Of course I was just having some fun with Pops Buffett but to say you could live your life just using products that Berkshire Hathaway has a part of is rather silly because you would have to include all the companies that he owns stock in too. You could say the same things about 96% plus of the over 7,000 mutual funds out there and most of them would give you a much wider selection of products than Berkshire. So you could say that you could live your entire life off only products of companies owned by Acme's XYZ mutual fund and you would be right but it would be a silly thing to even bring up just as the Berkshire reference was.
Two great stories tonight.
The first was a story once again about corporate greed run amuck. There is now a class action lawsuit against Kimberly Clark because of their defective Microcool Ebola protective outfits. They knew the outfits were defective and exposed health care workers to the Ebola Virus yet they hid the fact that they were defective, hid it from the government and hid it from their customers. Its sickening. I hope it puts them out of business and the company leaders go to prison for life. They cared nothing about the safety of the health care workers because it might have a small effect on their precious bottom line. We don't need companies like this operating in this country or anywhere else in the world.
The second great story was about the new financial tech startup companies known as fintechs who are finding ways to make many of the banking industries business obsolete by offering service that are much faster and much cheaper. Some of the things I have never even thought of but they have some great ideas and great technology. I've already told you how technology is going to make credit card companies obsolete in the future and the way things are moving it may be the very near future. Of course the big banks already have their lobbyists in DC showering the politicians with money to put regulations on the new tech companies that threaten them or in other words put in laws that will prevent them from doing business. Thankfully the democrats won't be bought off and they will be free to bring cheaper, better and faster banking services to the public. Don't tell Pops Buffett though because he loves his AXP and WFC stock and by the time the credit card companies go away and the banks lose a ton of business, he probably won't realize it when he's mumbling as the applesauce from dinner is running down his chin.
I saw a headline that said you could spend your life just using Berkshire products. I guess that's true if you want to heat your home with a coal fired furnace, play your music on a turntable, drink New Coke, have your American Express card run through a hand operated machine that makes a carbon paper impression of the card, have your furniture delivered from Omaha, only eat Sees Candy and Dairy Queen hamburgers and shakes and be 400 pounds, wait three weeks to receive that product you ordered by catalog from the company on the coast, get books you want to read by going to the book store at the mall and compose your correspondence using an IBM Selectric typewriter. Pops Buffett may be quite old and his brain not operating like it used to but I will admit that he still looks young compared to 92 year old Munger who follows him around like a puppy dog. In other words you would be living the life, the life of the 50's that is.
Speaking of Pops, he was asked if Trump became president would his restrictions hurt Berkshire's business. Pops replied that if Trump became president, restrictions would be the least of our problems. LOL
One week until the Kentucky Derby. I'm sticking with my pick of Gun Runner but he's certainly not almost a sure thing like Big Brown and California Chrome were so I'm not putting a whole lot of money on him and I will bet him across the board. Its raining in Louisville today and supposed to rain tomorrow but the long range forecast says no rain next week after tomorrow and sunny and 76 for Derby Day. I hope that sticks so its a fair fast track and there will be no excuses unless you get caught behind horses with plenty of horse and no place to go. Of course, we all know about those long range weather forecasts so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. At times they can't get the next days forecast right much less a week away.
He revealed that at the annual meeting. They are being hurt by the railroad they bought. Pops, I told you spending that much money on a railroad was a huge mistake. Too much of the railroad business is dependent on oil and coal and they are both going the way of the dodo bird. Pops, Holiday Shores Retirement Community is screaming out to you.
#$%$&P lowers IBM to negative. Pops is talking to himself saying its like time has passed me by. Well, guess what Pops?
As we all know he just got slammed on IBM again and now he's taking a hit on his only other foray into the tech world, Microsoft MSFT. Poor Pops who always said he never understood technology so he wouldn't invest in it, suddenly decided that at a very advanced age and with a deteriorating mind that he finally understood it and could invest in it. I have no doubt though that Pops is desperately searching for shares in a VHS manufacturer that he is sure will turn his tech world around. Does Pops even understand why these companies are called old tech? What's next? Is he going to buy into Cisco because he thinks its going to be the next great growth stock? We know your mind is about gone Pops but if your hearing is still reasonable you should be listening to The Holiday Shores Retirement Center screaming at you with the top of their lungs. If you hurry you can still get there in time to register for the annual summer shuffleboard tournament.
Well, fresh off the heels of Pops IBM disaster comes another disaster in the making today as Coke, another one of Pops large holdings, reported yet another quarter of declining revenue as their business dies. Pops better get to The Holiday Shores Retirement Center ASAP before the damage at Berkshire is irreversible and we are not that far away from that point. He's holding a bunch of 20th century stocks as we are well into the 21st century. We all know about other disasters of his like WMT and American Express that are dying in the 21st century and other big holdings of his like Wells Fargo that are headed for big trouble as the world changes the way they do banking business. Yep, many years ago he did buy things like the candy company and the furniture company, when he still had his wits about him and they will not go away but they are not even close to being enough to save the company. Then you have his more recent purchase where he overpaid for a railroad as rail companies are entering a period where they are going to lose vast amounts of their business hauling oil and coal and the bad part is it will be gone forever. You don't need to haul solar, wind, wave and geothermal power. One of Berkshires young fifty something bucks need to take the company over and quick before there is nothing left to save. If not the company is going to be hit very hard, not be able to recover and leaving people holding the bag and that time is not all that far off.
IBM just reported earnings and it marked the 16th straight quarter of declining revenues. Remember when Pops used to say he won't buy any technology companies because he doesn't understand technology. What made him think when he got old and his mind fading on him that he would begin to understand technology companies? Or maybe he is beginning to grasp technology but the only problem is he seems to be grasping what is so 20th century outdated technology just like his other big holdings that are dying with the 21st century and he can't figure it out. OH WELL.
An update on the Kentucky Derby. Things are really getting interesting this year. We have a lot of quality horses running this time around but most of them have thrown a bad race into the mix which makes things really interesting and hard to figure. Only three of the top horses have not thrown in a clinker race and they are Nyquist, Gun Runner and Exaggerator. Brodys Cause that threw in a really bad race two races ago came back and won his last race convincingly. Brodys Caus and Exaggerator however are both big late runners and they're always dangerous to bet on in the Derby because with all the horses in the race its really easy to get caught behind other horses and not able to get through and use that late run. As it looks right now, Nyquist will most likely be the favorite and for good reason but I am still going with Gun Runner. The only thing that has changed is that with so many of the top horses having one bad race, I don't think Gun Runner's odds will be as high as I thought. Now I see him at probably 9 or 10 to 1. Still not a bad price. Whoever I bet on it won't be a large amount like I put on California Chrome because there's just not a horse that is far and above the rest but at 9 or 10 to 1 you don't have to put a lot of money on a horse to win some decent money. I will probably bet Gun Runner across the board because the place and show prices should be pretty decent and this appears to be a very competitive race . When I have a horse like California Chrome who I thought was far better than the rest I only bet them to win but in a closer battle like this year I will spread my money out between win, place and show. Don't forget to tune in. The race is two weeks from this Saturday on May 7 at about 6:25 eastern time most likely.
Congratulations to Danny Willett for winning the Masters Tournament. He was my pick. OK, he wasn't, in fact I never even gave him any thought. He plays mainly on the European Tour and I don't watch that tour very often but even though many people never heard of him, he certainly wasn't someone who came out of the blue to win. He's a quickly improving golfer who entered the masters as the number 12 golfer in the world and after winning he's going to be in the top 10. Spieth sure had a major meltdown on 12 and he will never forget it. He's not the only one. Number 12 has ripped the hearts out of many golfers in position to possibly win the Masters over the years. It'll be interesting to see how Spieth comes back from this. A few years ago when Rory McIlroy had a meltdown on the last day of the Masters, nobody knew how he would react but he came back and won the next major, The US Open. Only time will tell us how this will affect Spieth.
I forgot to mention Bubba Watson who is also a very powerful golfer and won the Masters in 2012 and 2014 but I don't think he'll be a factor either. He's too much of a head case and he's playing the first two rounds with Ian Poulter who is the kind of golfer that will get on Bubba's nerves and drive him nuts with his head case problems.
Don't forget the Masters Tournament starts tomorrow morning. I have a new pick. I'm now picking Smylie Kaufman to win. Just kidding. He is playing but I had never heard Smiley. He's an American who qualified for the Masters by winning the Shriners Hospital for Children Open in Las Vegas last October, one of those tournaments that none of the names participate in. I wish him luck but don't give him any chance. I am excited after seeing the weather forecast though. They are calling for a 50% chance of thunderstorms tomorrow morning but it doesn't sound like much rain if they do get it which is good and no chance of rain any of the days after that. What will make it exciting is that its supposed to be windy and quite windy on Saturday, moving day and with the dry weather and wind the greens should be quite fast which will make for some great theater where you get shots that look really good but end up going off the green and down the hill. There is no Tiger Woods this year so no Tiger Woods soap opera with the press trying to build him up because he increases the viewership. Anywho, it should be a fun tournament to watch this year. So I'm sticking with Rory but don't have a lot of confidence in my pick. After dominating last year Jordan Spieth is not playing up to the same level and I don't think he'll be a major factor this year. I will give him credit though. He played at a very high level for a lot longer than I thought he could or would last year. He's a good solid golfer but just doesn't have a powerful enough game to remain a dominate player for a long period of time like a Jason Day, Rory McIlroy or Dustin Johnson have the potential to.
Like I said I haven't keep tabs on what's going on this year. I didn't know they picked up those two pitchers but if Cueto and Samardzja work out and fit in that rotation with Bumgarner they will have a hell of a starting rotation. Cueto can really be dominating when he's right. Good luck. I have to run now.
Haven't kept that close a tab on baseball this year. Do the Giants have a solid team this year? I do know the Cubs are loaded this year but after all, they are the Cubs.
Dustin Johnson has been playing really well but he always finds a way to blow it on the last day of a major when he's in the hunt. I guess the other Johnson you're referring to is Zach Johnson but I don't give him much of a chance. He's not playing all that great right now and I think his age is starting to catch up to him and that will hurt you at Augusta National and he wasn't very long to start with. Just my two cents worth. Disagreement is what makes this fun.
Sorry, my bad. Charles Howell III did not qualify to play this year. I thought he had. It would have been a good fit because he was born in Augusta Georgia. So I will now make Soren Kjeldsen my longshot pick.
The Masters starts Tuesday but I'm having a really hard time deciding on my pick. Three of the worlds top golfers are playing really great, Henrick Stenson, Adam Scott and Jason Day but Rory McIlroy's game really seems to be rounding into shape also. Jason Day is playing the best right now of the group but he is also having some physical issues which he never knows when they will pop up and ruin his chances. Since I have to pick one I guess I'll go with Rory McIlroy because his game is coming around and there's nothing he wants more than to win the Masters and complete the Career Grand Slam. My long shot pick this year is Charles Howell III who I think will make a nice run this year although he has never been a factor when he had the chance to play in the tournament. Not putting any money on it this year though because I just don't feel strongly enough about one of them having a really great chance at beating the others.
Well, not exactly but Jim Herman won the PGA tour stop this week, the Houston Open. It was his first win ever but he used to be an assistant pro at Trump National Golf Course. He said he played a round of golf with Trump last week but I don't know when Trump could have found time off from acting like a fool to play a round of golf.