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31 Jan 2012 – No shopping holiday from penalty rates

[COMMENT / OPINION: There are enough factors weighing down global economies; but here in Australia some people might argue that we have a heavier load with things like unions and penalty rates applying the brakes to productivity, and the general economy. – True or False?] (31 Jan 2012, AFR, p40, Samantha Hutchinson) ‘Flexibility clauses in … Continue reading

31 Jan 2012 – Distressed asset listings soar

(31 Jan 2012, AFR, p38, Ruth Liew) ‘Distressed commercial property listings are expected to soar this year as struggling owners dump their troubled assets and buyers remain cautious, industry observers say.’ ‘Research from Colliers International shows listings for distressed real estate, including residential land, industrial assets and offices, soared 30 per cent across Australia last … Continue reading

31 Jan 2012 – January bodes well for rest of the year

[COMMENT: This is one of those so-called “Wall Street Axioms” which I refer to as a Share Market GEM. You can see my list of more than 100 GEMs in my Share Market Toolbox. The article mentioned below includes some current research data and observation of January 2012.] (31 Jan 2012, AFR, p19, Joanne Heath) … Continue reading

31 Jan 2012 – Warnings over high-tech trading tools

(31 Jan 2012, AFR, p10, Liam Vaughan, London, from Bloomberg) Trichet, Turner Question Real Value of Bigger, Faster Trading ‘The technology-driven jump in trading volume has been of little discernible benefit to the real economy and must be more closely watched by regulators, policy makers said at a debate at the World Economic Forum.’ ‘Jean-Claude … Continue reading

30 Jan 2012 – US growth spurt likely to be brief

(30 Jan 2012, AFR, p10, Ben Potter, AFR correspondent Washington) ‘The US economy expanded at its fastest rate for 18 months in the December quarter but investors do not believe the pace will be sustained.’ ‘Gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 2.8 per cent for the quarter as companies rebuilt inventories, and … Continue reading

30 Jan 2012 – Elderly widow latest Tweed victim

[COMMENT: Beware of the special offers that appear too good to be true – because there is often a good reason…] (30 Jan 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p19, Ben Butler) ‘SHAREMARKET bottom-feeder David Tweed’s business practices are to be tested in court by a 77-year-old widow in a case that could damage his ability to … Continue reading

28 Jan 2012 – Hacking now stock-in-trade

[COMMENT:- This is an interesting follow up to earlier articles and blogs from a few days ago about online trading accounts being hacked.] (28 Jan 2012, AFR, p29, Paul Smith and Ruth Liew ) ‘In an alarming wave of cyber-crime, internet hackers are infiltrating online broking websites and using customers’ accounts to buy up junk … Continue reading

28 Jan 2012 – Take control: it’s your super

[COMMENT:- This is one of those things that many people do not realise – the opportunity to easily have some control over exactly where your superannuation monies are allocated. Read the details.] (28 Jan 2012, AFR, p23, David Potts) ‘Just because the average fund lost money again last year doesn’t mean putting money in superannuation … Continue reading

28 Jan 2012 – Publisher of business websites looks for buyer

[COMMENT: interesting – a pending consolidation of some of the financial web sites] (28 Jan 2012, AFR, p20, Neil Shoebridge) ‘Australian Independent Business Media (AIBM), publisher of the news websites Business Spectator and The Eureka Report, has distributed an information memorandum to potential buyers.’ ‘It has set a deadline of February 10 for offers and … Continue reading

28 Jan 2012 – Waiting for the call, but it’s unlikely to be good news

[COMMENT:- very interesting article about the past, and the future, of stockbroking.] (28 Jan 2012, AFR, p18, Matthew Drummond) ‘The vaulted ceiling of the Ian Potter Centre, home to the National Gallery of Victoria’s Australian art collection and built with money from the Ian Potter Foundation, stands as an enduring legacy to the wealth that … Continue reading

27 Jan 2012 – UK steels itself for second recession in three years

(27 Jan 2012, AFR, p16, Phillip Inman, London, from The Guardian) UK moves closer to second recession as economy shrinks 0.2% • Drop in manufacturing output dents hopes UK can avoid slump • Data reinforces expectations of new round of QE • Chancellor says government will not change fiscal plans ‘Britain has moved closer to … Continue reading

25 Jan 2012 – Write-downs for Fannie and Freddie ‘too costly’

(25 Jan 2012, AFR, p20, Lorraine Woellert, Washington, from Bloomberg) Mortgage Writedowns Could Cost Taxpayers $100B ‘Forgiving mortgage debt on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans would cost the taxpayer-funded companies almost $100 billion, their regulator said.’ ‘The Federal Housing Finance Agency said that as of June 30, the companies guaranteed nearly 3 million mortgages … Continue reading

25 Jan 2012 – Housing gloom starts to lift

[COMMENT: The linked article includes a small table of median house prices.] (25 Jan 2012, AFR, p3, Michelle Singer) ‘House prices have stopped falling for the first time in almost 18 months, and experts expect property markets around the country to stabilise this year, starting with Sydney.’ ‘While prices dropped 3.5 per cent in the … Continue reading

25 Jan 2012 – Advisers fail ASIC test on plans

[QUESTION: Have you received advice from a financial adviser? Can you relate to the details below? or are you a satisfied customer of a financial adviser?] (25 Jan 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p24, Ruth Williams) ‘A SWEEP by the corporate regulator has uncovered ”disappointingly high” levels of poor-quality advice provided by financial planners.’ ‘As a … Continue reading

25 Jan 2012 – GUD sees signs of consumer rebound

[COMMENT:- what if this observation by GUD is indicative of other Aussie companies and industries?] (25 Jan 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Leonie Wood) ‘GUD Holdings, the manufacturer and wholesaler of toasters, kettles and coffee machines, water pumps, locks and car equipment, has detected what it believes are the early signs of a rebound in … Continue reading

24 Jan 2012 – US looks buoyant compared with Britain

(24 Jan 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p19, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, from Telegraph) America overcomes the debt crisis as Britain sinks deeper into the swamp ‘Britain has sunk deeper into debt. Three years after bubble burst, the UK has barely begun to tackle the crushing burden left by Gordon Brown. The contrast with the United States is … Continue reading

Latest BullCharts version 3.9

The latest version of BullCharts – version 3.9 – contains a couple of new features. The most significant one for many users is the “Trend Alert” tool – an Alert line for use on End of Day data, or on intraday snapshot data, and which is not a simpel horizontal line, but a sloping line. … Continue reading

24 Jan 2012 – US on slow road to recovery – at last

(24 Jan 2012, AFR, p32, Paul Krugman) ‘How goes the state of the union? Well, the state of the economy remains terrible. Three years after President Barack Obama’s inauguration and 2½ years since the official end of the recession, unemployment is painfully high.’ ‘But there are reasons to think that we’re finally on the slow … Continue reading

23 Jan 2012 – WA extends its lead in a ‘three-speed’ economy

(23 Jan 2012, AFR, p4, Joanna Mather) ‘Western Australia has consolidated its status as the nation’s economic powerhouse but the European debt crisis is casting a pall over the national jobs outlook, leading private sector economists say.’ ‘CommSec’s latest report on the performance of state and territory economies finds WA has pulled even further ahead, … Continue reading

21 Jan 2012 – Raids on share accounts

[COMMENT:- how safe is your share trading account?] (21 Jan 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p1, Ben Butler) ‘CLIENTS of online stockbrokers should ”urgently” review their account security after a spike in hacking attacks, the corporate watchdog has warned.’ ‘The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is investigating the attacks, following similar breaches in Europe and North … Continue reading

A labour of love bears fruit (wines)

[Comment: a very interesting article about some of the details to do with wine labels, brand names, and marketing.] (21 Jan 2012, AFR, p19, Julie-Ann Sprague) ‘For Phil Sexton there were safer bets than ploughing the winnings amassed by selling businesses to Foster’s and Southcorp on a small winery in Victoria’s Yarra Valley.’ ‘He could … Continue reading

21 Jan 2012 – ASIC alert as hackers hit e-traders

[COMMENT: How safe is your on trading account, and the funds therein?] (21 Jan 2012, AFR, p20, Ruth Liew) ‘The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is asking clients of online stockbroking firms urgently to review their computer virus protection and account security, following multiple account intrusions in the past few days.’ ‘It is understood the … Continue reading

21 Jan 2012 0 Embattled euro zone gets much-needed cheer

(21 Jan 2012, AFR, p14, Phillip Inman, Lonodon, from The Guardian) Relief in eurozone as France and Spain secure funds in critical bond auction • Madrid and Paris succeed in rolling over €13bn in debt • Interest rates significantly lower than last year • Ireland also praised for performance on austerity targets ‘France and Spain … Continue reading

21 Jan 2012 – Funds reconsider returns targets

[COMMENT:- Superannuation fund returns – certainly a hot topic.] (21 Jan 2012, AFR, p3, Sally Patten) ‘Volatile financial markets are starting to force superannuation funds to consider downgrading their return targets, a move that could require investors to increase contributions to ensure a comfortable retirement.’ ‘Research firm SuperRatings said on Friday the median balanced retirement … Continue reading

20 Jan 2012 – Financiers keep UK debt soaring

(20 Jan 2012, AFR, p18, Heather Stewart, London, from The Guardian) UK credit binge pushes debt above 500% of GDP ‘UK had the highest level of debt after Japan, an international study by management consultancy McKinsey found.’ ‘Britain faces a difficult challenge over the next decade as it slowly adjusts to an economy less dependent … Continue reading

20 Jan 2012 – Labour market a no-grow zone

(20 Jan 2012, The Age, p3, Peter Martin) ‘A DECISION by retailers to shy away from the usual Christmas practice of hiring extra workers has given Australia the worst jobs performance in two decades, sparking talk of two more interest rate cuts within months.’ ‘Bureau of Statistics figures released yesterday show instead of the usual … Continue reading

20 Jan 2012 – Now banking hours face the chop

[COMMENT:- A sign of the times… didn’t we have reduced bank branch hours like these a few decades ago? So what’s happened now? Banks introduced longer branch hours, including Saturday, and now reducing them?] (20 Jan 2012, AFR, p1, Andrew Cornell) ‘Commonwealth Bank of Australia will cut opening hours in smaller regional branches in the … Continue reading

20 Jan 2012 – Jobs go as confidence evaporates

(20 Jan 2012, AFR, p1, Adrian Rollins and Jason Murphy) ‘Australia is facing a jobs recession after employment stagnated last year in the worst performance since the depths of the 1990s downturn.’ ‘In a sign that global instability and weak conditions in much of the local economy are bearing down heavily on the labour market, … Continue reading

19 Jan 2012 – Ad spend boosts hopes of 2012 uptick

[COMMENT:- forecasts for 2012? including pie chart and table] (19 Jan 2012, AFR, p34, John McDuling ) ‘Advertising spending went nowhere in 2011 but a resilient performance in December amid tough conditions for retailers and banks has boosted hopes for a recovery later this year.’ ‘The Standard Media Index (SMI) increased 0.2 per cent in … Continue reading

19 Jan 2012 – S&P’s ratings get no response from markets

[COMMENT – This article suggests that a lot of bad news is already priced into the markets.] (19 Jan 1012, AFR, p21, Simon Kennedy, Zeke Faux and John Detrixhe, from Bloomberg) S&P Downgrades See Muted Market Response ‘Investors are again downgrading the decision-making of Standard & Poor’s.’ ‘Less than a week after the New York-based … Continue reading