Monday, July 30, 2018

Stock Market: Unjustified Punishment

(Drivebycuriosity) - Technology stocks are under pressure. The Nasdaq 100, which represents the leading US technology stocks, dropped today 1.3% and lost about 3% since last Wednesday.  The whole technology sector gets punished for disappointing user numbers at Facebook (minus 20% since Wednesday) and Twitter (minus 30%).

I reckon that the punishment is unjustified. The problems at Facebook & Twitter are company specific. Facebook has been miss-treating her customers by selling their data. It seems that Facebook users are finally responding to Zuckerberg`s arrogance. And Twitter deleted a million accounts of fake users.

But the rest of the tech sector is doing quite well as the ongoing earnings season (company reports for the second quarter 2018) shows. The Tech sector companies in the S&P 500 are up +35.3% from the same period last year on +12% higher revenues, with 90% beating EPS estimates and 87.1% revenue estimates (zacks). Even without the favorable effect of Trump`s tax cuts tax earnings are growing 20% plus.

The earnings rise will continue in the coming years. Technology companies like Google, Microsoft & Amazon became money machines because they are riding the new industrial revolution. The Internet increases the flow of information and reduces the cost of data. New ideas can spread faster, encouraging discoveries and inventions and boost the technological progress. Businesses run smoother thanks to Internet generated networks. Internet, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, e-commerce and other incarnations of the software revolution are making the whole world more efficient, reducing costs and are creating new markets. I think the recent tech beating will soon be forgotten.

Contemporary Art: A Very Eclectic Combination @ Richard Taittinger New York

(Drivebycuriosity) - New York`s Lower East Side was once the slum of the metropolis, filled with sweat shops; now the neighborhood is one of the fanciest districts of the metropolis and a symbol for gentrification. A legion of bars, pubs & restaurants and flocks of drunk college kids gave LES the image of a party mile.

But the LES also has an artsy and attractive side: More than one hundred art galleries choose to be in this area - thanks to more affordable rents. In the recent years LES became a contender to Chelsea where usually the big classy art dealers reside. Richard Taittinger Gallery, owned and founded by a heir of the French Champagne empire Taittinger (at 154 Ludlow St. taittinger), belongs to the ambitious LES galleries. The gallery, which specializes in the works of mid-career artists, occupies 5,000-square-foot 154 in a space formerly used by the music venue the Living Room (bloomberg). The Wall Street Journal praises the 20-foot-high ceilings which allow Taittinger to present large-scale museum-quality works (wsj).

Last week I saw there an exhibition with works by the Cameroonian artist Pascale Marthine Tayou, a very eclectic combination of sculptures, installations, drawings and videos (exhibition). I display here my favorites, a very subjective selection as usual. Let the images speak for themselves.

To be continued

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Photography: Growing Skyscrapers

(Drivebycuriosity) -  New York City is a boom town again. Almost everywhere you can see new towers growing into the sky. The construction boom creates a lot of jobs & income. It raises the density & productivity of the megacity. The fledgling skyscrapers also enhance the complexity of the cityscape and are making New York`s skyline even more dynamic. The massive construction places with the huge cranes are fascinating objects for amateur photographers like me because of their impressive shapes & the composition of colors (I took the pictures recently with my iPhone 7 Plus).

Many of the growing skyscraper - and especially the majestic cranes - look elegant & powerful like the works by artists like Richard Serra, Anish Kapoor and other contemporary artists.

I really like the majestic & phallic geometrics and the colors.

To be continued

Friday, July 27, 2018

Economics: Trump`s Trade War - What Doesn`t Kill China, Will Make It Stronger

(Drivebycuriosity) -  Donald Trump declared a trade war against China and threatens tariffs on all $500 billion of Chinese imports (reuters). The US President is overestimating himself and his power. He cannot bring this huge country on her knees. China will just shrug and might get even stronger. This reminds me of a Friedrich Nietzsche, who said: “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger". The German philosopher may have referred to the human immunity system which is getting stronger after surviving a challenge.

China is already changing from an industrial country - which relies on exports - into a modern economy like the US which is dominated by services and focuses mostly on the domestic market. For years imports & retail sales have been growing faster than exports & industrial production. While China`s economy (BNP) is  growing 6-7% annually, the retail sales are climbing 9%. Therefore a growing part of the national production is consumed in China, which reduces the country´s dependence from global markets and from the USA. Trump`s trade war will only accelerate the transformation process.

Since the financial crisis 2008 exports have made no significant contribution to Chinese growth (chart below). Rising import demand offsets any gain through exports. What drive Chinese growth is Chinese demand for consumption and investment (adamtooze). The fast rising domestic Chinese domestic economy (consume, investments in infrastructure etc.) will replace shrinking exports to the USA.

China proved already in the recession 2008/09 that it can weather a sharp drop in export demand. Even though exports to the USA & Europe dropped sharply thanks to the economic crisis in the Western World, China could avoid a recession (falling GDP) by stimulating domestic demand (consume, investments). Since then China got much stronger with a much bigger domestic economy.


In 2017 China`s whole export to the rest of the world shrunk already below 20% of the the GDP (chart below). So Trump´s tax hikes will impair only a small part of the Chinese GDP. Beijing can easily compensate a shrinking US demand (as a result of Trump´s tax hikes) by stimulating domestic consume & investments - as they did during the 2008 crisis in the US. China´s government is already responding to Trump´s tariffs and announced tax cuts and new investments into infrastructure.

 Source: worldbank

Yes, some Chinese corporations will suffer, if they lose customers in the US. But this will force them, to find more customers in their fast growing home market. They will have to get more efficient and they need to cut their costs and offer better products. The Chinese customers will benefit when China`s corporations focus more on their domestic markets by cheaper products and more quality.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Street Art New York: Summer 2018 Edition

(Drivebycuriosity) - I like street art. Being an ambitious amateur photographer I took a lot pictures from the murals, graffiti and stencils I spotted in my neighborhoods, the streets of Lower East, Soho & East Village. I show here my  favorites from the recent weeks, a very subjective selection as usual.

Above you can see the new mural on the famous Bowery mural wall (corner East Houston), created by the Los Angeles based artist Tristan Eaton (tristaneaton).

I took these pictures in Chinatown.

And there were more fascinating wall murals. The big head is a creation by the Australian street artist Anthony Lister (anthonylister).

I spotted the roaring tiger on the wall of rag & bone at the corner of Elizabeth & Houston. This fashion shop impresses with frequently changing art work of high quality. And I found the friendly project cat nearby on East Houston.

I discovered this abstract work on a shutter door, I believe on Avenue A in East Village.

Some doors got beautifully decorated.

                                                      Liking Yourself

I saw a lot new funny stencils & stickers.

I  love this message.


This man is climbing a wall on Orchard Street.

To be continued

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Books: Beautiful Animals by Lawrence Osborne

(Drivebycuriosity) - When I like a book by a certain author, I try to read more by him (I guess many do that). I had enjoyed Lawrence Osborne`s novel "Hunter in the Dark" very much (driveby). The book is set in tropical Cambodia, a lush, exotic and dangerous place. So I got Osborn´s novel "Beautiful Animals" (amazon).

The books starts in a different setting: Naomi lives on a Greek island together with her parents, affluent Anglo-Saxon expatriates. She is a spoiled 20 something, ungrateful to her parents who finance her aineance & life style , she is selfish & careless.  Naomi becomes friend with an American tourist, a young woman as well, who is visiting Greece together with her parents. Both women discover a young man who is  living on the beach, an illegal Arabian immigrant. Naomi decides to support him - no matter what. This leads to a chain of events (I don`t tell you more. This is a spoiler free book).

Again I enjoyed Osborne´s style. The plot - and the style - reminded my of Patricia Highsmith´s dark novels, especially the "Talented Mr. Ripley" series, but I had a lot problems with Osborne`s characters, especially with the parasitic Naomi, who behaves almost like a little child,  extremely naive and does care zero about consequences. Is she the #beautiful animal"? Maybe Osborne wants to provoke, maybe he wants to draw a dark picture of the spoiled offspring of wealthy families and of the millennials. Maybe he wants to criticize the naive attitude (in German #blauäugig") of young wealthy liberals to Muslims who don`t share their culture.

Anyway, I still plan to read more by Osborne.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Contemporary Art: Oral Fixation @ The Hole New York

(Drivebycuriosity) - Some galleries have funny names. "The Hole" on Manhattan`s popular entertainment mile Bowery (312 Bowery, New York  theholenyc) seems to specialize in experimental art. They have frequently interesting shows (I have reported about this gallery before  here  here).

Recently I saw a group exhibition of big women, named "Extra" (theholenyc). The show is also about oral fixation as many of the images show. There is certainly a causal relationship.

I display here my favorites, a very subjective selection as usual. Above you can see Jansson Stegner`s "Breakfast on the Road" (2017, oil on canvas) followed by Eric Yahnker`s "Triple Dee" (2018, pastel on sandpaper).

Above "Society Woman" (2003, oil on canvas) by the Colombian painter Fernando Botero.

Above 2 images by Monica Kim Garza: "Drama y Luz / When Doves Cry" (2018, foam paper, acrylic, oil pastel on canvas) & "Back to Back" (2018, acrylic, rhinestones, and wool on canvas) followed by Rebecca Morgan`s "Self Portrait Post MFA Wearing the Smock of a Former Employer II" (2017, digital print on linen) & Taylor McKimens` "Getting Far" (2018, acrylic, flashe, acrylic-gouche, crayon, and paper on canvas).

Above Francine Spiegel`s "Untitled" (2018, acrylic and airbrush on canvas) followed by Cristina Banban`s "Sunset con las chicas" (2018, acrylic and spray paint on canvas) & Jonathan Chapline`s "Virtual Character (Woman III)2 (2018, acrylic and flashe on panel).

To be continued