Real estate

Did Blackstone Just Call The Top In Commercial Real Estate?

Blackstone's well-timed IPO in 2007 was almost the perfect top-tick indicator as 'the smart money' private-equity guys cashed out into the public markets at peak euphoria. Earlier this year we noted that, among others, Blackstone was drastically ratcheting down purchases (and in fact selling what it could) US residential real estate - and with it withdrew the only pillar holding up the housing market. And now, in the biggest deal in 7 years, Blackstone is dumping a $3.5 billion commercial real estate portfolio. Given the recent declines in CMBX pricing, perhaps, once again, Blackstone is calling the top in another bubble...

"Riddles" Surround 36th Dead Banker Of The Year

52-year-old Belgian Geert Tack - a private banker for ING who managed portfolios for wealthy individuals - was described as 'impeccable', 'sporty', 'cared-for', and 'successful' and so as Vermist reports, after disappearing a month ago, the appearance of his body off the coast of Ostend is surrpunded by riddles...

Mike Maloney On The Coming Wealth Transfer (& Where To Hide)

History may not repeat but it sure does rhyme. Mike Maloney has studied monetary and financial breakdowns throughout history and concludes that there's nothing new or different happening this time, except its global and far more massive than any other time in history. Worse, there are echoes of 1911 where a series of diplomatic blunders and national pride and intransigence combined to create the still largely inexplicable start to WW I. 

Pope Finds 100s Of Millions Of Euros "Tucked Away"; Freezes Ex-Vatican Bank Heads Assets

It's a miracle... The Vatican's economy minister has said hundreds of millions of euros were found "tucked away" in accounts of various Holy See departments that were previously not counted on the city-state's balance sheet. "In fact, we have discovered that the situation is much healthier than it seemed," noted Australian Cardinal George Pell, adding that "it is important to point out that the Vatican is not broke." Indeed a miracle - like hookers-and-blow in GDP data? However, the Vatican finances remain in darkness as Reuters reports, the state's top prosecutor has frozen 16 million euros in bank accounts owned by two former Vatican bank managers and a lawyer as part of an embezzlement investigation into the sale of 29 Vatican-owned real estate in the 2000s.

Crisis Chronicles: The Panic Of 1819 - America’s First Great Economic Crisis

"The nation was leery of a national bank with seemingly endless power to manipulate the money supply and the Second National Bank of the United States was attacked by both the expansionists and the sound money opponents. It was during this period that future President Andrew Jackson shaped his anti-Bank views in Tennessee while his future hard-money arm in the Senate, Thomas Hart Benton (Old Bullion), shaped his views in Missouri, two of the hardest-hit states. The debate over central banking, and the concern over deflation and inflation, continue two hundred years later."

Chinese Stocks Up 41% Since Unleashing QE As Margin-Trading Doubles

A funny thing happened in China in July. Ever so quietly, and with little aplomb, the PBOC unleashed CNY 1 trillion of 'Pledged Supplementary Lending' (PSL) to China Development Bank - later dubbed "QE-Lite." Economic indicators temporarily blipped higher, a new recovery was proclaimed by the masses, and the world fell back into its stupor... despite the post-credit-impulse hangover which has seen Chinese data collapse in the last 2 months. But that did not stop speculators... tired of betting on Chinese real estate (which never goes down), the 'signal' of QE has sparked a stunning 41% surge in Chinese stocks since PSL. However, this exuberant resurgence (+4.3% last night alone) rests on shaky foundations as margin trading balances have more than doubled during this period...

"We Are All In A Ponzi-World Right Now, Hoping To Get Bailed-Out By The Next Person"

"We all are in a Ponzi world right now. Hoping to be bailed out by the next person. The problem is that demographics alone have to tell us, that there are fewer people entering the scheme then leaving. More people get out than in. Which means, by definition, that the scheme is at an end. The Minsky moment is the crash. Like all crashes it is easier to explain it afterwards than to time it before. But I think it is obvious that the endgame is near."

"Today central banks give money to institutions, which are not solvent, against doubtful collateral for zero interest. This is not capitalism."

Frontrunning: December 3

  • Fall of the Bond King: How Gross Lost Empire as Pimco Cracked (BBG)
  • Hong Kong 'Occupy' leaders surrender as pro-democracy protests appear to wither (Reuters)
  • Ashton Carter, Ex-Pentagon No. 2, Emerges as Obama Favorite for Defense Secretary (WSJ)
  • Oil, the Ruble and Putin Are All Headed for 63. A Russian Joke -- for the Moment (BBG)
  • New U.S. oil and gas well November permits tumble nearly 40 percent (Reuters)
  • Swedish government on brink of collapse (AJ)
  • China says Britain has no moral responsibility for Hong Kong (Reuters)
  • Indian Labs Deleted Test Results for U.S. Drugs, Documents Show (BBG)

Today's Market-Boosting Disappointing Economic News Brought To Your Courtesy Of Euroarea's Service PMIs

Those wondering why European stocks are higher but off earlier highs, the answer is simple: the latest Service ISM was bad but it wasn't a complete disaster. And while RanSquawk notes that "the particularly disappointing slew of Eurozone Service PMI’s from France and Spain capped any potential upside seen across the European indices" stocks are clearly green on hopes Europe's ongoing economic devastation accelerates enough for the ECB to finally start buying Stoxx 600 and various other penny stocks. This is what happened, in Goldman's words: the November Euro area final composite PMI came in at 51.1, 0.3pt below the flash (and Consensus) estimate. Relative to October, the composite PMI fell by 0.9pt. The weaker final composite PMI was driven by flash/final downward revisions to the German manufacturing PMI and the French services PMI. Today’s data also showed some improvement in the Italian services PMI, and a deterioration in its Spanish counterpart.

How Pennsylvania Is Selling Residency To Chinese "Investors" For $500k Each

Did you know that there exists a federal Immigrant Investor Program that grants “EB-5? immigration visas to foreigners who provide at least $500,000 to U.S. projects that create 10 or more American jobs? Apparently the good folks at the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission are well aware of it, and are using it to raise $200 million. Here’s what we’d like to know. Who are these investors and who vets them? It is a known fact that corrupt Chinese officials and businessmen are scrambling to get themselves and their money out of their homeland as the government cracks down on corruption. How many of them are going to use this program to get into the U.S., and what will be the long-term impact to our society?

Despite Face-Ripping Rally off Bullard Lows, US Investors In Japan Remain Down 4% Year-To-Date

Mission Accomplished Abenomics? The Nikkei 225 just hit fresh 7 year highs at around 17,900 (the highest since July 2007) managing to soar 24% off the mid-October 'Bullard lows' and once again trading above the Dow. Great news for all the bulled up US investors we see day after day on financial TV... wrong! In US Dollars, US investors remain down 4% year-to-date (and have yet to have a positive close in 2014). But hey on the bright side, your Japanese brethren are loving the nominal surge in their 'wealth' as their currency collapses to 119.4 this evening.

How Retailers Manipulate Your Senses To Increase Their Sales

If you notice that display racks this holiday season are nicely scented, it’s not just shops are tidier at year’s end. Scents like citrus and floral can make you linger and stay alert in the shop to buy more. The use of scent is just one of four sensory marketing tricks being used on us by shops eager for more sales. Collated in the new infographic below you can find a number of scientific studies that indicate what we see, hear or touch affect our buying decisions. Do you know why Apple Store leaves its notebook display half-open, or why you suddenly crave for a tropical vacation while inside Bloomingdale’s?