I should’ve read Warren Buffett’s “Top 10 Pieces of Investment Advice” before plunging into the stock market this week. And maybe talked to my husband.
But when the Dow soared to 22,000 Wednesday, I needed in — fast.
My strategy of buying high, selling low is so far paying off: I’m down close to 45 bucks (no, just checked again; now it’s 50) after two days.
It’s my cats’ fault. I should’ve listened to someone who knows something about finance, like JJ, instead of talking to them.
“Biotech,” Sam, the white fat one, proclaims. “Biotech is roaring right now.”
“Nah, too risky,” says Jake, peeking his head up from a pile of dirty clothes in the laundry basket, where he’s taken to nap these days.
Dubious, I demand they each name one biotech company, and define the term.
Sam stammers: “It’s biological … you know, technology. Biotech Inc. — I hear they’re good.”
Jake pauses, then offers: “It’s the manipulation, as through genetic engineering, of living organisms or their components to produce useful, usually commercial, products. … It could also be any of various applications of biological science used in such manipulation.”
“Did you just Google that?” I screech. “I can see you!”
He sinks back into the basket, mumbling something about “Gilead” being good.
Gilead. Yes, I’ve heard of them. They are working to cure AIDS, right? They just partnered on a project with the Vatican. That’s a noble cause.
I log onto to my computer and order up a few dozen shares. It feels good, making money AND helping people.
“Silly woman,” Sam says, rolling his eyes.
Next day I interrupt Jake flinging a cotton swab in the air with the news that I lost $7.50.
“There’s a company called Gilead?” he says. “I was talking about the book by Marilynne Robinson. Heck of a read.”
This, I realize, is why the vast majority of Americans don’t get excited when the stock market hits historic levels. The wealthiest 10 percent of American households own more than 80 percent of the stock market wealth. Did you know that?
Undeterred, I double down. This time, I’m going for a sector I know something about: the news business.
“You’re going to buy stock in newspapers?” Sam says, rolling over with laughter.
“You should lose weight,” I say. “Your stomach is jiggling.”
“Don’t shame me,” he says, waddling to his food bowl to devour his feelings.
He’s probably right about newspapers; we’re not exactly gaining market share at the moment. What about Amazon? I love Jeff Bezos; he bought The Washington Post.
“Yes!” Jake chirps, tearing around the corner. Jake has never met an Amazon box he doesn’t like to lounge in (Bubble Wrap is another story; many sleepless nights over that fiasco).
I log back in and buy myself five shares at the bargain price of $996 each. Should I have consulted JJ first?
“Nah,” Jake says. “I’ll take the heat on this one.”
Next day, there’s red all over my computer screen: I’m down $35.
“You probably shouldn’t take advice from cats,” Sam offers. “Or your co-workers.”
City Editor Melissa Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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