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30 Nov 2015 (TheAge) – Australia just beginning to fall off mining investment cliff: BIS Shrapnel

(30 November 2015, The Age, BusinessDay, p21, Peter Martin, Economics Editor, The Age,  View more articles from Peter Martin) ‘Australia has only just begun to tumble over the mining investment cliff new forecasts suggest, with mining investment set to fall a further 58 per cent over the next three years after sliding 11 per cent … Continue reading

30 Nov 2015 (TheAge) – $40b deficit as revenue crumbles – No surplus in sight: Deloitte says budget billions worse than forecast as revenue crumbles

(30 November 2015, The Age, p8, Gareth Hutchens and Peter Martin) ‘The Australian budget is facing deficits $38 billion worse than forecast and on present settings will never return to surplus, an authoritative new analysis has found. Released just a fortnight before Treasurer Scott Morrison officially updates the budget in the mid-year review, the Deloitte … Continue reading

30 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Bear your Fangs or use Nifty footwork to shine in the US

(30 November 2015, AFR, p19, by Joihn Authers) ‘As Americans emerge from Thanksgiving they should be thankful for a small and select group of companies that have kept their stock market afloat. Investors who try to beat that market, however, may be feeling more frustrated than thankful – while professional investors on the other side … Continue reading

30 Nov 2015 (AFR) – US store sales down slightly for Thanksgiving and Black Friday

(30 November 2015, AFR, p10, by Nandita Bose, Reuters) ‘Sales at US brick-and-mortar stores on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday were down slightly from last year, but the performance was still seen as strong in a holiday shopping season where discounts spread well beyond the weekend and many shoppers moved to the web.’ Read more … Continue reading

30 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Melbourne’s biggest auction day but Sydney slips

(30 November 2015, AFR, p3, by Michael Bleby ) Melbourne buyers met the challenge of the biggest housing auction day in its history but Sydneysiders lost enthusiasm in a property boom that has driven the city’s economy for three years. Preliminary figures showed 65 per cent of 1561 houses and apartments auctioned last week in … Continue reading

28 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Cheap oil to stay as OPEC confronts oversupply

(28 November 2015, AFR, p38, by Stephen Cauchi) ‘For those expecting OPEC’s meeting in Vienna next week to herald a return to the years of $US100 ($138) per barrel oil prices, analysts have a clear message: forget about it.  Not only will the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries not cut production, it’s possible that the current daily production quota … Continue reading

28 Nov 2015 (AFR) – UBS forecasts flat earnings in 2016 but economic picture not as bleak

(28 November 2015, AFR, p36, by Vanessa Desloires) ‘Australian investors can expect another year without earnings growth, but outside the big banks and resources, the picture is less bleak, UBS says. In its Australian Equity Strategy 2016 outlook paper, the investment bank said the market could expect zero earnings per share (EPS) growth next year, compared with this year’s negative 4 per … Continue reading

28 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Slater & Gordon’s ASX plummet continues – drops 90pc in five months

(28 November 2015, AFR, p33, by Jonathan Shapiro) ‘A horror week for listed law firm Slater & Gordon has shaved about $63 million from the value of shares held by 11 directors and company executives since June 30.  The latest collapse in the stock, which plunged 27 per cent to 68.5¢ on Friday, finished off a 70 per cent … Continue reading

28 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Vocation colleges to shut, leaving 12,000 disappointed students

(28 November 2015, AFR, p10, by Sarah Danckert and Eryk Bagshaw) ‘The private colleges owned by Vocation, which collapsed this week, are likely to close for good, disrupting the studies of 12,000 students who had hoped its degrees and certificates would improve their employment prospects. Sources said a decision by the NSW, Victorian and Queensland … Continue reading

28 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Record returns for floats but is it time to sell?

[COMMENT: Here is a good wrap up of the IPOs in 2015. Before taking the plunge, also see whether investing in an IPO is really worth it?.] (28 November 2015, AFR, p23, Smart Investor Weekend, Tony Featherstone) ‘Floats and backdoor listings are booming in a flat sharemarket. More initial public offerings (IPOs) are leaping on … Continue reading

28 Nov 2015 (AFR) – BHP leads ASX down as Slater & Gordon crashes

(28 November 2015, AFR, p41, by Stephen Cauchi ) ‘Australian shares suffered a weekly loss led by a slide in market heavyweight BHP that, together with the ongoing malaise in commodities, weighed very heavily on the materials sector. The week also witnessed massive destruction of shareholder value at law firm Slater and Gordon, with three-quarters of its market … Continue reading

28 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Alarming signs on the supply side – Weakening supply side makes reform mandatory

(28 November 2015, AFR, p16, by Alan Mitchell ) ‘Australia is falling back to earth. Not only is it losing the temporary boost from the mining investment boom, the economy’s underlying potential growth rate is slowing. Treasury deputy secretary Nigel Ray told the annual conference of the Australian Business Economists on Tuesday that the Australian … Continue reading

27 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Black Friday falters as US consumer behaviour changes

(27 November 2015, AFR, p31, by Hiroko Tabuchi and Nelson Schwartz, New York Times) ‘In 1939, the nation’s largest retailers sent US President Franklin Roosevelt an urgent plea. Thanksgiving fell on the last day of November that year, giving merchants too few days before Christmas to unleash the season’s sales. The holiday might be a … Continue reading

27 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Christmas comes early for retail stocks – but risks remain

(27 November 2015, AFR, p24, by Vanessa Desloires) ‘The Australian sharemarket may be struggling to mount a Christmas rally, but retail stocks are enjoying an early Christmas of their own.  The spotlight has been on retailers following Myer Holdings’ surprise 4 per cent rise in comparable sales for the three months to October 24. It followed rival David Jones’ 10.4 per … Continue reading

27 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Capex buried in wake of mining crash – Record investment slump as iron ore squeeze forces more cost cuts

(27 November 2015, AFR, p4, by Jacob Greber ) ‘The plunging iron ore price has forced mining companies to accelerate cost-cutting, triggering the biggest investment crash on record just as major mines and energy plants near completion without any replacement projects in sight. In figures that challenge nascent signs of a recovery in business conditions, … Continue reading

27 Nov 2015 (TheAge) – Capex slide puts budget forecasts in doubt

(27 November 2015, The Age, BusinessDay, p27, Peter Martin, Economics Editor, The Age,  View more articles from Peter Martin) ‘Business investment is collapsing at a record pace as resource companies accelerate cutbacks amid slides in coal, iron ore and gas prices. New capital expenditure figures released on Thursday show investment collapsed 9.2 per cent in … Continue reading

27 Nov 2015 (TheAge,SMH) – Rio coal boss says slump will linger for at least five years – Rio Tinto says licence to operate will ‘make or break’ miners

(27 November 2015, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Amanda Saunders, Resources Reporter,  View more articles from Amanda Saunders) ‘Rio Tinto coal and copper boss Jean-Sebastien Jacques says thermal coal prices are likely to stay depressed for five to seven years but copper could stage a recovery in two years. Thermal coal is languishing near…’ Read more at SMH.com.au

26 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Housing boom pushes residential construction to new record high

(26 November 2015, AFR, p46, by Michael Bleby) ‘Residential building hit a new record $15.5 billion in the three months to September, as the country’s biggest housing boom continued.’ Read more and see a graph of construction output by sector at AFR.com (might need AFR login access, or try: AFR.com/trial)

26 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Scentre struts its stuff with four mall makeovers in eight days

(26 November 2015, AFR, p43, by Robert Harley) ‘…In eight days, including last week’s celebrations at Westfield Hurstville, Scentre and its partners have opened four major redevelopments with a total value of $365 million. Mr Allen said that never before, in the long history of Westfield, had the group opened so many new projects in … Continue reading

26 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Nickel rebounds after hitting 12-year low

(26 November 2015, AFR, p33, by Stephen Cauchi) ‘Australia’s ninth-largest commodity export, nickel, has been comprehensively belted in the current commodities rout, sinking to 12-year lows. The price of nickel for three-month delivery sank to $US8145 per tonne in trading this week – levels last seen in mid-2003. However the price rebounded early Wednesday morning, rising 5.7 per cent – … Continue reading

26 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Iron ore mine closures only a matter of time as prices stay low, analysts say

(26 November 2015, AFR, p29, by Tess Ingram) ‘The iron ore industry’s junior producers have dramatically cut costs to chase down the plummeting price, but according to some analysts, the continued cost reductions are only delaying inevitable mine closures. The benchmark iron ore price has crashed 55 per cent in 18 months to $US43.89 a … Continue reading

26 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Bad loans at Europe’s banks still double US level

(26 November 2015, AFR, p15, by Steve Slater and Huw Jones) ‘The scale of bad loans held by banks in the European Union is “a major concern” and more than double the level in the United States, despite an improvement in recent years, the EU’s banking regulator said on Tuesday. Non-performing loans (NPL) across Europe’s … Continue reading

26 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Brisbane’s apartment frenzy tipped to peak – has it reached ‘peak apartment’?

(26 November 2015, AFR, p9, by Mark Ludlow) ‘A record 13,000 apartments being built and a further 15,000 in the pipeline suggest Brisbane’s apartment boom may be close to a peaking, property experts say. Cranes still dominate the city’s skyline but a glut of inner-city apartments over the next few years may force southern property … Continue reading

25 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Commercial property, banks warned – Banks increase commercial property exposure to $240b

(25 November 2015, AFR, p37, by Matthew Cranston) ‘Australian banks increased their commercial property exposures by more than $4.7 billion in the September quarter to $240 billion, despite repeated warnings from the Reserve Bank of Australia surrounding rising risks in the sector.’ Read more at AFR.com (might need AFR login access, or try: AFR.cm/trial)

25 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Chinese forecaster says slump in demand will stall ore at $US40 – Get used to $US40 iron ore – China steel chief

(25 November 2015, AFR, p29, by Perry Williams) ‘Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals Group should get used to the price of iron ore trading in a narrow $US40 a tonne range due to declining demand for steel, according to an official Chinese forecaster. The price of iron ore, a key ingredient used to … Continue reading

25 Nov 2015 (AFR) – APRA data shows bank curbs weigh on property investor lending

(25 November 2015, AFR, p19, by Clancy Yeates ) ‘Bank lending to property investors has slowed sharply, with the value of new housing investment loan approvals falling 20 per cent in the latest quarter, according to the banking regulator. Australian Prudential Regulation Authority data on Tuesday showed the value of loan approvals for property investors fell to $32.39 billion … Continue reading

25 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Sober outlook for economy – Treasury, Reserve Bank tell Australians to be ready for slower growth

(25 November 2015, AFR, p1, by Jacob Greber) ‘The federal Treasury officially downgraded Australia’s potential economic growth rate just as Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens told Baby Boomer shareholders to curb their expectations of ever-rising dividends. In an acknowledgment that the below-par economic growth of the past three years will persist, the Treasury’s top forecaster, … Continue reading

25 Nov 2015 (TheAge) – MYEFO: Treasury downgrades its budget projections – Economy’s growth expected to slow

(25 November 2015, The Age, p6, Peter Martin) ‘The Commonwealth Treasury has cast a shadow on the government’s mid-year budget update, knocking down its economic growth projections and foreshadowing bigger budget deficits for longer.’ “Australia is now in a prolonged period of below-par growth, the likes of which we have rarely seen outside of a recession.”  … Continue reading

25 Nov 2015 (TheAge) – Government takes space in flurry of year’s-end leasing deals

(25 November 2015, The Age, BusinessDay, p29, Simon Johanson, Property Editor for The Age,  View more articles from Simon Johanson) ‘The federal government is among a rush of tenants seeking to close large floor-plate leasing deals before year’s end in prime Melbourne CBD buildings. The last-minute deal making follows a lift in employment and leasing … Continue reading

24 Nov 2015 (AFR) – Rise of the Gold Coast towers – back sell apartments like hotcakes

(24 November 2015, AFR, p33, by Matthew Cranston) ‘Australia’s glitter strip the Gold Coast is regaining its old mojo with hundreds of new apartment sales set to take total turnover this year well past that of 2014. The latest sales analysis from Urbis shows that sales in the September quarter increased by 253 compared to … Continue reading