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Heavy noise told by idiots full of sound and fury, and signifying absolutely nothing.

For Ed Sonderling’s excellent piece Be A Capitalist, click here.

Now to day’s blog:…

The “noise” is heavy.

+ Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says Amazon has killed retail. (He hasn’t a clue.)

+ The FTC or whoever is fining Facebook $5 billion. (Heck, we gotta do something.)

+ The U.S. and the European government are going after America’s “big-tech.” (Apparently FANG is too successful for their tastes.)

It’s all noise. What matters are earnings. And they’re doing just fine.

We are benefiting also by not fighting the Fed , which is about to pump us with lower interest rates.

+ Facebook remains the best social advertising media.

+ Google remains the best search engine.

+ Amazon does the best online retail and runs the best cloud.

+ Apple makes the best phones, the best voice recognition and has the best apps. See my plug below for Captio.

And there are a zillion other tech companies doing good work and exploding.

Stuff I nibbled at recently:

 YETI, NUE, ZM, FTNT, COST, MTCH, DOCU, ZS, SWKS, GO, MRVL, CRWD (slightly older nibble).

My present theory is to diversify away from FANG, which is getting very very pricey.

My biggest holdings are (in order) Amazon, Apple, Ladder, Netflix, Berkshire, Microsoft and United Health.

Diversification’s Pros and Cons

Yesterday favorite investor, Ed Sonderling, wrote

Diversification is a way of expressing humility

Several readers pointed me to a Forbes piece, “Here’s Why Warren Buffett And Other Great Investors Don’t Diversify

The gist is it’s too hard to follow too many stocks. Click here.

When I ran my own business, I was 100% concentrated — on the business. Which I could control.

When I invest and I can’t control, I diversify. It’s my only weapon. Ed did a better job of explaining diversification in his guest column on a Be a Capitalist. Click here.

My logic is simple:

+ I can’t predict.

+ Some managements are just plain weird. I get prickly.

+ When things go awry — usually to 15% — I’m out. I have gone higher, but then I really lose my shirt.

+ I like investing in stuff I have a modicum of understanding. That’s usually technology. As Ed points out correctly, there are three areas the United States excels at — technology, entertainment and drugs/pharma/biotech. Stay where we’re good.

A big element of my stock picking is not to invest in “too hard” stocks, which lately have included Boeing, Tesla, Facebook, 3M, all the energy stocks, all cannabis, all bitcoin, all China and crypto-currencies, gold and cockroach stocks like Deutsche Bank.

Not investing in “too hard” is a sound investment strategy.

Don’t do stupid

+ You don’t need dietary supplements. Eat good stuff. Sleep well. And nap twice a day. 20 minutes is fine. Do you have bags under your eyes? So, nap more.

+ Do things a bit slower. You don’t need to speed.

+ The first time you do something, it is hard. Take your time. Read the instructions.

+ There’s always someone who can do it better than you — for peanut money, too. Concentrate on what you’re good at.

+ I just got JPMorgan Chase to go paperless with my banking! Thank you Chase.

+ Hold the handrail on stairs. Going down is most dangerous. The last step is the Horror Step. Every time I warn about steps, several readers call and tell me about their falls. Which gives depressing a whole new meaning.

Computer and iPhone tips

+ Chrome is the best browser. But it eats memory for every tab you have open. Right now I have 63 tabs open. That’s super convenient. But it’s eating all my laptop’s 16 gigs of memory, preventing other apps from starting.

+ Personal hotspot on your phone lets your laptop get on the Internet where there is no WiFi.

+ Captio is the best note-taker ever. Simple. Free. And it works superbly.

+ Waze is getting better every day. Now it’s on Apple Play, you can see it in your car.

The British just got a new prime minister

Boris Johnson is certifiably nuts. This comment is from comedian Borowitz:

Dan Good, a prescient investor, emails me:

Boris will increase earning of British media companies just as Trump did in the US, so buy their shares!

Cell phone service overseas

I used to schlepp an unlocked cell phone. Now I’ve subscribed to Verizon’s Travel Plan, which lets me call around Europe and call back to the U.S.  You sign up once. You never have to sign up again. Every time you use your phone overseas, it costs you $10 a day. Which seems like a lot. But it’s not. You don’t use the phone every day. If you use your hotel’s WiFi, there’s no $10.

This is Lake Bled. 

It is Slovenia’s most popular tourist trap. Next week Michael and I are doing a Backroads bike trip — this time in Slovenia and Croatia. For more on Backroads and our trip, click here and here.

I’m not totally crazy doing a bike trip at age 77. I’m fit — thank you tennis — and Michael got me an e-bike, which makes climbing hills a breeze.

Here’s the trip:

When holidaying with the family, the key is to have a full daily schedule, organized preferably by someone else. Saves bickering.

My favorite family vacations are Botswana animal safaris.

Ah the joys of planning for retirement


This is Harry Newton and admiring granddaughter Sophie. This evening Harry is flying to Frankfurt, Germany. It’s 103 in Frankfurt. It’s 75 and blue skies in New York City. Perfect biking weather here.  Go figure!

  • Mike Nash

    Diversification is for wimps. I’m 50% in Bitcoin and the other 50% in Alphabet. Today was a good day.

  • Omer Acikel

    Hey Harry, Enjoy your bike ride and be safe. I read the article your friends refer that contradicts to Ed’s, who I find his investing philosophy sound and meticulous, diversification suggestion: other than the title of article which is not proper for its contents, I see no contradiction in Benjamin’s recommendations the Forbes’ author quotes. I mean the oracle himself, mentioned in the article, is diversified from insurance to manufacturing to rail carriers. But the word “diversification” itself is thrown in investment world quite carelessly to a point I sometimes think can be a good indicator of whether an investor’s vision is sound or not. To me if you want to invest for long term, you need to have real estate, loans/bonds for sure. For example, currently I make between 15% to 25% in peer-to-peer lending. But it is high risk so I have small portion of my investments, like Ed’s gold argument. In his case gold is an insurance, for me high risk high return.

  • Lucky

    Have a great bike ride in Slovenia and Croatia…we enjoyed both countries very much…by car.
    Be sure to try some of the really great honey in Slovenia.