three sort-of-related thoughts

I was talking with my younger son the other day about Nvidia (NVDA), a stock we’ve both held for years–and I bought after he brought my attention to it. He’d decided to trim his position, which had gotten too large a portion of his portfolio after its recent run. I had two suggestions: watch the stock after the sale to see how far it runs before peaking; and get at least a preliminary idea (down by 20%?) of where to get back in.

The first is to develop an awareness of how close to the top your mind kicks in with the “sell” thought. The second is the possibility that NVDA is one of those unusual growth stocks (think: Walmart, Apple or Microsoft (ex the lengthy Ballmer descent into irrelevance)) that is able to periodically reinvent itself–and is therefore worth hanging onto.

I woke up this morning to Heather Cox Richardson, the Harvard-trained, Boston College-employed historian of the post-Civil War United States (her general view is that Trump Republicans are the KKK-ish pro-slavery 19th century Democrats redux), reporting the news about the recording of a Trump interview in which he apparently declares that he possesses ultra-secret government documents, which he knows are still classified and which he knows he is not supposed to have.

The elephant in the room in all this is what triggered the government search for the documents Trump had. The most obvious explanation, I think, is that the US suffered a crushing setback, maybe literally, in the secret war of spies and Washington began to try to figure out how a potential foe found out.

The Financial Times, the UK’s financial newspaper, ran a comparison of the domestic stock market there from 70 years ago vs. now. In the UK, home of the Thatcher revolution, the top names are more or less the same as back then. The economy there barely has a pulse, less so since Brexit foolishly cut off access to the UK’s largest export market. The local stock market is less than half the size, relative to the rest of the world, that it was a generation ago. Top market cap names: Astrazeneca, Shell Oil, HSBC, Unilever, BP. Virtually no tech to be seen. Even #8, British Tobacco (!?!), is talking about listing in New York in search of a higher PE multiple.

In the US, Simplicity Pattern, Digital Equipment, Xerox et al are long gone. Other former top names, like GE, still exist, but are mere shadows of their former selves. They’ve been replaced by Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Nvidia and Alphabet, none of which existed back then.

The difference between the US and UK? I would guess it’s not the neoliberalism and xenophobia that are powerful influences in the politics of both countries.

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