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Why we’re doing well. Where the rest of the world puts its money — here (and why). Dumbest decision — part 2

This weekend:

+ G 20 and China deal?

+ Iran surpassing its allowed enrichment ceiling?

 It’s slippery, but handelable. Manufacturers are dealing with the higher tariffs. Vietnam is benefiting. China’s Yuan is sliding. We’re not going to war with Iran.

Today the market is up and the sky (at least in New York City) is azure blue.

For Joel Ross’s analysis of where we are now and why, see way down below. Good economic analysis.

Dumbest decision — part 2

Half my readers said I was wrong to hate doctors. Pills (and doctors) were useful, they said.

I explain: Reporters/journalists/writers like me often have to take an extreme position to make a serious point – namely that experts aren’t always experts. Research. Study. Go in skeptical.

My stories are true. Since yesterday’s columns. I’ve heard a litany of more mess-ups — especially in hospitals.

You need a personal coach. You need someone to monitor what the hospital is doing to you.

You need second and third opinions.

You need to do enough research to ask the right questions.

Hospitals charge by what they do to you.

When in doubt, say NO.

The tick season is coming

Get bitten by a tick. Get Lyme Disease. Never recover. Live in misery the rest of your life.

I have friends who’ve had Lyme Disease for 20 years. They are always in pain.

I’m manic. No long grass. No gardening. Limited outdoors. I once had a tick fall on me from a tree branch I walked under. It settled into the folds of my nice warm stomach.

This  will freak you out:

I First Had Lyme Disease in 2010. I Never Really Got Better.
The author has spent a decade fighting persistent Lyme disease symptoms and convincing those who don’t believe him that his illness is real

Click here. 

For more on this summer’s dangers:

A multi-part report on the exploding Lyme and tick-borne disease pandemic

Click here.

Samsung’s new Galaxy Buds

Samsung’s new Galaxy Buds ($130) are a cheaper than Apple’s $159 AirPods. Buds have the same features as AirPods. Both sound good. Use the Buds with Samsung phones. Use the AirPods with iPhones. Features work better with their family phone.

Go for a walk. It’s a total joy to listen to your favorite music with a pair of AirPods or Buds in your ears. I don’t like headphones for anything other than listening to TV. They get too hot.

Here’s a new wrinkle on fees

You’ve all heard about the two and twenty fee structure? How about this wrinkle? It’s still two and twenty. But you pay ten years of the two upfront. Translation: You give them $1 million. They immediately take $200,000 in fees. You get left with $800,000 to invest in the fund. That’s the bad news.

The good news? No more fees to pay for the next ten years.

I didn’t make this up. I’m not that smart.

Bitcoin is going nuts

Here’s the last five years:

My friend Sam Ikkurty runs a hedge fund in crytocurrencies. I asked him “Why is bitcoin up?” He replied:

Bitcoin is hedge against Fed and whole money printing crew around the world. I think the market is predicting that we are headed for a recession.
NEVER before in history has the Fed been able to engineer a soft landing/avoid recession after 4 consecutive weeks of 10yr/3month UST yield inversion. The 10yr/3month UST yield has now been inverted for over 4 consecutive weeks. $12 trillion worth bonds are currently yielding negative interest.

 Another point to remember is out of 21 million (bitcoin) coins, only 3 more million coins are left to be mined. Currently, close to 18 million coins are in the hands of investors. These 3 million coins are going to be mined in the next 120 years. We have 36 million millionaires in the world. Even if every millionaire in the world wants to own one (bitcoin), it has to come from the stash of the current investors. Absolute scarcity drives value.

There you have it. You know as much as I do. Except I also know:
+ People steal bitcoins from “safe” repositories, like blockchain.
+ Few companies will take bitcoins. You can’t even buy tulips with them.
+ It can be hard to redeem your bitcoins for real money, like American or Australian dollars.
+ Nobody’s in charge. Of course, that’s part of bitcoin’s “charm.”
+ Weird things happen. For example, yesterday:

Crypto exchange Coinbase experienced a brief outage Wednesday afternoon, with both its website and API rendered temporarily inaccessible, as the price of bitcoin dropped more than $1,700 in 15 minutes. Read more here. 

Sam just followed up with a new email. He wrote:
Here is the chart that shows this relationship. Bitcoin vs global aggregate negative yielding sovereign debt. Real straightforward situation.
Slack (WORK) is probably overpriced
+ It is not the solution to email overload (which we all suffer from).
+ Everyone and their uncle — including Google, Facebook and Microsoft — has a Slack lookalike.
For more on Slack, read this long piece in the New York Times. Click here.

Apple’s new watch


It will come with cameras. Brilliant idea.

Please write English

Stop with emails to me that include:

“I hope all is well with you.”

“Attached please find…”

“Please feel free to call me…”

“So in order to facilitate an orderly closing…”

And for God’s sake, stop using

teeny, tiny type.

Most of us are already half blind. We don’t need you to speed our decline.

Favorite New Yorker cartoons

Jokes for your kids

 Why did the cookie go to the hospital?

Because he felt crummy.

Why was the baby strawberry crying?

Because her mom and dad were in a jam.

When do Asian people go to the dentist?

When it’s 2:30.

Harry Newton, who actually watched some of the Democratic Debate Part 1 last night. Part 2 is tonight at 9:00 PM on MSNBC. I like expanding Medicare. I use Medicare. It works for me. I also have AARP supplemental.

Allergy season, now over, begins again on August 24 here in the Northeast.

From Joel Ross’s latest Ross Rant newsletter. Here’s his state of the world. Excellent analysis:

Nearly everyone is wondering how can the stock market be at record highs when the ten year is dropping to near record lows. Declining ten-year rates normally indicate a forecast of a slowing, and maybe a recession, especially when it is inverted from the 3 month bill.  Here is my belief and why I don’t see a problem. The EU is in serious trouble, and it is getting worse. Rates there on government bonds are negative in almost every country.  Draghi is considering another round of QE. Even Germany is having a hard time. The new emissions standards for  EU autos is a killer, and will likely cause harm to the auto industry. Most cannot meet the new standard. With Boris Johnson becoming PM, it is very likely to be a hard Brexit. That will hit farmers and autos in the EU hard. There is little if any reason to invest in the EU, and almost no reason to have cash in Euros. Next the Mideast is on the brink of all out war. If the US and Iran start shooting it will immediately bring in Israel and the Iran proxies. There is no reason to have cash sitting around the Mideast. All those rich princes need to get cash here and in London quickly. Asia is in real decline now that tariffs are hitting China and many manufacturers are moving out. Hong Kong is in political turmoil, and there is no way to predict where that goes. Lastly Latin America is a disaster.  So where do wealthy people move their cash-to the only safe and fully liquid and transferable haven -US Treasuries. Cash is pouring into the ten year. In addition, the lending market in the US is very active right now, and the ten year swap is often the hedge index, so there is more demand.  The Fed is going to be stopping its wind down of holdings, so that will help leave more cash in the banking system which may go into ten year T’s as reserves. In short- the demand for US Treasuries is very high right now because the US continues to do well economically, and money is safe and totally liquid here. You can always liquidate a US Treasury note instantly for known market value. Holding any other bond or currency right now is likely to be a negative return.  The Fed is likely to lower in July or August. The Fed is going to stop unwinding, so that leaves more monetary stimulus to support the economy. As a result, US rates are declining, not because the economy is headed to recession, but because there is nowhere else to go other than gold, which many do not want to hold despite its recent runup.

The economy continues to grow, even if more slowly, but at over 2%. Corporate earnings will slow, or decline a bit, but investors seem to believe the economy is doing fine, and that there will be some sort of China deal, and a rate cut. If that happens the S&P will probably go above 3000. Most sophisticated investors understand that tariffs will not have the major impact that you hear in the press. Everyone is already taking steps to materially mitigate the impact on consumers. Supply chains are being changed. The Yuan will drop further with no deal, and Wal Mart and others are cutting other operating costs, and will spread the cost of tariffs across all their products, so any price increases will be spread so wide it will not make a big difference to consumers who are getting wage increases.  We are oil independent now, so a war in the gulf is not going to be all that damaging to the economy. Trump is forcing everyone who has oil from the gulf to go defend their ships instead of us doing it for them.  China now has a navy-so does Japan. The Arabs can pay us for protection of their cargos. Trump dereg on oil and fracking changed the entire geopolitical calculus for the whole world order. So investors seem to think even if there is a war, it will be short, and Iran will be destroyed-which would be a very good thing. So the stock market is up, bond prices are up, and rates are down. It is that simple. Fracking and new pipelines has made all the old rules wrong. Companies are screaming about tariffs, but not one has any real idea how to get China to stop all the IP theft and national security intrusions without tariffs, which is what the whole battle with China is really all about. Trade is the excuse but not the real reason.

You can (and should) subscribe to the Ross Rant. Click here.

  • Lucky

    TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR OWN MEDICAL ISSUES! After 3 years of “Oh you’re doing just fine” digital exams from my older primary care doctor my PSA began to raise, I had all the symptoms, and he kept saying “Oh you’re doing just fine”. I demanded to see a urologist and was immediately diagnosed with aggressive and advanced prostate cancer with lumps and bumps all over my prostate that the idiot doctor could not detect. The doctor was a fool! From that moment on I TOOK CHARGE of my own medical care and dictated the direction I would take to the fullest extent I could. When my otherwise really good insurance would not pay the $3000.00 for a yet experimental nuclear CAT scan I paid it myself. When I lost confidence in my oncologist I sought out another highly recommended one. I have been in stage IV prostate cancer that has metastasized into my bones for 11 years now and still counting. TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR OWN HEALTH!