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The beginning of the next recession? Also some strong stock recommendations today.

Simplistic observations:

+ The dictators of Iran and North Korea want nukes far less than they want to stay in power. For them, nukes are an insurance policy against America’s history of regime changes — e.g. Iraq, Libya. For the entire long list, Wikipedia here. 

+ Iran and North Korea want better economic relations with the world to deliver their people a better standard of living. This will lessen the chance of internal demonstrations, and insure their longevity in power.

+ Pulling out out of the Iran nuke deal will hurt American credibility in the world. The deal was signed by the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China. The U.S. also pulled out of the Climate Accord Deal, which virtually every country in the world signed. If we keep breaking international agreements, if we keep pulling back from providing protection to countries (“America First”), people overseas will trust us less and begin to look to other places to spend and invest their money.

+ Iran will buy what it needs from Europe and China now, not from the U.S. (because of our sanctions). This will hurt American businesses (think Boeing and Caterpillar) and American treasuries.

Our economy and our stockmarkets are doing well, for now. I am not predicting an early recession. I simply don’t like the “Don’t trust us” message we’re sending to the rest of the world. That worries me.

Our Accomplishments

+ Square. Someone is going to buy it. It’s climbing back to its all-time high of $58.46.

+ Netflix. My friends are binge-watching. So is everyone else. Goodbye my local cable provider.

+ Adobe. Key to the new, faster Internet.

+ Amazon. It’s cheaper. It’s faster. It has a greater assortment. More than one millions businesses now sell on Amazon.

+ Nvidia. Buy more stock. Click here.

+ Microsoft. There’s a rumor that Microsoft will buy Netflix. I like Netflix whether the rumor happens or not.

+ Ladder Capital (still yielding 8.8%).

+ Keeping everyone out of Walmart. The more it spends on competing with Amazon, the bigger fool it makes of itself. Wasted money. They keep throwing good money after bad.

+ Stay away from energy companies, miners, airlines, and marijuana in all forms.

Warren Buffett is great entertainment

I spent all Saturday watching Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting being streamed on Finance Yahoo. It was super. I’ll have comments tomorrow.

For now, this 10-year chart tells it all. This is Berkshire Hathaway’s stock compared with the Dow, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.


Berkshire in blue has done better than the Dow and the S&5 500, but not Nasdaq in red.  Maybe that’s why Warren upped his investment in Apple?

Here’s the same 10-year chart with Berkshire in blue and Apple in red.


Apple did much better than Berkshire Hathaway over the past ten years.

Value investing key in real estate

The biggest bargain today in real estate is kaput shopping centers. Buy them cheap and re-purpose them as walk-in health-care facilities. Going to retail walk-in health care centers is much better than visiting hospital emergency centers.

Don’t do stupid

+ Car accidents happen when you’re tired. Typically late in the day. Ours happened at 4:30 PM. Tired? Pull over and sleep. Change drivers. Stop acting macho.

+ Your seat belts will save your life. Keep them fastened.

+ Modern cars have much improved safety features. Our crashed E-class Mercedes had four air bags. The new ones have eight. They have not only more air bags but a zillion electronic collision avoidance systems.  One of them wakes you if it thinks you’re falling asleep. For safety alone, spend the money and buy yourself a late model car today.

When should your kids/grand kids start investing?

I figure age 15 at the latest. You need to fund a small portfolio of companies kids deal with every day, e.g. Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Nike, Tesla and maybe one S&P index ETF, e.g. SPY.

My preference would be to open a custodial online brokerage account, e.g. Fidelity or Schwab. The account will initially be in your name. But it’s your kid’s money. Your child will be able to take full control of it once he or she reaches age 18 or 21, depending on state laws.

There’s more here.

Robocalls are out of control.

Warn your elderly parents. Major robocall pitches:

+ The IRS wants money.
+ Your electric company is shutting you off in 45 minutes.
+ Resorts Rewards. You’ve won a trip.
+ Your computer is busted.
+ Consolidate all your credit cards into one that’s free.
+ Easy to pay off your student loans. (This pitch really freaks grandparents.)
+ Affordable health insurance for my extended family.
+ My brother is in trouble in jail. Send money to free him.
+ Discounts on medical marijuana products.
+ You are paying too much on your credit cards.

For more, two long articles on robocalls in the New York Times. Robocalls Flooding Your Cellphone? Here’s How to Stop Them. Click here and here.

New Yorker cartoons that will amuse

Pudding Minicupcakes Authors tools

Harry Newton, who has a new philosophy:

Do what’s right. And Don’t let the bast*rds get you down.

Thank you Howard.

  • Dman

    Harry……Why was Barry Soetoro unable to get CONGRESS to accept the Iran Nuke Deal? Would you like me to link you to Sen Chuck Schumer’s comments during that time? Maybe you forgot?

    Harry……why are you always so full of shit?

  • gerryb

    I hope I won’t be hated for posting these links. The climate has warmed and it’s a good idea to reduce emissions. But there seems to be a tribal and quasi-religious zeal (i’m not accusing Harry of that) that many have on the topic.

  • Lucky

    Simplistic observations:
    Maybe it is about time America finally got the balls to take charge…you are also seeing other countries starting to listen. Both China and North Korea appear to be coming around…maybe North Korea is beginning to wake up and smell the success of South Korea…they too could be an up and coming industrial nation manufacturing quality cars, refrigerators and giant screen TVs to sell to the rest of the world. Iran, unfortunately, appear to be stuck with their Middle East mentality with little hope of becoming an industrialized nation…without their oil they are nothing but a lot of hot sand.