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29 Feb 2016 (AFR) – CIMIC’s residential developer Devine posts disaster $36m loss during boom

(29 February 2016, AFR, p35, by Matthew Cranston) ‘Apartment and house developer Devine has posted a $36 million after tax loss and has revealed its liabilities now exceed assets. Just over five months ago the developer, controlled by construction giant CIMIC, was still forecasting a tax profit of between $10 million to $13 million.’ Read more at AFR.com (might need … Continue reading

29 Feb 2016 (AFR) – How Ophir Asset Management returned 77.5pc in 2015

[COMMENT: Here is another fund manager with a great story to tell. Can they maintain the performance into the next year?] (29 February 2016, AFR, p22, by Sally Rose) ‘Top ranked stockpicker Andrew Mitchell’s pet hate is executives of ASX-listed companies who fly first class on the shareholder tab. Quizzing chief executives on their travel … Continue reading

29 Feb 2016 (AFR) – Momentum matters as earnings estimates go from bad to worse

(29 February 2016, AFR, p20, by John Authers) ‘How bad has this corporate earnings season been? Let me count the ways. According to Thomson Reuters, whose survey of earnings estimates is widely used within the market, profits for S&P 500 companies fell 3.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year, compared with the … Continue reading

29 Feb 2016 (AFR) – Regal’s small caps fund achieves 103pc return in 12 month

[COMMENT: Those who watch the performance of fund managers from year to year will know that it is common for a poorly performing fund or fund manager to do well the followign year, and not the next year – and vice versa. So it will be interesting to come back in a year’s time and … Continue reading

29 Feb 2016 (AFR) – Japan’s population declines for first time since 1920 – explaons woes

(29 February 2016, AFR, p9, by Jonathan Soble) ‘Japan’s population shrank by nearly a million during the past half-decade, according to new census figures, an unprecedented drop for a society not ravaged by war or other deadly crisis, and one that helps explain the country’s persistent economic woes. It was the first time since Japan began … Continue reading

29 Feb 2016 (AFR) – No ‘Big Short’ as auction results round out strong February

(29 February 2016, AFR, p3, by Larry Schlesinger) ‘The capital city auction results at the weekend showed no evidence that buyers had concerns about a looming house price crash, as predicted by contrarian research house Variant Perception in its Big Short-themed report. CoreLogic RP Data and Fairfax-owned APM both reported national preliminary clearance rates of more than 70 … Continue reading

29 Feb 2016 (TheAge) – Tougher grind for banks as bad-debt charges tipped to rise

(29 February 2016, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Clancy Yeates, Banking reporter, View more articles from Clancy Yeates) ‘After delivering profits that were turbocharged by falling bad debts, Australian banks will have to work harder to expand their earnings, as charges for soured loans return to more normal levels. That is the view of analysts after this month’s … Continue reading

27 Feb 2016 (AFR) – Pacific Brands, Treasury Wine, Bluescope: Can Woolies be the next turnaround

(27 February 2016, AFR, p42, by Philip Baker) ‘What do Pacific Brands, The Reject Shop, BlueScope Steel and Treasury Wine Estates have in common? Unloved and unwanted a year or so ago, but not anymore. One of the features of the latest reporting season has been the exceptionally good results of companies once considered underdogs … Continue reading

27 Feb 2016 (AFR) – ASX down for the week despite solid earnings results

(27 February 2016, AFR, p40, by Stephen Cauchi) ‘Australian shares finished the week lower, marked by lacklustre leads from overseas, selling of the big banks and some wild swings in the final days of reporting season.  Consumer staples stocks were the week’s worst performers, while sagging oil prices dragged energy stocks down and renewed speculation of a property … Continue reading

27 Feb 2016 (AFR) – Investors burnt as more than 1000 Perth warehouses stand vacant

(27 February 2016, AFR, p39, by Larry Schlesinger) ‘Hundreds of small investors have been caught out by Western Australia’s resources-led economic slump with more than 1000 warehouses in Perth now standing vacant, according to research by Ray White Commercial. The real estate group counted 1012 warehouses under 5000 square metres currently vacant across the Perth metropolitan area, totalling … Continue reading

27 Feb 2016 (AFR) – The bear at the big end of town – ASX is doing better than its looks

(27 February 2016, AFR, p25, by Patrick Commins) ‘This reporting season for me has highlighted an impressive gap between perception and reality. To summarise: it might feel like a bear market, but the numbers are telling us it’s not. The rolling assessments of corporate results have generally described companies meeting modest expectations, and that those … Continue reading

27 Feb 2016 (AFR) – Company earnings defy doomsayers and point to stronger economy

(27 February 2016, AFR, p18, by Michael Smith) ‘It’s the tale of two economies. For the past month, Australian companies have been unveiling their profit results and it has shown that it’s both the best of times and the worst of times. This was captured in the expressions of leading chief executives Alan Joyce of Qantas and … Continue reading

27 Feb 2016 (AFR) – Man behind big Aussie short, Jonathan Tepper, labels critics as ‘brain dead’

(27 February 2016, AFR, p15, by: James Chessell,  Su-Lin Tan) ‘Jonathan Tepper is no stranger to criticism. When the founder of research house Variant Perception published a report in August 2009 that described Spain as “the hole in Europe’s Balance Sheet” he was condemned by journalists, analysts and some government officials. At one point he was even described as an … Continue reading

27 Feb 2016 (AFR) – Fund manager backs housing crash theory – Predictions of housing boom ending with a bang contradicts industry view

(27 February 2016, AFR, p10, by Su-Lin Tan) ‘Moody’s Analytics and CoreLogic RP Data might have given the Australian housing market a clean bill of health for the next two years, but another fund manager and economist have backed the idea of a crash. Melbourne private investment company APT Capital Management, which is shorting banks, listed real estate agents and mortgage … Continue reading

26 Feb 2016 (AFR,SMH) – Days of continuous dividend growth over – Earnings growth to outpace dividends for the first time in five years

(26 February 2016, AFR, p29, Vanessa Desloires, Reporter, View more articles from Vanessa Desloires) ‘The slashing in dividends by the big miners and flat payouts from the banks mean earnings per share growth is set to outpace dividend per share growth for the first time in five years.  Goldman Sachs equity strategist Matthew Ross said according … Continue reading

26 Feb 2016 (AFR) – Helicopter money for all may be only solution left for global stagnation

(26 February 2016, AFR, p29, by Karen Maley) ‘What if central bankers gave money directly to households and companies rather than to banks? Called “helicopter money” or “QE for people”, this idea is gaining momentum, with some economists and high-profile financial players argue it is the only way to bring an end to the stagnation … Continue reading

26 Feb 2016 (TheAge) – China boom helps Blackmores more than double its interim profit

(26 February 2016, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Simon Evans, Senior Reporter, View more articles from Simon Evans) ‘The 1000 staff working for Blackmores have been promised a bonus of 4½ weeks’ pay and shareholders have been rewarded with a near tripling of its interim dividend after the vitamins maker delivered soaring profits, built largely on huge demand from China.’ Read more … Continue reading

26 Feb 2016 (TheAge) – Woolworths braces for legal action as Lowe’s books $US530m Masters write-down

[COMMENT: Here are some salient lessons for those investors who decide to invest in a company, and then stick with the company through thick and thin. Sometimes the company makes a bad call, and the retail investors suffer – in this case with a prolonged fall in the share price (a destruction of shareholder capital).] … Continue reading

26 Feb 2016 (TheAge) – Dick Smith blames Anchorage Capital for job losses

(26 February 2016, The Age, BusinessDay, p21, Catie Low, Reporter, View more articles from Catie Low) ‘Entrepreneur Dick Smith lashed out at the former owner of the Dick Smith electronics chain, Anchorage Capital Partners, on Thursday accusing it of acting with “greed” and “dishonesty” in the $520 million public float of the business as the retailers’ receivers … Continue reading

25 Feb 2016 (AFR,SMH) – LNG oversupply could spell gory end for coal – LNG’s hammer blow to thermal coal

(25 February 2016, AFR, P33, Jens Meyer, Markets and breaking news editor, View more articles from Jens Meyer) ‘Coal’s demise could be even more brutal than analysts currently anticipate, with LNG delivering the hammer blow. The global drive towards cleaner energy, falling power intensity and increasing power plant efficiency are among the factors weighing on … Continue reading

25 Feb 2016 (AFR) – The helicopter drops of cash may not be far away

(25 February 2016, AFR, p31, by Martin Wolf, Financial Times) ‘The world economy is slowing, both structurally and cyclically. How might policy respond? With desperate improvisations, no doubt. Negative interest rates have already moved from the unthinkable to reality. The next step is likely to include fiscal expansion. Indeed, this is what the OECD, long … Continue reading

25 Feb 2016 (AFR) – Bolt-on deals ‘easy’ as Bell hits record result – Bell Financial eyes acquisitions, reports profit jump

(25 February 2016, AFR, p26, by Joyce Moullakis) ‘Bell Financial Group executive chairman Colin Bell expects bolt on acquisitions by the stockbroking and advisory firm will prove “relatively easy” as other players grapple with a lack of scale or earnings diversity.  His comments come as Bell on Wednesday reported an almost tripling in net profit to $15.9 million for … Continue reading

24 Feb 2016 (AFR) – China’s empty malls take a turn for the weird

(24 February 2016, AFR, p41, by Adam Minter) ‘The Printemps department store outlet in Shanghai’s Pudong district would seem to have all the amenities necessary to succeed in modern Chinese retail: luxury brands, a venerable 150-year Parisian retailing history and an exclusive location.’ <snipped…> ‘Chinese shoppers, once seemingly in endless supply, are no longer turning up … Continue reading

24 Feb 2016 (AFR) – Uncovering the big Aussie short

(24 February 2016, AFR, p1, by Anne Hyland) ‘It was like a scene from the film The Big Short. A hedge-fund manager and an economist pose as a gay couple on a combined income of $125,000 and tour Sydney’s western suburbs viewing housing developments and meeting mortgage brokers for research to determine if there’s a housing bubble. The … Continue reading

24 Feb 2016 (TheAge) – Ignore the hedge funds, banks are still a buy, Aurora says

(24 February 2016, The Age, BusinessDay, p38, Vanessa Desloires, Reporter, View more articles from Vanessa Desloires) ‘Foreign hedge funds are talking up a collapse in the local housing market and taking short positions in the big four banks, but their enthusiasm is misplaced, Aurora Funds Management says.  Hedge funds have stepped up their positions in the “widow-maker” … Continue reading

23 Feb 2016 (TheAustn,WSJ) – Commodity Slump Puts Dry-Bulk Shipping on Hold

(23 February 2016, The Australian, p24, by Costas Paris and Erica E. Phillips, Wall Street Journal) ‘Idled ships are crowding coastlines world-wide as increasingly desperate companies that ship iron ore, coal and other bulk commodities try to weather the industry’s worst downturn in decades. The parked vessels are a stark sign of how crumbling Chinese … Continue reading

23 Feb 2016 (TheAustn) – Venezuela at risk of default as oil collapse devastates economy

(23 February 2016, The Australian, p32, James Hider, The Times) ‘Venezuela is increasingly at risk of a massive default on its foreign debt and a crisis that would rival Argentina’s epic crash in 2001. With oil, the lifeblood of Venezuela’s economy, hovering at about $US30 a barrel and the ­government still funding huge welfare programs … Continue reading

23 Feb 2016 (TheAge) – Negative interest rates are a calamitous misadventure – ‘fiscal failure’

(23 February 2016, The Age, BusinessDay, p28, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard) ‘The world’s central banks should take a deep breath and step back from the calamitous misadventure of negative interest rates. Whatever theoretical profit can be mined from this thin seam, it is entirely overwhelmed by the slow ruin of the banking system. Huw Van Steenis from … Continue reading

23 Feb 2016 (AFR) – Private equity floats lag ordinary IPOs in 2015

(23 Feb 2016, AFR, by Vesna Poljak) ‘Private-equity-led floats such as Adairs have trailed the returns of ordinary initial public offerings for a second year but the buyout industry still insists it delivers better outcomes for investors over a longer period. Annual performance data released by AVCAL, the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, and Rothschild reveal that … Continue reading

22 Feb 2016 (AFR) – Sydney awakens, Melbourne and Brisbane housing markets steady

(22 February 2016, AFR, p3, by Su-Lin Tan) ‘The Sydney residential property auction market has charged ahead, while Melbourne and Brisbane trod water over the weekend.  Many areas in Sydney have revived from the post-Christmas lull, belying forecasts that the market would cool this year. ‘ Read more at AFR.com (might need AFR login access, or try: AFR.com/trial)