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Cloud software stocks soaring.

The cloud software stocks are soaring .

They include: AMZN, AYX, COUP, NOW, NTNX, SPLK, TWLO, and WDAY.

I don’t know which of them are worth buying at today’s elevated prices. But I own several, as you know.

My “logic” is simple: Cloud companies sell services — software and cloud processing and storage — which makes other people’s businesses more productive, and hence more profitable. For a widget-making company there’s no better investment than cloud software. Better than a new factory. Better than moving to Mexico. You get the message.

Now, let’s stretch this logic to Rajiv Jain of CQG Partners. He’s featured in this morning’s Morning Tack from Jeff Saut, chief Investment Strategist at Raymond James.

Rajiv Jain held a conference call last week. I was taken by the profoundness of an answer he gave to the question of,

“Do you think the emerging markets are a buy with them selling at such a discounted PE to the developed markets?” His answer was as follows:

“First let me say that yes, I like the emerging markets, but not for the reason you gave. In fact, I disagree that the emerging markets sell at a large discounted PE vs. the developed markets. Yes the PE is lower, but it’s not because they are unduly cheap. EM sells at a discounted PE because of the composition of the EM. The industries that comprise the emerging markets are primarily, autos, oils, steel, lumber, basically old heavy industry and natural resources.

Well, auto companies sell for less than 10 times earnings in the U.S. and sell for less than 10 times earnings in the EM. Oil companies sell for a low PE in the U.S. and sell for a low PE in the EM. The industries in most emerging countries are those that make money from mining ‘things’ and making ‘things.’

Whereas the developed countries, primarily the U.S., are comprised of companies that make money from innovation and invention. You can buy ‘things’ from anywhere but you can’t buy innovation from anywhere. So you pay a higher PE for a company that is nimble and innovative versus a company that produces the same thing year in and year out, and makes a product you can buy anywhere.”

Life in Saudi Arabia. 

I’ve never been to Saudi, though I’ve been to Egypt, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Israel. At one stage I was sort of involved selling telecom equipment to Saudi Arabia. I was told I needed to add in a 15% “commission” (i.e. bribe) to get the business. I got turned off. And never did it. It was probably illegal anyway.

Lately I thought about going there was a tourist. But Jews are not welcome. They call us monkeys, pigs, infidels, etc. Reading Wikipedia on Antisemitism in Saudi Arabia is not happy making. Click here.

Lately Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) has been pushing tourism, pushing invest in Saudi and giving women some rights.

But the whole MBS P.R. has backfired with the assassination of  Jamal Khashoggi and published stories of what it’s like to be a woman in Saudi — basically horrible. You have no rights and your entire life is controlled by men relatives — some of whom are very very mean, abusive and violent.

This is a piece from from Australia’s ABC on women escaping Saudi:

Escape from Saudi.
The women who make it and the ones who don’t.

Hundreds of women have tried to escape Saudi Arabia in recent years, fleeing the strict male guardianship laws that control every aspect of their lives. Four Corners follows the stories of some of the women who attempt the desperate dash for freedom. …

Saudi Arabia’s male guardianship laws mean women need permission from their guardian — a father, brother, husband, son or uncle — for the most basic activities. They can’t travel, go to school, get a job or marry without permission. Under Saudi law, their witness statements carry half the weight of a man’s. …

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has been selling himself to the world as a reformer who has wound back some of the strict controls on women, like the ban on driving.

In reality, he’s been behind an unprecedented and brutal crackdown on Saudi female activists, with dozens arrested since May 2018 and thrown in jail.

Read the full depressing article here.  You’ll be horrified.

From the New York Times:

Why Pope Francis’ Historic Visit to the Gulf Matters

In ultraconservative Saudi Arabia, which has an estimated 1.4 million Christians, churches are banned and public display of Christian symbols is prohibited. Christians worship at underground services, or not at all.

Read the full article here. 

How to relax. 

This is a pretty silly picture of how I teach my friends to power nap.

Lie on your back. Cross your arms.

Focus your brain on not feeling one arm on top of the other. Try getting your arms to “fly.”

When they do, you’ll be asleep. The key is focus — ridding your brain of other thoughts — like why did my favorite stock just dive and what do I do now? (Go to sleep.)

You can also use my Egyptian position on planes and trains.

Why Manhattan’s pricey apartments stink

The higher you go, the more you spend and the more view you get. But it’s not “real.” Check this out.

It’s not as pleasing as the view from the 30th floor.

An Irishman lies dying, his wife at his bedside.

He says in a weakened voice, “There is something I must confess.”

“Shhhh” says the wife, “there is nothing to confess.” She holds his hand and caresses his head. “Everything is all right,” she whispers.

“NO!” the husband replied, “I must die in peace. I had sex with your sister, your best friend, her best friend and your best friend’s mum.”

“I know,” she whispered, “Be still. Let the poison do its work. Close your eyes.”

Harry Newton, who has a little psoriasis. Yesterday, my dermatologist burned off spots with his nitrogen freezer and gave me a tube of Clobetasol Propionate ointment USP , 0.05%. The stuff is magic. Got to visit him at least twice a year. Several friends have died of melanoma — the most aggressive, fast-spreading cancer.