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Michael Burry premiere of the Big Short
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Burry’s biggest “long” position is an interesting one: call options on 941,000 shares of Facebook.

Call options provide investors with higher upside potential than simply owning the common shares, but they also come with bigger risk.

To be sure, Facebook hasn’t been a market favorite these days. The company had a massive outage last week and continues to face criticism over whistleblower Frances Haugen’s recent testimony.

The stock is down about 13% over the past month. But year to date, it’s returned a decent 23%.

Facebook is hands-down the largest social media platform in the world, with its family of products having a staggering 3.51 billion monthly active users at the end of June.

Financials are also on the rise. In Q2 2021, revenue rose 56% year-over-year to $29.1 billion while earnings per share more than doubled from a year ago.

Bill Gates made a splash in 2017 when he bought $520 million worth of U.S. farmland, and he’s continued to invest since. What’s in it for Gates?

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Alphabet Inc (GOOGL)

Exterior view of a Googleplex building, the corporate headquarters.
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As the parent company of Google, Alphabet now commands a market cap of over $1.8 trillion. But Burry believes it can get even bigger.

At the end of June, his company had call options on 91,900 shares of Alphabet.

The search engine giant crushed Wall Street’s expectations in Q2 2021, reporting 62% revenue growth and a net income expansion of 166% from a year ago.

In the earnings conference call, Alphabet’s CFO Ruth Porat said she expects “a more muted tailwind to revenues in the third quarter.” But that didn’t prevent Google shares from trending up.

Despite the market’s September slump, Alphabet shares have returned a whopping 62% year to date. That’s substantially better than the performance of the other three trillion dollar tech companies — Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon — during the same period.

To be sure, Alphabet now trades at over $2,700 per share. But you can get a piece of the company using a stock trading app that allows you to buy fractions of shares with as much money as you are willing to spend.

Walmart (WMT)

Walmart truck driving on the interstate on a cloudy day
Sundry Photography/Shutterstock

Don’t think for one second that Burry only bets on tech companies.

His portfolio is also loaded with calls on 378,600 shares of discount retail giant Walmart.

The essential retailer absolutely thrived during the early locked down stages of the pandemic. And business has only continued to improve as things have opened up.

In its fiscal Q2, comparable sales rose 5.2% at Walmart U.S. and 7.7% at Sam’s Club. For the entire company, revenue improved 2.4% year-over-year to $141 billion.

Walmart is more than just a brick-and-mortar retail as it also has a huge online presence. The company said that it’s on track to do $75 billion in global e-commerce sales this year.

If you're on the fence about jumping into retail, some investing apps will give you a free share of Walmart just for signing up.

It seems like a tricky time to get into real estate, and being a landlord isn't as passive as you think. Look at these low-stress options instead.

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Burry's secret asset to survive “the mother of all crashes”

Walmart is a recession-proof stock. But how will its shares perform in the mother of all crashes?

It’s hard to say. In a market collapse, all sectors can get sold off.

If you want to invest in something that has little correlation with the ups and downs of the stock market, you might want to consider an overlooked asset — fine art.

Investing in fine art by the likes of Banksy and Andy Warhol use to be an option only for the ultra-rich like Burry.

But with a new investing platform, you can invest in iconic artworks too, just like Jeff Bezos and Peggy Guggenheim.

On average, contemporary artworks appreciate in value by 14% per year, easily topping the average returns of 9.5% you’d see with the S&P 500.

Generating regular income should be a top priority for risk-averse investors.

And you don’t have to limit yourself to the stock market to do that.

For instance, some popular investing services let you lock in a steady rental income stream by investing in premium commercial real estate properties — from R&D campuses in San Jose to industrial e-commerce warehouses in Baltimore.

You’ll gain exposure to high-end properties that big-time real estate moguls usually have access to.

And the best part? You'll receive regular passive income in the form of cash distributions without any headaches or hassles.

About the Author

Jing Pan

Jing Pan

Investment Reporter

Jing is an investment reporter for MoneyWise. Prior to joining the team, he was a research analyst and editor at one of the leading financial publishing companies in North America. An avid advocate of investing for passive income, he wrote a monthly dividend stock newsletter for the better half of the past decade. Jing holds a Master’s Degree in Economics and an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree, both from the University of Toronto.

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