FIG Topics of Interest

 

07/13/17

The Gymboree Corp., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, announced it intends to close approximately 350 stores, mainly across its Gymboree and Crazy 8 brands. 
The San Francisco-based apparel retailer operates more than 1,300 specialty stores under three brands: mid-level Gymboree, higher-end Janie & Jack and Crazy 8, a value-oriented line. 

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07/11/17

"As Washington fails to deliver on those two priorities small-business optimism is dropping," said Juanita Duggan, president of NFIB. "Gridlock is driving down small-business optimism, which will eventually drive down the economy."

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07/10/17

Almost 19 percent of people 65 or older were working at least part-time in the second quarter of 2017, according to the U.S. jobs report released on Friday. The age group’s employment/population ratio hasn’t been higher in 55 years, before American retirees won better health care and Social Security benefits starting in the late 1960s

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07/07/17

Non-bank lenders are rushing into the commercial real estate debt market to meet demand for mezzanine and preferred-equity loans from developers piecing together construction financing for new projects while the current real estate expansion still has legs. 
With prompting from regulators, banks are becoming more cautious when it comes to construction and acquisition lending, and there are fewer financing options available in the downsized CMBS market. As a result, developers have turned to an expanding number of private lenders and funds, including foreign capital groups in Asia and the Middle East eager to invest in U.S. real estate through bridge and mezzanine debt rather than higher-risk direct equity investments. 

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07/06/17

It's good job security to be a crane operator in most American metros these days, with the U.S. construction pipeline at or near peak levels across most commercial property types. 
At nearly 40 million square feet of construction starts so far, the first half of 2017 has easily surpassed total office starts for all of 2015 and is running ahead of the pace of last year's cyclical peak of 76 million square feet. In Chicago alone, 10 office and residential projects valued at $1 billion or greater are under construction or in the development pipeline. 
Many of these projects are large mixed-use developments near the urban core that include significant portions of multifamily, retail and entertainment, while others, like Chicago's 94-story Vista Tower, are standalone residential and hotel projects.

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07/05/17

"Over the past month we've seen continued uncertainty as it relates to legislative policies that stand to impact small businesses," said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. "The decline in this month's index and modest growth in wages seem to reflect an unclear regulatory picture combined with a narrowing labor market."

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07/03/17

"In the world of bank regulation there are still two parallel universes: one where bank bailouts are frowned upon as an abuse of taxpayers' money, and another where bank bailouts are considered as a politically more expedient and cheaper way of solving banking crisis," said Christian Stiefmueller, a senior policy analyst at the independent watchdog Finance Watch in Brussels. "These two sets of rules are not compatible."

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06/30/17

"The Fed can afford to wait and see what comes out of the political process," said Bullard, who admitted he has retreated from his formerly more hawkish stance.
"Some of (President Donald Trump's) policies can provide growth but they've got to get them through congress," he explained.

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06/29/17

If you apply the insights of the literature on disruptive innovation, last week’s fall in oil prices could well place members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in a tough spot, and not just in the short term. Cost-cutting innovations in shale are weakening their grasp of energy market dynamics. Their prospects increasingly depend less on what they can do on the supply side and more on what they can hope for on the demand side.

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06/28/17

The cost of housing has gotten so expensive that Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) thinks that a monthly subsidy of $2,500 would help ease the burden — for members of Congress.

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