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28 Dec 2019 (CNBC) – S&P 500 notches fifth straight week of gains as market rallies into end of 2019

(28 December 2019, CNBC online, ) ‘Stocks notched fresh records on Friday as year-end optimism continued to drive the rally. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 23.87 points to a record close of 28,645.26. The S&P 500 finished the day just 0.11 point higher at 3,240.02, also a new closing high. However, the Nasdaq Composite … Continue reading

27 Dec 2019 (CNBC) – European stocks hit record highs as investors follow optimism on Wall Street

(27 December 2019, CNBC online, ) ‘European stocks hit record highs on Friday, following the rally in stocks stateside. The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.2% higher, hitting fresh record highs on Friday, up 0.2%. The FTSE 100 closed up 0.2%, meanwhile the German DAX closed up 0.2% and the French CAC was up 0.3%. In … Continue reading

27 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Growing concerns as housing markets set to surge in 2020

(27 December 2019, AFR, p6, Nila Sweeney, Reporter) ‘Home values in Australia’s biggest cities are on course to record up to 14 per cent growth in 2020 as low mortgage rates and easier lending standards unleash buyer demand. But analysts warn worsening housing affordability and more homes on the market could cut the bull run … Continue reading

27 Dec 2019 (AFR) – ASX: Miners lead the ASX to post-holiday gains

(27 December 2019, AFR, online, Sarah Turner, Reporter) ‘The mining sector led the Australian market to modest gains at the end of a holiday-shortened week, with investors hopeful for a pick up in global growth as trade tensions settle down. The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 27 points, or 0.4 per cent, higher at 6821.70. The … Continue reading

26 Dec 2019 (MarketWatch) – The Nasdaq just closed at 9,000 for the first time, but index’s biggest winners aren’t the usual tech suspects

(26 December 2019, MarketWatch.com online, by Mark DeCambre) ‘One of the U.S. stock markets best-performing indexes reached a new psychologically significant mark on Thursday, as the major indexes head to year end with the best gains in years. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.17%, closed at 9,000 for the first time ever Thursday, finishing … Continue reading

26 Dec 2019 (TheAge) – ASX delivers modest gains ahead of Christmas

(26 December 2019, The Age, Business, p26, By David Scutt) ‘Australian shares drifted higher in quiet, pre-Christmas trade on Tuesday, snapping a three-day losing streak in the process. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 finished up 9.1 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 6794.2, helped by a late flurry of buying towards the close.’ Read more at … Continue reading

23 Dec 2019 (TheAge) – Empty stockings for retailers as Australians shift away from physical gifts

(23 December 2019, The Age, p1, By Dominic Powell and Eryk Bagshaw) ‘Australian retailers look set to be battered by one of their worst Christmas seasons since the global financial crisis, as consumers shift away from traditional gifts to experiences and donations. Plunging consumer confidence and $25 billion worth of tax cuts have done little … Continue reading

21 Dec 2019 (AFR) – ASX ends week higher on trade deal

(21 December 2019, AFR, p50, William McInnes, Reporter) ‘The agreement of a ‘phase one’ trade deal between the US and China pushed Australian shares higher this week, despite losses from the major banks amid a flurry of legal action. While trading in the latter half of the week was relatively muted, the market’s sharp reaction to … Continue reading

21 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Retail: Black shadow over Christmas shopping

(21 December 2019, AFR, p37, Sue Mitchell and Lucas Baird) ‘Retailers are cutting shifts for Christmas casuals, culling staff and bringing forward Boxing Day discounts in further signs that retail spending has fallen short of expectations after bumper Black Friday sales in November. Department stores and specialty retailers have reduced hours for casual staff and … Continue reading

20 Dec 2019 (AFR) – NZ economy grows faster than expected

(20 December 2019, AFR, p30, Praveen Menon) ‘New Zealand’s economy grew at a faster-than-expected pace in the third quarter boosted by robust retail spending, the government said on Thursday, briefly sending the Kiwi dollar higher. The statistics office said New Zealand’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 0.7 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the three months to … Continue reading

20 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Australians never been richer, while debt burden easing

(20 December 2019, AFR, p3, Matthew Cranston, Economics correspondent) ‘Australian households have never been wealthier, due to house prices rising and mortgages getting cheaper, but nevertheless, they are spending less. The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the average household wealth increased by $10,698 in the September quarter to an all-time … Continue reading

20 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Jobs surge slashes RBA rate cut bets

(20 December 2019, AFR, p2, Sarah Turner, Reporter) ‘A sharp surge in jobs in November has triggered a plunge in expectations for a rate cut in February. The job figures supported the Reserve Bank of Australia’s view of a “gentle turning point” in the economy and eased pressure on the government to do more fiscal … Continue reading

19 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Iron ore leads record $281b mining exports

(19 December 2019, AFR, p6, Matthew Cranston, Economics correspondent) ‘Resource and energy export earnings are forecast to reach a record $281 billion this financial year before easing back due to softer prices, according to the government’s official resources and energy forecaster. Record highs driven by iron ore, LNG and coal are set to ease back … Continue reading

19 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Retailing: NAB retail points to best month since February

(19 December 2019, AFR, p6, Matthew Cranston, Economics correspondent) ‘November retail sales are expected to show the best monthly growth since February, according to National Australia Bank’s analysis of cashless payments. The bank’s data mapping suggests that the official retail trade measure will rise 0.6 per cent in November, up from 0 per cent growth … Continue reading

18 Dec 2019 (AFR) – National building supplier SWC collapses

(18 December 2019, AFR, p33, Nila Sweeney, Reporter) ‘Melbourne-based residential and commercial supplier SWC Management Group has collapsed after it ran out of money to meet $69 million in obligations, including unpaid wages, putting around 400 staff out of work.’ <snipped…> ‘SWC blamed the downturn in building construction, slumping sales and tight competition for its … Continue reading

18 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Retailers: Festive spirit missing in action as Australia burns

(18 December 2019, AFR, p19, Sue Mitchell, Senior Reporter) ‘Retailers are counting on a surge in spending over the next week after enduring “standard” sales volumes in December to date. The week before Christmas is usually the busiest of the year for bricks and mortar retailers as consumers stock up on food and drinks and … Continue reading

18 Dec 2019 (AFR) – New housing demand drives rise in mortgage commitments

(18 December 2019, AFR, p5, Larry Schlesinger, Reporter) ‘Driven by a strong pick-up in demand for new housing, the pace of new mortgage lending almost doubled to 2 per cent in October following the Reserve Bank of Australia cutting the cash rate to a record low 0.75 per cent at the start of the month. … Continue reading

18 Dec 2019 (TheAge) – ASX: Markets get some relief, but dangerous times lie ahead

(18 December 2019, The Age, Business, p23, Stephen Bartholomeusz) ‘There were huge sighs of relief in global financial markets on Monday as the “Phase One” trade deal between the US and China and the outcome of the British election took the worst-case outcomes for investors off the table. It didn’t hurt that there was good … Continue reading

17 Dec 2019 (TheAge) – ASX books best session in seven months with $33 billion surge

(17 December 2019, The Age, Business, p29, By Lucy Battersby) ‘The market value of Australia’s top 200 companies increased by nearly $33 billion on Monday as the local bourse notched up its biggest one-day gains since May.  The shopping spree was driven by strong demand for blue-chip stocks and news of a good outcome in … Continue reading

17 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Interest rates: Rate cut chance surges on wages downgrade

(17 December 2019, AFR, p4, Matthew Cranston, Economics correspondent) ‘Forecasts for economic growth, inflation, unemployment and wages have all taken a hit in the latest budget update, placing pressure on the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates in February. Before the budget update, financial markets were pricing in a 39 per cent chance of a … Continue reading

17 Dec 2019 (TheAge) – IPO: Buy now, pay later hopeful Openpay falls hard on ASX debut

(17 December 2019, The Age, Business, p26, By Emma Koehn) ‘Afterpay rival Openpay (ASX:OPY) had a tough first day of trading on the ASX, plummeting 17 per cent but chief executive Michael Eidel is confident investors see long-term value in the startup as buy now, pay later platforms become the “new normal”. The fintech, which … Continue reading

17 Dec 2019 (AFR) – ASX: Market roars on US-China trade truce

(17 December 2019, AFR, p1, William McInnes, Reporter) ‘Australian shares soared close to a record high on Monday, adding more than $33 billion to the local bourse after the US and China reached a long-awaited phase one trade agreement and bond investors responded coolly to the Treasurer’s budget update. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced … Continue reading

17 Dec 2019 (TheAge,SMH) – Donald Trump has changed the way the world operates

(17 December 2019, The Age, Business, p24, Stephen Bartholomeusz) ‘A tentative trade deal between the US and China, Brexit, the signing of new US trade deals with Canada and Mexico and the neutering of the World Trade Organisation by the US have effectively ended the post-war era of multi-lateralism in global trade. On Friday the … Continue reading

16 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Brexit, UK: Tory victory sets the UK on course to boom

(16 December 2019, AFR, p24,  Paul Marshall) ‘Britain’s Conservatives are the first western political party to absorb the populist pressures unleashed by globalisation and convert them into a radical and constructive agenda for change. The victory for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s agenda means that the country could be set to boom. First, the Tories are … Continue reading

16 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Global economy: Trade, Tories place a floor under the global economy

(16 December 2019, AFR, p24, Sarah Turner, Reporter) ‘A partial trade deal between the US and China and a thumping Conservative win in the UK election appear to have effectively placed a floor under the global economy, underpinning markets as they head into the new year. Investor anxiety had been rising ahead of the British … Continue reading

16 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Investing: Accused scammers flee after ASIC uncovers fake super investments

(16 December 2019, AFR, p8, Joanna Mather, Superannuation writer) ‘Three alleged scammers have fled overseas after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission accused them of fleecing more than 50 superannuation clients of as much as $8 million. Victims were encouraged to roll their super into newly created self-managed funds and then invest, by way of … Continue reading

14 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Black Friday boosts traffic online and in stores

(14 December 2019, AFR, p27, Sue Mitchell, Senior Reporter) ‘Black Friday boosted traffic online and in stores and the growth has continued into December, but may lead to soft clearance sales on Boxing Day and in January. According to analysis by Citigroup, online traffic for major Australian retailers rose about 30 per cent to 40 … Continue reading

14 Dec 2019 (AFR) – US reaches ‘deal in principle’ with China on trade

(14 December 2019, AFR, p14, Jacob Greber and Michael Smith) ‘Washington/Shanghai | Hopes are rising among investors, corporate capex managers and consumers that US and Chinese negotiators have agreed to a modest starter deal to halt a bruising trade war that has roiled the global economy and dented confidence. More than eight weeks after US … Continue reading

14 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Boris Johnson wins mandate to deliver Brexit as Labour tumbles

(14 December 2019, AFR, p12, Hans van Leeuwen, Europe correspondent) ‘London | British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has won a mandate to deliver Brexit in the next seven weeks, storming dozens of long-term Labour seats across the country’s post-industrial north as Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s radical, big-spending pitch fell flat.’ Read more at AFR.com (might … Continue reading

14 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Drought: Australia to bake until March

(14 December 2019, AFR, p3, Bo Seo, Reporter) ‘There is an 80 per cent likelihood that temperatures across Australia will be higher than usual through to March, exacerbating bushfire risk and increasing the frequency of heatwaves. Temperatures in Western Australia exceeded 40 degrees on Thursday, fuelling a massive blaze in Two Rocks, 60 kilometres north of … Continue reading