The story is sparked by Abu Dhabi’s purchase of the landmark Chrysler Building in New York for $800 million. The skyscraper was already owned by the Germans, but the Times is focusing on new money and its “flashy acquisitions by Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs, Qatari sheiks and large government-sponsored funds in the Middle East.” In another deal, a Russian fertilizer billionaire bought a Donald Trump beach house in Florida for $100 million.
The paper notes that a similar wave of trophy snatching in the late 1980’s didn’t end up so well. Many of the investors—then primarily the Japanese—lost money.
The cortisone cure
Even the hedge funds lost money in the first half of 2008, the Financial Times says. The average decline was 0.75 percent, though, far better than the 13 percent fall in the S&P 500. We’d imagine that hedge fund number is before fees, though.
Bloomberg says the S&P may drop another 12 percent “if history is any guide.” That would put it at the average fall of the last eleven bear markets—30.4 percent.
Here’s the Quote of the Day, on the Band-Aid nature of the government’s tax-rebate stimulus:
“The various forms of stimulus are ultimately going to be unsuccessful,” said Jason Trennert, chief investment strategist at Strategas Research Partners in New York. “It’s like cortisone. It allows you to play hurt, but it doesn’t do anything to actually cure the underlying injury.”