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28 Feb 2015 (AFR) – Profit season hits low note but road to 6000 intact

(28 Feb 2015, AFR, p40, Vesna Poljak) ‘The final big week of company profits ended on a sour note with a profit downgrade from Woolworths and mounting expectations of an interest rate cut from the Reserve Bank of Australia coming on Tuesday. The state of the domestic economy has proved to be one of the … Continue reading

28 Feb 2015 (AFR) – Harvey Norman says the worst is over – boosts profit by 27% after slashing support for franchisees

(28 Feb 2015, AFR, p36, Sue Mitchell) ‘Harvey Norman is heading for a second year of double-digit profit growth as record low interest rates and rising house prices fuel demand for furniture, whitegoods and homewares in Australia and overseas.’ Read more at AFR.com (might need AFR login access)

28 Feb 2015 (AFR) – How the market is testing value investors – Bond-like stocks: the ‘Telstrafication’ of the sharemarket

As the belief grows that interest rates in Australia will converge with the rest of the world and linger in low rate limbo for years to come, the faith of value investors – who try to spot bargains by buying stocks based on the fundamental worth of the underlying business – is being tested. Reuters … Continue reading

27 Feb 2015 (TheAge) – Long-term jobless toll surges – Old and young hit hard as the number of long-term unemployed Australians soars since global financial crisis

(27 Feb 2015, The Age, p12, Ben Schneiders, Nick Toscano) ‘The number of Australians out of work for long periods has risen dramatically since the global financial crisis, with retrenched older workers and young people yet to find work particularly vulnerable to long-term unemployment. An analysis of Bureau of Statistics data by Fairfax Media shows … Continue reading

27 Feb 2015 (AFR) – Greece sees problems repaying IMF, ECB

(27 Feb 2015, AFR, p29, Lefteris Papadimas and Stephen Brown) ‘Greece admitted on Wednesday it will struggle to make debt repayments to the IMF and the European Central Bank this year as Germany’s finance minister voiced open doubts about Athens’ trustworthiness.’ Read more at AFr.com (might need AFR login access)

27 Feb 2015 (AFR) – Lack of buyers pulls iron ore towards six-year lows

(27 Feb 2015, AFR, p23, Max Mason) ‘After trading slightly higher for the first session after the week long Lunar New Year holiday, iron ore has slumped to a near six-year low, amid a lack of demand from Chinese steel mills.’ Read more at AFR.com (might need AFR login access)

27 Feb 2015 (AFR) – Australian dollar dives as weak capex fuels RBA rate-cut bets

(27 Feb 2015, AFR, p23, Misa Han) ‘The Australian dollar dropped by almost half a cent, as investors shortened the odds of a March rate cut after the release of weak capital expenditure data on Thursday. The local currency dropped by half a cent to the day’s low of US78.37, before recovering to US78.53 in … Continue reading

27 Feb 2015 (AFR) – Response to oil may set off roller coaster – Could capex cuts push oil to $US200 a barrel?

(27 Feb 2015, AFR, p18, Angela Macdonald-Smith) ‘The axe taken to spending across the oil and gas sector on slumping prices has caused someto question whether we’re setting the scene for a spike to $US200 a barrel oil prices as a result. Global energy expert IHS CERA has been sharing with clients its latest scenarios … Continue reading

27 Feb 2015 (AFR) – Investment spending outlook slumps to weakest in five years

(27 Feb 2015, AFR, p8, Jacob Greber) ‘A business spending strike threatens to make next financial year the worst for investment in half a decade, according to an official survey that supports the Reserve Bank of Australia’s view that further interest rate cuts may be needed. Amid speculation the Reserve Bank may double up this … Continue reading

26 Feb 2015 (AFR) – Gamification hits market

[COMMENT: Now the story that appeared in the Special Report on Online Trading in the AFR this week was a real eye-opener. Unfortunately, I can’t find the article online anyway (perhaps it’s been taken down). But it was all about gamification. Below is the link to another article on the same topic. It is compelling … Continue reading

26 Feb 2015 (AFR) – Abramovich’s Moscow office block two-thirds empty in downturn

(26 Feb 2015, AFR, p52, Jason Corcoran) ‘Billionaire Roman Abramovich’s White Gardens office complex in Moscow stands about two-thirds empty, as a supply glut and a sinking Russian economy make it difficult for landlords to find new tenants. The Russian owner of London’s Chelsea Football Club bought the business centre near…’ Read more at AFR.com … Continue reading

26 Feb 2015 (AFR) – Singapore’s high-end falls back to earth – foreign investment measures trigger high-end property slowdown

(26 Feb 2015, AFR, p52, Alexandra Stevenson) ‘Lamborghinis, Porsches and Bentleys fill the driveways of multimillion-dollar villas in Sentosa Cove. Yachts line the 400-berth marina nearby. A number of homes have guardhouses for security. But signs of a slowdown are just beneath the shiny surface. The grass on front lawns has turned brown from neglect. … Continue reading

26 Feb 2015 (AFR) – Private investors splash out $100 million in commercial property ‘feeding frenzy’

(26 Feb 2015, AFR, p46, Larry Schlesinger) ‘Private investors from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Bendigo and the Gold Coast splashed out almost $100 million on commercial property described by agents as a “feeding frenzy” at two days of Burgess Rawson portfolio auctions. An unprecedented 92 per cent clearance rate…’ Read more at AFR.com (might need … Continue reading

26 Feb 2015 (AFR,FTimes) – FTSE finally recovers height of 15 lost years – Stars align for FTSE 100 to close at record

(26 Feb 2015, AFR, p30, Neil Dennis) ‘London’s FTSE 100 Index has soared through its previous intra-day high, set 15 years ago at the height of the dotcom boom. Cautious remarks on US monetary policy by Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen helped boost stocks in afternoon trade on Tuesday.’ Read more at AFR.com (might need … Continue reading

26 Feb 2015 (AFR) – EU partners approve Greek bailout extension

(26 Feb 2015, AFR, p19, Jan Strupczewski and Matthias Sobolewski) ‘Greece secured a four-month extension of its financial rescue when its euro zone partners approved a reform plan that backed down on key leftist measures and promised that spending to alleviate social distress would not derail its budget.’ Read more at AFR.com (might need AFR … Continue reading

26 Feb 2015 (AFR) – China manufacturing hits four-month high

(26 Feb 2015, AFR, p18, Angus Grigg) ‘Consumer sentiment in China remains at historically weak levels, even as a pick-up in domestic demand ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday drove a slight improvement in the country’s giant manufacturing sector. The HSBC Markit Flash PMI hit a four month high of 50.1 on Wednesday, surprising … Continue reading

26 Feb 2015 (AFR) – Janet Yellen talks down currency wars

(26 Feb 2015, AFR, p17, John Kehoe) ‘US Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen has pushed back against mounting claims that central banks around the world are engaging in manipulative currency wars, as the Fed inches closer towards lifting interest rates from near-zero levels. More than a dozen central banks, including in Australia, Canada, Asia and … Continue reading

26 Feb 2015 (AFR) – Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen prepares market minds for rate rise

(26 Feb 2015, AFR, p17, John Kehoe) ‘Janet Yellen’s monetary policy testimony to Congress was clear enough to lay the groundwork for interest rate rises as early as June, but opaque enough to keep everyone guessing when “liftoff” will begin. The Federal Reserve chair’s objective seemed clear: subtly shift the market’s psychology from the comfort … Continue reading

26 Feb 2015 (AFR) – Decline in infrastructure spending, big projects

(26 Feb 2015, AFR, p10, Mark Ludlow) ‘Lower commodity prices are expected to contribute to a big fall in spending on major projects over the next three years, adding to the drag on the economy from poor business and consumer confidence. With big mining and energy projects being shelved or completed, an ANZ report on … Continue reading

26 Feb 2015 (AFR) – Home and apartment building grows to record in 2014 ($54.4b) as commercial, engineering work stall

(26 Feb 2015, AFR, p8, Michael Bleby) ‘Housing and apartment construction hit a record $54.4 billion last year, driven by a pre-Christmas boom. A 12.3 per cent rise in the value of house building in the past three months of the year to…’ Read more at AFR.com (might need AFR login access)

26 Feb 2015 (TheAge, SMH) – Growth in wages at record low – Interest rate cut chances increase as wage growth stagnates

(26 Feb 2015, The Age, p10, Mark Mulligan) ‘Wage growth has dropped to its lowest level since the current data series began in 1997, adding to chances that the Reserve Bank of Australia will cut interest rates again. The Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday the wage price index for the fourth quarter last … Continue reading

25 Feb 2015 (TheAge) – ASIC complex product clampdown embroils banks

(25 Feb 2015, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Clancy Yeates and Joyce Moullakis) ‘Banks including the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank have been embroiled in a crackdown on complex financial products that has forced 10 advice businesses to take corrective action. Amid fresh political pressure on the financial planning sector, the Australian Securities and … Continue reading

25 Feb 2015 (AFR) – Greece promises far-reaching reforms to avert showdown

(25 Feb 2015, AFR, p14, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard) ‘Greece has promised to shake up labour markets and push through far-reaching reforms to avert a fresh showdown with eurozone creditors this week, hoping to stave off bankruptcy within days as cash runs dry.’ Read more at AFr.com (might need AFR login access)

25 Feb 2015 (AFR) – ASIC probes valuations amid write-downs

[COMMENT: Well! If a company can announce a write down like this, what does it do for the confidence of any intrinsic value that you might have calculated based on published fundamentals?] (25 Feb 2015, AFR, p3, Agnes King) ‘The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is investigating 33 companies for inflated valuations and dodgy accounting … Continue reading

25 Feb 2015 (TheAge) – Breville says negative consumer confidence in Australia

(25 Feb 2015, The Age, BusinessDay, p37,Madeleine Heffernan) ‘Breville has reported “negative consumer confidence and a difficult discretionary retail trading setting” in Australia and flagged continued challenging business conditions globally as it posts a slide in half-year profit.’ Read more at TheAge.com.au

24 Feb 2015 (TheAustn) – Regulators bid to stop spoofing

[COMMENT: Now this is an eye opener – an insight into some of the alleged under-handed dealings by some of those big-time traders.] (24 Feb 2015, The Australian, p25, Bradley Hope) ‘ONE June morning in 2012, a college dropout whom securities traders call “the Russian” logged on to his computer and began trading Brent crude … Continue reading

24 Feb 2015 (TheAge) – Love of high life has apartments looking good for Lend Lease – beats expectations with $315.6 million profit

(24 Feb 2015, The Age, BusinessDay, p19, Carolyn Cummins) ‘Large high-density housing projects throughout the world will provide building giant Lend Lease with a larger proportion of its earnings in the near future. Developments such as the $6 billion Barangaroo South in Sydney, the $4.5 billion Victoria Harbour in Melbourne, Elephant & Castle in London … Continue reading

24 Feb 2015 (TheAge) – NAB defends wealth arm as pressure lifts – NAB boss Andrew Thorburn defends bank after rogue planner scandal

(24 Feb 2015, AFR, BusinessDay, p19, Nassim Khadem and James Eyers) ‘NAB boss Andrew Thorburn has defended the reputation of its financial planning arm and its head of wealth, saying that while there has been some misconduct associated with rogue planners, the bank has tried to move quickly to address cases of misconduct that have … Continue reading

24 Feb 2015 (AFR) – Greek politicians have to learn to break election promises

(24 Feb 2015, AFR, p43, Stephen Grenville) ‘On Friday the European authorities reached agreement with the new Greek government to extend the terms of Greece’s debt a little further into the future. We shouldn’t be surprised that the preceding weeks resembled a game of “chicken” between the two sides. But as time ran out on … Continue reading

24 Feb 2015 (AFR,Bloomberg) – Swedish apartments sell sight unseen – Sweden’s Manic Housing Market Gets Jolt From Rate Cut

(24 Feb 2015, AFR, p42, by Niclas RolanderAmanda Billner, Bloomberg) ‘(Bloomberg) — Swedes eager to buy a home in Stockholm must play by a new rule: Bid on the apartment before it’s shown to the public. The pace of housing sales in the capital city has quickened so much that buyers often have to make … Continue reading