Imploded Stocks of the Day: Carvana, Twilio, Atlassian, Cloudflare

The free-money virus turned investors’ brains to mush. But the healing has started, interest rates are recovering, QT is here, and look what we got.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Let’s just walk through some of the already Imploded Stocks that further imploded on Friday. There were quite a few of them, as is now usually the case during earnings season, but we’ll just look at a handful. They imploded even as markets rallied for the day. On Friday, the Nasdaq rose 1.3%, reducing its loss for the week to just 5.6%, that kind of week. But a whole bunch of stuff plunged after reporting “earnings” – I’m using that term loosely because they all reported huge losses on top of endless losses.

Carvana, an online used-vehicle retailer, is one of the earliest entries into my pantheon of Imploded Stocks. Thursday evening, it reported “earnings” – you know what I mean. Everything went the wrong way: The number of vehicles it sold to retail customers fell, revenues fell, cost of sales jumped, gross profit plunged, selling and administrative expenses soared, interest expense more than tripled, and the net loss exploded to $508 million.

The used-car startups Carvana, Vroom, and Shift “face an existential crisis,” I wrote in April 2022, based on the changing dynamics in the used vehicle market, the fading willingness of investors to keep fueling cash-burn machines, and driven by the used-vehicle startups themselves that were never designed to make money and never could figure out how to make money, not even in the hottest used-vehicle market ever in 2021.

They were designed to burn investor cash. And investors no longer want their cash to be burned. And so that existential crisis is now.

Back when I issued the existential crisis warning in April 2022, Carvana [CVNA] had plunged by 73% from the high to $100 a share. Since then, they’ve plunged further with relentless brutality. On Friday, Carvana kathoomphed 39%, to $8.76, down 98% from the peak in August 2021, and down 41% from its IPO price in April 2017. Buy and hold, folks.

The chart displays the now classic pattern of how the Fed’s trillions of dollars in QE and interest rate repression – the free-money era started in 2009 – mutated over the years into a virus that turned investors’ brains into mush, and after their brains had turned into mush, they inflated asset prices to ridiculous levels.

But the healing from the free-money virus has started. Interest rates are reverting to some kind of normal, QT is now working, and look what we got. Nearly all charts of my Imploded Stocks look similar (data via YCharts):

In a market where investors’ brains function properly, Carvana’s inability to make money selling used vehicles should have doomed the stock to the penny-stock realm years ago.

Armies of falling-knife catchers that thought they could make money after the shares had plunged by 73% in April 2022 have gotten their beloved fingers sliced off with another 91% plunge. Shares have collapsed so far that you can barely see the 38% plunge on Friday, that little dip at the end of the collapse.

Twilio [TWLO], a cloud communications platform, reported “earnings” Friday morning. Part of the problem was that revenues grew by 32% to $983 million while the net loss exploded by 115% $482 million. The company also issued disappointing revenue guidance.

How can a company that has been publicly traded for seven years, and has been around for 14 years, and had $3.5 billion in revenues over the past 12 months still generate a $482 million loss on $983 million in revenues? That was a rhetorical question.

Every year, the company has generated larger and larger net losses, reaching nearly $1 billion in 2021, and heading for well over $1 billion this year, following the free-money-virus-infected Silicon Valley model: the more they sell, the more they lose.

People that run companies in this way have no idea what it’s like to run a profitable company. It’s not even on their horizon, and it wasn’t on the horizon of their investors. But it’s starting to be.

Shares collapsed by 34.6% on Friday, and are down 91% from their high in that infamous February 2021, when this stuff started to come unglued.  Note the now classic Imploded Stocks bubble and collapse pattern. It’s just a simple fact: Free money turns investors’ brains to mush (data via YCharts).

Atlassian Corp [TEAM], a collaboration and productivity software company in Australia that is traded on the Nasdaq, is another one of those shining free-money examples that never figured out how to make money, never even tried, and is just losing huge amounts of money year-after-year: over the past four years alone, it lost $2.3 billion combined, even as its revenues surged.

In other words, it is just buying its revenues. And for a while, that’s all that mattered to investors whose brains had been turned to mush by the free-money virus.

But when it reported earnings on Friday, the company talked about feeling the impact of the global economy – the hiring slowdown at its existing customers resulting in slower demand for collaboration software – and it said the rate at which users of its free versions converted to paid versions was cooling. It said that it would slow down its own headcount growth going forward, and it gave a disappointing outlook.

Shares kathoomphed 29% on Friday to $124.01 and are down 74% from peak mania in October last year. This chart looks awfully close to Carvana’s chart did back in April when it had plunged to $100. Each implosion had a different start date, and each plunge brought out the dip buyers that then got their fingers sliced off, and it will happen again because there are still dip buyers out there with some fingers left on their hands that they want to get sliced off (data via YCharts):

Cloudflare, a cybersecurity company, reported earnings late Thursday – yup, another huge loss. While revenues jumped 47%, the operating loss jumped 73%. The more they sell, the more they lose – following the Silicon Valley growth model during the free-money-virus era. Guidance was also light.

But the free-money-virus is fading, and brains are recovering from it, and on Friday its shares kathoomphed 18.4%, to $41.09, down 81% from the peak in November last year.

The stock is roughly eight months behind the first batch of heroes in my pantheon of Imploded Stocks that started to come unglued in February 2021 (data via YCharts):

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  203 comments for “Imploded Stocks of the Day: Carvana, Twilio, Atlassian, Cloudflare

  1. phleep says:

    In biology, a die-off can be an elegant, beautiful and regenerating part of nature, as long as I’m not the one doing it!

    Good early call on Carvana. It bought a car dealership property near me, and was going to erect one of its silly car vending machines, wrecking my view. Luckily I don’t have to stare at its deteriorated wreckage, as they didn’t get that far. Who would buy a car many yards above the ground, immune from inspection? It is as silly as buying a house based only on an algorithm, or gold under the ground based on shaky “samples.”

    My dumping comparable stocks in later ’21 coincided with my regularly reading this blog.

    • SomethingStinks says:

      I say, go to the damn vending machine and select each car one by one. Test drive and bring it back. I am sorely tempted to do that here in Phoenix metro where they have one of those monstrosities setup.

      • Leo says:

        Wonder what are the challenges for both companies, buyers and owners for online sales of Electric cars like Tesla and Rivian.

      • El Katz says:

        It doesn’t work that way… you can’t “test drive multiple vehicles” at Carvana. You buy one. Get a token. It shows up.

        This whole debacle of geeks thinking the automobile industry is easy is hilarious. I recall – way back in 1979 – calling on a dealer in Wood River, IL. I was perusing his financial statement and noticed that he was losing money on every car he sold. His response? I make it up on volume. Neophyte car rep: So… if you lose $1 per car and you sell 100 don’t you lose $100? When does that “volume thing” kick in? His response…. “You don’t understand the business.”

        He went broke.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          El K-his last name wasn’t Minderbinder, was it? (…nod to Jos. Heller…).

          May we all find a better day.

        • Biff says:

          I’ll take stories that never happened for $100 …

        • NBay says:

          Ok, spin the wheel, Biff, and good luck!

        • russell1200 says:

          In fairness, if part of that loss is them drawing an inflated salary/benefits, that is a pretty common small business churn. Happens a lot in contracting where the new jobs pay for the old ones, until…they can’t. But in an expanding market, the “can’t” can take a while to get there.

    • Leo says:

      I am all for cash burning unicorns to be replaced by productive businesses.

      However thanks to broad financialization and outsourcing of productive work, mos productive businesses in US are barely profitable.

      The proven path to profitability are:
      1. Create a niche, then increase barriers to entry for competition through patents, rules, processes etc. E.g. Pharma, Aircraft manufacturing, nuclear power.
      2. Establish a monopoly through mergers and acquisitions or form cartel with top corporations to retain pricing power through questionable means. E.g. Technology, Airlines.
      3. Create something useless or find something obsolete and then promote it as an investment to run a giant ponzi scheme. E.g. Cryptos, NFTs, unicorn stocks, spacs

      • cb says:

        4. Deal in government contracts.

        • El Katz says:

          You forgot: Set up a minority and/or woman owned business, get a contract from the government, buy crap on Amazon, mark it up 100% and ship it to them.

          If you think it’s not true, I’ll give you the address of a woman who does it 24/7. Doesn’t even unpack the boxes. Changes the shipping label and out it goes.

          They live in a $2M house in SoCal, kids went to UCLA (scholarship, of course – and not academic nor sports), and spend most of their time printing labels or sitting by their pool.

        • Leo says:

          Agreeing with both cb and El katz

        • Harrold says:

          In the good ole days only Lockheed Martin could get away with selling wrenches for $100.

        • NBay says:

          Spin the wheel Biff.

      • Leo says:

        One more:
        4. Make something by spending $1 in China. Spend $20 to advertise it as the best product in the world and then sell it at $50 to the truly American consumer, who just has to buy it, and then pay for it with borrowed money (credit cards).

        • Mitch Vine says:

          You’ve just described some of the most consistently long term profitable business models. Consumer products such as a bag of chips, Air Pods, a jar of mosturising cream, or a pair of $200 sunglasses.

        • JohnnySacks says:

          Sounds like transportation appliance marketing meets mainstream American consumer mentality. Heated seats and steering wheel? Oooh, sign me up for the 72 month trip!

          Sort of like thinking Carvana was a great investment because of the great idea on how to sell used cars.

        • Jake says:

          “Good advertising can make people buy your product even if it sucks … A dollar spent on brainwashing is more cost-effective than a dollar spent on product improvement.” ~ Scott Adams

    • Gattopardo says:

      Thought the same as you, phleep, and was thoroughly annoyed when so many of the used cars I was considering were their listings on Cars dot com and Autotrader, etc. But upon closer inspection, Carvana is actually awesome for buyers. You have a couple days to drive the car up to 300 miles (I think) and can return for any reason for full refund. This was perfect for me, because I wasn’t sure whether the car I wanted would be fun with an auto trans, so I could test it out. I ended up NOT doing that, though, because their listings radically shrunk to nearly nothing a couple months later. And I also now have no faith in their ability refund money.

      • phleep says:

        Thanks, Gattopardo.

        I want to buy a car that works well, Day One. I am willing to pay for not having my new purchase start coughing out on a road somewhere, and jerking around with a return, and starting over. But I realize some folks are more resourceful that way.

      • Harrold says:

        I wonder how many months it takes to get your money back?

    • NBay says:

      To me it was all just a stupid gimmick…..but I still had to know and found out how it works mechanically (just my thing). Like the test drive everything notion though. I’m sure a big curious crowd would gather. Do it! If you can…..
      Incidentally, I just went to this website and this popped up….I selected stuff that I refer to as the “mission”, but really don’t know. Only Wolf does.

      konstantin kayes
      Jun 21, 2014 at 1:51 pm
      This was a good name for a better site. On target, since testosterone stands for competition, the fuel of our culture. Hopefully you are up to a better one.

      Jun 21, 2014 at 1:56 pm
      Since your tag line is “Where the truth comes home to roost,” I suggest a new site name such as The Reality Cockpen. That will solve all your website name problems.

      Jun 21, 2014 at 1:56 pm
      I do not want to compete, want to live

      Jun 21, 2014 at 1:59 pm
      But it is not the name of the site is important, but what is said.

      Needless to say, I am of the Franjacapa bent. I “joined” a bit before the mug idea discussions, which were GREAT FUN! Although I didn’t learn much except about mug making logistics, communicating said “mission” right, and Art.

      I’d also like to throw out a question and a guess.
      Why does the stock market stubbornly hang around roughly 1000 pts below it’s all-time high? Round number love?

      My guess (plus some very wealthy and some not so wealthy but still super secure Fed Gov’t relative insiders input) is that the stock market is for relatively low level wealth investors, many forced in by that “great” invention, the 401k, and of course mostly well fleeced by some ultra wealthy Wall St. types.
      But, all the real ultra wealth has been in various forms of PE for a long time now. My EXTREMELY powerful DC insider lobbyist uncle was almost totally in it, and pre-2000, and not in scams like the above (I don’t think), but actual PE Corps, making actual real stuff….or at least consulting and publishing. I know Bio-chem industry is full of PE corps, under larger PE corps, etc. Levels/inter connections are many.

      Ex: Of the top 10 food producing corps in the WORLD by sales, only 3 were public, and that was well over 5 years ago, from Bloomberg or Yahoo finance….#s 3,5 and 7 IIRC. Nestle was #1, I think…it’s a lot more than chocolate.

      I said long ago PE scares the hell out of me, and it still does.
      I wish I knew the ratio of market cap, or even net sales, between the public and private corps, but that is secret stuff. I’ll bet if it were public knowledge it would scare ANYONE.

      • NBay says:

        Also curious what word put above comment in moderation, (length?), and also if someone with no time to learn investing (tens if not 100 millions, if they even have the money) who invest in, say, the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index or similar….if those indexes are duty bound to by stuff off the growing Imploded Stock scams like the above?

    • Old school says:

      Two stories from real economy.

      My dad is trying to have two large trees cut down and removed. There is a small company he has used before that has prices about half what the big guys charge. He has waited about one year and the guy says he hopes to get it done by Thanksgiving.

      My neighbor passed away. His widow ordered an engraved monument aka tombstone. They told her that it would be 6 months before job is done. It’s been 6 months and they still are backed up.

      Real economy still suffering from lack of workers.

    • NBay says:

      Phleep, what Biology classes or books did you read to come up with that “die-offs” are
      “elegant, beautiful, regenerating” stuff?
      Aren’t you a lawyer?
      Correct me if I’m wrong….just curious.

  2. butters says:

    WOW and I say they are still overvalued.

    • andy says:

      It is simething else. They drop 70-80% and still trade at 10 times sales.
      Next on the block will be Snowflake, AirBnB, and Tesla. Followed by Eli Lilly few months later.

      • Cytotoxic says:

        Airbnb isn’t like those other jerks-it makes money. Net income 1.2 billion last quarter. They don’t burn money to earn it, but a recession could put a hole in their revenues.

        Tesla also makes money…but I think their revenues are due to be whacked even harder than Airbnb’s are by the coming fire. Their customer base are the ones about to get fired from the FAANGS…some of them by Musk!

        • NBay says:

          Airbnb is gonna go down with the vacant houses often mentioned here, and the many brand new rich landlords that are over extended….also often mentioned here….or commenting.
          And an unavoidable recession of some degree that I hope the Fed (and or attempt at democracy such as it is) can stand up to.

        • NBay says:

          our attempt at democracy……and as long as I’m correcting a mistype, Nov 8 is TOMORROW and I’m worried.

  3. CreditGB says:

    “How can a company that has been publicly traded for seven years, and has been around for 14 years, and had $3.5 billion in revenues over the past 12 months still generate a $482 million loss on $983 million in revenues?”

    A related question, rhetorical of course:
    “How can a government spend Trillions on Inflation Reduction and still have raging inflation?”

    The rhetorical answer is:
    Both massively fund their insider’s life styles along with their friends and families using “OPM”.

    Just observing the passing parade from the sidewalk.

    • josap says:

      The government trillions hasn’t been spent yet. It will be spent over a number of years.

      • Cas127 says:

        Precisely…and the fact that there is almost no effort in DC to pause/reverse that spending (despite horrible inflation) tells everyone everything they ever need to know about DC’s prioritization of *itself* and the use of the entire nation’s wealth to increase/exercise its own control.

        • roddy6667 says:

          The government loves inflation. It allows them to borrow a lot of money and then pay it back with money that is worth less. Federal workers and retirees, active duty military and retirees, Social Security recipients, are all getting paid back with watered down dollars. Governments Loooove inflation.

        • NBay says:

          Do I have to remind you brainwashed government haters where the term OPM came from AGAIN?
          It came from Alexander Dumas who was simply explaining what BUSINESS was in 3 words.

        • NBay says:

          Please go read the Gettysburg address again. PLEASE!

          Thank you.

          The corporations are REALLY enthroned now, and preying on the prejudices of the people, and all the wealth is in the hands of a few. Also from Lincoln.

      • Old school says:

        That’s too bad because a government running a deficit is by definition a stimulus action putting more water into the price bathtub while Powell is trying to close the valve a bit.

        • El Katz says:

          I was listening to MSNBS (my sister’s in the ER) and some jamoke from NJ running for congress was talking about “repurposing” $1T from the Covid bonanza to Medicare. I thought…. so, that’s just a gigantic slush fund for the criminals in DC?

          Inflation is far from over, folks. With those brain dead boogerheads “representing” us…. we’re doomed.

        • Harrold says:

          I’m not too sure everyone agrees that Medicare is a slush fund.

        • NBay says:

          Spin the wheel Biff.

  4. Island Teal says:

    Atlassian and Cloudfare still have plenty of room to run. Thank you for the heads-up and giving me time to get on the elevator. Gartman and Cramer would be all over these. First step is to figure out what they really do. 🥳💸🤡🤣🥳

    • California Bob says:

      I’m pretty familiar with Atlassian from 35+ years in the tech industry. It started with a free bug-tracking application called Jira, which was (marginally) better than the popular open-source equivalent Bugzilla (I managed systems of both; Jira was a bit of a hairball). Atlassian extended into software project tracking and management, esp. in the faddish ‘Agile’ development domain, with several add-on modules. Like with a lot of collaboration software, basic usage was free, but they started to charge for the add-on goodies. The initial versions were on-premise, but a few years ago they jumped on the ‘cloud’ bandwagon (which is getting slammed as well).

      As for Cloudflare, I have no clue; but it must be special because it has ‘cloud’ in its name.

      • SomethingStinks says:

        Cloudflare looks to me like a WAF (web application firewall). The valuations of all these IT SaaS companies need to be revisited. As do the prices of their products. I have seen insane quotes for 1 year or 3 year contracts, much like the “packages” cable companies had in the past. Everybody in IT and their grandmother wants to be a billionaire.

        • Truenoboricua says:

          Thus is correct they are a SaaS based WAF and content caching infrastructure play.

      • Harvey Mushman says:

        The software team at my company uses Jira. And yes, ‘Agile’ if one of the top software development buzz words. I have seen the name ‘Atlassian’ all over the place.

        • Gabby Cat says:

          As a fellow tech geek that use’s Atlassian – I don’t see a long life ahead. Agile has been around for 30+ years. It’s a methodology that is, at best, misunderstood. Our org tries to use Jira and confluence as the holy grail of PM/ agile solutions. It really is bulky and painful – made for bug tracking and software development. Confluence is the add in for knowledge. Most ITSM, like SNOW, does a better job. Seriously, the only thing jira does is manage a work breakdown structure. I can’t wait for it to go bye-bye. PM is more useful.

      • Brandon says:

        Cloudflare secures nearly the entire internet. They block ddos attacks for effectively free in many cases. Any website making $$ gives them at least $10/month. Websites with volume at least $250

      • David says:

        It’s starting to get bad, folks. Cloudflare runs the largest chunk of internet caching services, also DOS protection. Atlassian make competent collaboration tools for engineers. These are real products, not cat pictures like the face book or tweetie. Both enterprise market. They were supposed to make money, not show ads.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        This site uses Cloudflare to protect against DDOS (distributed denial of service) attacks.

        • SeanDF says:

          Great analysis, Wolf, the tech space has definitely revealed itself as the dumpster fire of the vanities. So many of these companies are essentially cash burning legal Ponzi schemes that harvest billions at the expense of the minions, with fundamentally lame business plans. Even worse, companies that self-identify as tech, like Workspace, can raise billions, drive off the cliff, and still capture billions for the founder with impunity. If you’re going to steal, steal big, the SEC is a toothless watchdog.

      • El Katz says:

        So “cloud blockchain” is still a winner?

      • Ash Quaraishi says:

        California Bob, as a software developer we use Atlassian products. Additionally, these products (Jira, Bitbucket, Confluence etc.) are used industry wide these days. In “Configuration Management” domain their products are not bad.

      • JohnnySacks says:

        We’ve integrated Atlassian Jira into our entire business process. Latched onto us like a tapeworm. And now we’re going all in migrating the glob onto their rental Cloud service. This news is sort of an eye opener because a corporate flameout would be catastrophic.

  5. CreditGB says:

    By the way Wolf, your imploded stocks articles bring a sense of hope that there are still some investors out there looking to fund profit making ventures.

    Hope springs eternal.


  6. crazytown says:

    Carvana is absolutely insane. It is proof that there is no smart money and dumb money, there is only dumb and dumber. Used cars are notoriously more profitable to sell than new cars, but they obviously aren’t profitable enough to manage the overhead of a company like Carvana that has to also deliver the vehicles on their own trucks and has to offer a 7-day guarantee (and pick up the cars again if there is a problem) to get people to buy their cars sight unseen. And they have to compete in a market that has a ton of players between dealerships, private sales, used car lots, Carmax (who actually has a good business model). Just bonkers. Hopefully when they get kathoomphed to $0 their stupid eyesore “vending machines” also get torn down. (not likely, we are good at building things but not good at maintaining or gracefully deconstructing)

    • crazytown says:

      P.S. the braindead passive investor websites are still talking about how great passive indexing is and “stay the course.” These people never change their investing strategy based on macroeconomic trends because, despite nominally acknowledging that past results don’t predict future returns, they rely on success of passive investing over the QE era to predict infinite future growth in their index funds. These people are still to this day saying time in the market is the most important, if you have cash on hand you are timing the market and should have already put it in your index funds, yada-yada.

      All that to say, the darling of these people “Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund” holds 2,947,724 shares of Carvana as of the end of Q2 2022. That’s a lot of passive investor cash incinerated.

      • whatever says:

        I’m mostly indexed to the S&P500 and High Dividend indices, which is basically buy-and-hold for large cap, and don’t worry about it. These two indices avoid these imploded stocks and start ups, but are overweighted APL and a few others. But I have a ten year horizon, and these indices are calls on the general US economy, been buying them the max every two weeks through 401K through this down-market, no doubt in my mind they’ll be up in a decade when I can get to that retirement money.

        I learned the hard way to avoid bond indices – I hold ladders of direct treasuries to maturity on the income side of the asset list.

        • crazytown says:


          As Wolf has covered, there are countries where the stock markets never regained lost ground 10, 20, 30 years after the peak. You are confident that your 401k will be up in a decade, but I would hope you hedge your bets.

          I have a 401k and it does include broad US indices but I do not assume 8% CAGR on US equities like many do. With short-term CD’s available at 4.5%, equities are becoming less attractive by the day.

        • Gattopardo says:

          “I’m mostly indexed to the S&P500….These two indices avoid these imploded stocks”…

          Uh, no. TSLA and the stupidly named stock formerly known as Facebook are in there. So are plenty of others, and plenty more that dropped out as they puked over time. I keep waiting for the Only Great Stocks Index Fund that avoids the losers!

        • NBay says:

          I don’t invest, no “extra” money. So I don’t understand very much of it. Just what I learn here.
          But I got a good laugh out of your last sentence.

      • cd says:

        Fixed ops pays for the dealership lights, power, salaries etc, sales is just a side hustle..

        I’m surprised with Wolf so close to this sector he was not shorting at $300

        I’m waiting for the days when I could call a buddy at Western Financial Savings, Long Beach, Westlake etc and go look at new repo on their lot…

        • El Katz says:

          Fixed ops only pays the freight because the manufacturer allows it – due to dealer lobbying. For the uninitiated, the term “fixed ops” is service, parts, and (if applicable) body shop.

          What do you think pulls the freight for the manufacturer? Do you remember the meme’s about how much you’d spend building a car out of the parts list? My significant other got clipped in an intersection. Cost to replace a bumper cover, lamps, radar sensors, wiring harnesses, grille, etc….. $8,500. Sheet metal damage? $500 of that amount. No structural damage. The headlight was nearly a grand… for a headlight.

          Look carefully at your repair bills…. all the costs of a dealership doing business are foisted off on you. Shop supplies. Environmental. Yada yada yada. Just like the BS charges when you purchase (“documentation fees”). While I never played in retail, I challenged the “doc fees” by asking them if they can legally sell a car, per state licensing requirements, without providing documents (title, bill of sale, etc.). I’d gladly go to the DMV to save $1,000. Response? Crickets.

          What you’re referring to is “service absorption”…. in other words, if service absorption is 100%, the rest of the revenue generated by other departments is pure profit (aka variable operations).

          Careful with repops. Cars that they often sell are “as is as shown”. I’ve seen where the airbags were jumpered and the seatbelt retractors had a resistor put into the circuit to confuse the idiot lights. The bad news is that you have no recourse. If you don’t find it, and you’re in an accident, you die. So does your spouse and kids and, since it’s without expressed or implied warranty, you’re on your own.

          Adulting is fun.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Just to share a fun tidbit. The “doc fees” you mention came into being when I was in the business (1985-1995). They were part of what we called ADP (additional dealer profit). Dealers at their 20-group meetings taught each other how to implement this and get F&I to sell it when challenged (something like, “they help cover the costs of handling the documents at the dealership”). Tags, title, and license fees were all separate items.

          When I purchased a new car in 2006 (import brand), the dealer had a massive doc fee (they were still working off a foursquare, which was hilarious to me, like time warp). The doc fee was one of the things I was able to negotiate away, along with getting a big discount off MSRP (they probably had a massive stairstep program from the manufacturer, and it was toward the end of the month).

          In 2020, we bought a used hybrid (domestic brand, made in Mexico) from Enterprise, and they didn’t negotiate on anything, not the trade, not the doc fees, not anything — but the price was right. I just now re-looked at the paperwork….

          They charged two doc fees, and note the disclosure:
          — $85 “Document Processing Fee (not a government fee)”
          — $30 “Electronic Vehicle Registration or Transfer charge (not a government fee)”

          But they let me pay with a credit card where I got 2% cash-back, so that was several hundred bucks in cash-back.

        • Cd says:

          El Katz, I created first web fixed ops product in 99 that was in over 3K dealers, on dial up speed at that. Then first quick app for front end.

          and I bought a lot of paper, lender has to inspect every repo, my buddies would set me up with pick of litter….

          kids they are so funny, they sure think they know everything though….

      • cb says:

        they are purposely braindead, that’s the point. as Buffet says, it’s a bet on America

        they might sense for a time, at the right time

      • Cas127 says:

        You are 50% on to something – I do think *blind* use of indexation has led to pathologies.

        But indexing does provide for 1) very low cost, 2) simple, 3) diversification.

        And all three are a big deal. And there are plenty of smarter indexes.

        But blind/ignorant indexing allows the easily corrupted IPO process to become the sole gatekeeper for *bad*/*dangerous* indexes…the equivalent of Gen 1.0 driverless vehicles.

      • perpetual perp says:

        Hyman Minsky moment

      • 728huey says:

        That Vanguard Total Stock Index Fund owns shares in all of the publicly traded stocks on the NYSE and NASDAQ. Presumably, any stock that implodes and gets delisted from the indexes would be replaced by another stock. It’s also supposed to hold shares of every stock in proportion to the total shares of each stock in the indexes. Yes, it’s possible it could lose money over a couple of years, but presumably it’s a easier way to invest than take a risk on some some high flying stock that becomes the darling of Wall Street but then goes by the wayside a decade later (e.g., AOL, MySpace), or investing too high in real estate.

    • El Katz says:

      Used cars are not “notoriously more profitable” than new cars. Why? Because no used car is created equal. There is no “used car factory”. Two visibly identical cars can be valued differently for reasons that are undetectable to the neophyte.

      New cars have a base value. AKA invoice. The manufacturers participation is the only thing that moves the profit margin. Clueless people believe the “invoice” that the dealer shows them to be the true cost of the vehicle.

      It’ ain’t.

      As an example: I bought my 2017 technomobile for $29K. The MSRP was $45K plus freight. How? I worked for a manufacturer. The “margin” on the “invoice” at that time was about 8% below MSRP. Do the math.

      What was removed from my purchase price was…. holdback, a holdback that had a special name that, if I told you what it was would out me, full tank of fuel, advertising allowance, floorplan assistance, marketing allowance, and lord knows I’ve forgotten several more.

      People think they’re experts in the automobile business because they drive one.

      • crazytown says:

        Cool your engines. People know they aren’t getting the best deal for trade ins, and they are okay with that because of convenience. You buy below market, sell at market. Carmax does it profitably, Carvana doesn’t. That’s all there is to it.

      • Digger Dave says:

        I had a tenant who was a regional manager for a manufacturer covering 3 states. He showed me what he actually paid for his wife’s car, a sedan. He didn’t need his own car – he got to pick a brand new company car from the manufacturer every three months. It was something close to 20k on a 30k+ MSRP. Despite him making way more than my family does, he rented from us (about half of our tenants make more than we do). Getting a super deal on vehicles is great but useless if you p!ss all your money away. My wife’s last two commuter cars were bought at over 50% discount. One was a 2010 sedan bought in 2011 with 500 miles on it, which we ran till 2021 with zero problems. The next is a 2019 hybrid with 5,000 miles when purchased in 2020. Hope to get 10 years again out of it. I buy them direct from auctions – I go for minor damage, no air bag went off cars. Do this at your own risk. I’ve been working on cars for a long time as a hobby and work in a mechanical trade. There’s no recourse with salvage titles.

        • El Katz says:

          The car companies have different policies on company vehicles – some mileage, some time, and others special circumstances (which are the sale proof models). We would drive the sale proof cars for about 100 miles and pick up a new one at the next dealership we visited. I had one that I drove 25 miles… from Naperville to Schaumburg – two new cars in one day. Confused the heck out of the neighbors.

          This also helps the sales numbers as we stopped riding on distributor/dealer/manufacturer tags and went to titling them. Polk reports those as “fleet” sales which makes lousy selling vehicles not look like the disasters they really are.

          Little tidbit…. I didn’t own a personal car (for me) since 1979. No gas (it was included). No insurance. No property tax (in states so inclined). No registration. No maintenance. No tires. Declared personal miles and got 1099’d on it – which ended up being a laughable amount.

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      Crazy-demonstrating, yet again, that ‘good service’, indeed, costs money-too many, however, consumers or businesses, expect it, like Oscar with the pasta sauce in Simon’s ‘The Odd Couple’, to “…just come when you make it…”, and for ‘free’…

      May we all find a better day.

  7. CreditGB says:

    Looking at the charts, I’d say both Atlassian and Cloudfare have a lot of downside room to fall before they bottom out.

    Oops, sorry Island Teal, I sort of mirrored your observations. But the whole point is as more and more waken from their stupor, the more their true value will be reflected in their pricing. After all, what possibly could attract anyone to these with zero upside potential? OK, maybe there are still greater fools out there with money to burn. Simply astounding.

  8. Theo says:

    How about an article on the stocks that are working in a rising interest rate environment?

    • Wolf Richter says:


      Just about the only big sector that has been working is energy, and that’s not because of rising interest rates, but because of rising oil and gas prices (now some of it has already gone back down).

      Slowly rising interest rates can be good for banks, but in this environment, bank stocks too got crushed.

      What’s working in this environment: short-term Treasury securities (4.5%+ yield on 6 months and longer), brokered CDs (now 4.5% to 5%), and other “trash” like that. Been saying that for a while.

      Shorting has been good too, but is very risky (pure speculation).

      Short-term trades, if you’re quick enough to catch a dead-cat bounce and get out in time, have been working for the lucky ones. Unlucky ones get crushed. Luck is not an investment strategy.

      This is a shitty investment environment. So you try to find the least shitty options.

      • Halibut says:

        Yup. Just bought some least shitty 12mo treasuries at 4.76% last week.

        • Lauren says:

          I’m paying extra on my 3.75% car loan. That might change if my savings account starts to yield more.

        • OutWest says:

          I’ll be sticking with 3mo treasuries for a while. Nice to finally put savings back to work again.

        • El Katz says:


          If the cash pays more (brokered CD’s through Fidelity or whomever), then let the loan roll. Work your money and have it make your payment. Today’s rates for a 30 day brokered CD was 3.30% (only because it pays monthly – interest paid at maturity interest rates are higher). And that’s before last week’s .75% pump registers. Plus they have (at least Fido has) fractional CD’s available below $1K each from certain banks.

          Have your money pay your bills. I “borrow” from myself on major purchases and pay myself back – plus interest – for the privilege. That’s how people build net worth. Not by wishing ill will on others (“I hope they lose their @ss on the house they bought!”). Be your own bank. I began living debt free in my 30’s. And, no… I didn’t inherit bupkus, and, no…. I didn’t make zillions. We did what we referred to as “value engineering”.

          Yes, I’m a “rentier”. And so is anyone who has a brain.

          Sorry. Me and my date, Stella Artois, are having a moment.

        • cb says:

          El Katz said: ” I “borrow” from myself on major purchases and pay myself back – plus interest – for the privilege.”

          sounds like infinite banking, “bank on me”, or a similar program. Never got a handle on the concept. I couldn’t place faith in the sponsor’s ability to be there for the whole plan.

      • GringoGreg says:

        You forgot fertilizers, though I have made the easy $$$ there, and FX (long the US$ and short any country especially if it a fuel importer like Japan or Sri Lanka) though that trade is getting riskier! CDs still are $$$ losing investment and when the stock and bond markets turn you will be locked into a $$$ losing trade, especially if you were buying CD’s before the last FFR hike and the most likely scenario is inflation will be allowed to run at a 4 to 6% clip like after WW2! Many semis are cheap here and you can sell calls against them deep or OTM, depending on your bullishness a time frame of up 2 years and have up to 40 to 50% downside protection!

        • Wolf Richter says:

          1. “CDs still are $$$ losing investment…

          The rate of inflation destroys the purchasing power of your fertilizer stocks at the same rate as it destroys the purchasing power of CDs. If you made money on a short-term trade with fertilizer stocks, great!!! Then go deduct 8% annual rate from that due to loss of purchasing power due to inflation. If your stocks lose 33%, then you have to add to the loss the 8% of inflation, and you’re 40% in the hole. With a 5% CD, you will be 3% in the hole.

          NO ONE escapes inflation.

          But you can take big risks to try to out-earn inflation. And that’s great. But you can also lose huge amounts, topped off by inflation. Nevertheless, it’s a valid consideration, in my book.

          2. “…when the stock and bond markets turn you will be locked into a $$$ losing trade”

          Yes, happens with all investments. When you got money tied up and an opportunity arises, well then, your money is tied up. If your portfolio is down 50% and you’re fighting margin calls, and then the market turns, your money is tied up, and there is ZERO you can do to invest, because you have no liquidity. All you can do is hoping to recover part of your losses. So it’s a good idea if you think that you might want to take advantage of opportunities to have some liquidity ready to go. And now you can earn 2.5% on this liquidity in savings accounts.

        • El Katz says:

          OMG… The fact that you (Wolf) has to explain that to Gringo is hilarious. Somehow they think that stonks and commodities are exempt from the same pressures as cash instruments.

          I don’t play in stuff I don’t understand.

          I sit here tonight with a person who took a myriad of risks and, today, our net worth is dang near identical. We both thought each other the fool…. and it turns out I got to sleep and they needed veneers to fix their ground down teeth.

        • El Katz says:

          PS: They made a metric crap load more money than I did when they were gainfully employed. The end result isn’t that much different (my cars are actually nicer and the view from my lanai is far more satisfying).

        • GringoGreg says:

          Wow! Ok wolf it’s your blog! But you sure don’t understand how stocks do go up, like my fertilizer stocks, which have increased 180% while you CD’s have stagnated at 2.5%. I firmly believe there is a bull market in something at anytime but now it sure isn’t CDs. Experienced traders do sell with a profit!

        • Wolf Richter says:


          You didn’t even read my G*d D**n f***ing Comment. Yes, it’s my blog, and I block morons who can’t read. What I said right there in its own paragraph, addressed to YOU, is this:

          “But you can take big risks to try to out-earn inflation. And that’s great. But you can also lose huge amounts, topped off by inflation. Nevertheless, it’s a valid consideration, in my book.”

          I also said:

          2. “…when the stock and bond markets turn you will be locked into a $$$ losing trade”

          Yes, happens with all investments. When you got money tied up and an opportunity arises, well then, your money is tied up. If your portfolio is down 50% and you’re fighting margin calls, and then the market turns, your money is tied up, and there is ZERO you can do to invest, because you have no liquidity. All you can do is hoping to recover part of your losses. So it’s a good idea if you think that you might want to take advantage of opportunities to have some liquidity ready to go. And now you can earn 2.5% on this liquidity in savings accounts.

          I hate this kind of moronic knee-jerk BS in the comments by people who don’t read anything.

      • cb says:

        @ Wolf –

        what about Yort’s 7 to 10% Mortgage Backed Securities?

        • phleep says:

          Sorry to interrupt.

          In the 2000s, I had a pal who was raving about the yield he was making on securities from a mortgage company. Countrywide, if you know the name. Pretty infamous.

          Not sure if I got this right from Wolf’s recent article, but looks like market structure is changing in mortgages and mortgage securities? Like gov is backing out some? I’m wary. I’d rather lose a few points to inflation, which can be done at low risk, than risk the whole bundle.

        • cb says:

          @ phleep-

          Please do interrupt. I share your sentiment for secure returns. Just want to make sure I have a clear picture of the relative risk vs returns.


      • 2banana says:

        I would respond that boring old companies that make a profit, maybe pay a dividend, but are as far away from anything “disruptive” as possible.

      • Iona says:

        Shorting isn’t pure speculation, you do it based on garbage fundamentals plus technicals to give you timing. I’d rather short a garbage company than go long an index in a bear market.

        • sunny129 says:


          For shorting to work, I mean puts and NOT direct shorting of the stocks, TREND and TIMING have to be in your favor. same with inverse ETFs
          Recent repeated ‘Front running’ on the whisper of ‘some or any thing’ makes shorting hard.

          Recent uptick of Chinese stocks/Etfs on the rumor of relaxed covid restriction is an example. I have buying and selling puts ‘repeatedly’ on FXI since Feb ’22. Over all it is in profit zone. Same with inverse etf-FXP and YANG. I also buy YINN and FXI to cut the whiplash although insignificant compared to puts.

        • Cas127 says:

          Re timing of shorts…

          The SP 500 (significantly more financially solid than the other 4500 rando equities…) started being significantly overvalued in…2015.

          So you had to hold on for over 6 years (using frequently flawed shorting tools) and wait for DC to become terrified enough to stop destroying interest rates (their main activity for almost all of the last 20 years).

          I think a lot of people recognized the insanity (that is why 90%+ of the nation viscerally loathes DC) but they had poor tools to offset it.

          Emigration (monetary or physical) may have been about it.

        • phleep says:

          I had some good paydays this year from VIXY, which does not respond to price changes in a linear way, as puts do. Its reactions to index price changes (it is geared to VIX which is geared to S&P 500) are more fuzzy. Then again, it doesn’t expire, so I can afford to wait a long time until it spikes. It HATED the Fed put. It responds to sharp downturns, but lately, it seems less snappy even on bad stock days. Right now stock indices are falling and VIXY is languishing too. I wonder whether risk managers/speculators have found some other game to play.

        • NBay says:

          “90% of the nation VISCERALLY loathes DC”.

          Doubt the 90% part, but the body part they are using to judge DC is REALLY DEAD ON!

          You will hate it even worse when it becomes the Emperor and his family’s palace. It almost did. (prince and princess were all ready to go).

          Wonder if anyone will have the “Viscera” to pull a Jan 6 then?

      • Theo says:

        Thanks, Wolf.

      • JX says:

        Selling S&P and NASDAQ-100 futures has worked well

  9. Brady Boyd says:

    There are about 200-250 Zombie companies in the S&P 500. They all need to implode.

    • butters says:

      S&P 250, that has a nice ring to it.

      Even after a 50% decline of every stock/asset/realestate from here seems low for me.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      We already listed 1001 companies that plunged by more than 80% from their highs:

    • Jdog says:

      The problem with that is, when they do, all the money they owe disappears, and begins a chain reaction of debt default.

      Debt acts like nitro-methane to the engine of growth, but debt default acts like a handful of sheet metal screws down the carburetor….

      • Marion says:

        Would sure be nice to see some of those “systemically important” banks fall apart and sold at auction after the government takes them over. And also dismantle the banker’s cartel known as the FRB. This country should be run to the benefit of its citizens, not the “too big to fail” banks.

        • El Katz says:

          Really? How do you think the pols become millionaires? Because they’re here to serve you?

          A certain person running for office in AZ said it succinctly: If you become rich in public office, you’re corrupt.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          actually for el cat:
          you said something like, ”if you become rich in public office you’re corrupt.” with which I TOTALLY AGREE!!!
          And would only add, ”” if you are ”known” to have become rich in public office, YOU ARE INCOMPTENT.
          Of course it sometimes takes many moons for the ”known” part to even surface, not to say become ”public knowledge”,,, eh??

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        JD-nitro fueled KB-types have a VERY short r&r maintenance schedule even without benefit of hardware through the induction system…

        May we all find a better day…

        • NBay says:

          KB=Keith Black, for those short on life experiences here.

          To paraphrase Jack London, “The proper purpose of man is to live, not to consume”
          He actually said “exist”, but consume seems more relevant to a financial site.

  10. Grahman, Richard says:

    Have you studied TUP?

  11. GringoGreg says:

    Double kick in the teeth and one in the sack! Rising wages which further detracts from American competitiveness, rising interest rates which means for these zombies it’s harder to be refinanced and if they are at much higher interest costs and, of course, the slowing economy means a big drop in revenues and a need for, drumroll, more debt financing!
    90% (probably higher) of the folks working in these zombie companies are way over paid and should be netting an income of a gig worker!

    • Sams says:

      Actually, large scale defaults may flush the economy for a lot of rentiers, removing their taxation. Production cost then go lower and competitiveness improves.

    • El Katz says:

      Nobody gives a wet one for the zombies that need to “refinance”. They are failed businesses and need to go away. Carvana is not an entity that is mission critical to our future.

      Nor is faceplant. Instagram bugged me for days to give them my mobile number to “verify my account”. Nope. Not giving it to them. They relented. Found that interesting to say the least.

      • phleep says:

        > mobile number

        This, I’m told, is the Rosetta stone that allows the highest level of comprehensive consumer surveillance.

      • Pea Sea says:

        “Instagram bugged me for days to give them my mobile number to ‘verify my account.’ Nope. Not giving it to them. They relented. Found that interesting to say the least.”

        I hope you weren’t under the impression that there was an actual guy in an office somewhere trying to get you to give them a phone number, and that you had beaten him in a battle of wills. That sort of thing is entirely automated. You didn’t respond to the nags, so the algorithm stopped sending you nag messages for the time being.

  12. Xaver says:

    With the help of (nominal) interest rates quite a bit above zero it is possible to introduce reason to the so called market. It looks lovely and I am tempted to give more weight to my dusty economic knowledge. 😀

  13. Biker Chique 01 says:

    CARVANA – A year ago these announcements would have catapulted the share value to the clouds… ” revenues fell, cost of sales jumped, gross profit plunged, selling and administrative expenses soared, interest expense more than tripled, and the net loss exploded to $508 million.” – –so long as they sold more cars.
    CVNA advertisement boasts that they figured out in 2021 “how to sell a car touchlessly and completely online” – a BIT late, considering that ..”in the period from 2006 –2008 eBay Motors, the automobile arm of online auctions giant eBay, …an average month, nearly 50,000 vehicles were sold, a sales rate of almost one vehicle every two minutes.” In 2022, CVNA sells about (100,000 units per Quarter) 2/3 of the volume including “wholesaled” vehicles – and eBay was and is profitable selling those units. CVNA, excelled only in hype and consistent record setting losses.

    • El Katz says:

      Don’t need to be a rocket surgeon to figure out why fleabay prospered and cardontwanna didn’t. Diversification.

  14. Arya Stark says:

    We are still just cutting into the fat as witnessed by the hot labor market and continued massive spending on everything by the consumer. This market was obese with liquidity and still is. Hopefully QT will bring down the body fat to a healthy level.

  15. Alba says:

    I’ve used Atlassian software with digital teams at three different companies. It does serve a purpose, but is not revolutionary or impossible to replicate. Successful software can be tremendously profitable, so ongoing losses at this level indicate that they haven’t actually found a new, unserved niche and probably never will.

    • Brandon says:

      Their software sucks. They refuse to improve their existing software and focus on experimental projects that never pan out. Atlassian is run by a couple kids.

      • Cas127 says:

        If your transaction/product level economics are meh (or negative!) you can only justify 25+ PE (let alone a 100+ PE) by perpetually promising the next gen glitter unicorn that will poop diamonds.

  16. Steve Schoen says:

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see TSLA ($408) show up one of these days on your “imploded stocks” list, as the Company’s “earnings” are mostly due
    to government incentives for EV’s.

    Think Musk’s leveraged take-over of TWTR will also result in a giant margin call if TSLA closes a week below $200/share.

    • Steve Schoen says:

      Correction: Current TSLA price is $208; not $408

    • The Real Tony says:

      They’ll go the same route as Netflix competition will kill them.

      • El Katz says:

        Netflix. Makes. Nothing.

        It’s bread and circuses at your own expense.

        I dumped cable and subscribed to the house porn channel for my wife. It’s useless. Worst $8 a month (commercial free) I’ve ever spent.

        • Cytotoxic says:

          NF makes various shows and brings you access to them. I’m sorry that you’re so dead inside that access to The Sopranos, Narcos, and Beastars is of no interest to you but I assure you it’s of great interest to The Market.

          The Death of NetFlix has been called many times and it has yet to happen. It could but I would not hold your breath.

        • El Katz says:

          I’m far from “dead inside”. It might be that I simply prefer to live my life than watch a fictional character or “influencer” live theirs. Weeks have gone by where we didn’t bother watching TV as we found far more interesting things to do.

    • 2banana says:

      At least TSLA actually makes something.

  17. Halibut says:

    “free-money virus”

    Now THAT’S funny. Sad, but funny.

    • Depth Charge says:

      Wolf is trolling a lot of people with his posts, which I love. The best was “FED pivots more hawkish.” It was like salt on the wound of the pivot crowd.

      • Wolf Richter says:


        At least someone caught it. I’d already given up hope.

        • El Katz says:

          Wolf: You have a silver tongue.

        • Pea Sea says:

          You joke, but there really does seem to be a strange thing with some people where they think a “Fed pivot” can only happen in one direction–as though it somehow weren’t possible for the Fed to pivot from easing to tightening, as they have in fact done this year.

          It made for some hilarious (or depressing, depending on your point of view) online discourse a few days ago when Jared Bernstein made what should have been a mild and uncontroversial statement about the POTUS “endorsing the pivot” and some of the silliest people alive immediately assumed that he meant the imaginary impending pivot to easing, rather than the actual 2022 pivot to tightening, as was very clear if one heard/read the statement in context. Most of them walked it back a few hours later, but some of them are still going with the misinterpretation…

          Folks, a pivot is a sharp change in direction. From any direction, to any direction.

  18. The Real Tony says:

    The 100 percent rigged and manipulated U.S. stock market can’t rig and manipulate every single stock. It’s good to see some stocks correcting closer to fair market value. Too bad the major stock indexes don’t do the same thing… fall off a cliff closer to fair market value.

    • Flea says:

      P/e are still to high ,lots of air left in this balloon

      • Cas127 says:

        Still 25% over valued relative to historic norms.

        And…that doesn’t take into account,

        1) Individual vast, scary overweights (looking at you Apple and others) and

        2) The knock-on, second order economic effects of first losing 20% in the mkt, then another 25%.

        And a 31 trillion debt.

        On the eve of the entitlements nightmare.

        The only useful, non destructive service that US political “leadership” of the last 50 years might ultimately serve…is if they function as food in the near future.

        • phleep says:

          > US political “leadership” … if they function as food in the near future.

          Completely inedible. Toxic and bloated. Sub-zero value.

        • NBay says:

          Wrong phleep. If you really studied Biology (per your quote way above) you’d know it is healthier for you to eat them instead of other mammals. CMAH mod.
          Read up on it and then glycocalyx and sialic acid…..all life is really into both, a 1/2 B year long bio-fad, as it were, like it is.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          NBay-as known and practiced by a number of New Guinea tribesfolk for quite some time…

          May we all find a better day.

  19. cd says:

    better add Lincoln Financial Group

    that boring business should wake up all on what could be coming

    • Wolf Richter says:

      SVIB (owns Silicon Valley Bank) is already on it. It’s the 14th largest bank in the US.

      • cd says:

        I’m going to buy puts on LAD and AN
        finance reserve, warranty and fixed ops is about to meet some serious head winds…or already beginning

      • crazytown says:

        Having seen the financials and met the leadership of some companies who received funding from SVB, let’s just say I wouldn’t touch them with a 10 foot pole.

  20. Depth Charge says:

    Cathie Woodshed approves.

    • phleep says:

      I hear she’s trying to unload some kind of slivers of privatized twitter, to retail investors. There are some cultists still out there, to line up for that kool-aid. Goes well with my shiny new NFTs!

  21. Ed C says:

    I’m guess that these imploded stocks were all IBD darlings in days of yore.

  22. MiTurn says:

    “They were designed to burn investor cash. And investors no longer want their cash to be burned. And so that existential crisis is now.”

    This doesn’t sound like a business model so much as a hustle.

    Are people putting money into these money-burners not so much ‘investors’ as ‘speculators?’ Sounds like gambling.

    • phleep says:

      Looking for a bigger sucker, but they find they are last in line, bag in hand. There was very cynical trading in things like altcoins and penny stocks, alongside these. Lambo when?

    • Lynn says:

      Is it possible some of these companies are fronts for money laundering? I mean, for instance, when people see businesses in town that never have any customers but still exist after years they wonder.. But it seems like some of these zombie companies would be too massive for that? IDK??

  23. Jeremy says:

    Cloudflare and Atlassian are both vital tools for every large corporation I’ve worked for (big chunk of the F500, including a few of the upper decile of that).

    There aren’t many 1 to 1 competitors for their products that can operate at enterprise scale, and I suspect they can raise their pricing a fair bit without losing paying customers.

    That *doesn’t* mean that their shares are a good investment, just that those two companies aren’t at significant risk of dying in a downturn.

    The other two are probably shark food though.

  24. cb says:

    There are always best investment alternatives. There is always a best expected deal at the moment, given a time horizon. There will most likely be good opportunities coming.

    I tried to interest Wolf in an investment board a couple of years or more back. He declined. Too bad for us; He would be Great. I thought about trying to create one, but then I woke up. I don’t have the skills.

    I have invested. Mostly real estate related. Very little in public markets.

    I just went through a 300 page offering memorandum with supporting documents on a private placement offering. The teaser was a 7% not guaranteed but “preferred return.” Well, the preferred return was after a whole lot of fees and expenses. My hours spent could save others that time. (I hate it when a company is brought up and not identified, but this was a confidential share.)

    There are a lot of very smart and very insightful people and investors on this board. Wisdom Seeker, top drawer among them (sorry for any past slights).

    If one of you knows of or decides to create a best investment ideas site, not commercial but member supported, please let me know. Where solid notes and thoughts are shared, shoving the hustlers and charlatans aside.

    Wolf, you’re still top choice.

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      cb-you and Wolf clearly know the the value of recon in the smoke…

      May we all find a better day.

      • NBay says:

        Situational Awareness….aka having Intelligence….and in any context it has to be as close to actual reality as is possible, or bad things can happen.

    • cb says:

      Right now, with the limited knowledge and vision that I have, I see short term treasuries as the best option. On the horizon, I see possibilities in distressed income properties.

      Much of the opportunity will be dependent on private equity players. If they run into trouble, that could provide opportunity in the market. As they prosper, that creates competition in the market.

      It’s funny how this country encourages collectivization through corporations, syndications, private equity offerings etc. through limited liability laws, tax laws, carried interest, etc. You have blowhards like Cramer railing about rugged individualism, and the “pure” free market of capitalism that the stock market offers. He thinks he is so much that he isn’t. The stock market is just an organization of collectivism. We are conditioned to offer up our savings and invest in these collectives, with the effect of concentrating wealth and power, and undermining our own individualism and prosperity.

      Anyway, that’s part of America. Land of carnival barkers.

      • cb says:

        credit where credit is due –

        Wolf gave the heads up and made the case for treasuries.

  25. Jdog says:

    Falling stock prices is only half of the equation, the other half is when these failing companies cannot repay their bonds….. that has much more serious implications, and will cause this whole thing to shift into a higher gear….

  26. Andre says:

    The ‘healing’ has barely started (see Fed balance sheet). I strongly oppose the idea that current leadership will have the guts to allow a full unwind of the excesses of the past couple of decades. We have barely scratched the surface.

    • Cytotoxic says:

      They don’t have the guts for sustained inflation. They will unwind as much as they need to.

  27. Ja M says:

    I don’t think it’s fair to compare Atlassian to the other companies. It was definitely massively overvalued at its peak, but Atlassian actually generates meaningful cash from operations and basically breaks even on operating income despite massive stock-based compensation from previous RSUs vesting during their stock peak and turning into a net income expense.

    In addition, Atlassian actually has a proven business model with a large customer install base. Enterprise software moves slow and it would take years for customers to detangle themselves from their products.

    Unlike the other companies, Atlassian isn’t a zombie. If you generate free cash flow, you’re a viable firm. Carvana and Twilio are a joke, Cloudflare can basically cover the cost of running their business (although they have difficult-to-reduce costs given their infrastructure based business).

  28. Spencer says:

    No plunge protection team yet. But a limit down move is inevitable.

  29. polistra says:

    This article is Peak Wolf. (I guess the old advice to Write What You Know still applies.)

  30. RickV says:

    On Friday, Larry Summers, who has been dead on predicting this inflationary surge, said increased interest rates may not be slowing inflation as much as expected, and that the Fed Funds rate may have to be raised to over 6%. A 6+% interest rate will put some serious stress on the economy, the financial system, long duration debt securities, and the stock market.

    • sunny129 says:

      Imagine the interest payment on the current national debt of 31 Trillions with annual deficit of 1 Trillion more,in the coming years!?

      Nearly 2 trillions in interest payment! Wow!
      Some thing will break definitely before that. Coming inflation # on Nov 10 (for October) will be interesting.

      • Cas127 says:

        “Imagine” is exactly what the DC worthies should have done *before* they expended every single one of those *trillions*.

        But it was much more in their personal interest to attack/belittle/ignore/suppress anyone and everyone who opposed their multi-decade madness.

        But they were our betters intellectually and spiritually. Their flying monkeys of the MSM insisted so.

      • Z33 says:

        Cleveland Fed CPI Nowcast has Oct 2022 CPI at 8.09% YoY and core 6.58% with MoM 0.76% headline and 0.54% core. Crazy high still. They’ve been pretty close to the BLS CPI figures.

      • Flea says:

        It’s all fiatpaper,but starts a great fire

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I’m getting the feeling that he is right, and I’m getting the feeling that some people at Fed are thinking so too. This inflation is just a huge mess now.

      • Depth Charge says:

        I continue looking for anecdotal evidence in my daily life for a hint of a reprieve, but things appear to be getting worse, not better. The FED caused this and then lost control.

        Summers did the math on the amount of money they were printing, and immediately warned they would overheat the economy. It appears the FED didn’t do the math then, and they continue to underestimate the effects today.

        When we go back and look at a lot of the braindead comments which come out of the FED – “subprime is contained,” “we don’t understand inflation,” “transitory,” etc., one might conclude they are clueless imbeciles. But I find that hard to believe. I think it’s just CYA BS for their intentional destruction which benefits a select few extremely wealthy individuals at the expense of society. Because nobody could be as stupid as they sound and still be in charge of the nation’s money supply.

        • Cas127 says:

          “The US gvt has a technology, called the printing press…”
          – Ben Bernanke

          What would America do without the arrogant, ignorant incompetence of its government/academic “elites”?

          Boy, those tens of billions in essentially untaxed endowments (compounding endlessly) have really selflessly served the “non-profit” needs of the nation (going cost of an Ivy BA…$200k+)

        • Lynn says:

          There seem to be a lot of ethics conflicts and rewritten (but not enforced) regulations within the fed lately that have occasionally been in the news. Like her or not Elizabeth Warren has publicized some of them.

        • NBay says:

          She is one of the very very few congress critters that understands the lingo of our changing financial laws…..will never forget her shit-fit over a Citibank written derivative law change.

    • Cytotoxic says:

      Any talk of accelerated QT? Seems like an easy lever to pull.

  31. Michael Engel says:

    1) Carvana and Twilio imploded by assassin’s creed. Eight billion people will starve, only the rich will survive.
    2) WTIC is still below 2008 high.
    3) Soybean Oil peaked in Oct 1974 during the 70’s inflation. In Mar 2008 Soybean oil breached the previous high, plunging for 12 years til Apr 2020. It was rising vertically til Apr 2022 high like NDX creating global panic.
    4) Ukraine’s Wheat sent it to Mar 2008 level.
    5) This is only stage one. The sticky inflation might send commodities higher.

  32. sunny129 says:

    There are ver few out there addressing the tricky issue paying interest on the National debt of 31 Trillions, when the rate increases beyond 4.5% or 5%, will be beyond 1.2 Trillion.

    If I understand correctly most of the treasuries bought by Fed are of short maturity. Wolf could comment on this issue.
    Is Fed trapped? A global liquidity crisis and $ shortage are. worsening
    A pause is NOT out of the question in January/February.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      1. The Fed isn’t trapped.

      2. As long as yields are still as low as they are — 4 percentage points below inflation — it means that there is a HUGE demand for Treasuries. Yields should be much higher. But they aren’t. This means that the government has zero difficulties in borrowing the money to pay for its deficit, which includes the interest expense.

      3. I don’t like the deficit, and I’m worried about a lot of the spending measures, and I’m worried about our tax policies, and I believe the government should cut out any and all support for real estate and Corporate America, but I’m not worried about the interest expense.

      4. And if interest expense becomes a problem, then it might finally force Congress to take this deficit seriously – and they could start with cutting out any and all support for real estate and Corporate America — and that would be a good thing.

      • El Katz says:


        I applaud your patience in addressing the gooberment national debt interest issue yet again.

        I’d likely not be as restrained.

      • Flea says:

        Instead they want to cut Medicare and social security

        • larry says:

          Of course they want to cut the only govt expenses with dedicated taxes to pay for them, the revenues from which they use to fund the other expenses they wont reduce.

  33. Michael Engel says:

    Every 5Y-7Y between 170- 250 SPX co are being replaced.

  34. Bobber says:

    It’s hard to imagine people were crazy enough to own stocks like this. Lots of dreamers lost money on the way down. Plus, lots of people probably lost money shorting them on the way up.

    In my book, it’s best to just stay away from ridiculous speculation like this. The price is not tied to anything rational and can stay irrational for years.

  35. Erik Levy says:

    These woke tech companies are getting what they deserve. Unlike the tech wreck of 2000, however, the question is whether the Fed will bail them out because they are so powerful and too big too fail. This was not the case in 2000.

    • NBay says:

      I was in tech in 2000. Staying woke on graveyard was really tough, especially after around 6:00am when things usually slowed down a bit. Had to be extra careful and double check everything that I did have to work on till 7:30. Multimillion dollar equipment, lots of it.

  36. All Good Here Mate says:

    So Amazon recently changed it’s streaming service and Prime Members now have access to 10 million songs… I’m not a music person but I used it roughly 2 hours a day to listen to the exact same few artists over and over while going on morning runs.

    What they don’t mention is that you now have to listen on shuffle mode, can only skip a few songs, and then they change artists to whatever their algorithm tells it to.

    I also read this website for a while now and realize this is a fairly naked attempt to try and boost profits by getting peeps like me to upgrade to the paying plan. I’ve read their disastrous results and crashing prices here and know that’s exactly what this is.

    I very much doubt they’ll be on an imploded stock list anytime soon but here’s what I do know- I don’t buy enough from them to justify paying 130 a year for Prime especially when they decide to turn their music service into IHeart Radio and am considering dumping it entirely when it’s time to renew. I already deleted the music app on day 2. Who knows, maybe they will one day if enough people get tired of this crap.

    It’s not about money all the time, sometimes it’s just about the principal of the matter like Big Worm said.

    • El Katz says:

      The only thing that makes Prime worth it is the free shipping (which I realize is baked into the pricing). I don’t use their music. I occasionally use the video offerings. If you buy as much crap online as I do, the “free” shipping is a huge benefit. I’m at my sister’s house in FL and sent some stuff here. We also tried to ship something small to me… and the cost (USPS) was nearly $60 for a box of next-to-nothing. So, the Prime fees are nominal in comparison to shipping “stuff” on your own. (The $60 was for some warmer t-shirts and a set of keys – weight sub 20 pounds) The key upcharge was because of the lithium batteries in the remote (she shipped the key and I bought new batteries here).

      Don’t be penny smart and pound foolish. Where else can you get a gallon of liquid shipped for the same price that you could buy it at Lowes? The gas to go to Lowe’s ain’t free.

    • phleep says:

      > you now have to listen on shuffle mode, can only skip a few songs, and then they change artists to whatever their algorithm tells it to.

      This shows what a deeply insulting level all this tech has sunk to. I use “dumb” MP3 devices, buy a CD and dub it to the device. And it doesn’t phone home either. I love being off he leash, with the meter not running. I find it degrading and despicable to do otherwise.

  37. Carbert 8her says:

    Carvana, meet Graigslist… .

  38. SocalJimObjects says:

    A year or two ago many people were still saying “this time is different, these companies have REAL business models”. Who’s left holding the bag now?

  39. dang says:

    Your analysis is accurate but merciless. You seem unable to leave even a crumb of hope that these, poor, companies should rise in value toward their former glory.

    You, sir, are a man who seems comfortable with the truth, as you see it. I admire that, not that I agree completely with the entirety of your article.

    • dang says:

      Searching the article I realized that there wasn’t anything that I disagreed with.

      But we all know that the path of history is carpeted with the flower petals of hubris. Which the companies featured in your article seem to confirm.

      • dang says:

        Upon further reflection, the companies that were featured in the article seem to share at least one common characteristic. They are about to become or are members of the community of zombie companies.

        The genesis of a zombie has been extensively documented.

        Go crazy and break shit, followed by a period of time in which food is not available, then ending.

    • El Katz says:

      I take that as sarcasm….. please use the /s in the future.

      Thank you.

      Me and Stella. Signing off.

    • phleep says:

      Not being comfortable with the truth as one sees it, IMO, means letting someone play with one’s money. There are times when it seems like a silly game, and this is not one of those times. This is edging toward existential. If I want to have someone around who admires my brilliance and agrees with it, and always goes for happiness, I will get a dog.

  40. Varughese says:

    wow…. Atlassian, Cloudflare should have been in profit by now. But it appears no one even want to try!

    • Beardawg says:

      Atlassian and Cloudflare ARE profitable, hugely profitable, if you bought at IPO and held the stock. Atlassian is 5X IPO price and Cliudflare about 2X. Not a bad return over 3 years…..IF……you sell now.

  41. CCCB says:

    Interesting how, in spite of these huge drops, theyre all close to or above their 2017 prices

    • Wolf Richter says:

      yes, long way to go. This is far from over.

      Carvana today (-15%) dropped to an all-time lowest low ever.

      The other three are still a little behind.

Comments are closed.