Friday File: Annual Review Part Six (done!)

Finishing up the Annual Review, including some buys and sells and updates on The Trade Desk, Tiptree, Keysight, Fairfax, Kennedy-Wilson, Innovative Industrial Properties, II-VI, Guardant Health, Fibra Uno, Disney, Crown Castle, Africa Oil and more...

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, February 27, 2020


It’s been a wild ride for the past couple weeks of coronavirus panic, and this week has been especially crazy (and still isn’t quite over)… though it’s encouraging that my Real Money Portfolio has been a little bit stronger than the market so far this year — partly because of brilliant stock selection, I’d like to believe, but mostly because of a few winning speculations (like warrants in Virgin Galactic, which has come back down a again now) and a heavy weighting in gold and REITs, which have held up relatively well in the brief panic we’ve had, and a decent cash cushion.

Still, it’s crazy times for the moment, with almost all stocks trading together in panic swings — a sure sign that no one’s really looking at specific businesses, they’re just “getting out” because they’re afraid the super-fun bull market is going to be killed by the coronavirus and it’s time to hide in the cellar. We’re also all overreacting quite wildly to anecdotal evidence — the market was weak this morning, for example, but then bounced back pretty sharply and, as far as I can tell, the turning point was that Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson noted in a CNBC interview and in tweets that the situation in China was improving, with lots of stores reopening (85% of stores open now, versus 50% a couple weeks ago)… then the chatter about more community spread of the virus in California precipitated a further tumble into the close. We’re reacting and overreacting to probably every bit of news, and we’d probably be better off just turning off our computers and going outside to play. Which is what I’m doing, actually, you’re getting your Friday File a day early because I’m finishing up these notes on an airplane while I prepare to spend a long weekend with the little Gumshoes in Orlando (and no, the plane is not full of masks or panic… so real life continues A-OK so far).

I don’t know what the market will do next week or next month, of course, and I don’t know whether COVID-19 will fizzle away in the coming months or ramp up and become a global pandemic, causing many more illnesses and deaths and closing schools and workplaces in lots of places outside of China. My guess is that it will mostly fade away over the next few ...

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