TLC Weekly Update November 5, 2022

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What a Non-Farm Payroll Week we experienced. Chairman Powell, once again, has made it clear that the Fed will fight inflation and keep rate at higher level until inflation comes back down to their target. Yet, all we hear from MSM and those talking heads is that Fed will “pivot” soon. Such misleading bullshit shapes the minds of majority of the retail investors to keep on piling into the stock market. Insanity indeed.

It is so simple and clear where the overall stock market is heading. But those who grew up in this zero interest rate environment would not understand, or choose to not understand, why everything is so expensive suddenly. It is not going to end well for many people if they continue to live in their own bubble …

Some people asked how come we are getting high inflation suddenly? It is not a sudden event. Watch this video with Milton Friedman explaining where these inflations come from. He made that speech back in 1978. And it tells you everything you need to know and why it will end badly.

Lately, I was re-introduced to this old game by a friend. It is called the Universal Paperclips. Wikipedia has a page about it with link to the game site. If you like playing this type of games, it can easily kill half a day off for you.

Here is a recording of Zoltan Pozsar debating his long time collaborator Perry Mehrling on Pozsar’s idea of the upcoming Bretton Woods 3.0

Notice that MSM are avoiding Pozsar on their shows lately not because what he suggested is too bizarre. In fact, what he suggested is happening now and is predicting a very bad outcome for the United States. That’s why he is being silenced.

I have some heavy moving tasks to take care of this weekend, again. Hopefully this is the last ones for the year. I need a break to to let my back heal.

Have a great weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update October 1, 2022

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Finally, after a whole week of struggle near the year low made back in June, it was taken out the last minute going into close on Friday. Majority of the trading world was calling for a bounce due to oversold. Seriously, do they know that month end have strong bias for going lower? One has to wonder how little these people know.

Instead of just summarizing what happened last week, for those of you who are into investing and trading, here is a hint of what is coming this week – Non-Farm Payroll. You can make a lot of money from this.

I have been telling people around me to stay healthy as we age because our bodies do not function the same way as we get older. This video is a good summary of what to do to stay healthy as we age.

A good history lesson about WW2 German Nazis from Thoughty2. We are so close to WW3 at this point in time … maybe everyone should pay attention to what happened back then so that we do not made the same mistaken in supporting crazy dictators. Ooops, Biden was elected, Trudeau was elected. I guess we are doomed after all.

There is a big scandal in the chess world and an interesting take on the issue by Hikaru. It is a long video and only interesting if you like playing chess.

The back breaking storage move was a great success and now I get to go over these old stuff from eons ago. It is a long term plan though so I am not in a rush to finish the job quickly. It is quite scary though that one can accumulate so much paperwork, records and stuff that I haven’t seen in 10 years. Amazing.

Got to catch up with my work this weekend as usual.

Have a great weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update August 20, 2022

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Another week of retail mob fomo buying the stock market up together with corporate buybacks at full force. Friday option expiration put a dent at the end but no serious damage was done. On one hand we have huge geopolitical risk and at the brink of global economic collapse. On the other hand we have “investors” telling the world that the US Federal Reserve will “pivot” and restart QE any moment now.

Here is my secret formula to know the exact timing of Fed’s actions. It is not what freaking models they use or what economic data they are looking at. In aggregate, it is always the stock market level that determines the start and the end of their rate hike and rate cut moves. If you don’t believe me, go back to the chart of the S&P500 and map that to their actions. When they say they are looking for 3-4% economic growth, it is not about the CPI or the PPI. Everything they look at actually come down to the long term expected return of the stock market.

As a greatly simplified example, at the end of year 2019, S&P500 closed at 3400. Assuming Fed thinks that was a reasonable level for S&P500 to close at at the time, the expected normal target for end of year 2021 at 6% compound (double that 3% “acceptable” growth) is 3820. And then for the end of year 2022 is 4050. As long as S&P500 is trading above 4050 this year the Fed will continue to raise interest rate.

And if the Fed is thinking of engineering a recession, they don’t care about the economic data either. It is the stock market level having a “true” negative return for two quarters. First quarter of 2022 does not count because it closed above the target they are looking for. Second quarter did it with a figure slightly below the target for the quarter. If by the end of the third quarter, S&P500 is willing to stay below 4000, then the Fed may consider taking a pause before more rate hikes because a “recession” has been engineered.

As long as the “animal spirit” among the “investors” are high, and money is pouring into the various gambling dens, S&P500 will stay above the Fed’s targets and Fed will have no choice but to continue to teach them a lesson …

Very important video with Peter Zeihan for everyone to watch here. I talked about this issue of population composition for years in my monthly newsletters for premium members. I also wrote about the breakdown of the global logistics in the survival article. This is a great summary of how fucked up the world is currently. Yep, we are doomed.

One thing I don’t agree with Peter Zeihan is that China does not need Taiwan. So if China is going to attack, the goal is to destroy the West by destroying an important part of their tech industry. What it means is flatten Taiwan to ashes will be the “go to” strategy. Once there is not even one living person exists in Taiwan, other countries can’t claim that they are going to support Taiwan because there is no one to support.

In the video, the movie Margin Call was mentioned. If you have never watched that, do it. It can help you understand what to expect in coming months.

A reader sent me this link to a video about the Inflation Reduction Act. Even though I am not a devoted Christian, I like the fact that he called this spin done by the US politicians as it is. Let’s go Brandon!

Here is a rare video with Jeffery Sherman talking about his thoughts outside of DoubleLine’s own videos. Great educational materials for everyone to prepare for the coming extremely difficult economic environment. If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, my take from the video is that we probably haven’t seen shit hit the fan yet.

Back to working on my projects.

Have a great weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update August 14, 2022

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This week we got another confirmation of red hot inflation still on-going, yet “Brandon” dares to tell the world inflation is under control thanks to his government. This feeds the animal spirit of the market participants to push the market much higher. Very interesting dynamics going on in the stock market right now. Could this be the start of yet another major bull market just like that crash low of year 2020 as suggested by some, or, a bear market rally as others keep saying?

For a snapshot of the current situation, this is a good summary from David Hunter. He is the guy who thinks the S&P 500 will go up to 5000 or even 6000 quickly and then we face a bust that wipe out everything in 2023.

On the other hand, there is also a more pessimistic view of the near future.

I do not have strong opinion of which way the stock market will go at the moment. If you study history, especial the Weimar Republic, you would know that in a chaotic environment with hyperinflation, under the pressure of currency devaluation, the stock prices of the regime can go parabolic. But it does not mean that you are making money, because the actual value of the stocks do not rise fast enough to compensate for the loss in purchasing power. In short, it is best not to hold anything at all with the sinking ship.

The tricky issue is whether this is the end game of the financial system of the Western world. No one knows the answer.

Here is a good video from Patrick Boyle on the ARK fiasco and good lessons for retail investors.

Moved some heavy stuff around my house so that I can better utilize the space. I find doing chores like that and stay away from my regular research projects helps me clear my mind. When I get back to my work I often manage to see new ways to solve the problems on hand. If you do a lot of algo design work or deep research like me, you can try taking a break doing something else all together for a day or two. Give it a try!

Have a great weekend all!

How To Survive The Coming Decades Of This Dysfunctional World (Part 1)

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We all know that post COVID, the world has entered a very different era with wars, civil unrests and out of control inflation. This is the end of the era of easy money and the start of a completely different geopolitical era that will turn everything a normal person knows about the world upside down. I am going to share what I know about the development of this situation and what can be done to protect yourself and your family from this huge Tsunami of changes in all aspects of our lives.

Disclaimer 1: This is my personal blog and is separated from my core proprietary trading business or my side business of providing tools to active day traders. I am writing this series of articles hoping that they reach people outside of my usual audience so that, even if one of you is listening and do something about it to protect yourself, it will be worth my time doing this.

Disclaimer 2: This is not financial advice. You can seek financial advice from your financial advisor in your jurisdiction. This is just my personal take on the current situation around the world. All content is for education and knowledge sharing purpose only.

Background

There are four main area of concerns that I will address here.

I have written many years ago that the world is descending into chaos thanks to the way the Western governments are structured. The slippery slope will slowly and surely make sure good people who cares about others to not run for any official positions in these governments. At the moment, it is pretty obvious almost all the politicians in the game are there to pillage their own countries or following their masters’ orders to destroy their own countries. Maybe with a few rare exceptions, nothing good will come from the so-called leaders around the world at this point.

The creation of the central banks and the banking system we’ve lived with over the past few decades was not made to make the world better. It is created to bury the failure of the previous financial system such that no one has to answer to their wrong doings at the time. There are many books written on the subject and I don’t need to repeat the history and arguments here. What matters is that after pushing real interest rate to zero and beyond for a period of time by the central bank that manages the world reserve currency, US dollar, the system is getting close to a complete breakdown. There is nothing one can do to stop this from happening.

The current global logistic system was a great invention that enable the world to make available of everything imaginable to become available everywhere. It took some 30 years to get the system to work as efficient as it was back in year 2019. But ever since the COVID situation, lockdowns everywhere has seriously damaged the system. It is estimated that it will take a minimum of 10 or more years to rebuild what was destroyed. And the chance of getting there is next to impossible because of the geopolitical tension everywhere also reduced the chance of co-operation among countries that are fighting.

Our solar system has experienced one of the longest solar cycle in modern history. A new cycle has started approximately from end of 2019. We are in the beginning phase of the cycle that a lot more solar interference is happening and it won’t peak until 5 to 6 years later. During this time, it is expected to have a lot more dangerous coronal mass ejection (CME) coming off the sun that can seriously disrupt our electric grid and all kinds of computer equipment. Even worse, the cycle is also a good predictor of major earthquake activities and other extreme weather issues.

Themes In Motion

Given the background, we know there are four themes of future development that we have to pay attention to.

Corrupted governments with nothing there to really stop them means dictatorship is next. We are seeing that as COVID unfold where all these governments in the world choose dictatorship and idiotic policies over common sense. Since then all these guilty parties of course would never say that they have done something wrong since that is a sure political suicide act. Hence, the only path left is totalitarian states for the Western countries in near future. It is not possible to stop this unless the population of a country all wake up from their mass formation psychosis. It is well known that people who are brainwashed cannot wake up from their brainwashed state without external circumstances changed. So, don’t even dream of waking up tomorrow and your countrymen will revolt against your dictatorship regime.

The final fight to keep the current financial system alive has begun. However, countries that have been taken advantage of over the years like Russia, China, India etc. all know that if they do not fight back, they will be forever enslaved by this system. BRICS is going to introduce a new global financial clearing system that is independent from the US dollar based system. What it means is that all member countries of BRICS will be able to participate in trading with the other members without using US dollar as the medium. The moment it is up and running, US dollar’s premium as the world reserve currency will be destroyed. Based on BRICS announcement, the new system can go online as soon as end of this year. In order for non-members to transact with BRICS, should USD be refused, it will have to be some form of payment that the founding members of BRICS deem acceptable. It will not be any currency from the Western countries for sure.

Global logistic breakdown means supply shortage will continue for a long time. Premium on transportation on all front (by land, air or sea) will continue to rise until demand chokes off. It will continue to follow a very volatile path as both supply and demand no longer follow a stable trend. This will in turn making product availability and product pricing on all levels completely out of control. After a long stable period in global pricing of products and services, we are now entering a period of total chaos.

Natural disasters will become much more frequent. Unlike the peaceful time and that the easy money period where the governments can focus on one crisis and pour all resources into resolving that, it will not be possible to answer to these disasters quickly and effectively. People are more likely on their own when such event happens. Dependency on the power grid is also a major issue. Should the power grid be badly damaged by whatever reasons, many electric equipment including computers, GPS and EV cars will all be rendered useless.

How To Prepare

Preparation against these future development is to figure out the combined impact of them and address the areas that can affect you.

In this new era of stagflation, stock markets and bond markets will not perform well. Even if the overall stock market index is not dropping, it is actually negative return when inflation is taken into account. Government bonds will not do well in rising interest rate environment either. Unluckily, majority of the retirement fund accounts, they are forced to choose from very limited options that focus mostly on stocks and bonds. If your retirement fund account allows you to choose ETFs or segregated funds that are pure commodity based (not those buying stocks related to the commodities), you are lucky and can switch to them so that your fund there is hedged against inflation. For more specifics I will have to do that in follow up articles.

If such option is not available, do not easily go for the route of shorting the stock indices through those inverse ETFs unless you are a seasoned investor with the knowledge to do so. Shorting the stock market can be very high risk as Michael Burry pointed out that the strongest rallies in the stock market often come from the major bear markets.

There are other options in managing ones retirement funds and I will discuss that separately.

Since we know that we can’t trust our governments and that natural disasters can completely destroy a country, economically, physically or both, it is important to diversify your holdings into multiple countries or regions. In addition, specifically that BRICS is coming up with a competitive financial system, US dollar will be affected greatly. Ray Dalio has moved his family office to Singapore. Isn’t that clear enough what he means by his words? I don’t want to put words in his mouth here.

My take is that if US dollar is no longer the only reserve currency in the world in the near future, you can do one of the two things here depending on whether you are living inside US or some other countries. If you are living in US or majority of your assets are in US dollar, you need to unload a significant portion of that and put the money somewhere else. It can be in Singapore. It can be in United Kingdom. It can even be in Canada. As long as the money is parked in a separate jurisdiction, in a different currency, you enable yourself to not lose as much buying power with US dollar alone.

For those who are not living in US or majority of your assets are not in US dollar, you can hedge your US dollar based holdings by having a forex or CFD brokerage account. Your goal is not to make money speculating on the forex markets. You goal is to hedge your exposure to US dollar relative to your base currency. I will explain about this in a separate article.

For preparedness against potential food and essential shortages, plan ahead by writing down what you use every month to start the process. Figure out the core essential stuff you need and have at least a month of such supply over your weekly need. This way you will be able to live normally at least until the short term shortage is resolved. For food supply, forget about anything that requires a refrigerator. If power outage is an issue, your refrigerator will not help you much. Think of something that can last very long in storage and things that take minimum effort to cook. If you really worry, having portable gas stove and backup generator can help too in case of power grid issues.

I have a portable solar power generator and it is very handy in power outage or camping environment. Sometimes there are electric equipment you must use for just 10 minutes yet power outage will render that impossible. Having a generator can save your day.

I will not go as far as the preppers who have all kinds of survival means. But then if things get that bad, you probably need weapons and bullets too.

For preparedness against natural disasters or other disruptive events that you have to be evacuated, have a bugout bag for everyone living with you. The idea of a bugout bag is that you can take off in a moment and can survive on that for two to three days. It does not need to be fancy – water supply, basic food ration, clothing / blanket to keep you warm and basic id in case you need to identify yourself to authorities. Some people go for more items and you can learn all about that from the internet.

How To Profit From This Era

For those of you who still want to profit from the situation, beyond just protecting your money, it will depend heavily on what you have and what your plan is for yourself and your family. The subject can take many hours to go through all the possible scenarios. I will focus on several common ones and my suggestion of what can be done.

First, you need to know traditional brokerage accounts will not be able to help you dealing with this era because stocks and bonds will not perform in general. If you don’t have time to actively manage your stock picks the money you have in the brokerage account will be pretty useless. On the other hand, you can open a forex / CFD / commodity brokerage account allowing you to trade them without the hurdle of specific knowledge in trading futures and options. Such account allows one to easily create a portfolio of instruments that focus on the main themes I talked about earlier.

I have an account setup recently with Oanda here in Canada that I have just completed the basic holdings for the long term macro play. I am not associate with them. I am just a client. I am sure in your country you may have other brokerages offering similar services. So do your own due diligence and search for one that is reputable and reliable.

I call such basic portfolio a “wealth protection” program. I plan to move more money into the account in coming months as I liquidate holdings in other traditional assets. I will explain in great details what to hold and what to lookout for so that you can do this properly yourself. You don’t need a fund manager to do this right but you must be willing to spend the time to understand what I do with my own account so that you can duplicate my effort.

The macro strategy of such program is simple – we are looking to long precious metals, food, energies and short the currencies, bonds and stock market indices of whoever having close ties with US. The shorting part should be limited to a small portion of the portfolio as shorting has limited upside when you are not using leverage. The long side will take care of itself as the huge boom in commodities will lift all boats. So strategically, you don’t need to be extremely precise in your entries. As long as you are on the right side and not buying at the extreme highs you will do fine.

Key to such approach is the acceptance of the fact that you do not have time to actively manage this so you are doing this passively. When you see great profit in one or more markets you take profit and look for the next market you can rotate into. You also accept the fact that it is done to counter the loss of purchasing power of your money, not seeking for very specific high return percentage.

Of course, I have high expectation with what I do I think I can beat the expect inflation hands down.

Next level of the strategy is using tactical entries and exits to improve the return further. This requires the use of leverage above the basic portfolio where we can overweight certain markets based on our trading models. You don’t need to be a genius to do that. What you need is basic chart reading skill so that you are not getting in at the wrong time. If you have time doing this properly, you can double the return of the basic approach.

This can be taken to yet another level if the portfolio is managed full time. By adding proper day trading engagement, the return can again be improved significantly. But this is not the subject for this series and you can research on the topic from many successful commodity traders how they day trade for a living to understand what it takes and how to get it done.

What’s Next

I wrote a much simpler version of this article a month ago as a memo sent to my former clients as a courtesy because without them I would not have a successful career in trading. I learnt so much in trading and investing while having the privilege to see how large family offices operate and eventually managing my own money. One thing that I would like to say, not disrespectfully, but just stating a fact, is that many CIOs of family offices, do not have the professional experience or best interest of their bosses in managing the portfolios. There are a handful of these guys I respect a lot and they are good friends of mind. The rest are really acting like deer seeing a big flashlight in front of them and paralyzed in the current environment.

We are seeing the biggest and probably most complicated change in investment landscape and societal disruptions in human history. It takes very drastic measures to counter the negative effect on your savings, investments and your outlook in life. What I learnt over the years though, is that you don’t have to be a ultra wealthy person to thrive in this era. What you need is knowledge and a bold belief that you can come out ahead in the future.

I am an introvert and do not like being the focus in the public. Most of my time is spent in doing research and managing my businesses. But I feel compelled to write this down for some mysterious reasons as if I am dictating the words from somewhere else. Whatever the reason, I hope this can get you thinking about your future and be prepared.

Good luck!

TLC Weekly Update July 30, 2022

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Just gone through another hectic week with so many things to take care of and running out of time everyday.

Latest talk from Tony Robbins with Ray Dalio. Nothing much Dalio has not explained before. It is just an update of his views at this point in time. If you have not read his book on the subject or any other talks he gave on the subject, this is a great starting point.

For the aspiring traders, this interview with Gareth Soloway is a good one reminding you what you must master to becoming a good trader. The question Kevin raised on a bet, is nothing new. It is given to many people to see if they can answer this correctly. The problem is that in real life you can’t look at the question as if it is a pure probability question and Gareth gave the best answer I have seen.

Another video about Michael Burry’s bet with speculation on what he is really doing at the moment. Well, it is a speculation of what he may have done with the rest of his trading capital. What I find interesting is that this is the first time I have seen a layman video that paid attention to what Burry said about how expensive option premiums have become. That matters a lot in real life trading and that alone tells you how the market makers view the level of risk going forward.

Coming week we start with a new month that is jam packed with major geopolitical events. Just the US sending Pelosi to visit Taiwan is enough to trigger WW3. That coupled with Russia, China and many other countries going to do a military drill next to US west coast, I see these countries all walking on a dangerous path.

I pray that nothing bad happens … I still want to enjoy my summer.

Got to go.

Let’s have a great weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update July 16, 2022

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I am fighting wasps at my cottage at the moment as I type this piece up. Don’t know how it happened but sudden they found my place and built a nest here. Need to learn to deal with them quickly!

For those of you following the Musk vs. Twitter drama, here is a sarcastic take on the subject by Patrick Boyle. Personally, as I explained again and again, all social media will fall out of favor when new technology arrives. Thus all of them will worth nothing. In this case, Twitter, is even worse because it is really a political weapon and a scam with significant number of its so-called users are bots. Just imagine the lawsuit Twitter will face when its advertisers found out the actual percentage of users are bots …

A short clip about Dr. Huberman studying David Goggin. The story is so cool that as a fan of either one of them, you will enjoy this.

An informative video about the economy and among other things, bitcoin. A very balanced approach in applying economic indicators the right way that economists from big financial institutions would never do because they have to work from the agenda of their firms.

Enjoy this nice summer weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update June 4, 2022

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The Non-Farm Payroll report released early this morning has stopped the US stock market from making a second week of positive gain. For perma bears, it is a sign of market weaknesses and next week everything may fall off the cliff. Objectively, however, we have the biggest one week rally just a week ago. Isn’t it normal that the stock market may need to take a breather before making its next move?

For doomsayers, the paper published by Gaya Herrington back in 1972 and an update done some 30 years later, has made quite a buzz lately. More and more people mention this work as the projection of our collective future can turn real bad starting pretty much now. For those of you who are not familiar with the work, here is an article trying to explain what the paper is all about.

If you are still not doing exercise regularly, may I convince you with this video clip from Joe Rogan’s podcast with Peter Attia? You don’t need to do crazy level of exercise to get things going. Starts with only a few minutes a day and you will see the difference.

I know many people who have problems sleeping. There are so many things that can affect us to get a good sleep that countless studies are done to figure out what helps. This short video caught my attention because the gadget mentioned is not expensive and can help one quantify the sleeping environment being good or bad instantly. I will actually get one of these devices and test it out.

Mercury retrograde since May 10th is now finally over. Over this period of time, I have one monitor died and countless paperwork delayed by third party for no reason. I expected that and did my best to avoid initiating any new projects. Now that it is over, I will schedule new projects again.

Have a great weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update May 15, 2022

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It is Sunday afternoon, and I just started writing this.

I was bombarded by many questions from many people I know this week. I ended up talking with so many people for countless number of hours. The main themes are basically the situation in Ukraine, the current interest rate environment and the stock market outlook.

As a summary, Ukraine situation will only get worse as NATO (it is really just USA) continues to force the world to accept its dominance even though it is really a relic from the past. For the current interest rate up trend, it will continue until majority of the people in the world die from hunger. And finally for the US stock market, it will go to zero because US will be nuked by Russia and other countries.

No one wants to hear what I wrote above and keep asking questions round and round so that they can get a different answer. Hence my time was wasted with no impact whatsoever in helping these people to prepare for the future.

The bottom line is, the future of our world is much more uncertain at this point. By thinking about the worst case scenario, one can be better prepared should that scenario actually happen. This thought exercise is brutal for people who do not have training in higher awareness as they will not be able to sleep and will dig into all kinds of conspiracy theories to satisfy their appetite in fear so that they will do nothing productive.

For those with higher awareness, they will do what they can and not worry about what they can’t control. In fact, knowing that the future can be so chaotic means we should enjoy our lives even more when it is still functional …

For one, if you are in the dating game, checkout this interesting article from Wired on how dating apps are leading people to sure misery. Well, it is my interpretation of the article. You may see this differently.

Or you can learn to make your own perfect soft boiled egg. This guy has done all the hard work so you don’t need to. Just learn it from him and you will be able to enjoy perfect soft boiled eggs all the time.

And if you are hoping aliens will come to save this world from the current trend of self destruction, don’t hold your hope high as these scientists pointed out, the chance can be very low.

For those of you who has access to open space, the total lunar eclipse tonight will be a nice treat.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

TLC Weekly Update May 6, 2022

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What a roller coaster week with the stock market … for experienced day traders, this is golden opportunity to make good money while casual players got slaughtered without knowing why.

Interesting view about the rate hikes by Sam Zell. If he is right, then the bears of the stock market will be crushed hard pretty soon.

Lately the stock of Teladoc Health (TDOC) was quite the talk of the town thanks to Cathie Wood’s perfect timing to buy this stock at such a good price that it is now 90% lower from its all-time-high. I guess her call of the stock to 10x may now be possible if it trades back up to its peak. That, of course, depends heavily on whether it will go to zero first.

Here is a short article by Mark Manson on how we judge others. It is a good read.

I am happy that my two new trading servers are now working. Time to move onto the other projects.

Happy Mother’s Day!