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No end in sight for the bull market… Yup, another stupid prediction

One day, they say it’s going to crash. Next day there’s no end in sight. Here’s today nonsense:

Bullmarket

From MarketWatch:

Hank Smith of Haverford Trust believes the stock market will be helped if President Trump gets the tax-reform bill he wants, or an infrastructure spending bill and additional regulatory relief. But if Trumps gets nothing more from Congress, Smith believes a more cautious Federal Reserve will provide plenty of backing for stocks.

Smith is co-chief investment officer of Radnor, Pa.-based Haverford Trust, which has about $7.2 billion in assets under management, mostly in private accounts for individuals and institutions. He is also the chairman of the management team for the Haverford Quality Growth Stock Fund HAVGX, -0.19%

During an interview on May 26, Smith referred to those two scenarios as a “win-win” for stocks, but also cautioned that a “rebalancing” of portfolios more toward defense positions might be best for the next few years. “Thematically over the past four years, we have had a balance between what we call offense and defense, offense being cyclical exposure and defense being consumer staples and health care.”

Here’s why he is confident that the current economic expansion, which began in June 2009, will continue: “If Trump gets nothing done, gets bogged down with all these investigations and Congress becomes increasingly dysfunctional and nothing is passed, we will still be in a 2% growth economy with little chance of recession over the next 18 months. In that scenario, the Federal Reserve will raise rates at a glacial pace.”

“The stock market has already shown it can perform in this environment,” he said.

“That said, we also have to recognize that this has been a very strong bull market. It is unlikely over the next three years that we will have the kind of returns we have had,” he added.

I thought it would be fun to chart his fund HAVGX against the S&P500. He hasn’t kept up. Surprise. Surprise. This is a five year chart:

HAVGX

Goldman Sachs just bought $2.8 billion of Venezuelan oil bonds

+ GS bought them for 30 cents on the dollar — a 70% discount.

+ At this price they theoretically yield 20%.

+ There’s discussion as to whether the dividend will be paid and/or the bonds will ever be paid off.

+ Some people don’t think GS should be propping up the present government.

+ The bonds are issued by Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the Venezuelan state-owned oil and natural gas company. Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. But the company, PDVSA, has lost many of its best people who have fled and isn’t doing a good job maintaining its facilities.

You can read more in the New York Times and in Rolling Stone, whose headline is:

Two Vile Names, One Sweetheart Deal: Goldman Bails Out Maduro
The Vampire Squid rescues an infamous autocrat

The life of a commodities fund.

SGOL, which is an ETF for gold bullion, began the year at $111.69. Yesterday, it was $122.58. That means it’s up 9.75%.

My actively managed commodities fund called Strategic Commodities Fund is down by 3.36% for the year. It owns other commodities, which haven’t done as well as gold.

So, is actively managed better than passive? Go figure.

At present, I own neither SGOL nor the fund — though I owned both. The fund never did well for me, despite an impressive sales pitch.

And I could never figure gold. It’s like bitcoin, thought it has a little more  intrinsic value than bitcoin  — which has none.

“It’s not a priority for me now.”

My friend runs a successful insurance brokerage agency. He worries about ransomware.

He has a in-house server which runs insurance software from an outside vendor. That vendor backs his server to the cloud automatically every few hours.

Should he worry?

My answer is YES.

First, he knows nothing about his insurance software or whose “cloud” his precious data is being backed up to. There are good cloud vendors and there are bad ones. The cloud itself can be unreliable. Check out what happened to British Airways this past weekend. It cost them $100 million.

Second, I don’t trust any computer backup unless I can see, feel and touch it. Hence I’m suggesting to my insurance friend (he handles my insurance) that he also secure external hard drives — maybe this one:

ExternalDrive

This one terabyte drive — that’s a thousand million bytes — costs the grand sum of $55 from — surprise, surprise — Amazon. Click here. He could afford to back up each of his company’s computers to drives like this one.

I bet his vendor’s backup software could be set to back up to both the cloud and Harry’s pricey external hard drive. And I bet my friend could remember to take the backup drive home with him each morning — just to get it out of his office in case — God forbid — his offices are flooded over night.

This house has a spectacular view of Mt Hood, Oregon.

The house is in Parkdale, two miles from the mountain. Pretty spectacular house?

OregonHouse

This is Mt Hood. Pretty spectacular also?

Famous_View_of_Lost_Lake_Mount_hood_in_the_distance

Oregon has no sales tax, in addition to great views and crazy (nice) people.

Old line, Funny cartoon

TheWall Cartoon

Bob Hope died many years ago. 

He was a brilliant comedian. Your kids won’t remember him. But I do. Here are some favorite quotes:

ON TURNING 70
‘I still chase women, but only downhill.’

ON TURNING 80
‘That’s the time of your life when even your birthday suit needs pressing.’

ON TURNING 90
‘You know you’re getting old when the candles cost more than the cake.’

ON TURNING 100
‘I don’t feel old. In fact, I don’t feel anything until noon. Then it’s time for my nap.’

ON GOLF
‘Golf is my profession. Show business is just to pay the green fees.’

ON PRESIDENTS
‘I have performed for 12 presidents but entertained only six.’

ON HIS FAMILY’S EARLY POVERTY
‘Four of us slept in the one bed. When it got cold, mother threw on another brother.’

ON HIS SIX BROTHERS
‘That’s how I learned to dance. Waiting for the bathroom.’

ON HIS EARLY FAILURES
‘I would not have had anything to eat if it wasn’t for the stuff the audience threw at me.’

ON GOING TO HEAVEN
‘I’ve done benefits for ALL religions.
I’d hate to blow the hereafter on a technicality.’

DEATH BED
On his death bed they asked him where he wanted to be buried.
He answered, “Surprise me.

Happiness is a beautiful, smart daughter.

She’s called Claire.

harryDaddyandClaireSmall

Harry Newton, who loves this interview with Willie Nelson from the latest Rolling Stone.

WillieNelson

Excerpted:

It’s the day before Willie Nelson’s 84th birthday, but he’s keeping his plans modest. “I’m just going to try and be here,” he says with a laugh from his tour bus, the Honeysuckle Rose, currently parked in Laughlin, Nevada, another stop on Nelson’s furious two-weeks-on, two-weeks-off touring schedule. “I’m still enjoying it,” he says. “It’s the two weeks off that gets kind of long.” This summer, Nelson will tour with the Outlaw Music Festival, which includes dates with Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell and Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah. Nelson is looking forward to breaking out songs from his excellent new album, God’s Problem Child.

Your new single “Still Not Dead” is hilarious. What was the inspiration?

Well, many years ago, when I wrote “On the Road Again,” that’s the first time I heard that I was dead. Somebody said, “Willie was singing ‘On the Road Again,’ and a bus hit him.” That was funny for a few years. Then I heard these, what do you call them, “alternative facts”: I got up two or three times in the past couple of years and read I’d passed away. I just wanted to let ’em know that’s a lot of horsesh*t.

This summer you’ll reunite with Dylan. What’s it like when you two hang out?

I don’t think that’s ever happened much. We play music together more than we talk, and that’s probably good. [In 2004] my son Lukas and Dylan hit it off really good; he’d sit in with him and play guitar, and they jammed a lot on those tours. That was fun.

Who’s your favorite live act?

Leon Russell was one of the greatest entertainers out there. First time I saw him, he was playing for about 40,000 people in New Mexico. It’s the first time I saw anybody throw their hat into the audience. That’s where I stole that idea.

Jeff Sessions recently said that pot is “only slightly less awful” than heroin.

I wonder if he’s tried both of them. I don’t think you can really make a statement like that unless you tried it all. So I’d like to suggest to Jeff to try it and then let me know later if he thinks he’s still telling the truth!

What do you make of the Trump presidency so far?

Well, I knew him back when he owned some casinos, and I worked for him. He always paid me. I had no problems at all. I think he’s stepped into a different world. Like he said this morning, “I had no idea this job was going to be this hard.” It’s easy when you can just go bankrupt anytime you want to and say, “I’ll check you later.” But that’s hard to do when you’re president of the United States.

You sell “Willie Nelson for President” bumper stickers. Do a lot of people tell you to run for office?

Oh, yeah, which makes me even more glad that I didn’t. I came close a couple times. And then I sobered up.

So Trump hasn’t made you want to step in.

I think you can do more with music than you can with arguments and politics. I think a song will reach more people than any other thing. There’s a reason that it’s called “harmony”: When you play a show, there’s an energy exchange with the people that is unimaginable. It’s the reason I go out there. I get something out of it too.

What rules did you impose on your kids growing up?

My wife has one, and it’s three rules: “Don’t be an a**hole, don’t be an a**hole, and don’t be a goddamn a**hole.” Mine has always been, “Don’t start no sh*t and there won’t be no sh*t.”

You’ve been married to your wife, Annie, for 25 years. What have you learned about marriage?

Well, it’s kind of like Donald was saying about being president: There’s nothing easy about it. Every day is hard work. It ain’t for everybody. I’ve been married a few times.

What has golf taught you about life?

Not a damn thing. Somebody said you’re ruining a nice walk, golfing. But I love to play. I went out and played the other day with my sons. I had an eagle on a par-four hole, so I was happy.

Are you still exercising every day?

Yeah, I’ll ride a horse, swim or run. Cussin’ is good exercise – I do that too.

What’s your favorite curse word?

I tell everybody when I get to be president, “fu*k it” is going to be one word.

You’ve launched your own marijuana company, Willie’s Reserve. How’s that going?

Going good. I have other people kind of doing it for me. Annie is on the edible side, and she’s a great chef, and she’s been working in Colorado and all those places where it’s legal.

Is there any downside to smoking pot every day?

I haven’t run into any yet. I guess if you go somewhere where it’s illegal, that’s a pretty good downside.

  • Richard Grigonis

    The only time that NBC literally pulled the plug on a Bob Hope radio broadcast was when he snuck in the following joke: “What’s the difference between a blonde and a submarine? I don’t know, I’ve never been in a submarine…”