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My biggest joy today. Tech stocks drop, again.

I spied Leo on his lawnmower cutting our lawn this morning smoking a cigarette.

I offered him $100 in cash — I held the $100 note — if he would give up smoking there and then.

He said, “Yes” and handed me his half-smoked box of Marlboros .

Exhibit One:

I was so happy I teared up. Not often you can change someone’s life for the better.

Our tech stocks are going down, again, today.

There are three theories:

+ Institutions are selling their appreciated stocks to buy ones that will appreciate even more — like Snowflake and JFrog did yesterday and other IPOs coming soon.

+ The economy isn’t recovering fast enough — based on not rehiring fast enough.

+ The Fed is confused — it’s upbeat on the economy but downbeat on the chance of new stimulus — hence it’s holding its low interest rates forever.

I’m personally depressed for two reasons:

+ I didn’t get any Snow at the IPO price of $120. I never do. Us tiny investors are tiny, not worthy of the underwriters’ attention. Like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley (though I’m an old client of both).

+ My biggest holdings — Apple and Amazon, Nvidia, Zoom and Shopify are taking it on the chin.

I know I shouldn’t sell anything, because every time I’ve done that I did wrong.

I have some cash, so I’ll keep an eye out for any of my favorites that really crater and I’ll buy some more.

This morning Joel Ross of the Ross Rant Newsletter wrote:

The chart below is the S&P over the past 30 years.  You can see what I was referring to in the prior Rant as to performance of equities. However as you can see from the Nasdaq chart, it took ten years for the Nasdaq to recover from the Dotcom bubble burst in 2000. There is a major difference in the Nasdaq today vs 2000.  Back then there were dozens of make believe companies, whereas today we have the world’s largest, most liquid companies, making up a big portion of the tech sector, and the top companies in the Nasdaq 100.  There is no relationship between the Nasdaq of 2000 and today, so don’t make the mistake of comparing the two periods. All of the FANG stocks have enormous cash balances on their balance sheets to be able to ride out any economic downturn including as we just saw, the total shutdown of the world economy. They also have well proven products and giant customer bases. We are in a totally different world today from 2000, where today, the FANG stocks actually benefited from the shutdown. What the tech sector is experiencing right now is simply the normal pullback correction from extreme exuberance by day trader amateurs, and options games of August. Things will  settle down in time.

The first chart is Nasdaq. The second is the S&P.

Why Covid tests can be flawed

Here is the best article I’ve read on medical testing in eons. It’s by Clayton Dalton, a a doctor and published in the New Yorker.

It is “Why a Negative Test Doesn’t Guarantee You Don’t Have the Coronavirus

Here’s a PDF of it. why-a-negative-test-doesn-t-guarantee-you-don-t-have-the-coronavirus-16-Sep-2020

If you want to read it on the New Yorker’s web site, click here.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

And yet, for those making decisions based on diagnoses, it’s important to keep uncertainty in view. Colleges and universities across America have begun testing all students upon arrival; the plan is often to isolate students who have tested positive from those who have tested negative. But we know that, for a variety of reasons, the PCR tests used to detect the coronavirus can miss a sizable number of cases. The virus is so contagious that even a small number of students who have received false negatives can spread it widely. This may be one of the reasons that even colleges with comprehensive testing strategies, such as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, are now struggling to contain serious outbreaks on campus.

Now you’re finished Caste, time to read:

The book is called Break It Up — Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America’s Imperfect Union.
To buy it and learn why we’ve never loved each other, click here. 

Read an interview with the brilliant author here.

Apple Watch tips

Your watch suddenly goes dark. Scroll up and turn off the theater mode, which makes it go dark,  and turn off the bell mode, which turns off the bell.

You’ve “lost” your iPhone.  Scroll up and tap the blue circled button. It will cause your iPhone to make a small noise, lettering you to find it. Hint, it’s in the bed.

It took me only six months to discover these tips, given Apple’s hatred of instruction manuals.

My Covid food discoveries

+ Duck eggs

+ Halo mandarins from South Africa.

How to solve global warming

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-Blasting “dumb scientists for not thinking of this before,” Donald J. Trump said that the planet would cool down “right away” if everyone would just turn on the air-conditioning.

“Scientists go around with their lab coats and test tubes and act like the planet is burning up,” he said. “I guess those beauties have never thought of turning on the A.C.”

“Air-conditioning is the answer,” he said. “It’s the hydroxychloroquine of climate.”

Arguing that his theory was “based on math,” Trump illustrated what would happen to the planet’s temperature if people around the world all turned on the air-conditioning at the exact same time.

“Let’s say two billion people each turned down the A.C. four degrees,” he said. “Just like that, the planet would be eight billion degrees cooler.”

Trump disclosed that he did not come up with this mathematical equation all by himself, acknowledging the assistance of the Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.

Favorite cartoons

A few more days of this downdraft and I’ll be out of gains for the year.

Not a happy camper, but I’m going to play tennis soon. And, wonderfully, there’s one less smoker in the world. — Harry Newton



  1. Dman says:

    Harry, I sure hope you sent your check to Michael LaVon Robinson. If not then you’re a brave dem.

    Q……bye-bye evil satanic democrat party.

  2. johnjplummer . says:

    you got smoked. Lol

  3. gerryb says:

    I remember, as a child, listening to my uncle tell my Dad that he wished he would stop smoking. My uncle then went through a list of relatives who had died from the effects of smoking. Dad never quit; he died when I was 21 after a long battle with emphysema. Then I watched my wife, Deborah’s, stepfather die the same way. A few years later we watched Deborah’s biological father die from it. This finally made enough of an impression on Deborah to get her to quit smoking.

    Good work Harry. I hope Leo sticks with it.

  4. Scooter says:

    My brothers inlaws got tested. They both failed. They got tested again and they both passed. Never any symptoms.

  5. Tom says:

    Good job, Newton. My father died a horrific death after 55 years of smoking one to two packs a day for 60 years.

  6. TomFromVa says:

    Quitting smoking is the easiest thing in the world – I’ve done it dozens of times.

  7. PhiilyGuy says:

    Maybe tech stocks are going down because they are overvalued – just because a company is great doesn’t mean its stock is great. Remember the Nifty Fifty? Those stocks that everyone was ok paying 50x earnings for because they would grow earnings forever?

  8. roland says:

    100$ for half a pack of cigarette… That’s an expensive pack (if he ever starts again)

    • Gary S says:

      Basically Harry paid 20x list for $5 worth of cigarettes so he can feel good for a few hours. Anyone would say yes to that offer and then buy a pack once Harry’s lawn is done. Harry I thought you were smarter than this?

      • Tom says:

        I disagree. Harry gave this guy a chance to quit smoking leveraging the guy’s honesty. If he’s dishonest he’ll fail at a cost to Harry of only $100. If honest he’ll be healthy for the rest of his life. Harry is in a position to help this guy and after all what’s a stinking $100 compared to health, even someone else’s?