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Desperation is the latest investor disease. Don’t catch it.

The stockmarket is too hard. All the good old techie stocks are drek and getting drekkier. That’s a technical term.

I’m making a few shekels (money) by being 100% short. My short is Vanguard tech ETF called VGT.

I love technology. I love the way we use it to improve our products, services and lives. I love the cloud. I love cybersecurity.

But right now they’re not in fashion (i.e. their stock prices are falling and falling) .

Investors are desperate:

+ Hence, bitcoin and crypto.

+ Hence, Blackrock’s BREIT fund targeted at wealthy investors.

+ Hence, art and watches.

+ Hence energy stocks, or the XLE ETF. Once again, too hard. Too much international politicking.

+ Hence, falling in love with story stocks — like I did with Nvidia.

+ Hence, buying the “dip.” Not good when the dips keep dipping..

I’m not proud of admitting to being short listed securities. I am proud of investing in syndicated real estate — residential and commercial — which has done far better than stocks in the last year.

The ONLY free lunch is diversification.

The second free lunch is the 4.74% we can earn today in one-year treasuries. They incur Federal tax, but not state and local. That’s all I know about taxes on treasuries. Don’t ask me for more. I have a lot of one year treasuries and some two year treasuries. I’m assuming by their maturity, the world of investing will be blue skies. Clarity and certainty will reign. If they don’t, I’ll buy more treasuries and continue playing tennis.

The biggest free lunch is knowledge. I have a dear friend who makes a handsome living day trading. He has studied it, read books, etc. and has a skill. I have studied it, read books and have no skill.

The biggest idiocy is falling in love — just like Sequoia did when they put $210 million into FTX.

I watched, listened and mulled Sam Bankman-Fried’s entire one hour plus interview with the New York Times.

Would you have given him any money?

The answer is clearly no.

Yet “smart” venture capitalists gave him hundreds of millions of dollars.

Why? Because they had convinced themselves that they would multiply their investments manyfold. And that’s what Sam said they told him.

Sam is barely literate. Not able to answer questions – whether he knew or didn’t know the answer.

Sam also admitted to not reading books.

Here are hightlghts from Sam’s interview: Click here.

iPhone stuff

Too late to buy an iPhone 14 for Christmas. Earliest delivery is December 29.

Susan’s new iPhone 14 Pro Max arrived. It’s a nice phone. She and I installed it.

Make sure your existing iPhone is backed up to iCloud and you know all your passwords. Took nearly three hours. The more you’re on Apple and less on Windows, the better.

Apple makes software called iTunes to join the two platforms and update your phone. It’s hard to use. Deliberately, I suspect.

A Christmas weekend visit to New York City 

The Nutcracker. The tree in Rockefeller Center. Christmas shop windows on Fifth Avenue. The Museum of Natural History. And the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) with my favorite:

If you love the van Gogh painting, you’ll love the Don McLean song:

You could try actively managed mutual funds. Here’s the headline from Sunday’s New York Times:

To read the entire piece, click here.

See you soon. — Harry Newton