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New Apple Watch and more? Meh. Stocks flat in dull Tuesday trading

Written By | Sep 15, 2020
Apple Watch

Image of the new Apple Watch, version 6. Courtesy of

WASHINGTON – It didn’t exactly feel special today on Wall Street. Stocks opened sharply up at the 9:30 a.m. (ET) opening Tuesday morning, looking to build on Monday’s surprising recovery rally. There was some excitement among investors, given that Apple was set to announce its usual September slew of new products, operating systems, etc. As a result, Apple shares (trading symbol: AAPL) opened up strongly, as did the tech-heavy NASDAQ.

But alas, the excitement faded mid-day, to the point where even the rally in Apple shares fizzled, as AAPL closed the day up a mere 18 cents per share at $115.54 per post-split share. The stock had peaked at a much more impressive $118.90 per share earlier Tuesday.

Also Read: Wheel of Fortune, the NFL and Mr Market: More late week downers

New Apple Watch, etc. reaction? Like we said: “Meh.”

Earlier in the day, CBNC’s online site speculated the reason for Apple’s unimpressive close in an early Tuesday article which was later revised after the Apple Event.

“Apple usually releases new products in the fall on an annual schedule ahead of an important holiday sales season. But this year is different. Amid a pandemic that has disrupted manufacturing and affected economies around the world, Apple’s event is virtual, instead of an in-person live showcase with press and guests in attendance.”

Investors seemed to perk up early in the morning. But then they decided to yawn.

What’s new with the world’s (sometimes) biggest company?

CNBC’s later-revised article later provided details on the day’s Apple announcements.

“[The company previewed:]

  • Apple Watch Series 6
  • The Apple Watch SE
  • The new 8th-generation iPad
  • The new iPad Air
  • Fitness+ workout services
  • Apple One service bundles

“It also said that iOS 14, its new iPhone software, will launch on Wednesday with lots of new features such as widgets, a new way to organize your home screen, security enhancements and more.

“Of note: Apple did not announce new iPhones. Those are expected at a future launch, perhaps next month.”

For more detailed information on Apple’s new releases, including the latest Apple Watch, etc., follow this link to the site.

Aside from Apple and the Apple Watch, Mr Market rallied a bit. More or less

Other news floated across our screen today but we mostly spent our time following the (boring) action in the remaining stocks in our portfolio. Most of our current holdings behaved well. But despite a long-overdue rally in badly damaged oil futures, which closed up well over a buck per barrel, our reduced oil and related energy stocks rallied a bit; but then thought better of it, and closed down again. Why we stay in these dogs… well, we have no idea.

Pain continues in the oil patch

Our reduced holdings of ConocoPhillips (COP) did close up a bit. But the negative held true as company’s now-distant relative, Phillips Petroleum (PSX, a pure distillery play), closed down 37 cents. Our reduced holdings of our favorite refinery, Valero (VLO), also closed down today. Its major facilities are at least indirectly in the path of yet another inconvenient, Gulf Coast-bound hurricane, this one named Sally. More of that damned global warming climate change.

Our other small oil holdings, EOG (symbol the same as the name) and Plains All-America Pipelines (PAA) continued in their anemic ways. PAA is attractive since it has many facilities that can hold much of the overflow resulting from this country’s current oil glut. But who cares, right?

We hold on to at least a small corner of the oil patch in the hopes that the still slightly-feeble yet arguably “born again” Great Trump Rally may actually continue this fall, encouraging the economy – and energy – to continue along with it. But the Democrats and their Antifa and BLM pals are determined to keep this from happening, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

A short political rant

Was there ever another political party in our relatively short history as a nation that was willing to destroy half the country, its businesses and its people to gain dictatorial control of the Universe? We don’t think so, but there’s a first time for everything and we may be seeing it now.

Hint: If you need capital gains and income from your portfolio, you might want to think very, very carefully if you think that voting for anyone in the Bernie Bros’ Party will help you meet that goal. Today, this has less to do with your cherished political traditions than it does with your very survival. You can always change your mind again in 4 years. Assuming we even have that long.

Headline risk for stocks to be continued this fall…

Consider this macro problem just another reason why political headline risk will continue to dog markets all the way to November 3, 2020, despite the results. Which are bound to be ruthlessly contested by a virtual army of lawyers. Stay tuned. But just remember: politics of all kinds pose the greatest risk to America’s portfolios this fall. So be very, very careful.

That’s about it for today’s column. We wish we could provide more specific advice than to simply be cautious. But when you have a massive political wildcard leading in all media all day and into the night 24/7, your investments end up ever more tightly super-glued to America’s wickedly distorted politics. Risk is high, so the tendency is to take risk off right now, despite the market’s snappy comeback thus far. Even that snazzy new Apple Watch can’t overcome this risk.

Maybe that’s why, instead of building on today’s lightly positive close, a great many stocks we follow closed after late day “sell” imbalances. Investors are still quietly dumping stocks, hoping bulls don’t see. But I did. And I remember what happened to Mr. Market last week after this furtive, late-day selling. And it wasn’t too good.

– Headline image: Image of the new Apple Watch, version 6. Courtesy of


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 Senior 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