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A Chat With Adam Johnson, The Optimist Behind The Bullseye Brief Investment Report

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A Chat With Adam Johnson, The Optimist Behind The Bullseye Brief Investment Report

In an interview with Benzinga, Adam Johnson of Bullseye Brief, a platform for trading insights, talked about leveraging American ingenuity to get ahead in the markets.

About Adam Johnson

Johnson was a pre-med student at Princeton University when he was convinced by his economics professor, Alan Blinder — the former vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve — to change his major to economics.

He began his finance career at Merrill Lynch before moving to ING Furman Selz and Louis Dreyfus to trade futures, equities and equity options.

He later anchored at Bloomberg, interviewing executives, heads of state and Nobel laureates.

The Why

"I’m an optimist by nature. There is something very exciting to me about American ingenuity, as a theme, and that’s really where I focus: people and companies that are changing the world," Johnson told Benzinga.

He said he leverages data-driven insights to increase clarity in the investment space.

For far too long, investors lacked the proper knowledge on where to look and what to look for when investing, in Johnson's view. He aims to publish detailed analysis in one central location, touching on macroeconomic developments as well as actionable trades.

Bullseye In Brief

Launched in 2016, Bullseye is aimed at exploring people and companies changing the world.

"The objective is not to just put up money-making numbers, but to do a little story telling; to uncover great companies," Johnson said. "If I can find a company that has a great story, with some data that supports the thesis and a newsy hook, then I write it up as a Bullseye pick and put it into the portfolio."

Johnson’s portfolio is long on about 39 assets.

His performance has been consistent and strong, so much so that his subscribers have asked him to start managing money.

“I trade on the stuff I report on — I run a real portfolio — I have money deployed in all my names.”

As of Sept. 6, Johnson's portfolio has netted 19.48% year to date, far greater than what a broad market ETF would have earned over the past year.

Johnson's Trading Criteria

A great story, data that supports the thesis and a newsy hook are Johnson's criteria for a trade.

He recently reported on Neoleukin Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: NLTX). His detailed analysis revealed how the company is taking a new approach to cancer treatment, leveraging new biotechnology to manipulate immune cells and fight cancer.

“Cool stuff like that — that’s American Ingenuity,” he said.

Johnson said he doesn’t just jump into trades.

“I have no interest in trying to [day] trade. I’m certainly opportunistic in buying and selling. If I like a name, I like it at a specific price or range," he said.

"If it takes three weeks, three months, whatever, before the stock gets to that range, then I just wait and do nothing. When it is in range, I buy it."

For example, Cheniere Energy, Inc. (NYSE: LNG) the nation’s largest exporter of LNG, is a fundamentally strong equity that is stuck in a trading range, he said.

“It’s a very reliable trading vehicle. When it goes to the mid-50s, we will buy it again.”

Johnson said he never enters into a trade without setting targets.

“I am very specific about where I buy. I also set a target before I buy, because you are only rational once, and it's before you buy the stock. Whenever the company hits my target, I sell half automatically, and then I work out of balance.”

Johnson said his overall objective is to invest intelligently and to produce long-term returns.

Accessing The Brief

Visitiors to bullseyebrief.com can sign up for a free 45-day trial. Signing up gives subscribers an in-depth look at the market, stocks, bonds, commodities, currency, portfolio performance and actionable trades for the coming week.

“Admittedly, nobody signs up on day 46. It would be great if they did, but it just doesn’t work that way … if one of the picks that they bought made money, they will inevitably come back and sign up.”

The Bullseye Brief retention rate is a strong 85%, Johnson said.

Advice For Newbies

"Read everything you possibly can, especially if it interests you. Subscribe to the Wall Street Journal and Barron's; those two publications are so good and they go deeper than most people need, but that’s good," Johnson said.

Investors should follow their interests, he said.

“If you think that video games are really cool, sign up for some video game blog, because, inevitably, you are going to find some stock picks there, you know.”

In regards to actual trade strategy, Johnson recommended simplicity.

"You have to love what you do. Life is long and work is hard. If you can find something that you really love, something that gets you up in the morning, then do that and let it rip!"

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