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30 Aug 2014 (AFR) – Low times on high street

[COMMENT: This lengthy story highlights what many people might have been thinking for some time now – that the internet has changed the retail industry landscape irretrievably and forever. With the sweeping trends to online shopping, the bricks and mortar stores now operate in a very different landscape. Read the full story for all the … Continue reading

30 Aug 2014 (AFR) – General advice should be ‘sales’: CBA

(30 August 2014, AFR, p3, (Murray inquiry), Clancy Yeates) ‘The Commonwealth Bank has conceded that what today qualifies as “general” financial advice should be renamed “sales”, a change it says would help clear up customer confusion. As the Commonwealth Bank and Macquarie Group reel from scandals in their financial planning arms, big banks have also … Continue reading

29 Aug 2014 (TheAge) – Unexpected capital expenditure jump defies experts’ predictions

(29 August 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Stephen Cauchi) ‘New private capital expenditure has rebounded in the June quarter, rising 1.1 per cent and defying economists’ expectations of a decline. The seasonally adjusted figure rose 1.1 per cent to $37.646 billion, aided by a 2 per cent rise in buildings and structures to $25.293 billion. … Continue reading

28 Aug 2014 (AFR) – Construction falls for third straight quarter in June

(28 August 2014, AFR, p47, Michael Bleby) ‘Construction work value fell for a third straight quarter in June, as strengthening residential work failed to offset slumping engineering work. Construction fell 1.2 per cent to $51.9 billion from the March quarter in ABS figures released on Wednesday. The decline was greater than the 0.4 per cent fall in March, but … Continue reading

28 Aug 2014 (AFR) – Wilson HTM bounces back after cost cuts

(28 August 2014, AFR, p25, Ruth Liew) ‘Wilson HTM has bounced back from a $1.6 million loss in 2013 to post a $4.8 million net profit for fiscal 2014 as the broking group benefited from cost cuts and improved business conditions.’ Read more at (might need AFR login access)

28 Aug 2014 (AFR) – China property slump reignites iron ore price fears – Iron ore falls below $US89 to fresh two-year low

(28 August 2014, AFR, p21, Angus Grigg, Lisa Murray and Max Mason) ‘Dwindling property prices in China threaten to push the price of iron ore even lower as fears grow about the housing outlook in the world’s second largest economy. The benchmark iron ore for­­­ immediate delivery to the port of Tianjin in China fell … Continue reading

27 Aug 2014 (AFR) – US stocks hit all-time high

(27 August 2014, AFR, p19, John Kehoe and Jonathan Shapiro) ‘When the United States sharemarket made history and hit 2000 points for the first time on Monday, traders standing on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange erupted in applause. But there was a group of shareholders not so thrilled: investors in some of the … Continue reading

26 Aug 2014 (AFR) Complex risk must be fairly valued – Hybrids could fall 35pc or more in crisis

[COMMENT: This article provides a sobering warning about hybrid securities. Over the years there have been a few that have simply taken the entire investment. In some cases, the investor might just have well as flushed their funds down the toilet. BUYERS BEWARE! This article is a must-read!] (26 August 2014, AFR, p45, Christopher Joye) … Continue reading

26 Aug 2014 (AFR) – Scramble for yield – Hybrid yields tipped to fall further

[COMMENT: This appears to be one of those situations that pushes the markets to extremes, resulting in a fling-back to the opposite extreme. Look out anyone who might get in the way.] (26 August 2014, AFR, p44, Jonathan Shapiro) ‘The lament of a small group of financial planners that gathered in a room in the … Continue reading

26 Aug 2014 (AFR) – Iron ore price slumps on China growth worries

(26 August 2014, AFR, p29, Jared Lynch) ‘Australia’s most lucrative export has extended its losses after plunging to a two-month low last week. Iron ore, measured out of the Tianjin port in China, lost a further 2 per cent on Friday, diving to $US90.10 a tonne, its lowest since June 18.’ Read more at … Continue reading

26 Aug 2014 (AFR) – Six-year highs have analysts worried about pullback

(26 August 2014, AFR, p28, John Wasiliev) ‘After focusing for some weeks on the local sharemarket’s inability to climb above the 5500 point level, commentators involved in trading are now apprehensive about its scope to hang onto gains that last week saw the ASX 200 surge to a six-year high of around 5650 points.’ Read … Continue reading

26 Aug 2014 (AFR) – Escrow test ahead for ASX debutants – $3b share overhang weighs on market

(26 August 2014, AFR, p15, Vesna Poljak and Philip Baker) ‘Almost $3 billion in shares could hit the market over the next week as the first selling window opens up for the class of 2013-14 initial public offerings, including $1.1 billion in equity from credit score company Veda Group alone. Big investors usually have to wait a … Continue reading

26 Aug 2014 (TheAge) – Reporting season: Market expectations a sideshow to main game

(26 August 2014, TheAge, BusinessDay, p28, Michael Pascoe) ‘Remember the usual doomcasters not very long ago suggesting that this would not be a nice corporate reporting season? Turns out they were wrong, even on the largely irrelevant game of market expectations. This final week of the reporting season started with about 70 per cent of … Continue reading

25 Aug 2014 (AFR) – Qld property goes on market as farmers face bankruptcy

(25 August 2014, AFR, p37, Duncan Hughes) ‘A large Queensland farm has gone into receivership and is up for sale either as an individual farm, or four separate properties, each with their own house, sheds and dams. Liquidator PPB Advisory has appointed agent Ray White to sell the Meandarra properties, which is…’ Read more at (might … Continue reading

25 Aug 2014 (AFR) – Macquarie dodgy advice scandal forces rethink of banking model

(25 August 2014, AFR, p19, Sally Patten) ‘The community is so angered by the endless string of advice scandals.’ ‘Financial advice. Where to start? After an extraordinary few weeks, during which it was revealed that Macquarie Group was writing letters to thousands of customers who may have received dodgy advice, the corporate regulator slapped Commonwealth … Continue reading

25 Aug 2014 (AFR) – Houses overvalued by up to 30 per cent, says ex-RBA official

(25 August 2014, AFR, p1, Christopher Joye) ‘One of Australia’s top economic experts, Jeremy Lawson, says the ­housing market is 20 per cent to 30 per cent overvalued and has left Australia vulnerable to a big international ­economic shock. Mr Lawson is the global chief ­economist of Standard Life, a massive British fund manager with $460 billion in … Continue reading

25 Aug 2014 (TheAge) – Fury grows – Banks urge unclaimed-accounts reversal after customer complaints

[COMMENT: This appears to be a result of another ill-thought out (Labor) federal government policy, focusing on ill-conceived short-sighted intentions. The lesson for everyone here is to watch over all our investment accounts, and access them periodically to prevent them disappearing into the government coffers.] (25 August 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p21, Clancy Yeates) ‘Banks … Continue reading

23 Aug 2014 (AFR) – Wake-up call for investors in property advisers’ collapse

(23 August 2014, AFR, p29, Duncan Hughes) ‘More than 1000 investors are facing upwards of $75 million in losses from the collapse of two companies specialising in property investments and developments, specialists involved in the clean-up say. Melbourne accountant turned property developer Mark Letten has been jailed for more than five years after his companies placed … Continue reading

23 Aug 2014 (AFR) – Ghostly ghettos – China’s empty nests

(23 August 2014, AFR, p20, Angus Grigg and Lucy Gao) ‘The front door is still wrapped in plastic and the only fixture inside is a discoloured toilet….’ <snipped…> ‘Real estate agent Ouyang Shuling told AFR Weekend that 40 per cent of the 3000 apartments in this Future City complex were sold but never occupied, after construction … Continue reading

23 Aug 2014 (AFR) – Units ‘built for investors not owner-occupiers’

(23 August 2014, AFR, p7, Rebecca Thistleton) ‘Property and investment pundits say too many apartments have been built in central Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane and rental prices could plunge. More than 80,000 new apartments were approved nationally last financial year, a record that beat the previous high set a year earlier. More than 40 per … Continue reading

23 Aug 2014 (AFR) – Apartment glut puts tenants on top

(23 August 2014, AFR, p7, Rebecca Thistleton) ‘Rising apartment construction has tipped the rental market in tenants’ favour, while rising prices and ­vacancies stymie investor yields. Low interest rates, strong property sentiment and offshore investment has sparked an investor-driven apartment boom in the capitals. Offshore buyers are only allowed to buy new property, and combined … Continue reading

23 Aug 2014 (AFR) – Training won’t stop crooked financial advisers

(23 August 2014, AFR, p6, Duncan Hughes) ‘Improvements to financial advisers’ training and education will do little to weed-out potential crooks and could cause academic arbitrage as candidates shop around for the easiest assessment, warn industry insiders.’ Read more at (might need AFR login access)

23 Aug 2014 (AFR) – Budget debate sparks foreign investor fears – Budget impasse creates perception of US-style crisis

(23 August 2014, AFR, p4, Jacob Greber) ‘Senior bankers say the budget impasse is creating a dangerous perception among some foreign investors that the ­government faces a US-style supply ­crisis and won’t be able to pay its bills. As all sides of politics prepare for a bruising budget battle when ­Parliament resumes next week after a … Continue reading

22 Aug 2014 (AFR) – China’s factory production disappoints: HSBC

(22 August 2014, AFR, p30, Lisa Murray) ‘China’s manufacturing ­sector slowed sharply in August, prompting speculation the government will be forced to do more to ­stimulate the economy, which is being dragged down by a weak ­property sector.’ <snipped…> ‘The survey, compiled by HSBC and Markit Economics, follows a worrying drop in new lending last month and … Continue reading

22 Aug 2014 (AFR) – Murray tells banks to prepare for correction

(22 August 2014, AFR, p1, James Eyers and Jacob Greber) ‘David Murray has said his Financial System Inquiry needs to shore up the banking system to be ready for a ­correction in asset prices that have been inflated by unprecedented global ­monetary stimulus. In a speech that adds to comments two days ago by Reserve Bank … Continue reading

22 Aug 2014 (TheAge) – David Murray signals push to protect clients of financial advisers

(22 August 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p22, James Eyers) ‘The “vertically integrated” banking model, under which banks sell advice to existing customers, is squarely on the radar of financial system inquiry chairman David Murray, who has indicated his final report may call for changes to the way banks remunerate advisers to restore trust with customers. In a speech … Continue reading

22 Aug 2014 (TheAge) – AMP and big banks rush to lift planners’ qualifications

(22 August 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p21, Adele Ferguson, Ben Butler) ‘Australia’s big four banks and AMP have moved to beef up educational standards for financial planners as they struggle to stem a crisis of confidence in the advice industry. AMP triggered the stampede on Thursday morning when it became the second of the major … Continue reading

22 Aug 2014 (TheAge) – Proper standards of education would be a good start for the financial advice sector

(22 August 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p21, Adele Ferguson) ‘It is little surprise that the crisis in confidence gripping the financial planning industry and the intense scrutiny on vertical integration and low education levels has reached the boards of the country’s biggest advice businesses. The stakes are high, particularly following comments by the chairman of … Continue reading

21 Aug 2014 (AFR) – Macquarie hit over claims

(21 August 2014, AFR, p21, Joyce Moullakis ) Macquarie gave favoured customers escape route in BrisConnections float ‘Macquarie Group’s alleged favoured treatment of advisers and their wealthy customers in the 2008 BrisConnections float sparked criticism on Wednesday, as the company declined to detail how it would address potential complaints. Macquarie, which was managing and underwriting … Continue reading

21 Aug 2014 (AFR) – Landlords hit by glut of apartments

(21 August 2014, AFR, p5, Michael Bleby) Falling rental yields point to price pressure Robert Harley | Rental boom days are over ‘Jason Plevras paid $600,000 for a two-bedroom apartment in Melbourne’s Southbank last May. The off-plan unit was one of 237 in the 15-storey Sunday Apartments on ­Coventry Street that went on the market … Continue reading