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Pause and fixup in real estate. Nvidia goes where? The autocrats are dumb. More travel tips. Fun Switzerland.

For residential: Rents are falling. Insurance is soaring (if you can get it). And interest rates have more than doubled. Now as high as 7%.

For commercial: Too many are working from home. More than doubled interest rates are killing buildings on variable rates. The rents don’t cover what the banks want.

Hence, values are plummeting.

For the moment, syndicators have become loan rescue operators (working for the banks). They await properties price drops of 50% to 70%.  My friends figure 12 to 14 months wait.

Meantime, God bless short-term treasuries. The six month ones yield 5.52%. A magnificent return for the world’s dumbest, easiest investment decision.

Nvidia madness

It’s way overpriced by all conventional investment matrices — like P/E ratios. But no other chip company has managed to excite me more. And I’ve been around since Intel started making chips for Microsoft’s MS-DOS. That’s nearly 50 years. I’ve watched how Intel has failed at video phones, at cell phones, at computer telephony and recently, they can’t even make me a faster chip for a new faster laptop I hanker after.

In contrast, Nvidia is magnificent. Nvidia excites me. They inspire their customers. With A.I., they’re single handedly creating a whole new and better world for us. Read more:

+ How Nvidia build a competitive moat around A.I tech. Click here.

+ Growing demand for A.I. chips doubles Nvidia’s revenue. Click here.

Nvidia is my biggest equity holding and will remain so.

Autocrats know it all

Power corrupts.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

That means autocrats go more nuts the longer they’re The Big Cheese.

Take Russia: Everyone said trade with them, make them rich. Give them reason not to make mischief.

It didn’t work.

The weekend’s Wall Street Journal has the best explanation:

Read the article here.

China: When it opened and embraced capitalism, China brought hundreds of millions of its people out poverty. It added 40% growth to the world economy. Magnificent achievement. Now Xi believes he can tweak the model that worked. Also called messing with it. He messed with Covid. He’s strangling his tech sector with insane regulation. He’s never run a business. He’s never met a payroll. I wouldn’t get him to organize a queue for an outhouse.

China is in big trouble. The weekend’s New York Times reports:

This is a perilous moment for China. The numbers portray a stalling economy, but there is a far more profound concern. Chinese consumers and businesses are losing confidence that their government has the ability to recognize and fix the economy’s deep-seated problems. …

Mr. Xi’s government has prioritized state enterprises, which hew closely to the Chinese Communist Party line and are under direct government control, over the private sector. Technology companies, including highflying fintech businesses like Ant Group, that were seen as having grown too big and powerful have been forced to break up into smaller units and are now subject to more state control.

You can read the New York Times piece here.

The Economist is similarly depressing:

You can read the piece here.

More Travel Tips

+ Global Entry is the easiest, fastest way into the U.S. I stood in front of the Global Entry machine. It photographed me, recognized  me and said I was free to go. An  immigration called out “Harry.” He waved me through. The whole thing took less than a minute. Millions of unwashed were still waiting in snaking long lines.

+ Carry-on luggage is key. I carried a 25 inch Eagle Creek two-wheel load warrior. It fit snugly into all overhead bins. Two-wheeled bags carry more than four wheel bags. Carry a backpack with your laptop, passport, etc.

+ It’s cheaper to buy new clothes than to have some hotels wash your clothes. There are three solutions. (I patented these).

1. Throw your clothes away. Amazon has cheap men’s cotton underpants for under $3 a pair.

2. Nike (and others) have poly shirts you can wash in a sink and will dry overnight. Cotton won’t.

3. Wear your clothes forever. I wore one shirt for three days.

+ This is the only electronics you need for Europe. It will work for your iPhone, Apple Watch and laptop — though you’ll need your laptop’s charger.

+ Don’t bother with the Wi-Fi on planes. It never works reliably. Wi-Fi on planes is a extreme frustration.

+ Need Wi-Fi on your laptop? Try the obvious: your hotel, The best may be the Personal Hotspot on your cellphone,
thus using the local cellphone service — which in Switzerland is good.

+ Need to access U.S. sites like YouTube, YouTubeTV and Netflix, you’ll need a vpn. My son loves Mulvad VPN, which costs him a bargain $5 a month.

+ WhatsApp is the only way to make international voice and video calls. It’s free .I don’t know how they do it. But it works flawlessly.

+ Upgrading from premium economy to business may work — but not at the airport. I snagged an upgrade on Swissair for $600.

+ Airlines are weird. A Delta economy Boston to Amsterdam can cost $1632. Business class is $6897 — over four times as much. A JetBlue business JFK to AMS with lie-flat seats is only $2,607. You can get on La Compagnie from EWR to ORLY for only $1065. All their seats are lie-flat. La Compagnie is a huge bargain for U.S. to Europe. Go to France’s Orly and then catch a train to where you want. EasyJet is cheap and efficient around Europe.

Switzerland doesn’t work like clockwork.

Our trains from Luzern to Zermatt were two hours late. None of them left on time. None arrived on time.

Swiss trains do have redeeming features, like high prices, no air conditioning, no reclining seats, no Wi-Fi, no AC power and often no cafe car.

It’s easy to poke fun of the Swiss. But they do have one incredible country.

They have outlawed trash and potholes. The streets are spotless. Their infrastructure is amazing. The trains, roads, tunnels, bridges and funiculars go everywhere. They’re investing billions more in longer tunnels and higher railway viaducts. They’re the most trained country in the world.

They’re obsessive. These things are everywhere. You can safely drink from any one, anywhere.

They’re often quirky. You believe this? I found it in one of our hotels.

They’ve mastered technology. They have their own aircraft maker, their own camera maker, their own elevator/walking sidewalk maker (Schindler). The train system is a dream (when it’s on time). Some computer in the sky runs the thing. All my trains ran on single tracks. One minute my train would go forwards. Three minutes later another train would use the same track to go the other way. I’m alive. So they didn’t crash.

I like Swiss capitalism. I mean I really do. The famous Glacial Express is owned by a private company. The ferry company with 15 big boats on Lake Luzerne is run by a private company.

The aircraft company Pilatus Aircraft owned by one family. This is the jet they make. Neat!

Schindler has over 66,000 employees worldwide. They’re everywhere. Look down at your next airport visit:

Every valley has their family-owned gigantic factory, or two or three. I didn’t see any big American names adorning factories. The Swiss encourage their kids to strike out on their own, start their own businesses. There’s a frenetic pulse here I haven’t seen outside Israel.

Switzerland is enjoying a building boom. These yellow cranes are ubiquitous. This is St Moritz.

The Swiss are masters at tourism. That’s why Michael and I were there. We started on a five-day Backroads biking tour and ended on a seven hour Glacier Express train trip from Zermatt to Saint Moritz. One day we’ll bring the grandkids on their own Grand Swiss Tour.

Meantime, they’ll let you live there if you bring them money. Lots of it. Income tax is 40%.

A little Swiss “history”

Once upon a time, the Swiss were poor. They lived in isolated mountain villages. In the winter, they had to do something more than milk cows. So they made watches. Each village made one cog or a wheel. One village assembled the bits and pieces into watches.

They also made cuckoo clocks. Each hour Hansel and Gretel would emerge, and dance around. One day, a bright fellow thought: Let’s make them do more. Our clocks and watches will sell better. Thus was born the Swiss pornographic clock and watch industry.

Sadly, the Swiss have gone upscale, and dropped the porno watches. And while Apple’s watch is outselling all Swiss watches combined, you can still buy a Rolex or Blancpain for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

My father gave me a gold Patek Phillipe which he bought in 1932 and which I’ve never worn, which I’ll give to Michael, my son, who’ll never wear it, who’ll give it to his son, Peter, who’ll never wear it….

Keep commerce going

Trump is selling a “limited edition” mugshot of himself for $35.

My favorite is the New York Post’s cover:

Fun stuff

I’m obviously back. The new AC now works (more on that tomorrow). I’ve replaced the blown lightbulbs, found a mason to fix the fallen stones. I’m getting the cars inspected. But the clothes dryer doesn’t get hot. Hence washed clothes stay wet.

It never ends.

When I travel, I hand the key back. A pleasure.

Harry Newton