Subject: Ross Rant Dec 25
It has been a wonderful year to be an equity investor. My portfolios are ending the year up almost 32% by doing almost nothing all year. I am ending the year with almost the same positions I started with, which again proves my regular comment, anyone can do what I did, and it is just a matter of picking good companies, and then being patient. It does not take special smarts to do well in a good market. The key is picking the right stocks, and then sticking with your choices unless something occurs that makes you change your conviction on the market or the specific stock. All equities has proven to be the real winner strategy for the past 11 years for me. I went all back into equities in March 2009 after being entirely out since May 2007, and have stayed there ever since, and made a superb return as a result. To repeat what I have said many times, bonds make no sense, the 60-40 balance portfolio makes no sense unless you want mediocre returns with real risk of declines as rates rise, and annuities are a stupid investment. Over long term all equities so long as you choose very strong US companies, with strong balance sheets and a strong product strategy and brand, you will do well if you are patient. There are times like in 2007 when I got out entirely because I saw the crash coming, when you need to be out. Jan 6 if the Dems win both seats may be one of those times. Even if you had just bought the QQQ’s or an SPX index fund you would have done very well. If you had bought QQQ and done nothing else you would be up 45% this year. That is around 7 or 8 times as good as the average hedge fund, and almost two times the average private equity fund. That does not mean you should now own only QQQ for 2021. Maybe it will repeat, but I am not saying to do that. Whatever you do has to be your personal decision. One thing is certain. Unless you are a very experienced investor, trading regularly is not the way to make high returns, and day trading is a fools game. Robinhood is not a place to invest through. I have no idea what 2021 will bring, but it will be another year of chaos both domestically and geopolitically, so the risks are very high, but depending on what happens, the rewards could possibly be high as the virus goes away and the economy is fully reopened. There is an equal chance the stock market could go up 10%, or down 10% from here. If you believe the economy will grow reasonably, or strongly next year, the last place you want to be is in bonds. Rates are going to rise, and bond prices therefore will decline. That is as certain as the sun rising in the morning. Bonds are not risk free, and some bonds default, especially in the lower quality levels, and in these uncertain times. There are a bunch of companies with far too much debt now, and they may never recover from the last year as rates rise. Companies do go bankrupt, and sometimes the bonds get crammed down. To me the risk reward of buying bonds in these high levered companies is just a stupid investment tradeoff. I much prefer a strong equity where I may get a 2% dividend and 5%-10% equity growth, than to buy a bond even if the yield is 7%-8%. That high yield is because the risk is high. If the Dems win on Jan 5 the stock market will probably drop 10% or more. Having lived in GA for 6 months many decades ago, it is unimaginable that even today they will vote for radicals for Senate if it is an honest count.
If you feel that you are unable to forecast 2021 with any confidence, don’t feel bad. Even the most sophisticated money managers and economic forecasters I regularly dialogue with have no idea what to expect for the next few weeks or months. There is just so much unknowns and black swans these days, it is not possible to be sure of anything anymore. We don’t even know what the unknowns will be beyond Jan 5. One bit of good news. Here in FL if you are over 65 you have priority for the vaccine. I hope to get a shot in January if my local CVS gets a supply.
There is a major case just heard by SCOTUS related to Fannie and Freddie. They have many private sector investors who were due dividends amounting to tens of billions. Instead, Obama had FHFA divert those dividends to use to support Obamacare and other pet projects Congress refused to fund. Now the private shareholders are hoping to have SCOTUS rule that the diversion was illegal, and the government owes the shareholders tens of billions. We will know what happens in a few months, but it appears from the hearing that the shareholders will lose on the dividends. They may win on the portion of the case declaring the director of FHFA is unconstitutionally protected from firing. Does nothing for shareholders
Trump is right that the omnibus bill had all sorts of ridiculous waste in it, like $10 million for gender studies in Pakistan that could have gone to unemployed Americans, but to drop his bomb after the deal was done is just an effort to satisfy his ego by saying to everyone, I am still here and I still have power. Mnuchin was in every negotiating meeting, and Trump could easily have said this two weeks ago. He knew, or should have known what was in that bill. Doing this now just hurt Republicans, and the people who needed the help, and gave Pelosi a big win when McConnell had been the big winner. Trump handed the Dems a wonderful talking point for the next election cycle. It was a stupid move by him driven purely by ego. On the other hand, it just shows to continued absurdity of Congress and their continuing idiocy of using US taxpayer money for these sorts of things, and to support things like Kennedy Center that can easily raise funding through private contributions. It is no wonder that voters think the whole of DC should be wiped clean. Trump’s move just proves the black swans do suddenly come out of nowhere. Now small business owners are left hanging on Christmas.
It appears now that there is a Brexit deal. That is very good for the world, and for the stock market. It removes a very big uncertainty and potential major black swan. The UK is now on its own which is very good for them and they are free to make trade deals with anyone they wish on their own terms. It would not be surprising if other EU nations decide to pull out over the next few years, especially Poland and Hungary. Not likely for now, but in time it may happen.
There still are many other black swans circling. There is a possibility that Biden will need to resign in a year or two once the truth about the Biden family corruption comes out, and as his mental incapacity becomes more apparent. I believe Joe really was deeply involved, and his expenses to some degree were paid by Hunter and his brother out of the bribe money. We know from Bobalinsky that Joe has lied repeatedly and blatantly about this whole thing, and the press has covered it up. There needs to be a special counsel, or we can never be sure if we will really hear the whole truth. It appears much of what Bobalinsky said has been verified by some reporters, and he gave all of that to DOJ. The dilemma is, if you blow up Joe, we get Kamala.
It is now very clear from the real data that shut downs do not work, and they create far more damage than the virus. FL is now wide open. There is indoor dining, bars and gyms are open, and life is almost normal. FL is the same size as NY, only 2.5 million bigger. While FL had many more cases, but NY has had 36,883 deaths, and FL had only 20,847 deaths. Yesterday Fl had 11,305 new cases, but NY had 12,325 and FL is wide open and NY is shut down. Unemployment in FL is 6.4% and in NY it is 9%, and 125,000 people moved out of NY, and many went to FL. In FL, schools are open, in NY they are closed. In Fl kids are getting educated, and in NY kids are getting their lives destroyed. Restaurants are 1.4% of cases and at home gatherings accounts for 75%. Is there something the Dems and “health experts” do not understand about the data, and the real time facts in FL compared to NY and CA. FL is thriving and NY is dying.
Xi has apparently decided to make a show of clamping down on Jack Ma and Alibaba and Ant. Ma seems to have made some remarks critical of Xi and his administration, and now Xi is going to make sure everyone knows he tolerates no criticism, no matter who it comes from. He did it in Hong Kong with Tommy Lai, and now with Ma. At least he has not killed them yet. Lai is going to end up in prison most likely, and Ma has just lost billions in the crackdown, and maybe they will break up Alibaba and ruin him. Xi is as bad as any dictator. We just do not know how many he has had murdered or dragged off to prison. Agreements mean nothing to him, and using his military to take control of areas like the South China Sea are going to be more common. He is on a very dangerous course, and it will accelerate it under Biden. This is the real threat to the world in 2021- 22, and the Biden foreign policy team is not up to the threat, especially since Joe is compromised already.
The Dalton School in NYC was one of the world’s top private schools. Tuition is $60,000 plus expected donations of thousands more. And that is just to attend. Competition to get in is brutal. So they stepped up acceptance of black kids. Most likely they are very smart, and most are probably from middle or upper class families. Now the faculty has issued a mandate to the administration insisting that their demands must be met or else. Right out of university learned behavior. The demands are for black kids to get special treatment, remedial support, psychologists to give support, freedom from disciplinary actions, and racial subjects must be taught. This is absurd, and teaches the exact opposite message that is needed. By saying the black kids should get all this special treatment says they are lesser, and need all this extra help to succeed, where the white kids can do it on their own. How demeaning to the black kids who strived to get admitted. For the white kids it says you don’t matter, and the black kids are inferior, and you should feel sorry for them as victims. All the wrong messages for young kids who should be taught everyone is equal and everyone competes equally to succeed or fail. This sort of thing is happening all across academia, and it is selling victimhood as an aspect of being black, instead of teaching self-reliance and make it on your own like most of us had to do. It just further ingrains the culture of many blacks that they are owed a job, a living and promotions now. I am old enough to have suffered real discrimination when I was young. My response was to rely on myself, and work even harder to succeed, not to depend on the government to give me any favors or handouts. I never felt like a victim. The entire concept of victim now prevalent in academia, corporations, and the press is self-defeating, and just makes blacks more dependent and prone to not feel the need to excel. Telling someone it is not your fault for not getting good grades, or not getting the job, does nobody any good. Many have arrived in the US from war, poverty, the Holocaust, and terrible schools, or were Japanese interned during the war, but they made a success without the government giving them anything other than the freedom to succeed or fail. I am sure many of you were just like me. Starting with nothing, but succeeding by trying harder despite whatever bad things came our way. We are creating a society of “victims”, and that will create a group of angry blacks when they are not just given what they want, and angry whites who feel they also deserve to be taken care of. It will get much worse under Biden. The American pioneering spirit is being denigrated, and it is a setback for blacks .
Have a very merry Christmas. Count your blessings that you made it through the year despite all that has happened.