The 10th Man: The Financial Engineerin​g Market

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Posted on 23rd October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

The 10th Man: The Financial Engineering Market

By Jared Dillian

 

IBM went down hard on its quarterly earnings report this week. This made a splash in the news because, well, it’s IBM, and also Warren Buffett owns it, so it was a rare moment of human fallibility for him. But there is a lot more to the story than that. Very sophisticated people have been keeping an eye on IBM for some time.

In particular, Stanley Druckenmiller—former chairman and president of Duquesne Capital, former portfolio manager of Soros’s Quantum Fund, and, honestly, one of the greatest investors in modern times—went public about a year ago saying that IBM was his favorite short (which says a lot) and that it was the poster child for, well, the type of stock market we have nowadays.

What was Druckenmiller referring to?

Some Quick History

Ten years ago, during the housing boom, the consumer was the most leveraged entity, taking out negative amortization mortgages, cashing out home equity, things like that. The consumer got a margin call, which was ugly—you know the story—and has spent the last six years deleveraging.

While the consumer was taking down leverage, the US government was adding leverage, taking the deficit to over 10% of GDP at one point. But even the government is deleveraging (for the moment), and now it is America’s corporations that have been adding leverage, at a furious pace. We’ve had trillions of dollars in corporate bond issuance in the last few years.

So when corporations sell bonds, what do they typically use the proceeds for?

In theory, the proper use for debt is to finance capital expenditures. Growth. But in this last cycle, that’s not what the money has been used for. It’s primarily been used for stock buybacks and dividends.

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

Now, there are good corporate finance reasons to lever up a balance sheet and conduct stockholder-friendly actions, like buying back stock or paying dividends. You can read about it in the corporate finance textbooks. For any company, there is an optimal amount of leverage. It’s even possible to be underleveraged.

But you see (and this is the important thing), when you take out debt to buy back stock, leveraging the balance sheet in the process, you may be increasing the optics of how profitable the business is by increasing earnings per share—but you are not actually changing the fundamentals of the business.

You are not actually increasing profitability. You are just rewarding one tranche of the capital structure (common stockholders) at the expense of another one (bondholders).

IBM just happened to be a particularly egregious example. IBM—whose core business was basically flat over six years—well, you’d never know it from looking at a chart of the stock. (Hint: it went straight up for years.)

What happened?

They tripled their debt over time, retiring stock, taking the share count under a billion, ramping up the earnings per share. The goal was to get it over $20, which they abandoned on the last earnings call.

Financial Engineering Works, to a Point

So what can we learn about financial engineering? It works, up to a point. In the short term, you can conceal from investors the fact that your business model is broken and you don’t have a plan. You can conceal it for a number of years, in fact. That is the thing about finance: you can suspend the laws of economics in the short term. But not forever. It will always come back to haunt you.

IBM is by no means alone. There are dozens, even hundreds of buybacks going on as we speak. One of my favorites is GameStop (NYSE:GME). It is an open secret that GME is the next Blockbuster, now that the technology exists for games to be downloaded over the Internet with no interruption of play. Everyone knows that unless there is a radical change in strategy, GME is doomed. But you couldn’t short the stock because of… a buyback.

So with a good portion of the S&P 500 buying back stock, it’s no surprise that it wants to keep going up, and hindsight being what it is, it has been very foolish to try and short it.

This Can’t Go On Forever

There is good news, though (or bad news, depending on your point of view). IBM might be the canary. Put another way, there is a limit to how many bonds can be issued, and for sure, the credit markets have been less accommodative lately. Maybe that is how it ends—the credit markets shut down, no more bonds, no more buybacks.

People kind of forget what it’s like when the credit door slams shut. I remember writing bullishly on Gannett (NYSE:GCI) back in 2008. The stock was in the low single digits. The market was very worried that the company would not be able to refinance an existing bond issue maturing in 2009. GCI did manage to refinance, and stockholders have been rewarded. But it was looking very sketchy there for a moment.

The credit markets are kind of my hobby horse, and it is the right of anyone with a hobby horse to ride that thing as long as possible. There’s been so much debt issued—at such unfavorable terms and at such low interest rates—that the credit markets are more vulnerable than at any point in history. A mild recession, and we are looking at 20% default rates. All it takes is a push.

Just last week, it looked like we were going to get it. A hint of QE4, and the market seems to have changed its mind. We shall see. I tend not to use phrases like “smoke and mirrors” to describe the stock market, because that is very tinfoil-hatty.

Put more thoughtfully, I would say that much of this 200% move in the stock market off the lows has been divorced from economic fundamentals, and based solely on financial engineering, which can be ephemeral.

It’s a self-reinforcing process that has worked for a while, but I don’t want to be around when it stops working.

Jared Dillian
Jared Dillian

UNC ALLOWS 3,100 STUDENTS TO PASS FAKE CLASSES IN AFRO-AMERICAN STUDIES FOR 20 YEARS

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Posted on 23rd October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Even though all 188 classes were in the African and Afro-American studies department, the article doesn’t dare tell you how many of the 3,100 students were black. That would be rayciss. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that 98% of these students were black. Black football and basketball players bring in ten of millions to good ole UNC. They be busy wiff practice. No time for real classes. Nothing like a fake class with an automatic A. Did any of you dumbass white boys out there ever have a fake class with an automatic A?

This story is almost as funny as the dozens of murals in West Philly on the sides of dilapidated buildings showing black people doing great things, while the actual black people in West Philly are doing drugs, throwing their garbage under the murals, and sucking off the teat of working white people.

I’m sure Obama, Sharpton and Jackson will be chiming in shortly with their outrage at black people doing such a thing.

In case you were wondering, here is a picture of the professor for all the fake courses.

This is the mastermind liberal shrew behind the brilliant strategy to help underprivileged black athletes.

 

 

Two Decades of ‘Paper Classes’

A “woeful lack of oversight” and a culture that confused academic freedom with a lack of accountability helped more than 3,100 students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — many of them athletes — enroll and pass classes they never attended and which were not taught by a single faculty member.

A report released Wednesday by Kenneth Wainstein, a former official with the U.S. Department of Justice, found that the academic fraud was systematic and far-reaching, lasting for nearly 20 years and consisting of 188 classes in the African and Afro-American studies department. About half of the 3,100 students were athletes, and investigators concluded that some university employees were aware of the fraud and actively steered athletes and other struggling students toward the classes.

At least nine employees have been fired or disciplined so far, though Carol Folt, UNC’s chancellor, said the university will not name the employees.

“I know the Carolina community will find these findings sobering,” Folt said during a press conference Wednesday. “This never should have been allowed to happen.”

The report casts an unflattering light on the university, which has long boasted about its ability to balance a proud athletics program with rigorous academics — a perception already bruised by earlier investigations into the fraud. Folt admitted that one of the reasons the fraud went undetected for so long was because many at the university simply assumed that UNC employees were surely above such conduct.

Previously, the university and the National Collegiate Athletic Association had both conducted investigations, but Wainstein’s report revealed the problems were far more pervasive than what was outlined in the earlier investigations. The new report also discusses the problems in the context of athletics, whereas earlier inquiries described a general problem that involved some athletes.

The differing conclusions came about in part because Wainstein was able to interview Julius Nyang’oro, the former chairman of the African and Afro-American studies department, and Deborah Crowder, a retired department administrator.

The Orange County district attorney dropped felony fraud charges against Nyang’oro after he agreed to participate in the investigation. Crowder agreed to talk then as well, though she was never charged. While Nyang’oro, as department chair, turned a blind eye to the academic fraud and later participated in it directly, the report stated, it was Crowder who first created the so-called “paper classes” in 1993.

“She felt that the school paid too much attention to the best and brightest and not enough attention to students who were struggling,” Wainstein said. “She wanted to help students who had difficulties in college.”

According to the report, Crowder identified three groups of students she wanted to help the most: survivors of sexual assault, students with mental health issues, and underprepared athletes. When Nyang’oro became chairman in 1992, she found an ally. Early on in Nyang’oro’s career two of his students, who were athletes, dropped out of college due to low grade-point averages.

One student ended up in prison and the other was murdered.

“Those experiences left him feeling committed to trying to prevent those kinds of tragedies again in the future,” Wainstein said. “So given his hands-off approach and his sympathy with her outlook toward students she considered to be troubled, Crowder took the opportunity to start a line of classes.”

These “paper classes” were designed as independent study courses. The only work required of the students was a research paper, and they were nearly guaranteed an A or a B no matter the quality. Forty percent of the 150 papers analyzed by investigators were at least 25 percent plagiarized, the report stated. These papers generally received A- grades. Later, Crowder created a different type of paper class that was designated as a lecture course. The course appeared in the catalog as having a meeting room and a meeting time, but no students ever met.

No faculty members were involved in the courses, with Crowder signing up students, assigning them their papers, and doing all of the grading. Word of how easy the courses were spread around campus, attracting other types of students — most prominently members of UNC’s fraternities, some of whom took so many courses in the department that they inadvertently minored in African and Afro-American Studies.

The ease of the coursework and the volume of students taking independent study courses raised some red flags with campus administrators, the report stated, but officials were hesitant to act on their suspicions, afraid that they would trample on faculty members’ academic freedom.

“Academic freedom does not mean freedom from accountability,” Folt said, promising increased oversight and reviews of courses, faculty, and chairs. “Instead I believe very strongly that we have to hold each other accountable.”

Other university employees, particularly athletes’ academic advisers, were directly complicit in the continued existence of the courses, the report stated, encouraging students to sign up for the paper classes and even suggesting to Crowder what grades the students needed in order to remain eligible.

As Crowder’s retirement approached in 2009, the advisers grew concerned about what would happen to the athletes’ G.P.A.s. They urged students to turn in their papers before the last day of class, not because that’s how most courses work, but because they would likely receive much lower grades if Crowder was not the one grading them.

“I would expect Ds or Cs at best,” the associate director of the advising program wrote in an email at the time.

The majority of those in the know were academic advisers to men’s basketball and football players, who made up more than half of the athletes taking the courses. But knowledge of the courses was not limited to the marquee men’s programs. As an adviser for women’s basketball players, Jan Boxill, the director of the Parr Center for Ethics and later the faculty chair, steered students to Crowder’s courses with suggestions about what grades they needed, according to emails obtained by investigators.

Even after Crowder’s retirement, the courses continued. Pressured by athletics advisers, Nyang’oro began overseeing the paper classes, raising yet another red flag that was all but ignored by administrators: he was somehow personally teaching more than 300 independent study courses a year. The scheme finally came to an end in 2011 when he stepped down as chair.

More than 20 percent of UNC athletes took the courses during the 18 years they were offered, while just 2 percent of the general student population did. Between 1999 and 2011, about 170 athletes would have seen their semester GPAs drop below a 2.0 at least once if not for the paper classes. When Crowder left in 2009, the football team experienced its lowest cumulative GPA in a decade, a 2.121. Eighty students would not have graduated without the paper classes, though the report does not indicate how many of those were athletes.

It is not yet clear what the university plans to do regarding the grades and degrees that were not properly earned, or if UNC athletics will forfeit any of its wins from the 18-year time period. The university won three NCAA championships during this span. Wainstein’s 136-page report was given to the NCAA, which reopened its own investigation in June and may still bring sanctions against UNC. The NCAA’s original investigation concluded that the university had not violated any NCAA rules, reporting at the time that — as other students also took the courses — there was no indication that athletes received more favorable treatment than non-athletes.

Richard Southall, director of the College Sports Research Institute at the University of South Carolina, said the scandal may be “as big a one that has ever come to light” but that it’s indicative of college sports as a whole.

“The current collegiate model forces fundamentally ‘good’ people to make really poor decisions,” Southall said. “It’s the logical extension of the special admissions that is in place at many universities where players are brought into a system to generate revenue. The players find themselves struggling in this system and will do whatever they need to survive. The advisers find themselves in the same system and so they do whatever they can to get the athletes through it. These are unethical decisions being made, in their minds, ethical because they’re in an unethical system.”

An editorial in The Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper, argues that the wrongdoing at UNC is an almost inevitable outgrowth of the fundamental tension in big-time college football and men’s basketball, in which athletes who are either academically underprepared or uninterested (or both) and universities as a result compromise themselves to keep them eligible to play.

“The university should look into reforms de-emphasizing the pretense that student-athletes admitted on the basis of their athletic abilities must perform in the classroom at the same pace as students admitted for their academic achievements,” the newspaper said.

Folt said she doesn’t view the report as an indictment of college athletics or of the African and Afro-American studies department, but as illustrating a failure to trust and believe in what all students are capable of achieving.

‘‘I think it’s very clear that this is an academic, an athletic, and a university problem,’’ she said.

Afraid Your Money Will Vanish before You Do?

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Posted on 23rd October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Afraid Your Money Will Vanish before You Do?

By Andrey Dashkov

Unlike Jack Nicholson’s character in A Few Good Men, we trust that you can handle the truth. No matter your age, securing a comfortable retirement is a huge concern. Folks want the whole truth about their financial outlook, but straight answers are hard to come by.

Both sides of the mainstream media habitually present opinion-tainted partial facts. Case in point: the unemployment numbers announced earlier this month. One side is cheering because unemployment dropped to a six-year low, while the other side is calling it pure fraud.

I found author and libertarian-about-town Wayne Root’s remarks in a recent article for The Blaze particularly telling:

The middle class isn’t getting richer, it’s getting poorer…

The only people being hired are your grandparents. 230,000 of the new jobs went to those in the 55-to-69-year-old age group. In the prime working age group of 24 to 54 years old, 10,000 jobs were lost

It means grandma and grandpa are desperate and willing to take grandson’s low wage job to survive until Social Security kicks in. The US workforce is now the oldest in history. And if grandpa has to work (out of desperation) until the day he dies, there will never be any decent jobs for the grandkids.

Here’s the part Root gets wrong: Baby boomers are not working until Social Security kicks in. They’re working well past that point, because they feel they must. Smart boomers know they can’t afford to wait until robust interest rates return; they’re taking action to protect themselves now, lest their circumstances become truly dire.

You’re 65—Now What?

The Employee Benefit Research Institute surveys workers each year concerning their retirement confidence. Despite an uptrend, the latest report shows that 82% of workers feel less than “very confident” about having enough money to retire comfortably.

With that statistic in mind, we looked at three different 40-year retirement scenarios. Note that the numbers and charts in this overview are meant to illustrate several scenarios, not provide individual guidance. Every person’s situation differs in terms of taxes, time horizons, and other parameters, and we encourage you to work with a financial planner to manage your savings.

The data exclude other sources of retirement income you may have, such as Social Security or a pension. All of the amounts, including annuity incomes, are pre-tax.

  • Scenario 1. At age 65, you decide to retire with $500,000 in personal savings. You anticipate your expenses will rise approximately 3% annually. Thus, with each subsequent year, you will need to withdraw 3% more than the previous year. You estimate that your savings will grow by 5% annually. You are planning for a 40-year retirement, meaning your savings must last until age 105.How much money can you withdraw each year, using those assumptions?
  • Scenario 2. At age 65 you have the same $500,000 in personal savings that you did in Scenario 1; however, you take $100,000 from your account and buy an annuity. Our go-to source for annuity information, Stan The Annuity Man, says that currently, this annuity would pay $527 for the rest of your life. You use the remaining $400,000 as principal for the next 40 years in the same fashion as in the first case: assuming the same 5% rate of return and an annual 3% withdrawal increase.
  • Scenario 3. Instead of retiring at age 65, you work for five extra years and buy a 100,000 annuity at age 70. We will assume you did not add to your savings during that time (though it did earn interest). Many boomers use extra working years to eliminate any lingering debt, so they can retire 100% debt-free. (However, note that we encourage a different approach: using extra working years to save as much as possible, including maximizing catch-up contributions to your 401(k) or IRA.)If your nest egg grew at a 5% compound rate, it will total $638,141 when you are age 70. So, excluding the $100,000 spent on an annuity, you have $538,141 to draw from. As with Scenarios 1 and 2, we’ll assume the withdrawals last for 40 years here, stretching the retirement period until age 110. Buying the annuity at age 70 instead of age 65 raises your monthly annuity payout to $582 per month.

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these cases.

Scenario 1: He Who Takes It All Is Not the Winner

For your nest egg to last 40 years, in year one, you can withdraw $17,747, or $1,479 per month, from your $500,000 nest egg. Each year you take out 3% more to keep up with rising expenses.

Follow the yellow line representing your nest egg in the chart above. As you can see, after 40 years your $500,000 is gone.

What happens if you stay within your monthly allowance and live past age 105? Here’s hoping you have generous grandchildren. If not, you might be at the mercy of a Social Security system that may or may not be around in its current form.

There’s good reason the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that workforce participation for people age 75 and over will rise to 10.5% by 2022, up from 7.6% in 2012. For the 65-74 age group, it projects that the rate will jump to 31.9%, up from 26.8% in 2012 and 20.4% in 2002. Better health and a sustained desire to work may be one reason more seniors are working longer, but another is fear.

61% of older Americans fear outliving their money more than they fear death. This is a fear we hope no one encounters as they near the end of the line. Other than the late George Burns, I doubt many centenarians are holding down a job.

Running out of money and having Social Security as your final safety net is a legitimate concern. Every politician, regardless of party, acknowledges the US government cannot make good on all of its promises. No one knows what the future will bring.

With that in mind, let’s move on to Scenario 2.

Scenario 2: Spreading Out Risk

Insurance companies have a range of annuities that will pay you for the rest of your life, which our team covered in detail in Annuities De-Mystified. In essence, holding an annuity as part of your overall retirement plan is one way to reduce the risk of running out of money. Since going back to work at 105 is both unappealing and impractical, let’s look at how Scenario 2—the same $500,000 nest egg with $100,000 used to purchase an annuity at age 65—plays out.

Your annuity will provide monthly payouts of $527. Using the same 40-year time frame, your monthly income from the remaining $400,000 will be approximately $1,183 per month in first year, or a total of $1,710.

You start out with a bit more money; however, the annuity payment will remain constant, with no adjustment for inflation. At the end of 40 years, your nest egg will be gone, but you will still receive the annuity payments.

There is no way to know how long you will live. Today, a man who reaches age 65 can expect, on average, to live to age 84.3; a woman, 86.6. One in ten 65-year-olds, however, can expect to live past age 95. Medical advancements are pushing those numbers up, making life after age 105 seem not too far fetched. An annuity is just one way to hedge against running out of money too soon.

One big disadvantage of an annuity is that it doesn’t offer real inflation protection. Even annuities with inflation riders usually yield marginal results.

If you receive Social Security, you can hope the annual inflation adjustments make up some of the difference, but it’s unlikely to be enough to maintain your current lifestyle. That brings us to Scenario 3.

Scenario 3: Delayed Gratification

Congratulations! You made it to age 70. The $500,000 in savings you had at age 65 has grown to $638,141 (at an annual rate of 5%). You buy an annuity for $100,000 that will pay you $582 every month until death and draw down the remaining $538,141 over the next 40 years—again assuming 5% growth rate and 3% annual withdrawal increase.

The lump sum of $538,141 will provide approximately $1,592 per month during the first year. Add the annuity payouts and your total monthly income comes to $2,174, before taxes.

In the first year, your total income, including withdrawals and annuity income, will be $26,085 compared to $17,747 in Scenario 1 and $20,516 in Scenario 2.

And although your savings will still run out after 40 years, you will be 110. By working an additional 5 years and deferring the start date you get an additional five years before you have to rely on the annuity only.

The Takeaways

This is all a reminder that the best way to enjoy retirement is to build a portfolio that can generate enough capital gains and dividend income to satisfy your spending needs, while leaving the principal intact as long as possible. If you want to end up in the 18% of people who are very confident about having enough money to retire, you may want to keep working after age 65, if possible, and invest part of your savings in an annuity to ensure you have at least some income if you outlive the rest of your nest egg.

To determine if an annuity is right for your retirement portfolio, read your free copy of our special report, Annuities De-Mystified. It includes tips for uncovering hidden fees and a frank look at the risks associated with annuities. Plus, it’s the only such report we know of written by financial educators who do not sell annuities. Access your free copy of Annuities De-Mystified here.

The article Afraid Your Money Will Vanish before You Do? was originally published at millersmoney.com.

THE BIGGEST THREAT TO AMERICA

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Posted on 23rd October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

WHO BENEFITS?

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Posted on 23rd October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Whenever a politician opens their mouth, you know they are lying. Every initiative, law, war, or stimulus package is designed to benefit their benefactors. You are not considered in the equation. You are a cow to be milked for the taxes needed to pay-off the corporations and special interests who will keep the politicians in office. Ask yourself who benefits from the new war on the dreaded 30,000 member ISIS army? Your leaders spend $1 trillion per year of your money on the Dept of War and they can’t defeat a bunch of ragheaded donkey fuckers in the desert??? Defeating them would really put a dent in arms dealer profits. So, they’ll never be defeated.

It is exactly one month since the U.S. started its bombing campaign on Islamic State in Syria. And it’s been quite a profitable operation for the arms industry of course – on the first day 47 Tomahawk missiles worth over 65 million dollars were dropped. One month on and the jihadists are still in place.

But the war has produced new contracts for American weapon makers.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

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Posted on 23rd October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

“In the last days, perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, traitors, heady, high-minded having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

John Henry Newman

HOW COME THEY’RE NOT BUYING IN WEST PHILLY OR WILDWOOD?

7 comments

Posted on 23rd October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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It looks like the Chinese are turning Japanese. I guess stupidity knows no bounds. Even after witnessing delusional Japanese buying up U.S. real estate at peak prices in the late 1980s and early 1990s because their market was too overvalued, the Chinese have been reading the exact same playbook and investing in overvalued NYC and California real estate at the top of the market. The Chinese won’t be taking over the world based on these bone headed moves.

What they should be doing is buying up undervalued properties on the 30 Blocks of Squalor. That is a can’t miss opportunity. Each hovel comes with its own operating drug selling operation. And now that weed has been decriminalized, the value of these hovels should soar.

The real opportunity for the Chinese exists in Wildwood, NJ. I know of a condo opportunity that’s an absolute steal for any wily oriental investor. A condo once occupied by a world famous blogger and located within walking distance of the equally world renowned Shamrock bar is up for sale. If any Chinese investors are interested just call me at 1-800-Shamrock.

United States Of China: In Which States Is Your Landlord Most Likely To Be Chinese

Tyler Durden's picture

America’s #1 landlord may be private equity giant Blackstone, but closing in rapidly is none other than America’s very own arch nemesis and ascendent superpower, China. But while until recently China’s grand ambitions on US multi-family housing had largely flown under the radar, the recent sale of the Waldorf Astoria to a Chinese company has finally put the US on “China is coming” alert… and reincarnated a lot of the same jokes that swept the country by storm in the mid-80s when it appeared Japan, itself nursing a massive asset bubble, would run over Manhattan (everyone knows how that ended).

As the WSJ reports, “big institutional Chinese investors who want global real-estate portfolios typically look for trophy projects in cities like New York, Los Angeles and London. Just this month, Hilton Worldwide agreed to sell its flagship Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City to a Chinese insurance company for $1.95 billion—the steepest price tag ever for a U.S. hotel, brokers say, although it isn’t the highest on a per-room basis.”

However, it isn’t just New York: “Chinese investors with smaller war chests want to be seen as international property players too, and they have their eyes on other cities. Over the past two years, more have sought to invest in offices and hotels in inland cities such as Chicago and Houston in the U.S., and Madrid and Frankfurt in Europe, according to a recent report by property consultancy Cushman & Wakefield.”

“Chinese investors are distributing their investments across the whole country, not only focusing on selecting assets in prime locations…but also paying more attention to cities with lower prices and greater potential,” said James Shepherd, Cushman & Wakefield’s head of research for Greater China.

Too bad for China, the opportunities that are left for it by Wall Street are those that by now are virtually assured a negative IRR. But then again it was never about the profit: for Chinese institutions, US real estate, just like for Chinese retail buyers of luxury properties, is all about laundering hot money and parking it in a place that is relatively amicable towards Chinese funds. Which the US is. For now.

So which states are most likely to see an influx of Chinese landlords in the coming months?

The consultancy compiled a list of the top 10 U.S. states for Chinese investment. Though the top spots are no surprise—New York, which claims the top spot with more than $6.7 billion in investment, has a lead of more than $5 billion over runner-up California—others are less obvious. Texas, which comes in at No. 4, benefits from Houston, which has become more familiar to Chinese investors in recent years. The country’s state-owned behemoth China Petrochemical Corp., known as Sinopec, has operations there, and the city gained recognition with Chinese investors with the help of former Chinese basketball star Yao Ming, who played for the Houston Rockets.

And visually:

EBOLA-BUSTERS! TOP MEN ON THE JOB!

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Posted on 23rd October 2014 by Reverse Engineer in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Off the microphone of RE

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on October 23, 2014

Discuss this Rant at the Medicine & Health Table inside the Diner

Snippet:

…The Tried & True meme here in Amerika when anything isn’t going exactly as planned is to Send in the Marines, aka enlist the Military as the Ultimate Problem Solver. This I guess is because the military has proven so effective in Vietnam, Aghanistan, Iraq et al? The military has done such a fabulous job with establishing Peaceful Democracies after dropping the Death from Above that we can trust them to handle an Ebola epidemic? WTF?

So, in the Dumb & Dumber Military Solution, besides the 3000 Sacrificial Lambs being pitched into the middle of the Plague in Africa, the other media propaganda Prep to prevent wholesale PANIC is the announcement that the Military is forming a Crack team of 30 Ebola-Busters who can be deployed anywhere in the FSoA inside 36 hours to handle any Ebola case that crops up inside the FSoA. Man, even the Ghostbusters couldn’t handle all the Paranormal Activity inside the Big Apple when Evil started running amok there, and those guys HAD all the best Slime Fighting Equipment! LOL….

No Worries folks,  the Pros from Dover & TOP MEN are on the Job!

For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!!!