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29 March 2013 (Herald Sun) – Market falters on bailout fears with Slovenia making the list

(29 March 2013, Herald Sun, p25, John Dagge) ‘THE perilous state of the world’s largest economic bloc is again in sharp focus with Slovenia emerging as the latest contender for a bailout. Australia’s share market lost ground yesterday – with the ASX 200 suffering its first monthly loss in 10 months – as European Union … Continue reading

28 March 2013 (AFR) – Syndicates and unlisted trusts back on the radar

[COMMENT: Is this an indication that the economy has turned the corner, and that investors’ funds are now looking for the next best investment opportunity? And feeling al ittle more relaxed with the credit?] (28 March 2013, AFR, p56, Robert Harley) ‘Property syndicates and unlisted retail trusts are once again attracting the money. Not that … Continue reading

28 March 2013 (AFR) – What have we learned? Inside the LM collapse

(28 March 2013, AFR, p54, Ben Wilmot) ‘New Zealand businessman Peter Drake’s long-time dream of building up his LM Investment Management into a global funds management operation lies in tatters.’ ‘The collapse of the Gold Coast-based group came just weeks after Drake launched a last-ditch charm offensive to turn around perceptions of the business. In … Continue reading

28 March 2013 (AFR, Bloomberg) – Saving Slovenia: PM urged to avoid Cyprus scenario

(28 March 2013, AFR, p20, Boris Cerni and Agnes Lovasz, Bloomberg) Slovenia Pledges Austerity in Bid to Avoid Same Route as Cyprus ‘Slovenia’s week-old government pledged to continue with austerity measures to avoid becoming the euro region’s sixth member to require a bailout.’ ‘Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek, in her first major policy speech since taking … Continue reading

25 March 2013 (AFR) – Clearance rates high as Super Saturday boosts auctions

(25 March 2013, AFR, p6, Nick Lenaghan) ‘Enthusiastic buyers delivered strong clearance rates at Sydney and Melbourne’s “Super Saturday” auctions ahead of the Easter break. In Sydney 70.5 per cent of the properties put to the market were sold, an increase from last weekend’s result of 68.7 per cent. It was also well above the … Continue reading

25 March 2013 (The Age) – Big sales weekend signals confidence

(25 March 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p29, Nicole Lindsay) ‘Buyer confidence in Melbourne’s property market, apparently unshaken by the political instability in Canberra, resulted in another strong weekend of property sales. The Real Estate Institute of Victoria recorded a clearance rate of 68 per cent from 1106 auctions, one of the biggest weekends in more … Continue reading

25 March 2013 (AFR) – Clearance rates high as Super Saturday boosts auctions

(25 March 2013, AFR, p6, Nick Lenaghan) ‘Enthusiastic buyers delivered strong clearance rates at Sydney and Melbourne’s “Super Saturday” auctions ahead of the Easter break.’ ‘In Sydney 70.5 per cent of the properties put to the market were sold, an increase from last weekend’s result of 68.7 per cent. It was also well above the … Continue reading

21 March 2013 (AFR) – Cromwell chief warns of property bubble

(21 March 2013, AFR, p35, Matthew Cranston) ‘Cromwell Property Group’s chief executive, Paul Weightman, says a commercial property “bubble” is building in Australia and his company will look to sell assets and significantly reduce its cost of debt before the bubble bursts. Speaking at an RBS Morgans function in Brisbane on Wednesday, Mr Weightman said … Continue reading

21 March 2013 (The Age) – Funds on track for stellar returns

[COMMENT: It is surprising how many people have short memories. Or is it “selective memory”? Or perhaps a cognitive bias that enables us to easily block out of mind those things that we don’t want to remember. In spite of the headline and content in the news story below, markets and superannuation balances plunged in … Continue reading

20 March 2013 (The Age) – Rich pickings as US farms are sold off

(20 March 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p32, Julie Cresswell) ‘Agricultural land is changing hands at record prices. -From the potato fields of Michigan to the high prairies of Kansas, farmers in the US are receiving record prices for their land – but economists and banking regulators warn this boom, like so many before it, could … Continue reading

19 March 2013 (AFR) – Singapore home sales hit 14-month low in February

(19 March 2013, AFR, p41, Pooja Thakur) ‘Singapore’s home sales plunged 65 per cent to a 14-month low in February after the government introduced its seventh round of cooling measures to reduce record home prices. Home sales dropped to 708 units in February from a revised 2,016 units in January, according to data released by … Continue reading

19 March 2013 (AFR…) – A proud nation takes a fall

[COMMENT: Some more interesting background into the latest afair in Cyprus…] (19 March 2013, AFR, p12, Alex Spillus, and The Telegraph) Cyprus: a sunny place for shady people ‘Lax banking and a reputation for money laundering have brought the Cypriot economy to its knees – and savers are paying the price, says Alex Spillius’ ‘Cypriots … Continue reading

19 March 2013 (The Age) – Demonised traders given a break

[COMMENT: So, what’s really behind this HFT (High Frequency Trading” on our stock markets? Is ti something to worry about or not?] (19 March 2013, The Age, p23, Adele Ferguson) ‘After being demonised as legalised insider traders and blamed for flash crashes globally and gaming the system, high-frequency traders (HFT) and dark pool operators dodged … Continue reading

19 March 2013 (The Age) – Cyprus’ deposit tax meant to catch Russian hot money

[COMMENT: Interesting insight into what’s behind the scenes with this latest crisis…] (19 March 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p31, Philip Aldrick) ‘In practice, it is relatively more punitive on the poorer parts of society. About a month ago, I received a letter from an anonymous Cypriot. Over two typewritten pages, ”W” set out detailed allegations … Continue reading

14 March 2013 (The Age) – Jobless numbers to grow despite new surge in confidence

[COMMENT: This article includes a good summary of high-profile job losses in recent months – eg. CSR, Holden, Ford, Toyota, UGL) (14 March 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p38, Philip Wen) ‘Unemployment will worsen despite a resurgent sharemarket and improving consumer sentiment. The jobless rate has risen steadily from 5 per cent at the start of … Continue reading

18 March 2013 (AFR, NYTimes) – Shock tax on deposits in Cyprus unnerves rest of Europe

(18 March 2013, AFR, p10, Liz Alderman, Athens, and New York Times) Facing Bailout Tax, Cypriots Try to Get Cash Out of Banks ‘ATHENS — In a move that could set off new fears of contagion across the euro zone, anxious depositors drained cash from automated teller machines in Cyprus on Saturday, hours after European … Continue reading

18 March 2013 (AFR) – Slump in Canberra property prices feared

(18 March 2013, AFR, p9, Rebecca Thistleton) ‘Expectations that the Coalition will cut thousands of public service jobs if it wins power in September are starting to affect the real economy in Canberra, where property prices are falling in contrast to most other cities.’ ‘Sales transactions for houses and units in 2012 were down about … Continue reading

18 March 2013 (The Age) – ATMs drained as bailout tax triggers run on bank deposits

(18 March 2013, The Age, p18, Nicholas Kulish) ‘In a move that could set off new fears of contagion across the eurozone, anxious depositors drained cash from ATMs in Cyprus on Saturday, hours after European officials in Brussels required that part of a new €10 billion ($12.6 billion) bailout must be paid for directly from … Continue reading

18 March 2013 (The Age) – Buyer confidence gives market a boost

(18 March 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p31, Nicole Lindsay) ‘Rainy weather failed to dent buyer confidence as yet another super Saturday passed a tough test with a 69 per cent auction clearance rate. The Real Estate Institute of Victoria reported the results of 804 auctions over the weekend, of which 247 properties were passed in, … Continue reading

18 March 2013 (The Age) – Cyprus bank raid pushes Europe into uncharted waters

(18 March 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p28,James Neuger, Rebecca Christie and Corina Ruhe) ‘Europe’s debt crisis tsar has promised that an unprecedented raid on the bank accounts of Cypriots will not be repeated.’ ‘Euro-area finance ministers agreed to a tax on Cypriot bank deposits as officials unveiled a €10billion ($A12.57 billion) rescue plan for the … Continue reading

15 March 2013 (TheAge) – Doubts over rate cut as job numbers soar

(15 March 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p29, Glenda Kwek) ‘Economists are winding back expectations of another interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank this year after employment soared by 71,500 jobs in February – the largest monthly gain in more than a decade.’ ‘The Australian dollar quickly added half a cent and bond yields rose … Continue reading

15 March 2013 (The Age) – Myer half-year result reflects growing optimism

(15 March 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p27, Eli Greenblat) ‘A rising tide of consumer confidence, swelled by strong jobs growth and low interest rates, looks to be dragging the retail sector out of its malaise as Myer posted a better than expected half-year profit. Myer chief executive Bernie Brookes said the retail environment, although fragile, … Continue reading

14 March 2013 (AFR) – Here’s to the commodities surge that lifted most boats

(14 March 2013, AFR, p30, Peter Wells) ‘You’ve heard plenty about the bull market that’s under way at the moment. But do you know what March 13, 2013, was? Anyone? Bueller? Who said 10 years since Australia’s commodities-driven bull market started?’ ‘You did? Well, you know what, it frickin’ well is. That’s right. A whole … Continue reading

14 March 2013 (AFR) – Consumer confidence hits two-year high

(14 March 2013, AFR, p13, Jacob Greber) ‘The rally in the US and local share­markets has pumped up consumer confidence to the highest level in more than two years and makes it less likely the Reserve Bank will lower official interest rates. Household sentiment is now well above average after advancing in the first three … Continue reading

14 March 2013 (The Age) – Third recession set to smash Britain

(14 March 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p37) ‘Britain is on track for a triple-dip recession, one of the nation’s leading forecasters has signalled, as new figures on Britain’s manufacturing industry dealt a blow to recovery hopes and sent sterling crashing to a fresh 2½-year low against the US dollar.’ ‘The economy shrank 0.1 per cent … Continue reading

14 March 2013 (TheAge) – We’re in the money: consumer confidence hits new highs

(14 March 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p30, Peter Martin) ‘Six near-consecutive interest rate cuts and a sharemarket that has been climbing since December have broken the back of consumer gloom, propelling confidence to heights not seen for years.’ ‘The March Westpac Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment survey recorded 110.5 on a scale where 100 means optimists … Continue reading

13 March 2013 (AFR) – Retail stocks on rise as confidence grows

(13 March 2013, AFR, p27, Jake Mitchell and Sue Mitchell) ‘Improving retail sales data, solid margin growth and an uptick in consumer confidence have sparked significant gains in the retail sector, rewarding the patience of long-suffering investors in the consumer discretionary space.’ ‘JB Hi-Fi shares have risen about 48 per cent this year after a … Continue reading

13 March 2013 (AFR) – Yield curve gets back to normal

(13 March 2013, AFR, p15, Jonathan Shapiro) ‘Bond traders are rapidly paring back their expectations of cuts to the official cash rate as global stocks surge and the US economic recovery gathers pace. On Monday, the three-year bond yield rose above the Reserve Bank of Australia’s overnight cash rate, now at 3 per cent, for the … Continue reading

11 March 2013 (AFR) – Buyer confidence sends clearance rates soaring

(11 March 2013, AFR, p4, Rebecca Thistleton) ‘Sydney’s auction clearance rate has topped 70 per cent for the third week running, and buyer confidence has flowed on to the off-the-plan development market. The best Sydney auction result was a four-bedroom home in Randwick, in the city’s east. It sold for $2.9 million, Australian Property Monitors … Continue reading

8 March 2013 (AFR) – US banks ‘too big to jail’ jibe

[COMMENT: This is very interesting. An organisation can be so big that if a “crime” is committed, it can be possible that the organisation is too big to prosecute. Is this highway robbery? Does this legalise criminality? Is it safe for small retail investors to invest in the money markets?] (8 March 2013, AFR, p31, … Continue reading