Sunday, July 17, 2011

SPECIAL REPORT: Nielsen Finds Full Economic Recovery Slower Than Anticipated

Booming Asian Markets Offset Escalating European Concerns
  •  North America Shows Slow, But Steady Climb Out of Recession
  • Latin America Tops Regional Consumer Confidence Levels
NEW YORK, NY, July 17, 2011--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Global consumer confidence cautiously edged up one index point to 93 in the second quarter as confidence increases in booming Asian markets were offset by European consumers’ growing concerns of an escalating debt crisis, which battered confidence levels in Spain, Italy and France, according to the latest edition of the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index.

 Consumer confidence rose two points in the U.S. in Q2 to 87, where the world’s largest economy continued on course for a slow, but steady climb out of the recession. Consumer Confidence Index levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.

“While the global economy is in better shape than it was nine months ago, (+7 index points compared to Q3 2009), the ongoing European debt crisis is a major setback to the global economic recovery anticipated this year,” said Dr. Venkatesh Bala, Chief Economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of The Nielsen Company.

“U.S. consumers closely watched unemployment numbers, while Europeans witnessed the government implement new and in some cases, severe fiscal austerity measures amid stagnant job markets and a weakening Euro.

“Consumers in Western developed economies realized that the road to full economic recovery is going to take a bit longer than expected. In the ongoing weak-to-moderate growth environment, there is some risk for businesses of deflationary pressure, requiring close attention to improving pricing power through more effective deployment of media, innovation and channel marketing efforts.”

“In the U.S., consumers are still focused on repairing their household balance sheets with 45 percent allotting any remaining income (once they have covered their essential living expenses) to savings and paying off debt (37 percent),” said James Russo (top right photo), Vice President, Global Consumer Insights at The Nielsen Company. “Until the labor market shows continuous improvement, consumer spending will not be sustainable.”

Nielsen’s Global Consumer Confidence Index tracks consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among approximately 27,000 Internet users in 48 countries. In the latest round of the survey conducted between May 10 and May 26, 2010, consumer confidence fell in nine out of 24 European markets.

The only non-European markets to post quarter-on-quarter declines were Australia, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, Brazil and Egypt.

Disparity Widens Between Developing and Emerging Markets

India (129 index points), Indonesia and Vietnam (both 119 index points) were the most optimistic nations in Q2, while consumer confidence in Spain plummeted by 10 index points to its lowest level on record at 69 index points from 79 in Q1 of this year.

“In Asia, major economies are experiencing growth headwinds in the form of higher inflation and asset price declines. While overall growth in China, India and elsewhere in Asia will still be strong, some slowdown can be expected as governments and central banks tighten monetary and fiscal policy. Businesses therefore need to exercise more prudence in their resource allocation within Asia,” said Dr. Bala.

Globally, 58 percent of people—the same number as in the previous quarter—said they are still in recession with a disparity in recovery sentiment widening between developed and emerging markets.

Thirty-nine percent of Asia Pacific consumers and 51 percent of Latin Americans said they are still in recession compared to 84 percent of North Americans and 76 percent of Europeans.

Among those in recession, one in five (21 percent) global consumers thinks the recession will last another year. However, this number increases among North Americans where nearly one in four (24 percent) believes the recession will linger for more than 12 months.

“For most of 2010, the U.S. has seen improvement in the job and housing markets supporting the increases in U.S. consumer confidence, but consumers are still very much focused on value and they continue to reduce their overall shopping trips,” said Todd Hale (middle left photo), Senior Vice President, Consumer & Shopper Insights, The Nielsen Company.

 “Retailers and manufacturers have responded with heightened promotional support and lower prices providing consumers with great deals. However, even with enhanced prices, consumer-packaged goods dollar and unit sales have declined in the latest three consecutive 4-week periods versus year ago.”
Regionally, consumer confidence steadily climbed three index points in Latin America, two index points in Asia Pacific and North America and one index point in Europe.
Latin America topped regional consumer confidence levels at 102 index points, followed by Asia Pacific (101 index points), and Middle East, Africa, Pakistan (MEAP) with 89 index points. In North America, consumer confidence reached 88 index points, while Europe lagged behind as the least confident region at 79 index points.

 European Debt Crisis


While the pace of economic recovery accelerated in most Asian and Latin American markets, the spreading debt crisis in Europe resulted in consumer confidence reversing in most European markets.

Consumer confidence fell in three out of the five biggest economies as European consumers came to grips with the extent of the debt crisis.

In Italy, consumer confidence retreated to its lowest level (71 index points) since Q1 2009 when it hit an all time low of 70 index points at the height of the global recession.

 “There is strong evidence of a W-shaped recovery for Italy as consumer confidence in Q2 reversed back into recessionary sentiment,” said Stefano Galli (lower right photo), Managing Director, Nielsen Italy.

“High unemployment, economic stagnation and massive public spending cuts have caused consumers to further cut back on their discretionary spending and lifestyles.

“Budget-conscious Italians are continuing to turn to discounter shopping channels and private labels despite fast-moving consumer goods retailers and manufacturers intensifying promotions. We expect to see some signs of recovery starting from the second half of 2010.”

The economic situation in Spain is especially restrained, which is indicative of the 10 point index drop. With the highest unemployment in Europe (20 percent) and a reduction of government employees, Nielsen experts estimate the possibility of economic growth will move further out to 2012.

However, Germany—the region’s largest economy—posted a welcomed rebound with an increase of seven index points up to 81 from 74 index points in Q1, the highest increase in the region.

 In the second quarter, newly confident Germans began to open their wallets again and were among the world’s top 10 discretionary spenders on clothes and out-of-home entertainment. In fact, the German job market showed a rather robust upward trend and possible sign that consumers now believe that the worst has passed.

Struggling Baltic nations of Lithuania and Latvia both posted consumer confidence increases of six points each in Q2, although both remain among the most pessimistic nations in the world with low consumer confidence index scores of 52 and 56 respectively.

 “After two years of a deep economic recession in the Baltic countries, local financial institutions are forecasting a slow recovery at the end of 2010,” said Arturas Urbonavicius (lower left photo), Managing Director, Nielsen Baltics.

Brighter Asian and Latin American Prospects

Six out of the top 10 most optimistic nations in the second quarter came from Asia and all these markets posted consumer confidence increases quarter-on-quarter.

Vietnam recorded the highest consumer confidence increase in Q2 soaring 18 index points to 119, while Singapore (which recorded the highest consumer confidence increase in Q1), posted another solid five index point gain from 107 in Q1 to 112 points in Q2.

“The enormous rise in optimism seen in the latest survey has taken ‘cautious’ out of Vietnam’s previous footing of ‘cautious optimism’,” said Darin Williams (lower right photo), Managing Director, Nielsen Vietnam “Vietnamese consumers are ready to spend, with new technology being the focus for many after they have paid for essential living expenses.”

Forty-seven percent of respondents in Vietnam stated they would spend excess cash on new technology—the highest percentage in Asia; 39 percent stated they would spend spare cash on new clothes—a huge jump from 23 percent in the last survey. In Q1, only 16 percent of Vietnamese stated they would invest their excess cash, this has increased to 31 percent in Q2.

“Financial product awareness and intent to use is also rising dramatically as banks and insurance companies have increased their advertising and Vietnamese have more spare cash on their hands,” Williams added.

“In Singapore, there is a significant drop in the percentage of people who think they are in a recession—just 17 percent in Q2 versus 28 percent in Q1,” said Joan Koh (lower left photo), Managing Director, Nielsen Singapore.

“Almost one in two feels that now is a good time to buy things. After putting spare cash into savings, Singaporeans will spend on holidays, invest in shares of stocks/mutual funds, new clothes and pay off debts.”

Prospects also look brighter in the Philippines (113 index points), China (109 index points), and Columbia (105 index points), which all recorded consumer confidence highs in their respective markets.

“After five quarters of continuous consumer confidence increases in China, the one point increase in Q2 represents steady growth coming from consumers in rural villages,” said Chris Morley (bottom right photo), Managing Director, The Nielsen Company China.

Economic recovery and consumer confidence also accelerated in Mexico, which posted a consumer confidence increase of five index points compared to the first quarter of the year.

“While positive shopping basket trends in Mexico and Colombia show a slow reactivation in consumption, the population is still concerned about economic and job prospects,” said Felipe Urdaneta), Managing Director, Nielsen Colombia.

Denmark (+5), Switzerland (+5), South Africa (+4) and the Netherlands (+3) also posted consumer confidence increases.

For Denmark, the rise is a welcomed change for a country that has shown a steady decline, although the Danish market continues to be volatile and vulnerable. Switzerland’s own currency removes them from the Euro crisis and the Swiss are now ready to spend on postponed investments, apparel, travel and electronics.

About the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Survey

The Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Survey was conducted between May 10 and May 26, 2010 and polled approximately 27, 000 consumers in 48 countries throughout Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North America about their confidence levels and economic outlook.

The Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index is developed based on consumers’ confidence in the job market, status of their personal finances and readiness to spend. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their Internet users, and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%.


The Nielsen Company is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and related assets.

The privately held company has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA. For more information, please visit,

The Nielsen Company
Marisa Grimes, 646-654-5759



Elbit Imaging Announces the Conclusion of an Off-Market Takeover Bid for the Units of the US$ 1.4 Billion Listed Real Estate Trust EDT

TEL-AVIV, Israel, July 17, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Elbit Imaging Ltd. /quotes/zigman/61932/quotes/nls/emitf EMITF +1.33% ("Elbit" or the "Company") announced today, in continuance of its previous announcements dated March 10, 2011 and May 12, 2011, that the off-market takeover bid ("Offer") made by its subsidiary, EPN EDT Holdings II, LLC ("EPN") in March 2011, for all of the units in EDT Retail Trust ("EDT") not already held by EPN and its affiliates (collectively, the "EPN Group"), was concluded on July 14, 2011.

As a result of the purchases of EDT's units during the Offer period, the EPN Group has increased its interest in EDT from approximately 47.8% to approximately 96.4%.

EPN ultimately plans to compulsorily acquire the remaining EDT units under the terms of the Offer. Following compulsory acquisition of the remaining EDT units, EPN Group will become the holder of 100% of the outstanding units of EDT and it is expected that EDT will be removed from the official list of the Australian Stock Exchange shortly thereafter.

EDT is a listed real estate investment trust focused on investing predominately in U.S. community shopping centers with a premium quality portfolio of U.S. retail real estate in the value and convenience sector.

EDT currently holds interests in 48 assets covering approximately 10.9 million square feet. According to EDT's financial statements, as of March 31 2011, EDT's shopping centre portfolio was approximately 89% leased, and EDT's portfolio value amounted to US$1.4 billion. EDT's total equity as of March 31, 2011 amounts to approximately US$ 529 million.

For a complete copy of the company's news release, please contact: 

 Dudi Machluf (top right photo) Tel: +972-3-608-6024,  or
 Mor  Dagan
Tel: +972-3-516-7620,   

Napa Valley’s Newest Landmark and Largest Public Art Donation Unveiled in Yountville, CA at Festival del Sole

NAPA VALLEY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--“Chaos Pamplona,” (top left photo) a 21-foot tall bronze sculpture created by an internationally recognized artist and gifted to the Town of Yountville, was unveiled July 16 as part of the Festival del Sole celebration of arts and culture.

Chaos Pamplona by Jedd Novatt, Yountville, CA (Photo: Business Wire)

The largest single public art donation to Napa Valley, “Chaos Pamplona,” donated by an anonymous patron of the arts, will be installed in downtown Yountville between Bardessono Hotel and the Community Center on Yount Street. “Chaos Pamplona” is one of only three sculptures in the Art Walk that will be installed permanently.

The idea to place Yountville on the list of possible recipients for Chaos Pamplona came about through a conversation with the anonymous patron and Michael Polenske (middle right photo) over a year ago.

 Polenske, who acted as an advisor, has a notable work by Novatt placed in front of Ma(i)sonry in Yountville, and was first introduced to the artist’s work by the artist’s dealer in London, Tim Jefferies.

Polenske suggested that—given Yountville's commitment to the arts and the importance of Napa Valley—it would be terrific to have a world-class work of art permanently exhibited in the heart of Napa Valley. The patron and her husband had visited Napa Valley and Yountville, and had enjoyed the area immensely.

The gift of the sculpture was being pursued by three major institutions—one on the East Coast of the United States, one in Los Angeles, and also Bilbao, Spain. Polenske succeeded in convincing the patron that Yountville was an ideal final destination for the work, through his efforts to coordinate between the patron and the town of Yountville Arts Committee (which did an extraordinary job fundraising in order to ship the 3-ton sculpture from the Basque region of Spain to Oakland, California).

In total, the town of Yountville and the Yountville Arts Committee raised over $60,000 in cash contributions and another $20,000 in in-kind support to cover the shipping of the sculpture from Europe, on-site installation costs, artist travel and accommodations, as well as the installation event reception. Yountville Arts Committee members include Judith Caldwell, Chair; and Steve Rogers (lower left photo), Town Manager.

Mr. Novatt's sculpture has been exhibited internationally for years, and his work is in major public and private collections worldwide. An edition of Novatt's sculpture, “Chaos Pamplona,” was also exhibited in the world-class annual exhibition by Sotheby's at Chatsworth in England, home of the Duke of Devonshire. The work was placed by Sotheby's into a prominent collection in the UK. Jedd Novatt's work has been included in this highly influential exhibition four years consecutively, along with other internationally recognized sculptors.

About Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley

Restored in 2008 by Blackbird Vineyards’ Proprietor Michael Polenske, this historic 1904 stone building serves as a stylized backdrop for Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley—“a life aesthetic.”

As an art, design, and collective wine-tasting gallery among an outdoor sculpture garden, Ma(i)sonry offers guests a differentiated lifestyle experience in wine country. Located in Yountville—a world-class culinary, wine, and tourism destination— Ma(i)sonry

Napa Valley features a rotating collection of limited-production wines and internationally renowned art and furnishings to appreciate and acquire. Guests are welcome to peruse Ma(i)sonry’s galleries seven days a week, with seasonal

Burditch Marketing Communications San Francisco
for Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley:
Lindsay Katz, 415-874-9696
Account Coordinator

Fitch Rates New York City's $600MM GO Bonds 'AA'; Outlook Stable

NEW YORK, NY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fitch Ratings has assigned a rating of 'AA' to the following New York City general obligation (GO) bonds:

--$515,000,000 tax-exempt, fiscal 2012, subseries A-1;

--$85,000,000 taxable bonds, fiscal 2012, subseries A-2.

The tax-exempt bonds will be sold by negotiation, and the taxable bonds will be sold by competitive bid on July 20. Both series of bonds are expected to close on August 9. Proceeds will be used for capital purposes and the payment of certain cost of issuance.

Fitch also affirms approximately $41.6 billion in outstanding GO bonds at 'AA'.

The Rating Outlook is Stable.


  • --New York City's advanced, effective budget monitoring and management and conservative revenue forecasting have allowed the city to react quickly to changing conditions and consistently generate operating surpluses before discretionary transfers;

  • --The city has an extended history of effectively eliminating sizable out-year budget gaps, mitigating risk to the inability to maintain a rainy day reserve;

  • --The city has a broad economic base and a unique role as a national and international center for commerce and culture. Income levels are high;

 --Key revenue streams are closely linked to the cyclical financial services industry and the real estate market;

  • --The city's debt levels are expected to remain high despite recent action to reduce future borrowing;

  • --Annual personnel costs, particularly pension contributions, are expected to consume an increasingly large share of general fund resources.

For a complete copy of Fitch’s news release, please contact:

Fitch Ratings
Primary Analyst
Michael Rinaldi, +1-212-908-0833
Senior Director
Fitch Inc.
One State Street
New York, N.Y. 10004

Secondary Analyst
Amy Laskey, +1-212-908-0568
Managing Director

Committee Chairperson
Laura Porter, +1-212-908-0575
Managing Director

Media Relations:
Cindy Stoller, +1-212-908-0526

Chicago Realtor Group Joins Dream Town Realty in May

Chicago, IL, July 17, 2011 --( Dream Town Realty, the leader in online Chicago real estate, announced that a new realtor team has joined the company. "Ask For Sam" was welcomed to the brokerage in May.

 The group is headed up by Sam Powell (top right photo), an agent who specializes in residential sales with a focus on the LGBT community. Ms. Powell is joined by Michael Opyd (middle left photo), Jen Thompson, Anitra Brodie and Dee Thompson who make up the 'Ask For Sam' team.

Ms. Powell is a licensed Illinois realtor with a veteran understanding of the Chicago real estate market. She has assisted home buyers and sellers throughout the city and suburbs in all types of residential real estate transactions.

Mr. Opyd is a Chicago native with several years of real estate experience. After growing up in the South Suburbs and graduating from college in business management, he moved to Boston before returning to the Chicago area in 2008 to pursue his real estate career.

As a buyers' specialist for the 'Ask For Sam' team, Mr. Opyd said he is excited to team up with Dream Town to provide the latest technology to their clients. "Ask For Sam" already prides themselves on "being ahead of the curve" and using the Internet to build their business. Dream Town's industry-leading web innovations will provide an even higher level of online usability and farther-reaching exposure for their listings.

Dream Town President Yuval Degani (middle right photo) is delighted to welcome the "Ask For Sam" group on board. "Sam and her team are already on the same wave length when it comes to utilizing the full potential of the Internet in real estate," said Mr. Degani.

"Sam is always thinking about how to better position homes for sale on the web so as to attract buyer traffic - and that's something Dream Town knows how to do better than anyone else in Chicago."

Ms. Powell is also pleased with the accessibility to Dream Town's in-house marketing/IT department. "It's great because I take my ideas to the marketing team and in no time flat they produce totally customized pieces I can use for marketing both the 'Ask For Sam' brand and my clients' home listings."

Learn more about the "Ask For Sam" team at and find out about other Dream Town agents at

Contact Information
Dream Town Realty
Kate Hoffman

Denver Metro Area Luxury Home Sales Soar in June, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Reports

Denver, CO, July 17, 2011 --( Luxury home sales in the Denver Metro Area soared in June from the previous month and were also up from a year ago as high-end buyers took advantage of attractive property values in many areas, according to Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Colorado’s leading provider of luxury real estate services.

A total of 71 homes changed hands for more than $1 million last month, up sharply from May’s total of 47 sales. June’s transactions also outpaced June 2010 when 67 luxury homes were sold. Additionally, the ultra luxury market gained momentum with 11 multi-million-dollar homes selling last month, up from seven in May.

The median sale price of million-dollar homes moved higher in June, reaching $1.3 million from $1.25 million in May. However, the median was off from last June’s $1.34 million price.

Other indicators also provided encouragement for the high-end market in the Denver Metro Area: Homes also sold at a faster rate on average at 164 days vs. 215 for those closing the previous month. And sellers received an average of 92.6 percent of their asking price, up from 91.3 percent in May and 90.4 percent last June.

The figures were derived from Multiple Listing Service data of all homes sold for more than $1 million last month in the Denver Metro Area.

“The strong performance of the luxury market in June was certainly welcome news,” said Chris Mygatt (top right photo), president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Colorado. “It seems like we are seeing a seasonal increase as we did the same time last year. June usually marks the high water mark of luxury home sales each year. High-end buyers are taking advantage of a well-priced luxury home market with nice – but limited – selection.”

Mygatt said the Denver metro area, like other markets, is dealing with macro-economic issues as well as its own housing market factors. On the positive side, the financial markets remain strong, corporate earnings are robust, and consumer confidence is trending higher.

But at the same time, Mygatt noted, the job market remains sluggish with unemployment levels relatively high. And the economy has been growing at a much slower pace than normal for this stage of a recovery cycle. “Until we see the economy gaining traction and the jobs picture improving, the housing market will continue to face economic headwinds,” he said.

Some key findings from this month’s Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage luxury report:

* The most expensive sale in the Denver Metro Area last month was a eight-bed, nine-bath 16,793-square-foot home in Littleton that sold for $6.18 million;

* Boulder boasted the most million-dollar sales with 17, followed by Denver with 15, Littleton with 10, and Cherry Hills Village with six;

* Homes sold in average of 164 days, down from 215 days the previous month but up from 116 days a year ago;

* Sellers on average received 92.6 percent of their asking price, up from 91.3 percent the previous month and 90.4 percent a year ago.

The Denver Metro Area Luxury Home Report is produced by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, a specialist in high-end real estate sales. Through its internationally renowned Coldwell Banker Previews® program, the company is recognized around the world for its expertise in the luxury housing market.

 For more information, please visit or call 925.275.3085.

Contact Information

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Stephen Maita