Last Monday, I appeared as a guest on CNBC World, where I was interviewed by hosts in Singapore and Seoul about Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (OTCMKTS: SSNLF) and the totally botched release-recall-discontinuation of its new Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. That's the phone that's been catching fire – and even forced the evacuation of a commercial flight prior to takeoff.
The CNBC hosts asked me what the financial impact would be if the company stopped selling its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone entirely (the company hadn't done so yet at the time). I answered that it was impossible to know how big a charge against earnings the firm would take – though, clearly, it could run into the billions.
Now, a few days after the company discontinued the phone, we know this: Samsung investors saw the value of their South Korea-traded shares lose some $17 billion in value last Tuesday in what was the biggest single-day decline for this stock in eight years. And Samsung itself says it expects to lose well over $5 billion in profit – about half of what it earned in 2015 – thanks to the debacle.
I take no pleasure in Samsung's misfortunes. But as your guide to building wealth through tech investing, I want to show you a simple way to "short" this quality control challenged tech giant – and make some money for yourself.
Take a look…
Still a "Tech Turkey"
But this is nothing "personal." Let me show you what I mean…
My wife and I did some remodeling on our home the last few months. As part of that, we upgraded a couple of kitchen appliances, including a Samsung stainless-steel refrigerator. And overall, it's been great.
Moreover, as I write this note to you, I'm looking at the two Samsung monitors that I also use for screening stocks. In all, we have six Samsung products in our home.
I mention all this so you know that I take no personal delight at all in Samsung's misfortunes.
After finishing up the kitchen, we moved on to the laundry area. You can imagine our surprise when our contractor told us to avoid buying Samsung, saying they were unreliable products.
Turns out, he was right…
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning last month about safety issues surrounding some of Samsung's top-loading washers. And a recently filed consumer lawsuit charges that heavy loads may cause the tub to become unfastened, resulting in a centrifugal explosion that can destroy the machine and anything next to it.
Then, I started hearing about the problems with the Note 7.
The recent release of the South Korean tech giant's flagship handset, the Galaxy Note 7, has been nothing short of an unmitigated disaster – and it just keeps getting worse.
Like I said, Samsung has now decided to stop selling the new phone completely because it can't seem to fix the problem that causes this phone to catch fire. I believe this will rank as the single biggest product failure in the short history of the smartphone.
It means the globe's largest cellphone maker will miss the crucial Christmas selling season here in the United States. In fact, it'll be skipping an entire product cycle in this highly competitive business.
Does that sound like a company you'd like to short?
About the Author
Michael A. Robinson is one of the top financial analysts working today. His book "Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings" was a prescient look at the anatomy of the nation's S&L crisis, long before the word "bailout" became part of our daily lexicon. He's a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter, lauded by the Columbia Journalism Review for his aggressive style. His 30-year track record as a leading tech analyst has garnered him rave reviews, too. Today he is the editor of the monthly tech investing newsletter Nova-X Report as well as Radical Technology Profits, where he covers truly radical technologies – ones that have the power to sweep across the globe and change the very fabric of our lives – and profit opportunities they give rise to. He also explores "what's next" in the tech investing world at Strategic Tech Investor.