China???s Economic Growth Misses Mark in April (CNBC)
China???s HSBC Production Manager???s Index (PMI) fell to 50.5 last month, underperforming analysts??? estimates of 51.5. PMI measures the confidence of managers in China???s production facilities. A score of 50 or more indicates economic growth, while anything under 50 means contraction. While the 50.5 figure is technically above that key level, April???s 50.5 score is also down from March???s 51.6. Missing by just 1 point may not signify much to certain observers. But Tim Condon, head of research for ING, said, ???It???s a big miss. Confidence in the outlook for China has really diminished, particularly after the first quarter data.??? This PM score follows on the heels of China having to drop its expected growth rate to 7.7 from 7.9 last month. Clearly, if you???re thinking about investing in China, hold that thought???
The Only Thing Related to Government That???s Shrinking (Bloomberg)
Driving into Washington, D.C., may give investors the idea that the real estate markets — both commercial and private — are booming, as you???ll see no fewer than nine sky cranes on any given day. But that idea would be wrong. According to Bloomberg.com, the Washington metro area is one of the only ones in the country to register a decrease in rentals — as much as 2 percent in some areas. The only other major U.S. market to record a drop is Detroit. In evidence of the D.C. area???s slide, real estate holding trusts like Equity Residential (EQR) are selling buildings into that market, even as competition supposedly booms. Decreases in job growth and sequestration cuts are to blame, in part. The rest of the dip simply may be due to over-estimating the market???s need. Whatever the case, look for the number of high-rise cranes to diminish in the coming months???
And this Year???s Largest Retail Takeover Bid Goes to??? (YahooFinance.com)
If you???re a retail investor in East Asia, the game just got a little easier, thanks to industry contraction. CP All, the operator of 7-11 stores owned by billionaire Dhanin Chearavanont, announced today that it would pay more than $6.6 billion ($188.34 baht) for the Siam Makro discount retail chain in Thailand. The deal will be will be executed in two steps. First, CP All will pay the $6.6 billion for shares of Siam Makro, which runs a 57-site membership club; second, five small frozen food shops will be turned over in the deal. This deal marks the largest takeover in Asia this year — and the largest in the retail sector worldwide. In the deal, Siam Makro???s current stock owners will receive a 15.4 percent premium