Must-Read Money Stories for Wednesday, March 29

by March 29, 2017
Elon Musk is preparing for a day when robots threaten to take over the world. ("Robot" image by "Rog01" via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Elon Musk seems to be preparing for a day when robots threaten to take over the world. (“Robot” image by “Rog01” via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Real estate’s new sexy: warehouses

Thanks to e-commerce giants such as Amazon, the hottest investment space in the real estate market belongs to warehouses. Specifically warehouses near cities, known as the “last mile” in online retail logistics, increasingly important in the same-day delivery world. A story in The Wall Street Journal explains that U.S. private-equity firm Blackstone Group LP intends to spend 1.28 billion Euros ($1.38 billion U.S. dollars) investing in a portfolio of last-mile warehouses in northern Europe. At the same time, Blackstone is orchestrating what might be the biggest real estate deal ever in Europe, putting Logicor, its massive European warehouse arm, up for sale. The asking price: 13 billion Euros.

Fired up on coal

Trump hasn’t yanked the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement—yet—but the executive order he signed on Tuesday is the first step in dismantling President Obama’s climate-change initiatives. According to Bloomberg, Trump was flanked by coal miners as he announced, “My administration is putting an end to the war on coal.” Among other measures, the order “will swiftly rescind a moratorium on the sale of new rights to extract coal on federal land.” Bloomberg goes on to explain that the action will do little to help miners whose jobs have be declining for decades, due the industry’s adoption of automation.

Humans vs. robots

Elon Musk wants to level the robot-vs.-human playing field, reports the Los Angeles Times. Acting on a tweet from Musk-chronicler Tim Urban, the paper writes futurist-investor Musk (Tesla, SpaceX) announced that the immediate goal of his newest company, Nueralink, is to help those suffering from epilepsy and serious depression by implanting tiny electrodes that can enhance brain functions. The technology could be used in the future to give humanity a leg up when it comes to going head-to-head with robots that have been programmed to take over human tasks.

Consumer confidence soars

Americans haven’t felt this good in 16 years. Reuters says that consumer confidence reached its highest mark since December 2000, signaling the economy is in better shape than a recent drop in consumer spending would suggest. The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index jumped 9.5 points to 125.6. in March. While the numbers were tabulated just prior to the administration’s health care defeat, economists insist that it is labor market strength, not faith in Trump’s promises, that is impacting the public’s sense of well-being.

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