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29 Nov 2013 (AFR) – Capex data boosts $A off record lows

(29 Nov 2013, AFR, p27, Jason Murphy) ‘A burst of capital expenditure in the mining sector dragged the Australian dollar off its lows on Thursday, after strong US jobs and manufacturing data boosted the greenback.’ ‘The dollar fell to US90.7¢ – its lowest level since early September – before official data was released on new … Continue reading

29 Nov 2013 (AFR, FinTimes) – ECB warns over taper threat – warns on external risks to eurozone financial system

(29 Nov 2013, AFR, p24, Claire Jones and Sam Fleming in London and Robin Harding in Washington) ‘The European Central Bank on Wednesday issued a stark warning over the threat posed by the scaling back of US monetary stimulus, calling on eurozone policy makers to do more to prepare for the market shocks from Federal … Continue reading

29 Nov 2013 (AFR) – Capex surges as low rates spur demand

(29 Nov 2013, AFR, p5, Jacob Greber Economics correspondent) ‘The stubborn business investment freeze that has bedevilled non-mining sectors of Australia’s economy for the past year shows nascent signs of a thaw, with an unexpected lift in company spending last quarter.’ ‘Led by a jump in outlays for buildings and structures, total capital expenditure rose … Continue reading

29 Nov 2013 (TheAge) – Spending outlook gives dollar a lift – Business spending expectations help dollar recover

(29 Nov 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Glenda Kwek) ‘The dollar has recovered slightly after slumping to an almost three-month low on Thursday, following better-than-expected business spending figures that reduced the odds of further interest rate cuts. The lift in companies’ spending expectations for this financial year, as well as a 3.6 per cent rise … Continue reading

29 Nov 2013 (TheAge) – Investors losing half of returns to fees: research

[COMMENT: Does the average investor know where their money is invested? and how much of it is gobbled up in fees? (lining the pockets of the people who “manage” their money)?… You might be surprised…] (29 Nov 2013, The Age, p3, Michael West) ‘Almost half the investment returns made by Australian savers over the past … Continue reading

28 Nov 2013 (SMH) – Surprise rise in Australia’s capex

(28 Nov 2013, SMH.com.au, Glenda Kwek) ‘A lift in business spending expectations for the current financial year has raised hopes that the non-mining sectors of the economy could be showing signs of life, analysts say. Business investment for the three months to September rose by 3.6 per cent, while spending expectations for the 2013-14 financial … Continue reading

28 Nov 2013 (AFR) – Changes in the housing cycle – Why the housing cycle is different this time

(28 Nov 2013, AFR, p35, Robert Harley) ‘Down-trade home buyers, selling the big home and buying a smaller one, are driving a very different housing cycle to that of the past, according to the latest JPMorgan Australian Mortgage Industry report.’ ‘In the past, as buyers geared up, housing credit growth mirrored the rise in house … Continue reading

28 Nov 2013 (AFR) – Australian shares start to look a little expensive

(28 Nov 2013, AFR, p25, Philip Baker) ‘Much has been made about the expansion in the price-earnings ratio that has gone on for the past year and been a key driver behind the sharemarket gains. At a multiple of about 14.5 times forward earnings shares are now looking a little expensive when compared to other … Continue reading

28 Nov 2013 (AFR) – Tough day as Bis pulls $1bn float, Forge saved

(28 Nov 2013, AFR, p15, Luke Forrestal) ‘The mining services sector has suffered another horror day with the $1 billion float of Bis Industries pulled and two other companies forced to negotiate balance sheet-restoring capital raisings amid the release of worrying new ­statistics on investment in the resources industry.’ Read more at AFR.com (might need AFR … Continue reading

28 Nov 2013 (AFR) – IMF shifts stance on bailouts

(28 Nov 2013, AFR, p13, Landon Thomas) ‘The International Monetary Fund, convinced that Europe erred in forcing debtor countries, such as Greece and Portugal, to bear nearly all the pain of recovery on their own, is pushing for a plan to impose upfront losses on bondholders the next time a euro area country requests a … Continue reading

28 Nov 2013 (TheAge) – Money dries up for resources projects after record $30b spend

(28 Nov 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p27, Brian Robins) ‘Falling commodity prices and rising costs have resulted in the lowest spending on new resource projects in more than a decade, with many projects either stalled or shelved. Rather, after the resources boom, the transition to production is under way, the latest review by the Bureau … Continue reading

28 Nov 2013 (TheAge) – Market priced on the high side – Warning signs as ‘optimism builds on optimism’

(28 Nov 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p26, Max Mason) ‘Increased investor optimism since the federal election has not been matched with earnings recovery, as the Australian sharemarket continues to look expensive. The forward price-to-earnings ratio – which uses market value per share over earnings forecasts per share – for the benchmark S&P/ASX200 has remained well … Continue reading

28 Nov 2013 (TheAge) – CEO Malcolm Jackman leaving Elders but not retiring

(28 Nov 2013, BusinessDay, p23, Jared Lynch) ‘Outgoing Elders chief executive Malcolm Jackman says his sudden exit from the troubled rural services group was not a ”retirement”, comments that appear at odds with a statement from the board. Mr Jackman stood down from Elders with immediate effect on Wednesday, ending a five-year tenure, much of … Continue reading

27 Nov 2013 (AFR) – Earnings suggest sharemarket run will continue

(27 Nov 2013, AFR, p25, Bianca Hartge-Hazelman) ‘Indications that company earnings are starting to pick up looks set to drive the Australian sharemarket higher in the final weeks of the year, prompting even fixed income gurus to switch to the riskier asset class.’ ‘The Australian benchmark S&P/ASX 200 is up 15 per cent for the year … Continue reading

26 Nov 2013 (AFR) – Sophisticated investor label may be flawed

[COMMENT: Well, roll me in honey and stick me on an ant hill!!  The authorities are finally realising what many investors already know…. the “sophisticated investor” label may be flawed!!  It’s about time they woke up to this one. Full marks and all support to Giselle Roux for highlighting this and running with it, and … Continue reading

26 Nov 2013 (TheAge) – Soft coal market forces rail rethink

(26 Nov 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p21, Brian Robins) ‘The weak coal market has forced promoters of a multibillion-dollar rail project in Queensland to adopt a more limited plan, with common user access, to get it off the ground.’ ‘The Hancock Prospecting-GVK partnership wants to link several coal projects it hopes to develop in the … Continue reading

26 Nov 2013 (TheAge) – Banks restrict loans in risky mining towns

(26 Nov 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p21, Clancy Yeates) ‘Banks are reining in home lending to investors in resource sector hot spots, as lower spending by miners hits regional property markets and prompts banks to reassess their exposure.’ ‘Two of the country’s biggest banks, Commonwealth and ANZ, have in recent weeks curbed riskier lending in … Continue reading

25 Nov 2013 (TheAge) – Unit sales lag as year’s ends in fever to buy a house

(25 Nov 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p28, Nicole Lindsay) ‘Houses were the hot favourites over the weekend, outselling units by a factor of 14 percentage points.’ ‘The traditionally cheaper unit market attracts a range of first home buyers, older downsizers and investors. But they appear to have cooled their heels while families urgently finalised their … Continue reading

25 Nov 2013 (TheAge) – Credit Suisse executive jailed over mortgage bonds

(25 Nov 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p27, and New York Times) ‘A former top executive at the Credit Suisse Group was sentenced to 2½ years in prison on Friday for inflating the value of mortgage bonds as the housing market collapsed. The prison term makes the executive, Kareem Serageldin, one of the most senior Wall … Continue reading

25 Nov 2013 (TheAge) – Christmas shopping: Spending up as retailers tipped to benefit

(25 Nov 2013, The Age, p10) ‘It’s going to be a merrier Christmas for retailers this year with shoppers expected to spend nearly $30 billion. Modelling from the Australian National Retail Association shows the average shopper will spend $1280 over the festive season.’ Read more at SMH.com.au

22 Nov 2013 (AFR) – Fed indicates the end of QE is in sight – Markets get ready for US taper

(22 Nov 2013, AFR, p22, Vesna Poljak and Bianca Hartge-Hazelman) ‘The United States Federal Reserve has given the strongest indication yet that it is ready to reduce its massive stimulus program, paving the way for fresh policies to offset the consequences of its retreat from the $US3 trillion ($3.22 trillion) quantitative easing experiment.’ ‘Minutes of the … Continue reading

22 Nov 2013 (TheAge) – Leading economists forecast growth to lift in 2014

[COMMENT: Some people take the comments and opinions of economists with a grain of salt.] (22 Nov 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p25, Peter Martin) ‘This time last year Australia’s leading business economists said economic growth would slide, investment would hit the wall, and the government would deliver a deficit rather than its forecast surplus.’ ‘The … Continue reading

21 Nov 2013 (AFR) – Overpriced US shares will climb higher, says Grantham

(21 Nov 2013, AFR, p28, Karen Maley) ‘Legendary investor Jeremy Grantham has predicted the US sharemarket could climb a further 30 per cent, even though it is “already badly overpriced” and he foresees the likelihood of a new market crash in the future. Grantham, the cofounder and chief investment strategist at the $US112 billion ($119 billion) Boston-based fund manager … Continue reading

21 Nov 2013 (AFR, Bloomberg) – ‘Tis the US season to be gloomy

(21 Nov 2013, AFR, p14, Cotten Timberlake and Bloomberg) Wal-Mart Touts $98 TV in Weakest Holiday Season Since ’09 ‘U.S. retailers are discounting earlier than ever as they brace for the weakest holiday shopping season since 2009.’ ‘Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is dangling a 32-inch flat-screen TV for $98, down from $148 last year. Sears Holdings … Continue reading

21 Nov 2013 (AFR) – The debt ceiling is a political weapon

(21 Nov 2013, AFR, p4, Edmund Tadros Graphic by Les Hewitt) ‘Australia’s debt limit didn’t exist until 2008 and didn’t become a major political issue for another two-and-a-half years. The Coalition’s attack first picked up pace after the then-Labor government hiked the limit from $200 billion to $250 billion in 2011 and hit another peak in 2012. … Continue reading

21 Nov 2013 (TheAge) – WorleyParsons shares slump 26% after profit downgrade

(21 Nov 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p25, Brian Robins) ‘Shares in global consulting engineer WorleyParsons slumped to post-GFC lows on Wednesday, following a severe profit downgrade – just weeks after it told shareholders it was upbeat on its prospects for the year ahead. The warning by the one-time market darling triggered selling across the engineering … Continue reading

20 Nov 2013 (AFR) – Building momentum – Building materials show some grit

(20 Nov 2013, AFR, p24, Trevor Hoey) ‘The announcement last week of strong interim and full-year results by CSR, DuluxGroup and James Hardie Industries triggered sharp share price reratings, and these have been sustained as the combined performances of the three companies reignited interest in the building materials sector. Importantly, all of the results were … Continue reading

20 Nov 2013 (AFR) – Drillsearch beats 2013 output, sales by October

(20 Nov 2013, AFR< p19, Angela Macdonald-Smith) ‘Only four months into the new financial year Cooper Basin oil and gas player ­Drillsearch Energy has already overtaken its 2013 production and sales numbers and is on track to beat its 2014 full-year guidance. The numbers, to be released at Drillsearch’s annual shareholder meeting in Sydney on … Continue reading

20 Nov 2013 (AFR) – The best – and worst – performing floats of 2013

(20 Nov 2013, AFR, p16, Edmund Tadros and Sally Rose) ‘Feted job outsourcing site Freelancer and a little-known company building an indoor skydiving centre in Sydney’s west have provided the most breathtaking returns of this year’s floats. Freelancer shares are up 268 per cent since listing on Friday, while shares in Indoor Skydive Australia Group have … Continue reading

20 Nov 2013 (TheAge) – Babcock & Brown executives broke law, writ alleges

(20 Nov 2013, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Ben Butler) ‘Former Babcock & Brown chief executive Phil Green and other executives of the failed merchant bank breached corporate law by putting the company’s desire for millions in fees ahead of the interests of investors, a court has heard.’ Read more at SMH.com.au