Our House … In The Middle Of Wall Street
Analysts wear their Sunday best. Jim Cramer’s tired, he needs a rest. Retail investors are playing downstairs.
Great Ones sighing in their sleep. Others have a date to keep — they can’t hang around.
Our housing market … in the middle of Wall Street.
Yes, we’re talking about the housing market again today. No, I don’t want to hear any groaning or moaning. If you’ve been keeping up with your daily Great Stuff, y’all already know how serious this situation could become.
And no, I’m not predicting another 2008 financial crisis. But you can certainly imagine one from where we’re sitting right now.
More exaggeration, Great Stuff. This is nothing like 2008. Quit sensationalizing the lamestream media!
I honestly wish I were sensationalizing. Let’s take a look at the latest data out of the housing market, shall we? According to the latest data from real estate brokerage firm Redfin, home sale cancellations spiked to their highest levels since April 2020 — when COVID-19 lockdowns canceled deals left and right. Some 60,000 home sales hit the rocks last month, accounting for 15% of all housing transactions.
Now, home sale cancellations aren’t a new thing. In fact, during the housing boom of June 2021, roughly 11% of all home sales were canceled.
But it isn’t just rising cancellations. It’s 40-year-high inflation. It’s soaring mortgage rates. It’s slowing home sales. It’s slowing new-home construction. It’s still-rising home prices.
It’s all of these things and more combining together to form some perverse anti-Voltron — destroyer of the housing market. OK, that’s a bit over the top … but you get the point.
Investors and analysts alike will look at each of these data points individually and say things like: “It’s not that bad right now,” or “We’ve seen worse,” or “It’s different this time!”
Here’s a little secret: It’s always different this time … until it isn’t.
You can’t look at all of the information coming out of the U.S. housing market and tell me everything is just fine … that we aren’t heading for at least a considerable correction in the housing market … or that, after the past two years of homebuying frenzy, we don’t badly need a correction.
I mean, the median price of homes sold in the U.S. hit $428,700 this year. By comparison, median U.S. weekly earnings were $1,037 in Q1. That works out to just $53,924 annually — before taxes.
In other words, median U.S. home prices are nearly 800% of median U.S. income. Saying “That’s ridiculous” is an understatement.
But … but, it is different this time! Banks caused the 2008 crash, and they’re just fine!
True, banks were a problem back in 2008. And they seem to be faring better this time. But then, the Federal Reserve only just started quantitative tightening — that’s a fancy term for the Fed cutting back on spending and money printing.
In short, banks, hedge funds and the like won’t have as much support from the Fed going forward now. Which shouldn’t be a problem, unless credit default swaps (CDS) make a comeback. Oh … wait:
Spreads on five-year credit default swaps (CDS) of JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Bank of America peaked to fresh two-year highs on Thursday.
That’s old news from mid-June. Nothing to see here, right?
For better or worse, we’re about to see just how resilient banks are right now, as a veritable flood of quarterly earnings reports from the banking sector will hit Wall Street on Friday.
And these reports, I think, will give us more insight into just how stable (or unstable) the U.S. housing market and financial system really are.
Until then, let’s forget about the housing market … ‘tis a silly place.
What if I were to tell you that while most investors are losing their shirts in the stock market bloodbath, millionaire trader Andrew Keene is busy capturing top returns of 66.46% … 78.57% … and even 95%?
Yet when asked “How?” He simply responded with: “Wiretapping.”
According to Andrew, this is the secret to his nest egg fortune and the same method he used to cash in a jaw-dropping fortune during the 2008 crisis.
It’s simply an obscure trading strategy Keene has mastered that allows him to see where the big-money insiders are putting their money before the stock explodes.
Going: On Buyouts & Back-Outs
Y’all have probably all seen it by now — the news that absolutely no one was surprised by. Elon Musk is backing out of the Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) deal … or trying to, at least.
Remember last month when Musk uncharacteristically stayed hush over the Twitter deal, instead seeking advice from his lawyers? Everyone predicted this would end up in court … and lookee, here we are.
Is it over that “spam bot” thing?
Oh, you better believe it is. Y’all know how much Elon wanted to use the widely speculated bot figures as a bargaining chip. Y’all know that he had no qualms with the privacy concerns or intellectual property problems that’d ensue from Twitter providing direct information on the matter.
And yet, as Musk Man and his band of Lawyery Men claim:
Twitter has failed or refused to provide this information. Sometimes Twitter has ignored Mr. Musk’s requests, sometimes it has rejected them for reasons that appear to be unjustified, and sometimes it has claimed to comply while giving Mr. Musk incomplete or unusable information.
So … that’s one side of the story. A biased one, yes, but one side.
As for Twitter’s side of the story, the social media company is confident it could win in court — I mean, is anyone going to court going to say otherwise? — with the goal of forcing Elon to carry through with the buyout. And there’s nothing more they’re saying ‘bout that. Not until a judge is in the room.
You might be asking yourself at this point: “Hey, wait a sec! Didn’t Elon agree to buy Twitter ‘as-is’ and waive his right for due diligence in the deal?” And I might be saying: “Gee, what a very specifically worded question that would make for a great segue.”
Musk’s lawyers say “nay nay” on the due diligence speculation:
Despite public speculation on this point, Mr. Musk did not waive his right to review Twitter’s data and information simply because he chose not to seek this data and information before entering into the Merger Agreement.
Ah, the “nuh-uh” defense. My favorite. But we’ve all seen that particular part of the contract that Musk signed giving up his right to due diligence. What Musk’s lawyers are really saying is that Twitter lied to the SEC and shareholders.
That’s gonna be a really hard point to prove, no matter how many memes Elon shares on Twitter. I wonder if he knows that the Chuck Norris memes are not actually real?
What’s more, Musk’s lawyers also posit that the Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) CEO negotiated the contract such that he could review important business data and information before signing off on the deal. This is true, but it’s also true that Musk agreed to pay $1 billion if the deal didn’t go through … and he’s using the bot thing as a Hail Mary to avoid doing that too.
(You know, the bot thing he said he was buying Twitter to clean up in the first place? Sigh…)
Now we have both sides of the story, but as far as the actual story? The truth? That’s for the Delaware courts to decide. Meanwhile, Twitter stock is crashing — hard. This has led Musk to lament over the “company’s declining business prospects and financial outlook” on Twitter.
But … Elon. You are the company’s declining business prospect.
Going: Shocked. Appalled. Flabbergasted.
This just in: Companies like to lobby politicians. Who knew?
The company in question? Uber Technologies (NYSE: UBER) … you know, the same folks who funded and backed California’s gig worker propositions?
Reporters at The Guardian and Le Monde are alleging that Uber “flouted laws” and tried to lobby politicians as part of its expansion into Europe.
Why, oh, why am I unsurprised by all this “news” today?
It gets better … or worse, rather. Because these are no mere allegations: The investigation has resulted in a dossier of 124,000 documents detailing Uber’s dealings. The “Uber Files,” which sounds like the dullest X-Files spinoff imaginable, sparked outrage and sent UBER stock plummeting 5% today.
Now, there are a few ways a public company can navigate a public relations nightmare — though, when your news feed has anything involving Elon and Twitter, public relations “nightmare” is a relative term.
You could dodge the rumors. You could deny them outright. You could accept the rumors head-on but still try and calm down investors. Or just ignore the problem and hope it goes away.
But for Uber, a company that literally relies on the working public to work for pennies and peanuts, there are even fewer ways to handle such public relations rumors. So what does Uber do? A mix of every available option, it turns out.
OK, yes, it’s true: Uber lobbied politicians. But that was, like, way back in 2013! And by 2017, Uber had supposedly ended its European political shenanigans!
Besides, there’s new leadership at the helm, and 90% of the current workforce started after he took over … which, for CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, means Uber is literally a different company.
I’m going to try that should I ever end up accused of a crime: Your Honor, I am a completely different person now than I was when I tried to bribe that undercover police officer. Like, literally, 90% of the cells in my body are new since then.
I don’t think that would fly at all. But what does it really matter? In all seriousness?
Uber customers are going to Uber for as long as it’s cheap and convenient for them. Uber drivers know the company’s not as driver-friendly as it claims to be … but will continue driving as long as it’s convenient for them. UBER investors, on the other hand…
Unless you bought UBER right at the heart of the pandemic crash — as in March 20, 2020 — you’re underwater right now. Period. What’s a little more gasoline on the bonfire?
Gone: Alibaba’s Black Sheep
Jeez, Great Stuff. So much ugliness out there today. The housing market is grim. Elon’s being Elon. Uber is more politically active than it probably should be. Next you’re gonna tell me that China’s cracking down on tech again.
Ummm… Do you want the good news or the not-so-good news first?
The not-so-good news is that, yes, China is back on the tech crackdown wagon again. This time, it’s harsh penalty fines for tech companies found “improperly reporting past deals.” Among the fined and penalized are Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) and Tencent (OTC: TCEHY).
Now, why do I get the feeling that what the Chinese government considers “improper” changes on a whim?
If you’re still — still — invested in Chinese stocks, you shouldn’t be awfully surprised by this turn of events. You’ve suffered from the constant threat of further tech regulation in China … and delisting of Chinese stocks stateside.
It’s clear that things aren’t completely ironed out as far as China’s tech sector is concerned. BABA investors know it, and the stock tumbled about 9% today after the penalty announcement.
Wait, didn’t you say there was some good news?
Oh yeah, thanks for the reminder!
Huzzah: Thanks to “olfactory heritage scientists” and advanced AI programming, researchers can finally recreate lost smells. advanced AI programming, researchers can finally recreate lost smells. Yes, I am serious … and that’s an actual job title.
The secret is using AI to … uhh, “scrape” … historical documents and even paintings. Ever wanted to know what the age of industrialization smelled like? Or disease-fighting perfumes? Are you a “nose witness” to long-lost smells? Your time has come at last.
So, humanity’s got that going for it … which is nice.
What are your thoughts on the housing market, Elon’s Twitter escapades and Uber’s life of lobbying? Inquiring minds want to know! So drop us a line at GreatStuffToday@BanyanHill.com and spill your guts. (Remember to clean up afterwards, please.)
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Editor, Great Stuff