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10.10.2018 - Free Investing Newsletter Bookmark

What About Bob?
 
I expected some pushback to the article I wrote on Sunday, where I mentioned my opinions concerning the leftist attack on Brett Kavanaugh, and how disgusted I was with the whole thing.
 
Interestingly, my in box was considerably quieter than I expected, with just a handful of people suggesting I support rapists, and hate women, etc. Obviously I support nothing of the sort, I was simply pointing out that this had nothing to do with Ford, this was an all out attempt to stop Kavanaugh from getting to the bench.

 
The following was reported by fox news, MSN, and others:
 
In a social media post on Saturday, a writer for CBS's "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" seemingly celebrated the damage done to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's reputation during his bruising and bitterly partisan confirmation battle.
 
"Whatever happens, I'm just glad we ruined Brett Kavanaugh's life," the writer, Ariel Dumas, posted on Twitter. Dumas later briefly made her account private, preventing others from viewing her posts without her approval.
 
How exactly does that help Ms. Ford? How exactly does that help any woman that’s been sexually abused? It doesn’t. It simply shows that certain people have an agenda, and they’ll do anything to advance it.
 
A lot of people, from the President on down, has said that they’re actually scared for young men today. If someone can crawl out of the woodwork from 35 years ago, with no corroborating witnesses, and ruin your career, and possibly your family, it truly is scary. And the question I have is, how many men’s lives have been ruined by females with an agenda? I bet it’s a staggering number. Yet because of pride or embarrassment, most men will never tell their story either.
 
So I want to tell you a story. If you don’t know, I started my adult life as a jeweler. I don’t know why I was so attracted to the mechanics of watchmaking, or the sparkle of precious stones, but I was. I went to trade school for 3 years, focused on watchmaking, clock-making, jewelry design and repair, and appraisals.
 
When I got out of school I had two immediate job offers, one as a bench jeweler doing repairs and one as a watchmaker doing repairs. The jeweler position was paying about 30 dollars a week more, so I took that. Don’t forget we’re talking about 1980.
 
It’s hard to be proud of yourself without sounding pompous, but the fact is that I turned out to be a very good jeweler. I just had a good gift towards making complicated repairs, many of which other jewelers couldn’t do. When I opened my own repair shop, a large portion of my work was repair work, or stone setting work, that other jewelers brought to me, because they simply couldn’t do it.
 
At one point, I was doing the sizing and repairs for 11 local stores, and the branch stores of two major national companies. The volume of work from the one national discount store was substantial. They had a jewelry department that was selling over 2 million dollars per year. That’s a lot of rings to be sized, a lot of bracelets to cut to size, a lot of walk in repair work.
 
I would pick up all their work on Monday afternoon, as most of their sales came in Friday night, and Saturday/Sunday. Then I’d work on the pieces and deliver the finished goods on Friday.
 
I was a young twenty something single guy. So when I’d pick up or deliver, I would often flirt with the counter girls and try and make them smile a bit. Then I’d put on my business face, and go to the Department manager to do the paperwork and invoicing for the work I did, and pick up the new work.
 
One day, right after exchanging the paperwork and jewelry, this particular female Department manager grabbed my arm and said “every week I see you come in here and have fun with the girls. Why don’t you ever come over to me and have fun?”

It caught me off guard, but I told her the truth “ I fool around with the floor gals because they’re all youngsters like me. I know how difficult it is dealing with the public and it’s fun to share some laughs. But you’re management, a bit older, and we’re doing business. I didn’t think it right to play silly with you.”
 
She almost sneered at me and said “No, you don’t come flirt around with me because I’m fat. All those girls are pretty and I’m not.”

I didn’t know what to say. It was like a punch in the gut. If she wasn’t the boss of that store, often handing me work worth a thousand dollars in a week, I’d have been saying goofy things to her too. But this was a major account, and acting the fool with someone connected to “corporate” simply didn’t make sense.
 
I said something along the lines of “I’m sorry you feel that way, but your looks aren’t really the reason I don’t fool and kid around with you. We do a lot of business together and it wouldn’t seem right to act like a college kid to you”.
 
It didn’t matter. I could have told her that I thought she was the hottest most desirable gal in NJ, her mind was made up - Bob kids around with the pretty young girls and doesn’t flirt around with me because I’m fat and not terribly pretty.  
 
And so it started. Within a week I got a call from Corporate that the level of my work had dropped. My repairs were getting sloppy, and I’d best fix it. Nothing of the sort had actually happened. I was always proud of my work, and if anything I paid even more attention to anything I got from them.
 
What was happening is that the Department manager gal, was telling her home office that my work had gone to hell, and maybe we need to find a different jeweler.

Well it worked. She eventually got me “fired” despite me ending any flirting with the counter girls, and making sure anything I did for their store was A-1 work. Over and above good work. I lost the single biggest customer I had to date.
 
On the last delivery of their goods back to their store, I will never forget what happened. A young girl named Bonnie walked up to me as I was leaving and said “That witch has had a crush on you since the first day you came in here last year. You didn’t give her the time of day, and she’s hated you for it ever since”
 
And there it was. I lost the biggest customer of my young life BECAUSE I DIDN’T make passes at the boss. The worst part was that had she been just one of the floor gals, I’d have included her in my goofy antics, despite her looks. Likewise, if in her position as “boss” she was the most gorgeous “centerfold” material one could dream, I still wouldn’t have flirted with her. She was in a position of power, and I wouldn’t have jeopardized our business deal, to act the fool.

Was that fair? Nope. What was I supposed to do, call their Corporate office and tell them that that only reason she mounted these attacks on me was because I didn’t act like a college frat guy to her?
 
Obviously my point is that while the bulk of all sexual aggravation situations are men taking advantage of women, it happens to men too. Possibly more than anyone knows. Men are pretty fragile, and not many want to admit that they lost a job or a promotion because they were pressured by a woman. But it happens.
 
“Walter” was someone I knew when I lived on the Jersey shore. Walt’s female boss had the hots for him, and made it quite clear many times. But Walt was a faithful husband, and rebuked all her advances. When the position of regional manager came up, Walt was a shoe in for the position. Everyone in his company knew he’d get the position. But Walt didn’t get that position, and his female boss made it quite clear as to why. While the official report said that he lacked the communication skills for the position, her parting shot to him was : “Good boys don’t get ahead Walt.”
 
So what’s my point here? Just this, in this supercharged period of the meetoo movement, and people suggesting that it’s okay to ruin lives, and how much damage someone can do to a man just by accusing him, I won’t be surprised if there’s a pushback coming. Men coming out of the woodwork, accusing women of sexual harassment. People like Walt, for instance.
 
I can almost guarantee if there’s a wave of accusations by women against men, where it’s almost “easy” to see that it’s false, there’s going to be a wave of men coming out of their respective shells and pushing back against these gals. I can almost smell it.

I wish it wasn’t so, but as you can see, the worlds in a bit of a mess right now and as we approach the mid-terms, I think all manner of hell is going to break loose. Stay safe.
 
The Market:
 
How Rude. It hasn’t been a secret that the market has been struggling for about the last 12 sessions. After posting an intraday high back on Sept 21, the S&P pulled back a bit, tried to push up and even higher than that high, but couldn’t do it and spent the next several sessions falling.
 
At first, it did manage to halt the slide at the 50 day moving average. On three separate trading days, the S&P had dipped below its 50 day, only to rescue itself by the close and end the days above it. But, not today.
 
I had told my Insiders members that if we lost the 500 day,it could be a fast sled ride down to 2850, which was the next logical stop for support. Well we plunged through that level at about 11:30 this morning, and they halted the slide at 2840. Then we spent the next two hours wobbling up and down around that level. Finally at about 1:30, that level let go, and down we went. A lot.
 
As you probably know the DOW ended down 832 points. The S&P coughed up 94. So the question becomes, What was that all about? I will not attempt to take any credit for calling today’s carnage. I didn’t. What I have said until I’m blue in the face is that one day this bubble would meet it’s pin. I didn’t know when, but I knew it was coming.
 
How did I know? A handful of reasons. Rising rates for one. As much as the talking heads try and tell us that the market will be fine with rising rates, I didn’t and don’t buy it. Rising rates are bad for just about everyone. Home loans, credit cards, car loans, business loans, construction loans, etc all cost more to service.
 
Then there was the length of time this bull has been romping. It had already become the longest bull market in history. We’re we to expect it to run for ever? Then there was the nosebleed levels. Did you know that the Russell 2000 is supposed to be the best of the best of small business? Well the collective P/E on the Russell is 852. You read that right. The price to earnings for the entire index is 852.
 
Even such things as recent earnings warnings should raise the “worry flag” We had PPG warn. Today it was Flour corp. Look folks, I haven’t been pulling your leg for the last umpteen years. The market rose on Central bank QE, trillions in printed money, and buy backs. Now the Fed’s are hiking rates, reducing their balance sheet, and buy backs are scheduled to slow a bit.
 
I’m NOT saying we’re going to crash from here. I’m saying that today is a warning shot. This wasn’t a bunch of humans on the Stock exchange floor screaming “sell!” this was computers, computers that haven’t been programmed recently to deal with Italian banks imploding, rates rising, big companies warning, etc. The problem with Algo-bots is that once one starts selling, the others follow suit. They don’t know why they’re selling, but they know someone is, so they hop the bandwagon.
 
While the indexes have been holding up pretty well, the internals stink. In the vaunted S&P, 123 stocks are down over 20% from their high. Another 200 almost 10%. Anyway, we had the worst tech sell off since 2011, we had the biggest DOW sell off in years, and the S&P dropping almost 100 is big.
 
Now you understand why I’m so keen on selling half positions when we’re up nicely in a trade. You NEVER know what the future will bring. We had 200 WMT and yesterday it was up over 3 bucks a share for us. Why would anyone look a 3 dollar gift horse in the mouth, in a market that’s been volatile and soggy? So we sold half.
 
Okay, so what’s next? My guess is that they try and defend 2800. If you remember, after the flash correction back in February, the market climbed back up, only to stall out at 2800. Not once, not twice, but three times. So my bet is that they try and hold 2800. If they do, we can bounce nicely. If they don’t, we’ll be at the 200 day at 2765 quickly.
 
I would guess that some early session weakness could present itself tomorrow, and then a meaningful “V” style buy in could hit, sending us up a few hundred DOW points. If we get that, fine, take the ride. But don’t marry it, it’s too dangerous.
 
How would one know if the bull is really dead? If we were to lose the 200 day, I’d really start questioning this market. If they keep us above that, they can chalk this up to yet another quick correction. If we lose it, the next stop is a long way down. Stay safe.

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