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. 2023 will go down as the Year of Taylor Swift (and Travis Kelce), the failed terminology (and set of policies) called Bidenomics and my Vegas Golden Knights winner of the 2023 Stanley Cup which was famously portended by owner Bill Foley who stated before the first puck drop in the team’s existence, “Playoff in 3 Cup in 6.” People ask me what the most satisfying aspect of being at the deciding Stanley Cup game. For me, without hesitation I always say, “being there with my children.”
(From Left to Right: Scott, Carly, Adam, Steven)
For me personally, it was a bittersweet year. My wife and I became grandparents to a beautiful baby girl on June 19 only to deal with the loss of my dear father-in-law Arthur Horowitz three days later. Also in March, our eldest daughter got married (again) and in August my niece got married. Our champion filly Rocknificent gave birth to a strong and healthy colt. The circle of life never ends.
For LakeView Asset Management, it was a banner year from a performance perspective (feel free to contact Carly or myself for more information and performance). We plan to offer new products in the upcoming year including alternative investments, insurance, and financial planning. As always, we welcome referrals from your family, friends, and co-workers.
I hope and pray that 2024 will be a year of health, happiness, and prosperity for my family, friends, clientele, and readers. Also, a repeat of the Stanley Cup for the Golden Knights would be nice. As always, I will dig down deep to find ten more annoyances in 2023. So, without further ado, here is my List of 10 Things I Won’t Miss About 2023 (and never want to see or hear about ever again), in no specific order:
- FORD MUSTANG MACH-E – In an effort to sell electric vehicles, Ford (F) bastardized the iconic Mustang model name and built an ugly Ford Escape looking vehicle. No wonder why Ford losses about $60,000 for every EV it makes and stands to lose $4-$5 billion dollars in EVs this year. That’s 10% of Ford’s market capitalization. It’s Bidenomics at work. Oh, in a year where the Standard & Poor’s 500 (SPX) rose nearly 23.5% so far, F stock is nearly unchanged.
- SOTYKTU – Sotyktu is an oral medication manufactured by Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY) to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. It’s intended to be taken once a day. So why call it a name that sounds like “So Take Two”?” I guarantee you that there are idiots out there who have taken two per day without reading the script. Also, who was the ad genius that put the guy in the speedo into the commercial?
- HALLOWEEN – This so-called holiday, but really a festival is beginning to die a slow death (pun intended). I don’t understand why American society has taught little kids to go door-to-door to get basketfuls of candy while we are amid an obesity and Type-2 Diabetes epidemic. Hershey’s (HSY) is down over 20% this year while Party City filed for bankruptcy. Meanwhile, Eli Lilly (LLY) and Novo-Nordisk (NVO) makers of weight loss and diabetic treatment drugs skyrocketed nearly 67% and 46% respectively so far this year. Guess which bet I made for our clients?
- WALT DISNEY – Walt Disney Company (DIS) is a textbook case on how to destroy a brand. They had a simple formula for the last 100 years: produce films, television, products, and entertainment which appeal to the American family. Then they caught the political bug and steered away from the tried-and-true formula which made it an American icon. The Marvels was a flop compared to its predecessor movies. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny box office bettered its budget but not by the amount DIS investors were used to. Its best showing in worldwide box office was #4 with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Mandalorian, a successful streaming spin-off of Star Wars slumped in ratings after culture cancelling Gina Carano. DIS is not drawing people to movies like it used to. But wait, you might think that people are not going to the movies anymore after COVID. Well, just look at the 2023 Worldwide Box Office for Barbie, Super Mario Brothers and Oppenheimer. On top of that, the pipeline for DIS does not look great. Already its live action Snow White movie is getting panned, to which DIS is pushing back its release date to 2025 and might have to reshoot the movie. DIS has raised its theme park prices and, not surprisingly, attendance has dropped. Redesigning the favorite “Splash Mountain” as the “Princess and the Frog” did not help. To top it all off DIS got into a battle with the State of Florida and lost. All told, DIS had to fire its CEO and bring back its predecessor, Bob Iger, who if you ask me, sent DIS into its downward spiral in the first place. I’m not sure if Jeffrey Eisen could save DIS. By the way, DIS stock is now where it was in 2017. Old Walt must be turning over in his grave or cryogenic chamber, wherever he might be.
- OHTANI INFLATION – Shohei Ohtani, perhaps the best baseball player in decades, just received a ten-year contract to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers at a bargain basement price tag of $700 million. While all but $2 million each year is deferred; still, it’s heck of a lot of money. Here is my issue with the deal. As a result of the signing, tickets for the Dodgers home opener, which already stood at an estimated $580, have more than doubled on the secondary market. The teams can (but don’t) control secondary market prices. However, the base average price of $580 is beyond the pocketbook of an average fan. How can a family of four afford to go to any Dodger game?
- WILLIAM DEVANE – I feel sorry for Devane. He was a fine character actor for decades. Since 2015 he has only had one acting role that I can find. Rather, he was pitching gold and silver investments for a while. Now, he’s hustling for Medicare insurance. Between social security, actors’ retirement benefits and residuals he should be doing well enough to survive at age 84. Frankly, I think these commercials tarnish his acting bio. What would you think of me if I started to advertise acting classes?
- THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA – I am referring to the Ivy League School, not Penn State. After four years of busting my hump at Stuyvesant High School, I was admitted to the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania. Working two or three jobs at a time, I broke my back to put myself through the University and engage in its highly competitive academic environment. Not that I did not enjoy my time at my fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha, I did. There I met a group of young energic and intelligent students who like me went on to future success. We got admitted UPenn based on our grades, not solely based off demographics. The biggest controversy was losing the NCAA Final Four Semi-final game to Michigan State (OK they had Magic Johnson). There was no overt antisemitism or pro-terrorism on campus. We all got along White, Black, Asian, Jewish, Non-Jewish, Gay, Straight, etc. What has happened to Penn in the recent years is a travesty within academia. Now Alumni (mostly from Wharton) are cancelling billions of dollars in donations. These are the same people who have buildings, schools and hospitals named for them. My wife and I, both Penn graduates of 1982, will no longer support the school. For many years I was on the secondary school committee and interviewed prospective students. I stopped doing so when I saw some subtle changes in the way the university began to behave, which is no longer subtle.
- BOB MENENDEZ AND GEORGE SANTOS – Billy Martin, legendary Major League Baseball manager, who was known to throw back a few drinks, once reportedly said about Reggie Jackson and George Steinbrenner, "The two of them deserve each other. One's a born liar, the other's convicted." Menendez and Santos are despicable human beings (and I note of different parties). Oh how Billy Martin’s words ring true for Menendez and Santos. Billy Martin resigned the next day. Menendez and Santos should also have resigned. (Please don’t send me emails about Biden and/or Trump as I will cast them to spam). Who can forget this memorable commercial?
- BUDWEISER – See #4 about Walt Disney destroying a brand. Budweiser (BUD) should have taken a page from the old Miller Light commercials (of which one was above) rather than the ill-fated marketing decision they made. It has cost them billions of dollars in sales. Even worse than DIS, BUD stock is now where it was in 2012. That’s real poor shareholder returns.
- KOSHER STYLE DELIS - I come from Brooklyn where Kosher delicatessen (in German meaning delicate or delicacy eating) is King. I recently took a day sojourn into Brooklyn hoping to go to the Mill Basin Deli for lunch with my oldest friend Jack (who followed me to Stuyvesant H.S. on the second day of Freshman year.) We did not know that the deli was closed on Monday, but we had a nice lunch together. I ventured deeper into Brooklyn to go to Rosner’s Glatt Kosher Butcher Store, still operated by a third generation Rosner (the meat for my parent’s wedding was all hand butchered by Herbie Rosner, may he rest in peace), another Kosher deli on Coney Island Ave and then Pomegranate market to buy some items for my wife to make one of my mother’s recipes for Thanksgiving. Kosher is kosher. There is no substitute. When someone invites me to a “Kosher Style” deli, I explain that it’s not kosher and I can’t eat there. Please don’t confuse “kosher style” with kosher. Kosher style is like comparing a Mazda with a Porsche. There is no substitute. If you want to invite me over for kosher cholent, please do. Rivkie Bronchtain of Chabad UNLV makes an excellent Hungarian style cholent like my grandmother Selma always did. Many students sought refuge at the Chabad house after the recent shootings on the UNLV campus, I hope they got to enjoy some of her cholent at their home away from home. I am grateful my grandmother was one of the driving forces behind Kosher kitchens on campus.
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” 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 702-749-9343 or email email@example.com or even via Zoom (ZM). You can also now reach out to Carly at firstname.lastname@example.org just as you would me.
Disclosure: At the time of this commentary Scott Rothbort, his family and/or clients of LakeView AssetManagement, LLC was long LLY, NVO, SPY, SSO, SPXL 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
© 2023 LakeView Asset Management, LLC. All rights reserved.