Learn to live with it.
I'm talking about the new life, the changes, how we spend our time.
Write it down
It will make you money.
It does every time.
As life sets in we can almost figure out what stocks will go up on a given day, stocks of companies that are recognized by analysts as having the tailwinds, because of the Great Pandemic of 2020.
Let me give you some examples.
Wednesday, somehow, a gaggle of analysts figured out that we are investing in our homes more than we have in ages. Maybe it was the gangbuster report from Lennar (LEN) , the gigantic homebuilder that it's selling everything it's making and selling it fast. Maybe is the ninth straight week of strong mortgage applications.
Or maybe it's a whiff that Masco's (MAS) selling a lot of paint or Stanley Black & Decker's (SWK) selling a lot of power tools .The result? Lowe's, (LOW) one of my absolute favorite stores, hits an all-time high. Just like that. Because when you have a pandemic you take the money the government gives you and you fix up your house. In the old days, we wouldn't have to figure it out. Carol Tome, the unbelievable former CFO of Home Depot (HD) and now the elusive CEO of United Parcel Service (UPS) would tell us on the call. We are in an old enough to repaint moment, thank you Neil Young, so you buy the stock of Lowe's. Home Depot won't be far away.
You can't go to the movies anymore. How do you know the person in your seat before the show didn't have Covid in his hair and now you are putting the back of your head into a pile of Covid.
So you stay home. You get a cheap fire pit. You light up the Kingsfords, a Clorox (CLX) product, wipe down the chairs with Clorox wipes, my wife likes the Scentiva's and you have your friends over for a sing a long. You save about $200 and have a better time.
Date night with your spouse? You cook with something made by Campbell's (CPB) , of McCormick (MKC) , or General Mills (GIS) or Conagra (CAG) or you take in from Domino's (DPZ) or Chipotle (CMG) or dare I say, McDonald's (MCD) or even the 10 pack of Beyond Meat (BYND) and you binge on whatever new thing that Netflix (NFLX) told you to watch when they sent you a bulletin that night about what's on.
You alone? Have you tried "Red Dead Redemption"? "Call of Duty"? Another round of "Grand Theft Auto"?
And how about the next day? Gardening? Costs you the price of seeds and some fencing. Maybe you can go boating if you can find one, which you can't; I am not going to let you borrow my 18-foot Boston Whaler. Go buy some stock of Brunswick (BC) . This is the first recession where boat stocks are red hot.
No matter what, you aren't going to spend a lot of money entertaining yourself anymore.
Again, because there's nothing to do other than from scratch with a handful of friends separated of course, so you can't have too many, because you can't hear them and they will be too close.
You can't go anywhere. How are you going to fly if the person next to you has "a cold" and is not wearing a mask? Until they do a polymerase chain reaction test that moment and get instant results and double down with a blood test, do you really trust the person next to you? Flying first class where you don' have someone next to you isn't practical. It is too expensive.
I want to go to Italy. I hear that they will soon be offering on-the-spot tests if you fly Emirates. That gives me comfort. But coming back I have a two week quarantine; Hey, I'm Cramer. This is my house. Do you like my fireplace? How about this art work? No thanks.
You want to travel? Don't kid me. You know you are afraid to go to a hotel, because who knows how long this darned stuff stays on what kind of surface. It's novel, for heaven's sake, we still don't know. Airbnb? Do we know if the landlord was sick? How can we rule it out? So you rent an RV and you clean it yourself with wipes. That's Thor (THO) and that's Clorox again. Want to jazz it up? That's Camping World (CWH) ? How about a tent; do a little glamping. Those stocks all work in the pandemic world.
This is the new life and until we get a vaccine, when you want to eat on the road you are going to a drive thru or hope for contactless delivery right into your trunk. It would be fun to pick it all up by a bike and stick it into your basket, but forget about, it there are no bikes, probably some of it because the bike companies are busy moving out of China like so many other companies. Enjoy the fancier places or even the local watering holes: They'll be out of business soon enough when the Paycheck Protection Program runs out. You can't run a business with half your tables and half your revenues, but your same table of employees and most important your same now ridiculously onerous debt.
Same with most stores. Only the big boys have the ability to go through a couple of dry months with subpar sales. Your independent merchant? That's just a foreclosure waiting to happen. They can try to augment income through a Shopify (SHOP) store or a Facebook (FB) shop, sell something clever on Etsy (ETSY) , but get familiar with the unemployment rules. You will probably need them.
Unless we get a vaccine.
Now, I am not putting a totally grim picture out about the present. Far from it. I think the sing-alongs outside are some of the best times I have ever had. I love the music, I love the burning coals, I love the air and I like the space. I can't believe how much fun it is just to be with people.
But I am saying that I am tired of the economists being so confounded about how there's so little debt being taken down, and so credit card defaults and so much savings. It's because there's nothing to do beyond what I have traced out. Those vacations that you saved forever to take? They aren't happening. The restaurants that you blow big bucks on drinks and food? Forget about them. They are history. The cross country visits to friends, welcome to Zoom (ZM) .
The only people I know who are living the old lives are those who have had it and I don't want to get it in order to go back in time. Most of them got it through a server who had it on a ski trip they took.
Sometimes, I think we are all pretending right now. Are they going to put the thousands of people who are involved in the aggregate in the NFL under quarantine for the entire season? It's not just the 53 players on the roster. It's the coaches, assistant coaches, support staff, all of those people on the sidelines and in the office. Maybe. But isn't that what has to happen? You can test that morning before the game, but if you aren't quarantined then maybe you come down with it at halftime.
Fans? Have you even thought about what would happen if the person next to you for four hours screams his darned head off? You have it the next day. The bathroom line? Social distance my butt.
Many believe the themes I have embedded in here, whether it be Clorox or Lowe's or Brunswick or so many others are ephemeral. I'm saying I wish they were ephemeral. They are realistic. They are longer-lasting. And therefore they are among the best investments around...until the vaccine.