The housing market remains the key both for tapering pundits and for more general economic concerns. The next S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Index release will be on Tuesday, July 30th and the Fed will be meeting next week to discuss the implications of this and the rest of the months data. I'd be a little surprised if they actually start tapering in September and would look toward October for an actual move. Having said that any change in language will be enough for markets to give up recent gains. Bernanke hates volatility and could always add further smoothing via some very gradual targets in his statements.
If you prefer to get back into European hard assets watch for the first sale by the Spanish "bad bank" Sareb of one of it's assets. The "bank" has established a shortlist of investors for a portfolio composed of between 700-1,000 mostly costal residential property in the regions of Andalucia and Valencia. Sareb itself has €90bn of real estate assets to divest and is targeting a total of 6 transactions all before year's end. This is yet another golden opportunity for investors to get some price clarity on distressed properties in the mediterranean. Unlike northern Europe we've been bereft of a discovery process in the southern region. Importantly the Spanish will be providing a tax kicker known in by its' Spanish initials as a FAB. The structure will only be taxed at 1% and is likely to involve Sareb retaining a stake in the vehicle to get some benefit of any resulting upside. Therefore make sure to adjust your spreadsheets to allow for the tax differential when solving for cap rates.
The weather here in Sydney has settled down to a benign spring type condition. Morning remain cool but most days get into the upper teens (celsius) allowing for comfortable cycling. I managed to get out on the north side over the weekend for a gentlemen's cafe ride that allowed me to see the city from a different angle. I particularly enjoyed getting up to Northhead for a spectacular view of the city in early morning light.
I've been testing my new Moon Sport X500 headlight and have come to the conclusion that for safe riding it's hard to beat.
The 5 modes include my favoured battery saving "flashing" are verging the blinding end of the visibility scale. If a car driver can't see you coming then he or she probably shouldn't be on the road. My one quibble is with the mount which comes with a quick release lever. It's very bulky and awkward to fit on standard road bike bars. I also don't like the fact that there isn't a flexible mounting option for my ergonomic Most-Pinarello Talon carbon bars as this shape (see also Cinelli and FSA) is becoming more popular with high-end riders.
In terms of winter riding kit I've been using the Rapha winter tights and a couple of their long sleeve jersey. Best of all I'm really liking their Classic Wind Jacket in orange which I picked up after scoring a rare Rapha discount coupon (-15%).
It's a great piece of kit, easy to see and shaped perfectly. There's a single small (shall we call it) "change pocket" in the front, but if you're like me you rarely go fishing for bits and pieces in my utility pockets when riding in the city (say less than 60k's) and isn't a problem.