Landmark Links December 18th – Back to the 90s


Must Read: Current housing market turbulence has many pundits looking for another 2008-like crash.  However, 1994 seems to be a better analogy.


Behind the Curtain: Japanese banks might have snapped up a third of the loans made to highly indebted U.S. companies, propelling the size of the market past $1 trillion, a new estimate from UBS Group AG suggests.  However, worries are spreading that cracks are beginning to develop in the space.  See Also: Not a single high-yield bond has priced in the market so far in December.  If this trend continues through month-end, it would be the first time since 2008.

Supply and Demand: Full employment is the best weapon against income inequality.

Pushing Uphill: Financial conditions may be tightening more than currently thought.


Not Worth Saving: Most of those shuttered Sears stores are going to be cheaper to knock down and rebuild that to retrofit for new users.

Battleground: Despite recent advances, e-commerce retailers are still scrambling to get last-mile logistics right and cut delivery times down.  See Also: Retailers are resorting to using tents on vacant suburban lots and converting under-utilized parking garages in order to accommodate the surge of last-mile volume over the holidays.


Bold Steps: Minneapolis is getting rid of restrictive zoning entirely.  See Also: Not to be outdone, Oregon could become the first state to ban single family zoning statewide.

Not Immune: Even Texas is facing an increasingly bad housing affordability problem as restrictive zoning within the Dallas-San Antonio-Houston triangle takes a toll.

Correction?  Borrowing costs for mortgages are now at a 3-month low.  If higher rates sank US home sales, will lower rates help them rebound?

Common Sense: Homelessness rises more quickly where rent exceeds a third of income.


Gross: A report by ESPN Outside the Lines found an astonishing number of health violations as well as slime, roaches and mice in stadium food venues.

Burned Out: GE Powered the American Century, then made a series of critical poor business decisions by becoming overly reliant on finance and energy at the worst possible times.  This is the best summary I’ve read of it’s spectacular fall from grace.

The Heist: An oral history of the most important deal in sports TV history, when Rupert Murdoch and Fox stole the NFL and John Madden out from under the Big Three networks, created the modern pregame show, invented a new way to see football, and launched a television empire.

Self-Parody: California is now considering taxing text-messaging.

Someone is Cutting Onions: I never thought I’d get teary-eyed over a story about Charles Barkley’s friendship with a Chinese cat litter scientist from Iowa, but here we are.

Chart of the Day

Only 0.9% of leveraged loans are trading above par value, compared to around 70% just a few months ago.


Source: Bloomberg


Want Fries With That? A man offered to pay an undercover officer for sex with a hamburger because Florida.

Cool Headed: A pulled fire alarm in the English town of St Ives prompted a man dressed as Santa Claus to burst out of his grotto, rip off his beard and scream at children to “get the f**k out” in the middle of a Christmas event.

Smells Like Chicken: KFC debuted a fried chicken-scented firelog last week and promptly sold out because apparently a substantial portion of the US has no problem with their homes smelling like bad fast food restaurants.

Landmark Links – A candid look at the economy, real estate, and other things sometimes related.

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