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30 Dec 2016 (TheAge) – Britain’s FTSE closes at record high on gold miners

(30 December 2016, The Age, online) ‘Britain’s top share index posted its highest closing level on Thursday following a rally in precious metals miners on stronger gold prices, although weaker banks dragged down a pan-European index in holiday-thinned trade. Gold miner Randgold Resources jumped 4.8 per cent, the biggest gainer in the FTSE 100 index, … Continue reading

30 Dec 2016 (TheAge) – ASX in 2016: shocks, turnarounds, and those marvellous miners

(30 December 2016, The Age, online, Patrick Commins) ‘In a year characterised by a series of shocks and sharp reversals of fortunes, many shareholders will remember 2016 as the year Australia’s miners roared back to life after a painfully long period in the doldrums. It may also be the case that in 2016 a three-decade-plus … Continue reading

30 Dec 2016 (TheAge) – Amazon calls 2016 holidays sales ‘the best-ever season’

(30 December 2016, The Age, BusinessDay, p18, Carolyn Cummins) ‘Global online giant Amazon has released sales data from the 2016 holiday season and the numbers and types of items bought will sober up any retailer who ate their aunt’s Christmas sherry trifle. A staggering 1 billion-plus items were shipped worldwide over the Christmas break – termed … Continue reading

30 Dec 2016 (TheAge,SMH) – BHP, Rio, Glencore, Vale: Miners’ profit bonanza set to last into 2017

(30 December 2016, The Age, BusinessDay, p18, David Stringer) ‘Miners had been digging in one of the nation’s oldest collieries for almost a century until operations wound down a year ago, the victim of plunging global commodity prices. Now its owner, Ivan Glasenberg’s Glencore Plc, is resuming output at the Queensland site, the latest sign of … Continue reading

28 Dec 2016 (AFR) – Australian economy 2017: bad news for jobs but no recession

(28 December 2016, AFR, p15, by John Edwards) ‘What with Trump, Brexit and so forth 2016 did not go to plan. Undaunted, we will try again for 2017. Let’s start with the US. Though it hasn’t been as spectacular, the current economic expansion in the US is already the fourth longest since the end of World … Continue reading

28 Dec 2016 (AFR) – 2017 predictions on how Australian house prices will perform

(28 December 2016, AFR, p6, by Su-Lin Tan) ‘It may not hit the boomtime peaks of 2013, but a survey of property analysts shows most are predicting solid growth in the price of houses in 2017. It’s a different story for apartments, and indeed for all property in “gloomtime” cities Perth and Darwin where analysts have consistently … Continue reading

24 Dec 2016 (TheAge) – ASX: Investors cash in on Santa rally as miners lead ASX lower

(24 December 2016, The Age, BusinessDay, p5, Jessica Sier) ‘After a promising start, investors took profits in the major miners on Friday and the ASX slid into the red on the final, shortened trading day before Christmas. For most of the week investors have enjoyed snapping up blue-chip stocks, with the likes of Woolworths, Wesfarmers and Telstra all moving higher, … Continue reading

24 Dec 2016 (TheAge) – Shaver Shop shares dive on pre-Christmas profit warning – Latest IPO dud

(24 December 2016, The Age, BusinessDay, p3, Brian Robins) ‘Shaver Shop has emerged as the latest dud sharemarket float of 2016, warning investors that weak pre-Christmas sales will leave earnings short of the forecast included in its prospectus which was issued mid-year. On Friday, its shares slumped 14.7 per cent to 70¢, ending down by a third … Continue reading

23 Dec 2016 (TheAge) – Trump needs to thwart a US recession

(23 December 2016, The Age, BusinessDay, p21, Rich Miller, Bloomberg) ‘Here’s a frightening factoid for Donald Trump as he prepares to take office next month: Every Republican president since World War II has been in power during at least one recession. Of course, as the saying goes, past performance is not necessarily indicative of future … Continue reading

23 Dec 2016 (TheAge,Reuters) – Iron ore slips as heavy smog blankets northern China

(23 December 2016, The Age, BusinessDay, p20, Reuters) ‘Chinese steel and iron ore futures ended higher on Wednesday after a five-day slide, but gains were tepid as heavy smog that has enveloped most of northern China curbed demand for the two commodities. Construction activity has halted and many steel mills were ordered to reduce output … Continue reading

23 Dec 2016 (TheAge) – Never mind the expanding deficit, lack of growth is the real concern – Beyond the headlines, the MYEFO bit that matters most

(23 December 2016, TheAge, BusinessDay, p19, Michael Pascoe) ‘As the coalition sowed, it has reaped with this week’s mid-year economic and fiscal outlook (MYEFO). The Treasurer is left spinning hard over $30 billion disappearing from May’s revenue forecasts, just as his predecessors were when much the same thing happened to them. What goes around… ‘ ‘It’s … Continue reading

23 Dec 2016 (TheAge) – Christmas retailers squeezed despite growing consumer confidence

(23 December 2016, The Age, BusinessDay, p18, Zac Crellin) ‘Retailers are being hit hard as consumers are choosing not to splurge this Christmas. While almost half of consumers reported “very low” levels of stress, spending across essential and nonessential items has fallen to its lowest seasonally adjusted levels since early 2015, the NAB consumer behaviour … Continue reading

22 Dec 2016 (AFR) – IPO, Floats 2017: why the odds favour a buoyant market (and 2016 performance)

[COMMENT: This article contains information about the performance of public floats in 2016, and the IPO outlook for 2017. You might also find my IPO review page worth reading…] (22 December 2016, AFR, p19, by Tony Featherstone) ‘The initial public offering (IPO) market is poised to rebound in 2017 as blockbuster IPOs return, corporates divest … Continue reading

22 Dec 2016 (AFR) – Housing affordability shaping up as key issue for 2017

(22 December 2016, AFR, p11, by Matthew Cranston) ‘The inability of Australians to afford their own home is shaping as one of the most contentious political issues of 2017 as new evidence shows house prices are growing increasingly out of line with people’s incomes. A new report from CoreLogic, a real estate data firm, and … Continue reading

22 Dec 2016 (AFR) – CBA and NAB admit impropriety in foreign exchange trading

(22 December 2016, AFR, p3, by: James Frost, James Eyers) ‘Commonwealth Bank and the National Australia Bank have entered into enforceable undertakings with ASIC after foreign exchange traders were revealed to have front run orders on personal accounts and triggered client stop-loss orders. The extraordinary behaviour is laid bare in separate enforceable undertakings (EUs) from … Continue reading

22 Dec 2016 (AFR) – Pub values to froth up higher in 2017

(22 December 2016, AFR, p51, by Larry Schlesinger) ‘The pub sector will head into 2017 in very good spirits, after a year in which the record prices paid for trophy gastro and gaming establishments recalibrated values across the board.’ Read more at (might need AFR login access, or try:

22 Dec 2016 (TheAge) – Markets pricing in rate hikes, economists skeptical

(22 December 2016, The Age, BusinessDay, p20, Jessica Sier) ‘The Reserve Bank of Australia minutes this week have provoked a split between market traders and economists about the direction of interest rates next year. The market believes Australia can handle a higher cost of borrowing and has lifted the chance of a rate hike in 2017 from 40 … Continue reading

21 Dec 2016 (AFR) – Aussie home loan arrears pick up

(21 December 2016, AFR, p19, by James Frost) ‘Credit ratings agency Standard & Poors has expressed concern about an upward drift in the number of mortgage arrears, foreshadowing further deterioration in the months and years ahead. Standard & Poors’ monthly measure of Australian home loan delinquencies has drifted up in October for the second consecutive … Continue reading

20 Dec 2016 (AFR) – MYEFO: Tax take smashed and getting worse

(20 December 2016, AFR, p9, by Joanna Mather) ‘A lower than projected corporate tax take coupled with weak employment and wages growth have punched a $30 billion hole in government revenue. But Treasurer Scott Morrison doubled down on his promise to cut the company tax rate, arguing the benefits would flow through to more jobs … Continue reading

19 Dec 2016 (AFR) – Ronald Reagan (Reaganomics) warning for Donald Trump bull market

(19 December 2016, AFR, p20, by John Kehoe) ‘As the Trumpflation trade pushes the Dow Jones Industrial Average within a whisker of an historic 20,000 points, there is a cautionary lesson for investors from the stock market ride during the Ronald Reagan presidential era. Trumponomics and Reaganomics have striking parallels. The TV and movie celebrities … Continue reading

19 Dec 2016 (AFR) – Fast driving fund managers take more risks

[COMMENT: Now this article is very interesting. It touchs on the topic of behavioural finance (the emotions and psychology of the markets), and helps explain a few things. ] (19 December 2016, AFR, p17, by James Frost) ‘Fund managers who drive powerful sports cars take more investment risks than those who drive mini vans but … Continue reading

19 Dec 2016 (AFR) – IPO pipeline could run dry in 2017

[COMMENT: This article includes a table of the performance of 25 recent IPOs since their own listing date, from the best performer (AfterPay 174%) to the worst (Silver Heritage -52.5%). More than half of these companies have returned a negative share price performance todate. This confirms my own earlier views about how IPOs are too … Continue reading

19 Dec 2016 (AFR) – Robust 2017 forecast as auctions post strong finish

(19 December 2016, AFR, p3, by Nick Lenaghan) ‘Next year’s housing market is headed for a healthy start after the 2016 selling season closed strongly over the weekend. With only a trickle of auctions to come in the final week before Christmas, the final weekend of the season posted robust results even as activity eased … Continue reading

19 Dec 2016 (TheAge) – More retail collapses tipped

(19 Decembe 2016, The Age, BusinessDay, p21, Madeleine Heffernan) ‘After analysing the financial health of retailers with more than 4000 stores, Macquarie says “profitability for apparel retailers remaining challenging”, particularly for unlisted companies, as retail sales moderate and the lower Australian dollar raises import prices. “Given the challenging retailer environment, we expect further retailers to enter … Continue reading

17 Dec 2016 (AFR) – Borrowers hit by higher rates on 130 mortgage products

(17 December 2016, AFR, p10, by Duncan Hughes) ‘Mortgage lenders, including the big four banks, have raised the cost of nearly 130 products in the past four weeks, driving increasing numbers of borrowers into fixed rates, analysis of lending data reveals. More increases are expected new year because of the knock-on effect of the US … Continue reading

17 Dec 2016 (AFR) – ASX weekly wrap: Santa rally runs out of puff as Fed dominates

(17 December 2016, AFR, p33, by Jessica Sier and Zac Crellin) ‘In a week dominated by the United States Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates for just the second time in a decade, the local Santa rally ran out of puff. Investors on Wall Street shrugged off the rate rise, driving key indices to … Continue reading

16 Dec 2016 (TheAge) – US Fed believes economy on the mend, three hikes next year

(16 December 2016, The Age, BusinessDay, p29, Jessica Sier) ‘The US Federal Reserve has raised interest rates for the first time this year and plans to raise them another three times next year, rather than the two the market was predicting.  A pick-up in inflation and a tightening labour market have put the US economy firmly on … Continue reading

15 Dec 2016 (AFR) – Apartment prices to fall, but house prices stay strong in 2017: BIS Shrapnel

(15 December 2016, AFR, p32, by Su-Lin Tan) ‘Australia’s richest person and founder of Meriton, Harry Triguboff, along with other property industry leaders have disputed analysts BIS Shrapnel’s pessimistic view of Sydney apartment prices in 2017 saying the demand will remain “very, very strong”.  In its latest residential forecasts BIS Shrapnel said Melbourne and Brisbane apartment median prices would fall … Continue reading

15 Dec 2016 (AFR) – Retailers hoping someone can save Christmas – Consumers don’t look like doing it

(15 December 2016, AFR, p28, by Philip Baker) ‘For retailers the results of the latest Westpac/Melbourne Institute consumer confidence index had all the appeal of a cold bowl of porridge. Alongside the prospect of a spike in petrol prices as early as next week, thanks to the latest surge in oil prices, there is now … Continue reading

15 Dec 2016 (AFR) – China’s engines roar as economy defies prophets of doom

(15 December 2016, AFR, p14, by Bloomberg News) ‘China has ended the year with its old growth engines roaring and new drivers like consumption in robust health, defying the prophets of doom yet again. Now, it confronts 2017 with fresh questions over the debt and stimulus used to underpin that stabilisation.’ Read more at … Continue reading