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February 18, 2020 | Fevered Investors Eager to Forget the Latest News

Rick Ackerman

Rick Ackerman is the editor of Rick’s Picks, an online service geared to traders of stocks, options, index futures and commodities. His detailed trading strategies have appeared since the early 1990s in Black Box Forecasts, a newsletter he founded that originally was geared to professional option traders. Barron’s once labeled him an “intrepid trader” in a headline that alluded to his key role in solving a notorious pill-tampering case. He received a $200,000 reward when a conviction resulted, and the story was retold on TV’s FBI: The Untold Story. His professional background includes 12 years as a market maker in the pits of the Pacific Coast Exchange, three as an investigator with renowned San Francisco private eye Hal Lipset, seven as a reporter and newspaper editor, three as a columnist for the Sunday San Francisco Examiner, and two decades as a contributor to publications ranging from Barron’s to The Antiquarian Bookman to Fleet Street Letter and Utne Reader.

Index futures were wafting higher Tuesday night, evidently unfazed by mounting evidence that coronavirus has already slowed the pace of global economic growth significantly.  Such worries as occupy investors’ tiny, fevered brains these days centered on Apple, the most valuable company in the world. (I don’t count Aramco because, well, who cares that it’s actually bigger?) The Cupertino manufacturer of egregiously overpriced cellphones and accessories, and of late an aspirant in the overcrowded streaming-content business, announced Monday afternoon that Q1 results would take a big hit from work slowdowns and weakened sales in China. Apple shares had to play along with the announcement, since it would have been unseemly and even a little bizarre for the stock to have risen on such news, emanating as it did from Apple’s own PR desk.

Other stocks in the FAANG/lunatic sector were not so deferential, however. Most chalked up solid gains on the day, implying they are chomping at the bit as they wait for Apple’s troubles to be perfunctorily discounted and forgotten in perhaps a few more days. (Note: Technically, AAPL looks primed to fall for reasons covered in my latest tout, below.) That the FAANGs and other multinational giants are themselves vulnerable to the same virus-related forces presently impacting on Apple will not likely be a concern on Wall Street, where the sole imperative is to throw Other People’s Money at a relatively small handful of stocks.  Actually, Apple’s bearish guidance may ultimately help this Ponzi scheme along, since it will afford analysts an easy opportunity to do what they are paid to do: underestimate earnings ahead of the next round of announcements.

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February 18th, 2020

Posted In: Rick's Picks

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