Every year since 2002, except for 2021, I have closed out the year with my satirical look at the world through the eyes of a professional investor/writer poking fun at what has transpired in our global society during the year about to end. 2022 was the year of government manufactured inflation and response by the Federal Reserve which sought to fight non-traditional inflation with traditional monetary policy. All told, as I wrote a few weeks ago, this was the worst year for investing in 100 years. Nothing was safe from Washington’s Grim Reaper except energy.
From LakeView Asset Management’s investment perspective, we turned the clock back two years in Growth stocks to nearly the bottom of the COVID sell-off. Our Dividend stocks gave back about a year of gains. This year’s big winner, to nobody’s surprise was the newly launched Energy portfolio. That portfolio began trading in the 4th quarter of 2021, closing out that year with gains and then followed up with a fantastic so far double-digit gain in 2022. Our Consumer Discretionary strategy, which launched in 2q21 and closed out that year with gains, tumbled this year in the face of inflation on low economic growth, yet outperformed its benchmark index. The most disappointing strategy was our Index Strategy which in prior years was extraordinarily successful but fell flat on its face and turned back the clock on three years of performance. All told, I cannot wait for 2022 and its craziness to end, hopefully returning to some financial normality in 2023. Actual annual performance results for all LakeView Asset Management’s strategies will be official and available for release by private request in early January 2023. All told, 2022 brought forth its own unique series of unexpected news, celebration, joy, disappointment, tragedy, and political intrigue.
For me personally, our family expanded once again as our eldest son got married. The LakeView Asset Management firm also expanded as my youngest daughter; Carly joined the firm. LakeView also ended its first full year of affiliation with Kingswood US. What would a year be like without some surgery in the family and renovations to our homes? This year, my wife had her shoulder replaced. We renovated our pool in Nevada and continued a whole house renovation to our home in Bolton Landing, NY, which should be complete in time for the summer boating and horse racing season in Saratoga Springs. All renovations were designed by my wonderful wife, despite her shoulder replacement. I hope and pray that 2023 will be a year of health, happiness, and prosperity to my family, friends, clientele, and readers. Believe it or not, 2022 had many of those annoyances from 2020 still bothering me, like Influencers, AOC and Cancel Culture. However, I will dig down deep to find ten more annoyances in 2022. So, without further ado, here is my List of 10 Things I Won’t Miss About 2022 (and never want to see or hear about ever again), in no specific order:
- NBA – I love college basketball, watch it as often as possible and have been to five Final 4s I also fondly remember the NBA of the 60s, 70s, 80, 90s and 2000s. Now, I just won’t watch the game. It just seems to be a 3-point shot shooting contest and no defense is played. Did you know that the NBA was thinking about introducing a 4-point line? Where will it end? At Madison Square Garden (MSG) maybe they will put players at the 300-level and shoot from there.
- reCAPTCHA – I understand the security measure that comes with reCAPTCHA. However, it is not as efficient as two-factor authentication. Furthermore, I think that I have now seen every crosswalk, traffic light, bus, chimney, and bicycle in the world. So Google (GOOG / GOOGL) try to lighten it up a bit and add in more interesting pictures to pick out, such as bottles of scotch, puppies, vintage monopoly game pieces, lizards, and faces of famous operators of Ponzi schemes.
- BRUSSEL SPROUTS – Has something changed in the world such that Brussel sprouts are now more ubiquitous than ever? It seems to be on more menus than ever. Is there a Johnny Appleseed of Brussel Sprouts that we don’t know about? I never like them as a child and certainly don’t like them now. Brussel Sprouts are a member of the cabbage family. I prefer a good Hungarian stuffed cabbage like my Bubbe used to make for the Sabbath. Of course, it was made better with a side of Kasha Varnishkes.
- NFTs (non-fungible tokens) – I don’t get NFTs. I tried to. Maybe it’s a generational thing. Don’t get me wrong, my wife and I have a very nice art collection – Romero Britto, Fazzino, Neiman, Hirschfeld, Erté and several original pieces from my friend Richard’s Desert Valley Gallery, to name a few. We can hang this on the wall or display them on a shelf or mantle. They are either original or limited numbered art. We can display them for many people to admire at the same time. They come with Certificates of Authenticity. So, why would I get involved with NFTs it I can only display them on a computer?
- SAM BANKMAN-FRIED – I never got involved in cryptocurrencies. If an asset does not generate earnings, pay a dividend or have an asset supporting its value, it is just a sham. Crypto was a sham that turned into a get rich quick scheme for retail investors and morphed into a Ponzi scheme on an institutional scale. Sam Bankman-Fried or SBF (as he’s referred to) was the pied piper of Crypto. This con artist spread the gospel of “earnings to give.” Hey, there is nothing wrong with being charitable. My wife and I are. He was both a modern-day Charles Ponzi and Robin Hood all wrapped up in one. Well at least in his own demented way he thought he was Robin Hood, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Except SBF just stole from any sucker that came along. Look, if I legitimately made a few billion bucks, I would sell 2/3, using 1/3 for taxes and keep 1/3 for myself, letting the remaining 1/3 to continue working in my investments. I would use part of the money I kept to look a bit more presentable and less of a schlump. Frankly, SBF and his (ex?) girlfriend, Caroline Ellison need major makeovers, from head to toe. If my wife and I walked into say Goldman Sachs (GS) looking like SBF and Ellison, they would call for an exterminator and show us the door. Good riddance to those two, although I hear that she is flipping on him. After all, all is fair in love and war.
- LIBERTY MUTUAL – Year after year Liberty Mutual Insurance continue to infuriate me with inane commercials. In the past it was the LIMU Emu. This year the mutual insurance company (which is owned by policyholders) Wet Teddy Bear commercial not only embarrasses the Statue of Liberty but also hot dog carts which are famous throughout the streets of New York City. I wonder what commercial the company will release in 2023 to aggravate viewers. As an aside, I do not know anyone who has a Liberty Mutual policy of any sort.
- PEOPLE WHO ANSWER “WHATEVER” TO A QUESTION – (this was on my list for 2021 that we never got published). “Whatever” is the most annoying response to a question. Questions are typically posed as i) requiring a “Yes” or “No” answer; ii) with a group of choices i.e. a) blue b) black c) orange d) yellow; or an open-ended question. When you get a response as “whatever” it means that the respondent is dumb, unable to answer a question, has limited decision making capabilities or is a pain in the tuches. It varies from person to person. If you don’t know then answer, “I don’t know.” If you have no opinion, then state, “I have no opinion” If you have an answer which does not fit the proffered answer choices then offer your own opinion such as “Brown is the color I prefer in this situation.” Imagine a doctor telling you that you have a disease, and you ask how we shall treat it and his response is “whatever.” It is interesting when I talk to people about what we learn in business school. They typically think that you learn to make money. My response is no, we learn to make decisions. Those decisions lead to making money and that’s no “whatever.”
- CNN – The Cable News Network (CNN) was founded by Ted Turner and launched in 1980. Turner, is in some respects a brash, mad genius like Elon Musk (of Twitter and Tesla (TSLA) fame). CNN was a simple yet elegant business model – have a global news cable presence in what was the beginning of cable broadcasting. The timing was perfect for Turner because the most respected TV journalist of all-time, Walter Cronkite retired earlier that year. As cable became more affordable and people added cable to their home, CNN was part of the basic package, not costing subscribers an extra penny. CNN with its brand-new star Wolf Blitzer brought the Gulf War to people’s homes just as Cronkite brought the Vietnam War to American audiences. Then beginning in 2020 it all fell apart due to a series of unrelated events – the end of the Trump Presidency, the resignation of Jeff Zucker, the disastrous CNN+ launch the Brothers Cuomo scandal and ownership change from AT&T (T) to Warner Brothers Discovery (WBD). CNN began losing viewership to other cable news networks. Then a final sign of the sinking of the CNN ship, a shuffling of on-air personalities, staff layoffs and cost cutting took place to try to regain viewership lost to Comcast’s (CMCSA) MSNBC and Fox (FOXA and FOX). Time to bring back Ted Turner.
- KIA SOUL – Hyundai and its sister company Kia make very nice cars, crossovers and SUVs. Our daughter purchased a Hyundai sedan, which received my father-in-law Art’s seal of approval. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Kia makes a crossover called the Soul which is the ugliest car I save seen in many years since the Pontiac Aztek.
- AIR PODS– I have personally and for some clients owned Apple stock since 2005. I own a pair of Apple (AAPL) AirPods. I cannot stand them. They do not stay in your ears. When they fall, they are hard to find, especially on an airplane, plus you risk stepping on them Thankfully, AAPL bought out Beats and now I use an over-the-ears Beat’s Studio3 which does a better job.
I hope you enjoyed this year’s 10 Things and thank you for reading My Gut Feeling throughout the year. Please forward this year’s “10 Things” around to friends and family and invite them to sign up for My Gut Feeling. It is a Christmas staple at one friend/former colleague’s home. LakeView Asset Management is always available to help you with your investment needs, so don’t be shy to reach out to me, I am always available by phone 888-9-LAKEVIEW / 702-749-9343 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or even via Zoom (ZM).
Disclosure: At the time of this commentary Scott Rothbort, his family and/or clients of LakeView AssetManagement, LLC was long AAPL although positions can change at any time.
Scott Rothbort is the President & Founder of LakeView Asset Management, LLC, (LVAM) an investment advisor representative, specializing in high-net-worth private wealth management. LVAM is affiliated with Kingswood Wealth Advisors Services, a registered investment advisor. For more information on investing with LakeView Asset Management, LLC call us at 888-9LAKEVIEW or request more information by clicking on the contact button on the top right-hand corner of the website. LakeView Management, LLC is a Nevada LLC, with its principal office located in Henderson, NV and branch office located in Millburn, NJ
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