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The author Wolf Richter
Wolf Richter
Founder, Wolf Street Corp. In his cynical, tongue-in-cheek manner, he muses on WOLF STREET about economic, business, and financial issues, Wall Street shenanigans, complex entanglements, and other things, debacles, and opportunities that catch his eye in the US, Europe, Japan, and occasionally China.

Wolf Street

Cut the Price and They Will Come: New House Prices Drop to December 2014 Level

So Sales Finally Tick Up. Home builders, the ultimate pros in the housing market, have figured out something after the malaise in the second half last year: Cut prices and buyers will come. The median selling price of new houses dropped 9.7% in March from March last year to $302,700, the Commerce Department reported this morning. This took the price back to about where it had first been in December 2014 ($301,500): Homebuilders are motivated to move their speculative inventory....

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Stock-Market Margin Debt, after Plunging in Q4, Has Not Bounced Back Despite S&P 500 Historic Surge

Leery investors? During the ugliest October in the stock market that anyone could remember, a nasty November, and a brutal pre-Christmas December, margin debt plunged by $94 billion, the deepest three-month plunge since Q4 2008, after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. That’s how it usually happens, whether out of fear or forced selling via margin calls: When the stock market plunges, margin debt plunges with it, either resulting from the stock market plunge or adding force to the...

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Lower Mortgage Rates No Relief for US Home Sales

There is plenty of supply, but it’s the wrong supply, priced too high. Across the US, hot and cold housing markets all thrown into one bucket: Sales of “existing homes” (single-family houses, townhouses, condos, and co-ops) in March dropped 5.4% from March last year, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.21 million homes, according to the National Association of Realtors, after having dropped 2.3% year-over-year in February, 8.7% in January, 10.1% in December, and 8.9% in November...

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My Responses to “Will Interest Rates Ever Rise Again” & Other Hot Questions with Some Hilarious Results

Wolf Richter on the Keiser Report. “I saw Willem Dafoe impersonating Wolf on a podcast,” said WOLF STREET commenter QQQBall so aptly earlier today after seeing yours truly on the Keiser Report. This is about the funniest show I’ve ever been in, with Max Keiser at his funniest best. At the same time, we’re tackling big and not so big themes. Enjoy. Enjoy reading WOLF STREET and want to support it? Using ad blockers – I totally get why – but want to support the site?...

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THE WOLF STREET REPORT

Can the US Government Just Keep Piling on Debt? The government already owes over $22 trillion, and it’s adding over $1 trillion a year. Who is buying it, and why? (12 min). You can also listen to it on YouTube and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Enjoy reading WOLF STREET and want to support it? Using ad blockers – I totally get why – but want to support the site? You can donate “beer money.” I appreciate it immensely. Click on the beer mug to find out how: Would...

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London Home Prices Had Biggest Monthly Drop Since Lehman

February was bad. Housing market weakness is now spreading out from London. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. London home prices in February took their biggest one-off hit since the dark days of the last crisis, according to data published Thursday by the UK’s Office of National Statistics. The average price of a residential property in London tumbled 2% in February from January, the sharpest monthly drop since November 2008, when the City was grappling...

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California’s Housing Bubble Counts on Blistering Population Growth, But it’s Fizzling

Los Angeles population drops, San Francisco & Silicon Valley population rises least since 2010, North Bay’s population drops. The housing market in California with its sky-high home prices depends on blistering population growth. So here we go. The population of Los Angeles County, at 10.1 million, declined by about 13,200 people (-0.1%) in the 12 months through July 1, 2018, according to the Census Bureau’s new estimates. It was the second year in a row of year-over-year declines....

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Retail’s Existential Threat? Private Equity Firms

A “bust out” is a fraud tactic used in the organized crime world wherein a business’s assets and lines of credit are exploited and exhausted to the point of bankruptcy — Wikipedia. By John E. McNellis, Principal at McNellis Partners, for The Registry: Bleeding badly, Debenhams, a 200 year old British department store chain, died last week. The coroner trotted out the usual suspects — the internet, the oversupply of retail, rising rents, tighter margins and, at the end of the dreary...

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Here Are Sears Holding’s Five “Fraudulent Transfers” and Why “Culpable Insiders” Lampert, Mnuchin, et. al Got Sued

Greed and scheming. The team that is picking through what is left of bankrupt Sears Holding Corp. has filed a lawsuit today against former CEO Eddie Lampert, his hedge fund ESL, Seritage Growth Properties, Bruce Berkowitz of Fairholme Capital Management, and various directors of ESL and Sears, such as US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who was an executive at ESL and a director of Sears Holding, serving on its Finance Committee. The lawsuit (110-page court document) alleges that...

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Threat of Contagion to Eurozone from Spanish Banks’ Huge Bet on Emerging Markets: UBS

Spanish banks expanded aggressively into Emerging Markets to flee the consequences of the euro debt crisis. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. UBS has alerted that Spanish banks’ outsized exposure to Latin American markets could serve as a source of contagion for future crises: 80% of the Eurozone’s total banking exposure to the region is channeled through Spain whose banks have around €384 billion of counterparty claims in the region. A ‘shock’ in...

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