E St. Patrick's Day And Iceland

Happy St. Patrick's Day. Naturally, today IRL, the Irish closed-end country fund, opened up 0.38%. Note that the Japan Small Cap Fund, JOF, gained even more. 0.43% but it is not a Japanese holiday. Irish cement maker CRH, ex-dividend, lost 1.23%. The Dow is up and both Nasdaq and the S&P are lower, but as we have seen in recent days, the markets fluctuate a lot. One reason is the new money being tossed into the market by recipients of stimulus checks, boosting shares like Game Stop GME which is up nearly 8% today. Another is the regulatory upheaval in China hurting stocks with a wide global following like BaiduPinduoduo, and Alibaba. BABA today had its browser banned by Beijing as part of the crackdown on internet companies.

But the main cause of lower stock prices is the rise in interest rates on US Treasury 10-yr notes for fear of inflation which started the drop in share prices late yesterday and continued today. Too much stimulus leads to inflation.

Some years ago we visited Iceland en route to London, nearly 2 decades after earthquakes hitting transatlantic traffic kept us from the Madrid wedding of a niece. We hit all the hot spots in the Reykjavik area including the mid-Atlantic one where we clambered down steps to see the land break between Europe and America. Now after 50,000 earthquakes of varied size in the past week, Iceland is again firing up and there are also quakes in Siberia. It is barely noticed because quarantine is stopping air travel.

Image by sam99929 from Pixabay

Tech & Tel

*Coupang allowed an early stock lockup agreement release for 34 mn shares held by employees, following the Korean e-commerce giant's IPO last week. CPNG went public at $35/sh and opened at $63.50 before dropping to ~$50. This was based on 3 days of trading above the IPO price and will go into effect on March 18. The result was a nice drop in the CPNG price to $46/sh which was my limit. In fact, the shares are a penny lower than my bid right now. There are 1.8 bn shares out. I bought my shares of CPNG at $46 and they are now $45.98-9.

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