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Our stockmarkets are weak. But there is a sound strategy. The world of energy is changing.

En route to Paris on the Eurostar train. Beetling along at 186 mph. Smooth as silk. Totally impressive. We need these between Boston-New York-Washington and Los Angeles and San Francisco.

For all that awesome speed, they could have decent WiFi. My iPhone’s Hot Spot is giving my laptop a better WiFi Internet signal than the train — which I paid nearly $300 for a seat for the 3 1/2 hour ride from London to Paris. Cheaper if you buy way in advance.

Instead of fixing the WiFi, they got this stupid chart:

Coming to Europe? Your American iPhone actually works well in Europe. Negotiate with your carrier before you leave the U.S. For long stays, rent a tiny, portable WiFi hot spot.

How are stock markets looking?

In two words. Not good. Economies in China, Europe and the U.S. are slowing. Our stockmarket is weak.

From Business Insider

Ten years ago, on March 9, 2009, the stock market bottomed amid the financial crisis.

It was by no means easy to be a stock-market bull during that era. In fact, that same Friday in ’09 brought an ugly employment report, which showed that the US lost 651,000 nonfarm payrolls in the prior month while the unemployment rate jumped to an alarming 8.1%.

And yet, it was the perfect moment to buy in to what has become the longest bull market in history.

The recurring story is you can’t time in the market. You should stay in it — if you can stomach the ride. Remarkably, it’s not a long ride. This chart shows maximum drops in five stockmarket crashes. Click on the chart to see all of it.

Today’s stock prices are high — not the bargains they were ten years ago. Put ultra-low buy bids in now and go traveling. Europe is not hideously expensive — as it once was. There are fun things to see — I suspect more in Paris. London museums are suffering from austerity.

Stay in the U.S. for your investments

I used Google to chart the U.S. dollar over the past five years against a random bunch of overseas currencies. This is one of those middle-of-the-night exercises — when you have jet lag and can’t sleep. The U.S. dollar has been killing them all:

The Russian Ruble:

The Turkish Lira:

The Venezuelan Bolivar:

The Euro:

The Pound Sterling:

The Australian dollar:

The world is changing much faster than we realize. Here are some excerpts from Joel Ross’ latest Ross Rant:

+ Russia is nearly totally dependent on oil to sustain its budget. As the world shifts over the next ten years to electric and hydrogen powered cars, and other energy saving technology appears for buildings and other things, and as oil use declines over time, combined with US production from fracking, Russia is in long term serious trouble. In addition, the population in Russia is in decline. Russia is really a small country economically. Its GDP is only $1.8 trillion- the same as just Texas alone, or New York. The Russian economy is unsustainable over the next decade. Given how much they spend on weapons, the civilian economy will decline. Russia only has 147 million people and declining. Less than half the US, and a fraction of China and India. The real risk is that as Russia becomes less and less economically, Putin might start some sort of military confrontation to try to boost his support at home. …

+ In ten years, the Mideast will have to make major changes as well. The Saudis already understand it, and that is why they are making such an effort to create new industries. Countries like Iran, Iraq, Oman and the UAE are likely at their peak right now. Forget climate change. The real issue is a slow shift to energy saving and alternative energy over the next ten years. It will completely change geopolitics, and the US is in a commanding position to take advantage. We have huge fossil fuel production capacity now with fracking, and a very active technology effort to create large energy savings without government intervention. We can make the transition better than any other country because we produce more natural gas and cheaper energy than anyone in Europe or China.

+ Once battery life and functions are materially improved, and costs decline materially as volume ramps up, then over the next decade, major changes will occur in how things are powered in homes, cars and industry. It will take time for a major transition, but it is starting. We are at the beginning of a historic shift in energy production, economic power, and the resulting shift in geopolitics. The US is very well positioned now to be the world leader.

You can subscribe to the Ross Rant here. 

Great new laptops coming

New laptops out in the next several months from Lenovo look positively entrancing — based on specs I’ve just seen. Fast, long battery life (a whole day plus), fantastic screens, huge hard drives and ultra-sturdy construction.  One laptop will sport 32 gigabytes of memory and a trillion byte hard drive. That’s heavy duty pleasure — at least for me.

Favorite recent New Yorker cartoons



HarryNewton
Harry Newton, who’s taking the kids to The Eiffel Tower tomorrow. The weather in Paris is cool, but not raining. Nice town. It’s 4:44 AM here in Paris. Maybe I should post this blog and try to go to sleep. I tried Melatonin the other night. It gave me a mild high and fantastic dreams, but not much real sleep. I suspect warm milk works better.

  • Mike Nash

    If you want to fall asleep read any of your columns. That’s why I’m here. Your columns also work as a laxative. Harry, what do you think of muni bonds as an investment? With the cap on state deductions munis would seem attractive.