Time out. You can't just go back to a stock you hated for ages, can you? Can the market be that fickle? And can you abandon one of the greatest stocks of all time because you hear press reports that the president wants to go after it, even as every company that the president has gone after has thrived after the wrath?
Yet that's precisely the situation people found themselves in today when the stock of Clorox (CLX) , one of my absolute favorites, rallied hard for a second day, jumping more than four points. Meanwhile Amazon (AMZN) got clocked for 5% on word of how a press outlet, Axios, says the president is obsessed with Amazon and wants to come after it with everything he has. Perhaps he's motivated by his apparent dislike of the Washington Post, which Jeff Bezos owns. No matter. The story, entitled "Trump hates Amazon not Facebook" gave Facebook (FB) a momentary respite from the avalanche or orders but truly gaffed the Amazon shareholders as surely as a flopping and chopping Moby Dick at the hands of Captain Ahab. Or if that is too harsh, maybe the president is ordering up a bigger boat to take on Jeff Bezos and the sellers are just getting ahead of the news.
We live in a strange time for Amazon and all the FANG names -- Facebook (FB) , Amazon (AMZN) , Apple (AAPL) , Netflix (NFLX) and Alphabet (GOOGL) . White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says the president has no specific policies that are meant to pressure Amazon, but, and I quote, she says Trump is "always looking to create a level playing field for all businesses and this is no different."
The stock didn't go up much at all and then went back down again on this news because I think people: one, believe that when she says he has no specific policies to address the Amazon issue at this time that just means he hasn't formulated them and two, everybody knows it's not a level playing field. Amazon has changed the game for retail. They don't call it the Death Star for nothing. Only the government can stop Amazon, just like only the government can stop Facebook. And that's exactly what the government seems to want to do with Facebook, so why shouldn't Amazon be next.
Notice my lingo there. "why shouldn't Amazon be next" is like the battering Twitter's (TWTR) stock received yesterday when shortseller Andrew Left said Twitter's stock is up a lot and is vulnerable to charges about selling out its users even as the company has denied selling out its users. The stock got obliterated because Left basically said it should be obliterated. That's good enough in this market.
I wonder when I have Nvidia (NVDA) CEO Jensen Huang on Mad Money tomorrow when we will hear from outfits like Left's Citrin that a huge percentage of their business is ethereum miners using their GPU chips to get rich quick. Forget the fact that ethereum miners are probably a small fraction of one game's new players. Ignore that GPUS are used for so many different tasks that the idea that this one cryptocurrency is even a small fraction of its GPU business, why let the facts get in the way of a good short story? And while we are at it, can I just say that I am ready to hear that Nvidia has stopped working with partners on self-driving cars? That's just plain wrong. It is full speed ahead with them but it has been working on software that simulates everything from floods to blizzards while it parks its own five-car fleet of self-driving cars to consider what may have gone wrong with the self-driving Uber that killed a woman in Arizona last week. Nvidia's partnerships are where the revenues are, not its own five cars, but again, when a stock is in freefall what's a little false narrative octane thrown on a short-selling bonfire.
But then there's Clorox. Ten days ago we talked to Benno Dorer, the CEO of Clorox and I couldn't believe how lucky we were to have him. The stock had been straight down from $146 to the mid $120s, which, to me, meant that you got to buy a terrific consumer products company with brilliant leadership and a 3% yield. This largely American company has had its share of raw cost boosts, but they were temporary. It's expanding into supplements, a fabulous business, and it's getting its stuff into all the major drug stores. I have found my Renew Life Ultimate Flora at all the drug stores I use. There was a time a few months ago where those probiotics that I swear by couldn't be found anywhere.
You know what I heard when I said I would buy this fabulous grower that comes up with new products and spends 50% of its ad budget online where the shoppers are? How about: "that's the wrong stock when rates are going to 3%!" Oops! They went to 2.75%. I heard that the chart was death warmed over. Well what charts looked great? How about FANG?
Now let's understand each other. With rates lower, people fear a slowdown and they want a stock like Clorox. They don't mind that it uses what now seems like a totally discredited form of media -- SOCIAL MEDIA -- to get the word out. They look at it as the best of the best, just like they looked at it as the worst of the worst when we were in San Francisco.
It's the same way with retail. We were supposed to hate retail weren't we? Not anymore. Lululemon (LULU) delivers an upside surprise and you know what caused it? Don't look now, e-commerce. The internet. Same as what's driving a lot of Kohl's (KSS) business. Uh oh! does the president know that Amazon is running a pilot program with Kohl's where you don't have to wrap up the stuff you bought from Amazon before you return it, you can go right to Kohl's and the ones that have the partnership will do it for you? I don't think the president buys his gold toe socks there like I do or he would probably be less inclined to smote Amazon down.
Look, the fact is, since I started thinking about what I am talking about, no since I wrote here what I am talking about the stock market went down one hundred points and then went up 100 points so if you go to an ATM machine you may come back with cash but during that interlude you probably lost -- or made -- more than you ever thought possible.
Yes, as I have been saying, this is not a market for everyone. If you take a long term view you may want to dive into the Gowanus Canal and pick up some stock of Facebook. We have Norwegian Cruise (NCLH) on, and all I can say is that it is too bad you couldn't book yourself a ticket on the Titanic that is Apple (AAPL) or the Lusitania that is Nvidia or the USS Indianapolis that is Alphabet. Yet, the Indianapolis, the one that Quint survived only to be taken down by Google masquerading as Jaws.
I say stay the course. Maybe don't even watch it. I was running some panels for CNBC's Healthy Returns conference today and when I went into one the semiconductor stocks looked great . When I finished they looked even better. It was only after I examined the action that I realized they had roundtripped a percent and a half while we talked about the need to keep health care costs down. Oops, there I go again, Bezos wants health care costs down. Oh well. The president wants them lower too? How can that be reconciled? The answer? I am sure we will find out by tweet tomorrow, that is if Twitter's still in business given how vulnerable it is because well, it's vulnerable! Need I say more?