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My 2019 Report Card: Up 319%

By Taylor Carmichael – Aug 15, 2021 at 8:49AM

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I made 63 bullish calls involving 45 companies in 2019. Here are the winners, the stinkers, and everything in between.

As I approach my two-year anniversary of writing for the Fool, I thought it would be interesting to go back and look at all of the bullish calls I made in 2019. In sorting the data, I assumed readers of my articles bought the shares in question at the open of the next trading day. Of course, in real life nobody did that (not even me). But if you had invested an equal dollar amount in every stock I suggested, overall you would have quadrupled your money.

While I'm happy, and I hope you're happy, several of my stocks have underperformed the market, and nine have lost money for shareholders -- so that's humbling. I was wrong multiple times, and I will probably be wrong multiple times this year, too. Sometimes my crystal ball is on the fritz. Anyway, let's dive in and see how I did. 

A person rides a bike to the top of a mountain.

Image Source: Getty Images. 

1. First, some numbers

Here are all of my bullish calls in 2019, and how the stocks performed from the time of the hypothetical purchase through Aug. 9, 2021. 

Stock Number of Articles Stock Price on the First Trading Day After Article Was Published in 2019 Stock Price at the End of Trading on August 9, 2021 Percentage Gain
Afterpay 2

$20.00 and $20.55

$99.02 388%
Altus Midstream 1 $49.60 $66.13 33%
Amarin 4

$21.82, $20.65, $20.70, and $14.32

$4.85 (74%)
Apple 2

$71.17 and $67.50 

$146.09 111%
Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals 1 $49.39 $62.78 27%
Autodesk 1 $179.31 $332.77 85%
Blue Prism 1 $13.17 $11.62 (12%)
Blueprint Medicines 1 $77.38 $94.50 22%
BridgeBio Pharma 1 $24.83 $53.39 115%
Carvana 1 $67.28 $356.34 430%
CrowdStrike 1 $47.25 $263.56 458%
Datadog 3 $37.30, $32.64, and $36.00 $130 269%
Denali Therapeutics 1 $15.35 $53.49 248%
Disney 1 $147.14 $176.72 20%
Enphase Energy  1 $19.97 $185.56 829%
Farfetch 3 $9.56, $8.38, and $8.82 $47.22 431%
InMode  1 $44.01 $114.26 160%
Innovative Industrial Properties 1 $91.45 $227.86 149%
Ionis Pharmaceuticals 1 $56.27 $38.56 (31%)
Iovance Biotherapeutics 1 $23.66 $24.24 2%
Malibu Boats 2 $39.32 and $38.13 $81.66 111%
MeiraGTx 2 $15.01 and $18.81 $14.71 (12%)
Mirati Therapeutics  1 $104.59 $148.21 42%
MongoDB 2 $139.92 and $117.57 $380.38 206%
Novavax (NVAX -4.71%) 2 $4.46 and $4.00 $213.13 4,954%
Personalis 1 $10.40 $20.78 100%
RegenXbio  1 $39.96 $32.50 (19%)
SciPlay 1 $9.46 $17.31 83%
Sea  1 $37.08 $307.14 728%
Shopify 2 $402.76 and $336.00 $1,549.99 327%
SmartSheet 2 $43.93 and $40.49 $71.96 71%
SmileDirectClub  3 $8.05, $11.78, and $13.04 $6.70 (36%)
Solaris Oilfield 1 $12.51 $7.87 (37%)
Square  1 $63.20 $279.73 343%
StoneCo  1 $41.06 $58.15 42%
Ubiquiti  1 $193.75 $310.28 60%
Ubisoft  1 $11.92 $11.80 (1%)
Veeva Systems  1 $148.61 $332.34 124%
Vir Bio 1 $13.80 $40.10 190%
Virgin Galactic  1 $7.33 $35.21 380%
W&T Offshore  1 $4.74 $3.12 (34%)
Zillow  2 $41.15 and $30.13 $101.69 192%
Zoom Video  1 $66.50 $383.34 476%

Data from Yahoo Finance.

If you count all those up, it's 61 bullish calls. The final two are Immunomedics and Glu Mobile. Both companies have been acquired, so they don't exist anymore. Immunomedics in particular had a nice run, jumping from $16 at the time of my article to $88 one year later. But neither stock exists now, so I'm excluding those numbers.

What we're left with is 61 bullish calls on 43 stocks. And what are the lessons we might learn?

2. Let your winners run

Of course my Novavax calls on Nov. 2 and Nov. 26 had a massive effect on my returns. At the time, shares were going for $4 and pennies. Now Novavax is trading for $213 a share. Obviously in 2019 I had no idea that COVID-19 was about to hit, or that all the vaccine stocks would soon skyrocket.

If you sold Novavax after a double or a triple or a quadruple, that means you sold at $8 a share, or $12 a share, or $16 a share. Think about this for a second. This whole hypothetical port is up 319%, a quadruple in two years. That's an excellent return. But you only get that excellent return if you hold your Novavax shares for the full 4,954% return. 

3. Diversify!

One of the ironies of my 2019 performance was that my most bullish stock pick (by number of articles written) was Amarin -- but Amarin was my worst performer by far, losing 74% of its value. In my hypothetical portfolio, I invested twice as much in Amarin (four articles = $4,000) as Novavax (two articles = $2,000). In real life, I invested more in Amarin, too. I had more faith in Amarin. I felt it was a sure thing while Novavax was a risky micro cap. 

Overall, I had 11 stock picks do better than my 319% overall return: Afterpay, Carvana, CrowdStrike, Enphase, Farfetch, Novavax, Sea, Shopify, Square, Virgin Galactic, and Zoom Video. That means the other 50 stocks were actually dragging down my returns. And of course it's not easy for a stock to quadruple in two years. Shopify, my favorite stock, barely did it (up 327%). Ditto with Square, my second favorite stock (up 342%).

It might be a good idea to look at your portfolio and ask yourself whether any of your stocks can go up 10,000% from these levels. If none of your stocks can go that high, you might be risking underperformance. It's really nice -- and sometimes, financially rewarding -- to invest small amounts in high-risk companies with significant upside.   

Taylor Carmichael owns shares of Afterpay Limited, Amarin, Apple, Carvana Co., Datadog, Farfetch Limited, Innovative Industrial Properties, MeiraGTx Holdings plc, Novavax, Sea Limited, Shopify, Smartsheet, SmileDirectClub, Inc., Square, Ubisoft Entertainment, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends AFTERPAY T FPO, Apple, Autodesk, Carvana Co., CrowdStrike Holdings, Inc., Datadog, Farfetch Limited, InMode Ltd., Innovative Industrial Properties, Ionis Pharmaceuticals, MongoDB, Sea Limited, Shopify, Smartsheet, Square, Stoneco LTD, Veeva Systems, Walt Disney, Zillow Group (A shares), Zillow Group (C shares), and Zoom Video Communications. The Motley Fool recommends Electronic Arts, Gilead Sciences, Ubiquiti Inc., and Ubisoft Entertainment and recommends the following options: long January 2023 $1,140 calls on Shopify, long March 2023 $120 calls on Apple, short January 2023 $1,160 calls on Shopify, and short March 2023 $130 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Stocks Mentioned

Novavax Stock Quote
Novavax
NVAX
$16.78 (-4.71%) $0.83
Electronic Arts Stock Quote
Electronic Arts
EA
$127.41 (-2.31%) $-3.01
Walt Disney Stock Quote
Walt Disney
DIS
$92.29 (-3.79%) $-3.64
Apple Stock Quote
Apple
AAPL
$142.91 (-2.54%) $-3.72
Gilead Sciences Stock Quote
Gilead Sciences
GILD
$87.96 (-0.02%) $0.02
Amarin Stock Quote
Amarin
AMRN
$1.19 (0.85%) $0.01
Ionis Pharmaceuticals Stock Quote
Ionis Pharmaceuticals
IONS
$38.03 (-2.44%) $0.95
Autodesk Stock Quote
Autodesk
ADSK
$194.61 (-1.91%) $-3.78
W&T Offshore, Inc. Stock Quote
W&T Offshore, Inc.
WTI
$6.00 (-2.28%) $0.14
Veeva Systems Stock Quote
Veeva Systems
VEEV
$168.53 (0.77%) $1.29
Enphase Energy, Inc. Stock Quote
Enphase Energy, Inc.
ENPH
$309.73 (-7.77%) $-26.09
Shopify Stock Quote
Shopify
SHOP
$38.97 (-4.46%) $-1.82
Zillow Group Stock Quote
Zillow Group
Z
$36.92 (-1.65%) $0.62
Block Stock Quote
Block
SQ
$61.30 (-2.91%) $-1.84
Ubiquiti Inc. Stock Quote
Ubiquiti Inc.
UI
$285.28 (-2.65%) $-7.77
Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Stock Quote
Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals
ARWR
$32.01 (0.60%) $0.19
Regenxbio Stock Quote
Regenxbio
RGNX
$22.52 (-2.26%) $0.52
MongoDB Stock Quote
MongoDB
MDB
$144.69 (-2.71%) $-4.03
Carvana Stock Quote
Carvana
CVNA
$6.71 (-5.49%) $0.39
StoneCo Stock Quote
StoneCo
STNE
$10.96 (-2.75%) $0.31
Ubisoft Entertainment Stock Quote
Ubisoft Entertainment
UBSFY
$5.71 (-3.06%) $0.18
Mirati Therapeutics Stock Quote
Mirati Therapeutics
MRTX
$71.52 (-22.89%) $-21.23
Innovative Industrial Properties Stock Quote
Innovative Industrial Properties
IIPR
$118.05 (-5.13%) $-6.39
Zoom Video Communications Stock Quote
Zoom Video Communications
ZM
$71.47 (-1.96%) $-1.43
Altus Midstream Co Stock Quote
Altus Midstream Co
KNTK
CrowdStrike Stock Quote
CrowdStrike
CRWD
$113.83 (-3.80%) $-4.50
Personalis, Inc.  Stock Quote
Personalis, Inc.
PSNL
$2.43 (-14.13%) $0.40
Blueprint Medicines Stock Quote
Blueprint Medicines
BPMC
$48.51 (-3.35%) $-1.68
Datadog Stock Quote
Datadog
DDOG
$68.58 (-2.39%) $-1.68
Afterpay Limited Stock Quote
Afterpay Limited
AFTP.F
SmileDirectClub, Inc. Stock Quote
SmileDirectClub, Inc.
SDC
$0.50 (-4.63%) $0.02
Farfetch Stock Quote
Farfetch
FTCH
$5.04 (-7.35%) $0.40
SciPlay Corporation Stock Quote
SciPlay Corporation
SCPL
$16.05 (0.38%) $0.06
Malibu Boats Stock Quote
Malibu Boats
MBUU
$56.06 (-1.11%) $0.63
Virgin Galactic Stock Quote
Virgin Galactic
SPCE
$4.62 (-9.77%) $0.50
MeiraGTx Holdings plc Stock Quote
MeiraGTx Holdings plc
MGTX
$6.14 (-5.32%) $0.34
Sea Stock Quote
Sea
SE
$59.76 (1.25%) $0.74
Smartsheet Stock Quote
Smartsheet
SMAR
$36.09 (-1.18%) $0.43
BridgeBio Pharma Inc Stock Quote
BridgeBio Pharma Inc
BBIO
$9.35 (1.96%) $0.18
Vir Biotechnology Stock Quote
Vir Biotechnology
VIR
$25.62 (-3.58%) $0.95
Denali Therapeutics Inc Stock Quote
Denali Therapeutics Inc
DNLI
$30.46 (-1.55%) $0.48
Iovance Biotherapeutics, Inc. Stock Quote
Iovance Biotherapeutics, Inc.
IOVA
$7.59 (-5.48%) $0.44
Solaris Oilfield Infrastructure, Inc. Class A Stock Quote
Solaris Oilfield Infrastructure, Inc. Class A
SOI
$10.04 (-0.30%) $0.03
Blue Prism Group plc Stock Quote
Blue Prism Group plc
BPRM.F
InMode Stock Quote
InMode
INMD
$34.86 (-4.91%) $-1.80

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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