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29 Dec 2017 (SMH) – ASX finishes 2017 with 7pc yearly gain

(29 December 2017, Sydney Morning Herald, online, Vesna Poljak) ‘The Australian sharemarket advanced 7.1 per cent in 2017, posting its second straight annual rise, supported by commodity producers and high-flying growth stocks. On Friday, the last trading day of the year, the S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 23 points or 0.4 per cent to close at … Continue reading

27 Dec 2017 (TheAge) – Amazon to make the humble shed popular in 2018

(27 December 0217, The Age, Business, p21, Carolyn Cummins) ‘Industrial property will be one of the busiest in coming years as demand increases for storage and distribution of goods bought on the internet. There will also be a rise in demand for warehouses from the transport and logistic firms, such as DHL and FedEx to … Continue reading

27 Dec 2017 (TheAge) – The truth behind another Boxing Day sales ‘record’

(27 December 2017, The Age, p4, Eryk Bagshaw) ‘Another year, another Boxing Day sales “record”. If it wasn’t, we would really be in trouble. The $2.4 billion sales prediction from the Australian Retailers Association is in reality a measly improvement on the 2016 results, as is the $17.8 billion figure for the entire post-Christmas period. … Continue reading

23 Dec 2017 (CNBC online) – Trading goes down at Coinbase, one of the biggest bitcoin marketplaces, for two hours amid price plunge

(23 December 2017, CNBC online) ‘Coinbase, one of the biggest bitcoin marketplaces in the U.S., said Friday that trading was up again after being down for more than two hours amid a price rout in cryptocurrencies.’ <snipped…> ‘Bitcoin traded about 14 percent lower near $13,283 on Coinbase as of 2:22 p.m. ET. Earlier, the digital … Continue reading

23 Dec 2017 (AFR) – ASX rallies into Christmas break on miners, banks

(23 December 2017, AFR, online, by Sarah Turner and Vesna Poljak) ‘The ASX ended the last session before the Christmas break on an upbeat note, with traders choosing to pick up miners and banks ahead of the holiday. The S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 9 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 6069 while the broader All … Continue reading

22 Dec 2017 (AFR) – Lesson for investors: don’t count just on market returns to boost your portfolio

[COMMENT: This article touches on some of the cognitive biases that can play havoc with the way that investors think, and which influence investment decision making. It is very useful for investors to understand much more about cognitive biases.] (22 December 2017, AFR, p49, by Patrick Commins) ‘The year 2017 for investors is one of … Continue reading

22 Dec 2017 (AFR) – Tax cuts may boost Donald Trump, but hold risks

(22 December 2017, AFR, p13, by John Kehoe) ‘Donald Trump and Republicans accomplished what few Washington observers, until recently, thought was possible in 2017 – a significant and brisk overhaul of America’s tax code for the first time since 1986. Trump desperately needed a policy victory to finish the year to lift his languishing approval … Continue reading

22 Dec 2017 (AFR) – Donald Trump’s historic tax cuts pass Congress – now a test for trickle-down theory

(22 December 2017, AFR, p13, by John Kehoe) ‘The US Congress on Thursday (AEDT) passed the biggest shake-up to the tax system in three decades, including slashing the corporate rate to 21 per cent, to deliver President Donald Trump the signature legislative achievement of his first year in power.’ Read more at AFR.com (might need … Continue reading

21 Dec 2017 (AFR) – Steinhoff scandal expected to trigger asset sales in Australia

(21 December 2017, AFR, p13, by Sue Mitchell) ‘Steinhoff International’s $1 billion Australian business could be split up and sold off if banks owed €10.7 billion ($16 billion) ignore the company’s pleas for support and pull the plug. Industry players believe Steinhoff’s Australian furniture businesses Freedom, Fantastic Furniture and Snooze, and department store chains Harris … Continue reading

21 Dec 2017 (TheAge) – RBA chief faces his biggest task yet in 2018

(21 December 2017, The Age, Business, p25) ‘Having subdued Australia’s housing market frenzy, Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe now has to steer his way through the hangover. Despite being saddled with record household debt and wretched wages growth, Australia’s economy is showing signs of picking up steam, with hiring on a tear and firms investing. … Continue reading

21 Dec 2017 (AFR) – Amazon, Black Friday fuel spike in online shopping

(21 December 2017, AFR, p16, by Sue Mitchell) ‘Online shopping has grown at the fastest rate in two years, fuelled by Amazon’s Australian launch and global online shopping events, underlining the challenges facing traditional bricks and mortar retailers. According to new Commonwealth Bank credit card data, online spending jumped 20 per cent in the six weeks to December … Continue reading

21 Dec 2017 (AFR) – KPMG partners face court contempt over China audit

[COMMENT: This news story highlights some of the risks involved with international trade.] (21 December 2017, AFR, p10, by Matthew Miller) ‘Several current and former KPMG partners are facing contempt proceedings in a Hong Kong court, as liquidators for a failed US-listed Chinese company step up their action against the auditor over its refusal to … Continue reading

21 Dec 2017 (AFR) – Reserve Bank seeks to strike balance between dual narratives heading into 2018

(21 December 2017, AFR, p9, by Michael Heath) ‘Having subdued Australia’s housing market frenzy, governor Philip Lowe now has to steer his way through the hangover. Despite being saddled with record household debt and wretched wages growth, Australia’s economy is showing signs of picking up steam, with hiring on a tear and firms investing. The … Continue reading

21 Dec 2017 (AFR) – Donald Turmp’s tax cuts deliver $620m to Australian companies: Credit Suisse

(21 December 2017, AFR, p3, by Vesna Poljak) ‘Fund managers are watching the efficacy of sweeping US tax cuts to see whether companies use the windfall to invest in new projects or revert to buying back their own stock to inflate earnings. If US economic growth accelerates upon the passing of tax reform, as it … Continue reading

21 Dec 2017 (AFR) – Timber squeeze jams housing industry

(21 December 2017, AFR, p1, by: Nick Lenaghan, Larry Schlesinger, James Thomson) ‘The housing boom is being hit by a serious shortage of timber caused by the decline of the local timber industry and increased demand as the US economy recovers and house building ramps up. Home builders in Australia are facing both rising costs and lengthy … Continue reading

20 Dec 2017 (AFR) – ASX Santa Rally: Wall St, US tax joy, commodity lift kicks off ASX Santa rally

(20 December 2017, AFR, p29, by Jessica Sier) ‘Investors flooded into shares on Tuesday, buoyed by new record highs on Wall Street and a broad-based lift in commodity prices.  The promise of an impending US tax reform plan has sparked a global risk-on sentiment which has kicked off the Santa rally on the ASX.  Both iron ore … Continue reading

20 Dec 2017 (AFR) – The US sharemarket is now in overvalued territory

(20 December 2017, AFR, p29, by Philip Baker) ‘It won’t be what any stockbroker will tell you so close to Christmas, or any time really, but if history is any guide investors should be wary of Wall Street. Or at least on alert. On Tuesday morning the S&P 500 index posted its 61st fresh record … Continue reading

20 Dec 2017 (AFR) – Funds (asset managers) clash over whether AUD will drop below US70¢

[COMMENT: Now this is what helps “make the markets” – a healthy disagreement about whether a particular asset’s value should fall or rise. Who to believe? In this case, perhaps this is why many of us don’t trade currencies – because it’s too hard to work out which argument is right.] (20 December 2017, AFR, … Continue reading

20 Dec 2017 (AFR) – India one of few bright spots for coal outlook: IEA

(20 December 2017, AFR, p24, by Angela Macdonald-Smith) ‘India, Pakistan and south-east Asia are the only bright spots for coal demand over the next five years amid a bleak outlook elsewhere that creates an overall stagnant market, the International Energy Agency has declared in its latest coal outlook. Despite huge growth in renewable energy, India … Continue reading

20 Dec 2017 (AFR) – Iron ore defies forecasters – surges above $US74 a tonne mark

(20 December 2017, AFR, p24, by Timothy Moore) ‘The spot price of iron ore lifted on continuing demand for higher-grade material amid China’s winter pollution crackdown. Spot surged 3.7 per cent to $US74.15 a tonne, according to Metal Bulletin. It had risen 2.2 per cent on Friday. The advances mark the latest shift in a … Continue reading

20 Dec 2017 (AFR) – China launches world’s largest carbon trading scheme

(20 December 2017, AFR, p10, by Angus Grigg) ‘China has launched its long-awaited national emissions trading scheme, taking the first tentative steps towards putting a price on carbon and continuing efforts to clean up its heavily polluted skies. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) unveiled the scheme during a conference call with industry and … Continue reading

20 Dec 2017 (AFR) – Greenhouse emissions rise 5pc in two years

(20 December 2017, AFR, p9, by Ben Potter) ‘Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased 5 per cent in the past two years, leaving a huge task for the proposed National Energy Guarantee to meet Paris climate commitments. National greenhouse emissions were 554 million tonnes of carbon dioxide this year, up from 527 million tonnes in … Continue reading

20 Dec 2017 (AFR) – Property losses mounting: 1 in 4 Melbourne city properties resold at a loss

(20 December 2017, AFR, p3, by Su-Lin Tan) ‘Nearly one in four residential properties in the Melbourne council area have re-sold at a loss, Corelogic’s latest Pain & Gain Report shows. The number of loss-making properties in Melbourne has risen from just over 21 per cent a year ago.’ Read more at AFR.com (might need … Continue reading

20 Dec 2017 (AFR) – Australian sharemarket inches toward decade high on deal boom

(20 December 2017, AFR, p13, by: Vesna Poljak, Sarah Thompson) ‘A late rush of deals has fuelled a fresh nine-year high for the Australian sharemarket, setting equities up for their best quarterly return since March 2015. On the heels of fresh record highs on Wall Street where the Nasdaq briefly topped the 7000-point mark for … Continue reading

20 Dec 2017 (TheAge) – Retail Food Group shares plunge 25% on profit downgrade

(20 December 2017, The Age, Business, p23, Patrick Hatch) ‘Retail Food Group’s shares have gone into freefall after the cafe and bakery giant issued a profit downgrade and admitted franchisees were leaving its network. RFG’s shares plunged 25 per cent to $1.98 on Tuesday, after the company said it expected its first-half statutory net profit … Continue reading

19 Dec 2017 (AFR) – Aconex deal a nightmare for short sellers

[COMMENT: Thinking of “short selling”? Here is some really good information about what can go wrong, and how it’s possible to lose more than your shirt.] (19 December 2017, AFR, p29, by Philip Baker) ‘It’s impossible to go past the surprise takeover as the best way to spoil any short sellers party. For them, it’s … Continue reading

18 Dec 2017 (AFR) – Behind the most unbelievable stock run of 2017 at Big Un Limited

[COMMENT: When investing in the share market, and watching the share price of a stock head to the stratosphere, have you ever wondered how far it might go? And if it might ever run out of steam? here is one example of what can happen – albeit not very often.] (18 December 2017, AFR, p15, … Continue reading

18 Dec 2017 (AFR) – Corporate winners and losers from Donald Trump tax cut

(18 December 2017, AFR, p36, by Matt Townsend) ‘Now that Republicans in Congress have released their final tax bill, two big questions remain. What will companies will do with all that cash, and who will benefit the most? In the joint House-Senate legislation released Friday, which is expected to be voted on next week, the … Continue reading

18 Dec 2017 (AFR) – Agricultural cycle on fire: Australian farmland returns closing in on 17 per cent

(18 December 2017, AFR, p34, by Matthew Cranston) ‘Returns from Australia’s top farming properties are now almost three times higher than those from comparable farm operations in the United States according to the latest farmland index compiled by the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries.’ Read more at AFR.com (might need AFR login access, … Continue reading

18 Dec 2017 (AFR) – Auction clearances: Sydney prices weigh down year-end rush to seal purchases

(18 December 2017, AFR, p9, by Michael Bleby) ‘Sydney’s affordability constraints kept auction clearances constrained in the last week of the year, even as Melbourne and Adelaide showed signs of a last-minute Christmas rush to seal deals.  Preliminary figures showed 60.8 per cent of the 482 reported auctions in the NSW capital cleared in the … Continue reading

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