Bridge to nowhere? Some doubts on U.S. economy justified, doom and gloom is not

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Wall Street scurrying for the exits? More and more investors apparently see the economy becoming a bridge to nowhere.

Just a few months ago, investors drove the U.S. stock market SPX, -2.33%  to an all-time high. Now they’re scurrying for the off-ramp and showing fresh doubts about economy. Have things really gone south that fast?

Not really.

The economy is forecast to grow at an above-average speed of 2.6% in the fourth quarter, for one thing. Consumer confidence is at a two-decade high. The unemployment rate remains at a 49-year low. And the holiday shopping season is shaping up to be a big one.

Still, some warning signs have emerged.

Home sales have softened after a rise in mortgage rates. Corporate investment has tapered off. Job creation slowed in November. And a festering trade dispute with China and resulting tariffs have raised costs for businesses and consumers.

“It’s becoming clearer by the day that the best days for this economic cycle are behind us,” asserted Scott Anderson, chief economist of Bank of the West.

The sudden shift in perception is forcing the Federal Reserve to reconsider how many times it will raises interest rates in the next year.

Not only does the economy seem a touch more vulnerable than it did a few months ago, a recent upturn in inflation also appears to have crested. The Fed has been gradually raising rates to head off an unwelcome increase in rates, but now the problem seems less urgent.

One sign came last week in a weaker-than-expected November employment report. The economy added just 155,000 new jobs — well below the 190,000 forecast — and the yearly increase in hourly wage growth stood pat at 3.1%.

More evidence might emerge this week. The consumer price index, which tracks the cost of living, could show a flat or even negative reading for the first time in eight months. The annual rate of inflation as measured by the CPI could drop to a nine-month low of 2.2% from 2.5%

Similarly weak readings are likely in other inflation barometers for wholesale U.S. goods and imported products.

What’s a common thread?

Falling oil prices . A surge in petroleum helped fuel an upturn in inflation earlier this year that spurred the Fed to raise U.S. interest rates three times. Now lower oil prices are acting as a brake on inflation.

Lower oil prices CLF9, +1.24%  will probably deliver seemingly disappointing retail sales in November.

Americans spent a lot less filling up at gas stations, making it look like retailers had a bad month. Economists polled by MarketWatch predict a lackluster 0.2% increase.

“Here’s a word of advice on anyone planning to use the November retail sales report as a guide to how the holiday shopping season is going: don’t,” said chief economist Richard Moody of Regions Financial.

[“source=forbes]

California Wildfires Cause Major Disruption to Door and Window Dealers

From a Milgard dealer who lost his home, to disruption of delivery schedules and employees having to endure severe environmental conditions, the California wild fires are having real effects on the door and window industry.

Labeled the “Camp Fire,” California’s latest wild fire has been one of the deadliest in history. While USA Today reports that the fire has finally been contained, since November 8, 2018, it spread from Butte County, Calif., across 150,000 acres, claiming at least 85 lives along the way, with another 249 still listed as missing. In just 22 days, total destruction includes 19,000 homes and buildings—including one door and window dealer’s home.

Natasha Ramsey, a regional marketing specialist for Milgard Windows and Doors, who’s based in Simi Valley, Calif., reports that some of the company’s dealers had to close for several days, because their homes and offices were so close to the fire. One Milgard dealer even lost his home. Milgard’s facilities were not harmed by the fire, and were able to remain open, but not without disruptions.

“[The fires] affected our delivery of product to dealers in the fire zone,” says Ramsey. “We had to delay some of our routes for up to a week due to this.”

In Chico, Calif., “The skies were black and we couldn’t work,” says Lori Lash, owner of Lash’s Glass. “The air quality was horrible.” Chico is approximately 15 miles from the city of Paradise, Calif., which, according to news reports, was more or less destroyed.

Lash says that many jobs went on hold and the company had to close early during the height of the Camp Fire. She housed a number of people who were impacted personally and let them use her yard. She also housed chefs who came to the area in order to help feed Paradise citizens left homeless. In the midst of the tragedy, Lash also turned to giving people free auto glass, which she provides in addition to flat glass.

“This is going to be an ongoing thing that won’t be over for a while,” says Lash.

In Southern California, the Woolsey fire has also done severe damage to homes and businesses. Travis Shields, project manager at Oakstone Glass Corp., located in Thousand Oaks, Calif., says people who work for the company were evacuated from the area. He says there hasn’t been an overwhelming request for repairs, because most of the buildings and homes affected were completely destroyed.

Much of the area couldn’t be accessed until this week, Shields says. His company has received a few calls about residential and institutional buildings that have broken windows caused by the heat of the fire.

[“source=ndtv”]

UP RERA planning to rate real estate developers, projects

To protect the interests of home buyers, the Uttar Pradesh RERA is planning to rate both real estate projects and developers, Chairman Rajive Kumar said at a workshop held in Delhi on Thursday.

“RERA is meant for protecting the interests of home buyers. We would be launching a system of grading the builders and projects shortly,” he said.

Kumar said that the purpose of grading both buyers and projects is that over a period, it creates a track record for builders and signals to the public that the promoter and the project have a higher rating.

“A substantial part of the grading will relate to feedback of the people who have been associated with the project. The first round will be held around February and the first rating will be out before we complete a year in the month of September next year,” he said.

An independent rating agency will conduct the exercise.

Kumar also said that 98 projects in Uttar Pradesh have been audited so far and serious issues have been found in 20-25 of them. Another 25 have been declared as fine and the remaining have been graded as redeemable. The auditing agency has has made some recommendations for the redeemable.

“We are asking both the authorities to follow up those recommendations so that projects can move ahead. Finance is a major challenge,” he said.

[“source=TimeOFIndia”]

Supreme Court to take up Sabarimala review pleas on January 22

Sabarimala temple

In what is being claimed as a victory by few groups, the Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to reconsider its September 28 verdict allowing entry of women of all ages to Kerala’s Sabarimala temple. The court said it will hear the review petitions in the case on January 22 and there will be no stay of its judgment till such time.

Forty-nine entities, including organisations and individuals, have questioned the verdict on temple entry on the grounds that rationality can’t be a yardstick to assess whether a religious practice or belief is integral to the faith of a community or group.

The petitions said the SC ruling had other flaws. The petitioners had appealed for an open court hearing saying that will give their lawyers a chance to put forth their arguments before the judges and even respond to queries. Review petitions, as a norm, do not get listed in open courts and are generally dealt with in chambers by the judges who decided the specific matter.

The Sabarimala verdict by delivered through a 4:1 majority by a Constitutional bench that included former CJI Dipak Misra, Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud. Justice Indu Malhotra, the lone dissenting judge, found no fault with the practice of the barring entry of women of menstrual age into the temple.

On Tuesday, CJI Ranjan Gogoi replaced his predecessor on the bench while retaining the other four judges who decided the case. “All review petitions along with all pending applications will be heard in open court on January 22, 2019 before the appropriate bench. We make it clear that there is no stay of the judgment and order of this court dated September 28, 2018.”

On the fresh petitions challenging the verdict, the SC asked the petitioners to wait till judges decide on the review petitions. “If review petitions are dismissed, your petitions will be taken up. If they are allowed, your petitions will get tagged along,” said CJI Gogoi.

All-party meeting called

Hours after the development in the Supreme Court, the Kerala government called for an all-party meeting on November 15 to discuss the issue.

The two-month long annual ‘Mandala Makkaravillakku’ season will start on November 17 and the meeting will also take stock of the arrangements for devotees.

The temple had witnessed a string of protests from devotees when it opened for monthly pujas for five days in October and two days early this month.

Over 3,700 persons have been arrested so far and 546 cases registered against various people for violence during protests across the state after the top court permitted women of all ages to pray at the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala.

  • For centuries, women of menstruating age are barred from entry to shrine
  • SC on Sept 28 allows all women to enter temple, protests start
  • Opposers of ruling say rationality can’t be applied to assess whether a religious practice is integral to faith of group

I think it is a very good decision. I think Kerala is united on this issue and therefore, I am happy that the Supreme Court has decided to review the entire issue. In democracy, people are paramount.K J Alphons, Union Minister

Review petitions will be heard on 22 January, after the ‘Makaravilakku’ season ends. The state government will discuss with legal experts and move forwardPinarayi Vijayan, Kerala Chief Minister

The blessings of Lord Ayyappa and prayers of lots of devotees are behind this decision to hear the matter in the open courtKandararu Rajeevaru, Head Priest of Sabarimala shrine

[“source=TimeOFIndia”]

Say goodbye to these five decor trends before they’re gone

pantone 2016

The year 2018 has been a great one for home design, giving us a renewed focus on wellness and timeless choices. But not every style choice was made to last. Christina Birtcher, a top-rated interior designer with Three Roses Interiors in Portland, Ore., predicts we’ll leave these five up-to-the-minute trends behind in 2019.

1. Mid-century modern minimalism

Clean lines and decluttered spaces were popular in 2018. But Birtcher believes we will soon tire of the totally streamlined look and throw in a dash of nature.

“I am seeing more influences from Morocco and reduction of the mid-century modern minimalist for more vintage, organic and layered textures incorporating bespoke pieces,” she says.

Birtcher also predicts a new take on the all-white colour palette.

“All-white kitchens and baths will remain popular, but I think homeowners will incorporate organic texture within them,” she says. “I think marble and lighter wood tones will continue into 2019.”

2. The no-wallpaper rule

Design trends have encouraged a complete rejection of wallpaper since the 1980s. And people have been replacing busy, old-fashioned wallpaper in favour of beige and white walls ever since. But Birtcher is confident that new styles of wallpaper will be all the rage in 2019.

“My favourite new trend is the re-emergence of wallpaper,” Birtcher says. “It appears that it’s making a comeback, and I am loving this new trend! I believe it will be with us for a while. There is so much creativity, texture and art that we are seeing being transformed into beautiful papers.”

3. “Blush”

When to open a bottle: aging wine without the…

The Pantone Color Institute selected Rose Quartz as its Colour of the Year in 2016, alongside a dusty blue called Serenity. This launched blush and rose gold into mainstream home design — popularly paired with creamy whites and marble finishes.

Birtcher predicts that in 2019, interest in these shades will be exhausted.

“I don’t believe the blush pink and rose golds will continue,” she says. “I believe they are difficult for most people to incorporate into their homes. I think metallics will replace this look.”

It seems Pantone would agree. The institute released a 200-colour collection of metallics called Pantone Metallic Shimmers in October 2018, and it’s certain to inspire fashion and product designers into the coming year.

4. Accent walls

Bold accent walls have been a popular design choice for many years. But Birtcher thinks that 2018 is the last year this look will trend for a while, as we lean toward more calm, neutral looks.

Birtcher is prepping her clients for the change.

“If my clients really want that look, I try to incorporate it with just a hint of a darker hue, but not anything that is a huge contrast,” she says.

5. Offset horizontal tiles

Style options for tile expand with every year, given enhanced manufacturing technology, new designs and easy peel-and-stick products. But as with anything that presents near-limitless possibilities, some experiments stick, and some get tired quick.

Birtcher thinks horizontal mosaics are tired.

“Tiny, offset horizontal tiles in contrasting colours on a backsplash for the kitchen and in bathrooms are so busy, and I think this product dates the home,” she says. “Using a softer pattern tile, co-ordinating granite splash or subway tile is a much better alternative. It will retain a time-honoured element in the space without dating it and making your eyes blur.”

[“source=indianexpress”]

UP RERA planning to rate real estate developers, projects

To protect the interests of home buyers, the Uttar Pradesh RERA is planning to rate both real estate projects and developers, Chairman Rajive Kumar said at a workshop held in Delhi on Thursday.

“RERA is meant for protecting the interests of home buyers. We would be launching a system of grading the builders and projects shortly,” he said.

Kumar said that the purpose of grading both buyers and projects is that over a period, it creates a track record for builders and signals to the public that the promoter and the project have a higher rating.

“A substantial part of the grading will relate to feedback of the people who have been associated with the project. The first round will be held around February and the first rating will be out before we complete a year in the month of September next year,” he said.

An independent rating agency will conduct the exercise.

Kumar also said that 98 projects in Uttar Pradesh have been audited so far and serious issues have been found in 20-25 of them. Another 25 have been declared as fine and the remaining have been graded as redeemable. The auditing agency has has made some recommendations for the redeemable.

“We are asking both the authorities to follow up those recommendations so that projects can move ahead. Finance is a major challenge,” he said.

[“source=cnbc”]

Does RERA empower home buyers to complete stuck projects themselves?

Setting a precedent, the Uttar Pradesh Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) for the first time has decided to consider a proposal by defrauded homebuyers to take over and complete a project in Noida that has been delayed by several years. While this is a great move and may set the trend for other homebuyers in stuck projects, arranging funds to complete construction could still pose a challenge, say real estate experts.

UP RERA for the first time has asked over 700 home buyers of Subhkamna Tech Home to come up with a proposal to complete the project they had invested in and get the consent of at least 60 percent buyers within 10 days, Balwinder Kumar, Member of UP RERA bench told Moneycontrol.

The project was due for delivery in 2014. Almost 70 percent of the work on the towers is complete and buyers have claimed they have paid about 80 percent of the amount. The project is located in Sector 137, Noida.

“If the homebuyers are able to get about 60 percent members of their association to agree to the proposal, we will get it examined by the financial consultant of Noida Authority Currie & Browne. The consultant will then discuss it with the concerned stakeholders such as Noida Authority. Once the financial consultant gives its approval and agrees that the homebuyers have the capacity to complete the project and arrange for finances, then we will have no problem in giving them permission,” Kumar said.

[“source=cnbc”]

Does RERA empower home buyers to complete stuck projects themselves?

Setting a precedent, the Uttar Pradesh Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) for the first time has decided to consider a proposal by defrauded homebuyers to take over and complete a project in Noida that has been delayed by several years. While this is a great move and may set the trend for other homebuyers in stuck projects, arranging funds to complete construction could still pose a challenge, say real estate experts.

UP RERA for the first time has asked over 700 home buyers of Subhkamna Tech Home to come up with a proposal to complete the project they had invested in and get the consent of at least 60 percent buyers within 10 days, Balwinder Kumar, Member of UP RERA bench told Moneycontrol.

The project was due for delivery in 2014. Almost 70 percent of the work on the towers is complete and buyers have claimed they have paid about 80 percent of the amount. The project is located in Sector 137, Noida.

“If the homebuyers are able to get about 60 percent members of their association to agree to the proposal, we will get it examined by the financial consultant of Noida Authority Currie & Browne. The consultant will then discuss it with the concerned stakeholders such as Noida Authority. Once the financial consultant gives its approval and agrees that the homebuyers have the capacity to complete the project and arrange for finances, then we will have no problem in giving them permission,” Kumar said.

[“source=cnbc”]

UP RERA planning to rate real estate developers, projects

To protect the interests of home buyers, the Uttar Pradesh RERA is planning to rate both real estate projects and developers, Chairman Rajive Kumar said at a workshop held in Delhi on Thursday.

“RERA is meant for protecting the interests of home buyers. We would be launching a system of grading the builders and projects shortly,” he said.

Kumar said that the purpose of grading both buyers and projects is that over a period, it creates a track record for builders and signals to the public that the promoter and the project have a higher rating.

“A substantial part of the grading will relate to feedback of the people who have been associated with the project. The first round will be held around February and the first rating will be out before we complete a year in the month of September next year,” he said.

An independent rating agency will conduct the exercise.

Kumar also said that 98 projects in Uttar Pradesh have been audited so far and serious issues have been found in 20-25 of them. Another 25 have been declared as fine and the remaining have been graded as redeemable. The auditing agency has has made some recommendations for the redeemable.

“We are asking both the authorities to follow up those recommendations so that projects can move ahead. Finance is a major challenge,” he said.

[“source=cnbc”]