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A bouquet from the Fed. But still depressing longer-term

Today the Fed chairman gave us a bouquet. He’s slowing down on the depressing rate hikes.

But there are five fundamental things wrong with our economy:

  1. Housing. Don’t believe me? Put your house or apartment up for sale. Watch how nobody comes to see your gem. Government housing numbers are not good.
  2. Retail. Shops empty of shoppers. Walk down New York’s Fifth Avenue, as I did yesterday . There’s nobody shopping. Ritzy Madison Avenue gives empty shops a whole new meaning.
  3. Over-borrowed companies. With rates low, companies in recent years binged on borrowing. The bingers are often the worst credit-worthy ones. Heck why otherwise would they borrow all that money? Why did the idiots lend to shonky borrowers?
  4. Steel, labor and interest are making construction projects hugely pricey and tanking many of them. One contractor used to promise his bids for 30 days. No he holds to 48 hours.
  5. The accelerating changes in taste — e.g. the ones that tanked GM. Think also the sharing economy that brought us Airbnb, Uber and Lyft.

Yesterday was a a bear market rally. For these five reasons, I remain afraid of this market

One more Amazon keynote to watch

You watch it here.

I watched the Andy Jassy head of AWS for over two hours yesterday. He was engrossing. He laid out one new service after another AWS was introducing or had introduced in the past year. He actually spoke for three hours, one of the longest convention speeches in history. His massive, adoring audience took in every word politely applauding at each new product/service. My jaw was in constant state of drop.

AWS is now the fifth largest software company in the world. the public ones, ahead of AWS are Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and SAP.

Revenue at Amazon Web Services jumped 43 percent in 2017 to $17.5 billion, representing about one-tenth of Amazon’s total revenue.

Here are my amateur impressions from Jassy’s talk (his presentation was way over my head):

+ AWS focus is cheaper and better. I heard price drops of 85%.

+ The AWS team listens to its customers and does what they want. New types of databases. Blockchain. Faster access to data. AWS is delivering microsecond latency (speed) to Airbnb. A zillion other new products.

+ Amazon has bought a microprocessor (chip) company and is now making some of its own chips. I have no idea what this means. But, if I were Intel, AMD, or Nvidia, I’d be worried. Very worried.

+ He pitched companies: You’d be out of your mind to store your own old data on tape in your own data center. We can do it for you for less than less than one tenth of one cent per month per gigabyte.

+ Soon there’ll be billions of things connected to the Internet of Things. 5G will be a major factor. AWS will collect the spewing data and help interpret the results with something called “machine learning.” Amazing stuff.

In April last year, AWS put out a Whitepaper called Overview of Amazon Web Services. It begins:

The AWS Cloud provides a broad set of infrastructure services, such as computing power, storage options, networking, and databases that are delivered as a utility: on-demand, available in seconds, with pay-as-you-go pricing. From data warehousing to deployment tools, directories to content delivery, over 90 AWS services are available. New services can be provisioned quickly, without the upfront capital expense. This allows enterprises, start-ups, small and medium-sized businesses, and customers in the public sector to access the building blocks they need to respond quickly to changing business requirements. This whitepaper provides you with an overview of the benefits of the AWS Cloud and introduces you to the services that make up the platform.

In 2006, Amazon Web Services (AWS) began offering IT infrastructure services to businesses as web services-now commonly known as cloud computing. One of the key benefits of cloud computing is the opportunity to replace upfront capital infrastructure expenses with low variable costs that scale with your business. With the cloud, businesses no longer need to plan for and procure servers and other IT infrastructure weeks or months in advance. Instead, they can instantly spin up hundreds or thousands of servers in minutes and deliver results faster. Today, AWS provides a highly reliable, scalable, low-cost infrastructure platform in the cloud that powers hundreds of thousands of businesses in 190 countries around the world.

What Is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of compute power, database storage, applications, and other IT resources through a cloud services platform via the Internet with pay-as-you-go pricing. Whether you are running applications that share photos to millions of mobile users or you’re supporting the critical operations of your business, a cloud services platform provides rapid access to flexible and low-cost IT resources. With cloud computing, you don’t need to make large upfront investments in hardware and spend a lot of time on the heavy lifting of managing that hardware. Instead, you can provision exactly the right type and size of computing resources you need to power your newest bright idea or operate your IT department. You can access as many resources as you need, almost instantly, and only pay for what you use.

Cloud computing provides a simple way to access servers, storage, databases and a broad set of application services over the Internet. A cloud services platform such as Amazon Web Services owns and maintains the network-connected hardware required for these application services, while you provision and use what you need via a web application.

You can read the full Whitepaper here.

I can’t find a way to get a replay of Jassy’s talk. But I’m checking with Amazon’s PR people.

Obviously I’m impressed. Cloud is booming. Retail, housing and car making are not.


+ If you send someone your bank account number (for wiring), make sure it’s the right number.

+ Turn off your treadmill. Don’t pause it. You will fall of it, hurt yourself and end up in the hospital. It happened this week.

Greatest Christmas present

This is a $7.96 tire pressure gauge. Put it on your tire. It displays your tire pressure and keeps it after you’ve pulled it off your tire.

The stupid metal slide-in, slide-out tire pressure gauge is inaccurate, hard-to-read, hard to use — i.e. useless.

Click here. 

The Pearly Gates

Saint Peter is sitting at the Pearly Gates when two guys wearing dark hoodies, and sagging pants, arrive.

St. Peter looked out through the Gates and said, “Wait here. I’ll be right back.”

St. Peter goes over to God and tells him who is waiting for entrance.

God says to Peter: “We have discussed this. We are not judgmental now. This Is heaven. All are loved. Go and let them in.”

St. Peter goes back to the Gates, looks around, and lets out a heavy sigh.

He returns to God and says, “Well, they’re gone.”

“The guys wearing hoodies?” asked God.

“No. The Pearly Gates.”

Harry Newton. Gotta get to the dentist for a cleaning. Clean them and they won’t fall out. What a thought. Too late, however. They’re all gone. Replaced by enough metal to set off Homeland Security’s machines.

Older posts you may have missed

I’m not posting every day. Some days I have nothing to say. Here are my most recent columns, including yesterday’s:

Here we go again. Nov 28. Click here.

Fear and uncertainty don’t make for a happy stockmarket. Nov 27. Click here.

Stocks are bouncing back today. Let’s watch them carefully. Bitcoin plummets. Nov 26. Click here.

There is good news and there is bad news. Nov 23 (Black Friday) Click here.

What I learned – if anything – from my recent huge tech stock losses. Nov 21. Click here.

Blood is flowing. Is now the right time to jump back in? Nov 20. Click here.

I lied. Not every asset is crashing. Nov 19. Click here. 

Another day poorer. But not deeper in debt. Nov 15. Click here.

+Asset prices in free-fall: Stocks. Housing. Commodities. Nov 13, Click here.

Too much money. Too many opportunities. Hence today’s stomach-churning investment scene. Nov 8. Click here.