A trip to Big Sky country was eye opening (as usual). First, Montana is pretty much open for business. The state, which has had minimal Covid cases, is not trying to keep its residents inside and protected. To actually eat in a restaurant was refreshing. Few patrons were wearing masks, although tables were distanced. In addition, the National Guard did take our temperature when we arrived at the airport.
Then, there was that bear encounter my daughter and I had while on a hike to a water fall in the southwest part of the state, in the middle of nowhere. This was not just any bear. Two miles into the three mile trek, and with no one else on the trail, my daughter suddenly stopped in her tracks, with an "oh, crap". I looked up, and there it was, 60 yards ahead on the trail, a huge bear which was shocking enough. However, this bear was white! We both saw it, and it had the shape and size of a grizzly.
We were too surprised to pull out the cellphone and get photographic evidence as the bear crossed the trail toward the creek. We'll never know for sure what it was exactly, a white grizzly (they do exist, in fact one was spotted just days before in Banff, Canada), or perhaps an albino black bear. I swear it was the former and the folks at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks I spoke with did not rule out the possibility. Or perhaps they were just being nice. I am anxious to hear of other sightings in that area. Either way I now have a new term for that rare and unique deep value idea, the "White Grizzly".
It was quite a week to be away, starting with last Thursday's 5.9% drop in the S&P 500, the first 5+% move since April 6 (+7%). The market is also on a new run of "volatile" trading days (when the S&P closes up or down at least 1%) with such occurrences in the last 10 days. During that run, the S&P 500 is up about 1.4%, despite last Thursday's drubbing. You can't make this stuff up.
Then on Friday, activist investors were successful in pursuit of board seats at GameStop (GME) , concluding one of the more interesting recent proxy contests. Hestia Capital Partners and Permit Capital nominees Paul Evans and Kurtis Wolf will join the board of the struggling retailer, which ended last quarter with $570 million in cash and $552 million in debt. The duo has their work cut out for them as GME is expected to be very modestly profitable next year, with consensus estimates calling for earnings per share of 3 cents on $5.8 billion in revenue.
While I would not put GME in "White Grizzly" territory, the change in the composition of the board is an interesting step, and makes the name - which I hold as part of my 2019 Tax Loss Selling Portfolio - worth following.