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28 Feb 2018 (AFR) – Bingo Industries lifts prices as waste volumes soar

[COMMENT: Here is a suggestion of green shoots in the economy.] (28 February 2018, AFR, p15, by Simon Evans) ‘Waste management group Bingo Industries has lifted prices twice in the past eight months to counter rising costs in an industry where waste volumes are growing rapidly through soaring population growth in Sydney and Melbourne and … Continue reading

28 Feb 2018 (TheAge) – Inbound Chinese investment slumps – drops 60pc to $2.8b

(28 February 2018, The Age, Business, p30, Carolyn Cummins) ‘Regulatory changes and tightening lending conditions has had a toll on total Chinese outbound investment into Australian commercial property, with a fall of 60 per cent reported in the past year. According to new data, the total has collapsed from a value of $6.97 billion in … Continue reading

27 Feb 2018 (AFR) – Investors in ‘bondcano’ stocks face nasty new phase

(27 February 2018, AFR, p27, by Patrick Commins) ‘This week we have the worrying first sign that a new regime of higher bond yields globally has moved from crunching valuations to influencing capital management decisions. Either way, investors need to beware. Pipeline operator APA Group in its recent earnings update surprised the market with a … Continue reading

27 Feb 2018 (TheAge) – Get ready for the next property cycle: Bank of America-Merrill Lynch

(27 February 2018, The Age, Business, p25, Patrick Commins) ‘A record number of new apartments is set to hit the market this year, but any oversupply in the coming months is unlikely to trigger a  crash in house prices, Bank of America-Merill Lynch economists say. Instead, a moderating property market will lead to fewer housing … Continue reading

27 Feb 2018 (TheAge) – Full-time median earnings grow by just 1.5 per cent

(27 February 2018, The Age, p2, Eryk Bagshaw) ‘The growth in full-time wages fell below inflation last year, leaving the median working Australian with an effective pay cut and underlining the cost of living challenge facing the Turnbull government. Detailed figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show median full-time wages – which measure the … Continue reading

26 Feb 2018 (AFR) – Weekend property auctions show ‘market in balance’

(26 February 2018, AFR, p3, by Nick Lenaghan) ‘Home buyers have made a determined showing in the first Super Saturday of the year, pushing the national clearance rate above 70 per cent on preliminary figures. A total of 3275 homes were taken to auction in capital cities around the country, with a 70.5 per cent … Continue reading

23 Feb 2018 (TheAge) – DJs admits to ‘own goals’ as profit slashed by third

[COMMENT: Might this also have something to do with the general economy and the retail environment?] (23 February 2018, The Age, Business, p22, Patrick Hatch) ‘Department store David Jones’ profit has fallen by a third after being hit by the same sluggish trading conditions as arch rival Myer, blaming consumers who are suffering from low … Continue reading

22 Feb 2018 (TheAge) – Hot housing lifts profits for nation’s biggest developers

(22 February 2018, The Age, Business, p27, Simon Johanson) ‘Sydney and Melbourne’s heated real estate prices have buoyed the country’s biggest diversified property developers, helping deliver strong profits despite weak retail conditions and record levels of household debt. Property giant Stockland delivered a $684 million first half statutory profit, reporting underlying earnings growth of 18 … Continue reading

22 Feb 2018 (TheAge) – Wages flatline for 10 million Australians despite small general lift

(22 February 2018, The Age, p5, Eryk Bagshaw) ‘Ten million Australians working in the private sector are getting pay rises that are neck-and-neck with inflation, while the pay packets of professionals, miners and retail workers are going backwards compared to the cost of living. Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday show … Continue reading

22 Feb 2018 (AFR) – Construction weakens in December quarter on infrastructure: commercial holds

(22 February 2018, AFR, p35, by: Michael Bleby, Duncan Hughes) ‘Construction work slumped nearly 20 per cent in December quarter as the previous boost from a large LNG project fell out of the numbers, leaving economists at odds about the underlying strength of the industry. The value of total work done dropped to…’ Read more at … Continue reading

22 Feb 2018 (AFR) – Company earnings: Profit shocks spark day of wild moves – A2 Milk’s surge helps ASX higher

(22 February 2018, AFR, p29, by Sarah Turner) ‘Australian shares scraped into the black on Wednesday, after a push-pull session where earnings drew extreme but contrasting reactions from investors.’ <snipped…> ‘In a heavy day of earnings reports, A2 Milk was a standout on the upside, with the dairy company climbing 29.7 per cent to $11.30 over the session. A2’s … Continue reading

22 Feb 2018 (AFR) – International Monetary Fund sees ‘soft landing’ for house prices

(22 February 2018, AFR, p8, by Geoff Winestock) ‘The International Monetary Fund has predicted a “soft landing” for Australian house prices even though it says the market is still between 5 and 15 per cent overvalued. The Washington-based institution endorsed “multi-pronged” measures that Australian authorities have used to take the heat out of the house price … Continue reading

22 Feb 2018 (AFR) – IMF finds $112b shortfall in infrastructure – says Australia has overspent on roads

(22 February 2018, AFR, p8, by Geoff Winestock) ‘Australia should increase infrastructure spending about 0.4 perc ent of GDP a year, but the cash is needed for more railways, ports and airports rather than freeways, according to the International Monetary Fund. The infrastructure investment gap, the difference between what we are spending and what needs … Continue reading

22 Feb 2018 (AFR) – Mathias Cormann says company tax cuts needed to keep wages rising

(22 February 2018, AFR, p1, by Jacob Greber) ‘Acting Prime Minister Mathias Cormann says company tax cuts are vital to ensure a long-awaited pick up in wages growth continues this year, as he slammed Bill Shorten for treating tax relief for businesses as a joke and “a bit of sport” to cynically bash chief executives. … Continue reading

22 Feb 2018 (AFR) – Savage day for ASX darlings BWX, WiseTech – Investors set high bar

(22 February 2018, AFR, p1, by Vesna Poljak) ‘A savage day for growth darlings BWX and WiseTech Global shows even some of the fastest-growing stocks are no match for unrestrained market optimism when valuations are tested. But the same cannot be said for A2 Milk, Corporate Travel Management, Altium and Appen, which also reported in … Continue reading

21 Feb 2018 (AFR) – High transaction costs: home sales below 10-year average, Corelogic says

(21 February 2018, AFR, p34, by Michael Bleby) ‘Tighter credit conditions and transaction costs have pushed housing transactions in Melbourne and Sydney below their 10-year average, CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless says. January’s 11.7 per cent year-on-year decline in settled transactions in Melbourne and the 8.4 per cent fall in Sydney – along with … Continue reading

21 Feb 2018 (AFR) – RBA pushes back against debt doomsayers

(21 February 2018, AFR, p3, by Jacob Greber) ‘The Reserve Bank of Australia has hit back at  warnings about the ability of debt-laden households to weather higher interest rates, expressing renewed optimism that wages growth will gradually firm and renew consumer spending appetites. Revealing fresh research into how few households are struggling to pay their … Continue reading

21 Feb 2018 (TheAge) – RBA keeping close eye on ‘pockets’ of mortgage stress

(21 February 2018, The Age, p1, By Clancy Yeates & Eryk Bagshaw) ‘The Reserve Bank says there are “pockets” of financial stress among the highly-indebted household sector, and it is closely watching how customers with interest-only loans manage when they are required to start paying back principal over the coming years. The central bank’s assistant … Continue reading

20 Feb 2018 (AFR) – Melbourne and Sydney office rents to skyrocket

(20 February 2018, AFR, p39, by Larry Schlesinger) ‘Premium and A-grade office rents in Sydney and Melbourne are set to surge this year as corporate tenants compete for limited space in the country’s two top performing CBD markets, where vacancies site at just 4.6 per cent.’ Read more at (might need AFR login access, or … Continue reading

20 Feb 2018 (AFR) – Too much optimism: Equity, bond markets ‘wildly overvalued’

(20 February 2018, AFR, p31, by Sarah Turner) ‘The equity market may have shrugged off the recent Wall Street correction, but not all global fund managers are convinced market conditions signal a return to easy gains. Tony Cousins, chief executive of fund manager Pyrford International believes there’s “far too much optimism” embedded into wildly overvalued … Continue reading

20 Feb 2018 (AFR) – Why emerging markets were spared in the sell-off

(20 February 2018, AFR, p31, by Mark Mulligan) ‘Emerging markets were spared additional pain in this month’s equities and bonds sell-off, and Alex Wolf of Aberdeen Standard Investment reckons he knows why. The group’s Hong Kong-based senior emerging markets economist says a relatively weak US dollar, coupled with robust commodity prices and healthy growth across … Continue reading

20 Feb 2018 (AFR) – ASX strengthens as earnings provide a lift

(20 February 2018, AFR, p30, by Sarah Turner) ‘Australian shares advanced firmly on Monday, with investors welcoming earnings from a diverse range of companies in what’s shaping up to be a solid reporting season. The S&P/ASX 200 index ended the day up 37 points, or 0.6 per cent, at 5941 while the All Ordinaries index … Continue reading

20 Feb 2018 (AFR) – Banks warned customers will leave for Apple Pay as study shows users lock into Apple or Android

[COMMENT: Now this is an interesting disruption to conventional banking.] (20 February 2018, AFR, p23, by John Davidson) ‘Australians are now so committed to their mobile phones that millions of them would rather change banks to one that supported their phone than change phones to one that supported their bank, a new study has found. … Continue reading

20 Feb 2018 (AFR) – ASX defends tech stock supervision amid GetSwift, Big Un, Buddy Platform controversy

(20 February 2018, AFR, p23, by Michael Bailey) ‘The Australian Securities Exchange has denied it faces a disclosure crisis in its swelling ranks of small cap technology listings, with its listings chief describing recent rule-skirting behaviour from the likes of GetSwift and Big Un as “outlying”. ‘ Read more at (might need AFR login … Continue reading

20 Feb 2018 (AFR,Reuters) – All aboard for hedge funds as trade tide lifts shipping

(20 February 2018, AFR, p16, Jonathan Saul, Maiya Keidan, Reuters) ‘LONDON (Reuters) – Forced to abandon ship after mistiming their investments five years ago, hedge funds are venturing back in a bid to profit from growing global trade flows. Around 90 percent of traded goods by volume are transported by sea and global shipping sectors, … Continue reading

20 Feb 2018 (AFR) – Big Un revelations as ASX market darling goes into trading halt

[COMMENT: This revealing news story is an eye opened about how some companies finance their operations. Investors beware.] (20 February 2018, AFR, p16, by Jonathan Shapiro) ‘Big Review TV, a subsidiary of ASX listed Big Un Limited, granted security over its assets to FC Capital, the small business lender that is advancing funding to facilitate the … Continue reading

20 Feb 2018 (AFR) – GetSwift plummets 55pc on reinstatement to ASX

(20 February 2018, AFR, p1, p13, by Michael Bailey) ‘GetSwift shares plummeted 55 per cent on Monday after the logistics software maker told the market that less than half its announced contracts had progressed to a revenue generating stage. After last trading at $2.92, before their suspension on January 22, GetSwift’s shares closed on Monday … Continue reading

19 Feb 2018 (AFR) – Profit season underlines The Great Churn

(19 February 2018, AFR, p27, by Chanticleer) ‘We’re just over the halfway point of earnings season and it’s hard not to feel at least a pang of sympathy for chief executives who are trying to understand the mindset of the Australian consumer. In talking to the CEOs of three of our bigger consumer facings businesses … Continue reading

19 Feb 2018 (AFR) – Patient RBA risks playing catch-up later: BAML

(19 February 2018, AFR, p21, by Patrick Commins) ‘The Reserve Bank of Australia’s stubborn commitment to keeping rates steady will lead to Australia’s loosest monetary conditions since the global financial crisis and risks putting the central bank “behind the curve”, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch says. Early this year markets were fully priced for a rise by … Continue reading

19 Feb 2018 (AFR) – Three risks for investors as global growth peaks in 2018

(19 February 2018, AFR, p20, by Robert Mead) ‘It would seem that the stars are aligned for a continuation of the “Goldilocks” environment that we saw last year, with above-trend global growth and low but gently rising inflation. Recent growth momentum has been even better than expected…’ <snipped…> ‘But here’s the catch, as described by … Continue reading