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31 Aug 2018 (AFR) – Refinancing and loan prepayments slow, put pressure on defaults: S&P

(31 August 2018, AFR, p32, by Su-Lin Tan) ‘Prepayment of mortgages and mortgage refinancing has slowed in the past six months, raising the risk of mortgage arrears particularly with sub-prime loans, S&P Global Ratings’ latest mortgage arrears report warns. If the trend continues, sub-prime or nonconforming mortgages – loans that don’t conform to the major … Continue reading

31 Aug 2018 (AFR) – High earnings per share stocks reaching bubble levels – Market minds: Why it’s critical to look at growth through a value lens

(31 August 2018, AFR, p31, by Olivia Engel) ‘There is something very interesting about the acceleration of the value theme’s current underperformance during 2018: it has largely occurred within high earnings per share growth stocks. This isn’t the first time this has happened. We’ve observed this phenomenon before, during the global financial crisis, beginning at … Continue reading

31 Aug 2018 (AFR) – Argentina burns reserves, asks for early IMF help as peso crashes

(31 August 2018, AFR, p16, by Hugh Bronstein and Jorge Otaola) ‘Buenos Aires | Argentina’s peso tumbled 7.6 per cent against the US dollar despite the central bank’s heavy selling of reserves for a second day on Wednesday (Thursday AEST) after the president asked the International Monetary Fund for early release of standby funds, shaking … Continue reading

31 Aug 2018 (AFR) – US economy expands at 4.2pc rate in revised June quarter estimate

(31 August 2018, AFR, p15, by Lucia Mutikani) ‘Washington | US economic growth was a bit stronger than initially thought in the second quarter, notching its best performance in nearly four years and putting the economy on track to hit the Trump administration’s goal of 3 per cent annual growth. Gross domestic product increased at … Continue reading

31 Aug 2018 (AFR) – Infrastructure boom hits Brisbane

(31 August 2018, AFR, p10, by Mark Ludlow) ‘Brisbane is set to experience a $15 billion infrastructure boom over the next few years as big projects finally return to Australia’s third-largest city.’ <snipped…> ‘But Brisbane’s infrastructure backlog is finally starting to move with a string of new projects, which will help lift the city out … Continue reading

31 Aug 2018 (AFR) – Capex numbers point to ‘worrying’ sign investment has peaked

(31 August 2018, AFR, p8, by Patrick Commins) ‘A surprise fall in business investment over the June quarter likely weighed on economic growth, economists say, even as firms upgraded their planned spending for 2018-19. Total spending on buildings and machinery unexpectedly dropped 2.5 per cent in the three months through June, after advancing an upwardly revised … Continue reading

30 Aug 2018 (AFR) – US home prices jump 6.3 per cent from a year ago

(30 August 2018, AFR, p38, AAP) ‘US home prices climbed 6.3 per cent in June from a year earlier, as affordability is becoming a greater obstacle for would-be buyers. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose at a slightly slower pace than the 6.5 per cent annual gain in May from a year … Continue reading

30 Aug 2018 (AFR) – India weathers emerging market storm

(30 August 2018, AFR, p31, by William McInnes) ‘Not even an emerging markets crisis and a sliding currency has been able to stop India’s sharemarket from breaking records this year. The National Stock Exchange of India’s (NSE) benchmark NIFTY 50 index hit a fresh all-time of 11,738.5 on Tuesday, even as the MSCI Emerging Markets index traverses 12-month … Continue reading

30 Aug 2018 (AFR) – ASX tech darlings defy the sceptics and shorts

(30 August 2018, AFR, p30, by Patrick Commins) ‘This has been a reporting season for the true believers. Those who have shown faith in fledgling ASX-listed tech stocks despite the kind of valuations that would make even the most hardened small-cap investor blush – I salute you. Since the start of last week Altium, Wisetech, Afterpay … Continue reading

30 Aug 2018 (AFR) – Future Fund cautious on long-term investment outlook

(30 August 2018, AFR, p17, by Jonathan Shapiro) ‘The $146 billion Future Fund says it remains concerned about the long-term outlook for investment markets even though it admitted surprise at the strength of the global economy. “We still believe that prospective returns will remain relatively low,” Future Fund managing director David Neal said in a … Continue reading

30 Aug 2018 (AFR) – Josh Frydenberg assured Sydney, Melbourne property downturn ‘orderly’

(30 August 2018, AFR, p6, by Phillip Coorey ) ‘Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has emerged from briefings with the nation’s key economic regulators satisfied that the slowing of the housing market on the east coast is orderly and that an expected tightening of the labour market could help end flat wages growth.’ Read more at … Continue reading

30 Aug 2018 (TheAge) – Westpac raises home loan rates, rivals tipped to follow

(30 August 2018, The Age, p3, by: Clancy Yeates & John Collett) ‘The country’s second biggest bank, Westpac, is raising home loan interest rates, in a move that has sparked predictions the other big banks will also jack up borrowing costs. As the banking industry faces fierce political pressure after damning revelations at the royal … Continue reading

29 Aug 2018 (AFR) – ‘Next stop 3000’: Wall Street is back, baby! – Why the S&P 500’s new all-time high is hard for investors to ignore

(29 August 2018, AFR, p31, by Patrick Commins) ‘People love round numbers and investors are no exception. So it was that a broker note arrived in my inbox on Tuesday morning: “Next stop 3000,” the Credit Suisse report proclaimed. Three thousand is the number of points Wall Street’s S&P 500 index appears destined to achieve … Continue reading

29 Aug 2018 (AFR) – China equity traders still wary after year of false rebounds

(29 August 2018, AFR, p31, by Sofia Horta e Costa) ‘It’ll take more than dirt-cheap valuations and a spell of supportive policies to cajole Chinese investors to go all in on equities. The bounce in mainland stocks over the past week hasn’t assuaged concerns. Shanghai’s benchmark index is still in a bear market, trading at … Continue reading

29 Aug 2018 (AFR) – Brace for global recession if trade tensions spread: KPMG

(29 August 2018, AFR, p31, by Sarah Turner) ‘The simmering trade tensions between the United States and China could boil over to a full-blown multilateral trade war and trigger a devastating global recession, KPMG economists are warning. While President Donald Trump’s trade deal with Mexico signed on Tuesday lifted US markets back to records and buoyed investor … Continue reading

29 Aug 2018 (AFR) – Trump lauds Mexico-US NAFTA killer, which includes ‘Soviet-style’ wage rules

(29 August 2018, AFR, p11, by Jacob Greber) ‘Washington | President Donald Trump has challenged Canada to join the US and Mexico in a trade deal that would “replace” the politically toxic NAFTA pact with one that forces car makers to use a minimum amount of North American steel and pay some Mexican workers at … Continue reading

28 Aug 2018 (AFR) – Big Un appoints Deloitte as administrator

(28 August 2018, AFR, p19, by Jonathan Shapiro) ‘Big Un Limited, the controversial ASX listed online video producer has called in the administrators, dashing the faint hope among shareholders that they will recover their money. Deloitte Restructuring Services said it was appointed on Friday in a statement posted to the exchange on Monday. It comes … Continue reading

28 Aug 2018 (TheAge) – CSL overtakes Westpac as third largest company on ASX

(28 August 2018, The Age, Business, p21, by Lucy Battersby) ‘Pharmaceutical giant CSL has overtaken Westpac as the third-largest company on the Australian stock market by market capitalisation, although it may be just a temporary step onto the podium. CSL is now worth $101.7 billion as its shares soar to historic highs of $224.8 each. … Continue reading

27 Aug 2018 (AFR) – High prices to drive spring rural property market listings

(27 August 2018, AFR, p32, by Matthew Cranston) ‘Australia’s rural property sector will provide some eye-catching results this spring with values on the rise, but the volume of deals will be tighter due to drier conditions, fewer listings and some slower financing from banks.’ Read more at (might need AFR login access, or try:

27 Aug 2018 (AFR) – Companies favouring dividends over investment: JPMorgan

(27 August 2018, AFR, p22, by Sarah Turner) ‘Nine in ten companies to have reported this earnings season have maintained or increased their dividends, as profit growth continues apace and boards favour capital management over investment. Shareholders in energy companies have been the winners so far this reporting season in terms of dividend upgrades, with … Continue reading

27 Aug 2018 (AFR) – Auction clearance rate: House buyers know they have the upper hand

(27 August 2018, AFR, p9, by Su-Lin Tan) ‘The dramatic change in the Sydney property market was obvious at two auctions on Saturday that achieved an outcome unheard of just months ago: no bidders turned up. At the sale of a brand-new four-bedroom penthouse Lidcombe, in Sydney’s almost-inner west, The Australian Financial Review was the … Continue reading

27 Aug 2018 (AFR) – Farmers warn weekend rain won’t stop drought-related food price rises

(27 August 2018, AFR, p3, by Brad Thompson) ‘Farmers in parts of NSW and Queensland have welcomed weekend rain but warned much more is needed to prevent a drought-related hit to family food budgets. National Farmers’ Federation president Fiona Simson said on Sunday that it was inevitable that grain shortages and higher water prices in … Continue reading

25 Aug 2018 (AFR) – EBITDA gymnastics (earnings shenanigans) flatter wild Australian earnings season

(25 August 2018, AFR, p29, by: Vesna Poljak, Sarah Turner) ‘Australian companies have delivered one of the most remarkable earnings seasons for many years: deteriorating earnings have been ignored, accounting sleight of hand is rampant, and a willingness to bet big on vision rather than near-term profits has unleashed a relentless bull market in technology … Continue reading

25 Aug 2018 (AFR) – ASX weekly wrap – Political uncertainty pushes ASX lower for the week

(25 August 2018, AFR, p40, by William McInnes) ‘A volatile week in politics has been matched by swings in the markets, with positive results in the technology sector squeezing holders of short positions against the stocks. The S&P/ASX 200 index close the week 91.9 points, or 1.5 per cent lower, at 6247.3, as the benchmark … Continue reading

24 Aug 2018 (AFR) – Political turmoil pushes ASX to 3-week low

(24 August 2018, AFR, p40, by William McInnes) ‘Political instability in the nation’s capital has pushed the Australian sharemarket to its lowest level in three weeks, weighed down by the finance and utility sectors. The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 21.6 points, or 0.3 per cent lower at 6244.4 on Thursday, falling for a third straight … Continue reading

24 Aug 2018 (AFR) – US and China step up trade war with second round of tariffs

(24 August 2018, AFR, p14, by Michael Martina and David Lawder) ‘Beijing/Washington |The United States and China escalated their acrimonious trade war on Thursday, implementing punitive 25 per cent tariffs on $US16 billion worth of each other’s goods. The latest round brings to $US50 billion the value of imports subjected to tariffs on either side … Continue reading

23 Aug 2018 (AFR) – Infrastructure to be hit by abandoning NEG, BIS says

(23 August 2018, AFR, p44, by Michael Bleby) ‘Investment in renewable energy – a key driver of infrastructure in recent years – will slow after this week’s abandoning of the National Energy Guarantee and further curb engineering construction work, BIS Oxford Economics says.’ Read more at (might need AFR login access, or try:

23 Aug 2018 (AFR) – Property investors face double blow as prices, yields slide

(23 August 2018, AFR, p40, by Jonathan Shapiro) ‘With property prices in the major cities on the slide, investors may turn to a trusted measure of value to consider their investments – the rental yield. Sluggish rental growth is weakening the income-generating prospects of property, giving buyers another reason to avoid the asset class and … Continue reading

23 Aug 2018 (AFR) – Ingham’s warns of drought-related hit to family food budgets

(23 August 2018, p30, by Brad Thompson) ‘One of Australia’s biggest food producers has warned the drought gripping large parts of Australia will bite into household budgets for the next six months and longer without substantial rainfall. Chicken processor Ingham’s said grain shortages caused by the drought would lead to higher prices for poultry, pork, … Continue reading

23 Aug 2018 (AFR) – TPG Telecom in merger talks with Vodafone Hutchison Australia

(23 August 2018, AFR, p19, by Max Mason) ‘TPG Telecom and Vodafone Hutchison Australia are in talks to create the nation’s third telecommunications giant, which could dramatically reshape the industry at a time when margins are being squeezed by intense competition in mobile and broadband. ‘ Read more at (might need AFR login access, … Continue reading