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Robinhood? China — reason to buy defense stocks? The Delta variant poses a huge threat. Especially to grandkids.

Facebook was once $18. Amazon was once $2.

Robinhood has been $33.50. It opened yesterday at $38. It’s now $36, or so.

Each of these companies had a “Vision” and a founder who had the gift of the gab.

Robinhood has an S1. In it you’ll find the company’s modest vision:

I haven’t traded on Robinhood. I’m perfectly happy with Fidelity.

Robinhood’s chief selling point is free trades. Fidelity has that too. And, so does everyone else.

Robinhood also has had its share of outages, frozen accounts, hacks and a big $70 million regulatory fine.

The IPO made its founder Vald Zenev, a Bulgarian immigrant, worth $2 billion or so. That’s better than a slap in the belly with a cold fish. (Old Australian saying.)

You can read the company’s S1 here.

The Delta variant poses a huge threat

If you’re vaccinated, you can still catch and carry Delta and transmit it to your grandchildren.

Hence, you should now wear a mask. Five grandkids are visiting Susan and me this weekend. This latest C.D.C. news throws a huge wrinkle over what was to be a joyous event.

Today’s New York Times has a piece “Alarming Finding Drive C.D.C. Mask Reversal.” Here are excerpts:

The recommendation that vaccinated people in some parts of the country dust off their masks was based largely on one troublesome finding, according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New research showed that vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant carry tremendous amounts of the virus in the nose and throat, she said in an email responding to questions from The New York Times.

The finding contradicts what scientists had observed in vaccinated people infected with previous versions of the virus, who mostly seemed incapable of infecting others.

That conclusion dealt Americans a heavy blow: People with so-called breakthrough infections — cases that occur despite full vaccination — of the Delta variant may be just as contagious as unvaccinated people, even if they have no symptoms.

That means fully immunized people with young children, aging parents, or friends and family with weak immune systems will need to renew vigilance, particularly in high-transmission communities. Vaccinated Americans may need to wear masks not just to protect themselves, but everyone in their orbit….

Anecdotes of clusters of breakthrough infections have become increasingly frequent, with groups of vaccinated people reporting sniffles, headache, sore throat, or a loss of taste or smell — symptoms of an infection in the upper respiratory tract.

But the overwhelming majority do not end up needing intensive medical care, because the immune defenses produced by the vaccine destroy the virus before it can get to the lungs.

You can read the full article here.

Under Xi, China is increasingly worrisome

There’s more than enough in Xi’s rhetoric to suggest that he going to make a play for Taiwan, which he sees as part of his China.

Otherwise, why build this? IN fact, he’s soon going to have two of them.

Hence I’ve started to investigate American defense stocks. I already own Raytheon (RTX) which has a small 2.33% yield.

Anyone got any ideas on which other ones?

The Economist has a piece:

What happens in China after Xi Jinping’s rule will shape the world’s future, too
On its centenary, five authors assess China’s Communist Party

In the piece,

“The world cannot be safe until China changes.” In many ways, China has changed beyond recognition since Richard Nixon wrote those words in 1967. The country was then in the grip of Maoist madness, desperately poor and cut off from the Western world. But to many leaders in the West today, the warning rings as true as it did for Nixon….

Nixon’s warning reflected the worries of another time and a different world. In America the perceived threat from China was its support for global communism, particularly in Asia; Chinese troops were pouring into communist North Vietnam to help its fight against the American-backed South. Today China no longer wages such proxy wars or backs insurgencies. But America is fearful again—these days of a China that is a wealthy global power, capable of bending others to its will without resort to arms, yet also posing a far more serious challenge to the United States militarily. Nixon’s words have taken on “a new urgency”, as Mr Garside puts it.

You can read the Economist’s article here.

Today’s downdraft

The bulk of today’s drop in my portfolio is Amazon, which is down over 7% as I write this. The two day chart is not pretty:

Yesterday, the company warned of slowing growth in the quarters ahead as it faces tough year-over-year comparisons to booming business during the Covid-19 pandemic — when we all sat at home and bought things we didn’t need.

It’s had big drops in its shares before and always recovered. Fact is Amazon is  now very very large and so the love affair we all have with growth may be harder for a giant Amazon to fulfil. Maybe it’s time to trim a little? I’m mulling on that one. I need a better alternative. The business of allocation is harder than the business of stock picking.

DOCS is finally perking up. And so are some old favorities — NET, EPAM, CRWD, ZS and MRNA.

Maybe Washington will buy a third dose of my Moderna vaccine? That, and some other neat stuff Moderna is developing should be good for the stock. I bet the FDA will soon drop the Emrgency Use Authorization and make Moderna’s covid vaccine kosher.

Favorite New Yorker cartoons this week

The weekend

The rain has stopped. The sky is blue. The dogs need to be pe-ed. I played tennis. The water slide is being delivered on Sunday. Summer camp begins Monday. Maybe we’ll get time to milk the cows and visit the tufted Roman geese and the miniature horse?

These geese once won a war. More on that another time.

See you Monday. — Harry Newton