By Simon Bond

Markets globally trade on a 24-hour news cycle, AND the 24-hour finance and news mediums, well, they call need something to talk about, so the bolder the better otherwise no-one would watch.

Recently it was Brexit, before that it was German interest rates going negative and I forget what it was the week before (and I have no clue what it will be next week) but what I do know is that warp-speed technological change is going to force dramatically different lifestyles in terms of work and social interaction on cultures that are not really prepared for them.

And unlike the 1870s through the 1930s in the US, when they went from being a largely agrarian country to one that was largely urban and manufacturing-based, these changes won’t happen over the course of 60 years. The transition will seem more like the twinkling of an eye. Every day it gets faster, and we are not at all prepared for these changes.

The Millennials

  • They are not buying what the boomers are selling
  • 2 out of 3 don't own a credit card
  • They are asset lite
  • They are into experiences not possessions
  • They have a mountain of student debt
  • They earn on average less than the boomers did in 1980
  • They expect everything for free
  • They look before they leap
  • And thats just a few

Remember when the cost of capital goes to zero, the return on capital goes the same way.

I was reading recently about how mattress sales in the US have been falling significanty, so someone told me, but the thing is this; if mattress sales are down, that means that household formation is down as well, which means whitewoods and all those other items that people buy when they move into a new home will follow suit.

Interestingly, General Electric just sold their appliance division to a Chinese company. The deal will give Chinese company Haier ownership of a century-old business that makes refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers and dryers under brands such as Monogram, Café, Profile and Artistry. The business reported revenue of $5.9 billion last year.

Haier has been mostly present in the highly competitive, so-called "value segment" of the U.S. Market and analysts expressed concern about the impact its bigger presence would have on the pricing dynamics. Haier will continue to use the GE Appliances brand and retain the business's headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky and its current management team, the companies said.

The deal is another step in GE's push to prune its non-core assets as it transforms itself into what it calls a digital industrial company - hiring more people to write complex software codes to efficiently run its jet engines, power turbines and medical equipment.

The latest move in that direction will be moving its headquarters from Fairfield, Connecticut, to Boston, which will give it access to the talent pool in a city that is quickly becoming a leading U.S. technology hub.

GE is also selling most of its finance arm, or about $200 billion in assets. It has closed deals on about $100 billion so far and announced sales of another $50 billion. 

What do they see that others don't?