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31 July 2017 (AFR) – Affordability worsens as Melbourne lot prices surge towards $300,000

(31 July 2017, AFR, p31, by Larry Schlesinger) ‘Housing affordability is deteriorating rapidly in Melbourne’s outer suburbs with the price of a new housing lot up 17 per cent in the first six months of the year. The median price of a standard housing lot hit a new record high of $283,000 in June compared with … Continue reading

31 July 2017 (TheAge) – $1b of short interest in retail stocks faces earnings season test

[COMMENT: This news story indicates one possible event that might move the local market.] (31 July 2017, The Age, BusinessDay, p18, Vesna Poljak) ‘More than $1 billion of bets against the Australian retail sector will be tested when the earnings season gets under way this week, underlining a difficult year for the stocks with the most to … Continue reading

29 July 2017 (AFR) – Compare how your superannuation fund performed

[COMMENT: As I always do when posting things like this funds performance table, I warn that past performance is no guarantee of future results. It is merely an interesting observation of the past performance of some funds and their own strategies which may change from time to time.] (29 July 2017, AFR, p27, by Sally … Continue reading

29 July 2017 (AFR) – ASX: Freaky Friday sinks ASX ahead of reporting season

(29 July 2017, AFR, p33, by Jessica Sier) ‘Heavy selling in the big four banks dragged the market sharply lower on Friday to one of its worst performing days of the year, with analysts saying the negative sentiment is largely investors jostling ahead of next week’s reporting season. Shares enjoyed solid buying support until Thursday, with the … Continue reading

28 July 2017 (online) – Stocks (around the world) sag following disappointing profit reports

(28 July 2017 (EST), online, by STAN CHOE, AP Business Writer) ‘NEW YORK (AP) – Stock markets around the world sagged on Friday after FANGand other big companies reported quarterly results that underwhelmed investors. ‘The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 3.32 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,472.10 and closed a week packed with … Continue reading

28 July 2017 (AFR) – Platinum Asset’s Kerr Neilson shines light on disconnect between economy, shares – Perfect conditions may prove to be mirage for shares

(28 July 2017, AFR, p30, by Philip Baker) ‘Amid all the excitement about how the US Federal Reserve can’t really hike interest rates again, about the Dow Jones and S&P 500 hitting record highs – again – about global economic growth tipped to get better, about inflation and about good news on the earnings front both here … Continue reading

28 July 2017 (TheAge) – ANZ says power bill shock to drag retail sector lower – Power bill shock to hit cash registers

(28 July 2017, The Age, BusinessDay, p16, AAP) ‘Soaring electricity prices are becoming a drag for Australia’s weakened retail sector, with the latest round of increases likely to further crimp consumer spending, an ANZ report says. The sharp increase in energy prices from July 1 will lead to the average Australian household facing a 10 … Continue reading

27 July 2017 (AFR) – Commodity rally propels ASX higher

(27 July 2017, AFR, p25, by: Patrick Commins, Jens Meyer) ‘The sharemarket enjoyed a rousing mid-week session, as climbing commodity prices propelled mining and energy stocks higher and after new records on Wall Street buoyed investor confidence. The S&P/ASX 200 index added 50 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 5777, extending Tuesday’s gains. Resources stocks were … Continue reading

27 July 2017 (AFR) – Citi’s Robert Buckland says bull market ‘miserable’ but not endangered

(27 July 2017, AFR, p24, by Vesna Poljak) ‘One of the world’s top sharemarket strategists thinks that the ongoing bull market is one of the most “bearish” ever, but it’s only mounting levels of leverage, not valuations, that look remotely sinister. Global equities are trading at between 20 and 21 times forecast earnings, mostly because … Continue reading

26 July 2017 (AFR) – How the rise of superstar companies is killing inflation

(26 July 2017, AFR, p29, by Steve Johnson, FTimes) ‘The mystifying absence of inflation across most of the world, despite decent economic growth and ultra-loose monetary policy, is one of the big issues investors, not to mention central bankers and politicians, are grappling with. Further interest rate rises in the US surely depend on an … Continue reading

26 July 2017 (AFR) – IPOs: Mining minnows and marijuana stocks dominate IPOs

[COMMENT: I never encourage participation in IPOs of any sort, based on personal experience many years ago, and observations since then – see more details here. But this news story might be of interest to keen investors and traders.] (26 July 2017, AFR, p22, by James Frost) ‘Mining minnows and medical marijuana stocks have been … Continue reading

26 July 2017 (TheAge,SMH,MONEY) – How to turn $10,000 into a million dollars

(26 July 2017, The Age, MONEY supplement, p2, Marcus Padley) ‘I ask for Stupid Questions in my newsletter and I get them. “I have $10,000 and want to turn it into a million dollars. How do I do it?” You’re thinking “How Stupid” but it’s actually a really good question. So let’s try and answer … Continue reading

25 July 2017 (TheAge) – IMF sees US fading as growth engine as China picks up slack

(25 July 2017, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Bloomberg) ‘The world is leaning less on its biggest economy to sustain the global recovery, according to the International Monetary Fund. The fund left its forecast for global growth unchanged in the latest quarterly update to its World Economic Outlook, released in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.’ Read more … Continue reading

24 July 2017 (AFR) – Increasing dwelling supply does not lower prices, Community Housing’s Joe Flood says

(24 July 2017, AFR, p32, by Su-Lin Tan) ‘Increasing housing supply seems like a sound economic solution to Australia’s housing shortage and affordability problems, but it doesn’t work, affordable housing provider Community Housing Limited’s Joe Flood says. In discussions about housing affordability, increasing supply on the eastern seaboard is the preferred argument of the property … Continue reading

24 July 2017 (AFR) – Advertising market claims fifth year of record growth

(24 July 2017, AFR, p29, by James Thomson) ‘The Australian advertising market will record a fifth year of record spending, with the outdoor sector emerging as a surprise growth area. Figures compiled by Standard Media Index, which measures spending by large advertisers who spend more than $1 million a year, show the market for the … Continue reading

24 July 2017 (AFR) – Short-term yields spike on fears of acrimonious debt ceiling talks – Will Washington rain on Wall Street’s triumphal march?

(24 July 2017, AFR, p28, by Karen Maley) ‘Will Washington’s deepening dysfunction shatter the eerie calm on Wall Street? US sharemarkets last week shrugged off the Trump administration’s stunning failure to overturn Obamacare. Their indifference helped keep market indexes close to record highs, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average finishing the week a mere 0.3 per cent below its … Continue reading

24 July 2017 (AFR) – Why the crisis prediction industry is wrong on China

(24 July 2017, AFR, p22, by Mark Tinker) ‘This month marks the 20th anniversary of the Asian financial crisis, while this year is the 10th anniversary of the global financial crisis and the 30th anniversary of the 1987 crash, so naturally the crisis prediction industry has been eager to predict this year’s crash. Most appear … Continue reading

24 July 2017 (AFR) – Weekly auctions: easing market gets boost in first weekend after school holidays

(24 July 2017, AFR, p3, by Michael Bleby) ‘Auction clearances and volumes got a boost in the first week after the mid-year school holidays, lifting the traditionally quiet winter market.  The preliminary national clearance rate jumped to 74.8 per cent in the week to Saturday, up from the previous week’s final rate of 69.4 per cent as the … Continue reading

24 July 2017 (TheAge) – Crunch time for US tech stocks in bumper earnings week

(24 July 2017, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Timothy Moore) ‘An interest rate decision by the US Federal Reserve as well as a massive week for US corporate earnings are set to dictate the pace on Wall Street, where sharemarket indices are trading at record high levels. About 170 companies, or roughly one-third of the benchmark … Continue reading

22 July 2017 (AFR) – NSW to undergo biggest decline in apartment construction, Master Builders says

(22 July 2017, AFR, p3, by Michael Bleby) ‘Apartment construction in NSW will fall by almost 40 per cent over the next four years as banks rein in lending and restrictions rise on foreign property investment, new figures from the country’s largest building industry group show. The fall in housing starts of units, townhouses and … Continue reading

22 July 2017 (AFR) – ASX weekly wrap: Bank rally fades in topsy-turvy week for ASX

(22 July 2017, AFR, p33, by: Jens Meyer, Patrick Commins) ‘Bank stocks lost steam on Friday as investors booked profits after two days of strong gains, weighing on the overall market. The S&P/ASX 200 index ended the session down 0.7 per cent at 5722.8, for a weekly loss of 0.7 per cent. The sharemarket was … Continue reading

21 July 2017 (AFR) – WA tourism effort ‘a joke’ as Perth hotels slump

(21 July 2017, AFR, p34, by Larry Schlesinger) ‘The manager of Perth’s biggest hotel has slammed the WA state government’s efforts to promote the city after new figures showed a sharp correction in the performance of its accommodation sector in the first six months of the year. June figures from global research firm STR show … Continue reading

21 July 2017 (AFR) – Sales slump undermines Myer turnaround plan

(21 July 2017, AFR, p32, by Michael Smith) ‘Richard Umbers’ plan to fix Australia’s biggest department store group is being undermined by an alarming drop in sales, but the Myer boss is not…’ Read more at (might need AFR login access, or try:

21 July 2017 (AFR) – Wall Street’s latest guessing game is trying to pick the market top

(21 July 2017, AFR, p30, by Karen Maley) ‘Another day, another bunch of records for the US share market. Investors’ renewed love affair with tech stocks, combined with a lift in the oil price has hoisted the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite to new all-time highs. Meanwhile, another record was trampled … Continue reading

21 July 2017 (AFR) – Iron ore’s unseasonal rally boosts budget hopes

(21 July 2017, AFR, p10, by Peter Ker) ‘Surging iron ore prices are on track to add billions in extra revenue to federal coffers if an unseasonal rally in Australia’s most lucrative export commodity continues. A 31 per cent rise in iron ore prices over the past 37 days has made Treasurer Scott Morrison’s forecast for iron ore … Continue reading

21 July 2017 (TheAge) – Earnings expansion spreads to all Australian sectors: Credit Suisse (‘Expect more bull’ in equities as global profits are inflated)

(21 July 2017, The Age, BusinessDay, p25, Jessica Sier) ‘The pick-up in inflation across developed economies has led to a boost in global profits, giving investors cause to cheer the third and final phase of the Australian equity earnings expansion, says Credit Suisse.  Initially sparked by a recovery in commodity prices that have boosted resources stocks, … Continue reading

21 July 2017 (TheAge) – City room boom shortage drives new hotels – Melbourne’s hotel – and apartments – approval boom

(21 July 2017, The Age, p6, Ebony Bowden , Clay Lucas) ‘A hotel boom in Melbourne is being driven by a shortage of rooms, a thriving tourism industry, and – according to one prominent city real estate agent – a realisation by developers that the Andrews government will approve towers mixing hotel accommodation with apartments. In … Continue reading

20 July 2017 (AFR) – Space squeeze drives office rents higher in Sydney, Melbourne: JLL

(20 July 2017, AFR, p27, by Nick Lenaghan) ‘The national vacancy rate in the $225 billion commercial office market is at its lowest in the past four years, pushing up returns for landlords and pointing to strengthening business confidence. The national CBD office market vacancy rate fell to 10.9 per cent in the second quarter … Continue reading

20 July 2017 (AFR) – BHP Billiton set to grow production again

(20 July 2017, AFR, p15, by Peter Ker) ‘BHP Billiton is set to grow production of its core commodities by 7 per cent over the next year, with its Escondida mine in Chile set to lead the charge with potentially its biggest copper haul in a decade. The long-awaited return to production growth comes as … Continue reading

20 July 2017 (TheAge) – BAML fund manager survey shows tech stocks off, US overvalued

(20 July 2017, The Age, BusinessDay, p25, Jessica Sier) ‘They might be the most exciting companies in the world, but a majority of fund managers sold out of global internet stocks in July, saying they are too expensive and US equities are broadly overvalued. A survey of 179 fund managers, with an accumulated $US525 billion … Continue reading