Friday, June 28, 2019

TGIF, Kamala Harris, Netflix, Taco Bell...

  • Looks to me like Kamala Harris will be the eventual winner of the Democratic Primary.
  • One worrying economic sign reared up this morning, as the Chicago PMI falls into contraction.  The PMI fell to 49.7, the lowest levels since January, 2017.  Readings under 50 are a sign of contracting conditions.   The ISM number will come out Monday, and we shall see if that confirms.
  • Is Netflix thinking about adding an advertising tier?  Ugh!  I hate ads!  I can't remember the last time I watched anything on real TV, other than sports.  Even then, sometimes I record the game and give it about a 30 minute head start, then start watching and fast-forwarding through ads.  Anyone else do that?  Anyway, ads might bump up revenues for Netflix, right?z
  • Speaking of, I started watching the final season of Jessica Jones this week...
  • Yo quiero Taco Bell!  Reservations for the new Taco Bellhotel sold out in two minutes.  The Bell is located in Palm Springs, CA, and pricing starts at $169 per night.  Actually, this is the kind of thing I could see myself doing once.  Taco Bell food, too!
  • June was a month for the gold bugs, as the metal had its biggest monthly gain in three years. Why?  Fed easing and a weaker dollar?  Iran?
  • Love the week of the 4th of July.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Stocks Fall, National Debt, Netflix and CBS All Access, ETC

  • There are lots of reasons for worry on Wall Street.  Stocks pulled back as the Fed said that maybe they wouldn’t be so aggressive in cutting rates as investors had hoped.  Interest rates are already really low, right?  Seems like “status quo” wouldn’t impede growth.
  • Meanwhile, on one of the financial TV shows, one of the commentators said today, after Micron (MU) had reported and surged 10% after hours, that he bought $MU recently.  Maybe he did.  I have no idea.  Seems like they’re really good in announcing their positions after the fact. 
  • I just finished the second season of Imposters on Netflix.  I didn’t like it as much as the first season.  File it under “Well, it was something to watch while I worked out, and it was only 10 episodes.”
  • Whenever I finish a show on Netflix, I do fall into the show hole and don’t know what to watch next.  Usually I watch a movie or two, out of respect to the last series I finished.  Once I’ve recovered, then back to binging.
  • Senator Van Hollen (D) proposing fixing Social Security by “rolling back the most recent boon for wealthy estates in the 2017 GOP tax cuts.”  He also supports a House plan on  raising the payroll tax on wages above $400,000.  Seems like that’s the direction things will head if the Democrats have a big win in 2020.
  • I subscribed to CBS All Access just to watch the latest Star Trek Discovery series.  Wouldn’t mind watching The Twilight Zone, either.  And even more Star Trek coming!  How can I cancel that?
  • Yes, I’m on Twitter @muckdog
  • I’m not sure at what level the national debt breaks the economy.  I often wonder if the reason rates are so low, is to keep interest payments on the national debt from destroying the country.  The CBO is out with BREAKING NEWS today that the national debt as a percentage of GDP will be at “unprecedented levels,” 144%.  It currently is 78%.  Imagine if we have to refinance it all at much higher rates.  There are no signs in Washington DC of a desire to reduce spending.
  • I have a Roku, a Roku TV, an Amazon Fire TV and an Apple TV.  I think I like the Roku interface the best of all.  Just being honest!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Shaq, Coffee, Oculus Rift, Disney and Stocks

  • I click on the Apple News Economy headlines, and the first article that comes up is from Yahoo Finance, “Quietest in 20 years: Truckers feel chill of slowing US economy.”  Do bull markets end when everyone is telling us how bad the economy is?  Uh, I don’t think so...  I’d expect to see lots of euphoria and speculation.  Doesn’t have to be that way, but still...  Lots of pessimism in the headlines.  
  • Apple is set to release their first 5G iPhones in 2020.  Whether or not consumers will get 5G service outside of a 3 block radius in a few US cities is unknown at this time.  But I hear it’s really, really fast!
  • I watched a YouTube video of a demo of the new Oculus Rift virtual reality game system.  Let’s just say it was no Striking Vipers.  (Black Mirror reference ... It’s a joke!)
  • I heard Toy Story 4 was pretty good, but CNN says the movie didn’t top Disney’s high expectations.  The movie made $238 million worldwide, and $118 here in the US.  Seems like a lot.  I mean, it’s more than I made this weekend.  You?
  • I’m not sure how many bad things have to happen before people cancel their vacation plans to the Dominican Republic, but we’ve got to be getting close.
  • Shaq has never had coffee?  What?
  • If I had to pick the likely winner from the field of Democratic hopefuls, I’m thinking it’s going to be Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren.  I don’t think Biden or Bernie are going to be there.  First debates this week, right?  I expect a lot of Trump bashing!
  • Hope you had a great weekend.  First official weekend of summer, you know.  

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Saturday Thoughts!

  • The stock market rushed ahead to new market highs this week, on the hopes of a China trade agreement, a Fed rate cut, and who knows what the heck else.  What continues to amaze me is the number of unbelievers on the financial TV and social media. Lots of bears. I’m wondering if this is because of social media and our political environment.  At any given time, about half of the population is experiencing cognitive dissonance, and won’t accept that the economy could possibly be on solid ground.
  • Iran’s downing of a drone put a bid under gold, but didn’t seem to phase the stock market.
  • I continue to be long the stock market.  This has been one of the longer bull markets from 2009 on, and the length of it should have us all concerned.  But with unemployment rates low, wages growing, low inflation, an accommodating Federal Reserve, deficit spending up the wazoo, and no other places around the world to put money, the US market still looks good.
  • Bitcoin also surged back over $10K.  Why? I still don’t own any of it, or any other crypto stuff.  Facebook’s announcement of their entry into the crypto currency market seems a bit more interesting than anything else.
  • President Trump calls off the ICE raids scheduled for this weekend.  Hmm… Think about it. The people here illegally probably were doing something to avoid ICE this weekend.  The next time ICE raids are scheduled, maybe these folks will think “Eh, he’s going to cancel it anyway” and they don’t do anything to avoid the ICE raids.
  • Like North Korea, President Trump seems to be dangling the hope of an Iranian future full of economic prosperity rather than a collision course towards war. “Make Iran Great Again” is what President Trump offered.  Will the Iranian leaders take it?
  • I was disappointed that this season of Black Mirror was only 3 episodes.  I didn’t find any of them particularity interesting, other than “Striking Vipers” was an ongoing discussion amongst friends, and we all agreed we liked “The Miley Cyrus one” as the best of the season.
  • The Lakers made the big blockbuster trade with the New Orleans Pelicans, who parted with Anthony Davis in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Branden Ingram, Josh Hart, and 3 picks.  One of the picks the Pellies traded to the Atlanta Hawks for even more picks. On the face of it, as a Lakers fan, looks to me the Lakers acquired a franchise center for their injured list and a bunch of future 19yr old kids.  (Remember, Lakers also acquired Wilt, Kareem, Shaq, and Pau). The Pellies do have some maneuvering room, though!
  • I see Amazon is launching “budget 4K TVs,” joining Roku who has their own offerings.  I actually have a Roku TV in a room as an easy and affordable way to watch TV or streaming media.  Is the picture as good as a top of the line TV? Nope. Is it good enough and not tragic if it breaks down after a few years like they all seem to do?  Yep.
  • I rushed out and bought an iPad Pro last year, and now see the same model is quite a bit cheaper at Costco today.  Lessons learned! Note to self! Just wait a bit. Nothing of consequence is needed on the bleeding edge of technology, and prices will be lower soon…. And an added bonus by waiting:  More keyboards, cases and other accessories available.
  • Star Trek: Picard.   Yes, I will probably watch it.  Haven’t cancelled my CBS All Access sub yet!
  • Have a great Saturday!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Blue Apron Reverse Split

Blue Apron $APRN - Company announces 1-15 reverse split! Ouch!  I subscribed to their service for a few months in 2017.  I liked it, but quickly had a hard time keeping up. Between going out, leftovers, and just having a bowl of cereal for dinner, the Blur Apron meals started piling up!