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Warning: Too many enticing investments. Too many gotchas. If in doubt, stay OUT.

It feels like 2006. Everyone and their uncle is peddling something hot for me to “put my money to work.

There are funds investing in tech startups. Good ones like WeWork, Lyft, and Uber.

There are brokers selling hot stocks in upcoming hot IPOs. Like Lyft, Uber and others.

There are funds investing in strange distress real estate.

There are structured notes that promise to give me my money back irrespective of what happens in the market. They give me more if the stock market, God Forbid, does well.

There are emerging markets that never emerge. (Even Germany is now sliding in a recession.)

There are alternative investments that are just that — alternative. Which means they have more gotchas than Carter had liver pills.

Wall Street is really good at coming up with new names for crappy investments. Remember auction rate preferred?. They were like money market funds, until they weren’t.

There are reverse mortgages. Talk about gotchas. They give gotchas a whole new meaning.

Four rules:

+ When in doubt, stay out.

+ Be always in doubt.

+ If you don’t know the industry, you won’t know what questions to ask.

+ When God closes a door, She always opens a window. Which means something better comes along very fast. (Don’t email me about whether God is male or female. I don’t care.)

Life is wonderful.

Say NO. Go for a walk. The weather here is gorgeous.

What’s your inviolate stop loss rule?

My friend Steve Schoen emailed:

Hi Harry,

A few weeks ago you asked your readers for advice on what you should do about NFLX.
I replied that you should consider having an inviolate stop-loss rule.
Investor’s Business Daily recommends an inviolate 7% stop-loss rule.
In the Market Wizards series, the market wizards recommend tighter stop-loss rules than IBD’s. Their stop-loss rules range from around 1% to 5%. Some liquidate their entire position in a stock as soon as their stop-loss threshold is reached. Others liquidate their losing position in phases. For example, one guy liquidates half of his position when it’s down 3%. He liquidates the rest of his position when it falls another 3%.
OK. This is Netflix year to date. Totally miserable since early July.
A tight stop would have saved us considerable angst.
There are lots of reasons to sell stocks. In Netflix’s case, the BIG reason was the world has clearly changed for them. There are a million new competitors — from Disney to Amazon. From Apple to YouTube TV. American Netflix subscribers dropped in the latest quarter.
I issued a big “Sell Roku” on September 6. I did it because I felt it had run too high too fast. I was right. Look what happened subsequently:
In sum, you sell a stock:
+ Because it has reached your inviolate stop loss level. Try 15% for starters.

+ Because the financial press is on its case with negative press — e.g. Netflix.

+ Because it has run up too far too fast.
+ Or its world has really changed, e.g. Netflix, or the retailers (with exceptions), the banks, or the energy companies (e.g. Exxon).
All cable, satellite and telephone companies have wrong invoices

And the “wrongness” always favors them — not you, their customer.

They bill you for equipment you don’t have.

They bill you for services you aren’t using.

They bill you differently to what they promised.

The worst is Auto-Pay. You really get scr*wed.

Check your telecom bills.

Back in the land of the living

When computers go awry, they can go major awry.

Mine did. Which is why I didn’t post for a few days.

I’m still not back. I’ll have the full gruesome story tomorrow.

Meantime, keep backups of today, this week, last week, last year.

The creative mortician (This is long. but very funny.)

A man who’d just died is delivered to a local mortuary wearing an expensive, expertly tailored black suit.

The female blonde mortician asks the deceased’s wife how she would like the body dressed. She points out that the man looks good in the black suit he is already wearing.

The widow, however, says that she always thought her husband looked his best in blue, and that she wants him in a blue suit. She gives the Blonde mortician a blank check and says, ‘I don’t care what it costs, but please have my husband in a blue suit for the viewing.’

The woman returns the next day for the wake. To her delight, she finds her husband dressed in a gorgeous blue suit with a subtle chalk stripe; the suit fits him perfectly.

She says to the mortician, ‘Whatever this cost, I’m very satisfied. You did an excellent job and I’m very grateful. How much did you spend?’

To her astonishment, the blonde mortician says “There’s no charge.”

‘No, really, I must compensate you for the cost of that exquisite blue suit!’ she says.

‘Honestly, ma’am,’ the blonde says, ‘it cost nothing. You see, a deceased gentleman of about your husband’s size was brought in shortly after you left yesterday, and he was wearing an attractive blue suit. I asked his wife if she minded him going to his grave wearing a black suit instead, and she said it made no difference as long as he looked nice.’

‘So I just switched the heads.’

My favorite Australian bird — the kookaburra

All my old friends are now birders. Their new goal is to see every bird species in America — now numbering around 1100.

Australia has lots of birds. Click here. 

American ingenuity

Much nicer place to be while the weather is gorgeous

On the tennis court. Note the YETI bottle. It keeps water cold. The stock is way overpriced. I have a small holding.




  1. Lucky says:

    Keep this picture Harry…best of the lot!

  2. Dman says:

    Harry, your stupid evil dems are going to roll-the-dice.

    Guess what? Those dice belong to Trump and they’re LOADED!!!


    The Great Awakening
    Trust The Plan
    These People Are Sick

  3. Bob Crites says:

    Harry: When you have created a diversified portfolio of 30 stocks you have created an index fund. Why not just buy the index fund and concentrate on family and tennis?