that, for free. Generous Lafayette alumnus John Vaccaro ’66 has sponsored a Barron’s subscription for Lafayette faculty and students, and you should take a look.

Barron’s is an esteemed weekly financial publication in the form of a magazine, but a subscription offers much more than just leisurely reading. Access to a constantly updated news website and a plethora of in-the-weeds market data and insights are included. All you have to do is click on this link right here. Alternatively, you can find the link at my.lafayette.edu. Simply enter your Lafayette email address, and after a confirmation email, you’re good to go.

Once on the website, in the top right corner you can choose between Interests (various articles describing different financial topics and news), Magazine (where you can read the actual publication for the week), or Data (where you can find a crazy amount of information). Data ranges from index performance comparisons to futures settlements.

 

Everything on the website is valuable information that only increases your awareness of financial happenings and market activity. I would highly recommend at least going in and looking around – if you’re interested in getting more involved in the club or just generally curious, Barron’s is a fantastic resource.

Questions? Comment on this post or email me at klearmas@lafayette.edu.

Picking Up Where We Left Off

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – JANUARY 30: Ice covers the Lake Michigan shoreline on January 30, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Businesses and schools have closed, Amtrak has suspended service into the city, more than a thousand flights have been cancelled and mail delivery has been suspended as the city copes with record-setting low temperatures. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Despite the polar vortex, turnout for our first meeting of Spring 2019 was high! Some might argue that has to do with the pizza, but I think it’s because of Connor Thatcher’s dashing good looks. In any case, the club got rolling with sector updates from their respective analysts, a market update, and an introduction to Lafayette’s sponsored Barron’s subscription.

Over our ridiculously long winter break, a lot happened in the markets. Head Analyst Mac Erb ’20 gave a brief overview of recent happenings, and reviewed the portfolio’s current sector weighting.

Next, our sector analysts took the spotlight. Mike Frohwein ’19 covered energy, with a relatively disappointing break capped off by a recent uptick overall. Our healthcare positions fared well according to Connor Thatcher ’21 — so well, in fact, that our UNH position has ballooned to an almost uncomfortable level. Luke Cummings ’19 highlighted some ups and downs in TMT, including ups for Ebay and IBM (a recent buy), and downs for Microsoft and Amazon (following earnings, anyway). Mac covered Consumer Discretionary & Staples for Emma Bodner ’20 (abroad), talking about Amazon’s overall rise since the holiday season, and some stats about Super Bowl advertisement spending. Finally, Henry Lewand ’21 went through some industrial winners in our portfolio, including Caterpillar, American Water Works, and Boeing, while losers included Southern Copper Corporation and General Dynamic.

The market update was headed by Noah Grossman ’21 and yours truly. Noah covered the overall performance, noting the severe downturn in December and the relatively strong recovery since then.

The US government shutdown was no help in this matter, creating uncertainty in the markets and making some people’s lives a little harder. We’ll see what happens in the next few weeks, before the temporary agreement reached in the Senate expires (or maybe we won’t and we’ll see another shutdown).

The dollar continues to weaken, including in the week before the meeting on Feb 1, with the WSJ dollar index falling further. Despite December’s rate hike, we’ll see what the future looks like for the federal funds rate – there is signaling that the target rate will remain stagnant in coming months, and markets regain lost ground.

Some additional headlines over the break revolved around Sears’ bankruptcy proceedings and the last minute bid to save the company by Eddie Lampert, Facebook’s strong earnings, Tesla’s profitability, and Apple’s holiday quarter decline in sales.

Noah also touched on crypto, noting that Bitcoin’s decline has been a constant theme for the last year or so, encouraging some talks of whether the product is performing more like a traditional asset.

See the post above for information on the sponsored subscription to Barron’s provided by generous Lafayette alumnus John Vaccaro ’66.

See the full presentation here: Investment Club Meeting 2/1/19

Wrapping Up Fall 2018

The fireplace in Gilbert’s is up and running, the library is packed, and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is playing faintly in the distance. A single conclusion can be drawn.

It’s finals week. Fall 2018 has been a good one, between the swath of esteemed speakers we hosted, our trip to One Byrant Park in New York City, and the wholesome content of our regular Friday meetings. While the market strayed from its general pattern over the last decade, the club stayed true to its course – what mattered was not what happened, but rather how we handled it. Bad news for markets (and let’s be honest, it’s not even that bad) means opportunity to learn, especially when the current group of undergraduates at Lafayette haven’t experienced any sort of prolonged market downturn or significant volatility since they took pre-algebra. No one wants to see the value of their portfolio go down, but we made the best of it.

The semester ended with a bang, as our generous alumni from BlackRock in Princeton, NJ spoke to the club for the second year in a row. Tyler Chromey ’10, Jim Renitsky ’06, and Connor Ortolf ’14 gave us their thoughts on college and beyond, talking about BlackRock specifically as well as the world of finance at large. (We didn’t know Jim was coming until after the poster was printed, promise!) As always, it would be impossible to articulate how grateful we are to have the opportunity to host such speakers.

For now, we get to stay as busy as we can over the break. We’re looking forward to an even better spring semester – see you next year!

A Quick Recap

The last few weeks have busy for the club – we hosted two speakers and went on a trip to New York City!

Rich Gold came to talk to the club on the first Friday of November. As the COO and President of M&T Bank, Mr. Gold has worked in or headed almost every division of the bank on his way to his current role. Lafayette has strong ties to M&T, generally hiring Lafayette graduates every year for the last decade or more. The stress in the talk came on the point that M&T’s success as a large regional bank comes from its consistent ties to the communities it serves. While the bank’s growth has been pretty incredible over the last few decades, the reason for that growth is M&T’s conservative and consistent nature. Mr. Gold walked the club through his career progression and then spent the last half of the event fielding various questions.

On November 9th, various members of the club boarded a bus to New York City to visit Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s headquarters at One Bryant Park. The visit was made feasible largely due to the efforts of former Investment Club president Brad Bonner ’97. The club toured a few floors of the building and had the opportunity to meet with various alumni who currently work in the building.

Finally, this past Friday, we had a visit from Chris Thatcher ’86. Mr. Thatcher is the CEO and President of Neuronetics, Inc., a medical device company that recently went public. In his visit, he focused on the process of going from an idea to a full-scale public company. Also part of the talk was Mr. Thatcher’s journey from Lafayette, to the NFL, to his clearly successful business career, as well as a Q&A session.

We are extremely thankful to be able to host such esteemed speakers as well as for the opportunity to visit New York City – none of this would be possible without the wonderful alumni network of Lafayette. Have a fabulous Thanksgiving!