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Are stocks on sale or are they going lower? Your guess is as good as the gurus.

Friday and today (Monday) were awful. Our favorite tech stocks got slammed.

Some gurus said they were overpriced and going lower.

Other gurus said that tech stocks were now “on sale.”

I watched as the value of my portfolio cratered and then came back (but still closed lower).

I sat pat.

MarketWatch wrote: “What has sparked the so-called tech wreck isn’t exactly clear, but there are a few theories that have come under consideration:”

+ Stocks are overvalued: Amazon has a P/E ratio of 182 times, Netflix has a P/E of 201 and Google carries a P/E of 32 times, compared with the S&P 500 index which has an average P/E of 22.

+ Goldman Sachs in a June 9 research note titled “Is FANG mispriced?” implied that Wall Street’s love affair with the sector had led to a herd mentality, or fear of missing out (or “FOMO”), that may be coming to an end soon.

Here’s what Goldman’s strategist wrote:

FAAMG, as well as Tech more broadly, is increasingly correlated with both. Growth and Momentum. While this phenomenon may persist given portfolio managers’ “FOMO,” passive carry and the lack of any pro-cyclical policy wins or movement in risk assets (e.g. 10-year) mean reversion risk is increasing.

Fact is tech is volatile. The lazy people (like me) own FAAMG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. I also own Adobe, Autodesk, BABA, CENT, DISH, FLEX, HD, HON and SQ. Why? Because they’re big names, fast-growing and popular. They’re also way over-priced, according to conventional metrics.

I watch the ups and downs. It’s been up this year, until the last couple of days.

I personally don’t see a BIG reason (like 2008 and the bankruptcy of big financials like Lehman Brothers) to become seriously worried.

So, I’m hanging in, for now.

Verizon FiOS voice is great.

It’s super reliable. It works on fiber.

And it’s programmable. But, allowing the user (i.e. you) to program it can lead to upsets. For example, I programmed my main landline to simultaneously call my cell phone. Super great idea. It worked. Then I turned on “Locate Me.” And that interfered with simultaneous ring.

Everyone who called from then on got a ring and a hangup.

Really brilliant, Harry.

I turned off Locate Me. Now it works.

The lesson here: After you’ve mucked with software settings, test. Check. Check. Check.

More importantly, if it works, don’t mess with it.

Birthday weekend

BIG lesson today: Don’t do stupid. I keep repeating these lessons because I keep finding idiots who violate them:

+ Don’t have “notions of chivalry,”  like my friend Steve, who offered to lift some little old lady’s heavy bag up into the airline’s overhead bin. You can imagine what happened to his back. Chivalry is for youngsters.

+ Wash your hands. Washing stops you getting a cold.

+ Watch for cars running red lights. I stand on our street corner and routinely watch one or two cars and trucks run the red light. A friend got hit by a car running a red light. Her leg got broken. She’s hobbling around.

+  Don’t walk down stairs without holding the railing/banister. The most dangerous stair is the last one. An usher at the theater showing Hello Dolly the other night stood and as the patrons came down, he shone his flashlight on the bottom step. He explained to me that the last step did not have a railing and was, hence, dangerous. His patrons kept falling.

Never ever install home automation technology

OK. That’s harsh. The only “home automation” we have in our ten-year old house is from Leviton. We have a Leviton DHC Wall Controller, pictured.

It’s got four on-off switches. The first two control two sets of lights. The third one does nothing. The fourth button turns everything off or on. The first picture is the front. The second is the back.

Leviton16400 Leviton16400Back

There was absolutely no reason for this insane piece of technology. Two switches would work just fine. My electrician liked home automation. Or maybe my architect did.

It never worked well. Now it doesn’t work at all.

I called Leviton Tech Support. Their response: “The entire product line has been discontinued without replacement.

Why, I asked? “Because it used old technology from a company called X10. Contact them.

X10, of course, doesn’t have live tech support:

TechSupportbyemail

But they have email. They told me the system worked on signals carried on the electrical wire. My symptoms mean I have “signs of line noise interference. The only solution for that electrical anomaly is to find the source and put a proper filter on the offending device, otherwise, even the best new equipment will behave erratically.”

“Common sources of line noise are electric motors; fluorescent, halogen, and sodium vapour lights; TV sets; computers (including laptops); DC power adapters; and Uninterruptable Power Supplies. Some sources of electrical noise interference can be periodic as well; for example, the motor in your refrigerator will cycle on and off at random times to maintain a constant temperature. It generally only introduces noise into the powerline when it is running.”

I can only imagine the hours of fun troubleshooting I’m going to have to to find where the line noise is coming from. Of course, I could tear up the walls and re-wire the whole nonsense with normal 110 volt wiring..

My California friend Dan has a much more sophisticated home automation system with large impressive LED panels all over the house. Touch them and they turn on lights, cameras, heating, cooling, TVs, .. you name it. He lost two of the panels (at $1,000 a piece) because his idiot electrician forgot to install surge arrestors behind them. That cost him $2,200.

There are HUGE lessons here.

+ If this home automation stuff works it’s a miracle. But it won’t work for long.

+ When last year’s stuff needs replacing, it will be discontinued and your old wiring won’t be useful. Note that the two circuits on my controllers ran on only one pair of cables. If I rewire (if I can), they’ll all be on or off.

+ Electricians are bone lazy. I am still discovering light fixtures — ten years later — that have never worked. I suspect he simply forgot to wire them into a circuit breaker, or ran out of circuit breakers, or whatever. Or went to lunch. Check. Check. Check.

I like simple. One switch for one circuit — to turn it on or turn it off. Look at this modern home automation.

LightSwitch

This beauty costs $2.48 at Home Depot and comes in four colors. What more could anyone want?

Bitcoin is going up

Blockchain is the technology on which bitcoin is based. Blockchain makes sense. I can understand it. But Bitcoin?

Bitcoin2

Well, it’s gone through the roof. This is it over the last year. I don’t own any.

I have missed out. Idiot me.

I read that

Bitcoin has a circulating supply of 16.3 million Bitcoin but a maximum supply of 21 million. New Bitcoin is algorithmically created when new blocks are mined. Faith in the system is what keeps it going.

There are over $2 billion in cryptocurrency transactions every day. (Bitcoin is one of hundreds. Ethereum is another.)

I ask myself a simple question: What caused bitcoin to skyrocket?

With any explosion in value, there’s usually a “story.” Manhattan has limited building space. The world is using Google to sell things. Apple’s phones are popular. Everybody wastes 30 minutes on Facebook. Etc.  But bitcoin? I know it’s a way of transferring money anonymously — without anyone finding out. But… Cash works too.

My friend says Bitcoin is for money launderers, crooks and speculators. But, is it? What am I missing?

Without comment

EinsteinIdiots

JustMarried

HarryNewton
Harry Newton, who loved this bit of theater. On Monday June 12, 2017 members of President Trump’s cabinet paid tribute to him, one by one, during a cabinet meeting. the New York Times wrote:

WASHINGTON — One by one, they praised President Trump, taking turns complimenting his integrity, his message, his strength, his policies. Their leader sat smiling, nodding his approval.

“The greatest privilege of my life is to serve as vice president to the president who’s keeping his word to the American people,” Mike Pence said, starting things off. ….

TributetoTrump

For the short wonderful video, click here. 

  • Angry_Dfns_Eng

    Harry, As pure speculation I bought about $1000 worth of Bitcoin about a year ago. It went up about 500%. I overlaid the tulip bulb bubble on top of the Bitcoin chart. I sold. I am waiting to see what happens. The only argument against Bitcoin being simply a bubble that makes sense to me is related to the ultimate limit on the number of coins. But still timing is everything on bubbles.

  • Lucky

    STOP LIGHTS…I always employ the “2 second” rule at stop lights…after your light turns green wait 2 seconds and look both ways before stepping on the gas. I too have friends who were badly injured by red light runners. If the guy behind you honks you can always give him the finger…at least you are still alive!

  • Hi Harry-

    We are involved with Ripple, but know blockchain up and down. Happy to opine when you are really bored.

  • Dman

    Harry, the walls are closing in on your evil satanic democrat party.

    Comey said “Trump was never under investigation”, but he forgot to “leak” it.