LotRO’s recent Mirkwood update is actually really good. I’ve played through it completely with my main, and I’m working on an alt.
It’s clear the small LotRO team is working very hard, and they deserve some accolades for some of the highest quality content LotRO has seen in a long time.
The player base in general seems a little detached and apathetic, however. I’m concerned that the difficulty level of Mordor, and again of Mirkwood, may have expelled a significant number of players.
LotRO’s most recent update completely revamped the character selection panel, with overall improved results. Today I uploaded an update to my custom interface, which repairs some of the damage caused by the interface changes.
The past month and the week before last saw record inflows into ETFs according to CNBC. I take these flows to be average people, including mom and pop, chasing this bounce. This is BEARISH, not bullish. it’s also stupid at this time of record uncertainty, risk, and rising interest rates.
These investors were face planted this week when the market crashed again due to various factors, especially Trump’s trade war with China.
Friday’s drop took the S&P index exactly to the critical level it needs to hold relative to the previous low several weeks ago.
The overall sentiment on Wall Street is that it won’t hold, which is my sentiment also. This is why I’ve been taking profits for the last month.
In my last post I bought Google and sold Albemarle. I took quick profits in Google after that. I more recently sold Nvidia (NVDA) and Tencent (TCEHY) both for 120% gains.
I’m currently as little exposed to the market as I’ve been in a very long time. I actually tried to go short the market at the recent top, but got shook out, missing a huge gain to date in inverse 2x short S&P (SDS).
In that case I broke one of my rules, which is to wait until the very end of a day before allowing myself to get shaken out on a high conviction trade.
I was distracted by real life and couldn’t deal with having that much money on the table, basically. I really need to get past that and make 2x or 3x bets.
If you’re currently in the market, then I think it’s too late to sell anything. I also think it’s too early to risk buying, but we’ll just see. Let’s break down individual equities.
NVidia (NVDA) should be watched for a buying opportunity on this pullback, but it has all sorts of issues and headwinds:
1. Amazon and Google said they will start making their own chips (i.e. so they aren’t held hostage, are more secure due to proprietary, and don’t have to pay NVidia’s 50% margins.)
2. Self-driving cars are higher risk since the fatality last week in Phoenix. Uber suspended its testing, and Uber uses NVidia chips.
3. AMD strongly asserts it will take market share this year, presumably from NVidia.
4. China says it plans to make more of its own chips, presumably to be less dependent on the U.S., which actually tends to block Chinese chips and devices for security reasons.
Tencent said this week that their mobile games sales have weakened in China. Gamers are migrating to more sophisticated, less dumb games, like the PC games offered by Netease (NTES). This is a risk across the industry.
This is good news though for people like me who hate dumbed down games. I’ve been predicting a resurgence of the PC for years due to this exact effect. I also predicted a difficult year for game developers this year, because of increased competition.
Jim Cramer was championing Activision Blizzard (ATVI) on his show last week. He said ATVI is making a new modern Disney. That’s a bold claim.
Meanwhile, Blizzard’s Hearthstone is offering ever-increasing free stuff, including a much more generous 70 packs for the expansion purchase, instead of 60.
This seems to say they need to sweeten the pot to keep their customers, who are pressuring them publicly about the expensiveness of Hearthstone.
Currently my only gaming stock holding is a moderate position in the GAMR ETF. NVidia and Tencent moved from the portfolio to the watch list. Other stocks on my watch list are Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM), Albemarle (ALB), Equinix(EQIX), Labcorp (LH), and Visa (V).
TSM is pressured by a very strong drawdown in the chip industry right now, but it’s a huge independent chip fabricator, so it might benefit from China vs. U.S. chip wars, especially as a subcontractor if China pushes faster to become independent of the U.S. chip makers.
Visa has strong relative strength and, while TSM is hurt right now by being a part of chip ETFs, Visa is a big part of financial ETFs, which are expected to benefit from rising interest rates.
Equinix (EQIX) is my white whale. For years I’ve missed every opportunity at this stock. At some point, the real estate ETFs (REITs), will stop being pressured by rising interest rates, which, as I understand it, hurt these companies due to the high debt these run.
It would be very profitable to have the savvy to get back into the REITs at the right time during this rising interest rate cycle.
I don’t have the experience to know when that is, but I really like investing in internet operation infrastructure, which is mostly dependent on internet bandwidth usage, and less related to sales of chips and software. Maybe I could research this in the charts going back several years to prior cycles.
Today and yesterday I was watching Harry Potter movies over and over on HBO Now, trying to understand why some of them (i.e. Prisoner of Azkaban) are better than others (i.e. Chamber of Secrets.)
I think it’s better characters, conflict, and lots of amazing magical things happening, but I should put my observations and writer insights into another blog topic.
I’ve also been working hard on the story and art for my game, as usual. The above image for this post is from the “evil” tavern, where the general bad guys hang out.
You know – the evil wizards, the demons, etc. I won’t say pirates because in my game the pirates are counted as good guys. They are free humans, rebels against the dark Lord whose laws say all humans must be registered slaves.
I’m also still reading about fairy magic and lore. Supposedly the power of 5 (the pentagram) is more normally used and powerful for fairies than the power of 3. Good to know, because I was going with 3.
The Harry Potter movies notably don’t have a lot of pentagrams or other provocative imagery hanging around. Harry does form a trinity with Ron and Hermione, however.
And a final thanks to the one person last month who bought a copy of one of my books. Thanks for the cheeseburger, amigo…