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I lied. Not every asset is crashing

The contemporary art market is going nuts. This painting by David Hockney just sold for $90.3 million — which is really over $100 million when you include the hefty buyer’s premium which added another $11 million or so. This was the highest price ever paid for a painting by a living artist.

Hockney originally sold the painting for $18,000 in 1972. That means the painting appreciated at 20.35% a year for the ensuing 46 years.

I have several friends who’ve done incredibly well with contemporary art. When I ask them for their secrets, I learn:

+ They buy only what they like.

+ They enjoy having the art on their walls. Many of them have lots of walls. Many more than I do.

+ Their offices and homes are loaded with art books. They study this stuff. They visit the artists.

+ They buy very, very selectively.

+ They buy artists who do a good job of promoting themselves and their work.

+ They watch the auctions online. This is the time of year for the big auctions.

Read what’s happening to the contemporary art market here. 

This is bad news for real estate

As Joel Ross, wrote in his latest Ross Rant,

Many construction projects across the country are missing budget by large sums due to huge increases in construction costs of 20% or more, and a lack of skilled labor creating delays in completions. Go try to find a welder. None anywhere are unemployed. The budgets for a development project that were devised two years ago are way off now. As a result, returns on some projects will be nowhere near projection. Projects are missing cost projections by anywhere from 20% to as much as 50%.

I’m hearing the same warnings from my contacts, as the tariffs on steel bit harder.

The Dangerous Naïveté of Trump and Xi

That’s the title of a weekend article by Nicholas Kristof:

The United States and China may be on a collision course yet their presidents each underestimate the pain the other could inflict.

I studied Chinese and lived for five years in China; my wife and I wrote a largely upbeat book about the country’s prospects called “China Wakes.” But Xi has damaged China’s brand just as Trump has damaged America’s, and today it’s hard to find either Democrats or Republicans eager to speak up for China.

For its part, Washington misjudges as well. It sees China’s economy as vulnerable and doesn’t appreciate that China can wage a trade war with weapons other than tariffs. It can play a nationalism card so that it becomes unpatriotic for Chinese citizens to buy McDonald’s burgers, drink Coke or wear Nike shoes. Safety inspections can close American hotels; tax investigations can tie American firms in knots; and customs delays can hold up parts and idle American-owned factories.

Chinese tourism to the U.S. can slow, students can be directed to Australian universities over American ones and rare earth minerals needed by American companies may develop shortages. China can further ease sanctions on North Korea, buy more oil from Iran or become more aggressive in the South China Sea. It can cancel Chinese trademarks owned by Ivanka Trump – that might get the president’s attention – and it can dump U.S. Treasury bonds.

You can read Kristof’s entire column here.

The 200-day moving average 

Many investors use the 200-day moving average as a key to buying and selling stocks.

Sell when the price is way above  the 200 day line.

Buy when the stock’s price is way below (assuming you still like the stock).

Here are a few examples. See what you think:

Dumb me.

I bought a one-year CD from Ally Bank. I’m earning 0.80%.

But I also have a savings account with them. They’re now paying me 2% a year.

CDs make no sense in a time of rising interest rates.

Worse is cash in a bank or a brokerage account — where you typically earn absolutely nothing.

Go to You’ll find many banks are paying 2% and higher. Click here.

Saturday Night Live does Jeff Bezos. Enjoy

If the Bezos video doesn’t play, click here.

This is Peter. This is Mickey

Peter is my two-year old grandson. Mickey is Peter’s favorite face on my Apple Watch.

Peter touches my watch and Mickey tells him the time. Peter howls.

Who knew telling the time could be so much fun.

This is Alexa, third generation

Alex will play bird, cat, dog and donkey sounds. She’ll also tell you the weather in Sydney, Australia and play you lullabies and bed time music, beginning with Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

Ain’t technology wonderful?

Useful travel stuff

+ Uber is suddenly cheap and you can now schedule your ride. Uber is cheaper than parking. Why ever own a car?

+ TSA Pre is the only way to travel. Saves huge time and aggravation. At most places I don’t have to remove (and hence lose) the two laptops I travel with.

+ You can get a 25″ inch bag into all airline overhead bins. That’s much, much larger than the standard 22 inch bag.

+ FedEx is a whiz at packing your stuff and shipping it. By FedEx ground, it’s the same as UPS ground.

+ They’re closing airplane doors early these days. Don’t be late.

+ Flying on a cloudless early morning out of Portland Oregon this past weekend. On Delta, no less. Could there be a God?

+ We get our little 14-pound dog onto planes by simply carrying her on in her small container.

$25 at Amazon. Click here. 





Great new business.
Spied in Westchester, NY on Sunday

Comments on our times

Secrets to long life

+ Keep moving.

+ More naps.

+ Less food.

+ Less stuff.

Harry Newton, who’s back in New York City. It’s a nice town.

One Comment

  1. J. Browser says:

    Why on earth would you take money out of an Ally savings account paying 2% and put it in a CD paying .80%? For that matter why would you open a CD paying .80% I’m getting close to 3% on 15 month CDs.
    And, why would anybody want to invest in the stock market when the president of the U.S. is clearly insane? Nothing is off the table here. He could up the tariffs to 50%, pull out of NATO and drop a “small bomb” on North Korea…after investing in the market for almost 40 years I’ve moved mostly to treasuries, munis and cash.