I subscribed to the weekly Insider Newsletter service effective October 1, 2022. The first month was a trial for $ 1. Since, I have been paying $ 35 monthly. I can cancel whenever I want.
This is the history of my first hundred days with the service that will show what I received and my level of satisfaction. What I like, what I like less, and what I hate about it.
- Name: Capitalist Exploits
- Website: capitalistexploits.at
- Founder: Chris MacIntosh
- Services: Investment newsletter/Insider Newsletter & more
Capitalist Exploits, Legit? Who runs it?
First, Capitalist Exploits and their entry-level service Insider Newsletter are legit. No doubt. I refer you to some reviews of their services:
- A Green Bull Research article by its founder and editor, Anders, dated Oct. 4, 2021, here
- Another in Green Bull Research's webpage, again by Anders, dated Jan. 2023 here
- Go to the Affiliate Doctor, here
- Go to Asiamarkets with this link
- For Retirement Investment, click here
- At The stockdork, here
Give them a good read. Unlike the lukewarm ratings we see on most advisory services, the reviews are unanimous in their qualifications: "excellent" and "exceptional."
Services offered and their cost
I only write about the basic, entry-level service Insider Newsletter (IN). You can complete it with the free service/Blog - Our World this Week.
I will not get into the costlier two services offered by Capitalist Exploits, Insider (complete service - $2.499/year) and Resource Insider ($4.999/year - only for Accredited Investors).
Capitalist Exploits exists since 2016. The first issue of Insider Newsletter launched on Nov. 20, 2016. All issues of the IN are accessible to subscribers.
There is a skimpy list of all stock ideas beginning with issue No. 30 of June 20, 2017.
I begin with The Bad, not because it overshadows The Good in any way. But: To get it out of my system and over with.
Chris seems to follow any conspiracy theory under the sun. Three examples:
COVID and vaccinations.
He is a staunch anti-vaxxer and calls the vaccination process "the greatest scam of the last hundred years." He even claims that it was a plot by the elites to reduce the world's population.
He agrees with what some Russians have said, about COVID not being a medical emergency but rather a military operation and a program to make biochemical weapons. — Heavy stuff.
I concede that some of the information Chris provides, merits consideration by the “powers that be."
Still, one thing is to say, three years after the COVID outbreak, that many people are skeptical about extra vaccinations, and a different matter is Chris's statement that he regards the world's response to COVID, from the beginning, as a scam.
Yes, it's possible that some increases in myocarditis and pericarditis cases were caused by the Covid vaccines, and none (or few) by natural Covid infections.
But what would have happened if the world had let the pandemic run its course, hoping to achieve herd immunity by not doing anything? Over the death of millions and millions of victims? Remember Boris Johnson? He had that theory. How did he fare with it?
Chris also claims that the response to the pandemic in the US was not run by the health industry but by the Department of Defense. Plus, that the majority of the population is now anti-vax, or at least "vaccine-hesitant."
I agree that the management of COVID broke trust in many governments, especially from 2022 on.
Something similar happens with Chris's statement that Africa is only 6 percent vaccinated and COVID has disappeared, and that scientists were baffled.
Did Africa, with that low vaccination rate, achieve herd immunity? If yes, how? What can we learn from that? Worth looking further into.
The Russia-Ukraine issue.
He shares professor John Mearsheimer's (of the the University of Chicago) posture about this matter, but expresses it in a much cruder, less diplomatic, and exaggerated, form.
To stop the war, Mearsheimer and his followers state that we have to begin by understanding and accepting that the West infringed on Russia´s strategic interests in an underhanded way. I agree.
There is some truth in the claim that the Obama administration staged the Maidan coup Ukraine in 2014. Furthermore, in that the West never planned on abiding by the Minsk Agreements of 2014. In essence, it played Putin for a fool and, with its sanctions, “stole” Russia’s foreign reserves.
But I would not go so far as to accept that Ukrainians are being used as cannon fodder in a proxy war for the West. Is Chris, however, correct in claiming that this war is no longer between Ukraine and Russia, but rather between the United States and Russia?
I am still shocked that he believes that the Ukrainian government is a bunch of Nazis (led by a Jew, mind you) that murdered and murders the Russian minority in the Donbas,
And that in a matter of days or weeks, Ukraine went from having one of the most corrupt administrations on earth to being the hero of the western world.
He also believes the US was behind the recent terrorist attack in Istanbul, Turkey! Can you imagine?
Here's a list of what I consider to be his right-wing bias, which frequently offends me:
- He hates Trump (funny enough) but hates Biden as well, or any other politician of whatever provenance.
- He hates pharma, big or small.
- He hates The World Economic Forum/Davos,
- He hates mass media,
- He hates feminism,
- He hates neoliberalism.
I find many of Chris’ disqualifications, adjectives, and comments disgusting. I am accompanied in this by other reviewers.
Some pearls of MacIntosh speak:
Angela Merkel: “that wretched old cow Merkel”
WEF/Davos: “Malthusian eugenicists and their Hegelian dialectic climate catastrophe fear porn.”
Ursula van der Leyen: “The evil witch of Ursula van der Leyen and her fellow pointy shoes."
Note: "Pointy shoes" is MacIntosh speak for politicians and their advisors. Other usual suspects, such as Wall Street and the World Economic Forum, are also included in that term.
Henry Kissinger: “Easily one of the most despicable little worms to have ever walked this planet”
UK: “That murky island of formerly Great Britain.”
Joe Biden: "Sleepy Joe, the dementia-addled podium donut"
These unnecessary comments:
- make you hate the guy. Then you come around and forget about them because you respect and like his research, advice, and geopolitical conclusions. Why the heck?
- Nobody can be such an insufferable, bad-mouthed, and hateful misogynist. Is this only to ruffle feathers?
These expressions are always unforgivable because they are ugly.
And here, we get into the "meat" of the service. There is a lot of good in Insider Newsletter and Capitalist Exploits.
Much of Chris's geopolitical conclusions are very interesting, ring true, and/or make me think. Examples:
The BRICS states, Turkey (long lost to NATO in his mind), Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and maybe Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, and the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) are exploring an alliance led by…
Putin's Russia (with China not far behind?) out of the dollar area and the Swift banking system. Instead, they are thinking of using the Russian MIR Payment System.
This makes a lot of sense to me. There is also a whiff of an organization called EAEU (Eurasia Economic Union) in the midst.
Count in: Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan (all Russian satellites), and Libya. Quite a group, and we won't be speaking of Russia as an island anymore.
OPEC is moving away from Western hegemony. Heard about the Saudi-China agreement?
Chris sees a divergence stemming from the irreconcilable differences between:
The USA, Canada, the UK, the European Union and their (still) allies on one hand,
and that group led by Russia and China, on the other hand.
He observes a balkanization and a clear trend toward deindustrialization in Europe/the European Union.
Chris regards Italy's Mrs. Melloni as the first figure within the EU who openly objects to and resents the dictates on everything, that come from Brussels.
He does not seem very hopeful about the future of the European Union and even less about NATO.
Energy, Climate Change, and Green Energy (found out to be much dirtier than what everybody thought).
The ESG movement, etc., and western governments (followed or pressed by the green lobby and mass media) have been stupid in their battering, badmouthing, and taxing to death the energy industry.
For more than a decade, the de-investment in oil and gas has been so harsh that it has brought the whole industry close to its knees.
That's bad for the world, but it's perfect for asymmetric investors.
- Chris' take on climate change: "Scam of global climate change warning—carbon emissions. I have come to the conclusion that the earth is fine—it’s the people that are fukt."
- The west put itself into an energy crisis, which was there long before the Ukraine-Russia war. The world is ruled by inept politicians, the mass media, the EGS lobby, and the WEF.
- Despite "prophets" like Uma Thurman, we still need coal, NG, and LNG — for a long time. Ever heard that coal is the raw material for making polyester fiber and resin?
- Even Uma has reversed her position and is now in favor of Uranium and the (much cleaner) nuclear energy.
- By sabotaging the imports of gas from Russia, Europe shot itself in its foot. And: Who bombed the Nord Stream I and II pipelines? The Russians who own them? The Germans? They need them and helped finance them. So: Cui bono?
"Dirty old Energy" accounts today for a mere 4 percent of the volume of the S&P 500. Compare that to the share of FAANG+M stocks! Chris predicts that in the end, we will be back to 25 % for energy in the S&P, which would make much more sense.
Energy will outperform the rest of the market for at least the next five years. Commodities (including oil and gas) are the cheapest asset classes on the planet on both a relative and an absolute basis.
Africans are being held in poverty for the sake of environmental extremists in the west. Where they cannot even provide for their own energy needs. That continent only accounts for 2 to 3 percent of global emissions, but has limited access to energy.
We should hold asset classes that are inelastic on the demand side and stay away from everything with elastic demand.
The latter includes Consumer Discretionary, Tech, and Real Estate. The former (beside commodities and oil & gas) includes retail. I am not sure where banks and financial institutions belong.
2023 will see many sovereign defaults in emerging countries.
And now I move on to answering the following questions:
IN pitches asymmetric trading opportunities. What do these look like? They should bring colossal upside potential but low downside and comply with the target of 300 percent+gains); or stocks paying high dividends (the target here is around 8 percent p.a.)? Are these real deep-value opportunities?
In my experience, I do see truth in IN's following statements:
- They favor entire sectors (and this favoritism can rotate)
- They promote starved-for-lack-of-funding stocks, often dirt-cheap but still financially healthy, and with excellent management
- They suggest diversifying between over a dozen sectors/themes
- They recommend one or two stocks a month but without any pressure to meet a quota. More than that, there are Big Five (recommendations) at the end of each Insider Newsletter issue.
- You will find interesting long-term setups for unloved positions that are off the radar for average fund managers?
Do I like the SECTORS they chose? Are they vital for the functioning of society and won’t go away anytime soon? Yes.
Do they promote unpopular sectors and keep away from those in demand like 5G, self-driving cars, AI, and precision medicine? Yes.
I am looking at the table "Stock Ideas, Capitalist Exploits Insider" (it shows all of those since the start of the service on June 20, 2017).
Then I concentrate on the positions from October 1, 2022, onward. Within the first hundred days, I got a good impression of what you can expect.
These are my findings:
- No 5G, no AI, no precision medicine, one automotive stock, four battery metals (used for EV, with or without self-driving capabilities).
- Lots and lots of Energy: Oil Services, Oil & Gas, Oil & Oilfield Services, Natural Gas, Offshore, and Oil Tankers. OSVs (offshore support vessels).
- Lots of Utilities.
- Quite a lot of Coal.
- A lot of Shipping and Tankers
- Quite a lot of Agriculture and Food, and Gold.
- Some Steel.
- Some Mining, Rare Earth, Base Metals, Copper, Tin, Uranium, Steel, Construction.
- Little Finance/Banks (Germany, Italy, and Argentina), and Paper
- Country specific: Beside the NYSE and NASDAQ. These, together with Canadian stocks, still represent the bulk of the recommendations. Also: Argentina (Utilities, Telecom and Agribusiness), Turkey, Japan (banks) and Egypt.
It is impressive how many of their recommendations are traded in Asia: Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, and India.
The reason is that most of IN's admired sectors in these countries (plus Australia) are, first: Marine, Heavy Engineering, OSV and Shipping. Mining and Commodities come in second. This is another manifestation of the shift of wealth from the West to the East, much discussed by Chris and his team.
As to dirt cheap, it depends on how you define the term. I can say that often they cost, from less than pennies, to less than $1, not often up to $10 or 20, and only a few are over $ 30.
So yes, between dirt cheap, very cheap, and cheap.
All the above sectors are and continue to be crucial to the functioning of society.
In IN's view, there were not more than the sectors I listed above, that were interesting. Within those mentioned above from 1 to 9, the absence of Retail and Pharma caught my attention. But then he hates pharma (not so retail).
I did not see (in my hundred days) any mention of stocks recommended especially for their dividends.
Do I see they are not catering to the “looking to get rich quick crowd” but rather the flock “looking to get in before the general public”? IN stresses it is never about IF we will make money, but WHEN (long-term approach). So yes, no doubt.
Do I agree that they have skin in the game, i.e. that the executives of Capitalist Exploits invest their own money in their recommendations? Yes, and I like it.
Can I say, that if I had followed their advice, I could have slept quietly, without needing to sit at my computer to check on my portfolio? Yes, I do.
Most of their investment recommendations are long-term. I only have read about one option suggestion and that one was long-term as well (2 years).
Recommended asymmetric trading opportunities. Performance? What did I take away from IN?
My hundred days began on October 1, 2022. This review was written at the end of January 2023. The service displays all stocks it has recommended since its inception. It also allows you to read all the 264 newsletter issues published since 2017, up to the moment this review was written (January 31, 2023). Not all of these show entry prices, and the list which you can partially see in the following screenshot, does not show any entry price, much less a present price. So, there is no way to see their performance.
At first, I thought it was interesting to go as far back as January 2021, to get another year of data. But: That would have meant reading an extra 60 plus issues. As, anyway, too many things have changed in that span of time, I let it be.
So, the only information we have on performance is the one presented by IN in the two graphs we copy here, The first (below) covers the period Sept. 22, 2019 to Dec. 6, 2022 (approx. 38 months):
while the second one (above) covers the first 11 months of 2022.
We also found the graphs and text below, in Issue # 256 (of Oct. 15, 2022), which refers to the period Jan. 1 to that date - the first nine and a half months of 2022. I reckon the line corresponding to IN's performance points to about 7,5 % up for 2022. So, the first two of the three years studied were good years, and the third less so, but good, considering. The "Asymmetric gains Portfolio" they refer to one they have in their complete INSIDER service. We understand the recommendations are the same as in IN, but only for Gains stocks, not Income/Dividend stocks.
Risk Tolerance and Allocation
It would be a mistake to assume that because IN is aiming for multiples on each investment, their recommendations are risky.
IN speaks of approximately one hundred positions you can buy today. Let's assume that you buy all of them and apportion an equal amount for investment in each of them.
That means one percent of the total portfolio for each item. If the total portfolio were $ 25.000, the exposure to each company/stock would be $ 250.
But, if we considered, let's say, only 50 positions, that would translate into two percent each or $ 500. If any stock fell to zero, the most we stand to lose would be $ 250 in the first example or $ 500 in the second.
Furthermore, if we assume there are ten sectors which IN recommends, we would have ten positions in each one. If any one resulted to be a total disaster and went down to zero, the greatest loss would be ten percent.
Now, if an essential number of the investments work out, they would return the capital many times. The winners would pay for the losers and then some. This "some" should be considerable. This is how we keep risks low.
IN pretends to perceive stock mispricings (very cheap stocks) and picks them up long before the market. So you won't have frequent in-and-out transactions.
Though IN does not establish hard and fast rules, they note that their investment strategy is best replicated by those who have at least $25,000 to play with.
I do think it could also work out with less:
You do not need to buy so many positions right away. If I chose only one of the Big Five presented monthly, that would mean 48 positions for the remaining weeks of 2023.
I would exit some of them during the year. If I allocated approx. $ 100 to each position, it would work out for a budget of only $ 5.000. I would not buy the more expensive recommendations. Once I had 50 positions, I would only buy extra positions after selling off others. Well, perhaps $ 5.000 is very little, but it should work out for 7.500 or 10.000.
International Stocks. Interactive Broker account and its advantages
The Insider Newsletter's stock recommendations are global. So, apart from the NYSE and NASDAQ, many of their picks trade on other exchanges:
- Asian, such as Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokio, Mumbai, Singapore, Taipei, and Busan (South Korea)
- European, such as London, Paris, Frankfurt, Zurich, Milan, Amsterdam, Oslo, Warsaw, Lljubliana (Slowenia)
- others, such as Toronto, Sydney, Johannesburg, Sao Paulo, and Tel Aviv.
As you know, standard American online brokers do not trade stocks of foreign companies that are not registered in NYSE, NASDAQ (and Toronto/TSX). For the latter, they do not charge you any commission.
But beware of the ADR, OTC, and Pink Sheet stocks. There, they do charge commissions at least for part of them, and they might become very expensive when expressed as a fixed amount and charged on a small number of cheap stocks!
For example, my TD Ameritrade account charges a fixed-amount commission of $ 6.95, regardless of the number of stocks you buy, for some (not all) ADRs, OTCs, and pink sheet stocks.
There are other disadvantages with these last three types of stocks: poor liquidity and a bigger bid-ask spread, which make them less than ideal for gains or income portfolios (like the ones IN promotes).
In order to access foreign stock exchanges and avoid having to buy ADRs, OTCs and Pink sheet stocks, IN recommends opening an online account with Interactive Brokers. It has the additional advantage of having the lowest costs.
But, this does not mean these trades are free, as is the case for US, and, I believe, Canadian stocks and/or foreign stocks traded at NYSE or NASDAQ.
A friend who subscribes to the complete INSIDER service and invested in about 80 percent of IN's recommendations, confirms that he has not come across any stock he could not buy through Interactive Brokers.
He also informs that their commissions, for foreign stock exchanges, differ depending on the exchange. In Hong Kong stocks, for example, the commission is a low 0.015 to 0.05 percent of trade value.
But: commissions for SEHK stocks and CNH stocks (for Shanghai-Hong Kong Connect and Shenzhen-Hong Kong Connect stocks) are as high as HKD 18 and CNH 15, respectively.
As commented above when speaking of some ADRs, OTCs, and all Pink sheet stocks bought through NYSE or NASDAQ, commissions at Interactive Brokers, in the cases where they are fixed amounts, and especially for cheap stocks like the ones favored by IN, might increase your cost in an important way or even multiply it.
So be careful and study the conditions before entering or confirming a trade. They will appear on your platform in a transparent way when reviewing the transaction, and there is always a chance to bail out.
In IN's web page, they guide you on how to open and configure this account:
- The suggestion is to open a Margin Account. not because of the leverage they allow for, but because it works more efficiently and quicker.
- Chose the TWS Mosaic tool, which is the one most professionals use.
- Use Market orders, not Limit orders when buying. Do not use stop losses. Because of what I wrote above under Risk Tolerance, IN seems to think you do not need them.
I happen to think they are always helpful as insurance. Of course, IN does not want any of your positions in these volatile stocks to be "thrown out too soon".
You could incorporate a comfortable cushion for downtrends by setting a Trailing Stop of, say, 50 percent, on all positions.
Our World this Week - free Blog
This is not included in the Insider Newsletter. It is a free service in the form of a monthly blog, for which you have to register separately.
From what I have seen, it nicely complements what you receive in IN, but only adds little more.
There is much more Good than Bad in The Insider Newsletter of Chris MacIntosh/Capitalist Exploits.
About the Ugly: Let us forget it. I harbor the hope that Chris and his team will read this review and cut out at least some of the Ugly stuff.