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30 Mar 2018 (AFR) – ASX: Australian shares seal worst March quarter since financial crisis

(30 March 2018, AFR, online, by: Vesna Poljak, Patrick Commins) ‘Australian shares on Thursday wrapped up their worst March quarter performance since the GFC on a suitably sour note despite a modest rebound in the major banks. The S&P/ASX 200 index slipped 33 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 5759 on the final session before the Easter break, bringing … Continue reading

30 Mar 2018 (TheAge) – Tesla shares continue plunge as questions swirl about fatal Model X crash

(30 March 2018, The Age, Business, p29, By Dana Hull and Ville Heiskanen) ‘Tesla shares fell the most in almost two years as questions about a fatal Model X crash in California intensified the pressure on Elon Musk’s electric-car maker. The company is working with authorities to retrieve data logs from the vehicle that crashed … Continue reading

30 Mar 2018 (TheAge) – ‘Obsessed’: Amazon shares dive on Trump talk

(30 March 2018, The Age, Business, p29, By Elena Popina and Kamaron Leach) ‘Move over, Facebook. US investors have a new punching bag among the FAANGs: Facebook gave up the top loser spot to, which lost $US53 billion ($69 billion) in market value on Wednesday (Thursday AEDT) after Axios reported that President Donald … Continue reading

30 Mar 2018 (TheAge) – Best job odds since the mining boom: 10 unemployed for each 3 vacancies

(30 March 2018, The Age, p2, Peter Martin) ‘ The odds of finding a job have shortened dramatically, with only 10 unemployed Australians competing for each 3 vacant jobs, down from 12 competing for each 3 vacancies a year ago. The unemployed to vacancies ratio is the best since 2011…’ Read more at

29 Mar 2018 (AFR) – Market risk is US Fed’s interest rates, not trade war, analysts warn

(29 March 2018, AFR, p52, by John Kehoe) ‘Conventional investor thinking seems to be that a potential Donald Trump-induced “trade war” with China is the big risk for global equities, but some market watchers think the US Federal Reserve poses a bigger danger. Stock markets sold off heavily in the week ending March 24 and … Continue reading

29 Mar 2018 (AFR) – The toxic cocktail shaking up investor confidence worldwide – Corporate debt, interest rates and political uncertainty spook global markets

(29 March 2018, AFR, p52, by Karen Maley) ‘How’s this for a toxic cocktail for global sharemarkets? Take high levels of corporate leverage, add in rising interest rates and a large dollop of political uncertainty, and it’s a recipe guaranteed to shake investor confidence.’ <snipped…> ‘In a report released in February this year, S&P Global Ratings … Continue reading

29 Mar 2018 (AFR) – Property deals jeopardised by Deposit Power deposit guarantee uncertainty

(29 March 2018, AFR, p57, by Duncan Hughes) ‘Thousands of property buyers caught in the collapse of Deposit Power are being warned by liquidators that they cannot be told when or how much of the original value of their deposit guarantee bonds will be paid. That means growing risk that the property deals will be … Continue reading

29 Mar 2018 (AFR) – Project Group collapse just the first of many in overheated market, subbies warn

(29 March 2018, AFR, p57, by Michael Bleby) ‘The collapse of builder Project Group is the first of many to come in the overheated Victorian construction market, according to subcontractors membership group Subbies United. Conditions that triggered Melbourne-based Project Group to go into voluntary administration last week, such as fixed fees and rising costs, were … Continue reading

29 Mar 2018 (AFR) – Banks cut rates for investors, but outer suburb vendors unlikely to feel relief

(29 March 2018, AFR, p56, by Michael Bleb) ‘Helen Young put her Maroubra apartment up for auction last week. It didn’t sell. Ms Young, who purchased the two-bedroom apartment with her sister Esther Yong five years ago off the plan for $709,000, was hoping for a price around the $1 million-mark, but the only offer … Continue reading

28 Mar 2018 (AFR) – Day trading not the way towards riches – A lot to be said for buy-and-hold strategies

[COMMENT: I have to comment on this article – in my own humble opinion, it is mostly bunkum – based on the so-called classical investing theory, which many shorter-term nimble investors do not believe in. In the minds of many people, the old ‘buy-and-hold’ strategy is as useful as some people make it out to … Continue reading

28 Mar 2018 (TheAge,SMH) – City office rents on the rise as space shrinks; vacancy hits ‘unprecedented’ low

(28 March 2018, The Age, Business, p24, Carolyn Cummins) ‘The low vacancy levels for city offices has led to a leap in average rents for tenants who are in the market for new digs. It has been expected, but now the average rent for a prime office is more than $1000 per square metre, per … Continue reading

26 Mar 2018 (AFR) – Citrus orchard and vineyard values double on Chinese demand

(26 March 2018, AFR, p33, by Larry Schlesinger) ‘Citrus orchards and commercial vineyards are selling at almost double the prices of two and three years ago, as growers enjoy bumper profits driven by demand from export markets especially China, according to a new rural outlook report from Colliers International.’ Read more at (might need AFR login … Continue reading

26 Mar 2018 (AFR) – Property market tilts to buyers in biggest-ever auction week

(26 March 2018, AFR, p9, by Michael Bleby) ‘The east coast-dominated residential market tilted towards buyers on the biggest-ever week for auctions, as the preliminary clearance rate for Sydney and Melbourne both fell below last week’s figures. In a week with a record 3967 scheduled auctions, CoreLogic numbers showed a preliminary national clearance rate of … Continue reading

26 Mar 2018 (AFR) – Skills shortage fed by weakness in vocational education

(26 March 2018, AFR, p3, by Robert Bolton) ‘Tim Mead is chief executive of a construction company in northern Tasmania, Mead Con, and he can’t get enough qualified employees to do the work. Mead’s issue is echoed all over the country, as high school students opt for university degrees over trades and the TAFE sector … Continue reading

26 Mar 2018 (TheAge) – ‘The markets can’t get enough of our fruit’. Citrus records tumble

(26 March 2018, The Age, Business, p26, Darren Gray) ‘The Australian citrus industry has had another record-breaking year, with export earnings climbing a staggering 41 per cent on the previous year (also a record) to $462 million. Rising demand in Asia, especially China, saw citrus export volumes jump more than 17 per cent to 273,000 … Continue reading

24 Mar 2018 (MarketWatch) – Dow closes at 2018 low as trade worries rise

(24 March 2018, MarketWatch online, by: Anora M. Gaudiano, BarbaraKollmeyer) ‘U.S. stocks ended sharply lower on Friday, with the main benchmarks recording their biggest weekly losses in more than two years as concerns over a potential trade war with China continued to worry investors. The selloff on Wall Street was triggered by President Trump’s Thursday announcement … Continue reading

24 Mar 2018 (AFR) – Beijing strikes back after Trump targets China with $US60b of tariffs

(24 March 2018, AFR, p12, by: Michael Smith, John Kehoe) ‘China has warned it will slap tariffs on 128 US products in retaliation against President Donald Trump’s proposed duty of up to 25 per cent on $US60 billion of goods shipped to the US, signalling Beijing is prepared to take aggressive action and raising the stakes in … Continue reading

24 Mar 2018 (AFR) – Budget deficit almost halved in just two months as tax revenue surges

(24 March 2018, AFR, p3, by Jacob Greber) ‘The Federal budget has improved by almost $10 billion in just two months, creating a war chest for the Turnbull government’s pre-election income tax cuts, affectively halving this year’s deficit, and potentially allowing it to announce an early return to surplus.’ Read more at (might need … Continue reading

24 Mar 2018 (AFR) – US-China trade war shatters market calm as equities fall, bonds rally

(24 March 2018, AFR, p1, by: Vesna Poljak, John Kehoe, Michael Smith, Jacob Greber) ‘China’s prompt retaliation after Donald Trump promised to slap taxes on $US60 billion ($78 billion) of Chinese goods caused a global share sell-off with fears that worse is to come.’ Read more at (might need AFR login access, or try: … Continue reading

24 Mar 2018 (AFR) – Inside Otsana Capital’s fight for Esense Lab

[COMMENT: Here is a good case study of some of the issues that can take place with small cap stocks. Good lessons for the investors in such stocks.] (24 March 2018, AFR, p25, by: Jemima Whyte, Jonathan Shapiro) ‘Otsana Capital, a Perth stockbroker that rates its employees as either “lone wolf” or “good wolf”, is attempting … Continue reading

24 Mar 2018 (AFR) – ASX drops heavily as (US-China) trade war woes pummel markets

(24 March 2018, AFR, p33, by Sarah Turner) ‘Australian shares fell to deep losses at the end of the week after trade war worries rattled investors and wiped billions off the value of the stockmarket. The S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 116 points, or 2 per cent, while the All Ordinaries fell 114 points, or 1.9 per … Continue reading

23 Mar 2018 (AFR) – CBL collapse could leave builders and property owners exposed

(23 March 2018, AFR, p37, by Duncan Hughes) ‘Builders and apartment owners could face massive bills to replace dangerous external cladding following the collapse of giant New Zealand-based insurer CBL, according to lawyers and insurers. Aggrieved property buyers wanting compensation for poor workmanship, substandard materials, or non-completion because of the financial collapse of a builder could … Continue reading

23 Mar 2018 (AFR) – Few echoes of 2001 as Fed sends rates above ours

(23 March 2018, AFR, p32, by Patrick Commins) ‘On Thursday morning, new Federal Reserve chairman Jerome “Jay” Powell acted to script and lifted rates to 1.75 per cent. While investors largely shrugged, focusing instead on any signals for the future path of monetary tightening by the world’s largest central bank, it was a landmark moment … Continue reading

23 Mar 2018 (AFR) – Federal Reserve lifts interest rates, alert to US-China trade war risks

(23 March 2018, AFR, p32, by John Kehoe) ‘New US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell raised interest rates above Australia’s official cash rate for the first time in 18 years and outlined an optimistic Goldilocks-like outlook of stronger economic growth and remarkably low unemployment without inflation stirring too much. The bullish economic assessment allowed the US central … Continue reading

23 Mar 2018 (AFR) – Soybeans, aircraft among US goods most vulnerable to a trade war with China

(23 March 2018, AFR, p16, by Steve Matthews, Alan Bjerga and Andrew Mayeda) ‘China could hit back with measures against America’s $US140 billion of annual exports to the Asian powerhouse if President Donald Trump imposes tariffs. The president is expected to announce punitive actions on Friday (AEDT) after the US Trade Representative’s office concluded that … Continue reading

23 Mar 2018 (AFR) – Donald Trump targets China as US businesses brace for backlash

(23 March 2018, AFR, p16, by Paul Wiseman) ‘Farmers, electronics retailers and other US businesses are bracing for a backlash as President Donald Trump targets China for stealing American technology or pressuring US companies to hand it over. The administration is expected on Friday (AEDT) to slap trade sanctions on China, perhaps including restrictions on Chinese … Continue reading

23 Mar 2018 (AFR) – Jobs market in rude health but pay steady – Jobs growth run hits 17th straight month in February

(23 March 2018, AFR, p6, by Jacob Greber) ‘Prospects of a near-term rise in wages growth remain weak as a surge in available workers swamps the labour market, keeping the jobless rate from falling despite a record 17th straight month of job gains. In figures that indicated the jobs market is in rude health, employment … Continue reading

23 Mar 2018 (AFR) – US Federal Reserve locks in hikes, widening gap with Australian rates

(23 March 2018, AFR, p1, by Vesna Poljak) ‘US interest rates could be 1 percentage point above Australia’s before the Reserve Bank of Australia even contemplates starting its hiking cycle after bullish growth spurred the Federal Reserve’s key rate above the RBA’s for the first time in 18 years. The US dollar was weaker, bond yields were lower … Continue reading

23 Mar 2018 (AFR) – US President Donald Trump targets China with $US60b of tariffs

(23 March 2018, AFR, p1, by: John Kehoe, Michael Smith) ‘President Donald Trump has vowed to hit rival China with trade tariffs of up to 25 per cent on $US60 billion of goods shipped to the US and to block Chinese takeovers of high-tech American firms, in retaliation for pilfering US innovative technology. The biggest protectionist move … Continue reading

22 Mar 2018 (AFR,FT) – How the financial crash made our cities unaffordable

(22 March 2018, AFR, p43, Nathan Brooker, Financial Times) ‘In the stormy spring of 2008, the UK’s worsening property downturn was yet to hit Sloane Street in central London. A full year after the start of the credit crunch and the run on Northern Rock — which started a slide that would see more than … Continue reading