What a way to start the year. The crash in oil prices is no small matter. The previous down sweep in energy prices occurred in the midst of the financial crash 0f 2008 and Great Recession. Oil prices soon reversed afterwards and climbed back to dizzying heights, even as world economic and financial recovery remained fragile. However, as Abe Gulkowitz explains in his usual 'all-the-charts-that-are-fit-to-print' letter, this time it would be foolish to bet solely on such a similarly quick snapback..."The various repercussions will be extensive..."
In 2013 when he started dumping his Chinese property holdings he was being ridiculed and criticized. Everyone was bullish on China’s real estate market... and we know what happened next. It turns out you don’t want to bet against a man with a track record like Li Ka-shing's - the richest man in Asia. So when Li gets a second passport and creates a Plan B by restructuring his investment companies, moving his money and his assets far away to safe, stable locations so that no single government has control over him, it is perhaps time to pay attention.
Today, the "developed nation" hecklers are deathly silent after what may be the biggest western central bank faux pas in recent history, and which has - perhaps for the first time in history - manifested in lines of people in front of currency exchange bureaus nowhere else but in that bastion of capitalism: Geneva.
Anyone that has assets worth protecting should do just that - protect them!
"we venture that the SNB will sooner or later be forced to permit the franc to appreciate and thus to enrich the holders of low-priced, three-year call options on the Swiss/euro exchange rate. It's a long shot, to be sure--the options are cheap for a reason--but we judge that the prospective reward is worth the obvious risk." - Jim Grant, Sept 14th, 2014
The Swiss National Bank just threw gasoline on Swiss F.I.RE. Expect to see combustive contagion in the Swiss banking, insurance and real estate giants as knock-on effects spread from so-called hedges
This morning's decision by the Swiss National Bank has polarized the investing community. From the 'smartest men in the room' to the 'most renowned newsletter writers in the world', the reactions could not be more different...
In what has been the most anticipated bankruptcy case in the past several years, hours ago Caesars Entertainment put its main operating unit under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Northern Illinois bankruptcy court (case 15-01153) even as a splinter group of dissident creditors including Appaloosa and Oaktree, holders of about $41 million of Caesars debt and which allege the company has siphoned off billions in value from creditors, put the company into involuntary bankruptcy in Delaware bankruptcy court on January 12. As a reminder, Caesars was one of the sterling LBOs of the last credit bubble, when in 2008 Apollo and TPG decided to take the company private. The problem, as is always the case: too much debt, especially when combined with a broken business model, as Caesars has lost money every year since 2009.
For uber-wealthy Russians, "an apartment in Miami, even the most glorious beachfront apartment, is not a priority right now," warns one real estate attorney, as The New York Observer reports Russian buyers no longer felt they had the liquid assets to carry on with the transaction and were looking to break closed real estate contracts. "Your average Russian buyer tends to be someone who works in the $5, $10, $15 million range. Obviously very wealthy people, but also people who are much more likely to feel a pinch given the economic situation and the exchange rate," and with maintenance costs sky-high, the trophy apartments have shifted from 'safe-deposit-boxes' out of reach of sanctions to burdensome drains.
We see far too much complacency out there when it comes to interest rates, in the same manner that we’ve seen it concerning oil prices. We live in a new world, not a continuation of the old one. That old world died with Fed QE. Just check the price of oil. There have been tectonic shifts since over, let’s say, the holidays, and we wouldn’t wait for the ‘experts’ to catch up with live events. Being 7 weeks or two months late is a lot of time. And they will be late, again. It’s inherent in what they do. And what they represent.
The Fed may raise rates a token amount this year, but the move will be largely symbolic. You can bet there will NEVER be a shock and awe interest rate raise.
"We have to rethink our world just about from scratch. Or else. We’ve lived chasing the recovery carrot for years now, but the economy won’t recover; it can’t. There hasn’t been any real growth since at least the 1980s, the only thing there’s been is increasing debt levels that we mistook for growth." We need to do a lot more thinking, and take a far more critical look at ourselves, than we do at present. We’re not even playing it safe, we’re only playing it easy. And that’s just not enough.
The Long/Short Strategy for the New Reality
1. Go long companies that cater to the 1%.
2. Short companies that cater to the middle class.
3. Go long companies that cater to the poor.
It will be even more disruptive if some among them decide that the only reason for the failure of their collective delusion of grandeur is that they have not been deluded enough and that even more wild-eyed palliatives are therefore needed. Disruption on such a scale is not what the budding entrepreneur wants to contend with as he contemplates whether to risk both his capital and his reputation in launching or expanding a business, in ordering new equipment, or hiring new staff and so fostering a meaningful recovery. Disruption on such a scale is not something we should wish to inflict upon a system we have been both unable and unwilling to fully repair. Either way – damned if they do, damned if they don’t – disruption seems to be what we will get in the months ahead.
The short answer is in parts of Seattle, Charlotte, Phoenix, Atlanta, Tampa, Cincinnati, Raleigh, N.C., Houston, Denver, Columbus, Ohio, Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla., Raleigh, N.C., Chicago, and Winston-Salem, N.C. Among the 2,490 zip codes nationwide with at least one single family purchase by the top four institutional investors between January 2012 and October 2014, the top 50 zip codes with the highest percentage of purchases by the four largest institutional investors were in those metro areas. “The institutional investors kick-started the housing recovery by buying homes in bulk at the lowest point and holding them as rentals,” said Chris Pollinger, senior vice president of sales at First Team Real Estate, covering the Southern California market. Los Angeles County was among the top 10 for most purchases by institutional investors over the past three years, with 6,152. “As the market continues to climb, we expect these investors to start to sell off their inventory to capture the gains made in the past couple of years.”