Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Stock Market: A Cheers To The Decade Of The Bull

 (Drivebycuriosity) - Tonight we will celebrate the end of an amazing decade - the decade of the bull. The bull market, which started in spring 2009, continued till today. The S&P, the gauge for the US stock market, tripled. The 2010s started on an irrational low base which explains that the annually total return (stock market gains plus dividend reinvested) was a bit above the long term trend (chart below). The sentiment was spoiled by the dismal 2000s and the recession panic from late 2008 lingered still in many minds, but eventually the positive fundamentals triumphed.

The table below shows that the annual returns where moderate compared to the 1978-1999 period. There is no bubble.

 ( source )

The positive performance has many explanations: The 2010s did not have a recession, even though many pundits were calling for it. The trade war against China did not escalate and it´s damages are constrained so far. The US economy is still sound, jobless rates & weekly jobless claims are close to all-time lows and consumer spending, the engine of the economy, have been growing solidly. China avoided the hard landing many pundits were calling for and is still growing 6% annually and  the  decades got tailwinds from relatively cheap oil & extremely low interest rates.

But the most important reason you can see in the table below. Company earning grew annually 10.5%, about as much as the stock prices. The gains on the stock market followed just the growth of the company earnings.

 (source )

I expect that the stock market gains will extend in the 2020s. During the recessions of the years 2001/02 and in 2008 companies restructured and reduced costs significantly in order to survive. Now they are much fitter and more efficient than before. I believe that this learning process will continue and will translate into a long term trend of rising company profits.

Companies are also benefiting from a new industrial revolution: Advances in Internet, mobile computing, 3-d-printing, robotics, nano- & biotechnology and other technologies are reducing costs, raising efficiency and creating new markets. The tailwinds from the emerging markets will continue. The catching-up process in China, India, Indonesia and a lot of other countries translates into high growth in large parts of the global economy that creates continuously rising revenues & profits for global companies like Starbucks, IBM, Caterpillar, Apple, Microsoft, Google and other members of the S&P 500. I assume that the global economy will re-accelerate in the coming years, generating more company earnings and stock market gains.

To be continued

Monday, December 30, 2019

Science Fiction: Children Of Ruin By Adrian Tchaikovsky

(Drivebycuriosity) - Maybe some day humans will colonize the universe and will turn other planets in habitable places (terraforming). The novel "Children of Ruin" by Adrian Tchaikovsky follows some humans who try to create a new home far away from earth  (amazon ). The plot continues Tchaikovsky`s first scifi novel "Children of Time" but it can also be read as a standalone book (but having read the first certainly helps. Here my  review). Both books are real (hard) science fiction. Like Isaac Asimov & Arthur C. Clark, Tchaikovsky uses science and shapes it into fascinating tales.

The author, who has studied studied zoology and psychology, weaves a complex & fascinating plot  based on logic, biology, evolution & technology spiced with a lot of philosophical musings . He focuses on 3 different species, who try to communicate to solve conflicts and to face a common danger (this is a spoiler free blog).  The reader is - together with the characters of the book -"going on a mind-bending adventure".

Highly recommended!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Street Art New York: My Top Twenty 2019

(Drivebycuriosity) - I am connoisseur of street art. I like murals, graffiti, stencils and other incarnations of this elusive art form and take pictures wherever I can. Therefore I shot a lot of street art pictures, especially in New York`s neighborhoods Lower East Side, East Village & Soho.

Here are my top 20 of 2019 (here my report from 2018 ). The wonderful dancer above seems to be weightless.

A masterful piece of pop art.

An astronaut stranded on Delancey Street Summer

The Matador Mural on Allen & Broome is created by Conor Harrington.

What a face!

Dynamics & action in Tribeca.

Powerful & dangerous

Impressions from Chinatown

I spotted the girl with the US flag on 4th street in East Village.


To be continued

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Contemporary Art: Best Of New York`s Gallery Shows 2019

(Drivebycuriosity) - 2019 was a good year in the world of contemporary art. New York City, which has hundreds of art galleries, presented a flood of impressive art shows. It was so much fun to discover different styles and ideas and I was impressed by the variety of concepts, styles and techniques. Many exhibitions happened of course in the classy galleries of the Chelsea district, but the rapidly gentrifying Lower East Side is a strong contender. I display here  my favorites from New York´s gallery shows 2019, as usual a very subjective selection (here my report from 2018 ).

China is rising and so do the artists from the huge country. Beijing based Jia Aili is for me the discovery of the year.  Gagosian displayed his futuristic murals in April. I want to be a billionaire and to be able to purchase all these gorgeous paintings and hang them on huge white walls in my own palace. So I could look onto them every day while listening to Richard Wagner´s Götterdämmerung or some super-massive heavy metal.

There were more up-and coming Chinese artists on show. Above you can see Gang Zhao`s  "Ménage à trois", which I spotted @  Green Naftali in April.

Gallery Perrotin on the Lower East Side displayed paintings by Chen Fei  in December. I like his surrealist style which is influenced by Renaissance paintings.

There was another big discovery: Loie Hollowell. She belongs to the shooting stars in the contemporary art market. The artist started in October 2016 with a solo show at a little gallery @ New York`s Lower East Side and some paintings were sold some for $8,000 to $15,000. Those prices have since increased more than 1,200 percent, and Loie Hollowell has become one of the most fiercely sought-after artists in New York, reports Artnet.com (artnet ). The media describe her work as "abstract body landscapes". Gallery Pace exhibited her paintings in September in their new flagship building in Manhattan´s Chelsea district.

I really love the fanciful paintings by Louis Carreon which I saw @ HG Contemporary in October. Carreon has a background in street art (it shows!) and is influenced by artists like Basquiat and Julian Schnabel.


I also indulged into Bernardo Siciliano`s hyper-realist murals @ Aicon Gallery in November. The huge canvases which remind me of Caravaggio and cinema scenes. According to the press release Siciliano also got influenced by Edward Hopper, Lucian Freud & David Hockney. But he found his own unique style and each painting seems to tell a story.

Unstable Equilibrium

Above some images by Alex Kanevsky, spotted @ Hollis Taggart in September. The artist studied theoretical mathematics at Vilnius University in Lithuania before pursuing an artistic career in the United States (wikipedia). Now the artist creates compositions which are inspired by the concept of unstable equilibrium in physics. 

 Julian Opie has an unique style which easily recognizable. Above some images from his show   "Walking in New York" @ Lisson gallery in April.

Above some images by Daniel Richter exhibited @ Grimm Gallery in December. In these new painting the Berlin based artist mixes abstract & figurative styles.

Above some surrealist images by Kelly Bjork  (Nancy Margolis Gallery, September) followed by Anna Conway (Fergus McCafffrey March) & Tim Vermeulen  (George Billis Gallery March).

Marcela Florido's "Retiro" ( Thierry Goldberg, February) & "United we stand" by Gary Rudell ( Hennoch, March). Aren`t they wonderful?

Michael Fullerton`s "Groupie" ( Greene Naftali , March) followed by 2 mural details seen @ The Hole in September.

Matvey Levenstein`s wonderful "Orient" (Kasmin March)

Amazing Steel

I am always impressed by Richard Serra`s massive steel construction, the images above are from the latest show @ Gagosian in October.

Apparently other artists work with steel too. Above Beverly Pepper`s "Core-Ten"  (Marlborough Contemporary, March) & sculptures by Bernar Venet (Kasmin, September).

Imagined Landscapes

In January Ivy Brown Gallery exhibited a painting by David Mellen, one of my favorite artists. Above his "We belong to Nowhere".

There were more amazing abstracts by Alexis Portilla (Hollis Taggart, March) followed by John Knuth (same show) & Michael Schultheis (Winston Wächter Fine Art April).

I love the expressionist & powerful imagined landscapes by Elliott Green (Pierogi, October)

Matthias Meyer`s paintings - seen @ Danese/Corey in  October - remind me of the big bang (not that I witnessed it).

Stay tuned