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20 Jun 2014 (TheAge) – Storm clouds gather over retailers

(20 June 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p28, Adele Ferguson) ‘Savage price discounting of up to 70 per cent, sales racks in the aisles and ”buy one get one free” deals will ramp up as retailers try desperately to shift unwanted stock in a climate of withering consumer confidence. The disastrous stock exchange debut of PAS … Continue reading

19 Jun 2014 (AFR) – China home prices tumble – China’s cities suffer most home price declines in two years

(19 June 2014, AFR, p14, Angus Grigg) ‘New home prices have fallen in the highest number of Chinese cities in more than two years due to corrupt officials rushing to sell apartments and over-building in regional areas. The National Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday prices fell in half the 70 cities surveyed during May, … Continue reading

19 Jun 2014 (AFR) – Newcrest’s failure a lesson for others

(19 June 2014, AFR, p8, Patrick Durkin) ‘Newcrest Mining’s blatant flouting of the continuous disclosure laws is quite simply breathtaking. The company’s senior management knew that their head of investor relations was briefing major investment banks that it would be forced to lower gold output for the year and anticipated $5.8 billion in write-downs days before … Continue reading

19 Jun 2014 (AFR) – Investors to be ‘shut out’ – Newcrest Mining hit with fine over ASIC disclosure probe

(19 June 2014, AFR, p1, Patrick Durkin, Georgia Wilkins and Jamie Freed) ‘Companies will no longer want to give briefings to analysts and fund managers following a $1.2 million fine against Newcrest Mining for selectively briefing analysts, the company’s adviser, Maurice Newman, said. “We are becoming more and more prescriptive and leaving no room for … Continue reading

19 Jun 2014 (TheAge) – Breaking the market’s golden rules

[COMMENT: The judgement is handed down regarding the slippage of inside information from Newcrest to selective analysts, allowing some investors/traders to be better informed that all the retail investors. Read more here…] (19 June 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p28, Malcolm Maiden) ‘Penalties totalling $1.2 million that Newcrest has agreed to pay to settle an Australian … Continue reading

19 Jun 2014 (TheAge) – High dollar and low confidence – Economic slowdown ‘likely’, Westpac-Melbourne Institute Leading Index shows

(19 June 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p24, Jason Cadden) ‘Evidence is mounting that the economy will slow later in the year due to falling commodity prices, a high dollar and weak consumer confidence. The latest Westpac-Melbourne Institute Leading Index, which indicates the likely pace of economic activity over three to nine months, rose in May … Continue reading

18 Jun 2014 (AFR) – Argentina defiant after US Supreme Court debt ruling

(18 June 2014, AFR, p33, Tom Hamburger and Roberto Ferdman) ‘Argentina’s President has told a national television audience the country would not abide by United States court rulings ordering payment of $US1.3 billion ($1.4 billion) to disgruntled creditors whose long-running legal battle against Argentina received a boost from the US Supreme Court. In a defiant address on … Continue reading

18 Jun 2014 (AFR) – House sales boom fills NSW coffers

(18 June 2014, AFR, p11, Rebecca Thistleton) ‘Sydney’s housing market recovery delivered almost $1 billion in extra revenue to the NSW bottom line in the past year in transfer duty collected on home sales. The $5.89 billion collected was $938 million more than the $4.96 million budgeted for 2013-14, and the surge in housing sales is expected to continue bolstering … Continue reading

18 Jun 2014 (TheAge) – Russia cuts off gas to Ukraine as Kiev orders border secured

(18 June 2014, The Age, p13, Natalia Zinets and Vladimir Soldatkin) ‘Kiev: Russia cut off gas to Ukraine on Monday in a dispute over unpaid bills that could disrupt supplies to the rest of Europe and set back hopes for peace between the former Soviet neighbours.’ Read more at

18 Jun 2014 (TheAge) – Chief financial officers pessimistic about growth, survey finds

(18 June 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Tom Cowie) ‘Almost a third of senior finance executives are concerned the domestic economy will slow their company’s growth, according to a survey of chief financial officers. The data, released by American Express, comes as flat consumer confidence and an ongoing poor reaction to the federal budget continue … Continue reading

17 Jun 2014 (AFR) – Chi-X set to re-open after technical fault

(17 June 2014, AFR, p15, Shaun Drummond) ‘Chi-X Australia CEO John Fildes said he is confident trading will re-open on Tuesday morning after the exchange halted trading for most of Monday due to a technical fault. He would not reveal what the fault was, but said shortly after the open a “problem” was identified it … Continue reading

17 Jun 2014 (TheAustn) – Ore price drop a boon for nation’s big producers

(17 June 2014, The Australian, p20, Sarah-Jane Tasker) ‘THE iron ore story is now one of product displacement, as China will have to remove up to 100 million tonnes from its domestic market if the price continues to hover around $US90 a tonne. While some of Australia’s junior iron ore miners and high-cost producers struggle … Continue reading

16 Jun 2014 (AFR) – China’s ‘affordable’ new homes are empty – One-fifth of all China’s subsidised homes

(16 June 2014, AFR, p12, Angus Grigg) ‘China’s plan to build 36 million “affordable homes” by 2015 has been lauded as a model for countries such as Australia grappling with inflated house prices, but a new report suggests this program is mired in ­corruption and contributing to the very property bubble Beijing is trying to deflate.’ <snipped…> … Continue reading

16 Jun 2014 (AFR) – Mid-range property still roaring – Sydney, Melbourne real estate auctions run hot

(16 June 2014, AFR, p9, Duncan Hughes) ‘Property prices in Melbourne and ­Sydney’s sprawling middle-class ­suburbs are going gangbusters as the lower and top-end markets are in ­danger of being busted by prices that are either too high, or not high enough, according to real estate specialists. Melbourne’s south-east suburban sprawl is maintaining clearance rates … Continue reading

14 Jun 2014 (AFR) – Iron ore price slumps 2pc to near two-year low

(14 June 2014, AFR, p37, Max Mason ) ‘Oversupply continues to weigh on the price of iron ore, which has slipped to a 21-month low following a record 1.2 million-tonne single-day shipment of the bulk metal out of Port Hedland last Saturday. The benchmark iron ore price, measured out of the Tianjin port in China, has … Continue reading

14 Jun 2014 (AFR) – Iraq drives oil price on Friday 13th

(14 June 2014, AFR, Philip Baker) ‘Until a few days ago, not even the sharemarket doomsdayers would have been anxious about Friday the 13th. But the dull, low volatility environment for traders was cut short on Friday amid escalating violence in Iraq that drove oil prices up sharply to levels not seen in the past … Continue reading

14 Jun 2014 (AFR) – Threat of Gulf War III sparks market nerves – Iraq looks a ‘real concern’ for markets

(14 June 2014, AFR, p35, Sally Rose) ‘Investors are worried as strategists downgrade their outlook for global markets amid growing fears that violent political unrest in Iraq will draw the United States and its allies, including Australia, into another Gulf war. Global equity markets moved lower while oil prices jumped on the news.Local shares followed … Continue reading

14 Jun 2014 (AFR) – Reign of blood and terror – ISIS brings storm of terror to Iraq

(14 June 2014, AFR, p16) ‘Whoever chose the Twitter handle “Jihadi Spring” was prescient. Three years of turmoil in the region, on the back of unpopular American-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have benefited extreme Islamists, none more so than the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), a group that outdoes even al-Qaeda … Continue reading

14 Jun 2014 (AFR) – Claim of Russian incursion into Ukraine

(14 June 2014, AFR, p13, Andrew Kramer) ‘Ukraine’s interior minister has claimed an armoured column from Russia crossed the border into eastern Ukraine and fought with ­government troops. Russia did not immediately respond to the minister’s allegation, and there was no independent ­confirmation an incursion took place overnight on Thursday. If it did, the event … Continue reading

14 Jun 2014 (AFR) – China’s economy jumps as property slumps

(14 June 2014, AFR, p13, Angus Grigg and Lisa Murray AFR correspondents) ‘The number of apartments waiting to be sold across China surged 25 per cent over the first five months of the year and new construction slumped, as sentiment towards the property sector further deteriorated. Concerns about the real estate market overshadowed new data which … Continue reading

14 Jun 2014 (AFR) – Iraq attack pressures US on air strikes

(14 June 2014, AFR, p12, Terry Atlas and David Lerman ) ‘The rapid advance by Islamic militants in Iraq is building pressure on US President Barack Obama to launch air strikes to support the beleaguered Iraqi army. The US has the ability to deploy aircraft quickly that could thwart the offensive by a radical Sunni … Continue reading

14 Jun 2014 (AFR) – More pain for depositors as central banks pump out cash

(14 June 2014, AFR, p3, Jacob Greber and Christopher Joye) ‘Cheap foreign money is allowing banks to cut term deposit rates, forcing savers to delay retirement or spending, and adding to criticism that interest rates are too low. With the Reserve Bank of Australia under fire for pushing the cash rate to a record low … Continue reading

13 Jun 2014 (AFR) – Iraq crisis threatens regional stability

(13 June 2014, AFR, p29, Tony Walker) ‘The news from Iraq gets worse, with implications stretching far beyond that country’s boundaries. This is a geopolitical crisis in the making that the international community will find difficult to ignore. Markets are reacting, as well they might to consequences of a further destabilisation of the oil-producing Middle … Continue reading

13 Jun 2014 (AFR) – Sunni fighters close in on Iraqi capital – Militants take Tikrit, on way to Baghdad

(13 June 2014, AFR, p29, Suadad AL-SALHY, ALAN COWELL and RICK GLADSTONE ) ‘Sunni militants extended their control over parts of northern and western Iraq on Wednesday as Iraqi government forces crumbled in disarray. The militants overran the city of Tikrit, seized facilities in the strategic oil refining town of Baiji, and threatened an important … Continue reading

13 Jun 2014 (AFR) – Full steam ahead for more NZ rate rises

(13 June 2014, AFR, Baker Philip Baker) ‘If there were any doubts about the intent of Graeme Wheeler, governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, to keep raising interest rates, they were put to bed on Thursday when it was made clear there are more increases to come. The latest move, one quarter of … Continue reading

13 Jun 2014 (AFR) – Gulf carrier glut blamed for Lufthansa’s steep descent

(13 June 2014, AFR, p21) ‘The airline industry is unstable? Who knew? Shares in Lufthansa fell 14 per cent on Wednesday when the company cut its 2014 and 2015 operating profit forecasts to €1 billion and €2 billion ($2.9 billion, respectively, a haircut of 25 per cent apiece. The problem, the company said, is excess capacity in … Continue reading

13 Jun 2014 (AFR) – Bankers tip strongest capital markets since 2010

(13 June 2014, AFR, p17, Joyce Moullakis) ‘Bankers are tentatively suggesting this may be the strongest year for equity capital markets (ECM) activity since 2010, after data showed issuance of Australian initial public offerings hit a year-to-date record. The pipeline for local floats is swelling in 2014, albeit following a number of quiet years, and several bankers … Continue reading

12 Jun 2014 (TheAge) – Weak sentiment to hit earnings

(12 June 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p25, Jared Lynch and Max Mason) ‘A stubbornly high Australian dollar, falling commodity prices and a hard-hitting federal budget are expected to weigh on company earnings in coming months, according to Deutsche Bank. After better-than-expected GDP growth for the March quarter, Deutsche was expecting earnings to soften as autumn … Continue reading

12 Jun 2014 (TheAge) – Flight Centre profit at lower end, budget blamed for slump

(12 June 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Misa Han, Tourism) ‘Flight Centre managing director Graham Turner says a slump in consumer confidence caused by the federal budget will push full-year profit to the lower end of the company’s guidance.’ Read more at

12 Jun 2014 (AFR) – BHP cancels Downer contract

(12 June 2014, AFR, p30, Matthew Stevens) ‘The immediate future of the biggest coalmine in BHP Billiton’s Queensland fleet has been exposed as a matter of some debate with the global Australian’s decision to cancel $360 million worth of contract digging by Downer EDI. The mining services contractor was supposed to spend the next two years … Continue reading