1. Fischer Worries Fed Can’t Head Off or Contain Financial Crisis “Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer sounds concerned that the central bank may lack some key tools needed both to prevent another financial crisis and to contain the fallout should one occur. He told the American Economic Association on Sunday that the Fed is not as well-equipped with regulatory powers to rein in housing and other asset bubbles as some other central banks.” (Bloomberg)
  2. Blackstone’s Byron Wien Unveils His Big Surprises for 2016 “For the 31st year in a row, Blackstone's vice chairman and investing guru Byron Wien has released his 10 surprises for the year. These are things Wien believes have a better-than-50% chance of happening, but the average investor anticipates a less than 30% likelihood of occurring. For the 31st year in a row, Blackstone's vice chairman and investing guru Byron Wien has released his 10 surprises for the year.” (Business Insider)
  3. Legg Mason is in Exclusive Talks to Buy Clarion Partners “Legg Mason Inc., the global asset manager, is in exclusive talks to buy a majority stake in real estate investment specialist Clarion Partners LLC in a deal that would value the company at about $850 million, people with knowledge of the matter said. Under the terms being discussed, Baltimore-based Legg Mason would buy 80 percent of the company from existing owner Lightyear Capital, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.” (Bloomberg)
  4. Construction Spending Dips 0.4% in November “U.S. construction spending sank 0.4% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.12 trillion, the Commerce Department reported Monday. That was well below the 0.9% gain expected by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. The October increase, originally reported as 1.0%, was revised down to 0.3%, although the level was revised up as the Commerce Department revised 10 years’ worth of data to account for a processing error.” (MarketWatch)
  5. Trump and His Debts: A Narrow Escape “In 1990, Mr. Trump, though known publicly as financially savvy and very rich, was in deep financial trouble. He and his companies owed $3.4 billion and couldn’t make the payments. That posed the risk of lenders seizing his hotels, casinos and other assets. One way to gauge the kind of president he might be is to examine his business career, and particularly how he dealt with its biggest crisis.” (Wall Street Journal)
  6. China Slowdown to Hit Luxury Real Estate “Luxury prices for the world's major cities are expected to slow by nearly half this year, from 3 percent in 2015 to 1.7 percent in 2016, according to the latest Knight Frank Prime Cities Forecast. The report said China's economic slowdown is mainly to blame, although rising rates in the U.S. and a slowdown in other emerging markets will also add to the headwinds.” (CNBC)
  7. Forest City Enterprises Completes REIT Conversion “Forest City Enterprises completed its transformation into Forest City Realty Trust, granting the Cleveland-based investment firm and developer status as a real estate investment trust. Having first announced its intention to convert to a REIT 12 months ago, Forest City received the necessary shareholder approval at a special meeting in October. Forest City Enterprises now survives as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Forest City Realty Trust, the company said, with the transformation effective as of 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31.” (The Real Deal)
  8. What’s Barnes & Noble’s Next Chapter? “Wall Street is betting on better times for Barnes & Noble, whose shares have plunged about 61 percent over the past year. The stock bucked Monday's sell-off, rising more than 5 percent to $9.18 in 2016's first day of trading. And analysts have an average 52-week price target of $17.50 on the stock, almost double its current value. Heading into Black Friday, the chain's comparable-store sales, a key retail metric measuring sales at locations open a year or more, rose 1.1 percent.” (CBS Money Watch)
  9. Census Bureau: Public Pension Fund Assets Dip Nearly 5% in Third Quarter “The 100 largest U.S. public employee retirement systems had $3.212 trillion in assets as of Sept. 30, a 4.9% decrease from three months earlier, said the U.S. Census Bureau's latest quarterly survey of public pension funds. Compared to the same quarter in 2014, assets were down 2.5%. Earnings on investments fell from a gain of $32.6 billion in the second quarter to a loss of $145.9 billion in the third quarter.” (Pensions & Investments)
  10. Colliers Report: Debt Will Lead the Way for Investment in 2015 “Debt is back in style! A Colliers survey is showing a shift away from equity-led investment to debt-heavy investment, signaling a “new phase in the real estate cycle.” The 2016 Global Investor Outlook survey says 82% of investors are likely to use debt in their future investments, up from 78% last year. Europeans showed the biggest increase in likely debt use, from 59% to 90%, as they take advantage of low interest rates—with some target rates below zero.” (Bisnow)