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30 April 2012 – Poor growth stunts Obama’s chances

(30 April 2012, AFR, p13, Ben Potter, Washington) ‘A sharp slowdown in March quarter growth dashed hopes for a stutter-free year for the US economy.’ ‘US gross domestic product grew at an annualised rate of just 2.2 per cent, down from 3 per cent in the December quarter and below expectations of 2.5 per cent … Continue reading

30 April 2012 – Chi-X laments reform damper

(30 April 2012, AFR, p22, Bianca Hartge-Hazelman) ‘One of the operators most affected by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s cost recovery program is exchange operator Chi-X, which has struggled to gain market share despite the government’s intentions to boost competition.’ ‘Chi-X chief operating officer Peter Fowler said the fees, which he labels a “tax”, … Continue reading

30 April 2012 – ASIC fees a threat to brokers’ jobs

(30 April 2012, AFR, p15, Bianca Hartge-Hazelman) ‘Stockbrokers and sharemarket participants warn that jobs will be axed and operations moved offshore unless the corporate regulator amends controversial new fees which look set to cost the country’s top investment banks millions of dollars a year.’ ‘Brokers claim the fees are a “tax” on the number of … Continue reading

30 April 2012 – Insolvencies at a record high for small businesses

[COMMENT: Here is an indicator of the health of the economy…] (30 April 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p5, Tony Kaye) ‘INSOLVENCIES across Australia’s small business sector are soaring, with the number of companies placed into external administration in February at the highest level since the statistics were introduced in 1999.’ ‘Australian Securities and Investments Commission … Continue reading

30 April 2012 – Fashion retailer offers a bleak streetwise assessment

(30 April 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p2, Madeleine Heffernan) ‘FASHION stalwart John Cavill says consumer confidence is the worst he’s seen in 36 years on Toorak Road.’ ‘Mr Cavill, who has six eponymous high-end fashion stores across the east coast of Australia, says low consumer confidence, penalty rates, recent changes to outworker laws, and political … Continue reading

28 April 2012 – Earnings downgrades tell it like it is

[COMMENT: The upcoming confession season and reporting season might be a good window into the short-term outlook for the share market…] (28 April 2012, AFR, p16, Michael Smith and Joanna Heath) ‘Corporate Australia is bracing for negative earnings growth this year as a weaker than expected domestic economy and deteriorating consumer sentiment put the brakes … Continue reading

28 April 2012 – Poor jobs market slows US economic recovery

(28 April 2012, AFR, p13, Ben Potter, Washington) ‘United States Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke this week called the slow recovery of the US economy and jobs market the most frustrating aspect of the post financial crisis period.’ ‘ “As a result, here we are almost three years from the beginning of the expansion, and … Continue reading

28 April 2012 – Spain faces worse after credit downgrade

(28 April 2012, AFR, p13, Matthew Drummond AFR correspondent Paris) ‘Spain is facing a potential rise in its borrowing costs after Standard & Poor’s slashed its credit rating on Spanish government bonds from ‘A’ to ‘BBB+’ and warned further downgrades may come by putting the country on negative outlook.’ ‘The downgrade caps off another grim … Continue reading

27 April 2012 – Global wobble may unbalance Swan

(27 April 2012, AFR, p10, Jacob Greber) ‘Treasurer Wayne Swan’s target of a budget surplus faces renewed threats after news of a double-dip recession in the UK, fresh doubts about European austerity measures and weaker US economic data stoked fears a global rebound may falter.’ ‘The International Monetary Fund moderately boosted its forecasts this month … Continue reading

27 April 2012 – Trucking company hits rough road

[COMMENT: This news item seems to be a reflection of the economy as a whole…. a story we see repeated around the country at present… many people and companies seem to be doing it tough….] (27 April 2012, AFR. p5, Melanie Beeby) ‘Privately owned transport company 1st Fleet has gone into voluntary administration, putting at … Continue reading

27 April 2012 – Rate cuts deliver house price rises

(27 April 2012, AFR, p3, Jacob Greber) ‘The median prices of houses rose in most capital cities in the first three months of 2012, stoking expectations that cuts to interest rates will fuel further gains.’ ‘The average house price advanced 0.9 per cent in the March quarter, after the Reserve Bank of Australia cut rates … Continue reading

27 April 2012 – Historic but unhappy moment for Britain

[COMMENT: Interesting article, includes reference to economists who sometimes don’t tell it how it is… I suggest you read the full article…] (27 April 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p8, Larry Elliott, from the Guardian) ‘IS THIS the real life? Is this just fantasy? You have to go back to 1975, when Bohemian Rhapsody topped the … Continue reading

27 April 2012 – House prices up again in March quarter

(27 April 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p3, Simon Johanson) ‘AUSTRALIA’S house prices rose slightly over the March quarter, bringing more positive news for the housing market.’ ‘Between January and March this year prices rose 0.9 per cent, the second consecutive quarter of growth, figures from property data provider Australian Property Monitors show.’ ‘The lift in … Continue reading

26 April 2012 – UK back in recession

(26 April 2012, AFR, p20, Jennifer Ryan, from Bloomberg) U.K. Succumbs to First Double-Dip Recession Since 1970s: Economy ‘The U.K. economy shrank in the first quarter as Britain slid into its first double-dip recession since the 1970s, forcing Prime Minister David Cameron to defend his spending cuts in Parliament.’ ‘Gross domestic product fell 0.2 percent … Continue reading

24 April 2012 – Telstra shares shine amid the gloom

[COMMENT: Blue ship stocks can dissapoint. The article quoted below shows this, as does this web page in my Share Market Toolbox. The published article quoted below and available online includes a table of stocks and their performances.] (24 April 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p6, Gareth Hutchens and Colin Kruger) ‘A LIST of Australia’s 10 … Continue reading

24 April 2012 – APRA warns on super liabilities

(24 April 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p3, Eric Johnston) ‘THE financial regulator has stepped up scrutiny of defined-benefit superannuation plans operated by Australia’s biggest companies after deeper investment losses across some funds caused by the past year’s market turmoil.’ ‘The top 20 companies are collectively sitting on a $7 billion black hole in unfunded pension … Continue reading

24 April 2012 – Loss at BOQ a symptom of fragility across the regional mortgage belt

(24 April 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p2, Adele Ferguson) ‘THE first pieces of hard evidence that things are a lot weaker in regional Australia are the earnings loss Bank of Queensland reported last week coupled with a decision by mortgage insurer Genworth to pull a $2 billion float after a blowout in mortgage defaults in … Continue reading

24 April 2012 – Two-speed economy to widen

(24 April 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p1, Clancy Yeates) ‘THE chasm between the mining industry and the economy’s slow lanes will widen further this year, as a business investment boom goes into ”overdrive”, a new report says.’ ‘In a sign the economy is set to become more lopsided, Deloitte Access Economics has predicted a rapid … Continue reading

23 April 2012 – Netherlands election on the cards

(23 April 2012, AFR, p12, By STEPHEN CASTLE and ANNIE LOWREY) Dutch Austerity Talks Fail as Geithner Prods Europe ‘ BRUSSELS — More uncertainty loomed for the euro zone on Saturday after the prime minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, said he expected new elections to take place following the collapse of talks on new … Continue reading

23 April 2012 – Austerity backlash unnerves investors

(23 April 2012, AFR, p11, Anthony Faiola, from The Washington Post) Europe crisis creeps back into danger zone ‘LONDON — After weeks of relative calm, Europe’s debt crisis is reawakening, as investors fret over a growing pushback in the region against the tough austerity prescribed to cure its fiscal ills.’ ‘Europe’s crisis had finally seemed … Continue reading

23 April 2012 – Sarkozy on shaky ground as French voters decide

(23 April 2012, The Age, Karen Kissane, Paris) ‘FRANCE has started voting in the first round of a presidential election that is widely expected to see conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy toppled by socialist candidate Francois Hollande.’ ‘The two men are expected to defeat eight other candidates, including far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen, in … Continue reading

19 April 2012 – Shares hit highest level since October

(19 April 2012, AFR, p32, Bianca Hartge-Hazelman) ‘Fresh signs that the global economy may be improving triggered a rally in sharemarkets as Spain sold more of its debt than expected and the International Monetary Fund raised its forecast for world growth.Australian shares rose to their highest point since October, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index … Continue reading

19 April 2012 – Luxury goods sales hint at retail therapy in Europe

(19 April 2012, AFR, p30, Andrew Roberts and Aaron Kirchfeld, from Bloomberg) LVMH First-Quarter Sales Top Estimates, Defying Slowdown ‘LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC), the world’s largest maker of luxury goods, reported first- quarter sales that beat analysts’ estimates as demand for its products accelerated, defying an “uncertain” European economy.’ ‘Revenue climbed 25 … Continue reading

18 April 2012 – Signs, portents bad for US equities

[COMMENT: For more details and comment about the VIX volatility index, see , and don’t forget that Australia has had it’s own VIX index for a short time – see the ASX fact sheet.] (18 April 2012, AFR, p28, Cecile Vannucci and Nikolaj Gammeltoft) ‘Options traders are boosting bets that US equities face their … Continue reading

ATAA – Using Technical Analysis to Develop a Market Exposure Strategy

This is to advise that the Melbourne Chapter of the ATAA will be hosting an extra special meeting in April – this coming Friday 20th April, with Guest speaker – Justine Pollard, at the Monash University Caulfield campus (5:30pm start with optional dinner following). Topic – Using Technical Analysis to Develop a Market Exposure Strategy … Continue reading

17 April 2012 – UK drought the worst since 1976

(17 April 2012, AFR, p15, James Hall, from The Telegraph) Britain faces worst drought since 1976 ‘More than half of Britain is now in drought, the Environment Agency has warned, as the UK faces its most severe water shortage since 1976. ‘ ‘Half of Britain is now in drought as the country faces its most … Continue reading

16 April 2012 – We may not yet have seen the back of the bear

(16 April 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p8, Matthew Kidman) ‘AN ORDERLY correction never happens in a stockmarket. It just sneaks up and goes whack! It happened in the US stockmarket again last week, with the benchmark S&P 500 Index falling just shy of 5 per cent in five days. The trigger for the reversal was … Continue reading

14 April 2012 – LIC your portfolio into shape

[COMMENT: Some useful information about Listed Investment Companies (LIC).] (14 April 2012, AFR, p28, Bina Brown) ‘Investors disenchanted with the performance of unlisted managed funds are eyeing lower cost options including exchange-traded funds and listed investment companies.’ ‘The latest data from actuary Plan For Life showed funds under management through wrap accounts, platforms and master … Continue reading

14 April 2012 – Ahead of the pack

[COMMENT: The AFR’s look at recent performance of Managed Funds… One observation pasted as a headline is: “None of the top five significantly outperformed in one year, nor were there any disaster years”. The full article includes performance figures for their top 5 funds (listed below).] (14 April 2012, AFR, p25, Bina Brown) ‘Consistent performance … Continue reading

14 April 2012 – Greek austerity splits coalition

(14 April 2012, AFR, p14, Matthew Drummond AFR correspondent Paris) ‘The frontrunner to become Greece’s next prime minister has stepped up his attack on his coalition partner, increasing the odds of a stalemate at the forthcoming election, which will cast fresh uncertainty over Greece’s future in the euro zone.’ ‘Antonis Samaras, leader of centre-right New … Continue reading