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Stocks Edge Up on Housing Data, Japan's Easing

"These are all very recession-proof areas," he explained. "At the end of the day, you want to buy an asset class that's low and sell it when it's high. So those asset classes, they're low, so you're able to buy real estate, student housing, that's 60, 70 cents on the dollar, down 40%, 30%. And from day one, they're cash flowing 10% to 13%. So you get a nice, positive cash flow, from day one, and when the real estate market does recover, there should be additional capital appreciation of the real estate."

He's also eying agriculture, particularly the financing of the agricultural companies, as the demands and needs of the global population continues to increase.

"So the large companies like a ConAgra (CAG); they have their cycles with their crops ... so if they have cocoa beans they need to plant or say they just harvested cocoa crop ... they need to borrow capital to plant their next crop and they will pay for short-term loans six month, nine month loans, will receive 10% to 15%. So these are short-term loans and it's backed by the actual commodity. So they're secured," Pagnato explained. "And we view that as another opportunity. In the past, Europe, the European banks have really dominated that space, so 90% of agricultural financing occurred at the European banks. With all the financial issues occurring over in Europe, it's lent us to some opportunities."

In other promising housing data Wednesday, the Census Bureau and Housing Department said that housing starts rose 2.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 750,000 in August from a downwardly revised July estimate of 733,000. Economists were expecting a rate of 770,000 in August.

Weakness mostly showed up in the volatile multi-family segment, which declined, while there was a rise in the more stable, single-family construction category.

"While the increase in starts for August was a bit less than expected and July's level was revised modestly lower, the general trend is higher," said a BTIG note.

Building permits fell 1% to 803,000, compared with expectations of an 800,000 pace, from the downwardly revised July rate of 811,000.

Stock quotes in this article: ^DJI, ^GSPC, ^IXIC, GIS, AZO, CBRL, HOV, AREX 

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