“Shakeout Victims” From Harry Dent

Harry Dent says an upcoming bankruptcy could make you rich

“On August 1st, This Once Iconic American Retailer Will Stun Shareholders”

That’s how the latest teaser ad from Harry Dent gets us interested — Dent has been around for a long time, and his predictions and books and newsletters have usually had their basis in demographics … stuff like predicting that the market would boom in the 1990s and crash in 2010 because of the Baby Boomer retirement wave.

So much of his stuff will sound perfectly compelling, and does have that basic rationale of demographic change behind it — but of course, as we’ve seen from the last 20 years there’s a lot more to “bubble and bust” than relatively simple demographic changes. I haven’t read any of his things over the last couple years, but he has a promo out now predicting the demise of a couple iconic firms who are going to be victims of the next “shakeout.”

And naturally, I thought you’d like to know who they might be. So we dug into the clues.

He’s trying to sell subscriptions to his Boom & Bust service … here’s how he positions the ad for you:

“… we believe the Main Street media and many Wall Street pundits are setting millions of hardworking Americans up for huge financial losses.

“They want you to believe the worst is over… that, except for a few bumps in the road here and there, we’re well on the road to recovery.

“Let me warn you: that’s NOT what my research says…That’s why I’ve prepared this urgent presentation.

“But please also understand there’s a tremendous upside to what’s about to unfold over the next decade and beyond.

“After all, when you’re able to know what’s coming – and position yourself accordingly – the years ahead could be very prosperous times.”

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He’s talking about a ‘historic economic shift’ underway now that will impact investors for decades — and drive three big name companies into bankruptcy this year. Here’s more, in his words:

“I believe these three companies will announce they’re bankrupt in 2013.

“The first announcement that I see coming will take place on Thursday, August 1.

“And this will be just the beginning of a wave of corporate failures that will send the economy into a tailspin and the Dow plunging.

“Why am I so certain?

“Because the one thing – that’s about to devastate these companies – is the most powerful and destructive economic force known to man….

“A ‘survival of the fittest’ battle is coming that will determine the leaders for decades to come…

“A few companies I expect to survive and thrive through the shakeout include Amazon, Wal-Mart, Kia and Toyota.

“… we are rapidly reaching “high noon” for a handful of companies and industries that have become inefficient and have overcharged us for far too long.”

The “big picture” part of this is a theory of cycles that he shares with us — there are, we’re told, “seasons” to the cycles of the global economy … and naturally, right now it’s “Winter” … here’s how he puts it:

“Right now we’re five years into what I call ‘The Winter Season.’

“It’s a time to hunker down, regroup … a time to ‘shake out’ the excesses of the previous boom so that a new ‘Spring Season’ can begin.

“Nature has an order of things.

“And as I’ve learned through my 30 years of researching economic cycles and demographic dynamics – so do the markets and the economy.

“Every cycle we have studied in history has four seasons – just like our weather.

“And for several centuries these seasons have been as easy to predict as the annual weather cycle.

“They contain two very different booms and two very different busts.

“They are:
SPRING: The Innovation BOOM.
SUMMER: The Inflationary Bust.
AUTUMN: The Maturity BOOM.
WINTER: The Deflationary Bust.”

Well, if that’s true then it’s certainly been an interesting Winter, and it doesn’t seem like the seasons are anywhere near being equal lengths if we’re going by the last ten years or so, but it does give one a certain comfort that there’s a logic to the cycles of the economy. Maybe false comfort, I don’t know, but sometimes I’ll take whatever flavor of comfort I can get.

So that’s the basic pitch — this deflationary bust is making way for the next innovation boom, and it’s going to take some companies down with it. He expects the Dow to plunge and says to get out by the end of June, and to get out of gold and silver before the deflationary bust that is apparently still part of this winter that’s been five years chilling us already. His other big picture advice includes selling any extra real estate, downsizing your life right now, convert foreign currencies to dollars, refinancing any real estate you’re keeping, and look at municipal bonds if you want income … though he thinks that US Treasury Bonds will be the next great investment, starting as early as next year. That’s pretty contrarian, given recent optimism about the economy, so we’ll let you chew on that on your own.

But we’re heading back to the headline — the one stock he says is going to declare bankruptcy in a matter of months. Who is it?

“You know this business well

“If you drove by a shopping plaza or walked through a mall lately, you’ve seen this business.

“You’ve probably bought something from them before.

“It’s been a vital cog in our economy for over 90-years, and has over 4,400 locations in the United States alone.

“In short, it’s one of the largest companies in America – with operations in all 50 states and over 34,000 employees.

“But on August 1st, it will reveal that it’s looming bankruptcy.

“You see, that’s the day a $375 million loan that it likely won’t be able to payback comes due.

“Already, the company eliminated its dividend last July.

“It’s replaced its Chief Executive Officer… its Executive Vice President of Operations… and its Executive Vice President of Strategy.

“It has negative net profit margins… negative free cash-flow… and earnings that don’t even cover interest expenses…There’s just no way it can come up with the money by August 1st.”

Well, that one is not a name that will surprise most of you: RadioShack (RSH), a disaster of a company that’s been through a few makeovers and reorganizations over the years (including one that was temporarily successful in 2005-2007), and is now mired in trouble again.

They do have more than 4,400 locations (a lot more, if you included dealers and “store within a store” wireless phone shops) and 34,000 employees, and they’re unprofitable, and their debt is about equal to their market capitalization, and business looks pretty weak no matter what metric you use. As you’ve probably noticed if you’ve walked by a RadioShack lately, these days they mostly sell electronic novelties and cell phones, and if they don’t sell a lot of extended warranties and extra batteries for those cell phones, which are the same ones sold in the Verizon store or the AT&T Store or the (also in trouble) Best Buy or online, then they can’t possibly make any money. So unless the demand for remote-controlled frogs and helicopters spikes among the mall-strolling populace, it’s hard to see a bright future for RadioShack.

I haven’t been following the company closely, but from what I can tell there isn’t much of a turnaround plan in place — and even if there were, it’s hard to see them implementing it very successfully in such a competitive marketplace and with a brand of such rapidly declining importance. Electronics and accessories are just such an overwhelmingly competitive sector, with ubiquitous availability, that they’d have to develop something really new to stand out — and they don’t seem to have the cash or the DNA to move that quickly or aggressively. They recently lost their Target “mini stores”, but on the plus side they did also ink a deal to get some of their brands into College bookstores to try to boost revenues — investors seemed to like that deal, and the deal to get back to the DIY electronics business a bit more with their collaboration with Maker Media, though it’s hard to see either one of those deals being monumental enough to shake up the company’s trajectory.

So yes, they’ll probably go out of business if they don’t have a big makeover in the next couple years — I don’t know if it will be with this next debt maturity, which is indeed August 1, since the stock did just pop in recent months as folks are apparently betting that the company won’t disappear overnight … but I wouldn’t bet on the long-term future. You could sell the stock short or buy put options against the shares if you’re convinced that the stock will collapse, but with interest rates so low and their huge retail network there’s always the possibility that someone will either want to take them over or rescue them to keep that network up and running, or even that the banks and bondholders will roll the debt over.

They already have a huge short position, with 40% of the float sold short, so it might be tough to short it even if you wish to — but if you think the stock will fall by more than 30% before August there are plenty of put options you could buy to bet on that possibility, and they’re not as expensive as you might guess for a stock with a short interest this high (it’ll cost you eight cents a share to buy a $2 put option for August, which would mean the stock has to fall in half by mid-August to make you a profit).

I wouldn’t lend them money, but that doesn’t mean someone else won’t. Their 2019 bonds have been rising in price over the last few months as the stock market rose, so they now trade at $80 or so for a 10% yield — which is certainly “junk” territory, but it’s not where you’d expect to see a bond trade that’s in imminent danger of bankruptcy.

So that’s one of Harry Dent’s predictions — the imminent demise of RadioShack. I’d agree on the basic trend for that company, but don’t know if their next debt maturity will really bring bankruptcy in August … I’ve run out of time for today, but we’ll dig into his other two “Shakeup” victims tomorrow if you’re interested. Whattya think, anyone want to invest in or bet against Radioshack?


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Allen
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Allen

Some years ago, Radio Shack had a mass layoff, in which they let everyone know if they were toast via cell phone text message Real nice. I have avoided going into a Radio Shack whenever possible since then.

Ted
Guest
Ted

There’s some stuff you just can’t find anywhere else any more, and RS is crucial for that. But all the “normal” stock is so overpriced I would never shop there except for those odd batteries I can’t find elsewhere.

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archives2001
Irregular
👍89
archives2001

Hi Travis…
One of your BEST reports imo!
Can’t wait til tomorrow.

andrea
Guest
andrea

still can’t think of the last time I ever visited a radio shack , maybe 8 years ago for a Christmas present ( gift card, which now i can get online or just bitcoin my nephews ! ) . Yes , I would have to agree that they are not ‘keeping up” with the other retailers of electronics. and people are worried that IF they buy, the guarantee’s and warrantee’s that were promised ,will not be there in a few months. Still , too bad , another one bite’s the dust and so many people out of a job again.

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Anton Kuerti
Guest
Anton Kuerti

I have long thought they should change their name to Radio Snack, and sell fast food instead of eletronics!

Roger Bond
Guest

Used to go in their for “techy” stuff. Last time I did that they didn’t have what I needed.
YEARS ago we used to get the free battery every month; always got D cells for the kids flashlights because they would never last long anyway.

These days I’m afraid no one would miss them.

I suppose one of his other “soon to disappear” companies is JCP?

Roger.
InvestLetters.com

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Truman Roper
Guest
Truman Roper

So sad about RS, but then I cried when Lafayette Electronics bit the big years ago, too.
It happens. I will miss it for small parts. I think it started selling large stuff and lost its focus.
Who else sells etching acid and printed circuit boards now? Sad.

George
Member
👍1

Anything Radio Shack sells can be found on the internet. I am partial to bying on Amazon.com for their quality products, warrenty, and prices. I recently bought a garden hose from them which blew off its end cap in a week after it arrived. Contacted Amazon by email and in 3 days, a new hose came in the mail. Never spoke once with a person.

My second choice is Ebay but I am not as confident with them. If I cannot find it from Amazon, I go to EBAY.

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archives2001
Irregular
👍89
archives2001

What will REALLY put the ‘icing on the cake’ for RS and many others will be 3 D PRINTING.
I see 3D printing about where the naissance of the Model T was when Henry Ford began mass production.

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bmack66
Member
👍0
bmack66

I was hoping we would get around to investigating the 3D teasers out there! Sounds very interesting to me.

Truman Roper
Guest
Truman Roper

Brian, I read the other day (and saw pictures) of a Trachea pipe shunt they printed and put into a small girl 1 yr old. It was about 1.5 inches in length and 1/2 inch diameter. White color.
It saved her little life. It wasn’t a story about printing guns this time.

advantedges
Member
👍108
advantedges

Great post! thank you!

Alan Harris
Guest
Alan Harris

An interesting take…..normally we are promised something that will zoom 1000’s%. This seems a question of when, not if.

Robert Palmer
Guest

Harry Dent has made so many wrong calls, he might be best used as a contrary indicator. I was employed at ING in 2000, and Harry was the keynote speaker at INGs sales conference that year. I was in the audience as Harry confidently predicted DOW 36000 by 2008 or 2010. There have been a number of other horrible calls. I’m surprised that he is still able to persuade people to buy his newsletter.

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Roger Bond
Guest

Maybe Harry Dent benefits from people thinking he’s the character Harvey Dent from Batman; I know I have to stop and think for a second!

🙂

Roger

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Robert Palmer
Guest

I don’t know what he said in 2007. I do know what he said at the Reliastar sales conference in 2000, which was conveyed in my original Email. A prognosticator that has been dead wrong for several years is legally allowed to change his prediction and still sell his claivoyance to the public, so I would guess Harry eventually threw in the towel.

Ventureshadow
Guest
Ventureshadow

Also there’s Arthur Dent from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. If that were written today it would be called “How You Can Profit from the Coming Total Destruction of the Earth.”

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S. Huffman
Guest

He did not call for 36000 by 2008. He actually predicted that the market would tank in 2007. And he made this prediction back in ’94. The book he wrote was “The Great Boom Ahead”. His predictions in that book were pretty amazing. In that book he said we are going to struggle until 2021. If he did make that call at a conference it would have been completely contrary to his book.

archives2001
Irregular
👍89
archives2001

I agree Robert,
He’s been way off in his timing of current events which is why I’ve termed him
‘Broken Clock Harry.
Irregardless, gold and the Dollar are now performing according to his predictions.
The next 2 or 3 months should tell us what we need to know….Especially if gold,
which has now hit a double bottom, proceeds on downward to break 1320.

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John Simmonds
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John Simmonds

I have heard Harry speak. He uses the Dow 38,000 prediction (made by others) as an example of people who are not paying attention. His prediction was for the markets to fall dramatically during that time period – which they did. As for Harry’s timing being not exact, what do you expect. While demographics is by far the largest trend setter, the Fed and government policy also have impacts on timing, which is what is happening today. Their policies do not change the ultimate outcome, they just delay it. I suggest people read Harry and make up their own minds… Read More »

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archives2001
Irregular
👍89
archives2001

John, As I mentioned, I think Harry Dent will now be proven correct short term as gold will probably head downward and the Dollar upward. What frustrates me the most about him is his assertive persona that many other prognosticators like Casey, Celente, etc, project likewise. They all seem to believe they must use this ‘schtick’ to expand their audience but when the timing falls thru, they just go on with new predictions without confessing their faux pas. If u’ve really studied up on the founding of the Fed Reserve, then u understand just how powerful these Globalist Elites are… Read More »

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archives2001
Irregular
👍89
archives2001

Here’s another Dent eye-opener from a yr ago John:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSOGwthC_JQ
A debate w/ Jim Rickards. Dent definitely gets steamed
but it’s an enjoyable ‘heat’.
He sure blew it on gold recently; Just b4 gold plummeted
again, good ol’ Broken Clock Harry reversed himself
and said it was time to BUY!
He should’ve stuck w/ his original prognosis….
Looks like gold may indeed get down to a thousand
or even 700!

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bogart8665
Member
👍2
bogart8665

irregardless? use real words please. Look it up if you must.

archives2001
Irregular
👍89
archives2001

I DID, Ed:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irregardless
Go ahead, be a purist but u’r not living in the 21st
Century!

FarmGirl
Guest
FarmGirl

Travis, please put this on your calendar and tell us on August 2 whether Dent was right or not. I’d love to see you keep track of these “by this date” solicitations and keep score.

Beej1000
Guest
Beej1000

RSH has been “destined to die” for some time. That said, it is up over 100% since I bought it in November 2012. The income statement stinks, but the balance sheet is solid. I think liquidation value is well in excess of current market cap.

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Tim D
Guest
Tim D

Does your bicycle still listen to the radio?

Daniel Victor
Guest
Daniel Victor

I bought a radio for my bicycle from them around forty years ago.

archives2001
Irregular
👍89
archives2001

Keep in mind, Dent is not the only one out there touting this…
The Stansberry folk (James Dale Davidson et ilk) have also jumped on board.

Larry Damon
Guest
Larry Damon

I was so proud of myself for figuring out that it was RSH from clues Dent left. And, I was fired up about the prospect of buying put options before August, if there weren’t going to be too many others who figured it out… So, now you go and tell everyone who it is. Gee thanks! Oh, well.

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jeremy
Guest
jeremy

Great article, and i can see them going down, but the niche they DO have that i haven’t seen anywhere else (I’m not saying this will keep then afloat) but for DIY’ers when u need something for an electrical gadget your making, they are the only place that Carries it. Although with the internet, i suppose u can find anything you want/need and then some, for your electrical projects. I do PI work on the side, and i make a lot of my own surveillance equipment with their parts, but how many PI’s are there, not many. And i can… Read More »

whatch
Member
👍15
whatch

I wonder if I’m the only one here that remembers when they (Radio Shack) were Tandy Leather Company. Sold DIY leather project kits back in the early 70s. That was before they got into electronics and computer gadgets (But then computers were a long way off at that time). Radio Shack, I don’t think will disappear but will have to down size and get back to basics, and reinvent itself eventually. Today their retail pricing and quality of product line is not popular in most areas. Just my humble opinion.

Truman Roper
Guest
Truman Roper

Not the only one, Wayne. I bought leather from RS and a brass riviting set and made a leather case for my LLoyd’s calculator that I bought from SEARS ROEBUCK for $169. It could do TRIG functions, Wow! Never made a belt though.

bogart8665
Member
👍2
bogart8665

They are 2 different subcompanies both owned by Tandy Corp. Where we had them in a shopping center, they were 2 separate stores, Tandy Leather is now moved across town but the Radio Shack is where it always was. My g’pa owned another sub-store of Tandy that was located between them, it was called American Handicrafts, The original hobby craft store.