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29 Feb 2012 – Rating agency says Greece in ‘selective default’ (AFP, Yahoo)

[COMMENT:- So, one of the three major ratings agencies has assigned this rating to Greece. So, what does that mean now for the global economies, and for Australia?] (29 Feb 2012, AFP, and Yahoo) ‘Ratings firm Standard & Poor’s on Monday declared Greece in “selective default” after banks agreed to write off more than half … Continue reading

29 Feb 2012 – DIY deals increase as comprehensive broking feels the heat

(29 Feb 2012, AFR, Special Report page S6, Gayle Bryant) ‘Share investors are becoming more comfortable with making their own buy and sell decisions and this is having an effect on the number of full-service brokers in the market.’ ‘Data from the Australian Stock Exchange show that full service retail firms lost market share following … Continue reading

29 Feb 2012 – Fear or greed?

[COMMENT: This is a great article touching on the psychology and emotions of investing. A must read…(except that the Technical Analysts amongst us cannot agree with some of the comments regarding the Efficient Market Hypothesis, nor the suggestion that we can minimise behavioural bias by using fundamental analysis for our decision-making – this is the … Continue reading

29 Feb 2012 – US home buyers return

(29 Feb 2012, AFR, p15, Shobhana Chandra Washington) ‘The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes rose in January to the highest level in nearly two years, supporting the view that the housing market is gradually coming back.’ ‘The National Association of Realtors said that its index of sales agreements rose 2 per … Continue reading

28 Feb 2012 – Britain runs out of cash

(28 Feb 2012, AFR, p14, Rowena Mason, London, from The Telegraph) George Osborne: UK has run out of money ‘The Government ‘has run out of money’ and cannot afford debt-fuelled tax cuts or extra spending, George Osborne has admitted. ‘ ‘In a stark warning ahead of next month’s Budget, the Chancellor said there was little … Continue reading

25 Feb 2012 – Time for a fees face-off

[COMMENT:- Another news report about managed funds, and their performance, and the fees they charge regardless of whether the value of your investment increases, or decreases.] (25 Feb 2012, AFR, p25, Bina Brown) ‘Investors who believe fund managers actively managing large equity or fixed-income portfolios must be worth the extra money they are paid have … Continue reading

25 Feb 2012 – Macro view helped Schroders win

[COMMENT: Annual review of fund managers and managed funds… This article helps demonstrate that even though fund managers can tout performance in line with an index, when the market index falls, many funds fall also.] (25 Feb 2012, AFR, p25, Bina Brown) ‘Maintaining stability among its fund teams was an important factor behind the success … Continue reading

25 Feb 2012 – Farce of a Greek solution doomed to wither

[COMMENT: This is an opinion piece from one of the respected journalists at the AFR… You might not agree with this crystal ball gazing?] (25 Feb 2012, AFR, p24, Glenn Mumford) ‘I have to be honest – I no longer believe in the tooth fairy. I’ve also got doubts about the Easter bunny. But it … Continue reading

21 Feb 2012 – (Reuters) Eurozone seals second Greek bailout after tortuous talks

(21 Feb 2012, Reuters, By Annika Breidthardt and Jan Strupczewski) ‘(Reuters) – Euro zone finance ministers sealed a second bailout for debt-laden Greece on Tuesday that will resolve its immediate financing needs but seems unlikely to revive the nation’s shattered economy.’ ‘After 13 hours of talks, euro zone officials said ministers had finalized measures to … Continue reading

21 Feb 2012 – Signs of pick-up in consumer spending lift retailer hopes

(21 Feb 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p1, Clancy Yeates) Retailers hope nascent spending recovery will blossom ‘SPENDING rose in most parts of the economy last month, according to figures that deliver a ray of hope to the nation’s struggling retailers.’ ‘Commonwealth Bank yesterday said turnover at its network of credit and debit-card terminals rose by … Continue reading

17 Feb 2012 – Share hit as profits disappoint

[COMMENT: here is one explanation for the market fall on 16 Feb… purported impacts from overseas news and/or local reporting season news announcements.] (17 Feb 2012, AFR, p23, Anna Raissis) ‘Investors shrugged off solid domestic employment figures yesterday, as disappointing earnings reports from large-cap domestic companies and growing fears Greece was moving closer to default … Continue reading

17 Feb 2012 – US manufacturing picks up

(17 Feb 2012, AFR, p18, Ben Potter, Washington) ‘The US Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee remains split over whether the economy needs a boost from QE3 – or a third round of securities purchases or quantitative easing – minutes of its January 24-25 meeting show.’ ‘The divided opinions on the FOMC come as the manufacturing … Continue reading

16 Feb 2012 – Austerity measures curb GDP

(16 Feb 2012, AFR, p11, Landon Thomas, Lisbon, ftom New York Times) Portugal’s Debt Efforts May Be Warning for Greece ‘LISBON — As debt-plagued Greece struggles to meet Europe’s strict terms for receiving its next round of bailout money, the lesson of Portugal might bear watching. ‘ ‘Unlike Greece, Portugal is a debtor nation that … Continue reading

16 Feb 2012 – Consumers look on the bright side

(16 Feb 2012, AFR, p10, Adrian Rollins) ‘The mood of consumers improved sharply this month despite recent gloomy news about the economy, the Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment index shows.’ ‘The measure of how individuals feel about the state of the economy rose 4.2 per cent to 101.1, its highest level since November.’ ‘The data was … Continue reading

15 Feb 2012 – Treatment of trading losses tightened up

(15 Feb 2012, AFR, p29, John Wasiliev) ‘Do it yourself super funds are steadily losing the investment flexibility they have previously enjoyed. In addition to much tougher rules on collectables, DIY funds are now restricted through the tax treatment of any trading activities they engage in, especially share trading but also trading in managed funds, … Continue reading

15 Feb 2012 – Pick winners in drift rallies

[COMMENT: Very interesting observations about share price movement after an earnings announcement.] (15 Feb 2012, AFR, p17, Bianca Hartge-Hazelman) ‘As a general rule of thumb, missing expectations during reporting season can cause a company’s share price to underperform the market for many months, while beating expectations can have the opposite effect. But not everyone agrees … Continue reading

15 Feb 2012 – Business demand for credit at four-year low

(15 Feb 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p5, Peter Martin) ‘IT’S not just the Reserve Bank that’s sitting on its hands. The latest NAB business survey shows an astonishing two-thirds of Australian businesses reported no need for finance in January, the highest since the survey began in 2008.’ ‘The jump from 64 per cent of businesses … Continue reading

15 Feb 2012 – Banks being prudent in difficult times

[COMMENT: Australia’s banks are cutting jobs while reporting large profits, and drawing flak for doing so. This good article puts this into perspective – the number of job cuts are tiny in the overall economy, and the banks, like any other business, need to make a profit or investors will invest their money elsewhere.] (15 … Continue reading

14 Feb 2012 – Thousands more jobs doomed

[COMMENT: The federal govt keeps saying that the Australian economy is going great. But we continue to see retrenchments?] (14 Feb 2012, The Age, p1, Ben Schneiders and Eric Johnston) ‘MORE big employers, including Qantas, are poised to shed workers across Australia, adding to the recent wave of cuts in banking and in the struggling … Continue reading

14 Feb 2012 – Two more banks defy Swan

(14 Feb 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p4, Eric Johnston) ‘AUSTRALIAN banks have drawn a line under profit margins, with each of the big four lenders pushing through its own out-of-cycle interest rate rises.’ ‘Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank have become the latest to raise their variable lending rates outside the Reserve Bank’s regular monthly … Continue reading

14 Feb 2012 – NSW rush lifts housing loan figures

(14 Feb 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p4, Chris Zappone) ‘LOANS for housing rose to an eight-month high in December, helped by heavy demand in New South Wales and interest rate cuts in November and December.’ ‘The number of loans granted to build or buy houses and apartments increased by 2.3 per cent to 48,453, the … Continue reading

14 Feb 2012 – Job cuts vital to counter slowdown, says ANZ boss

[COMMENT: The govt says the economy is going great; but the banks are putting interest rates up and cutting jobs?] (14 Feb 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p1, Eric Johnston) Banks cannot hold back flood of job losses: ANZ boss ‘A TOP ANZ executive has warned of more jobs pain in the banking sector, with a … Continue reading

14 Feb 2012 – Agents leave as sales slump

[COMMENT: article includes bar graph of dollar value of house and unit sales 2001 – 2011.] (14 Feb 2012, AFR, p46, Ben Hurley) ‘Home sales fell to a six-year low last year, leaving a large overhang of unsold homes on the market and causing an exodus of people employed in the industry. RP Data figures … Continue reading

14 Feb 2012 – US housing sours Australian CDOs

(14 Feb 2012, AFR, p20, Jonathan Barrett) ‘Australian collateralised debt obligation (CDO) investors are facing a major shake-out as the ailing American mortgage market pushes valuations below what they were during the depths of the financial crisis.’ ‘An anticipated move by home mortgage provider Residential Capital to sell its mortgage unit through a prearranged bankruptcy … Continue reading

14 Feb 2012 – Japanese data worse than expected

(14 Feb 2012, AFR, p14, Keiko Ujikane, Tokyo, from Bloomberg) Japan Swings to Contraction as Yen Undermines Exports: Economy ‘Japan’s economy shrank an annualized 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter, more than economists estimated, as slumping exports undermine a recovery from last year’s record earthquake.’ ‘The contraction compared with the median forecast for a 1.3 … Continue reading

13 Feb 2012 – Retail investors trickle back online

(13 Feb 2012, AFR, p46, Ruth Liew) ‘Mum and dad investors are ignoring fears of a global economic downturn and rising numbers are trading in shares via the internet.’ ‘Figures from research house Investment Trends showed more than 20,000 active traders joined the fray between May and December – bringing the total number of internet … Continue reading

13 Feb 2012 – Corporate bond sales soar on recovery

(13 Feb 2012, AFR, p21, Sridhar Natarajan and Tim Catts ) ‘Corporate borrowers are selling bonds at the fastest pace ever as evidence mounts that the US economy is gaining strength and investors grow more confident that Europe is edging towards a solution to its sovereign debt crisis.’ ‘Petroleo Brasileiro and AT&T led $US137.8 billion … Continue reading

13 Feb 2012 – Home prices falter in January

(13 Feb 2012, AFR, p5, Ainslie Chandler) ‘The national housing market slumped further in January.’ ‘Residex figures show a 1.2 per cent decline in the median house price and a 0.67 per cent fall in the median unit price for the period. Residex chief John Edwards said there was little evidence of recovery.’ ‘House prices … Continue reading

13 Feb 2012 – Leasing demand in an uncertainty rut

(13 Feb 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p6, Philip Hopkins) ‘DESPITE the low office vacancy rate in the Melbourne CBD, economic uncertainty, particularly fears about Europe, is stymying demand for new space, according to real estate agents.’ ‘Savills Australia’s divisional director office leasing, Phillip Cullity, said the Melbourne CBD’s continuing low office vacancy rate – 5.3 … Continue reading

13 Feb 2012 – Greek lawmakers approve austerity bill as Athens burns

(13 Feb 2012, Reuters, By Harry Papachristou and Yannis Behrakis, Athens) ‘(Reuters) – Greece’s parliament approved a deeply unpopular austerity bill Monday to secure a second EU/IMF bailout and avoid national bankruptcy, as buildings burned across central Athens and violence spread around the country.’ ‘Cinemas, cafes, shops and banks were set ablaze in central Athens … Continue reading