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  • Writer's pictureRealFacts Editorial Team

RealFacts Investor Report

Updated: Apr 11

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This Week’s Topics

ECONOMIC TRENDS - for more information, read our weekly economic report.

March Jobs Data Blows Analyst Expectations Out of the Water

The March Jobs report exceeded Wall Street economists' expectations with an unexpected surge of new jobs, the largest increase in about a year, compared to what they had predicted. These jobs contributed to a drop in the unemployment rate to 3.8%, the longest stretch below 4% since the 1960s. Wages also saw growth, contradicting economists' predictions of a slowdown due to rising interest rates. Despite the strong data, some economists maintain a bearish outlook.

Apple Shifts Gear: From Electric Cars to Home Robots

Apple has shifted its focus from electric vehicles to personal home robots, following the closure of its electric car project, as reported by Bloomberg. Engineers are now working on developing a home robot and a tabletop device with robotics, emphasizing Apple's commitment to integrating advanced technology into consumers' lives. See how this strategic pivot aligns with Apple's efforts to expand its hardware offerings and delve deeper into artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Trump IPOs a New Stock (NYSE: DJT) to Raise Capital for his Bail Bond

Donald Trump initiated an IPO (NYSE: DJT) for his social media platform, Truth Social, to raise funds for a $454 million bail bond amidst legal scrutiny for alleged fraudulent real estate dealings. With Trump owning 40% of DJT's shares, investors are cautious about his intentions, especially considering his past bankruptcy.

STOCKS - for more information, read our weekly stock market report.

The Bitcoin Halving: Everything Investors Need to Know

Bitcoin has surged in popularity as an investment representing a 43% increase since the beginning of the year. Every four years, Bitcoin undergoes a halving event, reducing the reward for miners by half, with the upcoming halving expected to occur on April 16th. Understanding the implications of Bitcoin halving is crucial for assessing its long-term value and investment potential in disrupting traditional financial systems.

Trading Around Consumer Weakness: Strategies for Investors

Consumer spending in 2023 remained robust despite challenges such as high Fed rates, rising debt burdens, and delinquencies, posing uncertainties for investors in 2024. While consumer spending grew, concerns arose with a surge in credit card delinquencies and total debt. The Fed's interest rate hike exacerbated the situation, pushing credit card interest rates and mortgage delinquency rates up. Although household debt as a percentage of GDP hit a 20-year low, the personal savings rate plummeted to 3.6%, raising concerns about financial stability in case of emergencies.

Global Economic Status

Globally, China shows signs of economic recovery, while Japan and South Korea see less optimism for 2024. In the US, 50% of consumers express confidence in a better economy in 2024 than in 2023. Additionally, global economic updates include stable interest rates in Australia, falling inflation in the Eurozone, robust manufacturing activity in the US, and a widened trade surplus in Canada.

The European Central Bank Wants to Cut Rates. Why U.S. Investors Should Watch

The European Central Bank's plan to cut rates could strengthen the American dollar, prompting attention from U.S. investors. If European banks cut rates more aggressively than the Fed, it may further boost the Dollar Index, which has already risen by 3.5% this year. A UK rate cut could happen as soon as August, impacting currency exchanges, global trading, and influencing global money flows toward European markets.

Oil Prices Soar Amidst Geopolitical Turmoil: A Delicate Balancing Act in Global Energy Markets

The recent surge in oil prices to their highest level since October underscores the delicate balance between geopolitical tensions and global energy markets. Escalating tensions in the Middle East and Eastern Europe have driven significant gains in oil prices. Heightened geopolitical risks, including potential indirect Iranian involvement in the Middle East and Ukraine's drone attack on a Russian oil refinery in Tatarstan, have disrupted the usual price range of Brent futures. The incident in Tatarstan highlights the vulnerability of energy infrastructure during geopolitical unrest, emphasizing the interconnectedness of energy security and global stability.

Cyclical Stocks: What They Are And Why They’re Hot Right Now

Cyclical stocks, whose performance correlates with economic conditions, encompass industries like car manufacturers, home goods, dining, hotels, and materials providers, thriving during robust economic growth. Analysts anticipate continued gains and earnings growth in cyclical stocks and ETFs, especially among raw materials providers, as the economy rebounds, potentially leading to increased profit margins and sustained growth.

Disney Prevails Over Activist Investor Nelson Peltz in Proxy Battle

Disney successfully defended against activist investor Nelson Peltz's bid for board seats, with CEO Bob Iger securing support from both retail and institutional investors. Major shareholders like BlackRock and T. Rowe Price backed Disney, frustrating Peltz's plan. However, the proxy battle highlights ongoing concerns regarding Disney's streaming profitability timeline and succession plan for Iger, who intends to step down in 2026.

Wall Street Earnings Analysts Estimate Lag

Wall Street analysts have been cautious in raising earnings estimates despite the market rally, according to Kevin Nicholson, the global fixed-income CIO and Partner at Riverfront Investment Group. The reluctance stems from the dominance of mega-cap tech earnings, leading to concerns about overvaluation and a potential market downturn fueled by a "sugar high." Analysts like Morgan Stanley's Mike Wilson and JP Morgan's Mislav Matejka maintain conservative estimates.

Skydance's Unconventional Bid: Redefining Paramount Global's Future

Skydance Media's unconventional bid for National Amusements and a potential merger with Paramount Pictures is reshaping Paramount Global's future, challenging shareholders to weigh the offer's appeal against maintaining the status quo. Details remain undisclosed, but sources suggest a unique takeover approach, allowing Paramount Global to retain public trading status while Skydance, RedBird Capital Partners, and KKR acquire a significant stake.

US Treasuries Push Higher

US Treasuries experienced a notable surge early in the week, with the 10-year Treasury Yield surpassing 4.4% for the first time in months, coinciding with a modest market decline. Bloomberg's Romaine Bostick pointed out that this increase has effectively eliminated the equity risk premium, marking the most negative level since 2002. These observations indicate a potential shift in investor preference towards relatively stable treasury and corporate bond yields over the volatile stock market, particularly if the Federal Reserve refrains from rate cuts in June, possibly leading to capital withdrawal from equities and a feared market correction.

REAL ESTATE - for more information, read our weekly real estate report.

Blackstone To Buy Apartment REIT For $10B

Blackstone's $10 billion acquisition of Apartment Income REIT Corp. (AIR Communities) signals confidence in the multifamily sector. Offering a 25% premium on AIR Communities' closing price, the deal includes assuming all debt and acquiring 76 rental communities. Nadeem Meghji, Blackstone Real Estate's global co-head, highlights the quality of the acquired assets.

Interest Rate Drops Will Not Solve CRE Problems

David Frosh, a prominent figure in commercial real estate (CRE), warns against banking solely on interest rate drops to solve industry challenges. Instead, he emphasizes the broader issue of capital scarcity in debt markets. Real estate equity remains relatively strong, but private credit funds eye distressed assets. Frosh advises investors to adapt strategies amid capital scarcity, emphasizing prudent decision-making and strategic refinancing.

The Wall of Maturities Morphs into the Wave of Modifications

Loan modifications in commercial real estate debt surged in 2023, doubling compared to the previous year. These modifications, alterations to loan terms, helped borrowers avoid default and lenders delay property actions. While the long-term implications remain uncertain, many view these modifications as unsustainable, potentially delaying an inevitable market correction as $210 billion in securitized maturities loom for 2024.

Data Center Asking Rents are Soaring

Amidst the digital expansion era, data centers have emerged as key players in the real estate market, witnessing unprecedented demand. Industry reports highlight soaring rental rates and intense leasing competition in major markets like Silicon Valley and Northern Virginia. Despite a construction frenzy, vacancy rates are hitting record lows, giving landlords significant negotiating power. Unlike traditional assets, data centers offer stable returns and long-term demand visibility, making them attractive to investors seeking portfolio diversification.

Here's what tenants need to know about Biden's plan to cap rent hikes for some affordable housing units

The Biden administration recently introduced a new rule capping rent hikes for certain affordable housing units, aiming to alleviate the burden of rising rents on low-income tenants. Despite ongoing debates about its benefits and drawbacks, the intervention highlights the urgent need to address housing affordability issues affecting millions of Americans.

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