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The uncertainty is killing. The agita is severe. Buy Tums?

The uncertainty is killing. One day it’s a “War.” The next day Trump says it’s a “squabble.”

The economists tell us tariffs will hurt our economy minimally — by less than half of one per cent. But they can’t measure, or guess the businesses that won’t be started, the products that won’t be introduced or the losses in stock values, and hence the products and services that won’t be bought. There are houses and apartment that won’t be built and bought. There are jobs that will be lost, or never created.

Conventional wisdom: Tariffs are a way to protect and boost local industry, to bring back jobs. It insane. Who in the United States wants to spend their days gluing soles onto sneakers? Millions and millions of sneakers.

Tariffs are a disaster. From Wikipedia:

The Tariff Act of 1930, commonly known as the Smoot-Hawley Tariff or Hawley-Smoot Tariff, was an Act implementing protectionist trade policies sponsored by Senator Reed Smoot and Representative Willis C. Hawley and was signed into law on June 17, 1930. The act raised U.S. tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods.

The tariffs under the act were the second-highest in the United States in 100 years, exceeded by a small margin by the Tariff of 1828. The Act and following retaliatory tariffs by America’s trading partners were major factors of the reduction of American exports and imports by more than half during the Depression. Although economists disagree by how much, the consensus view among economists and economic historians is that “The passage of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff exacerbated the Great Depression.”

The worst part of our present Trade Wars is that the War is being solely managed by one man — most of whose early businesses failed and “wants to rip the face off the Chinese” (as one of his supporters explained to me.)

He hasn’t explained to us — the owners, the buyers and the sellers of stocks and real estate — what “victory” in this Trade War actually is. A nice detailed speech form the Oval Office would help. Nothing so far. What we get are midnight tweets and helicopter snippets. Some out of anger. Some out of fear for the stockmarket. All off the cuff, and seldom with much thought.

If I had run my business with so little guidance for my employees, my customers and my bankers, my business would have gone broke instantly, if not sooner.

Higher tariffs on Chinese goods are a bad idea for everyone. For one, we pay, not them. The billions piling up in the U.S. Treasury are taxes on the American public. American farmers, Boeing, Apple, Nike and others with a presence in China see the tariffs as burdens, not blessings.

Cramer says this market is influenced by tariffs and trade talks — with the Federal Reserve and the economy playing second fiddle.

Here’s the last ten days on the Dow. Not a pretty site. Not good for your agita. The trend is down, the gyrations stomach-churning.

But …

Hold your nose. Have faith in American companies long-term. Don’t panic when the market drops hundreds of points one day. Pray it will pick it up the following day. Put ultra-low limit buy orders on your favorite stocks. Maybe you’ll snag some? For God’s sake, don’t chase stocks when they’re rising.

In this market, stocks go in and out of favor very fast. When they spike — because of hot talk on BubbleVision or in Barrons, or wherever, dump them. Square spiked to $100. Amazon hit $2050. Today they’re much lower.

I like long-term holding. I’m in this for the long-term. But these are volatile markets controlled by late night tweets. I can’t apply Benjamin Graham value Analysis to this insanity.

How would you like to be a German maker of cars. Soon your cars in the U.S. may cost 25% — thousands more. How many fewer cars will you sell? How many people will you fire to keep your debt payments current? How will your ex-employees keep their debt payments current?

Let’s say you make shoes. How would you like to wake up one day and see this on BubbleVision:

Meantime, we like tech stocks — especially those playing in the cloud where marginal costs are low and the service addictive.

I’m looking at potential new holdings in Trade Desk, Znga and Zscaler. Stocks like Twilio (TWLO), ServiceNow (NOW) and Salesforce (CRM) (which I own) appeal, but are in nosebleed territory.

Ladder Financial, a REIT I’m close to, now yields over 8%. That’s cash on cash of over 8%!

I’d loosen a little up on Apple. Eventually it’s going to lose its monopoly over apps on its iPhone and the 30% commission it gets from sales of those apps will ebb. he Supreme Court has agreed to hear a class action suit against Apple. This is serious.

By contrast, Android apps are available for download on countless web sites. There also are college courses where students learn how to write Android apps, which they install on their Android devices.

Android phones outsell Apple phones by a huge margin. Google gives the Android operating system away for free. Makers like Samsung install it and modify it to their likes.

Look what I just received. 

I’ve never used Lyft. I can’t get the app to work on my iPhone. I don’t know why.

Uber’s app does work. And their service is great.

Looks like Uber is bouncing back from its low of $36.08. Someone is buying it — just not me.

Real estate syndications are doing amazingly well

Buy or develop a multi-family property. Get it stabilized — meaning fully rented and in good physical shape — there are people who crave the solid return of predictable residential real estate.

I am going into one development deal. The syndicator told my friend not to place it with anyone in the eighties. I said I wasn’t 80, yet.

Ed Sonderling responded, with a twinkle in his eye, “I’m not going to rush you.”

Favorite silly (but amusing) cartoons

Harry Newton, who’s visiting Boston for Grandparents Day. Then on Saturday I take Sophie to Cinderella, a ballet, and after that to an ice cream shop where she will gorge on chocolate-dipped ice cream that her mother wouldn’t dare feed her.

By the way, watch out for emailed “rewards” for filing in surveys and buying from Amazon. Those emails contain malware, which you don’t want. I suspect Sophie’s mother, my darling daughter Claire, may refer to the ice cream I’m going to feed her daughter, as “malware.” But Sophie (and I) think it’s delicious. This is Sophie at Dairy Queen, also called DQ and now owned by Berkshire Hathaway, whose shares have recently been giving volatility a whole new meaning.

The chean-up job on Sophie is not insignificant.