Thursday, July 7, 2011
The super-rich never cut back.
It doesn't matter how bad things get in the global economy. We can always count on the world's billionaires to buy that extra tin of beluga caviar, or that set of custom hubcaps for the Maserati. They already have more money than they can spend in a lifetime. So the strength or weakness in the economy doesn't really matter to them.
That's why we should all be worried about the lack of big yachts in the south of France.
This is "big boat" season in the French Riviera. It's when potbellied bald guys open up their wallets, and supermodels take off their tops. Everyone prances along the coastline playing a game of "Who's Got the Most?"
This year, sadly, there is a lack of participation.
My family and I vacationed with some friends in Monaco last week. Despite being the height of the tourist season, and Prince Albert's pending nuptials, the place was quiet. Too quiet.
"Where is everybody?" I asked Franck, our waiter at the Michelin three-star Le Louis XV restaurant. We walked in off the street at 12:15 p.m. on the Thursday before Prince Albert's Saturday wedding and requested a lunch table for eight. We didn't have a reservation, but we were seated immediately.
The restaurant was busy, but not THAT busy. The French Riviera was busy as well, but not as busy as you might expect in the height of the summer just before an "A" list celebrity event.
"Je ne sais pas (I don't know)," Franck replied as he shrugged his shoulders. "We were quite busy last month, and in April. But June is miserable for business. It's like the world just went to sleep."
"It's a bad time for billionaires to take a nap, huh?" I asked.
My charming wit didn't translate as well as I had hoped. Franck glared at me with that "I'm going to spit in your food" look.
"I hope they wake up soon." Franck replied, "They're good customers."
What happens, though, if they don't wake up? What if billionaires are as sensitive as birds on a wire? The first bird to freak out and leave the perch sparks the "fear" instinct of the other birds.
What should us "less than billionaire" people think of this?
If the wealthiest members of the world society aren't spending money and are cutting back and conserving their wealth instead, what should we be doing? What does that say about the future prospects for the global economy?
Obviously, there's no easy answer. And I hate to draw a conclusion off my two-week experience in the south of France. But if the wealthiest people of the world are cutting back and curtailing their spending habits, what does that say about what all the rest of us should do?
Beware of napping billionaires. It's not a good sign for the economy.
Best regards and good trading,
Jeff's leaning bullish right now, but he's wary of 2011's similar pattern to 1987, when the stock market crashed. Get the full story here: Go Ahead and Pile into Stocks... But Watch This Number.
One group of stocks Jeff is especially bullish on is gold stocks. Gold "is trading around $1,500 per ounce," he says, "but most gold stocks are priced the same as they were two years ago... when gold was $1,000." Find out why Jeff says gold stocks are ready for a big rally.
Gold stocks looking to start new uptrend... GDX jumps to highest level in a month.
Ag giant Monsanto breaks out to three-month high... recent pullback in corn and wheat prices is unlikely to affect farmers' spending.
Real estate recovery continues... more than 20 REITs on 52-week high list.
More than three dozen drug and biotech stocks are up 30%-plus in the past three months.