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30 Sept 2013 (TheAge) – US Government shutdown is almost certain

(30 Sept 2013, TheAge, p12, Jonathan Weisman) Planes but no passports: life in the US after shutdown 10 critical questions about a US government shutdown ‘The US federal government is barrelling towards its first shutdown in 17 years after congressional Republicans demanded a one-year delay of President Barack Obama’s health care law and the repeal … Continue reading

30 Sept 2013 (TheAge) – Market warms to home builders after a spell out in the cold

(30 Sept 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p24, Carolyn Cummins) ‘Residential developers have returned from the wilderness after suffering in comparison to the traditional office, retail and industrial real estate investment trusts. This has led to a round of upgrades from brokers for the main REITS in the housing sector, Mirvac, Stockland, Lend Lease and Australand.’ … Continue reading

30 Sept 2013 (TheAge) – No joy for investors with Drake mansion sale

[COMMENT: Have you ever wondered how common it might be that trusted organisations fiddle the books and embezzle funds? And have you wondered how much money can be recovered? And how much can property devalue during times of economic stress in the general economy?…] (30 Sept 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Michael West) ‘During the … Continue reading

30 Sept 2013 (AFR) – Shaw has solid start to 2013-14, after loss

(30 Sept 2013, AFR, p19, Joyce Moullakis) ‘Shaw Stockbroking is confident of capitalising on an improvement in market conditions as its share of trading volumes rises and costs are kept contained, despite reporting a second straight full-year loss. Sydney-based Shaw reported a $1.3 million loss for the year ended June 30, compared to a $1.2 million loss … Continue reading

30 Sept 2013 (AFR) – Patersons falls deeper into the red, cites savage markets

(30 Sept 2013, AFR, p15, Joyce Moullakis) ‘Broking and advisory companies Patersons Securities and Shaw Stockbroking both saw their losses widen in 2013, as under­writing and corporate finance fees declined. Perth-headquartered Patersons posted a net loss of almost $7 million for the 12-month period, compared to a loss of more than $5 million in the year ended … Continue reading

30 Sept 2013 (AFR, Wash.Post) – As Congress fights over the budget, agencies go on their ‘use it or lose it’ shopping sprees

(30 Sept 2013, AFR, p12, and Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold) ‘This past week, the Department of Veterans Affairs bought $562,000 worth of artwork. In a single day, the Agriculture Department spent $144,000 ontoner cartridges. And, in a single purchase, the Coast Guard spent $178,000 on “Cubicle Furniture Rehab.” ‘ ‘This string of big-ticket purchases … Continue reading

26 Sept 2013 (AFR) – ICBC makes the bull case for China’s banking stocks

(23 Sept 2013, AFR, p25, Simon Rabinovitch) ‘Over the past month, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China claimed – or, more correctly, reclaimed – the honour of being the world’s biggest bank by market capitalisation.’ ‘ICBC’s ascent – deposing the US’s Wells Fargo, which briefly held the top spot – is a reflection not of … Continue reading

27 Sept 2013 (AFR) – Why the America’s Cup is a mug’s game (sport, yachting)

[COMMENT: Just for a change, this article has little to do with the world of business and finance, but as a yachting enthusiast, I have to post this. But when we think about it, the America’s Cup competition does tell us something about the state of health of business funding and finance around the world… … Continue reading

27 Sept 2013 (AFR) – US nears crunch time on budget, debt limit

(27 Sept 2013, AFR, John Kehoe) ‘The passage of the United States budget through Congress before the September 30 deadline is set to go down to the wire, with a final decision likely to be delayed until Monday. The uncertainty is weighing down US sharemarkets, which have declined for five consecutive days as Republicans and … Continue reading

27 Sept 2013 (AFR) – Why we shouldn’t be worrying about a house price bubble: ANZ’s Chronican

(27 Sept 2013, AFR, p17, Phil Chronican) ‘The great Australian dream – mum, dad and the kids in the house on the quarter-acre block – has been embedded…’ <snipped…> Subprime mortgage crisis ‘The US “credit crunch” was triggered by the subprime mortgage crisis that ultimately led to the global financial crisis. While the causes of … Continue reading

27 Sept 2013 (TheAge) – Unexpected job vacancy rise draws hope

(27 Sept 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p24, Glenda Kwek) ‘A surprise lift in job vacancies for the first time in a year has raised hopes that the labour market is stabilising, but economists say it is too early to call this a recovery. Total job vacancies rose a seasonally adjusted 3.2 per cent to 143,300 … Continue reading

23 Sept 2013 (AFR) – Fed’s ability to surprise is critical to its armoury

(23 Sept 2013, AFR, p21, John Authers) ‘Nobody likes being embarrassed. Last week, the Federal Reserve caught most of the world market community on the wrong foot, by saying that it was not, after all, going to start reducing its $US85 billion monthly QE purchases of bonds, with which it is attempting to spark the US … Continue reading

26 Sept 2013 (AFR) – Land ahoy: Sydney values double from recession

(26 Sept 2013, AFR, p36, Robert Harley) ‘The rise in demand for new housing in Sydney has turbocharged the growth in development site prices. Curiously, the surge comes as the banks, the traditional financiers of housing development, continue to withdraw from the sector. Legacy Property director Matthew Hyder said the demand for sites had increased … Continue reading

26 Sept 2013 (AFR) – PLW moves on after bank breach, death of founder

[COMMENT: The wine industry has been struggling for awhile – a combination of local factors, and also grape over production. This news story might be a good general sign of the health of the broader wine industry and the economy…] (26 Sept 2013, AFR, p19, Simon Evans) ‘They were dark days for Peter Lehmann Wines … Continue reading

26 Sept 2013 (AFR) – China Beige Book survey casts doubt on China’s future growth

(26 Sept 2013, AFR, p15, Scott Lanman) ‘China’s economy slowed this quarter as growth in manufacturing and transportation weakened, in contrast with official signs of an expansion pick-up, a private survey showed.’ ‘Increases in business investment and real estate revenue also slowed, while service industries picked up and employees became tougher to find, the survey … Continue reading

26 Sept 2013 (AFR) – China land deals ruin plan to contain housing costs

(26 Sept 2013, AFR, p15, Zhang Dingmin) ‘Chinese cities, addicted to the money they raise by selling land to developers, are undermining the government’s multi-year campaign to contain housing costs. Municipal residential land deals, measured by area, rose 26 per cent in the first eight months of the year from the same period in 2012, according … Continue reading

26 Sept 2013 (AFR) – Democrats view GOP infighting as 2014 opportunity

[COMMENT: Very interesting political twist to the current US debt ceiling debate. It seems as though one political party could be exploiting the situation to make their political opposition look very bad. Can you believe it?] (26 Sept 2013, AFR, p14, Zachary Goldfarb) ‘Democrats in the United States are working hard to exploit ­massive unrest … Continue reading

26 Sept 2013 (AFR) – Ponzi link to Gunns investors

(26 Sept 2013, AFR, p13, Neil Chenoweth) ‘The Full Court of Appeal has given the ­Australian Tax Office its first scalps under penalty provisions for tax promoters – from a scheme that saw plantation funds from Tasmanian timber giant Gunns end up with an alleged Ponzi scheme.’ ‘Investment advisers Andrew Ludekens and Peter Van de … Continue reading

26 Sept 2013 (AFR) – RBA sees writing on wall for housing market risks

(26 Sept 2013, AFR, p5, Christopher Joye) ‘With the cheapest mortgage rates in history fuelling double-digit house price inflation in Australia’s largest city, Sydney, the Reserve Bank of Australia has seen the writing on the wall. It is clear the central bank is increasingly exercised about the prospect of “imbalances” (aka bubbles) emerging in Australia’s … Continue reading

26 Sept 2013 (TheAge) – Spending upturn will take time, DJs warns

(26 Sept 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Eli Greenblat) ‘David Jones boss Paul Zahra said the upmarket department store noticed a slight improvement in its sales trajectory in the weeks after the federal election, but he expected 2014 to be a challenging year, with better times for discretionary retail unlikely to emerge until 2015.’ Read … Continue reading

25 Sept 2013 (AFR) – Fund managers’ dirty little secret – Tired of alpha? Try smart beta

[COMMENT: Who believes that managed funds are generally sound and profitable investments these days? Don’t be fooled! Here is a great exposé!! A must-read!!…] (25 Sept 2013, AFR, p21, Brendan Swift) ‘It is the dirty little secret of the investment world: the fund managers who are paid handsomely to pick stocks but fail to beat … Continue reading

25 Sept 2013 (AFR, Fin Times) – Asia welcomes ongoing liquidity but needs to control its debt

(25 Sept 2013, AFR, p19, and Financial Times, Henny Sender) ‘After the Federal Reserve announced its decision not to begin selling securities, UBS sent a note to clients declaring: “Hooray! Nothing Has Changed!”. Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank put out a piece of celebratory research citing the fact that “liquidity will be ample and cheap for longer”.’ … Continue reading

25 Sept 2013 (AFR) – China rebound gathers momentum

(25 Sept 2013, AFR, p12, Angus Grigg) ‘As China heads into its Golden Week holiday a run of better economic data has quietened those predicting Australia’s biggest trading partner would falter badly this year, and led two prominent economists to declare the worst is over.’ ‘The optimistic mood was helped by Premier Li Keqiang saying … Continue reading

25 Sept 2013 (TheAge) – Shipping rates rise as industry sails out of its biggest-ever glut

(25 Sept 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p35, Rob Sheridan) ‘The shipping industry hauling commodities from coal to crops to iron ore is poised to return to profit for the first time since 2010 as the biggest capacity glut in its history diminishes. Trade in the three largest dry-bulk cargoes will expand 10 per cent to … Continue reading

25 Sept 2013 (TheAge) – Renovation sector feels pain of property slump, says BIS

(25 Sept 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p28, Chris Vedelago) ‘The state of Australia’s home renovation sector has been described as ”alarming” by analyst BIS Shrapnel. The company’s managing director, Robert Mellor, said an unprecedented plunge in approval figures for alterations and additions was seriously hurting builders and suppliers. The value of approvals plummeted from $6.86 … Continue reading

25 Sept 2013 (TheAge) – China’s bears and raging bulls (background, history)

[COMMENT: China – Some good background and history…] (25 Sept 2013, The Age, MONEY, p4, David Llewellyn-Smith) ‘China once evoked mysteries of the orient: opium, corruption and the ineffable other. Today it is more substantial, its economic might visible in the endless ream of steel it rolls out for itself and the world, as well … Continue reading

24 Sept 2013 (AFR) – Sydney prices show healthy recovery – clearance rate hits 88.4 per cent

(24 Sept 2013, AFR, p38, Samantha Hutchinson) ‘It’s the turnaround story that has been three years in the making. Sydney’s residential property market is back in expansion phase and is poised for a recovery that will continue well into 2014, real estate mogul John McGrath says.’ ‘But don’t even think about calling it a bubble. … Continue reading

24 Sept 2013 (AFR) – Mining jobless rate soars – Unemployment tops 10pc in mining industry

(24 Sept 2013, AFR, p8, Joanna Mather) ‘One in 10 mining professionals is ­unemployed after a slowing in project expansion – a big jump from a year ago when employment was almost full.’ ‘Not only did their jobless rate top 10 per cent in July this year – nearly double the overall labour force rate – … Continue reading

24 Sept 2013 (The Austn, Wall St Jnl) – China’s steady recovery builds confidence

(24 Sept 2013, The Australian, p18, and Wall Street Journal) HSBC flash China manufacturing PMI at 51.2 for September ‘CHINA’S economy showed fresh signs of vigour as an initial gauge of manufacturing activity strengthened in September, reaching a six-month high.’ ‘The improved reading on the initial HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, released today, reinforced … Continue reading

24 Sept 2013 (The Austn, Wall St Jnl) – Signs of recovery in Greece

(24 Sept 2013, The Australian, p23 and Wall Street Journal, by STELIOS BOURAS, ALKMAN GRANITSAS, MATINA STEVIS) Greece, Creditors Begin Talks on New Bailout ‘ATHENS—Greece began talks with international inspectors on Sunday that will set the stage for a third multibillion-euro bailout of the country, even as senior officials in Athens pointed to signs of … Continue reading