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Will we again enjoy our cities and our offices? Pray that someone dumps some nice bargains into our laps

Here’s year-to-date of the three main indexes.

It’s pretty obvious where the action is: tech stocks benefiting by the work-from-home and shop-from-home technology revolution and the search-for-a-virus. Thank you Amazon, PayPal, Apple, Shopify and Moderna. I also own JNJ, LLY, and UNH.

It’s also amazing how quick this V-shaped recovery was. Who knew? Half my friends sold out too soon. The other half sold out too late.

The only lesson: You can’t predict the markets.

Except to know that Jerome Powell has our backs. And he’s cranking. Thank Mr. Powell.

If this thing craters in the next few months — as bad economic news is revealed and half the pundits prove prescient — I’m not selling. I’ll be buying. I’ve got cash.

Don’t bet against the American economy.

The big office debate

+ Item one: Square and Twitter say their employees can work from home forever, if they want to.

+ Item two: Joel Ross of the Ross Rant writes:

There are an increasing number of anecdotal stories about how companies are planning to not renew leases on office space. As the technology improves and allows much better instant collaboration within a group without physically being together, and as more young people enter the workforce being used to communication electronically instead of in person conversations, there will be much less demand for expensive offices. There will be satellite offices and small central offices in NYC or other cities, but big campuses like Apple has will be found to be a vast waste of cash. The key will be to find the balance between most of the week work at home, and one or two days in some sort of office setting to do team building, and face to face relationship building, and culture creation. It will evolve, but big expensive offices are going to lose a lot of tenants. Many companies had enough time during the shutdown to perfect virtual working, and to realize how much commuting and travel time, and cash is saved by remote work, and only small offices in satellite cities in certain industries. We do our bi-weekly team meetings for my Bayonne project on Zoom, and it works great. You probably do not want to own a major urban office building anymore.

+ Item three: Half my friends have flown New York City for the country life,  where they can do something — anything. Like play tennis and visit a beach.

+ My dearest friend Ed wonders what’s left for New York City. No theaters. No concerts. No restaurants. No parties. All he can do is ride his bicycle. In two+ months of quarantine, he’s ridden every street in Manhattan several times and he’s now expanding his horizon to distant Brooklyn. Warning to Brooklyn: Close your three bridges.

Without city life, cities will die.

But city life will return. It always has. I have tickets for shows and ballets I still want to see, though I’m happy to skip some of Manhattan’s over-priced restaurants.

Without personal interaction, offices won’t be as creative. People spark innovation. I like innovation.

It’s nice to eye the cherry blossoms in mid-state New York. (I photographed this yesterday.)

But people in person are more interesting.

You need offices to form companies, to hire people, to get strategies set, to get fast decisions, to get policies created and to get customer service done well.

I remain optimistic about my investments in commercial office buildings.I’m praying that somebody will panic out of their nice office building and let one of my syndicators buy it cheap. Please sell. Pretty please.

Rule number one in real estate: The price you buy it at determines the profitability (or otherwise) of the investment.

Sad and happy real estate story

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said he was “foolish” to invest $18.5 billion in WeWork.

WeWork’s valuation has fallen from a peak of $47 billion to $2.9 billion. That’s 94% down.

A while back, on my urging, a friend who’s a real estate maven visited WeWork. I asked how the visit went? He shook his head and reported  they didn’t have a single person in the company with any real estate background. No one! He was incredulous. I was too. Neither of us invested any money in WeWork or rented them any space.

I did visit a WeWork facility in New York. I walked around asking all the tenants what they were doing? It was exhilarating. All were starting new businesses in everything from food delivery to the home, to conferences for millennials, to helping people get through divorce.

WeWork offices were plush and the tenant amenities were plentiful.

Big-time caution

This logo appeared yesterday on my iPhone.

It’s not the real Fidelity:

The blue one is s Nigerian bank, in Lagos. Just what I want on my phone!

Why do I love this?


Impeccable Logic

+ President Trump argues if we didn’t do testing, they’re be no infections.

+ Reilly went to trial for armed robbery. The jury foreman came out and announced, ‘Not guilty.’

‘That’s grand!’ shouted Reilly. ‘Does that mean I can keep the money?’

+ Does anyone know if we can take showers yet or should we just keep washing our hands?

+ You think it’s bad now? In 20 years our country will be run by people home schooled by alcoholics.

+ Whoever owes you money, go to their house now. They will be home.

+ Homeschooling Day 3: They all graduated. Done.

Country life

Our new Robbins are thriving, and hungry:

See you tomorrow. — Harry Newton, when I’ll play my 67-consecutive game of tennis this quarantine. Today is 66.