If accounting standard setters and regulators do not quickly improve fair-value accounting rules, Congress will take action, U.S. lawmakers said. Financial Accounting Standards Board Chairman Robert Herz testified that he will work to speed up the issuance of revised guidance on mark-to-market accounting rules. Mary Schapiro, chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said she is pressuring the board to release its updated guidance in the second quarter.
The market has priced REIT stocks about 40% below their projected asset values, and that is definitely an argument for buying. But SNL Financial real-estate analyst Jason Lail says the real-estate business is still slowing, and it is difficult to say whether it is quite time for REITs to begin their recovery.
Spring collections have appeared in luxury stores such as Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue, but shoppers haven't. The industry has adjusted its orders, so retailers won't discount as steeply as they did over the holidays, and designers are working with stores such as Neiman Marcus to introduce midpriced merchandise.