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It's Raining Money


It seems everyone's got lots of money these days. And no one seems to know how to spend it all.

Yesterday, Marriott (MAR) reported earnings of $0.57 per share, $0.04 better than the Reuters Estimates consensus of $0.53; revenues rose 11.0% year/year to $3.21 bln.

Also, Rio Tinto (RTP) announced it will buy Alcan (AL) for $38.1 bl, resulting in the creation of the world's largest aluminum producer.

This morning, General Electric (GE) reported 2Q earnings of $0.53 per share vs. estimates of $0.52 on revenues of $42.32 bln, up 12% from last year, and profits of $5.4 bln, up from $4.95 billion.

And, Energizer Holdings (ENR) said it will buy Playtex Products (PYX) in an all-cash deal worth about $1.2 bln.

It seems everyone's got lots of money these days. And, as I pointed out last month, no one seems to know how to spend it all- a fact corroborated by an article in The New York Times yesterday.

Apparently, there are people in New York City with $225,000 burning such colossal holes in their pockets that they can't find anything better to do with it than spend it on parking.

A 34-unit condo development at 246 West 17th Street, scheduled for completion next January, will have five private parking spaces in the basement, each selling for $225,000. (The median price of a single-family house in the USA is $212,300, according to the National Association of Realtors.)

246 West 17th Street (artist's rendering)


Nope- there's a waiting list for the spots. Eight people want in.

The article quotes one Cynthia Habberstad, a mother of three from Long Island whose "children's modeling schedules bring them into the city at least twice a week, and the apartment they bought [in the Onyx Chelsea, on West 28th Street] will be a pied-à-terre."

The Onyx Chelsea

She regrets not buying a spot in her building when they were going for $165,000.

They're now at $195,000, plus $50 a month for maintenance.

Says Habberstad: "If we're coming in late from dinner or we have a lot of stuff in the car, do we really want to have to walk a few blocks to get home?"

Point taken. Subjecting 7, 9, and 11 year-olds to hellish twice-weekly three-block walks is positively inhumane, when their parents can spend just under five times the U.S. median household income of $46,326 to squire them home in climate-controlled comfort.

They are models, after all.

Today, the Times ran an article about "a new wealth that will not go away," as put by Stephen Decani of Arch Financial Products, a London firm that runs a fund investing in Bordeaux wines.

Looking for a "safe haven for cash"?

That's how Michael Hall, CEO of the Stanley Gibbons Group, describes his company's investment funds.

Hmmm…safety. They must invest pretty conservatively. I'm thinking T-bills.

Hang on- it turns out that the Stanley Gibbons Group offers people the opportunity to "invest in rare stamps and/or autographs."

I wonder how my Mr. T autographed boxing glove is doing relative to the S&P right now?

I'm probably in the money- this 8x10 signed by Mr. T (and issued with a Certificate of Authenticity) is going for £65.00 at

And, thankfully, investors who are tiring of fine art funds now have the option of parking their money in a new photography fund set up by WMG.

So, what if you want to invest in art and the stock market in a slightly different fashion?

An interesting e-mail came in to MVHQ earlier in the week from Tom Moran, an artist based here in NYC.

It read:

Given the surge of interest in art by the hedge fund community, my work may be of interest to you and perhaps the readers of Minyanville. There is a certain sense of irony in stretching one's resources to make art within a city that functions as a world center for money. My work evolves from exploring this relationship. For the past couple of years I have been making paintings based on stock chart patterns. Some appear as abstractions and others refer to landscapes. If you have a moment, please check out my website at:

Thank you,

Tom Moran

Tom's got some work in a group show going on at McKenzie Fine Art on West 25th Street right now.

This is a piece called "October, 2007":

It'll set you back $2,400.

Which'll get you 0.010666666666666666666666666666667 of that $225,000 parking spot about eight blocks away.
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