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14 Feb 2014 (AFR) – More hours a good omen – Jobless rate up, but number of hours worked is good omen

(14 Feb 2014, AFR, p4, Jacob Greber Economics correspondent) ‘Despite the gloom unleashed by news the jobless rate hit 6 per cent last month – the most in almost 11 years – there was at least one positive omen. Hours worked are on the up. Economists argue the rise in hours worked is usually associated with … Continue reading

14 Feb 2014 (TheAge, SMH) – Pressure on jobs market as unemployment hits decade high

(14 Feb 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p26, Glenda Kwek) ‘The unemployment rate has risen to its highest level in more than a decade, putting further pressure on a jobs market already reeling from cuts at Toyota, Forge and possibly Qantas. The surprise jump in the jobless rate to 6 per cent took the shine off … Continue reading

13 Feb 2014 (AFR) – Shares rise 1pc on growing optimism – as CEOs say outlook brighter

(13 Feb 2014, AFR, p32, Sally Rose) ‘Shares rose for the fifth consecutive day on Wednesday, thanks to a combination of solid local earnings reports, stronger than expected Chinese trade data and new United States Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s pledge to take a “measured” approach to ­cutting stimulus.’ Read more at (might need AFR login … Continue reading

13 Feb 2014 (TheAge. SMH) – Consumers jittery over soft jobs market

(13 Feb 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p27, Glenda Kwek) ‘Concerns about weakness in the Australian jobs market are dampening consumer confidence, even as the local currency rose towards its high for the year on positive US and Chinese news. Consumer sentiment fell for the third straight month in February, a private survey by Westpac and … Continue reading

12 Feb 2014 (AFR) – Record $7.1bn in retail investments

(12 Feb 2014, AFR, p37, Robert Harley) ‘A record $7.1 billion worth of major Australian retail investments – ­shopping malls and homemaker ­centres – changed hands in 2013. And according to Jones Lang LaSalle’s Australian Shopping Centre Investment Review and Outlook, the activity will continue this year. Jones Lang LaSalle’s Australian head of retail investments, Simon Rooney, … Continue reading

12 Feb 2014 (AFR) – Charterhill failure should instil caution

(12 Feb 2014, AFR, p23, Jackie Pearson) ‘The recent flurry of warnings from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission and the Australian Tax Office about the risks of geared real estate investments in self-managed super funds will be no comfort to 170 investors now facing potential losses of $7 million after the collapse of the … Continue reading

12 Feb 2014 (AFR) – Forge in trading halt after lenders withdraw

(12 Feb 2014, AFR, p12, Brian Robins, Max Mason, James Eyers) ‘Financiers of struggling mining services provider Forge Group have withdrawn their support, signalling a deepening of the financial difficulties facing the company and putting its future under a cloud. As a result,it has sought a suspension of trading in its shares on the sharemarket.’ … Continue reading

12 Feb 2014 (TheAge, SMH) – Investment in growth slows so jobs will be even harder to find

(12 Feb 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p35, Stewart Oldfield, and SMH) ‘As company chiefs start parading through fund manager offices over the next couple of weeks to detail first-half results, many will be talking up mid-single-digit earnings growth driven mostly by cutting jobs rather than growing revenues. Putting the Australian car industry to one side, … Continue reading

12 Feb 2014 (TheAge, SMH) – Cochlear shares dive as company reveals interim net profit slump of 73 per cent

(12 Feb 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p33, Jessica Gardner, and SMH) ‘Cochlear investors have pushed the company’s share price to one of its biggest intraday price falls since a profit warning last year, after the medical device maker announced a 73 per cent fall in interim net profit and implied it will miss its full-year … Continue reading

12 Feb 2014 (TheAge, SMH) – Business confidence up – before the Toyota crunch

(12 Feb 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p33, Glenda Kwek, SMH) ‘Business conditions soared to their highest levels in almost three years in January, led by a sharp improvement in a manufacturing sector now reeling from Toyota’s exit. Business confidence also lifted above its long-run averages, as a weakening Australian dollar and record-low interest rates support … Continue reading

12 Feb 2014 (TheAge, SMH) – Bradken share price slumps after big full-year earnings downgrade

(12 Feb 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p32, Brian Robbins) ‘The fallout from the slowdown in resource sector spending is continuing to take its toll, with heavy engineer Bradken revising down its full-year earnings forecast, which prompted a heavy round of sharemarket selling on Tuesday. Bradken blamed a slower than anticipated rebound in orders for its … Continue reading

12 Feb 2014 (TheAge, SMH) – Earnings rise backs sector – ANZ update points to boost for big four profits

(12 Feb 2014, The Age, p23, Clancy Yeates, and SMH) ‘Australian bank profits are tipped to receive a further boost from falling bad debt charges in 2014, after ANZ Bank’s quarterly results revealed a significant improvement in credit quality. In the first bank profit update of the calendar year, ANZ today said unaudited cash profits … Continue reading

11 Feb 2014 (AFR) – Wild ride ahead as earnings season picks up

(11 Feb 2014, AFR, p27, Philip Baker) ‘If the latest US earnings season is any indication, investors are in for a wild time as the local season gets under way. Despite corporate America producing a set of reports that were, by and large, better than expected, investors are nervous about the Federal Reserve’s tapering process. It seems they … Continue reading

10 Feb 2014 (AFR) – Bumper crop of corporate earnings will drive market

[COMMENT: Relating to this news story, to see a list of upcoming company reporting dates, see the following: BRRMedia –, and Income Investor – This information courtesy of Brainy’s Share Market Toolbox, but no guarantees for accuracy, and no liability for errors or ommissions, all supplied in good faith.] (10 Feb 2014, AFR, … Continue reading

10 Feb 2014 (AFR) – US recovery optimism remains despite weak jobs data

(10 Feb 2014, AFR, p12, John Kehoe) ‘The United States appears to have hit some potholes over the past two months, official employment data suggests, though most economists and investors remain comfortable that the long-awaited recovery is on track. The world’s biggest economy added a disappointing 113,000 jobs in January, less than economists’ payroll data published … Continue reading

10 Feb 2014 (AFR) – Sydney auctions clear 80 per cent as bidders battle it out

(10 Feb 2014, AFR, p5, Rebecca Thistleton) ‘A harbour-front home in Sydney’s inner west sold for $200,000 over reserve at auction on Saturday, reflecting strong competition for family homes. While economists concede interest rates have bottomed, buyer sentiment is high and Sydney’s stock on market levels are low, pitching bidders head-to-head at auctions.’ Read more … Continue reading

10 Feb 2014 (TheAge, SMH) – Rex mayday call to Tony Abbott as profit slides, industry ‘collapse’ looms

(10 Feb 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p25, and SMH, Matt O’Sullivan) ‘Regional Express has warned its first-half profits will slump due to fewer business travellers, and urged the Abbott government to intervene to help an aviation industry that is ”financially haemorrhaging and approaching collapse”.’ Read more at

8 Feb 2014 (AFR) – Retreat on financial planning rules to hit investors

(8 Feb 2014, AFR, p1, Duncan Hughes, Sally Patten and Christopher Joye) ‘Financial planners will once again be able to earn commissions for selling a wide range of investment products after a federal government decision to water down investor protection laws. Assistant Treasurer Arthur ­Sinodinos is consulting the industry on draft rules, drawn up after … Continue reading

7 Feb 2014 (AFR, Bloomberg) – American economy warms despite cold

(7 Feb 2014, AFR, p30, Lorraine Woellert) Expanding Services Show Limit to Weather Impact in U.S: Economy ‘Service industries expanded more than forecast in January as the biggest part of the U.S. economy overcame the effects of snow and freezing temperatures to boost hiring by the most in more than three years. The Institute for … Continue reading

7 Feb 2014 (TheAge, SMH) – Dollar buoyed by higher trade figures as retail sales, confidence also rise

(7 Feb 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Glenda Kwek) ‘A boost in Australia’s trade figures has lifted the dollar to its highest level in three weeks, as another decent batch of retail sales figures and further improvement in business confidence reinforced signs of growth in the non-mining sectors of the economy. Australia’s trade balance shifted … Continue reading

6 Feb 2014 (AFR) – Perth CBD open for business as vacancy rate lifts

(6 Feb 2014, AFR, p42, Mercedes Ruehl) ‘Perth’s CBD office vacancy rate has risen sharply after downsizing by ­mining and engineering companies. Property Council of Australia figures show Perth’s vacancy rate climbed to 9 per cent in January, from 6.9 per cent six months ago.’ Read more at (might need AFR login access)

6 Feb 2014 (AFR) – Brisbane office sector has more vacancies than ever before

(6 Feb 2014, AFR, p40, Mercedes Ruehl) ‘Dire straits. This is one way to sum up the state of Brisbane’s office sector. The Property Council of Australia’s Office Market Report confirmed what other property industry figures earlier this month revealed: the number of Brisbane offices lying empty is the highest ever recorded. Vacancy in the … Continue reading

6 Feb 2014 (AFR) – Landlords forced to diversify as office demand dries up

(6 Feb 2014, AFR, p40, Nick Lenaghan) ‘Demand for office space in Australia’s CBD markets is at all-time low. By January this year, net tenant demand was at negative 0.1 per cent, the second consecutive period of negative demand, according to Property Council of Australia figures. That weak demand, combined with an increasing supply of office … Continue reading

6 Feb 2014 (AFR) – Banks hiring more middle managers

(6 Feb 2014, AFR, p30, Shaun Drummond) ‘Banking and corporate finance recruiters say they are seeing a big uptick in the hiring of divisional heads and middle management. More than 20 per cent of employers at financial services companies in ­Sydney intend to hire more managers in the $110,000 to $210,000 salary range, according to recruiter Marks Sattin.’ … Continue reading

6 Feb 2014 (TheAge) – Resource cities hit hard by lower demand

(6 Feb 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p26, Carolyn Cummins) ‘The country’s two-tiered economy – growth in the non-resource cities against a decline in Perth and Brisbane – has been emphasised in the national office vacancy data, which has continued to climb into double digits. This is against the backdrop of rents hitting more than $1600 … Continue reading

5 Feb 2014 (AFR, Telegraph) – Eurozone paves way for third Greek bail-out

(5 Feb 2014, AFR, p31, and Telegraph,  Bruno Waterfield) ‘The eurozone has begun preparing a third bailout package for Greece of up to €20bn (£16.5bn) on top of existing loans totalling €240bn.The new bailout, which will be decided in April, was discussed at a eurozone meeting last week and a German finance ministry paper leaked … Continue reading

5 Feb 2014 (AFR) – Fear index spikes as investors spooked by volatility

(5 Feb 2014, AFR, p25, Max Mason) Storm in a tea cup, or something more? BetaShare sees 30pc fall ‘Market volatility has spiked to its highest point since late 2012, with investors spooked that the recovery of the United States economy might be overstated. Overnight, Wall Street indexes tumbled to their biggest one-day loss since … Continue reading

5 Feb 2014 (AFR) – Worst day in six months for Aussie stocks

(5 Feb 2014, AFR, p23, Sally Rose) ‘Shares suffered their biggest daily fall since August after disappointing United States manufacturing data sent Wall Street tumbling overnight and Japanese shares extended losses of the past month. The local market declined despite the Reserve Bank of Australia holding the official interest rate at a record low 2.5 per cent. Hopes … Continue reading

5 Feb 2014 (AFR) – Wall Street volatility is testing investors’ nerves

(5 Feb 2014, AFR, p23, Jonathan Shapiro) ‘If Monday morning’s 20 centimetres of snow on New York wasn’t enough for traders to forget the Super Bowl festivities, an alarming set of economic data that triggered a gigantic 326 point plunge in the Dow Jones would have done it. Monday February 3 was a historic day. … Continue reading

5 Feb 2014 (AFR) – Emerging markets may face further challenges

(5 Feb 2014, AFR, p11, Vesna Poljak and Philip Baker) ‘Fund managers have warned that the ASX and Wall Street could face further sell-offs as the fallout from a torrid start to the year for emerging markets spread around the globe. The S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 90.8 points or 1.8 per cent to close at … Continue reading