January 24th, 2015

A new study from Princeton spells bad news for American democracy—namely, that it no longer exists.

Asking “[w]ho really rules?” Princeton researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America’s political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power.
Read article…

* An account related to LOTM holds a position in this security.
Neither LOTM nor Tom Linzmeier is a Registered Investment Advisor. Please refer to our web site for full disclosure at www.LivingOffTheMarket.com

Diagnostic Field Test for Ebola

October 18th, 2014

A handheld device that can be used in the field to test for Ebola was highlighted on Fox Business News Thursday. Test results are within 20 minutes and with the next generation device, within 10 minutes.

The company will not have a mass market version available until twelve months out – the projected cost of the device is $5,000 and $20-$50 for each test.

The company has 108 million shares outstanding – cash on hand of $130,000 and an annual burn of about $2.3 million. Revenue is the same as zero at this point in time. The market cap is about $6 million. Debt is $3.6 million.

Something has to happen for this stock/company to move forward. A money raise – a buyout – a partnership or licensing the technology are possibilities. Alone and without money the product isn’t going anywhere. In fact without a cash inflow, the company does not look like it will survive. Licensing the manufacturing and distribution of the device and reagent seems the fastest way to market.

The company PositiveID does have a working partnership agreement with privately held ENSCO.

Web site





* An account related to LOTM holds a position in this security.
Neither LOTM nor Tom Linzmeier is a Registered Investment Advisor. Please refer to our web site for full disclosure at www.LivingOffTheMarket.com


A Discussion on What “Short Interest” Means

September 14th, 2014
  • How one might interpret “Short Interest” data to aid timing of trades
  • SZYM & NSPH as Current examples and their trend

Shares sold short are shares sold first that need to be purchased in a future time period. Short interest in a stock is usually stated as the number of shares sold short, as a percent – the percent of the shares “floating” (not held by insiders or 5% or more holders) or in “days to cover” based on present average trading volume.

Conventional wisdom is that the greater the number of shares sold short, the more buying power is in the company’s stock. If all the shorts try to buy at the same time it is called a “short squeeze” and the share price can rise rapidly. In this case and if the shorts are on the wrong side of the trade, one could also say, “filling their shorts”. This is presented as a positive or bullish case for the stock price… This may be true some of the time but in my experience not the majority of cases.

My own experience is that short sellers are very smart and tenacious in their mission – buying back their shares sold short at a low price. Therefore I get very nervous when I see a stock I really like with a large or growing short interest. Two thoughts pop into my mind –

  1. What do they (the shorts) know that I don’t and
  2. What tactics will they (the shorts) use to drive the price lower?

Besides being smart, short sellers are ruthless in using whatever tools they can to drive the price down – they are activists as a rule.

Like any tool in our stock market toolbox, one indicator should not be used alone, but in concert with other tools to get a weight of the evidence.

Yahoo Finance Key Statistics lists short interest and percent (%) of the Float Short – Yahoo (however) has not been updating these numbers in a timely manner. I would suggest using the www.NASDAQ.com site to get more up to date information on short interest and the trend.

Two stocks I would like to point out related to current short interest:

SZYM* $8.69 – Solazyme is a very heavily shorted stock. At the same time it is a company that LOTM has singled out as one of our top long-term core holdings. This combination makes me very nervous. What do the shorts know that I don’t and / or what will they do to drive the price lower? Other than the time required getting to dramatically higher revenue I don’t see much wrong with SZYM.

The short interest keeps growing however as shown on the NASDAQ site linked here.

I really like SZYM long-term but, ladies and gentlemen, be ready for anything in the short term.

NSPH* $0.60 – Nanosphere is also one of bigger share position and I love the technology long term Management has flubbed the process so NSPH finds itself in need of more cash. There might be additional issues behind the scene that I am unaware of. The stock has dropped sharply in recent weeks raising my anxiety level. When I look at the trend of short shares for NSPH I actually started breathing again and relaxed a bit. I was very happy to see the short position declining. This suggests that the shorts might be thinking there isn’t much profit left in the stock on the downside.

The short interest in NANOSPHERE is on the NASDAQ site is linked here.

NASDAQ makes it easy to list your portfolio holdings and look at them in an efficient way. I recommend that you do this but…. keep in mind that this is one tool and alone is not a reason to base a decision. On the other hand it might be the tool whose weight of evidence, combined with other data, moves your decision one way or the other.

* An account related to LOTM holds a position in this security.
Neither LOTM nor Tom Linzmeier is a Registered Investment Advisor. Please refer to our web site for full disclosure at www.LivingOffTheMarket.com


OUR WORLD: Migration from Blue States to Red States

August 25th, 2014

As a market participant I am always looking for pattern recognition and trends. For real estate appreciation from increasing demand seems to be growing in Red Vs Blues states. Especially vulnerable might be non-metro areas of New York, Illinois and California. Core metro areas in all states are benefiting from the migration from suburbs to downtown areas.

Three reasons given by Arthur B. Laffer and Stephen Moore:

  1. Low or zero income taxes: “We predict that within a decade five or six states in Dixie could entirely eliminate their income taxes. This would mean that the region stretching from Florida through Texas and Louisiana could become a vast state income-tax free zone”, they write.
  2. Business-friendly, as in the restrictiveness of regulations that could stifle business growth. The fracking moratorium in New York is held up as a model for “business-unfriendly” and point to neighboring Pennsylvania where the natural gas industry is flourishing. In energy-intensive Texas, four of the top ten metro areas (in growth) were located.
  3. Having “right-to-work” laws that make it more difficult to unionize workers. In addition, they blame high minimum wage laws that “price low-income workers out of the job market. “Why Americans Are Moving from Blue to Red StatesFriday, April 5, 2013.
  4. A fourth reason might also be that many are not unburdened by underwater mortgages and have more freedom to move.

Above are the reasons why there is a migration but an interesting question is will the migrating population bring a blue vote to red states. See below…

Also The Growing Blue-State Diaspora 8/23/2014 New York Times


Neither LOTM nor Tom Linzmeier is a Registered Investment Advisor. Please refer to our web site for full disclosure.

News is Dominating the Market

August 8th, 2014

Rumors that Putin (Russia) wants to de-escalate the Ukrainian situation will rally the market (today) – news that nothing happened (if that is the case Monday) will cause the market to fall.

Geo-political events are starting to matter. Economic trade wars will slow down global economies. Travel business will slow.

Our suggested way to deal with this is  – work towards reducing your risk factor – selling something on rallies – downsizing back to core positions – perhaps decreasing speculative names and adding to dividend names.

Determine what your core investment is – in percentages. How much in growth – how much in R&D companies – How much in dividend stocks – how much margin – how much cash. Then use strength to sell towards your percent numbers and buy on weakness to add to core positions on a dollar cost averaging plan.


Neither LOTM nor Tom Linzmeier is a Registered Investment Advisor. Please refer to our web site for full disclosure at www.LivingOffTheMarket.com

General Comment on Long-term Protection of U.S.$ Buying Power.

February 3rd, 2014

I have become a two country resident. USA and Vietnam. It has changed my perspective of wealth creation but also wealth preservation. I love both countries but both have long term issues they need to deal with. I will not talk about VietNam because few if any of you will go there or build a network of relationships in Vietnam as I have.

Here in the USA we have a massive debt problem. Presently we are in a pause period where the increase in the debt growth is slowing. Note; I said the rate of growth in the debt is slowing not that debt is falling. At some time in the future we have to deal with (1) our demographics – an aging baby boomer population and the entitlements and related health care costs and (2) the artificially low interest rates on out national debt and the cost of that debt when interest rates “normalize”. These are massive problems and thank goodness our elected officials are talking about them.

Link to additional comments

Long-term what can you do to protect against a weak US Dollar and its related loss of purchasing power.

The easiest thing to do is diversify your money into another country’s currency. Canada is close and easy to do this with. eTrade lets you open an account in Canadian currency with ease. This might give you some protection against the U.S.$ loss of purchasing. It isn’t high risk in that most of your assets will still be in U.S.$ based investments. In addition you might invest long term into natural resources like timber, gold & silver and agricultural companies. If the USA has a falling dollar that falls moderately under control, inflation will rise here in the USA and Canada will benefit. If the U.S.$ falls too fast because of rapidly rising interest rates and we head into a depression or deflation environment then shifting from equity investment to sitting in Canadian dollars (Canadian cash).

Presently I believe one should be over-weight in U.S. equities. As you take profits you might consider taking some of this cash and deposit it in an eTrade Canadian account. I have no position in eTrade shares so this is an unbiased comment.

Open an account now!

By the way, Booming gold and silver company Fortuna (FSM)* $3.62 is a Canadian company that could be purchased in your Canadian account.

LOTM Ideas we are excited about in 2014

January 21st, 2014

LOTM ideas we are excited about in 2014 as well as an update on some past ideas. See the linked PDF for comments on:

Smith Micro Software (SMSI* $1.76

Yahoo (YHOO) $40.01

MeetMe (MEET)* $2.26

Cincinnati Bell (CBB)* $3.73

Perion (PERI)* $12.53

Magic software (MGIC) $8.51



* An account related to LOTM holds a position in this security.

Neither LOTM nor Tom Linzmeier is a Registered Investment Advisor. Please refer to our web site for full disclosure at www.LivingOffTheMarket.com

Emerging charts ZNGA TINY & more

January 14th, 2014

There still seems to be a rotation happening in the stock market where some stocks are beginning to lift off while some are breaking down. Though I am nervous about the market, the balance between strength and weakness is still healthy.

Linked here are some charts that are suggesting trades in the early stage of rallies:


Best Way to Invest in VietNam!

November 13th, 2013

VietNam Holdings $1.29 (VNH.L – London and VNMHF in the USA)

Why you might care:

VietNam stock market trades at a low P/E ratio of 12.5 – The fund itself trades at 9.5 P/E to trailing earnings.
VNMHF trades at a 28% discount to asset value (NAV $1.666 and market price of $1.20)
VNMHF Performance in trailing twelve months was up 41%
VietNam has the 13 largest population in the world. Surprised? I was.
VietNam is an Energy independent country

In the latest “Doing Business Survey” of World Bank, Vietnam was ranked 99th out of 189 countries covered, ahead of the Philippines, Indonesia and India, and only 3 places behind China.

GDP growth rate in 2012-13 was about 5.4% Vietnam is a developing economy in the Southeast Asia. In recent years, the nation has been rising as a leading agricultural exporter and an attractive foreign investment destination. Vietnam’s key products are: rice, cashew nuts, black pepper, coffee, tea, fishery products and rubber. Manufacturing, information technology and high-tech industries constitute a fast growing part of the economy. Vietnam is also one of the largest oil producers in the region.

In my opinion, VNMHF or VNH.L is the best vehicle for a foreigner to own shares in Vietnam equities. It is not for trading, it is far too illiquid. A good strategy would be to dollar cost average purchases over time just as you would with any mutual fund. This might be a consideration to open an account in London Stock exchange using eTrade if you are interested in holding assets in a currency other than the US dollar. Vietnam Holdings trades much more actively in London than here on the US pink sheets.

Off Topic:

I will be in VN for two and a half months, returning in early February, 2014. I welcome any and all of you to visit me in Hanoi, if not now at a future date. This is my 12th or 13th trip to VN since 2007. My time in SE Asia is lengthening with each trip. Besides Vietnam, I really enjoy Malaysia which has some of the finest medical facilities in the world. Eight percent of British citizens travel to Malaysia for medical treatment, a fact I find interesting. This trip I will explore Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

As most of you know, I am also the Business Development Director for a tour company, www.SistersToursVN.com . In addition, I am involved with a large number of the artists through my www.ArtistsofVietnam.com endeavors. Requests to represent product as a  trade representation are increasing from both sides of the ocean. I am not sure where all this is leading but it is a fun adventure. Rest assured my progress in all of the above is dependent on my creating money from the stock market so my attention to equities will not wander. It is gratifying to see SMSI react (yesterday) to its developments. As you know everything takes money.

In my Vietnam adventure, I have found great team partners in art and travel that I consider family. The ripples from these relationships are expanding. The close and trusting personal and business relationships I have built, allows me the opportunity to participate in my three focus areas; Investing, Art and Travel.

Opportunities abound when an economy expands.

Have a great day! Tom

A Nation of Lawyers

September 28th, 2013

A Nation of Lawyers

By Steve Tobak

Critical Thinking

Published September 26, 2013

America used to be a nation of laws. Those laws served as guidelines for how we conducted business and ourselves. They were powerful laws, to be sure. But more importantly, they were fair, just, and judicious. They were laws we could all believe in. They were reasonable. They were not onerous or overbearing.

That’s no longer the case. Our laws no longer guide our actions; they dictate them. The problem is we’ve morphed from a nation of laws into a nation of lawyers. And the simple truth is that lawyers aren’t exactly judicious or minimalist about the laws and regulations they propose, draft, and implement.

Think about it. We talk about big federal government, but the size of its ever-growing budget and the enormous debt it’s piling up are just the beginning. The bigger problem is that we’ve somehow managed to create a system where career politicians – most of whom are lawyers – are incentivized to create more and ever-more complex legislation and regulations that are rarely repealed.

That’s the big government gift that keeps on giving.

The more lawyers and lobbyists we have the more laws and loopholes they create. We’re talking millions and millions of pages of legislation and regulations. And you know what that means? It means countless billable hours for hordes of attorneys that you and I, our small businesses, and our corporations have to pay to figure it all out, keep us out of the government’s crosshairs, and defend us from frivolous lawsuits.

The price for government protection and infrastructure used to be just taxes. Now it’s taxes plus a never-ending conundrum of laws and regulations that tax our lives, our liberties, our pursuit of happiness, and our sanity.

Make no mistake: lawyers make our laws, run our country, and more and more, determine how we live our lives. And the end result has us all running scared of a government that’s supposed to be there to protect us. For example:

Those of us who live in rural or mountainous areas are afraid our homes will go up in wildfires caused by forests of dead fuel that environmental lawyers stop us from clearing.

Property and business owners are afraid of the Environmental Protection Agency’s repressive regulations and predatory legal practices. It’s out of control in California where, get this, even oil-based paints are being phased out. Never mind all the crazy rules about what you can and can’t do with your own property.

What started as legislation and regulation meant to guide how banks lend money to homebuyers was hijacked by politicians with an agenda. The resulting subprime mortgage crisis nearly destroyed our nation’s economy.

People are afraid that, if they voice their true political beliefs, the IRS will come after them with its 70,000-page tax code.

A few terrorists and lunatics have had a dramatic impact on our personal liberties and freedom. You can’t even bring a bag or a backpack to a football game anymore, just a one-gallon clear plastic bag. Don’t even get me started on the anti-gun activists.

Parents are afraid that, if they discipline their kids, they’ll end up getting sued, arrested, or a visit from Child Protective Services.

When the blood alcohol driving limit drops to 0.05%, as it inevitably will, you won’t even be able to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner without being afraid of getting a DUI. Yes, other countries have stricter drunk driving laws, but they’re generally smaller nations with better public transportation systems and a lot fewer highway cops.

Laws that were needed to enforce equality have turned into affirmative action, which provides advantages to certain select groups while discriminating against others. The very laws that were supposed to stamp out racism have basically institutionalized it.

We’re afraid that all the regulations are just the beginning because, three years ago, Congress actually passed a law that would change all of our lives forever without having any idea what was in it: ObamaCare.

And, as crazy as it sounds with all the lawyers running our country, we’re afraid that all the real criminals are getting out of jail with a slap on the wrist.

Look, don’t get me wrong. I’ve worked with hundreds of attorneys over the decades. I have great respect for the field. Besides, some of my best friends are lawyers. No kidding. But, with rare exception, we don’t let them run our companies and they probably shouldn’t be running our nation, either.

Laws are important. They create order. But if you allow them free reign, laws and the lawyers who make them take on a life of their own. They self-perpetuate. They create bureaucracy. You used to have to work for the government to experience bone-crushing bureaucracy. Now we all get to experience it 24×7. It isn’t pleasant.

Steve Tobak is a Silicon Valley-based strategy consultant and former senior executive of the technology industry.