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I'm an individual investor and trader. I'm currently retired. My professional work experience has been in commercial real estate, working for a major supermarket company and for an urban development corporation. Bear_Mkt is my pseudonym -- bear seems to be my usual investing view. Don't take... More
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Dollar Crisis
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  • Empire State Building REIT IPO - ESB / (FSBO, FXR, BRK, ELV, DRMN, RVR VU)

    The owners of the Empire State Building are doing an IPO, tossing in a few other Manhattan properties into the pot. The REIT will be split-ownered, so the current owners will control the REIT through the B-shares. (Must have read the Facebook IPO prospectus.) The Empire State Realty Trust will trade as ESB.

    Revenue is about $156 million and earnings about $71 million versus a $1 billion IPO size. The sellers expect to put $200 million into renovations over the next year. About $500 million went into the Empire State already.

    My spin: Likely will be a hot seller on the basis of the name alone. As an investment, maybe long-term rather than short. Reports are that the Empire State building is 99% tenanted. As the marketing of ESB begins, we'll be reading a lot of Realtor fluff about "New York's booming real estate market." And don't forget HUGE European and Asian demand for New York City property!

    Just remember last week's news was about a new mid-town office tower that is mostly vacant: 11 Times Square, which is 60% vacant. Prudential has taken a write-down on it.

    The legendary 666 Fifth Avenue, the 1.8 billion dollar boon-doggle that sold just before real estate crashed in 2007, is 30% vacant. Its owners have done a re-structuring that is hailed as a model of modern real estate finance. In Florida, a reduction of principal and a cut in interest rates would be called a homeowner default. But the NY Times isn't writing the copy for the Florida papers.

    As the world in general and finance in particular downsizes and moves to cheaper real estate in Jersey City or goes on-line, how much pricey Manhattan office space do you really need?

    Just my opinion.


    Empire State Building owner files for $1 bln IPO

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Feb 14 6:41 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Earnings Resources + The Next Apple? (TOOT, AAPL)

    I usually get blindsided by earnings announcements. Reuters offers a list of earnings by day for the next 7 days. It's a nice list to go through every night. It's on their main page. Mouse over the "Business" tab and " Earnings" appears on the drop down menu. Click it for the 7-day list.

    Speaking of menus (nice segue, thank you) the Reuters earnings list allows you to click on and investigate the listed companies. I like to click on the unfamiliar ones. You never know where you'll find the next Apple.

    Speaking of Apple, (nice segue again, thank you) I found an odd name, "Tootie Pies" An impoverished youth left me with a great fascination with food. So I clicked.

    Now, who would name a company "Tootie Pies?" Apparently a company in Texas known for its apple pies, originally baked by someone nick-named - you guessed it, Tootie.

    Tootie Pies trades for $0.40, a bit under Apple. So far a chuckle. But like the other Apple, Tootie Pie apple pies have been selling like, well, iPhones. Sales in their 5 cafes have gone up 23% since last year. Two more cafes are on the way. And they have reported 23 consecutive months of increasing sales.

    At those rates, chart freaks can start calculating which will happen first, an iPhone in everyone's pocket or a Tootie's apple pie on everyone's dinner table. Tootie's reports 4Q2011 on Wednesday

    No position in either of the two apples, TOOT or AAPL, but darn it, now I'm hungry.

    Just my opinion.

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Feb 14 2:46 AM | Link | Comment!
  • The Bull Market Is Here - Load Up On Stocks - Before Its Too Late!

    Almost a full day today, I was treated to non-stop bullishness on Bloomberg Radio. Opening up in the morning with commentary recycled every 10 minutes about how almost every bourse world-wide is nearly in bull territory, up 20%, from the lows of -- was it just October of last year.

    Followed by the head of BlackRock, a bond guy yet, telling everybody the only way to go was 100% stocks. Followed in the afternoon by a respected chartist, Louise Yamada, reputed to read every chart in the world. Yamada, usually bearish, was sounding very bullish. Noises are even emanating from Roubini's camp.

    Not only that but we have --

    -- The return of the dot-com bubble in which Facebook will be the next Apple or is it the next MySpace, dull thud. A truly long term investment, Facebook is on track to have 3 or 4 times the number of users that the world has people.

    -- The reappearance of speculation in the form of IPO stocks like debt-laden Caesar's, up 71% in a day. They floated only 1.4% of the shares. Shares traded were 600% of - 6 times - the offering. Apparently under rules of the game hedge fund operators and other investors were allowed to unload shares. Whether they did so is not clear. Caveat emptor

    -- Caesar's is a double-bubble, involving the other C-word, China. Sorry, I should call it by its official Wall Street name "Invest in Booming China." CZR's not operating in China (one casino on the way), but it might build 24 casinos. So some of CZR's IPO pop might be on the China hope. Sounds like the dot-com bubble.

    -- Locally, I notice a few testimonials on the message boards about how untold riches have been earned in the market. Likely to pull in those late to the party who look forlornly at 0% on their CD's and gas at $3.50.

    -- The mysterious disappearance (and perhaps abduction and killing) of an old friend from last year, volatility. Remember those weeks of up 3%, down 4%, up 3%, etc. All gone. Poof. It's just up a steady 0.5% a day every day, right?

    -- A market that ignores bad news. Who needs Greece when Costco sells $8.99 platters of baklava. And heck, who needs jobs or senior citizens when the nouveau riche 30-year-olds are snapping up the $60,000 LandRovers? (Another Bloomberg tid-bit)

    -- A Fed that's guaranteed low rates as far as the eye can see. Don't fight the Fed. They engineered the dot-com and the housing bubbles and haven't lost their touch.

    In short we have a very happy world. No one's been tossed to the lions lately.

    My spin: No charts, no fundamentals. No nothin', know nothin'. Just a queasy feeling in my stomach that the rally's gone too far too fast and will pause.

    And Caesar? Just remember what the gladiators said to Caesar in the Coliseum: "Hail, Caesar. Those who are about to die salute you." The lions haven't lost their appetite. Invest accordingly.

    Just my opinion.


    Fink: Investors Should Be 100% in Equities

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Feb 08 11:28 PM | Link | Comment!
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