Former Federal Reserve Board Chair Paul Volcker died Sunday. He was a giant among public servants, both literally and figuratively; an American hero, as fine and modest and brilliant and honorable a soul as you will ever find.
I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with him for the New York Times Sunday Magazine in the summer of 1982. It was a long interview (and the italics I relied on for emphasis to make money-supply analysis zingy were dropped n the OCR used to archive articles pre-1994) . . . but it recalls a time when Treasury bills had been yielding 21%, inflation had been running wild, and best-selling books predicted a total economic meltdown (the perfect time to buy).
Such a fine man. And such a contrast to you know who.
Speaking of whom, you may already have seen this from David Leonhardt. I agree with him.
. . . In making the list, I erred on the side of conservatism. I excluded gray areas from the Mueller report, like the Trump campaign’s flirtation with Russian operatives. I also excluded all areas of policy, even the forcible separation of children from their parents, and odious personal behavior, like Trump’s racism, that doesn’t violate the Constitution.
Yet the list is still extensive, which underscores Trump’s thorough unfitness for the presidency. He rejects the basic ideals of American government, and he is damaging the national interest, at home and abroad. Here’s the list: . . .
A friend who follows it closely writes of ParkerVision: “What’s going on with PRKR is amazing and weird. Law firms are crawling all over themselves to represent them. Two huge suits are being argued next year. Louis Freeh came on board last summer.”
→ This is a lottery ticket that we — or at least I — originally bought as high as $1 a share. I subsequently bought ten times as many shares at a dime, waited 31 days (to avoid the “wash sale” rule), and then sold the original shares for a tax loss. With 10 times as many shares, if it should ever go back to $1 — let alone to $5 — I will have won the lottery.
Only for money you can truly afford to lose!
Sean Holzi: “Can you provide some information on the recent special $1-a-share dividend announcement for SPRT? Should we all be purchasing more shares before December 17 to receive the dividend or should we expect that the share price will drop after the dividend is paid? I first purchased shares in February 2017 for $2.29 and then some more at $1.76 in June of this year.”
→ Who’s to know? The dividend will be taxable, and the stock should drop by about $1 once the stock goes “ex-dividend.” So some may prefer to sell first, before it issues the taxable dividend and drops. But that selling could make the stock cheaper than it “should” be.
Others might sell thinking that, well, SPRT could have used the cash to buy back shares if they thought the company was undervalued. But they didn’t, so maybe they don’t.
On the other hand, maybe they wanted to reward our patience — because they have plenty of cash to run the business — and make the stock more attractive by giving it more upside. (If it rises back to $2 or $3 from the $1 or so it will be when it goes ex-dividend, it will have doubled or tripled!)
Right now, people have been paying about $2 a share for a company with about $2 a share in cash (in effect getting the ongoing business for free). Maybe, with time, they’ll pay $2 or $3 for $1 in cash plus the business.
As I say: who’s to know? But I’m neither buying nor selling. I think it’s undervalued here . . . but I don’t know.
Quote of the Day
John Wanamaker found an employee in a dispute with a customer. She wanted a blouse that was being sold only with a skirt. The clerk was insisting they only came together. Wanamaker walked over to the clerk and whispered in his ear the secret of marketing: "Give the lady what she wants."~.
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