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30 Apr 2018 (AFR) – Flawless US earnings hard to improve upon from here

(30 April 2018, AFR, p21, by Vesna Poljak) ‘A spectacular quarter of US corporate profits, concluding this week, has left some investors uneasy about valuations on Wall Street as companies hit so many high notes, it appears hard to see how things could get better. While US companies for the most part easily met or … Continue reading

30 Apr 2018 (AFR) – Sydney auction clearances cool to below 60 per cent

(30 April 2018, AFR, p6, by Su-Lin Tan) ‘Sydney’s auction clearance rate has dipped below 60 per cent again for the second time this year, as tighter funding crimps demand and sellers continue to hold hope for higher prices. A preliminary 59.8 per cent of all Sydney’s 805 auctions sold, while the clearance rate in … Continue reading

30 Apr 2018 (TheAge) – Turnbull in best position to offer tax cuts in nine years

(30 April 2018, The Age, p4, Peter Martin) ‘A “humongous” lift in Australia’s tax take has put the Turnbull government in the best position to deliver personal income tax cuts in nine years. New Department of Finance figures reveal a rolling annual budget deficit of just $14 billion in the year to March- the lowest … Continue reading

30 Apr 2018 (TheAge) – State’s record $13.7 billion building blitz

(30 April 2018, The Age, p1, Noel Towell) ‘The state government will spend $13.7 billion on roads, railways and other infrastructure around Victoria in just 12 months in an unprecedented election-year building blitz. Treasurer Tim Pallas will unveil the spending plans in Tuesday’s state budget, which will also show the state will be $1.4 billion … Continue reading

28 Apr 2018 (AFR) – Why investment bank research analysts are leaving their jobs in droves

(28 April 2018, AFR, p23, by Joyce Moullakis) ‘A seismic shift is battering the research departments of investment banks. Each year, after the rush of February corporate reporting season and as they inspect bonus cheques paid by their European and Wall Street head offices, investment banking staff take a moment to ponder their future. Often … Continue reading

28 Apr 2018 (AFR) – FAANG stock earnings move into high gear

(28 April 2018, AFR, p27, by Vesna Poljak) ‘Strong results from Facebook and Amazon have swung the narrative for tech stocks from the impulse to regulate, to a reminder they are the market’s most reliable engine of earnings growth. Amazon smashed expectations with its results on Thursday. The shares rose to a record high of $US1620 ($2148) in after-hours … Continue reading

28 Apr 2018 (AFR) – ASX ends week higher as banks stumble

(28 April 2018, AFR, p33, by William McInnes) ‘The Australian market finished higher this week despite bank shares feeling the fallout from the royal commission.  In a shortened trading week, the S&P/ASX 200 index finished at 5953.6 with a 42.8 point, or 0.7 per cent, gain on Friday. That gave the index a weekly gain of 84.8 points, or 1.5 … Continue reading

28 Apr 2018 (AFR) – The untouchables: How the dodgy financial planners kept their jobs

(28 April 2018, AFR, p16, by Joanna Mather) ‘Charging dead people fees, impersonating clients, falsifying signatures. It’s all apparently in a day’s work for unscrupulous members of the $4.6 billion financial planning industry. For the best part of the past week, the Hayne royal commission explored the misdeeds of advisers employed by the big banks and AMP. The testimony was … Continue reading

28 Apr 2018 (AFR) – Banking royal commission raises separation of product and advice

[COMMENT: Caveat emptor!! How can we find a reliable financial advisor?] (28 April 2018, AFR, p4, by Fiona Buffini) ‘The banking royal commission has questioned whether the vertical integration of banks, as product makers and advisers, can serve the interests of customers. Counsel assisting the royal commission Rowena Orr, QC, asked whether it was possible … Continue reading

28 Apr 2018 (AFR) – Highway robbery? – How to find a decent financial planner

(28 April 2018, AFR, p28, by Joanna Mather) ‘How do you spot a truly independent financial adviser? Well, it’s tricky. The $4.6 billion financial planning industry is characterised by a complex web of allegiances and opaque reward structures that, as the Hayne royal commission has demonstrated, do not always serve the best interests of consumers. While it … Continue reading

27 Apr 2018 (AFR) – APRA ends cap on investor loan growth

(27 April 2018, AFR, p15, by James Thomson, Jonathan Shapiro) ‘The prudential regulator’s decision to remove its cap on investor loan growth will not stop the push for banks to tighten lending standards, and could see lenders forced to do even more to ensure they are selling loans responsibly. Australian Prudential Regulation Authority chairman Wayne … Continue reading

27 Apr 2018 (TheAge,SMH) – Myer and DJs falling sales hit retail landlords

(27 April 2018, The Age, Business, p25, by Carolyn Cummins) ‘Department stores are weighing on the results of shopping centre landlords, with sales contributions in the red for the three months ending March 31. Sluggish consumer sentiment, ongoing complaints of bad in-store service and a demise in the concept of a ”one-stop-shop” are putting the … Continue reading

26 Apr 2018 (AFR) – Malaysia’s UEM Sunrise tops out first Melbourne tower

(26 April 2018, AFR, p34, by Nick Lenaghan) ‘Giant Malaysian developer UEM Sunrise has all but sold out a $330 million residential skyscraper in the Melbourne CBD, its first project to “top out” in the Australian market so far. The success at the Conservatory – it is 95 per cent pre-sold – follows on the … Continue reading

26 Apr 2018 (AFR) – Record supply: St Kilda Road developers sell into a crowded, competitive market

(26 April 2018, AFR, p34, by Michael Bleby) ‘Melbourne’s prestigious St Kilda Road is proving a tough environment for developers as a swelling number of new units on the tree-lined boulevard increases competition for sales.  The Shakespeare Group, which has appointed builder Icon Co to start work on its three-tower St Boulevard residential development at 601 … Continue reading

26 Apr 2018 (AFR) – Drop in investor activity hits Sydney house prices

(26 April 2018, AFR, p33, by Su-Lin Tan) ‘House prices in Melbourne rose 8.8 per cent in the past year while Sydney prices fell, according to the Domain House Price Report. In its first quarter update, Domain reports the median price for a detached house in Melbourne at the end of March was $914,518, up … Continue reading

26 Apr 2018 (AFR) – Soft inflation supports Australian rates remaining on hold until late 2019

(26 April 2018, AFR, p26, by William McInnes) ‘Further evidence of a soft inflationary environment supports the consensus view that the Reserve Bank of Australia will keep the cash rate on hold until late 2019, according to market economists. While the data revealed some surprisingly positive forces behind the core inflation figure, inflation remains below the RBA’s target band … Continue reading

26 Apr 2018 (AFR) – Bad planners simply ‘go down the road to another association’ – FPA powerless to discipline planners

[COMMENT: With the current revelations from the banking royal commission, investors should be looking wisely for a good financial planner.] (26 April 2018, AFR, p1, by Joanna Mather, Alice Uribe) ‘Incompetent or crooked financial planners can walk away from the industry’s professional associations, without any penalty, to avoid sanctions and punishment for giving poor advice … Continue reading

26 Apr 2018 (TheAge,Domain) – Melbourne house prices stagnate, with lowest quarterly growth since 2012: Domain Group

(26 April 2018, The Age, p12, Jemimah Clegg) ‘Melbourne’s record-breaking property market has stagnated, with the city recording its lowest quarterly house price growth in five and a half years. House prices across Melbourne edged up by just 0.1 per cent to $914,518 in the March quarter, according to the Domain Group’s quarterly house price … Continue reading

25 Apr 2018 (TheAge) – Culling the bank culture cliches is going to need more time

(25 April 2018, The Age, p9, Adele Ferguson) ‘ “Sloppy and unprofessional” was the description used by National Australia Bank senior executive Andrew Hagger for the widespread practice of financial advisers falsely witnessing documents about who gets a customer’s superannuation when they die. Ethically challenged and morally bankrupt is probably more apt. The royal commission … Continue reading

25 Apr 2018 (TheAge) – Melbourne tops nation for inflation as cost of gas, electricity soars

(25 April 2018, p2, Benjamin Preiss) ‘Melbourne leads the nation in cost-of-living increases, with soaring gas and electricity prices biting into household budgets. The consumer price index rose in almost every capital city in the March quarter but Melbourne recorded the strongest movement, as utilities costs climbed by about 13 per cent. Cost-of-living pressure is … Continue reading

25 Apr 2018 (TheAge) – The questions you need to ask before you pick a financial adviser

(25 April 2018, The Age, Money supplement, p2, Christine Long) ‘A financial planner may enter your life through the recommendation of a friend or family member or an introduction via your bank. But that doesn’t mean you should simply hand your money over. As the Hayne Royal Commission is highlighting some thorough investigation is needed … Continue reading

25 Apr 2018 (TheAge) – One move that would go a long way to fixing financial advice

(25 April 2018, The Age, Money supplement, p1, John Collett) ‘There are no quick fixes to curb recurrences of the shocking revelations at the banking royal commission concerning financial advice. But there is a move you’d think would be obvious: licence planners individually.’ <snipped…> ‘… I recall the experience of a 61-year-old cancer patient. She showed me her … Continue reading

24 Apr 2018 (AFR) – Banking royal commission: The real cost of financial advice

(24 April 2018, AFR, p2, by Jennifer Hewett) ‘The guiding principles for AMP’s remediation program for clients who received dud and damaging financial advice certainly sound reassuring. They include the company’s commitment to “timeliness and transparency” as well as to restoring the client’s financial position. But don’t ever try persuading the hapless clients of AMP’s … Continue reading

24 Apr 2018 (AFR) – Customers kept in dark about poor advice for years and years – Banks, AMP sitting on powder keg of compensation claims

(24 April 2018, AFR, p28, by Karen Maley) ‘The country’s major financial firms are at risk of being deluged by compensation claims, as their customers realise that the shoddy and conflicted financial advice that has been provided to them could entitle them to substantial financial remediation. In testimony before the Hayne royal commission on Monday, ANZ … Continue reading

24 Apr 2018 (AFR) – iSelect shares dive over 60pc after earnings downgrade, CEO departure

(24 April 2018, AFR, p25, by Yolanda Redrup) ‘Comparison website iSelect is searching for a new chief executive after declaring a huge downgrade to profit guidance due to a slump in activity that shows no sign of improving, even into the company’s busiest time of the year. ‘ Read more at (might need AFR … Continue reading

24 Apr 2018 (AFR) – ANZ’s wealth sale driven by compliance breaches

(24 April 2018, AFR, p6, by James Frost) ‘ANZ’s decision to get out of the wealth business was driven by widespread compliance failures by its financial planners that the bank had identified as high risk as far back as 2013, the Hayne royal commission has heard. A business risk and compliance committee identified in late … Continue reading

24 Apr 2018 (AFR) – AMP adviser’s clients lost a quarter of their super. They don’t know it yet

(24 April 2018, AFR, p6, by Joanna Mather) ‘A husband and wife who rolled their superannuation into an AMP-owned product on the basis of dodgy advice lost a quarter of their money in fees – only they don’t know it yet. AMP has yet to inform the mystery couple of their loss even though the … Continue reading

23 Apr 2018 (AFR) – Four in 10 property borrowers hit with ‘discreet’ rate and fee increases

(23 April 2018, AFR, p3, by Duncan Hughes) ‘More than four in 10 property borrowers are being hit with a range of discreet rate and fee increases as lenders attempt to preserve profits in response to rising funding and compliance costs, analysis reveals. They range from the introduction of steep new establishment fees to restructuring of … Continue reading

23 Apr 2018 (AFR) – Home buyers have the upper hand – Home sellers two steps behind; auction clearance rates in the 60s

(23 April 2018, AFR, p3, by Su-Lin Tan) ‘Home sellers are still two steps behind the housing markets as auction clearance rates continue to crunch down into the low 60 per cent range. While buyers are still in the market, they now have the upper hand as they juggle growing risks including rising mortgage costs, … Continue reading

23 Apr 2018 (AFR) – Spike in bond yields a worry for share – Investors fret as 10-year Treasury yield heads to 3pc

(23 April 2018, AFR, p1, by Sarah Turner) ‘Bond yields are worrying markets again after last week’s spike in US Treasury yields to multi-year highs, on fears that they will trigger an equity market sell-off. US stockmarkets fell on Friday, with strong earnings from economic bellwether General Electric not enough to shake investors out of a … Continue reading