Thursday, September 30, 2021

Apocalypse Fatigue

It's been a rough month.

Our 25-year-old bird is sick. We took her to the emergency vet. She stayed overnight. We think she ate part of her cage. Ingested some metals. She's prone to seizures and these were the most violent we'd ever seen. Feathers and blood everywhere. Not good.

Took her to her regular vet for a followup. She was terrified and escaped their control long enough for even more feathers and blood. Ouch.

We've set up a hospital cage for her made out of a large plastic storage container drilled with holes and filled with towels. It's treating her well so far.

Meanwhile, we ordered a new large steel cage for her. We were fortunate to find one on sale, because they are not cheap. There are SO many out of stock right now. It was originally supposed to be delivered two days ago but there was a delay due to a train derailment. I kid you not. It arrived today and we put it together. Fortunately, that went well. She's not ready for her new and improved home, but it will be ready when she is.

In other news, it's not been a great month for the stock market. I'm still up 10% since I bought back in December, even with today's tobacco stock selloff. The decision to diversify out of utilities is still holding up well. Utilities are not reacting well at all to the rise in the 10-year yield. Had I stayed entirely in utilities, the gains would be cut in half. On a brighter note, still doing better than the 30-year Treasury bond. By. A. Wide. Margin. A 0.37% increase in yield x 30 years is roughly an 11% loss.

No more VPU specific reports. It's only 20% of my IRA now (and my IRA is a relatively small part of my net worth), so my motivation to track it closely just isn't there any longer.

Cabin fever is becoming apocalypse fatigue. Since 2020, it’s starting to feel like we're in the "what can go wrong, will go wrong" era. My hoarding tendencies are on high alert, with each new "out of stock", "shortage", "supply chain disruption", and "Covid" story adding to the personal drama. The drama is real. Any resemblances to the many fine disaster movies I often enjoy are hopefully entirely coincidental, military soldiers driving gasoline tanker trucks in Great Britain notwithstanding. *cringe*

And lastly, my posting frequency will most likely be somewhat reduced in the coming weeks. Looking to take a break. I will definitely continue to post trading updates, not that I have many trading plans. I’m comfortable with what I own. The next purchase will probably be more savings bonds at the start of the new year.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Oil and Natural Gas Extraction Employment per Capita

As a group, KMI and OKE have risen 9% since I recently purchased them. The high volatility, even when it works in my favor, makes me more than a bit nervous. A primary goal of mine is to not lose sleep over my investments. A secondary goal is to be especially fearful when investors are especially greedy. Are oil and natural gas investors being especially greedy right now? The following chart suggests that we are not.

I thouht about locking in some oil and natural gas gains and reducing my exposure today. After creating this chart, the feeling passed. There seems to be plenty of room left to run.

September 27, 2021
Nasdaq: US Oil & Natural Gas Rig Tally Rises for 3 Straight Weeks

Natural Gas Rig Count Declines in US: Natural gas rig count of 99 was lower than the prior-week count of 100. The count of rigs exploring the commodity was, however, higher than the prior-year week’s 75. Per the latest report, the number of natural gas-directed rigs is roughly 94% below the all-time high of 1,606 recorded in 2008.

This is definitely not investment/speculation advice. There's a reason why these stocks have high dividends and are so volatile. With great rewards come great risks. Only hindsight can show if the risk was actually worth it, and even then it might not be. If one bets their life savings on a triple or nothing coin flip, the math says it is a great bet. It would be little consolation if one loses though.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Trading Update (Tongue-in-Cheek)

Sold zero shares of pipeline stocks to buy one unit of Pipeline game.

If time is money, then I expect this trade to provide a very negative return on investment. That's the amusing thing about games. The more time they waste, the more value they have. If this one ultimately wastes 50 hours, for example, that will bring its cost down to just $1 per hour. It's a very reaasonable goal for entertainment, in my very humble opinion.

For those interested, there are highly-rated unofficial solo rules available. That's probably how I will mostly be playing this one, assuming I can't talk anyone of the female persuasion in this household into embracing this gaming experience. A fairly safe assumption!

It's just another Panic Monday. No big deal, in the grand scheme of things. I'm comfortable with my current investments. No desire to sell.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Anecdotal Supply Chain Issues

Bought a narrow white Billy bookcase at the Seattle area Ikea store yesterday. Would have bought it sooner but it has been out of stock. It's been a day. It's already out of stock again. Out of curiosity, I checked the status of their normal white Billy bookcase. It too is out of stock.

Bought a white 5x5 Kallax at Ikea recently. Would have bought it sooner but it had been out of stock. It was also out of stock shortly after I bought it. It's out of stock right now. Once again, out of curiosity, I checked the status of their other white Kallax shelf units.

4x4? Out of stock.
4x3? Out of stock.
4x2? Out of stock.
4x1? Out of stock.
3x3? Out of stock.
2x2? Out of stock.

It's like we're living in a WW2 supply chain disruption movie. Doesn't seem to be getting better yet. The U-Boats are now seemingly hunting allied cargo ships in packs.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Inflation Drama

The following chart shows the natural log of the median CPI. When using natural logs, constant exponential growth is seen as a straight line. I have added a trend channel in red.


Once the inflationary extremes are stripped out, it's just more of the same. When combined with exponentially decaying long-term interest rates, it is of little consolation to safety-seeking long-term savers though.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

5 Great Reasons to Like Verizon’s Stock

September 11, 2021
The Motley Fool: 1 Warren Buffett Stock Perfect for Dividend Investors

1. This isn't Berkshire's most exciting investment, but could be a great fit for income seekers.

2. It's essentially a utility at this point.

3. To be fair, if I were closer to retirement age, I would probably like Verizon better.

4. It's probably the best dividend stock on this list.

5. What looks more attractive, Verizon or a 30-year Treasury right now?

Of course, this retiree might be more than a bit biased as a dividend and income seeker, who recently bought utilities thinking they were more attractive than the 30-year Treasury, then sold some utilities to buy a stock that is essentially a utility.

They are definitely preaching to the choir. Verizon has not been a good performer in the very short time that I’ve owned it, but I’m keeping the faith. Nothing goes straight up.

The Sound of Silence

Nothing Else Matters

Friday, September 10, 2021

Trading Update V

Sold some VPU @ 150.40 to buy TSN @ 75.63.

New IRA asset allocation:

This is definitely a stock that I intend to hold long-term. I'm overweighting it and bracing for more pain. Not only has Tyson been in falling knife mode for the past month, but the White House isn't at all happy that the company raised meat prices during a pandemic. Makes inflation look bad, as if there aren't enough reasons already that inflation looks bad.

I suspect that the pace of my trading will soon grind to a halt, now that VPU is down to just 20% of my IRA. The buying and selling seems mostly done. Now it's time for the holding. If I thought that there was even a chance that we'd soon see 1% real yields on the 30-year TIPS then I would not be taking such risks.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Trading Update IV

Sold some VPU @ 151.29 to buy OKE @ 52.68 and KMI @ 16.14.

New IRA asset allocation:

Lured by the high dividends of ONEOK and Kinder Morgan. I'm certainly taking on a lot of risk for an economy in uncharted waters. *shrug*