We have a winner! The ABL 2020 Stock Picking Contest has finished, and Tawcan absolutely crushed the field.
However, we also have a couple of losers.
While I kept it a secret from everyone, my whole goal during the 2020 contest was to see if the How the Market Works site was sophisticated enough to handle margin calls for losing short positions. Turns out, it was not.
It was an almost impossible task to lose over $1 million to test margin calls, but I pulled it off with ease. Shorting Tesla was one of my pluckier moves, but my biggest coup was shorting Gamestop, which we all know is a fine business with a bright future, and losing over $700K on that trade alone. Truly impressive. But to the casual observer, it might look less like an important science experiment and more like I just lost a bunch of money.
On a more serious note, though, I have to declare that the How the Market Works site itself was a loser. This free contest site proved the ol’ adage “You get what you pay for.” It completely ate the entries of Dividend Growth Investor and PK some time during the 3Q. Nobody cares about PK, and I don’t think he had made a single trade anyway (his results below are an estimate of a modest return on cash – and Nelson clearly beat him). But DGI worked hard on his picks so that was a bummer. In happy news, DGI remembered which stocks he chose, so
a team of forensic accountants have perfectly replicated the results he would have had I made a wild estimate of him being slightly down for the year.
The most troubling failure of the contest website was that it almost ate Tawcan’s rather impressive entry. He disappeared from the ranking table, and he couldn’t find his entry when he logged on. But it was somehow still in the official spreadsheet results, and my Tesla loss was clearly his gain:
So we learned once again that shorting stocks is dangerous, a lesson I’ve been delivering with regularity. You are welcome.
We learned that Mr. Market thinks Tesla has a bright and wonderful future. Huh.
And we learned that the How the Market Works site may not be optimal for future contests. No one takes this all that seriously, but it is annoying that some results disappeared, and our winning entry came close. Also, the whole reason I started this contest was to get investing ideas from other people. That’s not possible when entries or positions get Thanos-snapped.
So where does that leave us for a 2021 contest? I can’t justify a return to How the Market Works, but I also don’t want to resume the manual labor of calculating returns on multiple stock positions per entrant.
So we’ll go with something light and easy. Since it’s a stock picking contest, we’ll be literal and assume that means a single stock. Also, to avoid the haymaker swings that have become my hallmark in these contests, we’ll also say you need to own irl the single stock you recommend. I’ll provide some more rules at the end of this post.
Thanks to everyone for playing, and let\’s all tip our hats to Tawcan for a truly impressive performance.
2021 Stock Picking Contest Rules
- Pick a single stock that you already own (long positions only) that you think will beat all others in 2021 – tell me the ticker in a comment below, and if you’re doing something exotic like a foreign exchange, make sure that’s clear
- Return (dividends included, but not reinvested) will be calculated from the close of the day you make the comment to December 31, 2021
- All entries must be made by January 15, 2021