October 2020

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October 2020


“One thing that stands out about this pitcher,” announced the color commentator during the call to the bullpen, “is he keeps the ball in the strike zone.” No sooner said than the pitcher gets the sign from Yadi, nods approval, and sends the ball sailing three feet over the batter’s head and to the screen.

How many times has that happened to us? Make a recommendation (the house red is really good) or prediction (there’s no one who can come close to this guy’s time in the 1500) and, in spite of past history or experience that provide a high probability of accuracy, it goes awry.

So, we are cautious and prefer the weasel word less definite word ‘project’ over ‘predict.’ Having said that here are thoughts about potential end of the year activities. (We are already in the last quarter of 2020--thank goodness.)

Mutual funds and institutional funds will utilize ‘window dressing’ to enhance their portfolio holdings for their annual report to shareholders. (Kick out the losers, add to the winners.) The volume of those actions can impact market prices, frequently causing issues that have had negative returns to experience selling pressure declines and potentially those with substantial gains seeing ‘tax harvesting.’ selling.

If these activities occur we are prepared to take advantage of opportunities they provide to add to or acquire more financially sound, dividend growing companies.

Should Covid-19 continue following the trajectory of the Pandemic of 1918 a second wave is very possible, one in which the demographic most attacked could be young people and children. Until the vaccine and therapeutics are perfected the country’s health and economics will remain in a slow, but steady, improvement. We are prepared for a drawn-out period until we reach more normal conditions. The investments we hold are designed to weather the stress, with many of them having increased their dividends.

Among the panoply of collective nouns, we have held as our favorite ‘a murder of crows.’ That is until watching the first, and ugliest in our lifetime, Presidential Debate. We nominate that our lexicon now admit a new collective noun, ’an embarrassment of rude.’ Both parties would be well served to adhere to the adage that, “When I talk I am only saying things I already know. When I listen, I just might learn something.” The coarsening of America continues. And it wouldn’t hurt to follow the Golden Rule. Enough about politics.

Previous column: September 2020