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31 Jul 2014 (AFR) – Buyers offered a fresh bite at Gherkin – London’s troubled Gherkin on the market

(31 July 2014, AFR, p50, Rebecca Thistleton) ‘London’s 180-metre Gherkin office tower has been listed for sale, three months after the building’s ­lenders appointed receivers to end years of defaults.’ <snipped…> ‘The latest London Office Crane ­Survey by Deloitte Real Estate shows office development has been at below-average levels for five years. Combined with a rise … Continue reading

31 Jul 2014 (AFR) – Commercial index falls as office sector hurts – Hotels defy gloomy commercial property market

(31 July 2014, AFR, p47, Larry Schlesinger) ‘Conditions in the commercial property market weakened across all sectors except for CBD hotels in the second ­quarter of the year, the latest survey by NAB shows. The NAB Commercial Property Index fell from minus 3 to minus 6 points in the second quarter with sentiment weakest across the office and … Continue reading

31 Jul 2014 (AFR) – Bonds again no longer bind as default looms for Argentina

(31 July 2014, AFR, p17, Alexandra Stevenson) ‘Barring a last-minute deal, Argentina is expected to default on billions of dollars of bonds on Wednesday (US time). It would be Argentina’s second default in 13 years. But unlike the last time, when scores of unhappy Argentinians took to the street as unemployment rose to 25 per cent and … Continue reading

30 Jul 2014 (AFR) – House price (property) supply and demand forces easing

(30 July 2014, AFR, p28, Bianca Hartge-Hazelman) House prices ‘a natural red flag’ ‘The supply and demand forces that have worked against Australian house price affordability are showing signs of easing as growing migration, lower interest rates and increased construction activity threaten to stabilise asset values and rental income.’ ‘According to National Australia Bank data, … Continue reading

30 Jul 2014 (AFR) – GUD results may point to rough season ahead

(30 July 2014, AFR, p24, Trevor Hoey) ‘While GUD Holdings was one of the first off the blocks in relation to the August reporting season with its annual result for fiscal 2014 released last Friday, its headline numbers fell short of shareholder expectations and its shares subsequently slumped from the previous day’s close of $7.18 … Continue reading

30 Jul 2014 (AFR) – NAB, Westpac lose out as Penrice Soda faces wind-up

(30 July 2014, AFR, p17, Simon Evans) ‘Hundreds of creditors to the failed ASX-listed Penrice Soda Holdings are ­facing a disastrous outcome, with ­administrators warning they won’t receive any of the money owed to them. Two big banks, National Australia Bank and Westpac will also face a significant shortfall on the combined $111 million they are owed, … Continue reading

30 Jul 2014 (AFR) – Apartment growth continues to drive new home sales

(30 July 2014, AFR, p10, Rebecca Thistleton) ‘New apartment sales surged almost 16 per cent in June but growth in sales of new houses was subdued. In the June quarter, new-dwelling sales rose 2 per cent, according to the Housing Industry Association. Month-on-month, the number of new dwellings sold in June rose 1.2 per cent and detached home … Continue reading

30 Jul 2014 (AFR) – Graduates face worst job market in 20 years – worst since 1992-93 recession

(30 July 2014, AFR, p7, Tim Dodd and Edmund Tadros) Few degrees of separation between haves and have-nots Labor calls for accounting to be taken off Skilled Occupation List Revealed: Australia’s biggest law schools ‘Graduate employment is the worst since the 1992-93 recession, with only 71.3 per cent of bachelor degree graduates in work four months … Continue reading

30 Jul 2014 (TheAge) – New home sales lift in June quarter

(30 July 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p30, Stephen Cauchi) ‘The housing market continues to strengthen, albeit at a more moderate pace, helped by a surge in multi-unit dwellings. New home sales were up 1.2 per cent in June, seasonally adjusted, and were up two per cent in the June quarter, the Housing Industry Association (HIA) … Continue reading

30 Jul 2014 (TheAge) – Confidence falls (slumps) among big companies

(30 July 2014, The Age, BusienssDay, p31, Luke Malpass) ‘Business confidence among Australia’s largest listed firms has fallen sharply over the June quarter, undermined by the tight federal budget and coinciding with a reluctance to spend. The outcome is at odds with a separate report from ANZ-Roy Morgan that indicates consumer confidence has finally recovered … Continue reading

30 Jul 2014 (TheAge) – Resource sector spending yet to bottom

(30 July 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p25, Brian Robins) ‘Pressures on companies servicing the mining and energy sector are showing few signs of easing after laboratory testing operator ALS revealed a sharp profit fall as it moved to boost cashflow following recent acquisitions. The underlying net profit after tax for the six months to the end of … Continue reading

30 Jul 2014 (TheAge) – Latin losses rock QBE profit – $1.7b hit: QBE chief pleads for patience

(30 July 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p21, Ruth Liew) ‘QBE Insurance Group chief executive John Neal has appealed to long-suffering shareholders to be patient with the embattled global insurer’s turnaround strategy despite the latest shock earnings downgrade that wiped $1.7 billion off the company’s market value.’ ‘Mr Neal announced on Tuesday QBE would likely post … Continue reading

30 Jul 2014 (TheAge) – Growing start-up company numbers reflect small business sector confidence

(30 July 2014, The Age, p12, Stephen Cauchi) ‘A new survey has shown that the number of start-ups in Australia has jumped by 23 per cent in the second quarter of 2014, indicating strong confidence in the small business sector. According to the survey, done by business research firm Dun and Bradstreet, 62,160 enterprises started … Continue reading

29 Jul 2014 (AFR) – ASX dips as confession season starts

(29 July 2014, AFR, p28, Sally Rose) ‘Shares eased after company reporting season got off to a disappointing start, with fund managers and equity strat­egists eager for evidence that the sharemarket’s recent six-year highs are justified. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index and the broader All Ordinaries Index each edged down 0.1 per cent, on Monday to 5577.4 points and 5569.9 points respectively, … Continue reading

29 Jul 2014 (AFR) – IPO pipeline bulging at $2.5bn despite scepticism

(29 July 2014, AFR, p18, Joyce Moullakis ) ‘The modest rise in Healthscope’s shares on their return to the local ­sharemarket on Monday will likely act as a barometer for more than $2.5 billion of floats that remain in the pipeline this year.’ ‘However, fund managers are still cautious as the frenzy of listings has them struggling … Continue reading

29 Jul 2014 (TheAge) – Mortgage fears unfounded as the yield chase gallops on

(29 July 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p28, Michael Pascoe) ‘Headlines involving housing bubbles and busts, mortgage stress or real estate forecasting of any form remain sure-fire clickbait. Given Australians’ love affair with bricks ‘n’ plasterboard, is there a week without one or all of the aforementioned? After a couple of prominent examples last week, releases  … Continue reading

29 Jul 2014 (TheAge) – Burgernomics: Aussie dollar is just right, says the Big Mac index

(29 July 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p26, Jared Lynch) ‘Exporters may be bemoaning the ‘stubbornly high’ Australian dollar, but according to the Big Mac Index, its valuation is spot on. That’s right, you heard correctly, burgernomics is a serious business, particularly in determining whether currencies are at their “correct” level. The price of a Big … Continue reading

29 Jul 2014 (TheAge) – No more nasty surprises, says Navitas chief as profit slumps 31pc

(29 July 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p24, Simon Evans) ‘The chief executive and founder of education group Navitas says it’s highly unlikely there will be any nasty surprises among the 25 other university partners for which the company runs pathways colleges as a bridge to university education, after its dumping by Macquarie University.’ <snipped…> ‘Navitas … Continue reading

29 Jul 2014 (TheAge) – Leighton stands by guidance – despite profit sliding 20 per cent

(29 July 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Jenny Wiggins) ‘Leighton Holdings has reiterated full year earnings guidance as it reported a 20 per cent fall in first half net profits to $291.3 million and cash flow deterioration amid poor results from key divisions Leighton Contractors and John Holland. Leighton’s cash outflows worsened, weakening to $37 million … Continue reading

29 Jul 2014 (TheAge) – Healthscope returns with a clean bill – treading water on debut

(29 July 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Jessica Gardner) ‘Healthscope has defied a weak market to return to public ownership at a 5 per cent premium to the offer price of the private hospital, medical centre and pathology operator’s $3.6 billion float. The listing, which is the market’s biggest since the $4.6 billion privatisation of … Continue reading

29 Jul 2014 (TheAustn) – Navitas marked down after uni setback

(29 July 2014, The Australian, p19, Julie Hare) ‘JUST two weeks after its share price plummeted 30 per cent in a two-hour trading purge, Navitas CEO Rod Jones yesterday had to deliver more bad news: a fall in annual profit of 31 per cent.’ ‘The result came on the back of a $23.3 million goodwill … Continue reading

28 Jul 2014 (AFR) – Low rates spur buying spree – Even derelicts in demand in ‘crazy’ market

(28 July 2014, AFR, p4, Samantha Hutchinson) ‘Winter hasn’t dampened buying ­activity in capital cities as homes and apartments changed hands at speed, in spite of the colder weather.’ ‘Almost 70 per cent of the 1680 homes that went to market across the country during the week sold, as buyers powered on through what is typically … Continue reading

28 Jul 2014 (AFR) – Investors seek profit season growth agenda – Fundies’ faith at stake as reporting season looms

(28 July 2014, AFR, p1, Philip Baker) ‘Australia’s top fund managers are hoping profit reporting season will justify rising stock valuations that have propelled the ASX to six-year highs. While earnings-per-share growth has averaged around 7.6 per cent per annum over the past decade, the past four financial years have seen growth average minus 2 per cent. … Continue reading

26 Jul 2014 (AFR) – IMF cuts growth forecast, backs Yellen on rates

(26 July 2014, AFR, p12, John Kehoe) ‘A slower start to the year for the two biggest economies, the United States and China, will drag down global economic growth for calendar 2014, although the International Monetary Fund believes activity is picking up for the rest of this year. The IMF lowered its world growth forecast … Continue reading

25 Jul 2014 (TheAge, SMH) – Macquarie cops fallout from scandal

(25 July 2014 The Age, BusinessDay, p28, Elizabeth Knight) ‘The Commonwealth Bank’s boss, Ian Narev, recently noted that the financial fallout from the bank’s financial advice scandal had not been significant and it’s probably fair to say that in the longer term it won’t sustain any real brand damage. Even if it needs to cough … Continue reading

25 Jul 2014 (TheAge) – Macquarie opens up over its private wealth failings

(25 July 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p23,Joyce Moullakis) ‘Macquarie Group has for the first time provided high-level detail on how it is addressing the corporate regulator’s concerns around a string of failings in its private wealth division. In a presentation to its annual general meeting on Thursday, Macquarie outlined that it had spent about $49 … Continue reading

25 Jul 2014 (The Guardian) – Amazon posts huge loss in second quarter, despite sales rise

(25 July 2014, The Guardian online, Dominic Rushe in New York) ‘Amazon has reported a rise in sales on Thursday but posted a bigger-than-expected $126m (£74m) loss for its second quarter, sending shares sharply lower in after-hours trading. Revenue at the company rose 23% to $19.34bn but losses increased as the firm spent heavily in … Continue reading

25 Jul 2014 (AFR) – China HSBC flash PMI hits 18-month high

(25 July 2014, AFR, p30, Xiaoqing Pi) ‘A Chinese manufacturing gauge rose to an 18-month high in July, bolstering the government’s chances of meeting its 2014 economic growth target of about 7.5 per cent. The preliminary purchasing managers’ index from HSBC and Markit Economics was at 52.0, topping the 51.0 median estimate of analysts in a … Continue reading

24 Jul 2014 (AFR) – Insolvencies fall but some companies still lagging

(24 July 2014, AFR, p9, Su-Lin Tan) ‘Company insolvencies have fallen by 19 per cent since the start of the financial year but hasn’t improved as much in construction and personal services. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission said the number of companies entering ­external administration had dropped compared with company incorporations, breaking a long-term trend. … Continue reading

24 Jul 2014 (AFR) – Bringing stability in a new era of plants and equipment – Inflation means stable rates more likely

(24 July 2014, AFR, p4, Alan Mitchell Economics editor) ‘Underlying inflation is edging closer to the top of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s target range, and that may reduce the chances of a further cut in the official cash rate. However, it should not put any immediate pressure on the bank to raise the cash rate … Continue reading