I’m checking off one of my New Year’s resolutions today.
It’s something that I plan to do each January from here on out …
Review how our subscription-based services performed the prior year.
So, I’ve spent the last few weeks combing through each newsletter’s track record and individual trading history for 2016.
We had some wonderful success stories. And I’ll share those with you in just a moment. But that’s not all.
I’m also not going to hide our less-than-stellar performers like other publishers do. I believe in transparency. And if I were in your shoes, I’d want the full results, So, I’ll show you how each one of our services performed in last year.
Like any year, there were winners and losers.
But, I’m happy to report 12 of 14 newsletters and trading services (86% win-rate) were in the “green.” Meaning, they booked positive calendar year returns in 2016.
As for relative performance, 7 of 14 services (50% win-rate) outpaced the S&P 500 Index (a couple — Income Superstars and Natural Resource Options Alerts — came within 1% of the S&P 500’s total return).
And when compared the MSCI ACWI Index (a global benchmark for stocks), we had 10 of 14 services (71% win-rate) outperform.
I’m extremely proud of our leaders: Natural Resource Investor, Adventure Capitalist, Global Resource Hunter, Superstar Trader and Wall Street Front Runner.
These five ace services absolutely clobbered the overall markets. Each was up an average of 40.02%. That means, as a group, they beat the S&P 500 Index by 235% and the MSCI ACWI by 409%.
Just how good is an average of a positive 40% return across five services? Well, consider this: 1958 was the last calendar year when the S&P 500 returned more than 40%!
Our Top 10 Trades for 2016
Here are our best individual trades from across the Uncommon Wisdom Daily universe in 2016 …
What I love about this list isn’t just that we saw so many triple-digit winners. (Although our subscribers agree that those four rounds of 200%-plus gains were pretty darn nice.)
The best part, for me, is that they represent a healthy mix of stock and options trades. In fact, three of four of our 200%-plus gainers were stocks!
Now, having big winners doesn’t automatically mean a perfect grade on our annual report card. But it doesn’t hurt!
How We Rate the Winners
My scoring system is simple. I’m looking at whether a service makes money … whether it delivered what we promised … and whether it beat the market.
If it exceeded all three items on my checklist, then it gets an “A.” The “B”s in many cases still beat the market, and the rest need (and are already starting to receive) improvement this year.
Whether you want to judge on absolute returns or relative returns, all the data is transparent below.
Starting with our newsletters …
One of our top 10 winners came from JR Crooks’ Global Resource Hunter. That 209.2% gain in SM Energy (SM) you saw took place in a little over two months. And it was one of five big energy winners he closed out that same week, with gains of 18.5%, 23.3%, 23.6% and 66.1%. I think you’ll agree, that kind of performance — a whopping 36.21% return for 2016 — merits an “A+” grade.
Income Superstars is Nilus Mattive’s monthly newsletter that zeroes in on solid dividend-paying stocks that can weather just about any market. Many of the stocks have been in the portfolio for a long time, and their 2016 gains were just a fraction of their overall return. But consider this: Nilus was able to rake in $54,148 in his real-money Dad’s Income Portfolio last year. That’s a total return of 18.5%, or about 50% better than the S&P 500 during that same time! Combine that with an 11.36% return in the model portfolio, and I think you’ll agree — this performance is worthy of an “A” rating.
Grant Wasylik has done a great job in his first year at the helm of Disruptors & Dominators. He led members to a 48% gain in Spirit Airlines (SAVE) in just four months and closed out a 78% gain in First Mining Finance (FF.V). But then Mylan (MYL) got rocked by controversy about its EpiPen pricing and Stratasys (SSYS) failed to launch into the stratosphere. Our “B+” rating leaves room for improvement. And with all the current gains on our open positions list — building on top of the 9.32% gain last year — we are confident we’ll make the mark again this year.
Cash Flow Kings — Rather than following time-tested metrics like cash flow, traders are reacting to everything President Trump says and does right now. And it’s easy to feel behind-the-curve when the curve twists wildly each day. But that doesn’t mean investing in well-run, cash-rich companies won’t pay off over the longer term. Our stocks are up more than 5% this year alone, with longer-term holds in Visa (V) and Apple (AAPL) up 56% and 81.5%. And newer positions like Reynolds American (RA) and Boeing (BA) are up 26% and 27% in just few months. We take our “B-” rating and our 6.32% return as a challenge to do even better in 2017.
Some of our biggest individual winners came from our trading services. You saw one of these names already in the chart above …
Grant Wasylik’s Adventure Capitalist, posted a steady stream of double- and triple-digit winners. In fact, our two biggest winners from the year came from this service. When it comes to banking big gains from small stocks, members got to do just that. And thanks to its 40.80% return for the year, this service earned its “A+” grade handily.
Grant’s Wall Street Front Runner service also gets high marks. It didn’t crank out huge gains like his other service, but it did produce a steady stream of short-term (average time in trade: 2.7 days) gains in 66 stocks. At year-end 2016, the service was just eight months old and boasted a 54% win-rate. And with a 34.61% return (a combination of “core” and “bonus” trade performance for simplicity’s sake) last year, it’s definitely showing its “A+” game so far!
My Global Trend Trader targets three stocks a month with big potential to move fast, and tells us to sell the rest. This makes it easy to hit the exits, but that’s meant giving up some bigger gains along the way. Our Crash Protection Portfolio treaded water, which I’m OK with because that means we didn’t have a major crisis that caused this protection to kick in. I’m giving this service a “B+” for beating the market (with a 15.64% return) and having some exposure to gold and bonds if/when we need it.
And my 10-Minute ETF Trader service delivered on its name — a set-it-and-forget-it approach to trading that targets the three strongest ETFs we follow each month. Our favorite story was a 17.4% one-month gain in the iShares Silver Trust (SLV). Otherwise, we tracked a series of single-digit wins and losses. I’m giving us a “B-” here. To boost that grade, we are looking at expanding the ETF universe we cover. If we see better performers than the ones we have (which generated a 5.33% return in 2016), we will happily make the switch to deliver even-better results.
As we’ve seen so far, “slow and steady” can win the race. But we don’t always notice the smaller gains as they happen until they add up. That’s why we enjoy those big winners when we see them.
And that’s why we have several options services — to go for those big gains, as often as we can!
JR Crooks has two services on this list with high marks.
His Natural Resource Investor service hit its stride this year. Here, JR led his subscribers to a series of double-digit gains all year in all sorts of commodity plays. The 53.25% return in 2016 is proof that you don’t need to spend a king’s ransom to generate regular gold gains. It’s an “A+” all the way here for our top-performing service across Uncommon Wisdom Daily.
Nilus Mattive’s Superstar Trader was also a superstar performer. It shows 32 separate closed profits vs. zero booked losses for 2016. This means he generated consistent results from the early-year volatility through the year-end rally, and everything in between. With a 35.21% return last year, this is a very easy “A” to award.
JR makes this list again with Natural Resource Options Alerts, which generated a few of our Top 10 trades that you saw earlier. (You also saw his keen ability to trade oil stocks and ETFs in Global Resource Hunter. Click here to see a brand-new report from JR about one of the newest trends he’s following.)
In Natural Resource Options Alerts, JR helped his subscribers play the crude oil market like a fiddle with leverage. Here are the energy options trades he closed in the last six months of 2016 …
The service hit a rough patch in the summer months. But most options traders know that there are just as many swings and misses on the way to going for (and getting) the big gains. Here, the wins made up for the losses, with an 11.75% return. So, this deserves a strong “B+” rating, in my book.
Now, I want address our blemishes, too, rather than concealing them. Our two laggards, Crisis Options Trader and Currency Options Alert, were down 40.11% and 89.26%.
They have two things in common. Both launched in 2016, and both focus exclusively on buying options. And that means putting a relatively small chunk of capital at risk (vs. buying stocks) in exchange for the potential (and the leverage) to make big gains.
The main difference between these services is that one launched too late, while the other arrived perhaps just ahead of its time.
Crisis Options Trader is already taking advantage of two opportunities we missed last year. The first was that it launched after the early-2016 market rout. The second was that we focused more on company-specific risks rather than the macro risks that came to dominate the market.
The service did a great job trading the big post-Brexit dip, and generated two of our Top 10 trades listed above. But markets quickly absorbed last year’s geopolitical shakeups, which crushed-our year-end bearish bets. And our winners just didn’t make up for it. I don’t like that “C” rating, so this year we have already started following the biggest risks in the global markets for bigger gains. We’ll also keep sharing our monthly list of “stocks to dump” and making select bets against them. Our idea remains to be positioned for swift pullbacks, but now with exposure to the seemingly tireless bull.
Currency Options Alerts wasn’t just ahead of its time as a service, but also with its trades. JR Crooks did a great job in calling world currencies’ near-term direction. But a stubbornly high U.S. dollar last year kept many moves (and their profit potential) muted or delayed. This year he’s looking to buy more time with the trades and to hit the exits faster. I have to give this one a “D,” but I do so knowing that there’s a whole lot of triple-digit return potential this year with the editor, as you saw above, and his strategy. And with the threat of trade wars and currency wars under President Trump, we should have no shortage of opportunities to follow the money all around the world.
Look, I’m not proud of those two services’ 2016 results. But, this is what happens some years with options trading. It’s riskier than picking stocks, mutual funds and ETFs. We’ll have big down years like this, but we’ll have big up years, too. We could easily see huge turnarounds in these services. I would not cast them off for one bad year. And as you can see, we have improvements already under way.
This leaves us with one more service, Blue-Chip Option Alert. Its 13% gain for the year beat the markets, no question. So why did I give it a “C-” grade? It did deliver on its mission to deliver options recommendations on big, liquid, blue-chip stocks. But it ended up offering several trading strategies but not a lot of trades. And while that resulted in a yearly gain, we needed to offer more trades and less confusion. We plan to make some major adjustments here soon.
Overall, looking at this 2016 report card, I’m proud of the results we posted. But we are also eager to deliver even better results this year. And by next January, no matter what the market brings our way this year, I expect to deliver similar … or even better … results. Either way, you’ll get my 2017 report card in January 2018.
Good luck and happy investing,
Uncommon Wisdom Daily
P.S. To learn more about any of these services, please give our Customer Care team a call Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern, at 800-400-6916.