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29 June 2013 (AFR) – ASX posts best yearly return in six years [but…]

[COMMENT: This news article talks up the outcome – share up 17percent for the year, and 22percent after factoring in the dividends. But it doesn’t say anything about how many investors portfolios are still down about 30percent since the portfolio values peaked in late 2007. Six years after the GFC and even after factoring in … Continue reading

29 June 2013 (AFR) – Best year for shares since 2007, but earnings slip

[COMMENT: It is one thing to measure the performance of investements, or the market, from 1st July to 30th June, but that is not so relevant for the majority of retail investors who are more concerned about the moves from trough to peak (and vice versa), where the moves can be a lot greater – … Continue reading

28 June 2013 (The Age) – Job cuts add to woes for coal industry

(28 June 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p27, Glenda Kwek) ‘Glencore Xstrata has become the latest firm to axe coal mining jobs in Australia as weaker coal prices, higher costs, oversupply and subdued demand take their toll, with other miners tipped to follow suit. The global miner said today it was cutting back coal production at … Continue reading

28 June 2013 (The Age) – More unemployed face competition for fewer job vacancies

(28 June 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p25, Gareth Hutchens) ‘As Kevin Rudd regains leadership of the country, he is inheriting an economy in which it is getting harder to find a job. New figures show there are now five unemployed people for every vacant job in Australia, as two economic forces work in opposition: the … Continue reading

28 June 2013 (AFR, FT) – Mining services in peril as commodities supercycle dies

(28 June 2013, AFR, p27, and Financial Times, Jack Farchy and Javier Blas) Commodities traders call end of ‘supercycle’ ‘The commodities “supercycle” is dead. If anyone was still in doubt about whether the era of ever-rising prices driven by rapid Chinese growth was over, events of the past week have surely dispelled it. The dollar … Continue reading

28 June 2013 (AFR) – ASIC warns investors over ‘window dressing’

[COMMENT: Investors and traders beware!! This is true. These things do happen. There can be a rally in the last days of a financial year, then a fall in July. It doesn’t happen often; but it can. Take a look at July 2011.] (28 June 2013, AFR, p25, George Liondis) ‘Fund managers and other investors … Continue reading

26 June 2013 (AFR) – Caution, costs and competition keep it tough for online brokers

(26 June 2013, AFR, Special Report liftout, Brendan Swift) ‘Retail investors may have felt the full force of the global financial crisis, but the online trading businesses that democratised the market have also been forced to weather the storm. The downturn in equity markets – notwithstanding the rally at the end of 2012 and the … Continue reading

26 June 2013 (AFR) – iSelect dismal IPO debut puts damper on market

[COMMENT: This commentator is not a fan of any form of IPO for retail investors, as too many of them are under water for months after listing – it is best left to the big boys.] (26 June 2013, AFR, p15, Ruth Liew) ‘iSelect’s dismal debut on the local bourse is expected to cast a … Continue reading

26 June 2013 (AFR) – Peabody, Xstrata slash jobs as commodity prices drop

(26 June 2013, AFR, p13, Michael Hobbs) ‘Peabody Energy has cut 450 contractors across its NSW and Queensland operations as global mining companies slash Australian jobs to offset falling commodity prices. Peabody joins Glencore Xstrata, ­Barrick Gold, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto in slashing employee and contractor numbers, with the loss of about 600 local … Continue reading

26 June 2013 (The Age) – Basel III puts REITs in the spotlight

(26 June 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p28, Carolyn Cummins) ‘As much as $2 billion will wash through the real estate investment trust sector in the next few weeks after most of them are now trading ex-dividend and a significant proportion of the cash is tipped to be reinvested in the REITs. A percentage will also … Continue reading

26 June 2013 (The Age) – Noni B facing full-year loss after goodwill write-down

[COMMENT: Is this a sign of the times? Might there be more write downs and profit warnings like this in coming weeks?] (26 June 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p26, Eli Greenblat) ‘The ailing retail sector has claimed another victim after women’s fashion chain Noni B warned it would slide to a full-year loss of between … Continue reading

26 June 2013 (The Age) – Banks issuing more margin calls as market undergoes a correction

[COMMENT: WARNING! – Some people are failing to stay on top of the margin loans…. watch out for the higher than normal risk of losing substantial amounts of money – even more than you borrowed (it’s called the flip side of leverage).] (26 June 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p24, Georgia Wilkins) ‘Banks say they are … Continue reading

26 June 2013 (The Age) – China bid to calm credit crunch fears

(26 June 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p21,Glenda Kwek and Georgia Wilkins) ‘A string of high-profile profit warnings among some of Australia’s biggest companies, including AMP, Goodman Fielder and Lend Lease, over recent weeks points to an economy that remains hobbled by slower-than-expected growth. The profit warnings came as the Australian sharemarket slipped to its lowest … Continue reading

25 June 2013 (AFR) – Listed property trusts open wallets for commercial buys

(25 June 2013, AFR, p35, Nick Lenaghan) ‘Australia’s listed property trusts, buoyed by stronger balance sheets and the cheaper cost of debt, have returned as the dominant buyers driving the commercial property market. The competition with cashed-up offshore funds for local assets is pushing yields lower on prime office towers and industrial assets. The yield … Continue reading

25 June 2013 (AFR) – Poor economy gores bullfighting

(25 June 2013, AFR, p35, Anthony Faiola) ‘Under the fierce Andalusian sun, a class of novice matadors strode into an empty bullfighting ring, arching and flourishing through moves meant to slay a beast in its tracks. Yet during their breaks, the teenagers spoke of an adversary in their path to glory even greater than a … Continue reading

24 June 2013 (AFR) – Queensland cattle stations seized

(24 June 2013, AFR, p41, Matthew Cranston) ‘The Supreme Court of Queensland has issued a warrant for the seizure of two cattle stations at Hughenden in central Queensland, after an application from receivers PPB representing the ANZ Banking Group. PPB has been given until next month to take control of Casterton Station and Burslem Station, … Continue reading

24 June 2013 (AFR) – Building boom ahead for coastal areas and trendy locations

(24 June 2013, AFR, p41, Samantha Hutchinson) ‘Lifestyle locations on the coast and in fashionable regional centres are poised for a boom in construction activity.’ ‘But the uptick in the sector is not forecast to be spread across all rural centres equally, with key mining towns expected to fare the worst. Population growth will drive … Continue reading

24 June 2013 (AFR) – Happy are they who sold in May and went away

(24 June 2013, AFR, p22, Ben Potter) ‘ “Sell in May and go away” was never more apt. Investors who did would be feeling well pleased with themselves. The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average and the benchmark S&P500 index have retraced all their gains since the start of May.’ Read more at (might need … Continue reading

24 June 2013 (AFR) – Self-employed fall short in home loan repayment

(24 June 2013, AFR, p19, George Liondis) ‘A greater proportion of self-employed people are missing home loan repayments, despite lower interest rates. A new report by credit agency Fitch Ratings found overall mortgage ­delinquencies were stable this year. However, the proportion of ­self-employed people who had fallen behind on repayments had increased.’ ‘ “Self-employed borrowers … Continue reading

24 June 2013 (AFR) – Global investors in Australian banks sell off shares

[COMMENT: A very interesting insight into institutional traders and how they operate.] (24 June 2013, AFR, p19, George Liondis) ‘International investors are bailing out of Australia’s banks as the United States prepares to wind back its economic stimulus programs and the Australian dollar tumbles. Shares in the big four banks were sold off on Thursday … Continue reading

21 June 2013 (AFR) – Jobless rate soars in Illawarra region

(21 June 2013, AFR, p7, Geoff Winestock and Jacob Greber) ‘The possible loss of 600 ANZ call centre jobs in Victoria will be painful, but the epicentre of Australia’s unemployment problem is the rust belt of the Illawarra south of Sydney. New regional unemployment data for May shows that the unemployment rate in south-east Melbourne, where … Continue reading

22 June 2013 (AFR) – Equities retreat amid panic over QE

(23 June 2013, AFR, p40, Leng Yeow) ‘It was a tumultuous week on the equity market, which was rattled by the prospect of US dollar liquidity being withdrawn from the global financial system despite such moves reflecting growing optimism about the strength of the United States economy. Weak manufacturing data from China also weighed on … Continue reading

22 June 2013 (AFR) – Job cutbacks bad news for engineering graduates

(22 June 2013, AFR, p6, Mercedes Ruehl) ‘Thousands of engineering graduates, many lured into the profession by the resources investment boom, face the likelihood of not getting a job later this year as the number of projects is scaled back and cost-cutting hits resources and utilities.’ ‘About 9800 new engineers will attempt to enter the … Continue reading

22 June 2013 (AFR) – 1000 finance jobs a month cut by offshoring

(22 June 2013, AFR, p5, John Kehoe and Shaun Drummond) ‘Finance jobs are being eliminated at the rate of almost 1000 a month as banks, stockbroking firms and insurers cut costs and move functions to cheaper cities in Asia and New Zealand.’ ‘The big four banks have about 20,000 full-time people in support roles overseas, … Continue reading

20 June 2013 (AFR) – Stockbrokers face tough times

(20 June 2013, AFR, p36, Stephen Shore) ‘Nomura’s decision to make the majority of equity sales and research team redundant on Wednesday underscores how difficult it has become to make money in the stockbroking business. Surely it is only a matter of time before fellow new Asian entrant CIMB is forced to make a similarly … Continue reading

20 June 2013 (AFR) – New wave of jobs go offshore

(20 June 2013, AFR, p27, Shaun Drummond) ‘Brambles and Perpetual are the latest in a growing list of companies to send finance back-office jobs offshore in order to improve access to technology and cut costs as a growing number of businesses struggle with Australia’s high cost base.’ ‘Following the earlier wave of IT offshoring, numerous … Continue reading

20 June 2013 (AFR) – IBM may send up to 1500 jobs to NZ, Asia

[COMMENT: Well, we recently heard of more retrenchments, and shutdowns (Ford Australia), and issues with retailing, and a number of companies suffering (Billabong)…. where will it end?] (20 June 2013, AFR, p8, Shaun Drummond and Paul Smith) ‘IBM, Brambles and Perpetual plan to shift more of their Australian operations to cheaper countries, a sign that … Continue reading

20 June 2013 (AFR) – Union boss dismissed Toyota plea

[COMMENT: Now this is very interesting… someone seems to be telling fibs. If the story can be believed, then this could give us an insight into the future of more than manufacturing in Australia. This looks like a structural shift in the economy…. either one party gives a bit, or… we might see a much … Continue reading

18 June 2013 (AFR) – Geologists get creative as mining boom subsides

(18 June 2013, AFR, p11, Jonathan Barrett) ‘The next wave of resources projects in mineral-rich Western Australia is at risk as miners and explorers hold on to cash and cut exploration budgets. The fallout is being felt by pro­fessions tapped into the faltering­ resources sector hit by falling ­commodity prices, forcing many to find creative … Continue reading

17 June 2013 (AFR) – Secret Toorak sale may have set record

(17 June 2013, AFR, p3, Rebecca Thistleton) ‘The home will fetch more than $1 million in stamp duty. A sale in Toorak may have set a record for Melbourne’s most expensive property, in one of the better auction weekends since the 2010 property peak.’ ‘Industry sources said the Towers Road home sold for $25 million, which … Continue reading