Chances are you use a Square product regularly, whether it is paying for your cup of coffee, craft beer, haircut, or use one in your own business. This financial technology company has grown rapidly along with mobile device sales over the last eight years and the stock (NYSE: SQ) is up 180% in just the last 12 months. We have enjoyed 56% of this gain here and with strong expecations and new products hitting the market, we can only expect more growth ahead.
The first Square Point-of-Sale device, and it’s largest to date, has two displays one for the seller and one for the customer. Square CFO Sarah Friar notes that Square Register is it’s the priciest POS device thus far, but customers are loving the display and it’s attracting larger retailers.
Square For Restaurants
Square has indeed came a long way from it’s single product beginning in 2010 with Square Reader, which accepted credit card payments by connecting to a mobile device’s 3.5 mm audio jack. Another new product from Square this year is taking on the restaurant Point-of -Sale competition in a fierce way. Beyond payments, to inventory, menus, table map, and full on marketing, Square Restaurant is a complete out of the box solution.
Setting up the system is a very ‘user-friendly process’ says Square CEO Jack Dorsey, and says that 60% of new Square for Restaurants customers are able to easily set up their own system. “That includes their table map, all the menus, basically all the operations that they need to focus on to run the restaurant … the ability for a restaurant to take that on and self-onboard and do all their menus, do all their table layouts with our software is pretty awesome because it creates efficiencies.”
Based on the first eight years of business this innovative fin tech has a very strong future. Square is expanding it’s hardware line to attract more verticals and rapidly growing it’s software and services business including employee management, payroll, appointments, and customer solutions to name just a few. Expect much more to come from Square.
It’s starting to feel like 1999 again.
Not in the ‘Party like it’s…’ kind of way, but in the ‘stock bubble’ kind of way. It’s called a Melt-Up, and it happens at the end of the bull market when everyone on your block and their yellow dog is suddenly buying or talking about stocks. It’s the herding in of otherwise wouldn’t be investors who are afraid they are going to miss out on the market’s rapid rise. It’s what happens right before the lights go out on the fun and there’s a market Melt-Down, crash, or major correction.
Let’s look at how we know we are actually in a Melt-Up.
- There’s a kind of stock mania everywhere you go. References to the stock market in unfamiliar publications and media. Talk of the bull market by those around you at the store, at work. Remember the last high of Bitcoin when suddenly everyone was talking about Bitcoin when six months earlier they didn’t even know what it was? Like that.
- High investor sentiment. Consistently above 50% is how the professionals gauge it. This week we are ending at around 30%. Of course it fluctuates all the time, but this could indicate there is still room to run in this market.
- There is a high inflow of both new money into the market, especially ETFs, and a flood of new online trading accounts set up.
- There is usually a strong focus on one area of the market. Like the Bitcoin example earlier this year, or the most famous of all, the tech stocks (aka the ‘Dot Com Bubble’) that began it’s burst in March of 2000. Before the burst, however, there was indeed a Melt-Up. The NASDAQ, which usually travels in the general path of the Dow Jones and is the market that trades many of the tech stocks, suddenly diverged and drastically outperformed the Dow.
This is the Dow Jones compared with the NASDAQ July, 1999 to March, 2000.
This is where we are today from November, 2017.
See the similarities as the NASDAQ is beginning to launch into orbit away from the Dow? It certainly feels like the mid-stage of a Melt-Up.
So how do we proceed? One, with caution and ownership of those that are driving the NASDAQ higher: strong tech companies.
Two, remember to not be greedy and maintain smart position sizes relative to your portfolio. This could be the final push of this bull market and if history has taught us anything … one with incredible gains.
In good times and bad, people love a bargain. Today we have an opportunity to own a company who provides bargains at a bargain –with the possibly of 40% growth in stock price while earning a dividend of 6.2% along the way.
Understand, I’m not someone who loves shopping, and evidence of what some call the retail armageddon is clear. Thousands of stores are closing every year, bankruptcies for retailers are at an all time high, and ecommerce hit it’s crescendo last holiday. I never would have believed that I would be recommending a stock based on brick and mortar retail, but amidst the rubble and destruction there are winners, and Tanger Factory Outlet Centers is one worthy of our consideration.
eCommerce hasn’t put a dent in this outlet powerhouse who’s been in business since 1981. Outlet stores in general have doubled their sales over the past 5 years to $50 billion, and Tanger, who has properties in both the US and Canada continues to grow as well through thoughtful planning and execution. With high profile tenants such as Nike and Polo Ralph Lauren, their occupancy rates have not dipped below 96% since the company went public 1993.
CEO Steven B. Tanger, in their Annual Report, proudly reported their 14th consecutive year of net operating income growth and their 24th year of consecutive dividend increases.
Tanger is still family owned, and the business is organized as a real estate investment trust (REIT). If you’re familiar with REIT’s you know this model doesn’t pay corporate income taxes, but is required to return most of it’s cash flow back to investors via distributions or dividends. Their annual payout per share has only grown since 1993 as well, from $0.1338 to it’s current day $1.3525. At it’s current price, this is a 6.2% yield – not too shabby.
Our opportunity here is that Tanger’s share price has temporarily fallen because Wall Street has mistakenly lumped it in the same basket as retail stocks most of which I wouldn’t touch with any length of pole. Today we can load up on this bargain below $25 (it’s at $23 as of this writing) and wait for it to return to it’s 2017 high of over $37 per share.
So what would investing in 108 shares today look like in 5 years’ time?
Investment cost: $2,484; 108 shares @ $23/share, 6.2% dividend yield reinvested for 5 years
You would end up with $3,403.66 for a total gain of 37.02%. Since this is over 5 years, that would make your average annual gain 7.40% and this is doesn’t even factor in any rise in share price, which could easily be in the double digits.
ACTION: Buy shares of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers (SKT) up to $24.50
If you missed out on the 196% gain on Bluebird Bio (BLUE), the 81% gain on Tencent Holdings (TCEHY) or the 28% gain on Apple Inc. (AAPL) over the last 12 months don’t despair, today we sit before another exciting opportunity at huge gains.
Despite it’s sometimes volatile markets, China is on the move, and a great place to park your money for the next four years to capture gains like those above. Last week, after the American media and financial pundits drove down the share price of some Chinese companies with their talk of tariffs and trade wars, Alibaba Group (BABA) released their earnings -proving what we’ve known for a while now: this is a great time to have exposure to the Chinese markets.
Think of Alibaba as China’s version of Amazon, but with even better upside potential and faster growth who already controls over 50% of the Chinese online retail market. Alibaba reported 62% yearly growth to $8.2 billion and cloud revenues up 103%. Their digital media / entertainment revenues were up 34% year over year to $840 million. Their active consumers were up 37 million to hit 552 million, and their monthly active users hit 617 million. Yes, they have almost more than twice the number of active users as the entire population of the United States. And growing.
One of it’s many platforms, Taobao.com, added 27 million new active users last year. Think of Taobao.com like eBay except with storefronts owned by everyday users.
Alibaba also said it will also take a 33% stake in Ant Financial –a leading provider in China’s mobile-payment market and has broadened it’s services to wealth management, consumer lending, and has expanded to overseas markets. Ant nearly doubled their revenue in 2017 and is eyeing an initial public offering (IPO) possibly this year, which made this a smart investment play for Alibaba.
Many are estimating Alibaba’s share price to hit north of $250, which is a 30% gain in the coming year based on today’s share price of $188.89. Alibaba is up over 10% already in the last 30 days.
Get in now and lock in a 25-30% trailing stop. Add to your position during any pullbacks.
Selling your real estate, stocks, and securities for a capital gain is a wonderful thing, after all making a profit is the whole point. But before Uncle Same comes to take his cut you may want to use a little strategy to avoid paying more tax than you want to. Yes, you can lower you tax bill, but it will require knowing how to better time purchases, sales, and understand tax rules.
Long-term and Short-term capital gains
When you sell an investment such as real estate or stock for a profit, it’s called a capital gain. A long-term capital gain is made on an asset you owned for at least 366 consecutive days.
Long-term capital gains are taxed at more palatable rates than short-term gains. Short-term capital gains are taxed as ordinary income, while, the IRS will reward you for holding on to your investment for a longer period of time by reducing your long term capital gain tax rate to the following:
|Long-Term Capital Gains Rate
||Married Filing Jointly
||Head of Household
||Married Filing Separately
||Up to $38,600
||Up to $77,200
||Up to $51,700
||Up to $38,600
Data source: Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
For example, if you are single and earn $50,000 annually and you sell a stock for a gain (that you’ve held for less than year) you will pay 7% less tax on that gain (22%-15%=7%)
Short-term capital gains are taxed as ordinary income, which means any income you receive from investments held for less than a year must be included in your taxable income for the year.
2018 tax brackets:
|Marginal Tax Rate
||Married Filing Jointly
||Head of Household
||Married Filing Separately
Data source: Joint Explanatory Statement of the Committee of Conference.
Simple Ways to Cut your Tax Bill
Sell Losing Stocks
If you have sold investments for a gain, you can offset these realized gains by selling stock that isn’t doing as well, capturing these losses to reduce your income. This can be done using a long term strategy for the stocks or funds you plan on holding long term in a process called ‘harvesting’. It works like this: You plan on holding XYZ fund/stock for a very long time, however, you also want to reduce you tax bill this year. Sell (aka Harvest) and take the loss for your reportable income this year, and repurchase it later — as long as it hasn’t shot up beyond you buy-up-to price. The only stipulation here is you cannot repurchase it within 30 days due to a regulation called the wash-sale rule.
If your income fluctuates year to year, save the sale of any investments for a lower income year. Your capital gains tax is determined by income levels, so delaying can make sense in some situations.
Take any gain from a security you’ve held for more than a year and donate it. Receiving a charitable deduction for the market value and avoid having to pay capital gains. Most brokers such as Schwab and Fidelity have accounts available to help you do this.