J.D. DURKIN: Good morning, subscribers. Chris Versace and I are now back with a special round of members questions ahead of tomorrow's live members call. As a reminder, as always, you can tune in by heading to our Home page at 12:00 Eastern time. Chris, as well as TheStreets Editor-in-Chief Sarah Silverstein will be doing a deep dive into earnings season and, of course, what to expect from the back half of trading in 2023.

Chris, good morning. Thank you for being here as always on now to our first question. Chris, we have a newer member wondering why AAP is not invested in a Bitcoin ETF. Is this something you'd consider?

CHRIS VERSACE: You know, it's an interesting question. Typically, when we put something into the portfolio or even the bullpen, we'd like to have a great amount of data that we can track, follow the investment thesis that we put forth to members, but we also have to be mindful of the regulatory environment. And I think that's probably the biggest sticking point for us today as it relates to Bitcoin.

We know that the SEC continues to examine this as to whether or not it's in our opinion going to be viable. It's rather murky. Is it something that we'll keep tabs on and if we get a clear sky, if you will, something will contemplate for the portfolio? Sure, but as for now, just to murky, J.D.

J.D. DURKIN: Too murky, all right, fair enough. Now look at ChargePoint has another member reminiscent of the early days of the tower industry, Chris, as well as the world of wireless carriers. Do you think the EV industry is susceptible to the M&A space and consolidation in, let's say, the months or the years ahead?

CHRIS VERSACE: So I do think that the EV industry is susceptible to M&A, both not only for EV manufacturers, but also for EV charging companies. We have to remember that when we look around the US, there's a number of gas station companies, right. At some point, they will want to shore up and protect their respective businesses.

We already saw this with Shell and EVgo. And I do think that at some point ExxonMobil, BP, and others are likely to further their plans, again, protecting their businesses. So at some point, do I expect M&A to happen? I do. We're not quite at that tipping point yet, but at some point, and I would say, it's probably more years than days, weeks, or quarters, I think we will be there.

J.D. DURKIN: All right. Let's talk any potential update on the game plan from Verizon. Many inclined to say it's struggled since you downgraded to a three. What is your current thinking? And has that thinking been updated at all, Chris?

CHRIS VERSACE: So, you know, we discussed this a lot recently, even more so since we downgraded Verizon to a three rating, really revisiting the rationale as to why we first put it in the portfolio. And, again, when we did that we were looking for, by this time, a far weaker US economy. We wanted that comfort of Verizon's rather sticky inelastic business and the dividend. That's what we were looking for several months ago.

Has that thesis played out candidly? No, it hasn't. And I say that because the economic data has been stronger than expected. As you and I touched on earlier this week, GDP expectations for the current-- for the June quarter, sorry, are even stronger than the March quarter.

So, again, it has us seriously, rethinking the position of Verizon in the portfolio. More recently, the question that we've been asking ourselves is at what level could we see Verizon shares rising to? And, again, given some more recent developments, it appears even more likely that the shares could be dead money. I wouldn't be surprised as a result if we start to use Verizon shares as a mechanism to fund some other moves that we would like to make with the portfolio.

J.D. DURKIN: Chris, I'm hoping you can remind us of the overall thesis, the thinking behind Deere, and where you got the 500 price, $500 price target there for DE.

CHRIS VERSACE: Sure. So let's stick with the investment thesis for Deere. The driving thesis is rising farmer income that is going to drive replacement demand for aged ag equipment, as well as the need to upgrade to more efficient ag equipment, more specifically precision ag equipment to drive yields, not only to feed more people around the globe, but really to offset other costs that farmers are dealing with.

In terms of the price target on Deere, look, we not only factored in that driver, but also the fact that roughly 20% of Deere's business is going to benefit from infrastructure spending-- by that I'm referring to the construction equipment business. So when we look out on potential peak earnings, we've gone back and looked at prior peak cycles, where Deere shares have priced out from a basis from a dividend yield basis. And that helps support our $500 price target.

What we have seen over the last several months is Wall Street price targets moving higher, either towards or, in some cases, past our $500 price target really as signs that nonresidential construction, again, really tied to infrastructure spending has really started to ramp and as we've seen upward movement on a sustained basis for key ag commodity prices. I also think that we could see those ag commodity prices move potentially higher given what we're seeing with the summer heat that could impact crop yields later in the year. So we continue to be bullish on Deere for those reasons.

J.D. DURKIN: All right, Chris, finally a question that I'm hoping might help some people out there who may pay a lot of attention to business news, see there's more opinions than ever. When you hear an analyst praise a particular stock, Chris, how do you distinguish between something that is a valid point that is presented in good faith and something that might be a bit more on the noise side of things?

CHRIS VERSACE: So whenever we canvas comments about stocks that we have in the portfolio, the bullpen, ones we're looking at are candidly even the economy. We have to understand what the driving argument is that someone is putting forth. Does it have-- does it stack up? Does it measure up, if you will? What's the data that they're referring to, or is there a lot of hot air?

Some folks like to be bullish just to be bullish. Some people like to be bearish just to be bearish. But for us we've said this before, I'll say it again in the future as well, we are going to stick to the data and understand, does it support what's being said or not? And the last thing we want to do is kind of fall prey to a lot of rah-rah comments or, as I like to say, hopium.

So that's the way that we think about what others have to say. We do like to take a look at what the landscape is and understand what the narrative is. We like it when we have a really constructive narrative, not when we have a lot of hopium, J.D. I hope that helps.

J.D. DURKIN: It absolutely does. And any reference to hopium always puts things in proper context. Chris, Thank you as always.

CHRIS VERSACE: Thank you, J.D.

J.D. DURKIN: And thank you at home, members, one and all, for taking the time to watch as always. That man Chris Versace will be back tomorrow for our monthly members call. And as a reminder, you can catch that live at 12:00 Eastern right on the AAP home page. Thanks for watching, and we'll see you then.