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The good, the bad and the funny news

There is actually good news today:

     + No new local infections for the first time for one day. China. A 103-year-old Chinese woman has made a full recovery from COVID-19 after being treated for 6 days in Wuhan, China. She becomes the oldest patient to beat the disease.

    + Testing is ramping up in the U.S., finally.

   + Congress is moving on stimulus bills, some of which actually make sense.

   + There are reports of progress on new tests and new potential vaccines — from Israel to Queensland, Australia. Cleveland’s MetroHealth Medical Center has developed a COVID-19 test that can now deliver results in two hours, rather than days. More than 50 scientists in Israel are now working to develop a vaccine and antibody for COVID-19, having reported significant breakthroughs in understanding the biological mechanism and characteristics of the novel coronavirus. San Diego biotech company Arcturus Therapeutics is developing a COVID-19 vaccine in with Duke University and National University of Singapore. Every pharma company is working on a vaccine or a cure.

   + The Administration is finally taking the virus seriously. It and Fox News are now longer pumping out nonsense — that coronavius is minor, will blow over and is a plot by the Democrats to overthrow Trump. Fox News is our biggest cable news outlet. Its change in tone will have a major positive effect.

   + Apple has re-opened all 42 of its retail stores in China.

  + Mr and Mrs. Tom Hanks, who tested positive for the virus, have been released from hospital in Australia and are now quarantining locally. This is great news for those of us who love Tom Hanks, the actor.

   + Good old entrepreneurship is alive and well. I received an email this morning, “Working form home? You need a good chair.” It came from a company called — what else? — Office Furniture Heaven.

   + The stockmarket has crashed from insane momentum investing to levels where value investing might actually start to work again. Healthy companies’ stock  are being thrown out with the bathwater. It’s truly amazing how far the stocks of good companies have fallen. For now, I’d resist catching falling knives.

I have pared down my portfolio because, in areas, the pain became too intense. I have done well with “work at home” stocks Zoom Video and DocuSign, and my Boeing and Exxon shorts. But those paper profits haven’t come close to making up for the losses everywhere else.

Stocks to buy include Regeneron, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson. For now, they’re interesting crapshoots.

The biggest bad news is that much of the American public is ignoring physical distancing. People “working from home” in Florida are now flooding the beaches. It’s Spring Break for everyone. The Chinese would deploy drones and police to send the people home. Enforcing the distancing rules is a good job for the National Guard.

I feel positive that we’ll be out of this by the summer. Meantime, everyone is on edge. Our New York City car park lifted Susan’s new station wagon on a hoist and rammed it into the ceiling, smashing its sunroof. Our DirecTV crashed. Our alarm system screamed blue murder because we boiled water for too long. You don’t want a list of our other petty idiocies. I bet you have your own.

The only certainty today is uncertainty. There is certainty that we will eventually get through this.

The world lost 50 million people from  the 1918 influenza pandemic. It was caused by an H1N1 virus. In those days they didn’t know what a virus was or how to kill it. Maybe the world will now shut down animal wet food markets. I never did eat a bat, or feel like eating one.

We’ve come a long way.

Now, look at the bright side.

Even better good news

Dealing Drugs today

This is how we fixed the DirectTV antenna on the roof.

Great idea to put a DirecTV antenna on the roof where it can see satellites, but you can’t see it.

Fixing issue is another issue. We had to replace the LNB.

Some of my stocks are showing green on my screen this morning. My learned friend Mark Lev calls this a Dead Cat Bounce.

See you tomorrow: Harry Newton

  • James Darman

    If there is a treatment that works and it’s available to hospitals this would be a focus of attention because of the positive repercussions. However, such treatments are currently lost in the fire hose of information.

    South Korea and Belgium have official protocols and use pills to treat Covid 19 patients. Death rates are significantly lower there for what reason, I do not know. Maybe it’s the chloroquine and remdisivir that’s being given as official interventions?

    If a pill works, it works- whether or not it’s been fully, scientifically studied. The earth was round before it had been proven to be rouSouth Korea and Belgium have official protocols and use pills to treat Covid 19 patients. Death rates are significantly lower there for what reason, I do not know. Maybe it’s the chloroquine and remdisivir that’s being given as official interventions?

    If a pill works, it works- whether or not it’s been fully, scientifically studied. The earth was round before it had been proven to be round. If a treatment hasn’t met peer reviewed standards this does not mean it cannot be used. Belgium and S. Korea as (well as China, now) are examples.

    We have a President that acts on instinct. At long last, he is deferring to experts but he still has instincts. True experts would never definitively say the earth is round before peer reviewed verified it. But in a crisis, at some level, they too might go along and shut up. However they would never be seen by their scientifically minded peers as approving of anything where there’s always an outside chance that it could later become snake oil.

    So they do not have the President’s back on using these pills – they can only stand around on the stage as he talks about “game changer” possibilities.

    We have a press that wants to show the President in bad light so the narrative is to play down what the President seems to intuitively know. Some in the press see their job as to constantly remind us of what we already know-up that these pills have not been peer reviewed.

    So possibly earth shaking developments are downplayed and obscured.
    nd. If a treatment hasn’t met peer reviewed standards this does not mean it cannot be used. Belgium and S. Korea as (well as China, now) are examples.

    We have a President that acts on instinct. At long last, he is deferring to experts but he still has instincts. True experts would never definitively say the earth is round before peer reviewed verified it. But in a crises, at some level, they to might go along and shut up. However they would never be seen by their scientifically minded peers as approving pf anything where there’s always an outside chance that could later become snake oil.

    So they do not have the President’s back on using these pills – they can only stand around on the stage as he talks about “game changer” possibilities.

    We have a press that wants to show the President in bad light so the narrative is to play down what the President seems to intuitively know. Some in the press see their job as to constantly remind us of what we already know-up that these pills have not been peer reviewed.

    So possibly earth shaking developments are downplayed and obscured.

  • Scooter

    Harry, Trump was on this and assembled the virus team back in January. When he closed down the China flights the media hailed “xenophobe”, “Racist”, “bigot”, and claimed he was taking advantage of the situation etc.. Now they want to impeach and convict him for manslaughter for not acting fast enough.

    Be careful where you get your news.

  • gerryb

    I know Harry says to stay away from gold, but it is a small part of any sensible asset allocation. Most folks believe gold is a crisis hedge that immediately goes up when stocks crash. But it isn’t that simple. As the housing crisis unfolded in 2008, gold chopped sideways, largely falling alongside the S&P 500. It looked like investors had no safe haven… But that wasn’t the case.the issue was patience. First, gold did not fall nearly as much as the market. Second,
    Investors who got into gold as the crisis unfolded did incredibly well… eventually. It just took a little time. But just about any investment in gold – whether during or after the crisis began – led to outperformance over stocks. Gold massively outperformed stocks if you’d bought as the crisis began. It’s more than that, though…

    In 2009, even as the market recovered, gold was the better bet.

    If you had bought stocks in April 2009, just a month after the S&P 500 bottomed, you would have underperformed gold over the next year. Fast-forward to 2010, and the story is still the same… Gold buyers outperformed the market over the next year.

    That may seem crazy. But it was true for buyers getting in at the beginning of 2011, too. Even a recent crisis tends to mean big opportunity in gold.

    This should get your attention. For the first three years of the recovery, gold was the outperformer. Not stocks. It seems like a no-brainer to me. If this the end of the current financial order with the dollar as the worlds reserve currency, gold is the asset to hold. If the virus dies out quickly, all the stimulus works, and the markets come roaring back to new highs, gold will still probably do even better.

    • Lucky

      In the past I always made 10% and better on gold…I never took delivery I simply let the bank hold onto it while I bought and sold it online through EverBank. Fee was less than 1% buy/sell. Unlike most stock, gold fluctuates over night around the world…London Gold governs.

  • harrynewton

    Just what we need. A resurrection of Auction Rate Preferreds….

    • KC Chuck

      Loved today’s ‘drug deal’ !!
      Sorry about the Mrs. car too.

    • Mike Nash

      My broker says there was a problem in ’08 but it was caused by naieve investors and that the companies quickly made good on it. To me it sounds almost as stable as FDIC insured investments. HE gets a heft commission I’m sure.

  • Mike Nash

    My broker says it’s financial Armageddon. He told me the best investment is a new spin on the old Auction Rate Securities. Harry, do you have an opinion?