North America In the U.S.: The Mueller report on Russian collusion, released last weekend, showed no apparent link between the Trump organization and Russia. The question of obstruction of justice was left up to AG Barr, whom exonerated the president from the charge. Although many fights regarding the release of the full report are ongoing, the report was seen as a win for the Trump administration. REIT Focus: Cousins Properties (CUZ) and TIER REIT (TIER) entered into a merger agreement to combine in a 100% stock transaction. Under the terms of the agreement, Cousins will issue 2.98 shares of newly issued common stock in exchange for each share of TIER stock. Following the transaction the newly formed company will trade
North America In the U.S.: As expected, the Fed kept rates unchanged. The central bank reduced GDP and inflation expectations and signaled that there would not be any further rate hikes this year. REIT Focus: Office Properties Income Trust (OPI) completed the sale of 500 First Street NW in Washington, D.C. to Georgetown University for $70M. The currently vacant 130K sq. ft. office building is located near Georgetown’s law school campus and within a half mile of Union Station. ASIA In China: Bloomberg reported that US officials are downplaying prospects of an imminent trade deal. China has pushed back on their agreed policies regarding intellectual property as they are concerned that they have not received any assurances from the Trump
In the U.S.: The Republican led Senate passed legislation to strike down President Trump’s national emergency declaration at the southern border. Following the move, President Trump signed his first veto while in office. REIT Focus: Terreno Realty Corporation (TRNO) announced the sale of an industrial property in Corona, CA for $12.4M. The property consists of one industrial distribution building containing approximately 90,000 square feet on 5.0 acres. In China: Although light on details, China’s State media reported that they have made “concrete progress” on the trade agreement with the US. The report followed a phone conversation between Vice Premier Liu, USTR Lighthizer, and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin on Thursday. In Japan: January core machinery orders fell 5.4% m/m versus the consensus
In the U.S.: The US trade deficit in goods grew 10% last year to just over $891B, the widest on record. The reports dealt a blow to the current administrations trade policies which were meant to narrow the trade gap. February nonfarm payrolls were up only 20K which missed the180K consensus estimate. Although unknown factors such as the impact from the government shutdown and inclement weather could have altered the data, the report was disappointing and could factor into future Fed policy decisions. In earnings, 486 companies in the S&P 500 Index have reported, 71.4% beat, 1.2% were in-line, and 27.4% missed estimates. REIT Focus: An article in the WSJ highlighted that shopping center owners were warming up to the
In the U.S.: Reuters highlighted comments from Fed Chair Powell, who said signs of upward pressure on inflation appeared muted despite a tight labor market. Powell noted that productivity had shown signs of improvement which could help to allow wages to increase without adding to inflationary pressures. In earnings, 485 companies in the S&P 500 Index have reported, 71.5% beat, 1.3% were in-line, and 27.2% missed estimates. REIT Focus: Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) reported that it planned to cut costs by closing most retail store locations and that it was shifting to an online only sales model. The news could be viewed as a negative for Mall REITs such as Macerich Company (MAC), Simon Property Group (SPG), and Taubman Centers, Inc.