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30 Nov 2012 (AFR, Fin Times) – Kabul bank fraud benefited well-connected

[COMMENT: Very interesting insight into the allegedly corrupt workings of some banks.] (30 Nov 2012, AFR, p19, Victor Mallet in New Delhi and Financial Times) Report brands Kabul Bank a fraud ‘Kabul Bank, which accounted for more than a third of Afghanistan’s banking assets before it was seized by the authorities two years ago, was … Continue reading

30 Nov 2012 (The Age) – Members have their say on self-managed super funds

[COMMENT: Interesting article on the results of a survey into the satisfaction (or otherwise) of SMSF industry participants.] (30 Nov 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p6, Max Newnham) ‘RESEARCH into self-managed super funds has given an insight into the attitudes of members of this fastest-growing sector of the superannuation industry. It also provides a big reason … Continue reading

29 Nov 2012 (The Age) – Warnings as outer suburbs property market teeters

(29 Nov 2012, The Age, p7, Chris Vedelago) ‘MELBOURNE’S outer-suburban property market is facing a serious slump as distressed buyers and builders cancel one in every three new home purchases. The collapse could have serious repercussions for the state economy and the building industry, which employs more than 250,000.’ ‘ ”We’ve never seen this before, … Continue reading

22 Nov 2012 (AFR) – Fundie’s rabbit run tracks high tail volumes

(22 Nov 2012, AFR, p29, Peter Wells) ‘I went for a run yesterday lunchtime. It was legit business because it was a planned run with a fund manager. One topic of conversation was intraday trading patterns and how they’ve changed through the years. For starters, volume and value ain’t what it used to be. Secondly, … Continue reading

21 Nov 2012 (AFR, F.Times) – Dubai rises from the quicksand

(21 Nov 2012, AFR, p20, Roula Khalaf, and Financial Times) Dubai hopes revival is built on solid foundations ‘You feel it in the thickness of the traffic and in the bustle of the hotels and restaurants. You hear it in the rumours of the old guard re-emerging to lead the city’s growth again.’ ‘And, to … Continue reading

29 Nov 2012 (The Age) – Mining investment hits record high

(29 Nov 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p3, Clancy Yeates) ‘SEVERAL huge liquefied natural gas projects have pushed committed investment in the resources sector to a record $268 billion, the government’s commodity forecaster says. But in a sign of the growing risks to the investment pipeline, the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics has warned that … Continue reading

28 Nov 2012 (AFR, Bloomberg) – Brighter days forecast for Europe’s Stoxx 600

(28 Nov 2012, AFR, p24, Alexis Xydias & Adria Cimino and Bloomberg) Europe Priced for No Profit Growth Signals Stocks Rally ‘European stocks are trading at levels that show investors anticipate no profit growth for 2013, increasing optimism among strategists who say equities will rise to a five-year high.’ ‘The Stoxx Europe 600 Index (SXXP) … Continue reading

28 Nov 2012 (AFR) – Cash switch could boost online brokers

[COMMENT: This lengthy article includes a great table comparing key online brokers and current charges – nabtrade, CommSec, Westpac, E*Trade. Also cash account rate comparisons. It seems that online brokers are becoming more competitive to win over more of the new business from the newly interested investors.] (28 Nov 2012, AFR, p23, Bina Brown) ‘Online … Continue reading

27 Nov 2012 (AFR, Bloomberg) – Dubai aims for world’s biggest mall

(27 Nov 2012, AFR, p12, Zainab Fattah, Dubai, and Bloomberg) Dubai Ruler Approves $2.7 Billion Theme Parks Development ‘Dubai’s ruler approved building five theme parks valued at 10 billion dirhams ($2.7 billion) three days after he announced the development of a new district that includes the world’s biggest shopping mall and gardens bigger than London’s … Continue reading

29 Nov 2012 (AFR, Bloomberg) – Americans give thanks and spend

(29 Nov 2012, AFR, p10, Shobhana Chandra and Bloomberg) Consumer Confidence in U.S. Increases to Four-Year High ‘Consumer confidence rose in November to the highest level in more than four years, a sign U.S. household spending will keep growing.’ ‘The Conference Board’s confidence index climbed to 73.7, the highest since February 2008, from a revised … Continue reading

27 Nov 2012 (AP) – Fitch says Argentina default is ‘probable’

(27 Nov 2012, Associated Press) ‘NEW YORK (AP) — The credit rating agency Fitch Ratings on Tuesday downgraded Argentina, which is locked in a court battle in New York over its debt, and said the country would probably default. Fitch cut its long-term rating for Argentina to “CC” from “B,” a downgrade of five notches, … Continue reading

26 Nov 2012 (AFR) – Horticultural sector in sale glut

(26 Nov 2012, AFR, p39, Matthew Cranston) ‘Distressed horticultural properties are starting to pour on to Queensland’s rural property market, with collapsed producer Gowinta Farms placing 80 hectares of strawberry and pineapple plantations on the Sunshine Coast for sale. A swath of such property has sold recently or is being offered as major companies like … Continue reading

26 Nov 2012 (AFR) – Residential recovery afoot in Sydney, Perth, SE Qld: BIS

(26 Nov 2012, AFR, p39, Ainslie Chandler) ‘Buyers in south-western Sydney have camped out overnight to secure lots on a residential release, adding to signs of a recovery in the housing lot market after years in the doldrums. There was strong demand at the release of land at Edmondson Park which went on sale on … Continue reading

24 Nov 2012 (AFR) – Down and out in London, Paris, Athens…

(24 Nov 2012, AFR, p15, Emma-Kate Symons Paris) ‘Bitter debt disputes, dreadful sets of economic numbers, indecision, budget-based recriminations and widespread uncertainty – welcome to another “ordinary” week from hell in Europe.’ ‘Dual crises of sovereign debt management and spending priority divisions at the gridlocked Brussels euro leaders summit were mirrored in another batch of … Continue reading

23 Nov 2012 (AFR) – China data to push dollar higher

(23 Nov 2012, AFR, p21, Jane Searle) ‘The strongest result for Chinese manufacturing activity in 13 months is expected to further boost the Australian dollar, as demand recovers in our biggest export market. The HSBC PMI, an early indicator of manufacturing conditions in China, was at 50.4 in November – indicating a return to expansionary conditions. … Continue reading

23 Nov 2012 (AFR) – Growth slowing in Thailand

(23 Nov 212, AFR, p19, from FT.com) ‘When flood waters retreat there are usually feelings of relief before the reality of what’s left behind sets in. Much the same could be said of Thailand’s economy, the second -biggest in south-east Asia. A recovery after last year’s floods helped to support GDP growth of 4.4 per … Continue reading

22 Nov 2012 (AFR) – Retailers relieved but not relaxed after sales rise

(22 Nov 2012, AFR, p3, Sue Mitchell) ‘Retailers have enjoyed their best quarterly sales in two years but are reluctant to call the end of the spending slump for fear of worse to come.’ ‘The scars of Christmas 2010 and the July quarter of 2011 are still raw for the likes of Myer chief Bernie … Continue reading

22 Nov 2012 (TheAge) – Regulator tightens rules on ultra-fast trades

(22 Nov 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p5, Gareth Hutchens) ‘THE Australian Securities and Investments Commission has announced new market integrity rules for high-speed traders and dark pools in a bid to address concerns about changes in the structure of the local equity market. The announcement came just a day after the federal government gave approval … Continue reading

22 Nov 2012 (TheAge) – DJs fails to win over market

(22 Nov 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p1, Colin Kruger) ‘FASHION-CONSCIOUS shoppers helped David Jones eke out its first quarter of sales growth in two years, but it did not impress the market, which sent the retailer’s shares down more than 6 per cent to $2.41.’ ‘The department store, which launched its new online sales channel … Continue reading

21 Nov 2012 (TheAge) – Greek drama reaches horror denouement

(21 Nov 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p19, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard) ‘Angela Merkel faces days of reckoning as taxpayer haircut looms.’ ‘GERMANY, Holland and the creditor states of northern Europe have not lost a single cent on eurozone rescue packages, so far. They have lent money, at a theoretical profit. They have issued a fistful of guarantees … Continue reading

21 Nov 2012 (TheAge) – France’s rating downgraded a second time

(21 Nov 2012, The Age, BusinessDay, p14, Kim Willsher) ‘MOODY’S credit rating agency has stripped France of its coveted AAA rating and declared that the country’s economic outlook remains ”negative”.’ ‘In what will be a severe blow to Socialist President Francois Hollande, the agency said it was reducing the country’s rating from AAA to AA1, … Continue reading

19 Nov 2012 (AFR) – Property price drops bring back the buyers

(19 Nov 2012, AFR, p4, Nick Lenaghan) ‘The proportion of houses and apartments selling at auction gained momentum at the weekend, with sellers showing greater willingness to accept offers they would have previously rejected. Clearance rates in Melbourne hit 65 per cent from the 779 auctions reported, the Real Estate Institute of Victoria said.’ ‘In … Continue reading

17 Nov 2012 (AFR) – Anxiety over ‘fiscal cliff’ curbs share rally

[COMMENT: This article includes two useful graphs….] (17 Nov 2012, AFR, p47, Jane Searle) ‘Wall Street’s rally has come to a screeching halt since United States President Barack Obama’s re-election as fears of tight fiscal policy, weak corporate earnings and fresh European debt woes erode positive investor sentiment. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones have … Continue reading

17 Nov 2012 (AFR) – Australian investors suspicious of advisers

(17 Nov 2012, AFR, p32, Duncan Hughes) ‘Worries about performance and the quality of advice received from an adviser are the issues most likely to keep Australian investors awake at night, according to a newly published global review of investor attitudes. That contrasts with insomniac Chinese and Japanese investors, who are more likely to be … Continue reading

17 Nov 2012 (AFR) – Time to exchange strategies

[COMMENT: Great intro article on ETFs – Exchange Traded Funds – including a few sample providers (but this is NOT a recommendation to invest in any of them, as it is for information only).] (17 Nov 2012, AFR, p28, Bina Brown) ‘Investors are putting more money into exchange traded funds (ETFs) than ever before. Big … Continue reading

17 Nov 2012 (AFR, Economist) – France the elephant in the euro crisis room

[COMMENT: Could France become the next country to cause problems in the Euro crisis?] (17 Nov 2012, AFR, p15) The time-bomb at the heart of Europe ‘Why France could become the biggest danger to Europe’s single currency.’ ‘THE threat of the euro’s collapse has abated for the moment, but putting the single currency right will … Continue reading

15 Nov 2012 (The Guardian) – Double-dip recession confirmed in eurozone

(15 Nov 2012, The Guardian, Larry Elliott and Josephine Moulds) ‘Eurozone GDP fell by 0.1% in third quarter, plunging region into recession that economists fear could drag into next year.’ ‘The head of the European Central Bank has warned that time is running out to resolve the crisis in the eurozone as the latest figures … Continue reading

16 Nov 2012 (AFR) – Top fund prospers by bucking trends

[COMMENT: Another article on the performance of managed funds, to be taken with the same grain of salt – make sure to review the longer term performance figures. In the table in the article, the 5 year performances for the “best” ten funds range from -0.9%pa up to a max of 1.6%pa, with several rated … Continue reading

15 Nov 2012 (AFR) – Worst is over in housing: CSR chief

(15 Nov 2012, AFR, p21, Michael Hobbs) ‘Conditions for Australia’s housing construction market have passed the worst, CSR managing director Rob Sindel said, pointing to higher finance approval figures, state government stimulus packages and evidence of a turnaround. His upbeat comments sent CSR shares more than 7 per cent higher on Wednesday, despite a 50 … Continue reading

15 Nov 2012 (AFR, Telegraph) – BRICs sliding into slowdown

(15 Nov 2012, AFR, p17, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, London, and The Guardian) US Conference Board fears Brics miracle over as world faces decade-long slump ‘The catch-up boom in China, India, Brazil is largely over and will be followed by a drastic slowdown over the next decade, according to a grim report by America’s top forecasting body.’ … Continue reading