August 2020

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August 2020


Watching a Cardinal game with cardboard people in the stands and piped in fan sounds is not tripping my trigger, However, the other night I took a break from reading, put my book down and, idly curious, started to check a few channels.

Holy hirsute! The House of David playing the Cards? Nah, just the Minnesota Twins in all their bearded glory. For those of a certain age The House of David Baseball Team, all bearded and outstanding athletes, are remembered for their multiple contests against teams of all professional and amateur levels. During their glory years in the 40’s and 50’s they were great entertainment for all baseball fans. As with so many of the icons of that era, they disappeared, disbanded in 1970, as did their communal religious society, The Israelite House of David.

What does this have to do with investing? Not a thing—no segue. Just a bit of reminiscing about the ‘good old days.’ Days of civility. Days of caring for friends and neighbors, Days of disagreeing without hating. Days of pride in being American. I am getting close to stepping up on a soapbox, so I will move on.

The impact of Covid-19 will continue being felt economically, as it has been this past quarter, and thus will keep pressure on the markets, resulting in their remaining in a wide, erratic trading range. As we have written before, the most positive near and long-term events for the economic and investment outlooks would be both a proven therapeutic treatment and an effective vaccine. Either would be beneficial—both would be powerful.

One sign that is disturbing, especially for those who trade momentum and high growth expectation stocks (rather than those of us who select financially strong value-based companies) is the level of new, inexperienced ‘players’ in the markets. They appear to be partially responsible for some stocks trading at prices that, in terms of sales, revenues, and earnings, are very akin to the five year tech bubble that burst in March of 2001. TESLA selling at a price that is 744 times earnings—food for thought. As the Wall Street saying goes, “Stocks go up on an escalator, they come down on an elevator.”

On the positive side: Dividend increases continue for most of the issues we hold: We are closely monitoring portfolios and will be replacing any issues that show limited dividend growth.

We will not let ugly political behavior, or criminals appropriating valid civil protests, take away the strength of friendships and propriety. Stay healthy. Stay safe.

Previous column: July 2020