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Old 05-20-2020, 04:59 AM
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What would be the WORST things to buy right now?


As in, due to both the pandemic and the upcoming major financial downturn, I'm curious what purchases I should be holding off on.

I'm talking stuff like real estate or cars obviously you don't want to be spending a bunch of money on right now, nor any obvious frivolities.

But are precious metals worth buying right now?
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:26 AM
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:34 AM
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A condo in Kauai.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:37 AM
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Counter-intuitively, now might be a good time to make a longterm investment in airline stock.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:38 AM
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:39 AM
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Counter-intuitively, now might be a good time to make a longterm investment in airline stock.
Or a condo in Kauai.

The vacation home we were thinking about just dropped $100,000 in price and I'd bet it will drop another $50,000 to $100,000 soon. We're tempted.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:44 AM
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Invest in coffee beans? Folger's instant coffee was $20.50 a pound in the grocery store yesterday.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:58 AM
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Or a condo in Kauai.

The vacation home we were thinking about just dropped $100,000 in price and I'd bet it will drop another $50,000 to $100,000 soon. We're tempted.
Buy!! Buy!! And let that annoying guy on The Dope borrow it a couple weeks a year.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:15 AM
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Buy!! Buy!! And let that annoying guy on The Dope borrow it a couple weeks a year.
There are too many annoying guys on the Dope. We'd never get to use it ourselves.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:21 AM
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Counter-intuitively, now might be a good time to make a longterm investment in airline stock.
Warren Buffett dumped all of his airline stocks in the middle of this. He said something about he expect recovery to take years.
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Old 05-20-2020, 12:29 PM
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A Cruise reservation would be a foolish purchase.
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Old 05-20-2020, 12:48 PM
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I'm talking stuff like real estate or cars obviously you don't want to be spending a bunch of money on right now
Why not? If you negotiate properly, this might be the best time to buy real estate or cars. The automotive cycle is in a trough, this is the best time negotiate good deals. Real estate will be dependent on the individual market, but could be a great time to buy. This is also dependent on whether you have the liquidity or good credit to make such purchases.
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Old 05-20-2020, 12:56 PM
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:01 PM
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A Cruise reservation would be a foolish purchase.
Or stock in Carnival Cruise Lines.
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:42 PM
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Why not? If you negotiate properly, this might be the best time to buy real estate or cars. The automotive cycle is in a trough, this is the best time negotiate good deals. Real estate will be dependent on the individual market, but could be a great time to buy. This is also dependent on whether you have the liquidity or good credit to make such purchases.
I would say commercial real estate unless it’s right outside a metro area like New York City as a lot of companies may be looking to move their offices out of crowded Manhattan after all this.
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Old 05-20-2020, 02:54 PM
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Certain food products are seeing their prices skyrocket due to increased demand and decreased supply.

Other than that, I'm not sure. I wouldn't invest in any small businesses that sell 'luxury' items anytime soon. Home furniture, take out food, etc. I think people will tighten their spending for a long time due to all this.
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:41 PM
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A condo in Kauai.
*Ahem.* Over here, we would say "on Kauai."

My vote would be cruise-ship reservations.
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Last edited by Siam Sam; 05-20-2020 at 04:41 PM.
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:51 PM
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I would say, bad time for commercial real estate. It will probaby drop further and at that point, if you can figure out when it hits rock bottom, then it might be worth investing in.

Actually I would give any real estate a pass until November. (Why November you ask? Because that's often a low point in the year for RE anyway. Nobody wants to move over Christmas weekend. Or for some people, in any winter month.)

But I know at least two people whose offices leases were due to be renewed, and owing to Covid they were not renewed, and their management is liking the whole work at home thing because of the overhead, and plans to keep it going that way. At some point employees will realize that not having a commute will not quite balance out giving up a portion of your home and there will be offices again. There are also businesses that really can't operate outside of their offices.

I wouldn't put any money into a retail mall, either. Not that I have any money to begin with.

ETA: Don't listen to me, I'm terrible with actual money but good at investing on paper

Last edited by Hilarity N. Suze; 05-20-2020 at 05:52 PM. Reason: Caveat emptor
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:39 AM
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:11 AM
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Stock in JC Pennys, or Pier 1
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:27 AM
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:43 AM
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Nobody knows. Precious metals? They are a nice fetish, pay no divident but cost no penalty interest either (usual over here in Europe by now over a certain threshold, coming soon to the USA too, I would guess, as the banks roll over the negative interest rates to their customers). They have been rising recently, who can tell for how long? I have forgotten what they were good for
What I would not buy right now are shared appartments, AirBnB or similar. But I am not a wise investor.
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:59 AM
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I was going to say commercial real estate like office buildings, as others have already mentioned. I suspect construction and related businesses for office buildings will take a while to recover (furnishings, network equipment, etc.). Maybe this is finally the death knell for cubicle farms!

Stocks in airlines, commercial aircraft manufacturing, and cruise lines are probably bad from a short-medium term POV, but it's not like the airline industry is going away long-term, and travel will eventually rebound. It may be a long while, tho.
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Old 05-22-2020, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Asuka View Post
As in, due to both the pandemic and the upcoming major financial downturn, I'm curious what purchases I should be holding off on.

I'm talking stuff like real estate or cars obviously you don't want to be spending a bunch of money on right now, nor any obvious frivolities.

But are precious metals worth buying right now?
Cars? I know several more than a few people who have expressed (and in a few cases, acted upon) the sentiment that this is one of the BEST times to buy a new car, if you were already looking to do so, of course. The dealers are desperate to unload inventory.

At least Mazdas. Now that I think about it, two if not all three of the people I'm thinking of who said they got astounding deals (like, thousands below MRSP and 0% interest for 48 months) bought Mazda cars/CUVs. But I doubt Mazda dealers are particularly desperate versus other those for other car makes.
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:41 PM
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:32 PM
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Maybe this is finally the death knell for cubicle farms!
Cubicle farms have been death-knelled already. The most recent thing is open office plans, so people can most efficiently shed virus near each other in open spaces. I predict this will be a boon for cubicle wall manufacturers suddenly retrofitting those open plan offices with cheap walls.
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:39 PM
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In fact a month ago or so would have been the time to invest in a large manufacturer of acrylic panels, since apparently every grocer, bank, bar, restaurant, DMV, etc in the US suddenly has need of separation panels.
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Old 05-23-2020, 12:00 PM
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How do real estate prices in the U.S. look now compared with last year? How will they look in a few months? My personal guess — FWIW, which isn't much — is that now would be a good time to sell stocks and buy real estate.

Gold was rising last year, summer and winter, in reaction to the perceived debt bubble; then plummeted in response to the pandemic; but five weeks later recovered and is now not too far from the high prices seen 7 years ago. I think the price fall was when the pandemic was seen as deflationary: that fear was thoroughly dispelled when governments began flooding their countries with trillions in new money! (There was a great opportunity to make a leveraged buy, e.g. of GDXJ, during the plummet.)

Silver hasn't kept pace with gold. I think the gold-to-silver price ratio set an all-time high a few weeks ago, though silver is up several percent since then.
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Old 05-23-2020, 01:54 PM
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How do real estate prices in the U.S. look now compared with last year?
My daughter and her fiancé are moving right this second into a home they bought last month. They'd been looking for a while, but we're happily renting so there was zero rush or pressure.

The house they ended up buying was offered at a low price and they'd decided on making a lowball offer when the seller dropped it below what they'd planned on offering. The seller was motivated (a family that had already purchased a new home somewhere due to work, moved cross country, and were struggling to pay two mortgages, plus dealing with all this in corona times).

The price was so low, they actually hired a second home inspector and had him go over things.
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Old 05-24-2020, 12:21 AM
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In fact a month ago or so would have been the time to invest in a large manufacturer of acrylic panels, since apparently every grocer, bank, bar, restaurant, DMV, etc in the US suddenly has need of separation panels.
Likewise, whoever makes those black/clear plastic containers that food is delivered in.

Things not to invest in? Theme parks.
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Old 05-24-2020, 11:40 AM
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How do real estate prices in the U.S. look now compared with last year? How will they look in a few months? My personal guess — FWIW, which isn't much — is that now would be a good time to sell stocks and buy real estate.
One problem the much lower transparency of RE prices, especially over a short period. The main benchmark for US residential home prices is the Case Shiller Index, but the latest reading is sill basically pre COVID (Feb 2020, released in late April). I see that Zillow prices my house higher now than Feb (in NJ right next to NY), however they arrive at that.

For commercial RE REIT prices are a rough guide. The Vanguard REIT ETF is down ~21% year to date v ~8% for SPY S&P ETF but 18% for the Vanguard all-world-ex-US stock ETF*. Anyway what's gone down a little more lately is a pretty much random indicator of what you should buy. Generally there's a fairly good reason some things go down more than others, and as far as 'stocks' really depends what market. If you think the US stock market has been 'too optimistic' about COVID you could buy ex-US stock rather than US REIT's. Or you could conclude that US stocks have gone down less because the US index has more tech than non-US world and market reasonably thinks COVID is even good for tech (the QQQ NASDAQ-100 ETF is *up* 8% YTD).

The bigger problem is the usual one, zero reason to think the market has less information than I do. I can always take a flyer, nothing wrong with it within reason, but I should realize the unlikelihood that I have a basic insight that the whole rest of the market has somehow missed.

*all prices excluding re-invested dividends since that's easier to punch up in a few seconds; dividend yield of REIT's and to a lesser degree non-US stocks both tend to be a little higher than US stock but that doesn't change the big picture in such a short period.
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Old 05-24-2020, 12:03 PM
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For commercial RE REIT prices are a rough guide. The Vanguard REIT ETF is down ~21% year to date v ~8% for SPY S&P ETF but 18% for the Vanguard all-world-ex-US stock ETF*.
Some companies, like Facebook, have announced that they're going to allow more people to work from home, even after the crisis has passed. If so, that may reduce demand for commercial real estate, particularly in the Bay Area. And if people are working from home, they don't need to live in the high-cost Bay Area even if they work for one of the companies there. So perhaps there will be less demand for Bay Area residential real estate?
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Old 05-24-2020, 12:28 PM
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Old 05-24-2020, 05:48 PM
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As in, due to both the pandemic and the upcoming major financial downturn, I'm curious what purchases I should be holding off on.

I'm talking stuff like real estate or cars obviously you don't want to be spending a bunch of money on right now, nor any obvious frivolities.

But are precious metals worth buying right now?
I wouldn't invest in Chinese companies on the US stock exchange. I'm a bit less sure about US or foreign companies that have moved their manufacturing to China, but Chinese companies are increasingly under scrutiny in the US, especially telling is that they have only(!!) 3 years to have their books audited (like all other companies except China's currently), and based on Luckin I'm not sanguine about how good their books actually are. I've already heard that several Chinese companies are looking to self delist themselves. For patriotic reasons, I'm sure...
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Old 05-24-2020, 05:59 PM
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Old 05-24-2020, 07:26 PM
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Dead or alive, that would be sorta cool.
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Old 05-24-2020, 07:30 PM
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Dead or alive, that would be sorta cool.
Yeahbut, experience tells me that "sorta cool" purchases are usually the worst things to buy.
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Old 05-25-2020, 05:28 PM
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I'll go with commercial real estate, condos in Manhattan and San Francisco, auto manufacturer stocks, companies that make infrastructure for mass transit, and airlines. Restaurant stocks would be a risky buy.

Best stocks would be anyone providing cloud infrastructure, online training, graphics card manufacturers, and other companies that benefit from people living and working at home.

Also, manufacturers who may benefit from a shift away from China. GE, Rockwell, Siemens, etc. GE has other problems depressing its stock.

Last edited by Sam Stone; 05-25-2020 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 05-25-2020, 06:12 PM
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Or stock in Carnival Cruise Lines.
Or, possibly even worse, a "cruiseshare" -- a timeshare with a cruise line.
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