Whack-a-Mole Real Estate Market; China to Assume Global Lead in Oil Imports by 2017; Canada Doesn’t Want to Stay on Target

Whack-a-Mole Real Estate Market (Bloomberg)

For real estate investors, trying to get a handle on where the next surge in home value will be is a lot like playing the old state fair stand-by: Whack-a-Mole. You remember that game don’t you? A player stands with an inflatable hammer in front of a board with something like 20 holes in it. As “moles” pop out of the holes randomly, you bash them on the head to score points. As the moles come at you faster, you miss more and the game ultimately ends. Well, in this real estate market, the entire United States is your board, and you’re allowed far fewer misses, lest you go broke. Today, Las Vegas and Phoenix — two areas hit hardest by the crash — are the new moles, with property values doubling or more in three months. So, are you loading up your hammer to swing at another mole? You better be right, since you’re playing for stakes much bigger than a stuffed animal.

China to Assume Global Lead in Oil Imports by 2017 (Reuters)

Fueled by rising demand from more drivers on the road, China will surpass the United States in oil imports by 2017, according to the Wood Mackenzie consultancy. By 2020, the world’s second-largest economy is expected to spend $500 billion on crude imports, blowing away the former high of $335 billion set by the United States. The same study also predicts U.S. oil imports will fall to $160 billion by 2020, as shale output replaces imports. For commodities investors, that’s good news, since it sustains demand for at least the next seven years. But what will be the best way to invest outside of commodities: the oil companies themselves, auto manufacturers, a pure China play? As the answer emerges, we’ll let you know.

Canada Doesn’t Want to Stay on Target (CBCNews)

Five months ago, it seemed like a no-brainer for Target to expand northward into Canada. It’s just “America lite,” right? Wrong, according to a survey by Forum Research. In fact, the ubiquitous U.S. retailer has fallen to last place in customer satisfaction, scoring only 27 percent in terms of customers “very satisfied” with the stores. That’s down from 32 percent “very satisfied” customers when Target opened its doors in the spring. With Q2 earnings for Target to be reported Wednesday, investors are hoping that revenues and profits don’t miss guidance by too much.