Rising Fortunes Are Building China’s Housing Market and New Device Promises To Make Heart Surgery Easier And Safer

Unlike U.S. lenders, China’s state-owned banks didn’t offer subprime loans to just about anyone with a pulse, nor sell loans into secondary markets.

By mid-2009, the market caught fire again after the central government relaxed credit and rolled out other stimulus measures. As consumer confidence rose, buyers returned in force, driving up home prices.

To get a current read on housing trends in China, IBD spoke with Li-Lan Cheng, chief financial officer of E-House Holdings (EJ), a top residential brokerage firm in China that is publicly traded in the U.S. Its stock has vaulted 136% over the past 12 months, though it slipped 32% from an August high.

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E-House sold 100,000 housing units in 2009, a 150% jump from 2008. Even in the normally slow month of January, Cheng says, sales were brisk.

IBD: Is there a housing bubble brewing in China, leading to more government controls, as some fear?

Cheng: If you just focus on real estate in isolation you may conclude that. [Read the full article]

Edwards Lifesciences (EW) is trying to change that. The Irvine, Calif.-based medical device company has developed a transcatheter heart valve, or THV, that uses a less-invasive procedure.

Chief Executive Michael Mussallem calls the Sapien THV a transformational product that reaches a largely untreated population which previously turned down more invasive procedures.

The Sapien THV could double overall revenue growth from 8% to 14%-18%, the CEO said. The device also offers a greater profit margin than existing devices, he added.

It’s already in use in Europe, where it splits the THV market roughly 50-50 with Medtronic’s (MDT) CoreValve.

But Mussallem says Edwards has a two-year head start over competitors on getting approval in the U.S. and is already developing a next-generation Sapien that he expects will be available before rivals can get their first-generation THVs to market. [Read the full article]

On Feb. 4, 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt created the United Service Organizations. On the 69th anniversary of this noble experiment, I’ve been thinking about the connection between serving members of the military and easing their return to civilian life. It is particularly important to …

It was 1978, and Dave Kekich had many reasons to be cocky. At just 35, he had formed a huge life insurance company from which he expected to rake in several million dollars. He lived in an oceanfront California home, drove a convertible luxury car and had a girlfriend. He was a bodybuilder who …

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And if you’re not a scientist, you’re still likely to have seen Life Technologies’ products on the CSI television programs on CBS.

DNA sequencing equipment from the Applied Biosystems unit is in the labs of the popular, three-city CSI whodunit shows, says Life Chief Executive Greg Lucier.

In the real world, Life is in a race to grab more of a growing global market for genetic and molecular research products.

“They’re in a massive game of catch-up with Illumina (ILMN),” said Ross Muken, an analyst with Deutsche Bank Securities, which does business with Life.

The genome is all the building-block information in the genes of living things. Sequencing is figuring out how the 3 billion subunits of those genes fit together and where mutations occur that cause disease.

In 2000, scientists completed the first draft of the Human Genome Project. They finished the details in 2006.

It was a massive task underwritten by the U.S. government. [Read the full article]

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