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World Shares near Five-Year Highs on Chinese Rail Action; ‘Suburban Flight’ — Time for Investors to Move on from Housing; Hilton Turning on the Lights in Dark Continent

World Shares near Five-Year Highs on Chinese Rail Action (Reuters)

China is looking into governmental funding of railroad build-outs to help offset the glut of resources needed for infrastructure projects. By funding additional projects, the Chinese are hoping to reduce stockpiles of steel, cement and the other materials used for infrastructure and — ultimately — keep the country’s economic growth from sinking below seven percent. The reports of increased governmental participation alone were enough to raise shares on East Asian indexes and give investors hope of a soft landing for the world’s second-largest economy. Let’s hope portfolios have an even softer landing.

‘Suburban Flight’ — Time for Investors to Move on from Housing (CNBC)

When the U.S. housing market was in dire straits, and home values were tanking, investors gobbled up properties — happy to await the inevitable rebound. Well, the inevitable is here. Now, many of those investors are having trouble unloading those very same homes with higher prices. In fact, the National Association of Realtors reports that June saw the smallest percentage of homes sold by investors since they began tracking this segment in October of 2008. What this situation means is that homeowners, rather than investors, are driving prices. And investors?  Their activity in housing fell for the fourth straight month. If that group of investors includes you, you may need to endure a fifth-straight month of difficulty in unloading investment property.

Hilton Turning on the Lights in Dark Continent (Bloomberg)

If you were to ask 10 investors where the fastest-paced hotel growth was in the world, how many would say Africa? Well, those that did have the right answer are probably also shareholders in Marriott, Starwood Hotels or Hilton. As those three groups are leading the charge to populate the continent with their ubiquitous buildings. But the rate at which these companies are pouring resources into this new market is what’s truly striking, as is the profit potential. This year alone, Marriott is planning on a 55 percent increase in the number of rooms it will build in Africa, while Starwood already earns its highest revenues per room in its African and Middle Eastern hotels. And that growth should continue. According to Hassan Ahdab, Starwood regional vice president, “Africa’s middle class is almost as large as the entire populations of Russia and Brazil combined.

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