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31 Dec 2014 (TheAge) – Oil prices hit five-year low

(31 Dec 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p21, AFP) ‘Crude oil prices have fallen to a five-year low with analysts blaming expectations of more bad news for demand due to slower economic conditions. US crude benchmark West Texas Intermediate for February delivery lost $US1.12 ($1.37) to finish at $US53.61 a barrel on Monday after holding in … Continue reading

31 Dec 2014 (TheAge) – Greece heading to early elections after presidential vote fails

(31 Dec 2014, The Age, p12, Niki Kitsantonis) ‘Athens: Greece’s parliament failed to elect a new president in the final round of a three-stage vote, paving the way for early general elections that could open the door to a leftist party that opposes the terms of the country’s international bailouts. The governing coalition’s candidate, Stavros … Continue reading

31 Dec 2014 (TheAge) – Work and pay prospects for graduates deteriorated in 2014, a survey shows

(31 Dec 2014, The Age, p6, Matthew Knott) ‘Starting salaries for university graduates have plateaued and full-time employment is proving more elusive, the latest annual Australian Graduate Survey reveals. Recent university graduates are more likely to be out of full-time work than ever before and starting salaries for graduates have stagnated, new figures show. The … Continue reading

29 Dec 2014 (TheAge) – Oil price slide, sanctions to squeeze Russia hard

(29 Dec 2014, The Age, Szu Ping Chan) ‘There is no end in sight for Russia’s economic crisis, as crippling sanctions and tumbling oil prices leave the country staring into an abyss, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has warned. Catherine Mann, the OECD’s chief economist, said Russia was moving closer to shutting itself … Continue reading

27 Dec 2014 (AFR) – Boxing Day shoppers in fighting form – Poor sentiment doesn’t stop the shoppers

(27 Dec 2014, AFR, p2, Yolanda Redrup) ‘Think hitting a ball with a cricket bat qualifies as a test? Try shopping at Myer on ­Boxing Day. Andrew Antoniou, 48, braved the masses, but was quickly deterred by the never-ending queues. “I was meeting someone on the fourth floor, but I had to call her and say … Continue reading

27 Dec 2014 (AFR) – What investors want from IPOs in 2015 – Investors get choosy as IPO pipeline builds

[COMMENT: This news story is quoted here only for general information. This commentator no longer participates in IPOs. See the reasons why on this special web page…] (27 Dec 2014, AFR, p41, Bianca Hartge-Hazelman) ‘The pipeline of initial public offerings is already building, but for the bankers and brokers tasked with selling these deals, a … Continue reading

27 Dec 2014 (AFR) – China’s growth story no longer looks invincible

(27 Dec 2014, AFR, p40, Max Mason) ‘With the federal government fore­casting a $9 billion shortfall in ­revenue over the next two years as iron ore plunges to new five-year lows, the view of China from Australia is one of a ­country struggling to maintain the growth that turned it into a ­economic superpower. Shadow banking, ghost cities, ­slumping property … Continue reading

27 Dec 2014 (AFR) – How US bonds bamboozled an entire industry – The story behind the mysterious movements of the US bond market

(27 Dec 2014, AFR, p40, Jonathan Shapiro) ‘If the bond market’s 30-year long bull run is indeed in its dying moments, it’s not going down without a ferocious fight. The year in bonds was defined by a market that has defied consensus as US rates fell instead of rising as most investors, traders and economists … Continue reading

27 Dec 2014 (AFR) – Can floats do it again? – Will 2015 show the same love for IPOs

(27 Dec 2014, AFR, p25, SmartMoney, Tony Featherstone) ‘The initial public offerings (IPO) market soared this year. Capital-raising records were smashed, big floats mostly rallied and investors scrambled to get on board. Led by Medibank Private, the IPO market raised $18.6 billion, AFR Weekend analysis shows. That almost doubled 2013’s bumper float crop and was an … Continue reading

26 Dec 2014 (TheAge, SMH) – Australian sharemarket one of the worst global performers in 2014

[COMMENT: Now be careful! This attention-grabbing headline is actually biased, and very irrelevant to most retail investors. Because most investors do NOT need to measure the performance of the markets, or their portfolio, on a calendar year basis. It is smarter to look at the key market turning points (peaks and troughs), because there could … Continue reading

24 Dec 2014 (TheAge, Bloomberg) – Miners caught in race to bottom – Iron Ore Extends Drop to Five-Year Low as China Economy Weakens

(24 Dec 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Bloomberg) ‘Iron ore sank to the lowest level since 2009 as supply exceeds demand and China, the biggest user, contends with its weakest expansion in almost a quarter century. Ore with 62 percent content delivered to Qingdao, China, retreated 1.8 percent to $67.90 a dry metric ton, data … Continue reading

24 Dec 2014 (TheAge) – More spending power is good for retail – Christmas shopping: Consumer anxiety falls in time for retail season

(24 Dec 2014, The Age, p8, Matt Wade) ‘Consumers are less anxious than at any time in the past 18 months amid signs of a robust finale to the Christmas shopping season. The National Australia Bank’s consumer anxiety index, released on Tuesday, has fallen for a second straight quarter to its lowest mark since mid-2013. … Continue reading

23 Dec 2014 (TheAge online) – ‘Santa rally’ comes to an end as BHP drops

(23 Dec 2014, The Age, online, Sally Rose) ‘A short-lived “Santa rally” that saw the market add 5.5 per cent, or $83 billion in value, over the previous four sessions came to a halt on Tuesday as BHP Billiton led the bourse lower. As a turbulent December quarter draws to a close, the market is … Continue reading

23 Dec 2014 (TheAge) – Santa rally adds $83 billion to market value

(23 Dec 2014 , The Age, BusinessDay, p21, Max Mason) ‘The Australian sharemarket has continued its surge higher on the back of renewed investor confidence around the recovery of the United States economy and as oil prices rebound. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 jumped 1.9 per cent, or 103.4 points, to 5442. The broader All Ordinaries lifted … Continue reading

23 Dec 2014 (TheAge) – Kathmandu feels chill along with net retailers

(23 Dec 2014, The Age, p3,  Stephen Cauchi) ‘Online retailing has been belted by Australia’s economic woes, with November showing the slowest monthly and annual sales growth since the figures have been compiled. Some bricks-and-mortar retailers are also doing it tough, with shares in outdoor equipment retailer Kathmandu plunging 20 per cent after poor Christmas … Continue reading

20 Dec 2014 (AFR) – Predicted ‘dog days’ look true – Dog days are beginning for Australia’s economy

(20 Dec 2014, AFR, p6, Jacob Greber Economics correspondent) ‘The steepest fall in the terms of trade in five decades – at the heart of the recent budget downgrades – has invoked memories of the 1951 “horror budget” and settled one of this year’s hottest ­economic debates. With global prices for commodities heading south, Melbourne … Continue reading

19 Dec 2014 (AFR) – Weak Chinese real estate to slow growth – Chinese rate cut stabilises property prices

(19 Dec 2014, AFR, p33, Angus Grigg AFR correspondent) China woes hit iron ore again Wang Jianlin nets third spot on Asia’s rich list amid IPO Macau money crackdown, stocks slide ‘Investment in China’s real estate sector is forecast to slow sharply next year, putting further pressure on iron ore prices and the Australian dollar, … Continue reading

19 Dec 2014 (AFR) – New Zealand economy grows faster than expectations

(19 Dec 2014, AFR, p33, Tracy Withers) ‘New Zealand’s economic growth accelerated in the third quarter more than economists and the central bank had forecast as low interest rates and record levels of immigration stoked consumption. Gross domestic product increased 1 per cent from the second quarter, when it advanced 0.7 per cent, Statistics New Zealand said … Continue reading

19 Dec 2014 (AFR) – Russia’s richest tap London property market as rouble tumbles

(19 Dec 2014, AFR, p30, Martin Evans and Anna White) ‘The financial crisis in Russia has wiped billions off the fortunes of some of Britain’s wealthiest tycoons and led to a spate of property panic buying across London. Russia’s 20 richest people have lost more than £62 billion ($118 billion) this week after the rouble crashed and … Continue reading

19 Dec 2014 (AFR) – Oil producers to feel pinch as prices slide

(19 Dec 2014, AFR, p22, Angela Macdonald-Smith) ‘Both crude oil and liquefied natural gas prices are likely to face further ­downward pressure into 2015, forcing producers to adapt to a weaker ­short-term environment before ­conditions improve. Global energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie has forecast crude oil ­markets will “struggle to find balance” in 2015 and cited … Continue reading

19 Dec 2014 (AFR) – Plummeting oil price takes the wind out of renewables

(19 Dec 2014, AFR, p21, Pilita Clark) ‘Tumbling oil prices have long been seen as kryptonite for clean energy companies – and share prices of some of the world’s best known renewable power groups have slumped after the latest slide in crude. Shares in Denmark’s Vestas, the world’s largest wind turbine supplier, dived after the … Continue reading

19 Dec 2014 (AFR) – Cross-border IPOs back in vogue – Multi-market IPOs return to strength

(19 Dec 2014, AFR, p17, Joyce Moullakis) ‘Cross-border initial public offerings returned to pre-global financial crisis levels in 2014 as the amount raised surged to US$72.8 billion ($89 billion), including a contribution from four ­Australian-based companies, analysis by lawfirm Baker & McKenzie shows. The numbers for cross-border floats – where a company lists on an exchange outside … Continue reading

19 Dec 2014 (AFR) – $1b of houses sell in Mosman in 2014

(19 Dec 2014, AFR, p9, Luke Malpass) ‘The Sydney suburb of Mosman has broken through a billion dollars of house sales this year to be the top suburb for house sales in the country. It is also a sign that the middle-and-upper end of the market is returning to health for the first time since … Continue reading

18 Dec 2014 (AFR) – Contagion fear grows as Russia risk rises

(18 Dec 2014, AFR, p21, Philip Baker) Rouble collapse to drag down $A Rouble smashed as Russian rate rise sparks panic Global equities mixed on economy concerns ‘If there was one lesson rammed home by the global financial crisis, it was how interconnected financial markets are. For that reason alone, Russia does matter. What doesn’t matter … Continue reading

18 Dec 2014 (AFR) – Dalian Wanda’s Hong Kong IPO raises $4.5b

(18 Dec 2014, AFR, p18, Jennifer Hughes, Financial Times) ‘China’s Dalian Wanda has raised $US3.7 billion ($4.5 billion) in Hong Kong’s biggest initial public offering this year – the most recent in a late rush of big deals that have driven the city into second place globally as a capital-raising centre. The pricing gives the group’s property unit, … Continue reading

18 Dec 2014 (AFR) – Rouble smashed as Russian rate rise sparks panic

(18 Dec 2014, AFR, p11, James Chessell AFR correspondent) Where will the world markets go in 2015? Brent below $US60 a barrel, US oil future bounce Stronger US, slower China throw emerging markets into turmoil Oil price rout hits emerging market currencies ‘Moscow’s attempt to diffuse the currency crisis threatening its ailing economy has failed, … Continue reading

18 Dec 2014 (TheAge) – Vladimir Putin cornered: which way does he jump?

(18 Dec 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Malcolm Maiden) ‘Russia’s oil industry accounts for about half its export income, and about 13 per cent of its gross domestic product, and the oil price is about 45 per cent below its level in the first half of this year. Oil is priced is US dollars, however, … Continue reading

17 Dec 2014 (AFR) – Darwin and Perth rental markets hit by weak data

(17 Dec 2014, AFR, p34, Samantha Hutchinson) ‘Rental markets in Darwin and Perth have been dealt a devastating blow by the weakening job market and lower levels of mining activity, with vacancy rates in both cities jumping during November. Darwin’s vacancy rate is now running at 2.8 per cent, more than double its rate recorded in November 2013. Perth … Continue reading

17 Dec 2014 (AFR) – China economy fears despite data revision / discovery

(17 Dec 2014, AFR, p30, Lisa Murray AFR correspondent) ‘Chinese statisticians believe the economy is roughly 1.7 trillion yuan ($333 billion) larger than previously thought, having identified some ­missing activity in the latest census. However, the reassessment is unlikely to shake off doubts about the reliability of China’s economic data or concerns about its growth outlook. On … Continue reading

17 Dec 2014 (AFR) – Emerging markets ending year in freefall

(17 Dec 2014, AFR, p29, Boris Korby in New York) Russia raises rates to 17pc as rouble doubles ‘Emerging markets are ending the year much like how they began it — in freefall. From Russia to Venezuela, Thailand to Brazil, stocks, bonds and currencies across the developing world are plunging. The Russian ruble tumbled past … Continue reading