One of the most significant trends of investing since I graduated from business school in1987 has been the leveling of the information playing field. When I started my career in finance, information was not as readily available to the average investor. Getting real time equity and bond prices was expensive. One needed to subscribe to special services to get SEC filings, which arrived days later. In contrast to today, specialized financial news just wasn’t available in a timely fashion. Now investors can get the news at the same time as large institutions. Size was a competitive advantage in 1987. In 2023, it no longer is. A retail investor can be as well informed as a large institution. Some of the tools of the trade are unchanged, such as public filings. Other new ones appear from time to time.
In 2022, I was convinced by a friend to start using Twitter as part of my investment process. In 2023, Twitter has proved invaluable, especially in understanding day to day fluctuations or bigger trends. Some of my current sources: E. Finley-Richardson @ed_fin; J Mintzmyer @mintzmyer; Bloomberg Energy @BloomergyNRG; Oeystein Kalleklev @Okalleklev; Pierre Andruand @AndurandPierre; Javier Blas @JavierBlas; Michael Pettis @michaelxpettis and Nick Timiraos @NickTimiraos. I went out for coffee with a friend who works at a hedge fund two weeks ago. If we want to know what is going on in our markets, we both agree, we start with Twitter.
Therein lies the danger. One has sophisticated information at one’s fingertips. But it is still important to interpret the data. I’m an investor, not a trader. I play the percentages and have my biases. I would rather be early to a shipping cycle than late, if I think we are near to the cycle’s bottom. Finely-Richardson has been invaluable in following the product tanker market, as is Pierre Andruand in oil. J Mintzmyer is very smart and insightful, but I don’t always agree with his recommendations, which are always thoughtful. On Friday, I was long two of his short recommendations. From a trading perspective on Friday, he was right. Still, as an investor, that didn’t stop me from adding to one of the positions. Kalleklev (Note, his first name is spelled incorrectly on Twitter), CEO of Flex LNG Management AS, has extremely valuable insights on LNG shipping. He is also, as we say in New Jersey, an “Earner.” I have done well over years investing in companies that he has led. Twitter is similar to getting the keys to a fast race car. One can get there faster, but it depends on the driver to arrive safely.