Real estate

"Nail Gun Suicide" Banker's Firm Probed Over Missing Millions

Just a few short weeks ago we reported on the unusual suicide, due to self-inflicted nail-gun wounds, of Richard Talley, CEO of Denver-based American Title Services. The death of the 57-year-old banker was accompanied by the fact that his firm was under investigation by the insurance regulators, and now, as The Denver Post reports, state prosecutors launched a criminal investigation and a grand jury over more than $2 million missing from escrow accounts. As part of that inquiry, investigators have seized about 100 boxes of documents and about 60 computers as records suggest the seemingly successful title business had serious financial problems. Talley's wife, Cheryl, who owns the other 60% of the firm has not commented.

Frontrunning: March 28

  • Crimea Resolution Backed by U.S. Barely Gets UN Majority (BBG)
  • Russian Buildup Stokes Worries (WSJ)
  • As reported here first: China’s Developers Face Shakeout as Easy Money Ends (BBG)
  • U.S. House Poised to Clear Sanctions Called Putin Warning (BBG)
  • Bitcoin Prices Plunge on Report PBOC Orders Accounts Shut (BBG)
  • Search for lost Malaysian jet shifts significantly after new lead (Reuters)
  • Russian fund taps China and Middle East (FT)
  • Long battle looms between U.S. college, athletes seeking to unionize (Reuters)
  • Official warns EU-US trade deal at risk over investor cases (FT)
  • New iPhone likely out in September, Nikkei daily says (AFP)

China's Liquidity Crunch Slams Importers Who Are Defaulting, Reneging On Deals

Over the past month, we have explained in detail not only how the Chinese credit collapse and massive carry unwind will look like in theory, but shown various instances how, in practice, the world's greatest debt bubble is starting to burst. One thing we have not commented on was how actual trade pathways - far more critical to offshore counterparts than merely credit tremors within the mainland - would be impacted once the nascent liquidity crisis spread. Today, we find the answer courtesy of the WSJ which reports that for the first time in the current Chinese liquidity crunch, Chinese importers, for now just those of soybeans and rubber but soon most other products, "are backing out of deals, adding to a wide range of evidence showing rising financial stress in the world's second-biggest economy."

Unprecedented Surge In Chinese Applicants Willing To Buy US Green Cards

A few weeks ago, Canadian authorities decide to scrap its controversial 'investor' visa scheme (which had allowed waves of rich Hong Kongers and Mainland Chinese to immigrate and blow the real estate bubble ever bigger). This was met with hollers of derision from the Chinese demanding retribution. What was less well known, until now, is the massive surge in interest from wealthy Chinese in a US program offering 'investors' green cards in exchange for cash. "There is a panic being created in China," warned one immigration lawyer, with Chinese nationals now accounting for more than 80% of visas issued, compared to just 13% a decade ago. It seems the Chinese are in a hurry to get their money out.

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Britain's former chairman of the  Financial Services Authority (FSA), Lord Adair Turner, warned that the UK could be repeating the 2008 financial crisis by fueling the property market ... When money is debased by monetary authorities on an industrial scale, the results can be catastrophic ...

"Are The Bubbles Back?" - Live Feed

"Either way you look at it, it's time for the Fed to stop inflating housing assets, and stop buying mortgages" is how Alex Pollock introduces the following live streamed event by AEI. With speakers such as Chris Whalen we suspect, as the moderator explains, they will explain why "financial markets never seem to grow smarter when it comes to real estate."

2 Bear Markets In 15 Years In Not Enough "Punishment"

Bear markets are punishment for over-exuberance and greed, notes ConvergEx's Nick Colas, teaching investors to be more careful next time around. That’s a pretty popular narrative in capital markets, and with two tough bear markets over the past 15 years, Colas suggests you’d think that there’s no way investors would be guilty of blowing bubbles again.  Right?  Well, as Nick explains, if the evidence from actual crime and punishment is any guide, this moral narrative is actually quite wrong.

It's Another Non-Virtual Futures Ramp In A Virtual Reality World

Another morning melt up after a less than impressive session in China which saw the SHCOMP drop again reversing the furious gains in the past few days driven by hopes of more PBOC easing (despite China's repeated warning not to expect much). A flurry of market topping activity overnight once again, with Candy Crush maker King Digital pricing at $22.50 or the projected midpoint of its price range, and with FaceBook using more of its epically overvalued stock as currency to purchase yet another company, this time virtual reality firm Oculus VR for $2 billion. Perhaps an appropriate purchase considering the entire economy is pushed higher on pro-forma, "virtual" output, and the Fed's capital markets are something straight out of the matrix. Despite today's pre-open ramp, which will be the 4th in a row, one wonders if biotechs will finally break the downward tractor beam they have been latched on to as the bubble has shown signs of cracking, or will the mad momo crowd come back with a vengeance - this too will be answered shortly.

A List Of 97 Taxes Americans Pay Every Year

If you are like most Americans, paying taxes is one of your pet peeves.  The deadline to file your federal taxes is coming up, and this year Americans will spend more than 7 billion hours preparing their taxes. When the federal income tax was originally introduced a little more than 100 years ago, most Americans were taxed at a rate of only 1 percent. But once they get their feet in the door, the social planners always want more. Since that time, tax rates have gone much higher and the tax code has exploded in size. Why do we have to have the most convoluted tax system in the history of the planet?

Jeremy Grantham: The Fed Is Killing The Recovery

As Fortune's Stephen Gandel begins, "if you hate the Fed, you have a new hero." He is referring to none other than GMO's Jeremy Grantham who aggressively takes on the status-quo-hugging faith in the omnipotence in Central banking prowess with fact and anecdote in this brief interview..."Higher interest rates would have increased the wealth of savers. Instead, they became collateral damage of Bernanke's policies. The theory is that lower interest rates are supposed to spur capital spending, right? Then why is capital spending so weak at this stage of the cycle. There is no evidence at all that quantitative easing has boosted capital spending. We have always come roaring back from recessions, even after the mismanaged Great Depression. This time we are not..we have never had such a limited recovery."

What A Bank Run In China Looks Like: Hundreds Rush To Banks Following Solvency Rumors

Curious what the real, and not pre-spun for public consumption, sentiment on the ground is in a China (where the housing bubble has already popped and the severe contraction in credit is forcing the ultra wealthy to luxury real estate in places like Hong Kong) from the perspective of the common man? The photo below, which shows hundreds of people rushing today to withdraw money from branches of two small Chinese banks after rumors spread about solvency at one of them, are sufficiently informative about just how jittery ordinary Chinese have become in recent days, and reflect the growing anxiety among investors as regulators signal greater tolerance for credit defaults.