Recent comments by aleister perdurabo

Sales Surge on European NPLs | Private Equity content from National Real Estate Investor

Forget Wimbledon and tourist attractions such as the Roman Coliseum, U.S. investors are flocking to Europe to pursue lucrative opportunities in the non-performing loan (NPL) market.

Loan sales during the first half of the year reached €40.9 billion ($55.5 billion)―a 611 percent spike compared to the same period a year ago. And American buyers are leading the charge. U.S. private equity firms such as Blackstone and Cerberus accounted for three-fourths of that buying activity, according to a new report issued by Cushman & Wakefield.

For example, Cerberus has nearly 50 professionals on the ground in Europe focused on underwriting, acquiring and servicing NPLs. “Currently, we are primarily investing in the U.K., Germany, Spain, Ireland and Italy, but have also acquired or are in the process of acquiring NPL portfolios in other European countries as well,” says Lee Millstein, head of European & Asian distressed real estate and senior managing director of Cerberus Capital Management in New York City.

Wealth inequality doubles among US households

"American families experienced significant losses in wealth during the Great Recession, and these losses were distributed very unequally," said Fabian Pfeffer, assistant research professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research.

In 2003, households at the top 5th percentile of wealth had 13 times more wealth than the median household, according to the analysis. By 2013, this gap nearly doubled to 24 times as much wealth.
While households at the top lost large amounts of wealth during the recession, those at the bottom of the wealth distribution lost the largest share of their total wealth.

Price Increase Reflects Shift to More Costly Homes

A factor with a larger bearing on the rising prices however, was what RealtyTrac identified as a shift away from lower cost homes to those in the higher price ranges. The share of home sales in all price ranges below $200,000 decreased from a year ago. The lower the price, the larger the decrease. The share of homes priced between $100,000 and $200,000 decreased 5 percent from a year ago, while the share of homes between $50,000 and $100,000 decreased 13 percent and the share of homes priced below $50,000 - often highly distressed homes - decreased 22 percent.

Conversely, sales of homes priced above $200,000 increased as a share of total sales, both from the previous month and from a year ago. In general the higher the price, the greater the increase with sales in the $200,000 to $300,000 price range up 2 percent from the previous month and 6 percent from a year ago, but the share of home sales in all price ranges above $750,000 was up more than 20 percent from a year ago. Sales of homes priced in the $200,000 to $400,000 range accounted for 32 percent of sales, the highest percentage since September 2008.

Real Estate Assets vs Passion Investments

High net worth individuals (HWNI) are reported to allocate an average of 16.9% of their investments to Art and 19% to luxury collectibles including classic cars and the report lifts the lid on where the smart money has been invested over the last quarter of a century.

Savills used their own indices and those from Art Market Research and Nationwide to compare the performance of 'passion investments' including the Art100, Old Masters, classic cars, 18th century furniture, UK property, prime central London property and UK farmland.

Looking at the assets performance since the financial crisis, the biggest growth has been in the classic car market, recording an increase of 134.9% since the peak of the housing market in September 2007. Prices in this market have not fallen since 2006 showing the asset's strong resilience to recession.

Farmland has long been considered a safe haven asset and hedge against inflation and prices have historically performed well during economic downturns. According to Savills' data, average values have not fallen since 2003 and have increased an average of 105.2% since 2007.

before falling into technical default

As opposed to real default.

So does FIFA allow players to get water during the course of play? Or do they have to feign injury then re-enter?

World Cup 2014: Bizarre incident in Uruguay-England puts spotlight on concussions - SOCCER - Sporting News

Soccer’s issues with head trauma are somewhat different than in other sports. It starts with the fact the head is a fundamental instrument of competition; the head is used to maneuver the ball in the same way a basketball player might use his hand.
The conflict is exacerbated by the sport’s unique substitution rules. Only three players are allowed to be substituted per game, regardless of the injury circumstance. A team that spends its three subs and then has a player go down as Pereira did would not be able to replace him -- even if he could be persuaded to leave.
“It’s disappointing. It’s 2014. This is barbaric treatment of players,” Twellman said on late Thursday on ESPN. “This is the power struggle that everyone’s talking about the elite levels. This can’t happen. The player and the doctor have no business having a say in this.”
Twellman said, as FIFPro suggested in his release, that competitions at the highest levels need a medical official “that’s independent, not working for either team” to intervene when concussion is an issue.

They would have to add many digits to the scoreboard.

Just like the Federal Reserve. Team America!

I'm for "blue lines" (like in hockey) so that the off-sides rule would apply to less than the half of the field it applies to now.

Howabout no goalie. I'd love to see the score in hockey or soccer around 47 to 39.

A little historical perspective:

Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein 

The U.S. involved several U.S.-based multinational corporations in planning the project. International financier Bruce Rappaport, a friend of CIA director William Casey, was also a central figure in the proposed deal. (The final report of the independent counsel for the Iran-Contra "arms for hostages" scandal cites reports indicating that Rappaport's bank in Geneva was the recipient of a mysterious $10 million payment from the Sultan of Brunei to fund the Nicaraguan contras that subsequently disappeared. Rappaport denied this; the final report says that the issue remained unresolved. He was invited to testify in 1999 at a House Banking committee hearing on corruption in Russian financial transactions, but declined.) The project was complicated by demands that the U.S. arrange for ironclad security guarantees from the Israelis, since the pipeline would have been vulnerable to their attack. The Israelis, for their part, demanded guarantees that pipeline facilities would not cause environmental damage.

All involved had their reasons for at least hypothetical interest in the project. For Iraq, it would have been a manifestation of improved U.S.-Iraq relations - they wanted as much U.S. financial and other involvement in the proposed deal as possible. For the U.S., it would have provided an alternative, theoretically secure outlet for oil and created a nexus for entangling Iraqi interests with those of Jordan and Israel, consistent with U.S. plans to create a wider consortium of Arab countries that would cooperate with the U.S. and would be willing to resolve the Palestine-Israel dispute on U.S. terms. Israel would have benefited from new oil facilities in its vicinity, and won points with the Reagan administration. Also, according to internal documents from a friend of Reagan administration Attorney General Edmund Meese, brought in as an intermediary because of his Israeli ties, payoffs would have been skimmed from complex financial guarantee arrangements for the Israeli government and Labor Party.

Daily Press Briefing: June 20, 2014

QUESTION: So you believe – so you’re going to double-down on the – what some call the anachronistic British imperialist-imposed border that now exists? Is that correct?
MS. PSAKI: I’m not sure if I would put it in those terms, Matt, but --
QUESTION: Post-World War I border of Iraq, the existing – that’s what you are intent on keeping. Is that correct?
MS. PSAKI: Well, we’re --
QUESTION: Not – maybe not you, but that’s what you support. You do not support any revision to the current borders of the – Iraq.
MS. PSAKI: Nothing has changed in our view. Go ahead, Arshad.
QUESTION: Well, I was going to say the same thing. I was going to ask it very simply. I mean, would you oppose a breakup of Iraq?
MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to speculate on that. It’s never been our position, so I’m not going to speak to a hypothetical that we’re not currently looking at.
QUESTION: It’s not a hypothetical. People are generally inside the country talking about it too. I mean, it’s not totally hypothetical. I mean, there are moves for people to move in that direction.
MS. PSAKI: That’s not the position or the view or the support of the United States Government.
QUESTION: So you disagree with --
QUESTION: Can you say no? Can you say you don’t want Iraq to break up?
QUESTION: -- the notion that --
MS. PSAKI: I think we’re done with this question.

Here's the link to all the gruesome details. You can poke around for all casualties by month, year, nation, state, name,etc...

iCasualties | Operation Enduring Freedom | Afghanistan

Anyone want to make a guess as to what percentage of casualties in Afghanistan can be assigned to each President so far?
I'm going to bet 40/60

iCasualties | OEF | Afghanistan | Fatalities By Month

Trader sues over skimpy $8.25 million bonus - CBS News

A former Goldman Sachs (GS) trader, still furious at getting only an $8.25 million bonus in 2010, has taken the giant investment bank to court to get paid millions more.

Deeb Salem says he helped Goldman earn more than $7 billion and that a little more money in his pocket would only be fair considering all his contributions. He wants about $5 million in additional pay from Goldman.

In his petition filed last week in New York's State Supreme Court, Salem said things at Goldman started to unravel when he got a written warning about his 2007 job self-evaluation, Bloomberg reports. In that self-evaluation, Salem reportedly discussed a short squeeze involving derivatives linked to subprime home loans in 2007.

High Times Starts Marijuana Industry Investment Fund - Businessweek

When a pot smuggler named Tom Forcade approached Michael Kennedy in 1974 with his plan for a magazine devoted to helping Americans grow weed, Kennedy asked, what’s the point? “He said, ‘The point is, if the government cannot control the means of production of a commodity, then their prohibition is bound to fail,’ ” Kennedy recalls. “Well, 40 years later, we have ’em trembling, don’t we?”

The magazine, High Times, has survived as an icon of dope culture, and Kennedy, a criminal defense lawyer, has improbably ended up as its controlling owner. Now, with marijuana legal in some form in 22 states, the counterculture institution is aiming to raise $300 million for the High Times Growth Fund, which will make private equity investments in the marijuana business.

- NY Times

BAGHDAD — Refinery workers, witnesses and an Iraqi Army officer reported the seizure of Iraq’s biggest oil refinery by Sunni extremists on Wednesday after army helicopter gunships failed to repel their attack. But other Iraqi officials, including the commander of the garrison defending the refinery in Baiji, asserted that fighting was still going on inside the extensive facility, shut down by the violence.

The battle in Baiji, 130 miles north of Baghdad, came as the Obama administration, which extricated American troops from Iraq less than three years ago, was weighing a more muscular response, including airstrikes, to help the besieged government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.

Tax to brake S.F. real estate speculation headed to voters - SFGate

Supervisor Eric Mar and tenant activists unveiled a ballot measure Tuesday that would impose a steep tax on investors who sell an apartment building within five years of buying it, a proposal they said is aimed at reining in real estate speculators who are helping to drive up housing prices by flipping rental properties.

The "antispeculation" tax, which would apply solely to smaller, rent-controlled, multiunit buildings, will join several other housing measures on an already crowded November ballot. It asks voters to approve a graduated tax that decreases the longer an owner holds onto a property - starting at 24 percent of the selling price if a building is sold within a year of purchase, falling to 14 percent at five years and disappearing in the sixth year.

Harvard Money Managers Exit After Years of Subpar Returns - Bloomberg

Harvard’s endowment posted annual average gains of 1.7 percent in the five years ended June 30, 2013, according to data compiled by Charles Skorina & Co. That compares with annual returns of 6.8 percent at Columbia University, 5.4 percent at University of Pennsylvania and 3.3 percent atYale University.

Harvard suffered severe financial losses, including a 27 percent investment decline in the year ended June 30, 2009, and a cash crisis brought on by its exposure to financial derivatives. Like the rest of the university, the endowment was forced to cut costs and staff. Harvard’s endowment is still seeking to recoup losses after the fund peaked at $36.9 billion in 2008. At the time, Mendillo said she would need at least five years to fix the portfolio, which included unwinding stakes in illiquid securities.

George W. Bush’s horrific, deadly blunder: Would Saddam Hussein be better than Iraq’s new hell? - Salon.com

Out of Sunni solidarity, our fast friends the Saudis are bankrolling the ISIS and its dream of a revived caliphate across Iraq and Syria, Fisk tells us. The (Sunni) Qataris may soon switch their financial backing from Sunni insurgents in Syria to none other than (Alawite) Assad, because the Saudis, although Sunni — are you following? — are a threat to the (Sunni) Qataris. Washington is inclined to support the (Shiite) al-Maliki in Iraq as he proceeds against Sunni insurgents, but it still proposes to topple (Alawite) Assad as he proceeds against Sunni insurgents.

Apologies for the density of the above paragraph, but it goes straight to the point.

A flickering light at the end.

At writing the news media report that Washington is now seriously considering opening talks with Iran with a view to some form of collaboration in Iraq, where the (Shiite) Iranians support the (Shiite) al-Maliki. As noted, I see no sense in supporting al-Maliki short of a highly persuasive demonstration — quickly, as in now — of a commitment to all-parties talks. However, the thought of the Obama administration drawing closer to Iran in small recognition of shared interests delights me.

US Marines linked to Australian energy security - PostBulletin.com: National

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The growing number of U.S. Marines in northern Australia is enhancing the security of the nation's burgeoning gas industry, which extends across the remote and sparsely populated northern coast, a senior American general said on Wednesday.

Maj. Gen. Richard L. Simcock, Hawaii-based deputy commander of U.S. Marine Corps in the Pacific, was commenting after an executive of U.S. energy giant Chevron Corp. told a conference of concerns that gas rigs off the Australian northwest coast and tankers shipping liquid natural gas through Southeast Asian waters could be vulnerable to attack.

Suppose a bank borrows money at .25% and lends it at 2% for 25 years. Suppose a third of the deadbeats default. BFD, bonuses all around. The Fed's inflation is a filthy scam.

Why don't you do the math? You're a smart guy.

Suppose that one cent had been invested in a bank 2012 years ago at a 5% interest rate maintained to the present. After the first year the capital would be worth 5% more than one cent, or 1.05 cents. In the second year the interest earned would be 5% times 1.05 cents, giving the amount of 1.05×1.05. After three years it would have grown to (1.05)^3 . After 2012 years the original one cent contribution would have grown to (1.05) ^ {2012} cents, or 4.29\cdot10^ {42} cents (more accurately, a vast 4,294,076,020,320,707,300,374,777,820,338,841,725,938,314 of them).

Rare British Guiana stamp sells for record $9.5-million - The Globe and Mail

A British Guiana One-Cent Magenta postage stamp from 1856, the only one of its kind to still exist, sold for a record $9.5-million (U.S.) at Sotheby’s on Tuesday.

The hefty price, which includes the buyer’s premium, makes the 2.5-centimetre-by-3.2-centimetre stamp, printed in black on magenta paper, the most expensive ever sold at auction – and the most valuable object by weight and size, according to the auction house.

The British Guiana stamp was sold by the estate of the late multimillionaire John du Pont, an heir to the du Pont chemical fortune, who died in prison in 2010 at the age of 72. Du Pont was serving a murder sentence for the shooting of David Schultz, a champion U.S. wrestler, in 1996.

Earlier this year, the Royal Philatelic Society of London re-authenticated the stamp, which du Pont, an avid stamp collector, purchased in 1980 for $935,000. The stamp’s authenticity was previously verified in 1935.

Hedge fund investors raise concerns in real estate | HeraldTribune.com

HOUSTON - Institutional Investors, led by Wall Street's Blackstone and rival Colony Capital, have stockpiled homes for single-family rentals across the country.

But a panel of real estate experts last week had different views on the risk these hedge funds may present when they exit markets like Southwest Florida, where they have lifted demand and boosted prices.

“This is the biggest story of the decade and will drive us into recession by 2020,” Florida real estate consultant Jack McCabe said at the conference in Houston. “We're seeing the capitalization of housing across America.”

Institutional investors accounted for 8 percent of all existing U.S. home sales at their buying peak in late 2012. They have since faded to represent 4 percent, according to data from industry researcher CoreLogic.

“These investors are going in and disconnecting home prices from incomes because they're not reliant upon incomes,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. “That's the danger. It could accelerate appreciation.”

Blomquist and McCabe both fear these investors could swell prices to the point that they push many owner-occupiers out of the market, who cannot compete with the corporate bidding wars.

http://www.americanbanker.com/bankthink/why-commercial-real-estate-bubbles-may-belong-to-the-past-1068025-1.html

“This time it’s different” are famous last words for an economist. But evidence accumulated over the last two decades shows that the U.S. office property market—a sector that predictably boomed and busted every 15 years or so prior to 1991—has become a model of a disciplined, well-functioning real estate market. This positive change appears to be largely the result of increased transparency and discipline brought about by capital markets and stock exchange-listed equity real estate investment trusts, or equity REITs. The office market in the era of listed equity REITs provides a prime example of how a well-structured, securitized real estate market, by moderating construction boom and bust tendencies, can generate positive spillover benefits to the economy at large.

Companies to Seek $60 Trillion in New Debt as Asia’s Needs Grow - Bloomberg

Corporate issuers globally will seek about $60 trillion in new debt and refinancing through 2018, with the majority of that growth and its attendant risks concentrated in the Asia-Pacific region, Standard & Poor’s said.

Debt in the region will overtake the U.S. and Europe combined as China and neighboring countries widen their lead as the world’s largest group of corporate borrowers, the ratings company said in a report published today. Bonds, as opposed to bank loans, will also become a more important source of financing, increasing 3.5 percent, or nearly $3.1 trillion.

The emergence of Chinese companies as the biggest group of corporate borrowers and “faster debt growth in sectors related to the growing global middle class are likely to drive global corporate debt issuance over the next four years,” Jayan Dhru, S&P’s global head of corporate ratings wrote. “The U.S. continues on the path to economic recovery while the euro zone struggles with marginal growth, but the bottom line is that this is a China story. Higher risk for China’s borrowers means higher risk for the world.”

ISIS direct threat to Jordan, US senator says | JPost | Israel News

Top Republican lawmaker Sen. Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) suggested on Sunday that a deal with Iran might be necessary in the short term to stop the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from marching on Baghdad – not dissimilar to America’s alliance with Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union at the height of the Second World War.

“We’re going to have to have some dialogue with the Iranians,” Graham said.

CBS News confirmed that Qasem Suleimani, commander of the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, is in Iraq for consultations over how Iran might assist Baghdad’s efforts to fight ISIS.

Graham, a harsh critic of the Obama administration, joined the chorus of his peers from across the American political aisle in warning of the dramatic consequences of ISIS’s progress.

“We had al-Qaida in Iraq, the predecessor of ISIS, on their backs,” Graham said, calling on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to resign.

Lüders: 'The fight against ISIS will take years' | World | DW.DE | 13.06.2014

**Speaking of the United States, was all the political and military influence the US brought to bear in recent years, perhaps even decades, in vain?
**

First of all, I have to say that the Americans bear a large share of the responsibility for this disaster. What is happening now is the price for the mistakes the Americans made after the fall of Saddam Hussein. If there was something that could have been done wrong, then they did it wrong. Starting with the dissolution of large sections of the Iraqi army, the dissolution of the Baath Party, the party of Saddam Hussein. This meant that, overnight, hundreds of thousands of Sunnis were without a job, and they then formed the core of the resistance to the American occupation. And various terrorist groups evolved from this resistance, including the ISIS.

The responsibility does not lie with the Americans alone, though, but also with the Maliki government. Maliki is a corrupt politician who has absolutely failed to understand the tasks that lie ahead for Iraq; that he actually has the task of uniting the different religious and ethnic groups. Instead, he has encouraged division between them. Now he's paying the price for that, and it will probably be very difficult for him to survive politically.

FTL

Two battalions of elite Quds Forces from Iran, the Maliki government’s ally, are in Iraq helping the Iraqi army fight the militants, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed Iranian security sources.

Who was the last president not to bomb Iraq?

James Madison?

Here we go loop de loop.

Obama Won’t Rule Out Airstrikes to Aid Iraq’s Army - Bloomberg

President Barack Obama said he won’t rule out using airstrikes to help Iraq’s government beat back Islamic militants who’ve seized major cities and threaten to ignite a sectarian civil war.

“I don’t rule out anything,” Obama said when asked whether the U.S. was willing to send drones or U.S. planes to strike jihadists in Iraq.

Iraq “clearly is an emergency situation” and the government there needs more help, Obama said after a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the White House.

Three years after the U.S. and other members of an international coalition withdrew forces from Iraq, the army of the Shiite-led government has collapsed when threatened by Islamic militants who have swept through northern Iraq, threatening the stability of OPEC’s second-biggest oil producer.

Blackstone Investors Set to See First Cash From Hilton IPO - Bloomberg

Blackstone Group LP (BX) is planning its first sale of Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (HLT) shares, a step toward returning some cash to the buyout firm’s investors after the biggest initial public offering of a U.S. hotel company.

Hilton registered to sell 90 million shares on Blackstone’s behalf, according to a filingtoday from the McLean, Virginia-based hotel operator. The world’s largest lodging company by market value has climbed 17 percent since raising $2.35 billion in its Dec. 11 IPO. The underwriters will be allowed to buy another 13.5 million shares if they sell the initial amount.