Stock traders tread cautiously as stocks attempt a Thursday comeback

We've added Bank of America (symbol: BAC), Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corp., aka “Farmer Mac” (AGM) and oil major ConocoPhillips (COP) to our portfolio.

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In honor of "Farmer Mac," we offer a partial image of Grant Wood's famous painting, "American Gothic." (Image via Wikipedia entry on this painting, image in the public domain)

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2017 – We have very little to say today as the major stock market averages try to stay in positive territory going into the final half-hour of trading.

The political asininity in Washington has hit a fever pitch for the umpty-umpth time since at least November 9, 2016 as Democrats and their fabulator buddies in the dying media keep peddling false news that, notably, is never directly sourced meaning that its veracity is always in doubt.


Read also: Thursday stocks surge as Trump prognosis suddenly changes


What this means for the average investor is that even doing all the required investment homework in the world doesn’t amount to much if the political and media Irrationals suddenly show up to derail all one’s research with one well-placed, albeit false, hit job to keep the “Resistance” going. Funny, we always thought that preventing a president from doing anything approached the level of sedition.


But no matter. We did take a couple of chances near Wednesday’s disastrous close, so we’ll let you in on what we did right here.

Trading Diary

We didn’t do much, frankly, but we did use yesterday’s disaster to scoop up a partial position in a couple of stocks we’d wanted to buy previously before they got away from us. The lucky companies were Bank of America (symbol: BAC), the little-known Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corp., aka “Farmer Mac” (AGM) and U.S. oil major ConocoPhillips (COP).

We also added to our rather conservative position in the 7.625% “baby bond” notes of RAIT Financial Trust (RFT), mainly for the yield. This is mainly an income position, yielding 8.23 percent currently. Why would we do this in an allegedly rising interest rate environment? Simple. The risk seems limited as this issue is callable on July 1, 2017, and has a mandatory redemption (maturity date) of 04/15/2024, which offers some protection, at least, against potentially much-higher interest rates.

All these issues took such a hit Wednesday that we couldn’t resist getting into them, as we’d long imagined all of them were out of reach only a few days ago, and we hate to chase stocks when things are bullish. All of them are up as we near today’s closing bell. But, based on recent market action, we’re not quite ready to label this an ongoing trend.

We’ll see you tomorrow if action warrants.

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Terry Ponick
Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17