I have been receiving an incredible amount of feedback in the past week for my columns on my new vision for conscious capitalism. Twitter (TWTR) and its CEO Jack Dorsey have been on the receiving end of many of my barbs.
Twitter is horrible, in my view. I deactivated my account last week, and based on anecdotal evidence, there is a movement rising against Dorsey and what I consider his platform's censorship. That movement will continue. Twitter is basically a moat-less, growth-light media company that is somehow classified as "Big Tech," even though it would appear to have no technological advantages of any kind. Any data Twitter gathers from its users is probably 1/10th as accurate as what Google (GOOGL) gets and probably 1/100th as marketable to advertisers.
TWTR shares are overvalued and you should short them... after you deactivate your account. But that's just step one in the movement that is rising. I am getting comments on my non-Twitter social media from an incredibly diverse geographic demographic on my articles on Twitter stock. With Twitter's (self-reported) user base consisting of 36 million in the U.S. and 152 million abroad at Sept. 30, an international flood of deactivations will really hit reported numbers. Look for that in first-quarter figures to be reported in April. I think their fourth quarter numbers -- to be reported on Feb. 9 -- will be fine, as they have benefited from free publicity, but a company should be forthright and out front about how much their user base has dropped off AFTER the relevant reporting period (Dec. 31, in this case) is over. But this is Twitter, so I would expect nothing of value from their management team on the upcoming -- as usual, as I have listened to most of them -- earnings call.
Facebook (FB) , with its troika of WhatsApp, Instagram and Big Blue, is just as ethically challenged as Twitter, in my view, but more difficult to short. Unlike Twitter, Facebook is not going anywhere. It's a decent short, but not as obvious as TWTR.
So, what do we buy and feel OK about ourselves instead of these tech giants? Well, as Real Money founder Jim Cramer says, there's always a bull market somewhere. Today I saw the statistic that prices for liquified natural gas (LNG) have risen more in the past nine months than even bitcoin has. That's extraordinary. China is having widespread power shortages in the midst of a record cold winter, and Western Europe is getting hit hard as well. Ships carrying LNG from the countries that produce it (like the U.S.) are in high demand right now. Three LNG shipping plays are Golar LNG (GLNG) , Flex LNG (FLNG) and GasLog (GLOG) .
Be careful when you analyze quarterly results from these companies, as higher shipping rates don't always impact each individual voyage (which generally last two to three months for Asian customers) but, pardon the pun, a rising tide is going to lift all boats here. Shipowners use index-linked charters in addition to simply spot pricing or long-term charters as a way of capturing upside, and with a 14x (14 times, not 14%) increase in the price of Asian benchmark LNG in the past nine months, the arbitrage trade is alive and well right now.
Did you know that? Well, if you get your investing news from Twitter, you probably didn't, as it's a place where users tend to pontificate about climate change and they're not going to admit that parts of planet Earth are currently in the midst of an exceptionally cold winter. But that's weather. It fluctuates, and those who attempt to predict it are invariably wrong.
The last thing the world, and especially China, needed after a nightmarish 2020 was a frigid winter, but that's what we are looking at. Add some GLNG, GLOG and FLNG to your portfolio and you will at least be able to benefit from the inscrutable -- and unpredictable -- moves of Mother Nature.