In This Episode
As the Russia investigation continues to rage in newspapers, classified meetings, and Twitter handles, we have a special guest for this week’s episode: former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page, who is at the center of it all.
If you’ve been following the Russian collusion investigation closely, Page’s name probably sounds familiar.
He’s been subpoenaed by the U.S. Senate, been targeted by government surveillance that’s hard for the average citizen to comprehend, and even been on the receiving end of a Presidential tweet of support:
In this 59th episode of Stansberry Investor Hour, Porter asks Carter what’s really going on with the Russia investigation… what the special prosecutor’s case is really based on… and Carter’s incredible decision to face the U.S. government, with its limitless resources and vast prosecutorial powers, while acting as his own lawyer.
Meanwhile, amid the political drama swirling, the investing world keeps turning. Porter shares his reaction to Tesla’s milestone of 5,000 cars a week being produced, and why every American car manufacturer – not just Tesla – is in deep trouble.
01:27: Buck introduces the podcast’s special guest this week: Carter Page, who’s at the center of the storm over alleged Russia collusion, and has been the target of a scale of government surveillance that’s incomprehensible to most people.
04:22: Porter reacts to Tesla hitting its 5,000-car-a-week production goal. “You can’t disparage this guy as an entrepreneur.” Nevertheless, there are three things about Tesla he can’t stand.
09:40: Porter draws parallels between Tesla’s mass subsidies and the government’s assistance to failed solar plants, and how he recognized the fiasco in real time. “It was one of the greatest shorts of my career.”
12:45: Porter makes a big prediction about Tesla stock over the next 18 months: He says it’s going down from $300 to $33. Part of Tesla’s doom isn’t unique to Tesla as a car-maker specifically. “There is no car manufacturer that’s a good investment.”
14:17: Porter introduces this week’s guest, former Trump campaign foreign policy advisor Carter Page. Carter’s here to tell us a little bit about what goes on in the Trump Organization, and where the trade wars Trump seems determined to wage may be heading.
17:30: Carter reveals the incredible amount of election interference that did really transpire in 2016 – with the twist that it was actually by the DNC, rather than Russia.
20:05: Porter asks Carter about a highly unusual legal decision he’s made to be his own lawyer, even while facing the vast prosecutorial powers of the U.S. federal government.
26:25: Porter asks Carter to draw on his oil expertise – a big reason Trump’s campaign brought him on in the first place – to answer how fracking might continue to change global power balances not just five years but five decades from now.
32:35: Carter’s been involved in various Russian investing initiatives since 2004, so Porter asks him if he sees any opportunities in Russian markets that have been hammered of late.
37:25: “Country Club Guy” fills in for Buck by reading today’s mailbag with a question from Mike L., who asks about Porter’s declaration a few episodes back that you can gauge the market’s sentiment by tracking put options. Porter elaborates how the VIX index can be a great rule of thumb – under 15, puts are probably reasonable. Over 15 – you likely want to make money elsewhere for now.
Voiceover: Broadcasting from Baltimore, Maryland, and New York City, you're listening to the Stansberry Investor Hour. Tune in each Thursday on iTunes for the latest episode of the Stansberry Investor Hour. Sign up for the free show archive at InvestorHour.com. Here are the hosts of your show: Buck Sexton and Porter Stansberry.
Buck Sexton: Hey everybody, welcome back to the Stansberry Investor Hour, after a little bit of a hiatus. I've got very exciting news for you. We have the man himself, Big P, Porter Stansberry is back on.
Porter Stansberry: I'm insulted by this name, Big P. I mean, I know I have a weight problem, but give a brother a break, come on.
Buck Sexton: It's like Big Putters for the rapper, Porter.
Porter Stansberry: No, no, no. No, no.
Buck Sexton: It could mean something else?
Porter Stansberry: Why can't you just say Porter Stansberry is back?
Buck Sexton: Mr. Stansberry is back.
Porter Stansberry: The Founder of Stansberry Research is back on his show, bingo.
Country Club Guy: Geez, someone wants to be very formal.
Porter Stansberry: I'm a little sensitive. I'm working on it.
Country Club Guy: Why do you grab your weight, when you do that? I'm a sensitive guy?
Porter Stansberry: I don't want to be. I don't want to be Big P. I'm trying to be Smaller P. It's not working.
Buck Sexton: So Porter is back with us, as is Country Club Guy, aka Jammer, which is exciting, and you can hear from me, Buck Sexton, general.
Porter Stansberry: And you sound like you're – so you sound like you've got the worst cold in history because you're talking through a land-line phone.
Buck Sexton: Indeed, the technology stuff. We do have a good interview, though, planned with Mr. Carter Page. Those of you who don't know, which I think is probably very few of you, Carter is at the center of the storm over Russia-Trump collusion.
He has had government surveillance on him of a nature that is incomprehensible to most folks, and we're going to get to talk to him about that, and also Porter's going to talk to him about investments because that's actually what he knows. He's a Russia expert, believe it or not.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah, I'm looking forward to talking to Carter, and Buck, it's great to be back. Thanks for insulting me at the start of the show, and Jammer, good to see you again, Country Club Guy.
By the way, we don't have long. We actually are on our way out to play golf this afternoon.
Country Club Guy: I gotta live up to my name.
Porter Stansberry: Priorities, priorities. I was vacationing, Buck. I took my sons on a cruise, on Two Sons. We caught two blue Marlin. We had a nice time. The Country Club Guy joined us, brought his son Charlie along. Everyone had a good time.
Country Club Guy: Fantastic.
Porter Stansberry: Then I spent a little time down on the Turks and Caicos Islands – beautiful place, rented a beach house, had my brother's family with us. I don't get to see my brother very much. It was wonderful. Spent some time with his wife and his two sons, and then finishing it off, the month, I dropped my kids off at camp and I flew out to the Canadian Rockies.
I went to Jasper, went to Lake Louise, went to Banff, played a lot of golf, saw a lot of beautiful things, did some hikes, spent some time with my wife, generally recharged. Now I'm back, ready to rock.
Country Club Guy: He is back.
Buck Sexton: So while you were doing all that amazing stuff, Porter, I was launching a digital news network at Hill.TV. My day starts at 5 o'clock in the morning. It finishes at 9 o'clock at night, and that's just the normal day. I have not seen much sunlight. I have not had any fun, and I certainly haven't been in Turks and Caicos. [laughter.]
So this is yet another reason I should have gone into finance. The news business sucks.
Porter Stansberry: Well, how old are you, Buck?
Buck Sexton: I don't know, I defy age, Porter.
Porter Stansberry: Okay, cool.
Buck Sexton: 36.
Porter Stansberry: All right, so –
Buck Sexton: Soon to be 37.
Porter Stansberry: – you're about 10 years behind me, and 10 years ago, trust me, I wasn't taking any time off either. I was working my little balls off, trying to build a business.
Buck Sexton: Jammer, will you just – he won't even let me whine, Jammer. Can you referee this a little bit. I can't even complain about that. I get no sleep. I never see Miss Molly anymore. It's very sad.
Country Club Guy: I actually saw Buck in D.C. yesterday. I went down to visit his little studio – wow, it's a nice studio – and I said "How's D.C.?" and he didn't really answer.
Porter Stansberry: I don't know.
Country Club Guy: He gave me like – I think he's missing – I think he's missing New York.
Porter Stansberry: Well I'll tell you, you know what we need to do? Here's what we need to do: Buck, you need to get a night off. You need to bring Miss Molly down or have her out with us. We'll bring our wives down. We'll go out someplace nice in D.C., so it's convenient for you, and then we'll have a little bit of fun.
Buck Sexton: I love this idea.
Country Club Guy: I'm in.
Porter Stansberry: All right.
Buck Sexton: I'm in.
Porter Stansberry: But listen, let's get to something that our listeners care about, which is not our vacations, or the stress of Buck's new media career or ongoing media career. Let's talk about old Tesla, our favorite whipping boy. Everyone wants to know, "Hey Porter, they did it – 5,000 cars a week, come on."
Country Club Guy: Let me ask you a question: Would you want one of those cars that comes out of that tent?
Porter Stansberry: Does anybody want a car that was made in a tent and where the brakes aren't even tested?
Country Club Guy: [Laughter.]
Porter Stansberry: [Laughter.]
Country Club Guy: It sounds like a dirty money documentary, years down the road.
Porter Stansberry: Listen, I think you guys all have the wrong idea about me and Tesla. I think Tesla is absolutely amazing. First of all, he's the first guy in America in how many years, 50 years, started a car company. I mean that – that's amazing. Second of all, he did it with all-new technology.
I mean, what he's done as an entrepreneur, you cannot disparage. It's incredible, and the fact that he's ramping up the manufacturing capacity and he's building this new introductory model, it's all an enormous accomplishment.
There are three things about Tesla that I can't stand.It's not Elon and it's not his incredible entrepreneurial talent. That's amazing. What I don't like is that we haven't – as taxpayers, we have subsidized Tesla to the tune of several hundred million dollars.
Okay, so they have gotten money from taxpayers for nothing, and lots of it. Then, we subsidize people buying luxury cars. That's just not what taxpayers' money should be used for at all. So I don't want money to go to car companies.
Please don't write in and tell me well, GM got a lot of money. I know that. I covered that. I covered it for five years. I don't want taxpayer money going into auto manufacturers. I think it's ridiculous, whether it's Tesla or anybody else, but Tesla would have never happened without all the capital that they got from the Department of Energy and I think that's nonsense.
Putting batteries in cars is not going to save our economy. What the heck are we doing? It's crazy. Likewise, I don't like the subsidies they gave to the car buyers, and the final thing that I don't like about Tesla is the stock price.
That's not to say I don't like the cars. I rode in one. I didn't really care for it. I wouldn't buy one, but they seem fine. People love them. That's great. I'm proud of – I'm happy for Elon's success and I think it's great what he did, and I think he has a lot to be proud of, but why on Earth would Tesla be worth more than BMW?
Country Club Guy: Hype.
Porter Stansberry: It makes no sense. Why would Tesla be more – worth more than GM? Well, that might make sense because I don't think GM is worth anything, not from the stock, but it just – the overvaluation of Tesla is going to hurt a lot of investors; and I'll tell you something, I think that moment has arrived. And yes, I have been wrong twice before.
So you know, grain of salt here, I could be wrong again, but I think the interesting thing is, Jammer and Buck – this reminds me very much of the First Solar issue. Go back 10 years ago with me.
First Solar was this company that was funded with the Walmart family's money. Did they put their money at risk? No. What did they do? They got tons of capital from the Department of Energy.
What did they promise? "We're going to transform the power grid with PV solar," they said, "and we're going to make it at an industrial scale, so that we can drive down the cost per watt until solar is cheaper than coal or nuclear, or hydroelectric, or anything else." Pipe-fucking-dream, never going to happen.
But they convinced the governments of Germany and Spain, and a couple of other places, to spend unbelievable sums of money to install this stuff and then – this is the part I really don't like – they tricked the voters in those companies into paying for it. How? By this net metering nonsense.
So this is what – this is how Jimmy our engineer gets solar on his roof, too. The governments say you have – to the utilities – you have to guide this power that's being made from these panels. So they jack up utility rates enormously in order to subsidize all these panels being installed.
Well, think about that for a second. If it's supposed to be an energy source, shouldn't that make power on your grid cheaper? But it doesn't. So what happened?
Well, the Walmart family made a fortune on First Solar and the stock ran up to, I think, $220 a share. Every firm on Wall Street had a buyer rating. Jammer, I know you must have traded the stock at some point.
Country Club Guy: I'm sure I did, but you know I didn't get the real story that I'm getting now from you. I just thought it was the greatest next thing.
Porter Stansberry: It's the greatest next thing, run the stock price up.
Country Club Guy: Yeah.
Porter Stansberry: Meanwhile, what I knew was that you're not making any money manufacturing this stuff because manufacturing is a really tough business, requires a lot of capital, and if you want to grow, you've gotta build more plants, and sooner or later, other folks are going to use the same manufacturing processes to make PV solar cells, and they did.
Plants sprung up all over China. Next thing you know, there is no margin at all in silicon panels – zero – and First Solar goes from $220 – you can bring it up on a chart, look for yourself – to below $20, and it was one of the greatest shorts I ever had in my career.
The same thing is inevitably going to happen to Tesla. Now, it may not happen today. I could be wrong about the timing, but I think I'm right about the timing because as soon as Tesla is producing the same number of cars as every other auto manufacturer, what's going to happen to the reality of that dream? It's going to disappear.
As soon as people realize even at scale, Tesla's not making any money, manufacturing is a really tough business and by the way, Tesla is not the only person who can stick a battery in a car.
Country Club Guy: Well, one of the things I have an issue with Tesla is that the Model 3 is the production car that we're talking about was supposed to be $35,000. That's the affordable version, right? Well, that's not the case. It's expensive. It's like $75,000, and the people that are on a waitlist are supposed to give more money to stay on the waitlist.
Porter Stansberry: They're the suckers who bought the car. I'm worried about the investors, and what I'm telling you is a lot of times you'll see this happen. You're a trader, you know this.
Country Club Guy: Was.
Porter Stansberry: Country Club Guy was a trader.
Country Club Guy: Yes.
Porter Stansberry: You sell the news, right? So Tesla's stock has been run up to over $300 a share on the premise that everyone's going to want an electric car and that Tesla is going to be the car that – the company that delivers it.
But what happens when the reality dawns, when Tesla is all of a sudden manufacturing 5,000 cars a day, 10,000 cars a day, like a real car manufacturer and everyone realizes: Oh crap, yeah, Tesla is making lots of electric cars, and yeah, everybody wants a Tesla, but they're still not making any money because there's no profit margin in the global automobile business.
Country Club Guy: When the buyers disappear.
Buck Sexton: Well, do you remember Solyndra, a while ago?
Porter Stansberry: Yeah, of course, Solyndra, yes.
Buck Sexton: They were losing money on every cell that – on every solar cell that they sold, but they were back-stopped to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars by the taxpayer because of Department of Energy –
Porter Stansberry: Loans.
Buck Sexton: – grants. I forget how they – they specifically did the funding for it.
Porter Stansberry: Loans, they were loans.
Buck Sexton: But the taxpayers –
Porter Stansberry: They were never repaid.
Buck Sexton: Yeah.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah, and they were losing money on every panel but Buck, they were going to make it up in volume.
Buck Sexton: That's right.
Porter Stansberry: And Tesla is the same exact way. Even with the subsidies, they're losing money on every car they sell, but they're going to make it up in volume. And I'm telling you, when the reality of that dawns on the market – that even at scale, Tesla is a lousy business – that is when the stock will sell off and that is when, like for solar, it'll start being valued as an auto manufacturer and not as a pipe dream.
So I believe that we're on the cusp of that, and I think you saw that in the last two weeks, when they got to their manufacturing goal and the stock has sold off. So it's gone from $330 down to $315 or something like that – even though they've made good on a production promise finally, yeah, one time.
Country Club Guy: One time.
Porter Stansberry: One time, and you know whatever, three months late, but still my point is – and this is a case just like for solar was, you buy the hype but you sell the news. As soon as First Solar actually started delivering all those panels to Germany and Spain, okay, great, but now it's just a manufacturer, and guess what, it's kind of a lousy business.
Country Club Guy: [Laughter.]
Porter Stansberry: And the same thing will happen to Tesla. Tesla's stock, over the next – I don't know, 18 months, is going to go from $330 to $33. That's what's going to happen, and a lot of people are going to get wiped out. You know what else is going to get wiped out, unfortunately, is all the people who have been shorting Tesla, including some of our subscribers unfortunately, on our advice, because it's not going to go down in a straight line.
So they're going to get sopped out at a loss. It's going to – it's a very difficult thing to trade. So my advice really, unless you have a lot of staying power as a short, is just ignore it. It's not – it's not going to be a good investment.
There is no car manufacturer that's a good investment, because there is tremendous overcapacity in the global auto industry. Guys, listen, if Toyota can't make money building cars, nobody can, and look at Toyota's net cash flow over the last 10 years. There isn't any.
There's no money to be made in this business. It's a really tough business because governments all around the world have subsidized auto manufacturing, because it employs a lot of people.
Well, we did the same thing with Tesla. We subsidized another carmaker. By the way, does anybody remember, it was 10 years ago that General Motors filed for bankruptcy. Did General Motors file for bankruptcy because there was tremendous demand for new automobiles in the United States? No.
Why did General Motors go bankrupt? Because there is enormous over-capacity in the auto industry. So why are we subsidizing Tesla again? No one will even be able to remember.
Our guest this week is Carter Page. You may know the name. He's been in the press lately. Carter is an American oil industry consultant and the former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump during his 2016 presidential election campaign.
Carter is here hopefully to tell us a little bit about what really goes on in the Trump organization and what the future might be for the trade wars that Trump seems destined to wage, and also of course, other foreign policy ramifications that may be important to investors. Carter, thanks for joining us. How are you?
Carter Page: My pleasure, Porter. Thanks for having me, yeah, great.
Porter Stansberry: So you know, obviously, Buck is our foreign policy/political specialist. I'm more of the investment guy, but what would you say so far have been the biggest impacts of foreign policy on the markets?
We seem to be making peace with North Korea. That's really good for the markets, but we also seem to be starting trouble with our biggest trading partner, which is China. What's your take?
Carter Page: Well, and I think you know where my – I think a lot of investors are focused this week on the big questions in Europe and I think the President's meeting with NATO allies today. He's going to be talking with – in London with the Brits and then, you know, meeting with President Putin regarding Russia. So I think over the near term, that's sort of the – where people are really focused.
Just as a quick clarification in your intro, although I was a volunteer on candidate Trump's foreign policy advisery team, I don't actually know him personally. I think it ties in a little bit to what we're talking about with big question marks in the market, because many of the fake stories that have misled investors and the rest of the public alike has been really driven by many of the false allegations directly against myself, but also other members of the – or other people involved in – the Trump campaign.
And I think, particularly when it relates to Russia, that's a very big topic that a lot of people are thinking about, and I think it's sort of front and center for the discussion this week.
Porter Stansberry: Well, of course, you're probably most widely known for being at the center of the Russian conspiracy case that the FBI is supposedly putting together.
I think that it's so implausible that it's almost laughable, but what do you make of all this? I don't know how freely you can speak about it, but why would anybody suppose that President Trump is somehow under the spell of Russian agents, be it you, supposedly, or any other one?
Carter Page: Well, I think there are some people – I mean, this is almost more of a media question than a foreign policy question, and media and politics and the links between news organizations and political operatives. And I think what we saw leading up to the 2016 election is – and what's, you know, where the evidence has continued to come out is that there was definitely election interference, but unfortunately the election interference was by the Democratic National Committee and the U.S. Government, which was involved in this spying campaign against the Trump team.
So – and I, you know, as a peripheral member of that, and someone who actually has spent time in Russia, became the centerpiece of that process very quickly.
Porter Stansberry: What, you mean to tell me that the sitting president of the United States would use Federal government employees to aid his election campaign or the campaign of his party?
Carter Page: Well –
Porter Stansberry: I'm really shocked about that, Carter. I can't imagine that kind of corruption could ever happen in such a dignified place as Washington, D.C.
Carter Page: Well, I think it's been an interesting last 12 months, as you know, for about a year – a year prior, starting in September 2016 when this first – the first stories about, you know, from this crazy dossier that the Democrats paid for to smear the Trump campaign and myself.
You know, it's – it really had an amazing shelf life, given the fact that so many people were quick to buy into this, and I think what's been interesting over the last nine months or so is that you know as truth continues to come out regarding who is actually behind this, we find that there was clearly a lot of wrongdoing by certain operatives in the U.S. Government, which I think is pretty unfortunate.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah, I agree. I have one – I don't know, ironic or it's very usual – I have a question, I hope you'll give me an answer. If you choose not to, of course, that's up to you, but my notes here say that you have chosen to be your own lawyer in this matter, and you're up against the Federal prosecutors and Mueller, who have unlimited resources and don't hesitate to play dirty.
I just wonder, is there a particular rationale to that decision? Shouldn't you be with a big firm that can help you stand up to these guys?
Carter Page: Well, let me just differentiate. There's the – what I call the "witch hunt" side of the question, and then there's the civil side. I am actually suing the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which is a Federal agency.
They were the ones that retransmitted, rebroadcast the Yahoo News report, which was actually used as part of the illegitimate foreign intelligence surveillance court warrant that was placed on me in October 2016.
So I'm suing both Oath Inc., which is the owner of Yahoo News and Huffington Post, which put out over a dozen defamatory articles, as well as Broadcasting Board of Governors, you know, the U.S. Government's Federal propaganda agency.
And so I've been working on that from – you know on my own and it actually, it's been – I've always been a – had an entrepreneurial approach throughout life and, you know, what I – when talking to people in terms of big defamation cases, you know, a few people have told me that in prior precedent, cases like – there's this famous case against ABC News by – called the Pink Slime case and so –
Porter Stansberry: Yeah, I know that case.
Carter Page: Yeah, major cases like that sometimes run into tens of millions of dollars of legal fees, and I've always had an interest in the law. I was a legal officer on my ship. I've done billions of dollars of deals and have spent countless hours with lawyers over the decades, and I've always been sort of a self-study person.
So I thought it was a great time to actually dig into the details myself and so that's been a tremendous amount of fun, kind of working through that over time.
And in any law case, it's always a fact, or always a balance between facts and the law, and I think the facts, once they're fully known, and I think which is continuing to drip out as to all of the wrongdoing by the U.S. government, including by the propaganda agency, which pushed this false story against myself.
I think it should be a pretty easy case, but there's a lot of major lies in Washington right now that need to be worked out, that have really damaged President Trump's administration significantly.
And actually, that ties back into the – sort of an investor focus – what he's dealing with in Europe right now, because I think this – you know there's a term, "a dark cloud," and there really has been a dark cloud over his administration based on this completely fraudulent story that was put out.
Regarding the special counsel investigation, there's been – there are a lot of leaks to the Washington Post and others regarding my spending over 10 hours with the FBI last March – March 2017 – and I – you know, that was leaked, and they were pretty open about it.
There's been less news about my cooperation with the special counsel investigation, but it has been reported in the New York Times and Washington Post and others that yes, I spent time with them last year, and you know, in that case, I did have some lawyers helping me and some – you know, a really great team, but that was a – nothing that was accused against myself or anyone I knew has any merit or basis to it whatsoever.
So suffice to say that was nothing that I ever had any concerns about.
Porter Stansberry: Well, I applaud you for taking on those powerful interests in a libel or defamation case. I just hope you also have some healthy life insurance, because people like Vince Foster, when they take on these powers they – sometimes they don't end up in a good place.
Carter Page: Yeah. Well, I think you know you're a – the Vince Foster analogy is – you know may have some merit to it. There were a lot of death threats that I received when these fake stories started coming out in September 2016, and you know, again, operatives related, the Democrats were trying to pitch the false story about the Trump campaign and myself to the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, and they all contacted me and they kept asking about these same false allegations, starting in July 2016.
And, you know, I always denied it because it was so blatantly obvious that it's false that – you know, and there was not much to talk about, but you know, eventually they found a – someone that they could talk with or rely upon, which was Yahoo News, to put that out, and I guess the rest is history and you know, our courts were significantly abused through that process. So yeah, it was plenty of drama.
Porter Stansberry: Let me move past the scandal and ask you a broad question about the oil business, which I know you also know a lot about. At Stansberry Research, we started tracking fracking, the combination of fracking and horizontal drilling, in the early 2000s, and happily, we had one of our best contacts, a guy named Cactus Schroeder, in the oil fields, and around the Eagle Ford area.
So very early on, we brought that story to our readers, beginning in 2007, 2008 time frame. We were predicting that the Eagle Ford would become one of the largest oil discoveries in the world, and certainly the largest in continental U.S. history.
And if you'll remember, that was the height of the peak oil madness. So we had – you had our research firm talking about the inevitable oil boom that was coming, while at the same time, all the headlines were that there was a twilight in the desert of Saudi Arabia, and we would soon be out of hydrocarbons.
So we have been firmly on the camp of much larger U.S. oil production and glowing – and growing global production. So we were not surprised or upset by the price declines that happened in 2014 and we have not been surprised to see the growth of U.S. production, relative to the rest of the world.
What I don't think we have a good grasp on, and what maybe you could help us with, is: What's going to happen over the next several decades, not just in the next five years or next year?
What's going to happen to the relative political power and influence of the large oil producers, including Saudi Arabia and Russia, as the U.S. is able to produce more and more hydrocarbons, and garner a larger and larger share of the world market?
Carter Page: Well I think you know, a lot of those same factors have already been increasingly in play, and I think it speaks to two elements of President Trump's policy, which have really been major positive drivers over the course of the last year, and could be a lot bigger if they were allowed to fully flourish, and I'll explain why.
The first is on the – from a – you know, really the fracking and shale revolution was really based on technology, and throughout that –up until January of 2017 and the beginning of President Trump's administration, there was a lot of environmental and restrictive government policies that really limited some of the steps that energy producers could take, in terms of fully developing those capabilities.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah, sure, and even today, you know, in New York State, there's no fracking. There's lots of states that have chosen to ignore this incredible bounty that technology has enabled.
Carter Page: Yeah, absolutely, well and that's – you know, it sort of speaks to this concept of political risk, right? You know, political risk is often viewed in an international context, but you know, I think similar to what you're alluding to, there's definitely a state-level element to it as well, given the one example you just mentioned.
But I think overall, it speaks to the sort of the positive nature of some of the steps President Trump has been taking to really develop a much more constructive relationship with some of those countries.
I think you're – some of the risk that you're referring to in terms of those possible tensions could be much greater if, you know, the powers-that-be and the foreign policy establishment in Washington used or leveraged some of those developments in a very negative way.
I think what President Trump has done, not only in Saudi Arabia, throughout the GCC countries in the Middle East, but also Russia, is trying to find new solutions that are going to be much more constructive and much more cooperative.
And I think it actually goes back to the technology point you were alluding to with the shale revolution and the technology that enabled it, and the fact that I think there's a lot of potential for increased cooperation.
And yes, I think prior administrations, even the Obama administration had sort of a – you know, a technology-sharing initiative based out of the State Department.
But I think you know, a lot of it comes down to relationships, and I think the steps that President Trump has been taking to help push forward some of those relationships with key energy-producing states, including Saudi and Russia, I think can be a major step forward on both fronts and can really provide a significant amount of upside.
So – but I think, you know, there's a longer story related to Russia and we can touch on that if you like, but I think overall, there's a lot of reasons for optimism right now.
Porter Stansberry: What do you think about investing in Russia right now? Obviously the Russian market is very cheap compared to the U.S. market. It usually trades at a discount, but the discount is probably as wide as it's been in the last decade or more.
Buying Russia today is certainly a contrary idea. The dollar has been very strong and Russia is – since the invasion of Ukraine or the – I mean it's sort of out of favor internationally. You know more about Russia than most people. Would you be buying Russian stocks?
Carter Page: Well, it's interesting. There is – I mean, a lot of my experience I was doing – you know, I've been involved in various Russia investment initiatives going back to sort of 2004 when I moved over to Moscow, and with another guy, opened a Merrill Lynch office in Moscow.
And so living there from 2004 to 2007, I think there's a lot of similarities to what we saw right now in terms of the misunderstanding.
I think a lot of misinformation in terms of what actually is happening there and what the possibilities are, and I think that speaks directly to what you're referring to with the – you know, the price imbalances and the undervaluation of some of these – a lot of assets in Russia.
I think you know there's just so much – it's interesting. I went on a lot of investor meetings with some top Russian companies about, you know, over the years and I think what's interesting when you're meeting with major Western investors and you're – you know, some senior executives from Russian companies are there, a lot of the questions I think – you know, it's a process of working through misunderstandings.
Because I think there is a great imbalance of knowledge and I think – look, this – and this – that's what makes this last two years particularly timely and a major turning point.
Because I think a lot of that same information has only escalated, and they sort of use this as a way to tear down, first, candidate Trump, but then try to damage his administration with this completely fake Russia story, which started the witch hunt that Mr. Comey and various people started during the 2016 election campaigns, leading up to President Trump's victory in November 2016.
Porter Stansberry: Carter, you've been very kind with us and very patient through our technical problems and I really do appreciate you appearing on the show. I'm sorry that Buck wasn't able to join us for technical reasons.
I have one last parting shot, if you will. You're one of the more experienced Russia analysts, experts that we've ever spoken to. So I just wonder if you have an opinion.
I'm not asking for anything official, but do you have an opinion about the Robert Kraft Super Bowl Ring controversy between Putin and Robert Kraft? I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.
Do you think that Putin was deliberately stealing the ring or do you think it was one of those misunderstandings you're describing?
Carter Page: Well I can't – you know, I've never met either of those two gentlemen. So I don't have any firsthand information, but suffice to say that, based on all my experiences and what President Trump and other members of his administration have been dealing with, my money would be on another misunderstanding. That seems pretty –
Porter Stansberry: I think Trump –
Carter Page: – pretty questionable.
Porter Stansberry: I think Trump would be a national hero if he could get that ring returned.
Carter Page: [Laughter.]
Porter Stansberry: That would be a big win for the administration.
Carter Page: A lot of more pressing things, but you know –
Porter Stansberry: Oh, I'm not so sure about that, Carter.
Carter Page: – I think a lot of things are changing [laughter.]
Porter Stansberry: Not in the minds of the average American, I don't think so. I think that would really go a long way to improving Putin's image and our president's standing as a great statesman.
Carter Page: [Laughter.]
Porter Stansberry: I'm only sort of kidding, but I do appreciate, yeah, your good-natured humor about it, and thank you for being on the show.
Carter Page: Thanks for having me, Porter.
Porter Stansberry: All right, bye, bye.
Country Club Guy: This is the time in the show that we go to the mail bag.
Porter Stansberry: Hold on, hold on. I think Country Club Guy is about to do something useful on behalf of the show, first time ever.
Country Club Guy: What? Well, hold on. Okay, this is a whole other segment. So this is segment five. Mail bag would be four. What? Who do you think puts this together, huh?
Porter Stansberry: [Laughter.]
Country Club Guy: Huh? You just show up and magically you know a guest is on the line. Well, not today, he wasn't but –
Porter Stansberry: That's all you?
Country Club Guy: [Laughter.]
Porter Stansberry: Oh, I didn't know that.
Country Club Guy: I produce this kind of stuff.
Porter Stansberry: Oh, you're the producer, Country Club Guy?
Country Club Guy: Not just –
Porter Stansberry: I thought you just played golf with me.
Country Club Guy: Oh, well, that I'm going to do later, and we can recap that next week.
Porter Stansberry: So anyways, Country Club Guy is going to read the mailbag today.
Country Club Guy: I'm going to do it today because –
Porter Stansberry: Because tech problems and Buck doesn't have the copy.
Country Club Guy: Buck's on a landline at a cube at TheHill.com. So he can't speak but –
Buck Sexton: Good times, over here.
Country Club Guy: That's right. All right, it's time for the mail bag, everybody. I want to thank everyone for writing in to the mail bag and filling our inbox with comments and suggestions. Your feedback is important to us. So remember, you guys can send it in any time.
Porter Stansberry: Send feedback, any time.
Porter Stansberry: No, no, I see here one for Buck.
Country Club Guy: Oh, okay.
Porter Stansberry: Come on, just read them.
Country Club Guy: All right, here we go. "Porter, I'm an avid listener and great fan of the podcast; however, I'm playing a little catch-up. Summer has become a bit crazy. A few weeks back at Episode 53, you spoke about tracking put options as an indicator in the market.
I am interested to know more about this. How does one know or benchmark when puts are too expensive? Is there any literature you publish or outside publication that you would recommend to learn more about this strategy?
You have been such a great help so far in just the one year that I've been a subscriber. Keep up the great work." Mike L., Stansberry Choice Lifetime Member.
Porter Stansberry: Great, yes, Mike, easy to do. Just track the VIX index, V-I-X, and what the VIX index is, is a selection. I think they use 100 different put options and they measure the amount of premium in them, and the premium is what you have to pay in addition to the intrinsic value to buy the option.
I know that sounded like a bunch of gobbledygook. So what you want to do is watch the VIX, and a good rule of thumb is if the VIX is under 15, then puts are going to be pretty cheap, and if VIX is over 20, then puts are going to get expensive – and sometimes the VIX goes really expensive.
I remember selling puts at one time when the VIX was over 80. So every now and then it goes really crazy, but generally speaking, under 15, puts are probably going to be reasonable and over 20, puts are going to be expensive on the VIX. V-I-X.
Country Club Guy: "Dear Buck and Porter, I'm a longtime subscriber and an avid listener of the show. Recently, Chris Mayer made the point about having too many positions. Is this your – is your 30th best idea or your 29th best idea really worth having?
This idea forms the basis of my question. How many Stansberry subscriptions can I really take advantage of?"
Porter Stansberry: More.
Country Club Guy: There you go. I'm mostly –
Porter Stansberry: Yeah, you need more.
Country Club Guy: "I'm most heavily invested in Mr. Sjuggerud's True Wealth and have done very well. As my portfolio grows, my position size gets larger, but the True Wealth portfolio contains 21 stock ETF positions, not to mention some gold and silver coins. Does it make sense for me to take on another subscription?"
Porter Stansberry: Yes.
Country Club Guy: "Or should I just keep growing my portfolio within True Wealth?"
Porter Stansberry: No, it's a low-cost newsletter. You need much – you need many more newsletters and the more expensive ones will be better. Buck, how many newsletters do you think someone should read?
Buck Sexton: As many as they possibly can.
Porter Stansberry: I think you should read newsletters all day long. No, sincerely, Lauren, the answer to your question is you should never have more investment positions than you can accurately track and understand, and a good test for that is: How many of your positions can you remember off the top of your head, and how many of those positions can you give the general thesis of your investment to a stranger without using notes?
So why do I recommend shares of Hershey, for example? Well, Hershey is one of the great American businesses. It can't diversify out of chocolate because of a state law in Pennsylvania.
It's controlled by the Milton Hershey Trust, which means it has very stable ownership and it has a great product, and it's an enormously capital-efficient business, and I'm pretty sure that my grandkids will be eating chocolate.
I can't tell you whether they'll be watching movies or playing video games. I've got no idea whether they'll use Facebook, but I know they're going to be eating chocolate.
So for me this is a great long-term investment. Now, I can explain that to you without using notes. I know why I'm owning that stock. Can you do the same for all of your 21 positions?
If the answer is yes, then you're doing fine and you can have more positions, as long as you know them well enough to explain them to a stranger without using notes.
That's a really important test, because if you don't know what you own, you're not going to have the wherewithal to stick with it through a market correction.
Having said that, let me explain to you that diversification is pretty much the only free ride in finance, and by that I mean if your portfolio is properly diversified, if you have some kind of businesses that are going to go up when others go down, then you can reduce the risk of your portfolio while not decreasing your returns, and that is a very important function.
So I would urge you to consider things that are not correlated to the positions that you own now, and I don't know what you own, so I can't give you any good advice about that, but in general, most investors lack exposure to foreign currencies, commodities, and fixed income.
So I would look and tell you, "Hey, do you have any foreign stocks? Do you have any stocks that represent commodity businesses, and do you have any fixed income positions?"
And if the answers are no, then I will tell you honestly, take a 30-day trial to one of our products that covers foreign stocks, covers commodities, and covers fixed income, and see if you can't learn anything.
And if you like it, and if you want to take an investment there, then add those descriptions. If you don't, then hey, you're doing great with True Wealth and I'm sure you'll be fine, as long as you stick with Steve.
Country Club Guy: That was from Lauren S. By the way, there's somebody in this podcast that loves Hershey bars and it's not me and Buck. I wonder who that is.
Porter Stansberry: I don't eat Hershey bars.
Country Club Guy: I've seen you.
Porter Stansberry: I do not eat Hershey bars.
Country Club Guy: You love them.
Buck Sexton: I will tell you this, I'm a little bit of a chocolate snob. Hershey's – a little waxy, not that great.
Country Club Guy: Oh, God.
Buck Sexton: I'm telling you.
Porter Stansberry: You're dead wrong.
Country Club Guy: Exactly.
Porter Stansberry: You don't know anything you're talking – you don't know what you're talking about.
Buck Sexton: [Laughter.]
Country Club Guy: Hang up on him.
Porter Stansberry: Hershey's is the world's finest chocolate, and I'll tell you exactly the reason why. They're still the only chocolate maker that uses fresh milk. They're surrounded by dairy farms in Pennsylvania.
They have the best-tasting chocolate in the world and, by the way, that was the innovation. Milton Hershey created chocolate as a way of preserving fresh milk. That's where chocolate comes from. Nobody knows that. You're eating all this 95% cow nonsense that tastes like garbage.
Country Club Guy: Was it called just "chocolate" before Hershey became a big player? Now it's "milk chocolate."
Porter Stansberry: No, he – I don't know.
Country Club Guy: Okay.
Porter Stansberry: I don't know the answer to that question.
Country Club Guy: All right. I've –
Porter Stansberry: I don't know enough about the history, but I do know that Hershey's is the only people that use fresh milk and I do know that's why it tastes great, and I do know if I'm going to have a chocolate bar –
Country Club Guy: Exactly.
Porter Stansberry: – I'm eating a Hershey's. Anyway, that's the podcast for this week. Buck, you want to say goodbye?
Buck Sexton: Yeah, I just want to tell everybody next week, we're going to have perfect-sounding, crystal clear everything for you, but in the meantime, especially if you missed any episodes, go to InvestorHour.com. That's InvestorHour.com. You can read transcripts of the show.
Also, please subscribe. We are on YouTube. We are also on, I believe it's called "Apple Podcasts" now. They don't call it iTunes anymore. That's what the cool kids tell me. And next week, I might actually be able to be in Baltimore at Stansberry HQ with Mr. Porter Stansberry and Country Club Guy.
Porter Stansberry: Great. Everybody, thanks for listening, and don't forget to send us your feedback: [email protected] Love us or hate us, just don't ignore us.
Buck Sexton: Have a great one, everybody.
Voiceover: Thank you for listening to the Stansberry Investor Hour. To access today's notes and receive notice of upcoming episodes, go to InvestorHour.com and enter your email. Have a question for Porter and Buck?
Send them an email at [email protected] If we use your question on-air, we'll send you one of our studio mugs. This broadcast is provided for entertainment purposes only and should not be considered personalized investment advice.
Trading stocks and all other financial instruments involves risk. You should not make any investment decision based solely on what you hear. Stansberry Investor Hour is produced by Stansberry Research and is copyrighted by the Stansberry Radio Network.
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