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Fear and uncertainty don’t make for a happy stockmarket

Trump has tanked Apple stock with his mumblings about slapping the iPhone with heavy tariffs, thereby giving Samsung a huge competitive advantage, since the vast bulk of Samsung phones are not made in China.

Yesterday Trump gave the Wall Street Journal a long interview in which he discussed U.S.-China trade, including the possibilities of additional tariffs; plant closures at GM, and Fed Chairman Jay Powell.

My “bottom line?” I have no idea what the bottom line is. I do know that investors (like me) and executives who run companies don’t like the vitriol, the anger, the uncertainty, his misstatements and Trump’s staggering lack of knowledge of the complexities of this all (e.g. bringing factories in China to America). I’m also not sure what he’s specifically trying to accomplish: What it will take for him to declare victory and drop all the tariffs. Meantime, it looks like the 10% tariffs will go to 25% on January 1 and be applied to everything we get from China. Nearly $300 billion of imports. This could be heavy burden on American consumers (they pay the tariffs, not the Chinese) and be a heavy burden on companies like Walmart who buy much of the stuff they sell from China.

Here’s my favorite except from the Wall Street Journal interview:

President Trump: I happen to be a tariff person because I’m a smart person, OK? We have been ripped off so badly by people coming in and stealing our wealth. The steel industry has been rebuilt in a period of a year because of what I’ve done. We have a vibrant steel industry again, and soon it’ll be very vibrant. You know, they’re building plants all over the country because I put steel – because I put tariffs, 25 percent tariffs, on dumping steel.

Mr. Davis: Right. Right. Would you – would you think – what do you advise – what do you advise U.S. business to do, given that they are now faced with the tariffs they are, tariffs go up on January 1? You’re talking about the rest of the imports going to 10 percent —

President Trump: Well, what I’d advise is for them to build factories in the United States and to make the product here. And they have a lot of other alternatives. But if you look, there’s been no increase in inflation despite the tariffs, so all of these little – all of the things you heard about, Bob, are – have turned out to be false. We’re – we’re taking in billions of dollars. We’re creating tremendous numbers of jobs. Like in the steel industry, we were – we were almost out of the business and now we have – you know, thousands of jobs are being created. And we’re going to have our own steel industry, which is a very important industry. You don’t want to be – you know, you don’t want to be buying your steel from China, let me put it that way. But –
Mr. Davis: Let me ask you also, I mean, so you gave advice to the – to U.S. business. What advice would you give to the Chinese who are trying to decide how to deal with you?

President Trump: Make a fair deal. The only deal that would really be acceptable to me – other than obviously we have to do something on the theft of intellectual property, right – but the only deal would be China has to open up their country to competition from the United States. As far as other countries are concerned, that’s up to them. I’m interested in the United States. They have to open up China to the United States. Otherwise, I don’t see a deal being made. And if it’s not made, we will be taking in billions and billions of dollars.

Mr. Davis: OK.

You can read the full transcript of the interview here.

Seven ways to avoid getting sick after flying

I got sick from flying. My friend got sick from flying. Everyone gets sick flying. We made a precaution list:

  1. Stay hydrated. Sipping water through the flight is best.
  2. Use a saline nasal spray.
  3. Keep your hands clean. Wipe tray tables.
  4. Use germ-killing mouthwash.
  5. Take your vitamins.
  6. Get plenty of sleep before and after travel.
  7. Stay away from coughing people.

For more, read this: Airplane Colds Flu Tips from Smarter Travel – 2018 2015 

If you feel you’re getting sick, here are two excellent homeopathic  solutions:

Hoisted on my own petard.

In the old days, castles and forts were protected by heavy doors. If you wanted to take the fort, you had to blow the front door with a bomb.

The bomb was called a petard and the guy who placed it was called a petardier.

The petardier lit the fuse and then ran. If he didn’t run fast enough, he was hoisted on his own petard.

Switch to Portland, Oregon. I order a very rare cheeseburger at a wonderful local restaurant, called Stepping Stone.

The owner says he’ll see what he can do.

They bring me my hamburger.

The owner comes by and asks “How was it?”

It was rare, I said. But it was also stone cold.

The owner asks “Why didn’t you return it? We could have heated it.”

I said I deserved it. I was hoisted on my own petard.

New stuff

+ Some of Costco’s “bargains” are previous year’s models.

+ T-Mobile service is very good. I’m totally blown away. I’m testing T-Mobile on a Samsung phone all over the country. It’s as good as Verizon and, in some places, actually better. Why subscribe to Verizon when T-Mobile is so much cheaper? That’s a good question. Give your kids T-Mobile.

+ Banks are getting crazier and crazier. This morning my beloved bank cancelled last night’s $9,000 wire. No reason given. And then endless more phone calls this morning.

There’s an explosion of new bank and fintech startups, who know how to keep their customers happy with online banking. Thank the Lord for competition.

Anyone actually have a customer-friendly online bank?

Looks like I’m not getting my $250 Amazon coupon from my existing bank which messed me around for two weeks, having sent a $100,000 wire of mine twice.

Now I can look good, too

Grieving for the late husband

Older posts you may have missed

I’m not posting every day. Some days I have nothing to say. Here are my most recent columns, including yesterday’s:

+ Stocks are bouncing back today. Let’s watch them carefully. Bitcoin plummets. Nov 26. Click here.

+ There is good news and there is bad news. Nov 23 (Black Friday) Click here.

What I learned – if anything – from my recent huge tech stock losses. Nov 21. Click here.

+ Blood is flowing. Is now the right time to jump back in? Nov 20. Click here.

+ I lied. Not every asset is crashing. Nov 19. Click here. 

+ Another day poorer. But not deeper in debt. Nov 15. Click here.

+Asset prices in free-fall: Stocks. Housing. Commodities. Nov 13, Click here.

+ Too much money. Too many opportunities. Hence today’s stomach-churning investment scene. Nov 8. Click here. 

Harry Newton. It’s sunny in Manhattan. Good day to play tennis.

  • Lucky

    l have flown hundreds of thousands of miles over the years with extensive business and pleasure travel. I have never gotten sick on an airplane, but, I am really sick of flying these days. From TSA (not so bad now that I am over 75 and often use a wheel chair) to no meals…to tiny toilets you can no longer stand upright in…to long waits on the tarmac…to mangled luggage…to……too many aggravations to mention. Basically I now only travel by car or stay home.