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31 July 2018 (AFR) – New home sales chalk up first monthly gain in June as NSW, QLD, WA, SA pick up

(31 July 2018, AFR, p32, by Michael Bleby) ‘New sales of detached houses rose 2.2 per cent in June, chalking up their first monthly gain this year, as volumes increased in every state except Victoria. Sales in NSW increased 8.3 per cent to 973, lifting the total in that state to their highest level in … Continue reading

31 July 2018 (AFR) – Melbourne units taking five times longer to sell – Melbourne Square off-the-plan sales hits 70pc

(31 July 2018, AFR, p29, by Larry Schlesinger) ‘Malaysian developer OSK Property has sold almost 70 per cent of the apartments in stage one of its $2.8 billion Melbourne Square project worth almost $500 million, but its taken a year. Head of sales Andrew Leoncelli from CBRE said 696 apartments out of over a 1000 apartments had been sold … Continue reading

31 July 2018 (AFR) – Has the FAANG party finished? – Investors suffer FAANG-over as outlook for US tech giants clouds

(31 July 2018, AFR, p28, by Karen Maley) ‘Are we in the early stages of a replay of the 2000 bust? That’s the big question for investors after Facebook’s shocking share price plunge last week – which wiped out a record $US119 billion in market value in a single day – after the social … Continue reading

31 July 2018 (AFR) – IPO perf: Big Un reports $52m half year loss

(31 July 2018, AFR, p27, by Jonathan Shapiro) ‘Big Un Limited, the controversial small business video production company, has reported a $52.2 million net loss for the half year to December 2017 as it published its long overdue accounts. The delay in filing its half-year accounts had already forced the regulator to ban the company … Continue reading

31 July 2018 (AFR) – Cambodia dismisses poll criticism while opposition laments “death of democracy”

(31 July 2018, AFR, p10, by Prak Chan Thul and Amy Sawitta Lefevre) ‘Phnom Penh | Cambodia woke to another chapter of rule by strongman Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday, a day after his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) declared victory in a general election that rights groups said was neither free nor fair. The … Continue reading

31 July 2018 (AFR) – Gig economy failing to reverse decline in self-employment: HILDA

(31 July 2018, AFR, p6, by David Marin-Guzman) ‘Self-employment is not the job growth engine it is often claimed to be, with its share of employers reaching decade-lows and the gig economy failing to reverse the decline of independent contractors. The data revealed in the latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey … Continue reading

31 July 2018 (TheAge) – Big data backlash: Consumers wise up to Facebook, Twitter

(31 July 2018, The Age, Business, p21, By Stephen Bartholomeus) ‘Last week something, two things really, happened that would have sent a frisson of concern through those monetising “Big Data’’. First, Facebook shares plummeted on Thursday, wiping more than $US120 billion off its market capitalisation. Then, on Friday, Twitter lost 15.5 per cent of its market … Continue reading

30 July 2018 (AFR) – US economic data gets Trumped – Strong quarter for US unlikely to be repeated

(30 July 02018, AFR, p20, by Timothy Moore) ‘While Donald Trump says the US economy is going to surge higher, most economists aren’t betting on it. On Friday in Washington, the US government reported the economy expanded at a 4.1 per cent annual rate in the three months ended June, up from a revised 2.2 … Continue reading

30 July 2018 (AFR) – Some like it hot — but UK heatwave proves a mixed blessing

(30 July 2018, AFR, p19, by Gavin Jackson) ‘Southend-on-Sea |The hottest July on record has been a mixed blessing for Charlie Bird, director of sales at Rossi Ice Cream in Southend-on-Sea. The heatwave has boosted revenues, but played havoc with his freezers.’ <snipped…> ‘The streets of Southend, a seaside town east of London, offer a … Continue reading

30 July 2018 (AFR) – Investors fear ‘Facebook reaction’ to earnings misses

(30 July 2018, AFR, p13, by Patrick Commins) ‘Investors are confident the August profits season kicking off this week will confirm the solid earnings growth trend that has helped the sharemarket reach its highest levels in 10½ years. But they warn slight disappointments for high-flying stocks could be punished by the market.’ <snipped…> ‘A solid … Continue reading

30 July 2018 (AFR) – Signs of life in auction markets in run up to spring

(30 July 2018, AFR, p3, by Nick Lenaghan) ‘The national auction market has held onto recent gains with clearance rates well above 50 per cent in Sydney and Melbourne even as volumes increased. A steady result is a good result in Sydney, where the slowing market had left a trail of below-50 per cent clearance rates until a rebound last week. With 465 homes listed … Continue reading

30 July 2018 (TheAge) – State of the state: Victoria tops national economic ranking

(30 July 2018, The Age, p2, By Benjamin Preis) ‘Booming population growth has helped propel Victoria to the top of a key economic performance ranking for the first time. The latest State of the States report from CommSec shows that economic growth in Victoria is 26.5 per cent above its 10-year average, edging past NSW in … Continue reading

30 July 2018 (AFR) – Rural values keep climbing: ‘Strongest cycle I have been through’

(30 July 2018, AFR, p33, by Matthew Cranston) ‘Drought conditions have not held back rising values for farming properties in NSW with some areas jumping 30 per cent in the last 12 months. Low interest rates and record high prices for livestock are fuelling the rise with plenty of local farmers looking to buy in … Continue reading

28 July 2018 (AFR) – Find your super fund in the top performers

[COMMENT – Regular readers of my comments will know that I always caution about reading too much into the performance of managed funds and super funds, because the performance value and rating can change significantly by simply analysing over a different time period. Especially in the complilcated and poorly defined field of super funds that … Continue reading

28 July 2018 (AFR) – Pakistan’s New Leader Imran Khan faces economic crisis

(28 July 2018, AFR, p14, by Faseeh Mangi) ‘A new government under Pakistan’s incoming leader Imran Khan will need to move quickly to tackle a brewing economic crisis. The former cricket star’s party claimed victory in Pakistan’s election this week after preliminary results showed it had the most votes. Khan said in a televised address … Continue reading

28 July 2018 (AFR) – Facebook’s day of reckoning rocks new media

(28 July 2018, AFR, p12, by Sarah Frier) ‘After all the controversy Facebook has generated in recent months, it seemed almost inevitable that at some point, the social media giant would get what it had coming. A reckoning. Wednesday’s disappointing earnings report and Thursday’s historic 19 per cent stock drop appeared to be a fitting conclusion … Continue reading

28 July 2018 (AFR online) -Twitter plunges as fight against fake accounts hits monthly user data

(28 July 2018, AFR online, by Selina Wang) ‘New York | Twitter shares plunged the most in four years after the social media company said monthly users dropped by 1 million in the second quarter from the first and predicted further declines as it continues to fight against spam, fake accounts and malicious rhetoric. Monthly … Continue reading

28 July 2018 (AFR) – Retirees set to feel the pinch as major banks cut term deposit rates

(28 July 2018, AFR, p3, by William McInnes) ‘Self-funded retirees could face further pressure as the the big four banks look at cutting their already low term deposit rates in order to offset rising funding costs. The major banks are facing increasing funding pressure due to increased funding costs squeezing net interest margins.’ Read more … Continue reading

28 July 2018 (AFR) – ASX: Improved market sentiment lifts ASX to 10-year high

(28 July 2018, AFR, p33, by William McInnes) ‘The Australian sharemarket has closed the week higher, hitting a fresh 10-year high on the back of improved market sentiment and commodity prices. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 14.3 points, or 0.2 per cent, this week to 6300.2, beating the previous 10-year high by 14 points.  Improving … Continue reading

28 July 2018 (AFR) – Are we ‘mid cycle’ or ‘late cycle’?

(28 July 2018, AFR, p31, by Christopher Joye) ‘I hear a lot of ostensibly smart people relentlessly recite the meme that we are “late cycle”, with the implication that a recession is right around the corner. In this vein, there are many overpaid equity investors spruiking the next financial crisis. That’s interesting given investment-grade credit … Continue reading

28 July 2018 (AFR) – Who will shine and who will sink this earnings season?

(28 July 2018, AFR, p29, by Patrick Commins) ‘Can Telstra disappoint us more than it already has? Will the big banks dare hint at the potential for mortgage rate rises? Could the high-flying healthcare and tech names climb even higher? All these questions and more are being asked before the annual reporting season, which kicks … Continue reading

27 July 2018 (ABCnews) – Facebook share price drop wipes $US119b from company’s value, $15b from Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth

(27 July 2018, ABC News online, David Chau) ‘Facebook lost $US119 billion in value overnight, among the biggest single-day falls in US stock market history. That is nearly the entire market value of corporate giants like McDonald’s, Nike and IBM. The 19 per cent drop in Facebook’s share price (to $US176.26) marked the social media … Continue reading

27 July 2018 (AFR) – Melbourne land prices up 41 per cent, but correction under way

(27 July 2018, AFR, p34, by Larry Schlesinger) ‘The cost of land to build a new house in Melbourne’s outer suburbs surged a whopping 41 per cent to $359,000 in the year to March, according to the latest HIA-CoreLogic Residential Land Report. The dramatic price growth, which is finally showing signs of reversing since peaking … Continue reading

27 July 2018 (AFR) – The RBA has played all its cards, caught in a trap of its own making

(27 July 2018, AFR, p31, by Patrick Commins) ‘In retrospect it’s a shame that our monetary policymakers were less willing to consider alternative strategies to manage the Australian financial cycle in the wake of the GFC. Aussies have borrowed a dizzying amount of money over the past 20 years, bringing the ratio of  household debt-to-income … Continue reading

27 July 2018 (AFR) – US and EU pull back from full tariff war – EU agrees to buy more US goods to avert trade war

(27 July 2018, AFR, p16, by Toluse Olorunnipa and Margaret Talev) ‘Washington | President Donald Trump and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker have agreed to suspend new tariffs while negotiating over trade, pulling the US and Europe back from the edge of a transatlantic trade war. The leaders pledged to expand European imports of US liquefied natural … Continue reading

27 July 2018 (AFR) – Nine takeover of Fairfax to fight Facebook, Google

(27 July 2018, AFR, p1, by, Jemima Whyte, Max Mason) ‘Nine Entertainment will acquire Fairfax Media in a cash and scrip $4.2 billion takeover that the companies say will allow them to challenge Facebook and Google and potentially trigger a further wave of mergers and acquisitions in the local media sector. “We all know media … Continue reading

26 July 2018 (AFR) – Funding for developments set to worsen – Commercial property sentiment wanes: NAB survey

(26 July 2018, AFR, p37, by Nick Lenaghan) ‘Sentiment in the commercial property market has fallen as the outlook in the booming hotel sector eased and retail expectations remain negative, according to a quarterly National Australia Bank survey. The index overall – covering the office, retail, industrial and CBD hotel sectors – fell four points … Continue reading

26 July 2018 (AFR) – Slowdown in east coast housing gathers speed – Sydney house prices fall most since 2008, Melbourne slows

(26 July 2018, AFR, p33, by Michael Bleby) ‘Sydney house prices fell 4.5 per cent in the year to June, their fastest rate in a decade, and Melbourne houses grew at their weakest pace in almost six years as the unwinding of the housing boom gained pace. Tighter credit and weaker investor activity continued to … Continue reading

26 July 2018 (AFR) – Building dip unlikely to hit economy hard – Building slump no ‘handbrake’ for economy

(26 July 2018, AFR, p29, by Sarah Turner) ‘Expectations of a sharp drop in housing starts at first blush look like another bad sign for the housing market, signalling builders are no longer confident in the outlook for property demand. Building starts will fall sharply over the next few years, according to BIS Oxford Economics, … Continue reading

26 July 2018 (AFR) – Signs world economy is feeling bite from President Donald Trump’s trade war

(26 July 2018, AFR, p12, by Alessandro Speciale and Fergal O’Brien) ‘Frankfurt/Zurich | Protectionism is slowly starting to weigh on the global economy.’ ‘From demand at factories to company profits and prices consumers are paying, the tit-for-tat trade battle US President Donald Trump started with China and the European Union is starting to show up in … Continue reading