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30 Nov 2017 (AFR) – AMA Group picks up ASG wreckage after $30m blow-up

(30 November 2017, AFR, p26, by Simon Evans) ‘It started with high hopes by raising $30 million and listing on the ASX last December, after acquiring eight different businesses in the booming 4WD and SUV parts and accessories industry. But less than a year later, Automotive Solutions Group (ASX:4WD) has put up the white flag. … Continue reading

30 Nov 2017 (AFR) – ‘It’s obvious’ office asset values are ‘unsustainable’: JPMorgan

(30 November 2017, AFR, p31, by Nick Lenaghan) ‘Commercial office values are at a 30-year high, an unsustainable level that could prompt major landlords into a $5 billion sell-off, according to JPMorgan. The in-depth analysis of recent office tower trades and upcoming valuations is the most stark yet in a series of mounting signals that … Continue reading

30 Nov 2017 (AFR) – Too much doom and gloom? – Why Wilson Asset Management’s chairman says it looks like 2008

(30 November 2017, AFR, p30, by Philip Baker) ‘There’s so much bad publicity for shares and financial markets these days that there’s a new theory going around as to why, despite it all, stockmarkets keep rising. There is, quite simply, too much doom and gloom around and the shorters are getting squeezed all the time. … Continue reading

30 Nov 2017 (AFR) – Yield curve is really the marker for recession

[COMMENT: Beware the stunning newspaper headlines which often paint an exaggerated picture – in order to grab your attention.] (30 November 2017, AFR, p15, by Jonathan Shapiro) ‘The shape of the bond market’s yield curve holds the key to the timing of the next economic recession and the likely end to an extraordinary period of … Continue reading

29 Nov 2017 (AFR) – Worldwide growth to roll on in 2018, says State Street Global Advisors, but red flags could derail global growth

(29 November 2017, AFR, p18, by Luke Misthos) ‘The rare moment of synchronised economic growth enjoyed across most of the world will continue into 2018, according to a panel of leading investment strategists from State Street Global Advisors. Of the 192 countries tracked by the International Monetary Fund, only six economies are expected to shrink … Continue reading

29 Nov 2017 (AFR) – OECD says Australian economy ready for higher RBA rates

(29 November 2017, AFR, p3, by Jacob Greber) ‘The OECD is urging Australia to begin increasing official interest rates, even if inflation remains weak, to cool the housing market and prevent a blowout in risky debt levels. Forecasting solid economic growth and falling unemployment over the next two years, the OECD said it was time for … Continue reading

29 Nov 2017 (TheAge,MONEY) – Buying international shares? Save fees by opening a second trading account

[COMMENT: Here’s some useful information about saving money on broking fees when trading international shares.] (29 November 2017, The Age, MONEY supplement p2, Siobhan Ryan) ‘Those looking to invest in overseas shares such as Apple and Facebook should open a separate online brokerage account if they want to minimise fees. New research from financial comparison … Continue reading

28 Nov 2017 (TheAge) – Chinese market jitters as authorities clean up

(28 November 2017, The Age, Business, p25, Jessica Sier) ‘The shock drop in Chinese equities last week belied the simmering fears that Chinese equities are overvalued and the sharp reaction proves it takes little to destabilise sentiment. Just over a week ago, the state-run Xinhua News Agency called out gains in Kweichow Moutai, the nation’s … Continue reading

27 Nov 2017 (AFR) – Bond yields point to weaker prospects for Australian risk assets – Tighten seat belts, Australia is running out of booms

(27 November 2017, AFR, p22, by Robert Mead) ‘Bond markets, which are forward-looking in their pricing, are clearly telling us that the prospects for Australia’s economy are expected to be weaker than the US’s, for the next few years, at least. For the first time in 20 years, short-term bond yields in Australia are approximately … Continue reading

27 Nov 2017 (AFR) – Local consumers join the Black Friday tradition – online sales hit record high

(27 November 2017, AFR, p20, by Michael Bailey) ‘ ‘Black Friday’, the American post-Thanksgiving discount shopping tradition, appears to have successfully migrated across the Pacific with local retailers hailing Friday as one of the biggest online shopping days ever in Australia.’ Read more at (might need AFR login access, or try:

27 Nov 2017 (AFR) – Wal-Mart’s clicks-and-mortar formula to fight Amazon

(27 November 2017, AFR, p12, by John Kehoe) ‘Amazon is decimating many American retailers, but one bricks and mortar chain is fighting back strongly and showing to Australian retailers that the e-commerce behemoth can be challenged. Wal-Mart Stores, the world’s largest retailer, is once again thriving after initially struggling to fend off Amazon.’ <snipped…> ‘Wal-Mart … Continue reading

27 Nov 2017 (AFR) – Australian housing: How weak are the vital signs?

(27 November 2017, AFR, p10, by Su-Lin Tan) ‘Overvalued homes, an extreme house price-to-income ratio and complacent bank bosses are signs there are cracks in the housing market, economists such as Richard Holden and Jonathan Tepper say. But brokers and lenders like Mortgage Choice chief executive John Flavell say key indicators such as supply and … Continue reading

27 Nov 2017 (AFR) – Auctions slow: Sixth week of low clearances as volumes boom

(27 November 2017, AFR, p10, by Michael Bleby) ‘The third-biggest auctions week of the year looked set to slow the housing market further, as rising levels put pressure on vendors to lower their price hopes and meet buyers’ expectations. The 3409 scheduled auctions in the last full week of November returned a preliminary clearance rate … Continue reading

25 Nov 2017 (AFR) – Queensland’s property tax hit means some investors might have to sell

(25 November 2017, AFR, p6, by Matthew Cranston) ‘New property taxes in Queensland – two of which were introduced by the Labor government two days before the state election – have made some owners consider selling out, with one landlord’s land tax bill doubling. The new taxes are seen as a hit to the private sector – … Continue reading

24 Nov 2017 (AFR online) – ASX weekly wrap: ASX firms as iron ore bulls ride again

(24 November 2017, AFR online, by Patrick Commins, Jessica Sier) ‘A gathering recovery in resources stocks boosted by a jump in iron prices helped the ASX overcome selling in the major banks and left shares moderately higher over the week. The S&P/ASX 200 index eased 4 points on Friday at 5983, trimming the week’s gains to … Continue reading

24 Nov 2017 (TheAge) – Low inflation may confuse central bankers but it’s catnip for investors

(24 November 2017, The Age, Business, p29, Patrick Commins) ‘Central bankers are growing ever less confident in their ability to read the economy, and inflation in particular. This week, RBA board members warned of “considerable uncertainty” that a growing jobs market would necessarily lead to higher wages – a prime driver of higher demand and … Continue reading

24 Nov 2017 (AFR) – Wall Street party can last another year, then start selling

[COMMENT: Now this is an interesting article, providing some insight into the bond market, versus the equities market.] (24 November 2017, AFR, p30, by Philip Baker) ‘It’s that time again in financial markets when Wall Street keeps on celebrating record highs and yet the bond market says the US economy is going to pot. Just … Continue reading

24 Nov 2017 (AFR) – Australia faces housing hangover twice size of US subprime era

(24 November 2017, AFR online, by Chris Bourke) ‘The party is finally winding down for Australia’s housing market. How severe the hangover is will determine the economy’s fate for years to come. After five years of surging prices, the market value of the nation’s homes has ballooned to $7.3 trillion – or more than four … Continue reading

23 Nov 2017 (AFR) – ‘Let’s make history!’ Amazon set for soft launch on Thursday

(23 November 2017, AFR, p1, p17, by: Sue Mitchell, James Thomson) ‘Twenty years after Amazon started mailing books to Australian consumers, the online behemoth will kick off its new e-commerce business on Thursday with a soft launch, ahead of an expected full launch on Friday. Amazon’s widely anticipated entry, more than 12 months in the … Continue reading

22 Nov 2017 (AFR) – Germany plunged into crisis as coalition talks collapse

(22 November 2017, AFR, p11, by Melissa Eddy and Katrin Bennhold) ‘German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces the greatest crisis of her career after negotiations to form a new government collapsed, shaking a country that is Europe’s political and economic anchor. The breakdown abruptly raised the prospect of new elections in Germany. It came less than … Continue reading

22 Nov 2017 (TheAge,MONEY) – You’re ready to buy shares – here’s how to get started

[COMMENT: This is one person’s way to get started…] (22 November 2017, The Age, MONEY supplement, p2, Scott Phillips) ‘Congratulations. You’ve saved hard, read widely and maybe even noticed that the ASX has hit 6000 points for the first time since the global financial crisis. You understand that you can build real wealth through long-term, … Continue reading

21 Nov 2017 (AFR) – Apartments, not foreign buyers, pose greater housing risk: RBA

(21 November 2017, AFR, p3, by Misa Han) ‘The impact of foreign buyers on housing market risk was still unknown and could even moderate the impact in the event of a housing market downturn, a Reserve Bank head of financial stability says. Instead, what poses a greater risk to the housing cycle is a large number of … Continue reading

21 Nov 2017 (TheAge,SMH) – Baby Bunting investors throw tantrum over downgrade

(21 November 2017, The Age, Business, p22, Patrick Hatch) ‘Investors in the baby goods retailer Baby Bunting (ASX:BBN*) have thrown a tantrum and pushed the stock below its listing price after the company slashed its profit guidance in light of heavy competitor discounting. Baby Bunting on Monday said it expected to report earnings before interest, … Continue reading

21 Nov 2017 (TheAge) – RBA says Chinese buyers go cool on Australian homes

(21 November 2017, The Age, Business, p22, Reuters) ‘Chinese demand for Australian residential property has eased because of tighter capital controls imposed by Beijing and tougher restrictions on mortgage lending by local banks, a top central banker said on Monday. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) head of financial stability, Jonathan Kearns, said foreign buyers … Continue reading

20 Nov 2017 (AFR) – Stephen Roach hits out at Federal Reserve, Trump tax cuts

(20 November 2017, AFR, p11, by Joyce Moullakis) ‘US politicians and central bankers have not heeded the lessons of the global financial crisis, with mooted tax cuts and late-cycle rate rises heightening the risk of a sharp economic correction, according to Yale University’s Stephen Roach. Mr Roach, a senior fellow at Yale and former Morgan … Continue reading

20 Nov 2017 (AFR) – Sydney housing stock builds as auctions clearances slow

(20 November 2017, AFR, p7, by Nick Lenaghan) ‘Auction clearance rates have eased back as investors pull out of the market, creating a build-up of stock especially in Sydney. The preliminary auction clearance rate was 65.4 per cent this week across 3335 auctions nationally, making it the third busiest week for auctions so far this year, … Continue reading

18 Nov 2017 (AFR) – ASX reduces week’s losses as confidence returns

(18 November 2017, AFR, p33, by Patrick Commins) ‘Shares ended a dour week on an upbeat note on Friday after a solid night of trading on Wall Street, with pessimism around commodities weighing heavily on the ASX over the five days. The S&P/ASX 200 index slumped back below its recently achieved milestone of 6000 points … Continue reading

17 Nov 2017 (TheAge,SMH) -Strong listing: Domain’s ASX trading debut beats expectations with $2.2b valuation

(17 November 2017, The Age, p11, Elizabeth Knight) ‘The spin-out of digital real estate company Domain from parent Fairfax Media has surpassed expectations, immediately adding value to shareholders in both companies. Fairfax shares were trading at $1.06 earlier this week before adjusting for the Domain separation, which saw them fall around 30 per cent on … Continue reading

17 Nov 2017 (TheAge) – Jobless rate hits near four-year low, wages still lag

(17 November 2017, The Age, p9, Eryk Bagshaw) ‘It has been 23 years since we have had an employment run this good and still wages are going nowhere. The number of jobs being created is double the increase in the population, which in any normal cycle should signal a tighter labour market, but employers appear … Continue reading

17 Nov 2017 (AFR) – Domain hits the ASX with a $2.2 billion valuation

(17 November 2017, AFR, p19, by Max Mason) ‘Smiling from ear-to-ear, the man known as The Cat rang the bell at the Australian Securities Exchange in Sydney at noon on Thursday and officially opened trade in shares of real estate classifieds and services business Domain. Describing the moment as “the most nerve-racking and exciting day … Continue reading