Lennar Strikes Deal With Morgan Stanley; BHP Losing Publicity War

Rumour has it an American homebuilder will declare bankruptcy. Another homebuilder, Lennar (NYSE:LEN), announced a joint venture with Morgan Stanley in which Lennar will sell 11,000 properties to the JV (80% owned by Morgan) for just 40% of book value. Ouch.

Liquidation is usually a good sign of a market bottom. But keep in mind this is just one aspect of America’s housing problem. Homebuilders can liquidate excess inventory. But there is still the pesky problem of mortgages that must be repaid…to investors…who need the cash.

Whatever the Dow saw, it liked. It rallied. Yawn.

BHP (ASX:BHP) seems to be losing the publicity war in its bid for Rio (ASX:RIO). European steel makers don’t like the deal. “We would expect that the anti-trust authorities, be it in New York in the US, in Japan, in China or wherever, will take some position to prevent this market share,” Phillipe Varin of Corus told Reuters.

What does the rest of the world have against Australia’s two largest ore producers combining to control nearly 27% of the world’s iron ore supply? BHP needs to make the case that the merger would lead to more ore without necessarily leading to higher prices. Of course higher prices are coming anyway, so it’s a tough sell (to ore buyers) that consolidating supply (and pricing power) is a good idea.

Dan Denning
Markets and Money

Dan Denning
Dan Denning examines the geopolitical and economic events that can affect your investments domestically. He raises the questions you need to answer, in order to survive financially in these turbulent times.

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