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Final Friday – 2021 Ends With Record High – Covid Cases

Winning!  

If Charlie Sheen has taught us nothing else, it's that saying you are winning – over and over again – can actually make people think you are winning…  Even when things are actually spiraling out of control.  Yesterday, the US set a new record with 582,044 cases of Covid reported in 24 hours, just as we head into the one day a year when it can be guaranteed that people will be gathering in large crowds this evening.  Winning!

We are winning with our S&P 500 (/ES) Futures shorts, those are up over $4,700 already but this time (unlike Thanksgiving), we are keeping our hedge on into the holiday weekend.  Speaking of holiday weekends – for some reason, the stock markets are open today but I'm declaring a half day – unless something crazy is happening by lunch.  

Nothing happening in the markets during this low-volume week actually matters but, when we cross 1M new cases of Covid per day in January – that might start to matter.  So far, thankfully, the death rates and hospitalization rates are not so bad but the total number of deaths in the US is about to hit 850,000 (1.5%) out of 54.3M Americans who have been infected so far.  

In the past month, 5.4M people have been infected – that's 10% of the people who were infected over the prior two years and 37,114 people died – that's 4.3% of the people who died in total and that's only 0.67% of the people recently infected so WINNING as half as many people are dying even though twice as many people are being infected – winning!  

The week's 7 best political cartoons | The WeekOn a positive note, 9,138,204,546 doses of vaccine have been administered globally but, unfortunately, 2.5Bn of us in the US, Europe, China and Japan have gotten 7.5Bn doses and the other 5.5Bn people have had to share the remainng 1.5Bn does.  Winning!   Being vaccinated does seem to help but America has 100M unvaccinated citizens and Omicron is spreading through that population like a conspiracy theory at a Trump rally.  Winning.

We are indeed fortunate (winning) that the Omicron strain of covid seems to have evolved to be less deadly than the Delta variant is is rapidly replacing.  That has not been true for mutations of Bird Flu, Hepatitis C or HIV – all of which became worse as they progressed.  Covid is closely related to bird flu so winning – so far…

Most importantly, the S&P 500 is wrapping up a WINNING! year at 4,766 this morning after starting the year at 3,750 so 1,000 points is 26.666% – winning!  4,800 completes a 50% gain from 3,200 which is where we were in December of 2019 and we pulled back to 2,400 in March of 2020, which was a 50% retracement of the run from 1,600 that began in 2013.  That means a weak retrace of the current run would be 320 points – back to 4,480 (which you can see has been tested twice in December), while a strong retrace of 640 points (which would be a weak retrace of the run from 1,600) will take us back to 4,160 – those are the lines we'll be watching (out) for in Q1.

Here's wishing you and your family a happy, healthy and prosperoous 2022, 

- Phil

 

 


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  1. Before I dive in to all the festivities, Phil thank you for your wise comments of the past year. To you, your family and all our members, I wish all of you a  good and healthy New Year.


  2. Good Morning.


  3. Good morning!

    Thanks Yodi and thanks to you all for enduring this crisis with us for the past two years.  It's so nice to have somewhere to go to have intelligent, interesting conversations about the markets and life – you guys are all fantastic!  

    SPX +0.05%Dec. 31, 2021 9:49 AM ET2 Comments

    • The stock market enters its last day of trading with some cautious low-volume trading following a strong year for equities.
    • The Nasdaq (COMP.IND) -0.1% is a little lower, as is the Dow (DJI) -0.1%.
    • The S&P 500 (SP500) -0.1% is up 27% for the year and looking at seven-straight winning quarters.
    • That streak generally works out well for bulls in the next three quarters.
    • The broader market is also looking at its best December since 2019, now up about 4.6%.
    • Wall Street is open for a full session due to Rule 7.2, while other major exchanges around the world are either shut or closing early for New Year's.
    • The bond market does close early today, at 2 p.m. ET.
    • There was $42B of inflows into U.S. equities in the past week, according to Citi.
    • "Equity funds ended 2021 with a week of inflows. Over the past 52 weeks, MSCI US outperformed global markets at +27% gain, and US funds amassed US$387bn of inflows, mostly via ETFs. Global funds had US$403bn of inflows. European funds also had net positive inflows, at US$3.3bn, mostly via ETFs. MSCI Japan was flat in 2021 due to a 10% JPY depreciation, but its funds still had US$29bn of inflow."
    • Volume will be lower than normal but there could be some sharp swings due to last-minute window-dressing moves from money managers for 2021.
    • For those looking for some extra action on the last trading day of the year, they could bet the over/under of a 4,800 close for the S&P and 1.5% on the 10-year Treasury yield.
    • The 10-year is down 1 basis point to 1.51%, right below its 50-day moving average of 1.52%.
    SPY -0.01%Dec. 31, 2021 7:50 AM ET2 Comments

    • The S&P 500 (SP500) (NYSEARCA:SPY) is up 27% for the year going into the last day of trading.
    • It's about to notch seven-straight winning quarters for only the seventh time.
    • LPL Financial's Ryan Detrick looks at the performance of the broader market after those streaks.
    • One quarter later, the S&P was higher 83.3% of the time, with only 1951 in the red, off 2.4%. After two quarters it was up 100% of the time and after three quarters it was up 83.3% of the time again, with a drop in 2014.
    • "Higher 100% of time 2 quarters later probably would surprise most," Detrick tweets. "Bottom line, long win streaks rarely end right away and they usually open the door to continued higher prices."
    • The team at DataTrek Research notes that the S&P will record double-digit returns for three years in a row, which has happened only nine times in more than 90 years.
    • "In the January after the nine prior 3-year sequences, the S&P rallied an average of 74 basis points and was higher during the month two-thirds of the time," DataTrek says. "The worst return was -5.1 pct in January 2000 and the best was +7.0 pct in January 1946."
    • "During the first 5 trading days of the year, it returned an average +53 basis points and was higher two-thirds of the time," the team adds.
    • "That said, the last two times the S&P saw a 3-peat of double-digit annual returns, it was down 5.1 pct (Jan 2000) and 3.1 pct (Jan 2015) respectively in the following January."
    • It would take a big rally today, but the S&P is also 1 percentage point away from total return of 30% for the year. That's only happened eight times since 1980.
    • After "an unusually large total annual return for the S&P (+30 pct), the index typically starts to give back some of those gains during the first month of the new year," DataTrek says. "The S&P has only rallied +30 pct in two years over the last two decades, up 32.2 pct and 31.2 pct in 2013 and 2019 respectively. The S&P fell 3.6 pct in January 2014 and lost 0.16 pct in January 2020."
    • Here are six things that could go right for markets in 2022.
     

    MCHI -0.19%Dec. 31, 2021 9:08 AM ET

    • J.P. Morgan analyst Joyce Chang said Friday that 2022 will likely prove "very positive" for stocks globally, but the U.S. will probably give up its lead, as international markets catch up with the tremendous growth the U.S. posted in 2021.
    • "I think it's one of those years where the U.S. is not necessarily the outperformer. I think international markets can outperform in 2022," the chair of global research at J.P. Morgan told CNBC.
    • Chang argued that emerging markets would "play catch up" with the U.S. during the new year, fueled by a resurgence in China, which will bounce back after a "really challenging" 2021.
    • She called the most recent Q3 "the bottom" for the Chinese economy, declaring "the worst is behind us" for the world's most populace country.
    • "After the Olympics, you could really see sentiment improve," she said. "I'm looking at 4%-5% sequential growth over the fourth quarter and the first quarter of 2022."
    • Chang acknowledged that the regulatory risk in China was "not going to go away," meaning that investors need to be "selective in what they look at" while assessing possible opportunities among Chinese stocks.
    • Specifically, she said government intervention could help sectors like industrials, materials, EVs and automation.
    • In terms of "vulnerable" sectors in China, Chang pointed to gaming, property and healthcare.
    • To track Chinese stocks, the iShares MSCI China ETF (NASDAQ:MCHI) can act as a stand-in. Meanwhile, the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ex-China ETF (NASDAQ:EMXC) can provide a proxy for emerging markets outside of China.
    • Both these ETFs dramatically underperformed the broader U.S. markets in 2021. While the S&P 500 climbed about 29% for the year, China dropped 22%. Other emerging markets posted a collective gain, but by a much more modest 7%.
    • You can see the stark difference among the markets in this chart.
    JPM +0.07%Dec. 31, 2021 9:05 AM ET

    • JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) is giving its New York City employees the option to work remotely during the first couple of weeks of 2022, and Citigroup (NYSE:C) is urging its staff to work from home as the banks navigate another wave of COVID-19 infections in the region, Bloomberg reports.
    • JPMorgan (JPM), one of the most vocal Wall Street banks in getting its staff back in the office, said it's not changing its long-term plans for working in the office. "However, with the increase in holiday travel and gatherings, we are allowing more flexibility during the first two weeks of January to work from home (if your role allows) at your manager's discretion," the company told its staff in a memo on Thursday.
    • Staff is expected to resume in-office schedules by Feb. 1, the JPMorgan (JPM) memo said.
    • By contrast, Citigroup (C), which had already adopted a more relaxed workplace policy recently by asking employees to work remotely over the holidays, is inviting them to work from home during the first few weeks of the year "if you are able to do so," according to a memo. "We will continue to monitor the data and provide an update in January on when we expect to be back in the office."
    • The New York metropolitan area has seen a resurgence of COVID infections this winter as the Omicron variant appears to be more transmissible than previous strains. That's led banks to rework staffing plans in recent weeks, with several loosening orders to return to offices.
    • Jefferies Financial (NYSE:JEF) has asked employees earlier this month to work remotely and get vaccine boosters by the end of January, Bloomberg said. Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) has instructed staff who have to be in the office to limit large in-person meetings and to wear masks when not at their desks.
    • Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), which required U.S. workers to return to offices in mid-2021, told its employees earlier this week that it will require booster vaccinations and increase testing to twice weekly from once a week currently.
    • Bank of America had its U.S. employees starting to return to their offices in phases after Labor Day 2020.

    AAPL -0.06%Dec. 31, 2021 9:29 AM ET6 Comments

    • Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) appears to have cemented its spot as the top smartphone seller in China as a new research report says the popularity of the iPhone 13 has boosted the company's position among the country's consumers.
    • According to Counterpoint Research, Apple (AAPL) claimed a 23.6% stake of China's smartphone market during November, up from 22% in October. The Wall Street Journal said that Apple's (AAPL) nearest competitor was Chinese smartphone and technology company Vivo, with a 17.8% market share.
    • Counterpoint said Apple (AAPL) has been helped by the popularity of its new line of iPhone 13 smartphones and prices that have been similar to those of the iPhone 12, which was released a year ago.
    • Earlier this week, reports said Apple (AAPL) has begun offering bonuses of up to $180,000 in stock in order to keep some employees from leaving the company.


  4. Dec. 31, 2021 6:55 AM ET3 Comments

    • Risk: Due to widespread inflation, real GDP growth could turn negative on a quarterly basis in 2022. The Fed's decision to taper its bond buying program, and push interest rates higher, could even stall economic growth, or a failure to halt price pressures could lead to the worst of all outcomes: stagflation. There are also other macroeconomic factors at play, like renewed lockdowns seen in Europe, or quarantines and the zero-COVID policy in China, which has driven some 30% of global growth over the past decade.
    • "If COVID-19 were to have a prolonged impact – into the medium term – it could reduce global GDP by a cumulative $5.3T over the next five years relative to our current projection," according to IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath. That's on top of the $12.5T in output that was already lost.
    • Opportunity: The Conference Board, a non-profit research group of more than 1,000 public and private corporations, still forecasts that the U.S. economy will grow by 3.5% in 2022. Take for example the solid growth seen last quarter, despite a rise in coronavirus cases across the U.S., as well as a solid season of corporate earnings. There is also the trend for each successive wave of COVID-19 to having a smaller impact on the economy, while consumers are keeping up robust spending amid improving labor market conditions.
    • "Supported by the expectation of continued healthy financial market conditions, increased production to restock lean inventories, further gains in the consumption of services as consumer and business travel picks up, and a resilient housing market, continued above-trend growth is likely in 2022," read a forecast from Kevin Kliesen, economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. "At this point, the most probable outcome is 3% to 4% real GDP growth."

    CYD +1.44%Dec. 31, 2021 6:14 AM ET

    •  
    • China Yuchai International (NYSE:CYD) says its YCK05 hydrogen-powered engine achieved stable ignition and operation in a recent Beijing Institute of Technology demonstration.
    • The Company says that the YCK05 engine is the first operating hydrogen engine for China's commercial vehicle market.
    • Mr. Weng Ming Hoh, President of China Yuchai, commented, "With our advancements in developing hydrogen-powered engines, we have expanded to become the domestic enterprise with the largest engine technology portfolio consisting of traditional internal combustion engines, gas-powered engines, hybrid engines, and new energy power technologies…".

    Dec. 31, 2021 6:10 AM ET10 Comments

    • Risk: Inflation is by far the No. 1 economic concern going into 2022. Many are worried about a period of escalating prices, and don't trust what they're hearing from mainstream economists and central bank officials. At the start of 2021, the U.S. was forecast to end the year with 2% inflation, but it is close to 7% instead. Fed Chair Jay Powell has subsequently backtracked on his "transitory" thesis, with the term endangering a delayed reaction to the current price environment. World's central banks are taking different approaches to inflation.
    • "I think the biggest risk is that expectations about inflation will continue to rise and the more they rise, the more difficult those expectations are to manage," said Gad Levanon, head of the Conference Board’s Labor Markets Institute. "It was a hard-earned accomplishment for the Fed to able to anchor inflation expectations, and they are at risk of losing it."
    • Opportunity: Inflation has been a symptom of easy money policies, but more importantly, due to supply bottlenecks and increased consumer spending. If those factors were to ease, much of those fears could dissipate. The Fed could also pull off a delicate balancing act, where both growth and inflation decelerate, but not so much that the economic expansion is put in jeopardy.
    • "I do think that we'll see a gradual slowing in inflation throughout 2022," said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group. "After a big run-up in energy prices, they’re going to stabilize or come down next year. I do think that a lot of the higher price pressures from the reopening of the economy are going to fade, things like airfares, hotel rooms and new and used cars." Inflation nation: Are price pressures here for the long term?

    Dec. 31, 2021 5:04 AM ET1 Comment

    • Risk: There are some negative consequences that could arise if the central bank fails to react appropriately to the current rise in inflation. Asset prices have inflated due to the message from the Fed that any tightening of policy will be limited and gradual. However, if the bank is forced into more extreme monetary policy action, richly supported valuations could melt away.
    • "We are moving from a period in which central banks have tried to be predictable and suppress volatility to one in which they will increasingly be the source of surprises," analysts at Bank of America wrote in a research note.
    • Opportunity: Volatility may still be the name of the game, but if history is any guide, the Fed's "taper tantrum" of 2013 was followed by strong gains for equities, as traders bet the economy was healthy enough to stand on its own. Following Ben Bernanke's comments in May 2013, stocks fell 5.8% in the next month, but for the rest of that year, the market was up 17.5%. Raising rates in 2022 could also be a "net positive" event by signaling that the central bank feels comfortable about the U.S. recovery.
    • "I go into next year feeling like the baseline outlook is a very good one. Therefore, actually raising interest rates would be a sign of a positive development in terms of where we are in the economic cycle," said New York Fed President John Williams. "I'm pretty optimistic that we're seeing really strong improvements in the labor market. You're seeing the unemployment rate come down quickly."

    Dec. 31, 2021 4:48 AM ET3 Comments

    • Risk: Labor has been the major concern for many industries, given the shrinking workforce from early retirees, mothers that need to secure childcare and those looking for better paying jobs. Employers not only need to be competitive within that shrinking pool, but also need to retain their talent. Supply chain disruptions have played a key role in stalling the global economic recovery due to logistical logjams, a shortage of shipping containers and a steep rebound in demand that left producers in short supply. Apple giving stock bonuses worth up to $180K to prevent defection.
    • "As we go into 2022, I think it's this theme of just volatility, and it's not one particular type of volatility. It's enormous volatility in our supply chain. It's everything from input availability, capacity, transportation, labor, it's COVID adaptations by ways of working adaptation. It's this accordion economy of sort of stop-and-go and the adaptations required," declared Shane Grant, CEO of Danone North America. "The theme going forward is just volatility in everything."
    • Opportunity: Job growth continues to be very strong and those who do change jobs are often able to secure higher pay. This has led 2021 to see the largest increase in wages over the last two decades. Companies are also starting to rethink their supply chains, including where to source and how to distribute around the world, and that could help things clear up in the coming year. Macy's lifts minimum wage to $15, offers free college tuition.
    • "The war on talent in 2022 is going to only intensify," Grant added. "It's about game-changing people policies, like gender neutral parental leave, for not only corporate workers, but frontline workers. It’s about institutionalized flexibility. It’s about true commitment to diversity actions. And I think those things are going to become true differentiators in this war for talent in 2022."

    Sector In Focus

    • COVID continued to control the fate of the cruise industry on Thursday. A new warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sparked a decline in the major cruise companies.
    • Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) led the group lower, dropping by nearly 3%. Carnival (CCL) and Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) each declined by more than 1%.
    • Following reports that COVID has been found on at least 86 cruise ships, the CDC warned Americans to avoid cruise travel altogether. The protective measure was recommended even to people who had received vaccinations.
    • In general, the cruise lines tumbled to new lows early this month but have bounced back lately. Even with the latest setback, the stocks remain off their nadirs.
    BTC-USD +1.67%Dec. 30, 2021 5:19 PM ET7 Comments

    • U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler hires Corey Frayer to facilitate SEC policymaking and interagency work relating to the oversight of crypto assets, according to an SEC release.
    • The appointment comes at a time when officials from around the world are progressing towards developing a regulatory framework for the growing crypto space.
    • Frayer previously served as Senior Professional Staff on the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs for Chairman Sherrod Brown.
    • Previously, (Aug. 4) Gary Gensler said crypto is a speculative asset class that needs more regulation.


  5. BRK.B -0.01%Dec. 30, 2021 5:06 PM ET152 Comments

    • Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.B) (NYSE:BRK.A) Chairman Warren Buffett tells Senator Bernie Sanders that he's not getting involved with a labor dispute at the company's Precision Castparts division.
    • Sanders asked Buffett, one of richest men in the world, to intervene in the dispute in which 450 steelworkers at the company's Huntington, West Virginia, Special Metals subsidiary are striking because they don't consider the Precision Castparts' latest offer to be sufficient.
    • Buffett pointed to Berkshire's (BRK.B) decentralized model, saying that "our companies deal individually with their own labor and personnel decisions (except for the selection of the CEO)."
    • "I'm passing along your letter to the CEO of Precision Castparts but making no recommendation to him as to any action. He is responsible for his business," Buffett wrote in the letter.
    • Sanders pointed to the company's offer of a zero pay increase this year, 1% increase next year and 2% raises for each of the following three years "at a time when inflation is over 6% and when Precision Castparts made $1.5 billion in profits last year."
    • The workers also object to changes in their health care plans and reduction in vacation time accrued, Sanders said.
    • For a review of Buffett's and business partner Charlie Munger's philosophy on a wide range of topics, see the coverage of Berkshire's annual meeting in May.

    JBLU +0.49%Dec. 30, 2021 4:36 PM ET

    • JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said Thursday that the rapid spread of the Omicron strain of COVID took the airline industry by surprise, leading the company to make the pre-emptive decision to cut its flight schedule between now and mid-January.
    • "I really think there's no way to plan for that adequately…things are likely to get worse before they get better," the chief executive of JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) told CNBC.
    • Earlier in the day, JetBlue (JBLU) announced that it would cancel nearly 1,300 flights through Jan. 13, as the company deals with a wave of sick calls stemming from the spread of Omicron.
    • Hayes explained that the decision to reduce the schedule ahead of time was meant to avoid having to cancel flights at the last minute.
    • "What we felt was, given the really exponential increases in cases … we thought it much better that we take a slightly longer-term view on this and cancel well ahead of time to give our customers more options," he said.
    • Commenting on new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reduce the number of days required for quarantine related to COVID cases, Hayes said the direction from authorities would help with labor relations.
    • He added that the CDC has a difficult job balancing public safety with the needs of essential services to continue working.
    • "This has the potential to bring society to its knees very quickly," he said.
    • Despite word of the cancellations, JBLU showed only a modest decline on Thursday. The stock fell 14 cents to close at $14.24.
    • Longer-term, the stock slipped to a 52-week low of $12.86 early this month and has hovered off that level since. JBLU had reached a 52-week high of $21.96 earlier in the year.
    • In general, JBLU has slipped about 1% in 2021, holding up better than airlines like LUV and DAL. However, the stock has fallen behind rivals like UAL and AAL, which have shown year-to-date gains of 3% and 14%, respectively.
    • To see how JBLU stacks up to its biggest competitors, check out this chart.

    RCL +0.23%Dec. 30, 2021 1:04 PM ET199 Comments


  6. Greetings from San Diego!

    Hi Phil and everyone! I recently upgraded my membership so I could say hello after finally getting my brokerage account to a level where I can play along in the LTP. I have been enjoying your site for a few years and have learned a lot (starting from zero). I am about your age Phil and I love all the cultural references – similar taste in music. Needless to say I enjoy your world view. I am in medicine so have had a very busy past 2 years, and it has been great to have your site to check in with every morning. Please don't retire!  I'll have some questions for the new year (Viac). Thanks for IBM. It's going to be a good year I think.  All the best.


  7. eca2424,

    Welcome to the club. Now now don't praise him to much, I think he is already retired in Florida!!!!! He might land up under a beach umbrella and we will not hear from him again!!!!


  8. Even worse he might buy himself a RV and will land up next to me.


  9. yodi – Maybe we should all get RVs and move in next to you!


  10. Ikea is raising prices by 9% in 2022


  11. NFTs are fake and so is money




  12. Wildfires burn hundreds of homes in Colorado, thousands flee


  13. Next Year Will Be Worse


  14. Phil – My hospital contacts in NNJ are telling me they're being told that it's highly likely the hospitals will be overrun again. The MDs and NPs from all departments are being told they are needed in the covid wards right now so you can imagine what things will look like if it gets worse. And they are still have to allow religious expemptions for the vaccine to the clinical staff!


  15. Phil, wishing you and yours a healthy new year, CHEERS!! Couldn't ask for a better guiding light in these trying times, thanks for all you do Phil. 



  16. Yodi-Thanks for my laugh of the day! Yes, we may all be wishing to live in a camper next to you and Phil. Thanks to Phil, Snow and all of the fellow "Phil Fanatic's" for your guidance and good humour in these strange and challenging days. Wish you all good health and hopefully a healthier 2022. I know we will be fine financially because of all the guidance we get on this site. Snowing every day up in No country but hoping to get to warmer climes soon. We will see.  The BEST to all of you!


  17. Wishing everyone a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!


  18. Welcome to the party, ECA – nice to have you on board for 2022.

    Retirement/Yodi – Not to worry, I retired in 2004 and hated it.  Would never do that again.  Once we're out of Covid (if ever), I plan to take more trips with the family, however.

    As Seer says, RVs for everyone!  

    Hospitals/Seer – The only thing giving us hope is South Africa seems to have topped off quickly.  We'd better hope that's the case. They had about 250,000 (0.4%) cases since Dec 10th in a population of 60M but way less dense than the US.  We started surging more like the 20th and we've had about 3M (1%) cases in 10 days.  If we get out of this with 3M more (on the surge), it would be a blessing but that's not what Europe is telling us:  https://news.google.com/covid19/map?hl=en-US&mid=%2Fm%2F09c7w0&gl=US&ceid=US%3Aen

    Thanks Kustomz, Pirate, Laddoo - great having you guys here as well.  

    If all goes well, we will soon be launching that upgraded site! 

    NYSE/Randers – I really fail to see the logic.


  19. Phil

    Happy New Year

    What do you think of 1-800 – flowers  FLWS  ?

    Is it worth the investment  ?

    AS always Thank you For the help


  20. Phil, I agree it is not logical. Maybe the indices need to be set to correspond to calendar day count. I think it all could be accounted for.                       Best Wishes to all in 2022!


  21. Phil – A Big Thanks to You and the Crew for Wisdom and Great Content!

     

    A safe and sane 2022 to all!  :)


  22. Speaking of cultural references, Eca, I was sitting outside and this guy opened a package all excited and it was vinyl records.  He paid $120 for Billy Joel's Greatest Hits, volume 3 and another record.  Apparently, Billy Joel is not allowing any more vinyl pressings or some BS and it's jacked up the price of the records but $120 seems to be a comfortable price for collectors, who think $35 is the "normal" price for a record.  I told him and his friends I had about 1,000 of those things in my basement and most of them were 13 for a penny through Columbia House or $2 at the cut-out bin.  Blew their minds…

    I kind of agree with audiophiles about vinyl being better but that's only because they rushed to go digital way too fast and digital sound engineers (and technology) took a long time to catch up to the demand so there is a ton of digital crap out there but the remastered stuff these days is about as good as the original and, although I still do have my Thorens TD 125 turntable, I've only been bothered to use it 3 times in the past decade and, even then, only because some kids were at my house asking "what's that".  

    If you like quality sound – try subscribing to Tidal – they only have top-quality recordings in their service.  

    FLWS/QC – That's a good one, they got really cheap at $23.30, which is $1.5Bn and the last 4 Qs were $115M so not a bad multiple but ALL of their profits are in Q4 ($114 last year) so a lot rides on it.  I'm very surprised they don't make money in Q1, you would think Valentine's day is bigger.  

    At this level, I'd sell the Dec $25 puts for $4 and wait and see how earnings go before thinking about a bull call spread.  That way, you are netting in for $21 at worst.

    Well, I'm about done (but I'll check later).

    Have a great new year everyone, 

    - Phil


  23. Oh, a lot of flowers are imported so maybe shipping is an issue on FLWS!  And all shipping costs are up too.  



  24. Yodi – Good point. I always appreciate your humor.

    Phil – Thanks. We may have been premature giving away much of our vinyl! But I'm OK with digital. I'll try Tidal. As far as Covid is concerned, unless everyone tests every day, it will hard to avoid. Many of my doctor friends are fatalistic, assuming they will catch it and traveling anyway.


  25. It doesn't seem like it will be avoidable, masks don't work (not the kind most people use) so we just have to hope we get mild cases.   


  26. Masks/Phil – many of my friends are still using cloth masks – very cute, lots of mottoes or even needlework – but not very effective. But when I suggest they need the N95 or the K94 (Korean government sent me and other old Korea Peace Corps vols a "covid survival kit" with good masks), the response is that they're not available, can't be found.


  27. Snow

    Masks can be found here ( if people want to)

    Masks & PPE – Project N95


  28. Happy New Year in advance to Phil and all members here!!! Its been great to be part of this site for the past few years. The collective intelligence of Phil and the active members have helped me personally and professionally. 


  29. Re masks: A good friend gave me the K94 and says she will get me more. They are awesome. Not only comfortable as they fit tightly but light. Learned something new though as it's the electrostatic charge that "catches" the virus. Not washable because of that. and they are more like paper. Have some N 95's but they are tough to wear for long.


  30. crypto: SAND has a good chance. Metaverse thing, basically Minecraft on the blockchain. Whoever builds this first goes big first.

    Some interesting crypto tax loss/adjustment selling going on right now. COuld be an easy 10% (bitcoin, for example)

    Both cryptos mentioned trade on Gemini.


  31. for example, buy BTC today around 45-47k and aim for 50-52k on Jan 1 or 2 or so. If it doesn't run early in the year get out. Could be a big collapse coming (and also in meme stocks).





  32. Phil 

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!   

    Thank you for all your help this year….  wish you and your family a healthy prosperous new year.


  33. What to expect from the world in 2022



  34. Being Good Is in Our Nature


  35. Has anyone seen Ron Nosenses?….. Be safe, Phil.  


  36. Happy New Year!

    Masks/Snow – That's truly amazing as we've had 2 years to make a better supply available.  They should be free on every street corner.  Consumers shouldn't be able to pick their own masks.  We treat Capitalism and "choice" like it's the first amendment – except, of course, when women want the right to choose something….

    Metaverse/BDC – There's not one Metaverse, that's the problem.  I'm sure each domain will make their own coins so chaos.  I think running and exchange is a good way to go.  We already invested in COIN.

    Ron Nonsense?/BDC – No idea what that is.


  37. Pretty sure Ron Nonsense is a reference to the mysteriously absent from the public eye for two weeks Ron DeSantis. ;-)

    reinharden (who has arguably also been MIA for some unknown period of time)


  38. ding ding!/reinharden  You are right sir!  florida's first man and trump mini me…..



  39. Wow Rein, way to make a comeback with the pop-culture answer!

    Hope you’ve been well.