Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Friday, December 19, 2014

  • 2:21 AM
    • Giving banks additional time to sell stakes in hedge and private-equity funds covered by the Volcker rule, the Fed has announced that it will extend the compliance period from 2015 to 2017.
    • The Fed had previously delayed the measure for collateralized loan obligations, but has now expanded the scope of the extension for other types of funds.
    | Comment!
  • Thursday, December 18, 2014

  • 4:46 PM
    • HFF (NYSE:HF) announces it has closed the sale and arranged financing for 3000 Post oak, a 442K square-foot, Class A office building in Houston's Galleria submarket. HFF marketed the property on behalf of the seller, and its debt placement team worked with the buyer to secure financing.
    • Terms were not disclosed.
    • Press release
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  • 4:30 PM
    • The roughly 36K policies include an estimated 30K wind-only policies from Citizens Property Insurance Corporation - Florida's state-operated insurance company.
    • The deal boosts HCI's annualized gross premiums to an all-time high of about $430M.
    • Source: Press Release
    | 1 Comment
  • 4:21 PM
    • Also included in the purchase of the Revere Hotel is an attached 826-space parking garage and an adjacent land parcel.
    • The Revere is a 356-room upper-upscale hotel built in 1972 and converted to independent status after a $29M renovation in 2012. For the trailing 12 months, it operated at 87% occupancy, with an ADR of $231 and RevPAR of $202.
    • 2015 expected EBITDA is $18M-$18.5M, with NOI of $16.2M-$16.7M.
    • The purchase brings PEB's portfolio to 35 and is the company's 2nd investment in Boston.
    • Source: Press Release
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  • 4:16 PM
    • Revenues are expected at the high end of the previous range of $475M-$510M vs. $432.9M one year ago.
    • Pretax distributable earnings are expected near the mid-point of the previous $69M-$79M vs. $46M a year ago.
    • Source: Press Release
    | Comment!
  • 4:12 PM
    • Not much of a surprise, MetLife (NYSE:MET) is notified by the Financial Stability Oversight Council of its designation as a SIFI. Also no surprise, the company registers its "disappointment" over the move.
    • "As we have said many times, singling out two large life insurance companies [Prudential as well] for SIFI designation will harm competition, lead to higher prices and less choice for consumers, and ultimately could result in less financial protection for middle-class families who need it the most."
    • MetLife has thirty days to seek judicial review of the FSOC decision, and is considering its next move.
    • Source: Press Release
    • Previously: MetLife SIFI case gets stronger as it passes Goldman in assets (Dec. 18, 2014)
    | 1 Comment
  • 3:29 PM
    • Terms of AJG's purchase were not disclosed. Established in 2001, Affinity Marketing Group is a national program banker that provides access to products and services designed for members of affinity groups, associations and fraternal organizations throughout the U.S.
    • Source: Press Release
    | Comment!
  • 3:26 PM
    • Part of a defamation suit against American Realty Capital (ARCP -3.9%) by former Chief Accounting Officer Lisa McAlister, Schorsch in July is said to have directed then-CFO Brian Block to move some numbers around in the Q2 results to cover up for errors made in Q1.
    • McAlister and Block stepped down from ARCP on Oct. 29, the day after accounting irregularities were disclosed.
    • McAlister also says she repeatedly let other executives and the company's auditor Grant Thornton know of her concerns.
    • RCS Capital (RCAP -17.2%) - where Schorsch remains chairman - is really taking it on the chin, and New York REIT (NYRT -0.9%) - where Schorsch is chairman and CEO - initially tumbled on the news, but has regained its footing.
  • 3:16 PM
    • He's to be replaced as one of the three co-heads of investment banking by John Waldron. The others are David Solomon and Richard Gnodde. Waldron joined Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) in 2000 and most recently was head of investment banking services.
    • Weinberg will move to a new client-development role, and will remain one of Goldman's three vice chairman.
    • The move comes as the bank is wrapping up one of its best investment-banking years ever, including advising on M&A deals totaling more than $1T - the first time any bank hit that mark since 2007.
    | Comment!
  • 1:11 PM
    • Through November ETFs have taken in $192B vs. $188B for all of 2013, according to BlackRock's (NYSE:BLK) iShares and Vanguard account for $7 out of every $10 of inflows this year, says InvestmentNews, and BlackRock says it brought in $89.7B globally, $71.4B in the U.S.
    • Vanguard places flows at $75B globally, $63.5B in the U.S., putting it in position to overtake State Street (NYSE:STT) in the #2 spot in ETF business.
    •'s Dave Nadig calls it a "victory of Vanilla" story, noting that for all of the low-vol, currency hedging, and smart beta strategies, core product offerings with broad exposure to stock and bond markets continue to dominate inflows.
    | Comment!
  • 11:25 AM
    • The IRS more than a year ago challenged FIrst Marblehead's (FMD +43.6%) taking of about $220M in tax refunds, causing a cratering in the stock, but today the company announces the government has dropped that challenge.
    • Source: Press Release
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  • 11:05 AM
    • The four office properties at Maitland Center totaled 589K square feet and sold for $116.75M.
    • The move is consistent with Liberty's (LPT +0.3%) strategy to stick with industrial properties in Orlando, and the company notes it's broken ground on two buildings there totaling 370K square feet.
    • Source: Press Release
    | Comment!
  • 11:01 AM
    • The eight senior housing communities are leased to Senior Living Communities and will continued to be managed by a SLC affiliate. The 15-year master lease equates to an initial gross cash yield of 6.51%, with annual escalators of 4% in years 2-4, and 3% thereafter.
    • The purchase was funded with proceeds from an equity raise and borrowings on the company revolver.
    • Source: Press Release (Dec. 17, 2014)
    • Previously: National Health Investors purchases portfolio for $476M (Dec. 2, 2014)
    • NHI flat on the session
    | Comment!
  • 10:45 AM
    • The electric car maker backed by Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) began tumbling in Hong Kong at about 2 PM local time, and were lower by as much as 47% within an hour before closing down by 29%.
    • Board secretary John Li dismissed various rumors on a conference call, including one that Chairman Wang Chuanfu had been arrested in London. He also said the company has no indication The Oracle has reduced his stake.
    | 1 Comment
  • 10:25 AM
    • Barclays is buying the dip in Ares Capital - upgrading to Overweight from Equal Weight - but the also-beaten-up shares of Prospect Capital (PSEC +2.8%) don't prove as enticing to the team, which downgrades to Equal Weight from Overweight.
    • Prospect is making a nice move higher in line with the rest of the market, and Ares is up a full 4.7%.
  • 10:18 AM
    • An earlier report had the NY Department of Financial Services and the CFPB investigating Ocwen for gaming short sale rules to boost its fees, so today's big rally in stocks is providing no relief to the battered shares of Altisource Portfolio Solutions (ASPS -5.4%), Altisource Asset Management (AAMC -4.8%) and Altisource Residential (RESI -1.7%).
    | Comment!
  • 10:09 AM
    • "We believe that American Express' (AXP +2%) recent broader inclusion initiatives are likely to take some time to develop and that top-line growth is likely to be constrained in the near term," says Jefferies, initiating coverage with a Hold and $95 price target.
    • Initiatives like OptBlue and Serve look good over the longer-term, but come at a short-term cost which is likely to weigh on results in coming quarters. The $95 price target equates to about 15x the firm's 2016 EPS estimate - a warranted discount to peers thanks to AmEx's smaller scale and lower merchant acceptance, as well as credit risk exposure.
    • Previously: AmEx initiated with Overweight rating at Morgan Stanley (Dec. 17, 2014)
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  • 9:56 AM
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  • 9:52 AM
    • Macerich (MAC -0.1%) is the only mall REIT in the red in early action after being MLV & Co. rings the register, downgrading to Hold from Buy with the $80 price target unchanged. Earlier this week Citi also pulled its Buy rating on the stock.
    • Macerich is ahead about 40% this year, with much of the gain coming since Labor Day.
    | Comment!
  • 9:38 AM
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