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Picking stocks in an uncertain world of viruses and politics. Trump’s State of the Union makes good (more below)

United Health is up 5% today.

The only reason I can find is that last night, Trump said “We will never let socialism destroy American healthcare.”

If the Democrats get free healthcare for all run exclusively by the government, UNH will be worth gornicht — yiddish for nothing.

So, now we have a new Black Swan — politics — to add to our present one — the coronavirus.

Today’s exercise: Keep expanding that list of areas NOT to invest in, or at least only selectively.

+ Retailers. Macys is flat over the past ten years and cratering recently, as it closes stores. But Costco is up about five times and Home Depot is up nearly eightfold.

+ Airlines. Delta is up nearly six fold. American is up nearly five fold. But it’s been rough going lately.

+ Energy. Exxon is flat. Haliburton is down. Chevron is up 50%. Hard to see energy as a growth industry with so much oil and gas around.

+ Mining and metals. BHP and Aloca are down. RIO is up 24%.

+ Banks. This is surprising. The biggest, JPM, is up three times in the past ten years. Citigroup is up 2.5 times. But I wouldn’t touch any of them because of my perfectly miserable personal experience with them. But that usually means nothing. I don’t like Window 10, but I do own lots of Microsoft because other people apparently do like Win 10.

+ Car makers. It’s sad but GM is now exactly what it was 10 years ago. Ford is much lower. Tesla is 15 times higher. Gas cars are dead.

+ Companies being pushed on bubblevision. Many are being pushed to use up airtime. Be wary.

I don’t often run ten year charts.

The conclusion I always come away with — Tech makes sense. Over the past ten years, Amazon is up 20 times. Google is up five times. Apple is up ten times. Salesforce (CRM) is up 11 times. And on it goes.

You can’t cover it all. The best approach remains: Pick the booming areas and, in those areas, pick which ones seem to be the smartest (and are getting the most attention for being the smartest). My two biggest holdings are Amazon and Apple. My biggest percentage gains are coming from Apple, DocuSign, Microsoft, Fortinet, ServiceNow, Skyworks Solutions, and Nvidia.

I also own three handsome dividend+appreciation stocks — BX, BXMT and LADR.

We’re up today. It’s reasonable to take a little off the table. I have.

Trump’s triumphant State of the Union

The speech gave the fact-checkers lots of work.

The Washington Post wrote: “Trump claims he rebooted a failing economy. The facts don’t support him, but voters might.”

That’s the point. The speech was great theater.

I was the only person in America over the age of 75 who stayed awake for the whole speech.

I loved it.

It wasn’t a State of the Union Speech. It was a campaign speech.

And a good one. You can see what’s coming in his line, “We will never let socialism destroy American healthcare.”

Eons ago, when I gave business speeches for a living, I figured audiences wanted 85% entertainment/”feel good.”

They got it last night from Trump.

Today, the Week Magazine wrote:

If President Trump could freeze time at the instant he completed his State of the Union address on Tuesday night (last night) and keep it there for the next nine months, he would likely win re-election in a landslide.

You can read The Week’s piece here.

This is mind-boggling trash

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton suggested that Chinese officials misled the public on the origins of the novel coronavirus from Wuhan, China, saying it may have originated in a “superlaboratory.”

Cotton qualified his remarks by saying “we still don’t know where” the virus originated, but his comments come amid numerous conspiracy theories on its origins — including one alleging the virus “originated in lab linked to China’s biowarfare program.”

The above from Business Insider. Click here.

It so depresses me that a U.S. Senator, with absolutely no evidence, would utter such total nonsense.

Australia is mobilizing to save its fire-endangered animals

This is a pygmy possum. I’ve never seen one.

This past weekend Susan and I watched this splendid documentary on King Koala. Watch it. It was shot before the fires. Your kids will love it, also. King Koala is a big dude. Lady koalas choose him as the father of their upcoming child. It’s totally captivating. Your kids will love it.

Not all thieves are stupid

1. LONG-TERM PARKING: Some people left their car in the long-term parking at San Jose while away, and someone broke into the car. Using the information on the car’s registration in the glove compartment, they drove the car to the people’s home in Pebble Beach and robbed it. Lesson: Don’t leave you car’s registration/insurance cards in it, nor your remote garage door opener.

2. GPS: Someone had their car broken into while they were at a football game. Their car was parked on the green which was adjacent to the football stadium and specially allotted to football fans. Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which had been prominently mounted on the dashboard. When the victims got home, they found that their house had been ransacked and just about everything worth anything had been stolen. The thieves had used the GPS to guide them to the house. They then used the garage remote control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house. The thieves knew the owners were at the football game, they knew what time the game was scheduled to finish and so they knew how much time they had to clean out the house. They brought a truck to empty the house.

3. PASSWORD; Her handbag was stolen. It contained her cell phone, credit card, wallet, etc.. Twenty minutes later when she called her hubby from a pay phone telling him what had happened, hubby says, “I received your text asking about our Pin number and I’ve replied a little while ago.” When they rushed to the bank, the bank’s staff told them all their money was already withdrawn. The thief had actually used the stolen cell phone to text “hubby” in the contact list and got hold of the pin number. Within 20 minutes he had withdrawn all the money from their bank account.

Life is wonderful. This morning I hit down-the-line forehands and backhands. But, Skip Hartman, my opponent, who’s smarter than I am,  figured them all out. And I lost.

I’ll try again tomorrow — Harry Newton.

 

  • Mike Nash

    Harry, I’ve come to the realization that you are the opposite of a value investor. You like to invest in things that have gone UP a lot recently.I recall you investing in bitcoin for the first time when it was topping. You’re probably going to buy Tesla now. And Beyond Meat. Have you considered ever emulating Warren Buffett and trying to buy shares in a company that’s undervalued? Or buying shares of a company bEFORE it goes up and not waiting till it’s already run up?

  • #1 Fan

    The members of the trillion dollar club:

    Microsoft
    Apple
    Google
    Amazon

    MAGA…saw it from a guest on Varney and Co

    • Bruce Miller

      The members of the zillion animals club:

      hold Australian pygmy possum tail get peaceful animal in palm of hand
      hold American grey wolf by tail get Biden on the arm and all over…dumb.

  • bruuno

    Ok, then