SARA SILVERSTEIN: You've been very straightforward with members that you're frustrated with some of the club's more challenging positions. ChargePoint has come up. We know AP has a long-term horizon. But when looking year-to-date at the losses, how do you know when to make the decision to hold something versus calling it quits?
CHRIS VERSACE: So it's a great question. Because, yes, ChargePoint has been a very frustrating position not only for me, but I know for members as well. Because we, as you know, get a lot of questions and we spend a lot of time going over it on the Daily Rundown and Alerts with members. But what we have to see is a change in the thesis. And what do I mean by that?
Are we seeing any slowdown in the adoption of EVs? No, we're not. Are we seeing any pushback in the rise of commercial EVs? No, we're not. Are we seeing any cancelation and infrastructure spending relating to EVs? No, we're not.
If anything, we're seeing quite the opposite with month-over-month data for EV sales. Even this morning, the latest car registrations out of Europe were up significantly year-over-year. And then we're also seeing other companies ranging from Walmart, Costco, Starbucks, a rash of hotels, McDonald's, BJ's, and others talk about adding EV charging stations to their parking lot. So when we see that preponderance of data, we understand the shares are down 30%, 35%, something like that. And again, painful for everyone, myself included.
But we try to focus in on that longer term view. And as long as we continue to see the data supporting that, we're willing to be patient because the upside to be had as we move into the accelerated buildout is far greater than the downside.
SARA SILVERSTEIN: And to dig into this a little bit more, when we're exiting positions, of course, we want to be exiting them and collecting profits. But sometimes we have to exit positions and decide that it's time to get out as the thesis has changed, like Airbnb and Skyworks. How do you take those lessons there and guide how you're running the portfolio now?
CHRIS VERSACE: So what we try to do is really triangulate a lot of different data, a lot of different valuation techniques. And I think when we look back with BlackBerry, we look back at Skyworks, the landscape was changing rather quickly. So what we sometimes need to do is kind of check the emotion, right? The last thing we want to do is believe that something is going to work out. More often than not, emotion is a dangerous element to introduce into the portfolio because it forces you to kind of hang on to things even though the data is saying something else, which is why members have heard me say we were going to stick by the data.
Even the example that I just gave in ChargePoint-- an overwhelming amount of data that talks about the brighter prospects for the EV charging market. So that's probably the biggest lesson to be learned. The other thing I would say is we've gotten a lot better at paying attention to the technicals as well. And I think we're going to have some interesting conversation with Helene later in the conversation.
SARA SILVERSTEIN: And what about a name that made its way back to the portfolio after an exit in 2022. What changed with Applied Materials?
CHRIS VERSACE: This is a great question because when we put Applied Materials out of the portfolio into the bullpen, we said specifically we're doing this because we know that the Chips Act is going to happen at some point in 2023. So we were kind of in standby mode, right, looking for a firmer outlook. But between doing that in the fall and the first quarter of the year, what did we hear? We heard the PC inventory buildup. There were concerns about other angles in inventory build up in smartphones. Memory was getting weaker.
So we were concerned about the outlook for semiconductor capital spending in the first half of the year. So we stayed on the sidelines. But what did we hear recently? Yes, we are starting to see the flow of funds for the Chips Act. And most importantly, Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor said, no, we're not going to cut our semiconductor capital equipment spending because we need to maintain our leadership position.
That allowed us to wade in because the downside risk is far less. And I'm happy to say that the shares are up 10% or so since we did that. In fact, I actually wish we had bought more Applied Materials when we did.