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31 Oct 2012 (AFR, Bloomberg) – Asia-Pacific region shows signs of life

(31 Oct 2012, AFR, p19, Shamim Adam, Singapore, Bloomberg) Asian Data Signal Slowdown Easing From Korea to Taiwan: Economy ‘The worst of the declines in Asia- Pacific economies may be moderating, as Taiwan resumed growth last quarter, South Korean production climbed for the first time in four months and Singapore’s jobless rate fell.’ ‘Gross domestic … Continue reading

31 Oct 2012 (AFR) – Singapore home sold for $25 million

(31 Oct 2012, AFR, p43, Pooja Thakur) ‘A bungalow in Singapore’s exclusive Sentosa Cove area has been sold for a record price a square foot, amid signs of a housing bubble.’ ‘The home, built in 2007 on Ocean Drive, was sold for $S32.5 million ($25.7 million), or $S3214 per square foot, on October 12, sales … Continue reading

31 Oct 2012 (AFR) – Poor return for Tinkler horseflesh

[COMMENT: This is another example of the impacts of the economic cycle during the down phase of the cycle. People become over-leveraged, get swept up with the euphoria of sky-rocketing values, and end up losing big time.] (31 Oct 2012, AFR, p3, Matthew Cranston) Tinkler takes ‘bloody big hit’ on horses ‘Troubled coal magnate Nathan … Continue reading

31 Oct 2012 (AFR) – ASIC cracks down on soft lenders

[COMMENT: These financial institution collapses happen from time to time. Some of these companies are not all that they seem to be. And it seems to come unstuck at about the bottom of the economic cycle.] (31 Oct 2012, AFR, p1, Matthew Drummond) ‘The Australian Securities and Investments Commission plans to overhaul regulation of the … Continue reading

31 Oct 2012 (The Age) – ASIC taskforce to look at tighter leash

(31 Oct 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p6, Gareth Hutchens) ‘THE corporate watchdog has set up a taskforce to consider toughening regulation of the country’s debenture industry after the collapse of non-bank lender Banksia Financial Group.’ ‘The move by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission came as receiver McGrathNicol took charge of a Banksia-linked mortgage fund, … Continue reading

26 Oct 2012 (AFR) – Receiver appointed to Juniper’s Soul development

[COMMENT: This story is a classic example of what happens towards the end of every property boom, with people over-committing to inflated purchases, and then not wanting to, or not being able to, complete the purchase. A must read…] (26 OCt 2012, AFR, p2, Matthew Cranston) ‘The new $850 million Soul tower at Surfers Paradise … Continue reading

26 Oct 2012 (AFR) – MF Global clients to receive $200m payout

(26 Oct 2012, AFR, p2, John Kehoe) ‘MF Global Australia clients will initially receive about 60 per cent of the $319 million of funds owed to them next week, 12 months after the derivatives broker collapsed. Liquidator Chris Campbell of Deloitte said on Thursday he planned to distribute about $200 million next week.’ Read more … Continue reading

25 Oct 2012 (AFR) – PMI points to recovery in China

(25 Oct 2012, AFR, p19, Lisa Murray, Shanghai) ‘China’s sluggish manufacturing sector may be turning the corner after a private sector survey reported its best result in three months, adding to signs the country’s nascent economic recovery is gathering momentum.’ ‘HSBC’s “flash” purchasing managers index, the earliest indicator of how the manufacturing sector is going … Continue reading

24 Oct 2012 (AFR) – No property boom coming – here’s why

(24 Oct 2012, AFR, Michael Hobbs) ‘Building materials provider Adelaide Brighton managing director Mark Chellew is convinced the housing sector is not headed for another boom in the long-term, as structural changes reduce the need for single-dwelling developments.’ <snipped…> ‘Structural change ahead – He expects the building products market which supplies tiles, bricks and pavers … Continue reading

24 Oct 2012 (AFR) – US stocks falter in Caterpillar’s tread

(24 Oct 2012, AFR, p29, Philip Baker) ‘If investors had a wish-list heading into the current third-quarter earnings season in the United States, it’s a fair bet that healthy top-line growth-driving profits – rather than more cost-cutting – and some upbeat outlook statements would have been high on the list.’ <snipped…> ‘And for the second … Continue reading

24 Oct 2012 (AFR) – UBS behind mystery shares spike

(24 Oct 2012, AFR, p5, Mercedes Ruehl) ‘UBS has emerged as the broker behind mystery spikes in several major blue-chip stocks when the market opened on Thursday, putting its dealing in direct conflict with ASX guidance to ensure trading is fair and orderly.’ ‘The investment bank is understood to have slashed a large sell order … Continue reading

22 Oct 2012 (AFR) – ‘I don’t view it as a betrayal’: banker

[COMMENT: Here is further comment on that explosive departure from Goldman Sachs earlier in 2012.] (22 Oct 2012, AFR, p12, Christine Harper, and New York Times, Bloomberg) Goldman Sachs Op-Ed Wasn’t a ‘Betrayal,’ Smith Tells 60 Minutes ‘Greg Smith, who resigned from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) with a March 14 opinion piece criticizing the … Continue reading

20 Oct 2012 (AFR) – Black Tuesday: lessons from the crash

[COMMENT: This is a lengthy but great history record of the events around the time of the market crash of 1987. It is rather long with just a few key snippets noted here. You really must read the full story at AFR.com.] (20 Oct 2012, AFR, p46, Trevor Sykes) ‘This weekend marks the 25th anniversary … Continue reading

20 Oct 2012 (AFR) – Decipher the fast-trade static

(20 Oct 2012, AFR, John Wasiliev) ‘A battle is taking place in the Australian sharemarket between investors and traders that all investors should understand, given the potential for them to be caught up in it. The tussle is between mainly larger investors like fund managers and a breed of speculators who engage in what is … Continue reading

19 Oct 2012 (AFR) – China data points to recovery

(19 Oct 2012, AFR, p13, Robert Guy) ‘With three weeks until China begins its once in a decade leadership transition, the incoming “fifth generation” of leaders will have taken comfort from data showing the nation’s growth may be stabilising.’ ‘The slate of data released yesterday confirmed China’s growth slowed for a seventh straight quarter but … Continue reading

19 Oct 2012 (The Age) – Unusual trades spark fears of market manipulation

(19 Oct 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, Mark Hawthorne, Gareth Hutchens, Georgia Wilkins) ‘THE integrity of trading on the Australian Securities Exchange was called into question last night after a series of unusual transactions raised the spectre of market manipulation.’ ‘Shares in more than eight blue-chip stocks – including ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Brambles, AGL, Bank … Continue reading

19 Oct 2012 (The Age) – China slows, but relief ahead

[COMMENT: Article includes a simple bar chart showing slowing Chinese growth rates year-on-year for the last 5 years.] (19 Oct 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p1, John Garnaut, China) ‘GROWTH in the Chinese economy has slowed to its lowest rate since early 2009, with GDP growth coming in at 7.4 per cent in the September quarter. … Continue reading

18 Oct 2012 (AFR, Bloomberg) – Prices hit record in top London suburbs

(18 Oct 2012, AFR, p62, By Fergal O’Brien, Bloomberg) Kensington House Prices Surge to Record $3.5 Million: Economy ‘Asking prices for homes in London surged to a record this month as values in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea rose to an average 2.2 million pounds ($3.5 million), according to Rightmove Plc. (RMV)’ ‘Prices in … Continue reading

18 Oct 2012 (AFR) – Singapore’s export sales slump likely to continue

(18 Oct 2012, AFR, p23, Shamim Adam Singapore) ‘Singapore’s exports fell for a second month in September as manufacturers sold fewer electronics and pharmaceuticals to overseas customers. Non-oil domestic exports slid 3.4 per cent from a year earlier after a revised 10.7 per cent drop in August, Singapore’s trade promotion agency said. The median of … Continue reading

18 Oct 2012 (AFR and Bloomberg) – Spain retains investment-grade rating

(18 Oct 2012, AFR, p22, and Bloomberg – By Angeline Benoit and Ian Katz) Spain Retains Investment Grade Credit Rating From Moody’s ‘Spain kept its investment grade credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service, which said the European Central Bank’s willingness to buy the nation’s debt reduces the risk of the country losing market access.’ ‘Moody’s … Continue reading

18 Oct 2012 (AFR and New York Times) – High-speed trader runs out of puff

(18 Oct 2012, AFR, p21, By NATHANIEL POPPER and New York Times) High-Speed Trading Executives Shut Firm ‘A high-frequency trading firm founded less than two years ago by former Citigroup executives is ending operations as the industry confronts a slowdown.’ ‘The firm, Eladian Partners, was started in early 2011 by two pioneers in high-speed trading, Steve … Continue reading

17 Oct 2012 (AFR, Bloomberg) – Finally, American wallets get a workout

(17 Oct 2012, AFR, p17, Shobhana Chandra, and Bloomberg) Retail Sales Beating Forecasts Support U.S. Growth ‘Americans snapped up goods from cars to iPhones in September at a faster pace than forecast by economists, showing consumer demand was heading into the year- end holidays on a high note.’ ‘The 1.1 percent advance followed a revised 1.2 … Continue reading

17 Oct 2012 (tba) – Modest increase to construction starts

(17 Oct 2012, The Age and Quarry Magazine) ‘BCI Media Group, a construction information services company, has issued a short term forecast for the Australian construction market. The forecast for the period October to December 2012 shows $16.4 billion in total construction starts in contrast with the previous cycle of July to September, which was … Continue reading

16 Oct 2012 (The Age) – Home loans rise marginally in signs of life for housing

(16 Oct 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p3, Chris Zappone) ‘SIGNS of life have returned to the mortgage market, suggesting the effects of earlier interest rate cuts are starting to spur activity in the housing sector. Home loans increased a bigger-than-expected 1.8 per cent in August, following a 1 per cent fall in July, according to … Continue reading

16 Oct 2012 (AFR) – Stock pickers reap 20 pc-plus for funds

[COMMENT: This news article includes a table of 10 (managed funds) fund managers with performance figures. Mind you, this writer/commentator is always sceptical of the value of managed funds as this year’s best performing managers are often far from the top next year.] (16 Oct 2012, AFR, p21, Ruth Liew) ‘Some of Australia’s top-performing equities … Continue reading

15 Oct 2012 (AFR) – Chi-X shunned by brokers amid liquidity concerns

(15 OCt 2012, p16, Joyce Moullakis) ‘Alternate stock exchange Chi-X Australia is under pressure from a large group of retail brokers shunning the market over concerns about costs, low volumes and complexity as the debate about so-called dark pools rages on.’ <snipped…> ‘Chi-X’s market share has ticked up by several percentage points in recent months: … Continue reading

15 Oct 2012 (AFR) – Shareholders revolt over high frequency trading

(15 Oct 2012, AFR, p8, Patrick Durkin) ‘The peak body representing retail investors has written to Financial Services Minister Bill Shorten to demand greater regulation over high frequency trading, amid fears small shareholders are being ripped off.’ ‘The calls for action come as the debate over super fast computer trading spills into the broader community … Continue reading

15 Oct 2012 (AFR) – Auction clearances breach 60pc

(15 Oct 2012, AFR, p3, Rebecca Thistleton) ‘Home buyers are showing renewed confidence as auction clearance rates breach 60 per cent in Sydney and Melbourne, but buyers’ advocates say there is a rise in the number of agents creating false price expectations. The Real Estate Institute of Victoria reported a 62 per cent clearance rate … Continue reading

13 Oct 2012 (AFR) – Hopes rise for a Santa rally on the stockmarket

[COMMENT: This topic arises every year in the lead up to Christmas (this AFR article includes a chart of the market performance for several weeks either side of Christmas in selected years.] (13 Oct 2012, AFR, Brendon Lau) ‘Strong gains in the sharemarket over the past two months have divided opinion on whether equities will … Continue reading

13 Oct 2012 (AFR) – ASX to close VolumeMatch dark pool trading venue

(13 Oct 2012, AFR, George Liondis) ‘The Australian Securities Exchange will close one of its dark pool trading venues because of a lack of interest from investors. VolumeMatch will be shut down from November – a little over two years after it was launched.’ ‘The ASX has been a fierce critic of the growth in … Continue reading