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Markets Live: Another solid day for stocks


The S&P/ASX200 has made another play for the 4800 level today, led up by key stocks in the materials and financial sectors.

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That's all for today, folks. Enjoy the evening and maybe another good match at the Australian Open.

Here's our evening wrap of today's session.

What to look out for overnight:

  • The IMF will update its World Economic Outlook. Chief Christine Lagarde has been a bit more upbeat in her assessment of the global economy of late, so there's a chance of an upward revision to global growth estimates.
  • Apple is set to reveal its first drop in quarterly earnings in a decade. Analysts on average estimate Apple's fiscal first-quarter earnings per share at $US13.41, down slightly from $US13.87 in the year-earlier quarter. Revenue is seen up 18 per cent at $US54.7 billion. The December quarter is typically the strongest one of the year for consumer electronics sales and Apple had a new product, the iPad mini, in its holiday season line-up.

Arab Bank's David Scutt has just tweeted that this is the highest close for the ASX200 441 in trading sessions. We haven't checked the numbers but we can confirm that it's the highest since May 2, 2011.

Among the sectors, materials gained 0.6 per cent, buoyed by a 1.3 per cent rise in BHP on the back of strong production numbers. Financials rose 0.3 per cenr, energy added 0.4 per cent and gold stocks jumped 1.8 per cent.

Among the losers were the health sector, falling 1.3 per cent, and industrials, down 0.7 per cent.

The sharemarket has closed slightly higher, hanging onto its early gains. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index added 8.7 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 4787.8, while the broader All Ords rose 9.2 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 4812.2.

Japan's government has raised its view of the economy for the first time in eight months as private consumption is holding firm and business sentiment shows signs of improvement due to a falling yen and rising share prices.

Improvement in exports and recently compiled economic stimulus steps will likely put the economy back on a recovery path, but a slowdown in overseas economies remains a risk factor, the government said in its monthly economic report.

The government also said it expects the Bank of Japan to take bold steps to meet a 2 per cent inflation goal that the government agreed with the central bank on Tuesday as part of a bold push to escape nagging deflation and to revive the economy.

"The economy is weak, but signs of bottoming out can be seen in some areas," the report said.

The Australian dollar has slipped after surprisingly benign inflation data suggested there is still plenty of scope for further interest rate cuts, though investors still doubt a move will come next month.

The dollar eased a third of a cent to $US1.0527 after key measures of underlying inflation rose by less than expected to be in the lower half of the Reserve Bank's target of 2 to 3 per cent. It's currently trading at $US1.0538.

The data prompted a gentle move in Australian debt futures with swap markets implying a 36 per cent chance of a quarter point easing to 2.75 per cent at the RBA's next policy meeting on February 5, from 33 per cent. Yet, they still see rates bottoming around 2.5 per cent sometime this year.

"While the weaker inflation profile in the coming quarters provides the RBA with the option to cut rates, we believe a cut is unlikely at the February meeting," says Martin Whetton, a rate strategist at Nomura in Sydney.

"We have seen an improvement in the international backdrop while the domestic economy has not deteriorated meaningfully."

Big surprise at the Australian Open: 19-year old Sloane Stephens has just defeated Serena Williams in three sets.

Here's more

Sloane Stephens hit the ball at the same pace as her idol Serena Williams during their quarter-final.

Sloane Stephens hit the ball at the same pace as her idol Serena Williams during their quarter-final. Photo: Mark Kolbe

The ASX200 has made another play for the 4800 level today courtesy of positive performances by key stocks in the materials and financial sectors, CMC Markets tradr Tim Waterer says:

  • Again it was a solid if not spectacular day on the market which is a theme that seems to be re-occurring so far in 2013.
  • BHP results were warmly received by traders however this was offset by Rio weakness and this seemed to constrain the local bourse from having a solid breakout above 4800 today.
  • But overall it was a case of ‘steady as she goes’ with the ASX200 again edging higher.

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey says the government must reveal how its broken promise to return a budget surplus this financial year will impact on the cost of living of Australian households.

Mr Hockey said the latest consumer price index for the December quarter released on Wednesday showed the annual rate of inflation edged up to 2.2 per cent from two per cent previously, while domestic cost pressures remained of concern.

He said non-tradeables - domestically produced goods and services, such as meat, newspapers, takeaway food and new dwelling purchases - rose 0.7 per cent in the quarter and 3.9 per cent over the year.

He also noted that the cost of electricity over 2012 rose by 17.7 per cent, while other gas and household fuels increased by 17.3 per cent.

With less than an hour before the close of trade, here's how markets around the region are performing:

  • Japan(Nikkei): -0.9%
  • Shanghai: -0.4%
  • Taiwan: -0.3%
  • South Korea: -0.2%
  • Singapore: +0.3%
  • New Zealand: +0.1%

Here's an interesting piece from the Guardian, a US company has unveiled plans to launch of fleet of spacecraft to hunt for asteroids in the hope of mining them for resources.

Selecting shares to recommend is fraught with challenges, writes Motley Fool's Scott Phillips, but that doesn't mean there isn't value to be found.

Top stock picks for 2013.


After today's inflation numbers, CBA economist Michael Workman had some interesting comments on monetary policy:

  • The focus will turn to the next round of Capex and jobs releases. Another downgrade to business investment expectations (due late February) in the mining and non-mining sectors could be sufficient to persuade the RBA to cut the cash rate in March. But it may also require another fall in the January jobs data (due early February) and a rise in the unemployment rate.  
  • If international economic trends are taken into account, then any decision to cut the cash rate may be delayed for a few months. On balance, the growth data from Australia’s major export markets has been positive in recent months. Financial market volatility, and risks, in the EU and the US, have fallen appreciably compared to most of 2012.  In addition, asset prices, including equities, have risen, which improves household balance sheets and, eventually, consumer confidence. 
  • The policy game plan during 2012 involved the RBA accommodating fiscal consolidation and offsetting the high AUD by lowering interest rates. This policy approach requires a benign inflation backdrop which looks to be still in place after today’s update. 
  • The risks are clearly skewed towards another RBA cash rate cut, to 2.75%, in coming months. Timing-wise, March appears more likely than February. Markets see a 28% chance of a February RBA rate cut, and about 61% by March.

With the World Economic Forum taking place in Davos, Switzerland, under the theme of 'Resilient Dynamism', has put together a list of previous themes from the last decade....interesting.

2003: Building Trust
2004: Partnering for Security and Prosperity
2005: Taking Responsibility for Tough Choices
2006: The Creative Imperative
2007: The Shifting Power Equation
2008: The Power of Collaborative Innovation
2009: Shaping the Post-Crisis World
2010: Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild
2011: Shared Norms for the New Reality
2012: The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models
2013: Resilient Dynamism

While today's consumer price index is a pleasant surprise on the downside, it is a mild one, Michael Pascoe writes:

Core inflation has been running low enough to allow the Reserve Bank to trim rates next month if it so wishes, but not so low as to push it in that direction.

But the numbers breakdown also shows why inflation isn't dead as an issue for the RBA, why it can't afford to wildly slash interest rates as the usual suspects keep suggesting.

Here's the whole article

Something to keep in mind when looking at the inflation figures: wages have been growing faster.

In November, Bureau of Statistics figures for the wage price index showed that wages were up 3.7 per cent in the year to September.

The total hourly rates of pay excluding bonuses rose 0.7 per cent in the September quarter, a drop from the previous three months when it advanced by 1 per cent.

Treasurer Wayne Swan said today's CPI result reflected subdued price pressures across the board with a number of seasonal factors putting downward pressure on inflation.

‘‘Importantly, today’s result provides further evidence that there has been no significant broad-based increase in consumer prices as a result of the carbon price,’’ Mr Swan said.

‘‘That is a result which is entirely consistent with Treasury modelling. In fact, much of the impact of the carbon price on inflation occurred in the previous quarter.’’

The data also showed the ‘‘scare campaign’’ from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and the Liberals about the carbon tax had been exposed as ‘‘fraudulent’’, the treasurer said.

IKEA, the world's biggest furniture retailer, posted a record net profit today for the 2011-12 year, helped by sales and market share growth as budget design enticed austerity-hit shoppers.

Net profit at the privately-held Swedish firm, known the world over for low-price, self-assembly, flat-packed furniture, rose 8 per cent to 3.2 billion euros in the 12 months through last August.

IKEA says it is relatively resilient to economic downturns as these make cost conscious consumers turn to cheaper goods.

HSBC have put together a nice graphic tracking inflation over the last decade:

A cyclone warning remains in place for Western Australia’s Pilbara region, including the major iron ore export hub of Port Hedland.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) estimated around 9am (WST) on Wednesday that a tropical low was 95km west-northwest of Port Hedland and 110km northeast of Karratha, moving west-southwest at 8km/h.

The low lies just to the north of the Pilbara coast between Karratha and Port Hedland and may develop into a tropical cyclone, which would be named Peta, BoM spokesman Neil Bennett said.

If the system reaches cyclone intensity, gales with wind gusts to 100km/h could develop between Port Hedland and Mardie during the day, and possibly extend west towards Onslow in the evening.

Rio Tinto is facing a legal challenge over claims it discriminated between union and non-union miners by giving workers on individual contracts up to $120,000 more in redundancy payments when it shut down a coal mine in central Queensland last year.

The dispute marks the latest instalment in a long-running effort by Rio Tinto to curb the influence of unions across its workforce.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union has accused the mining giant of discriminating between union and non-union members as it was preparing to close the Blair Athol coal mine last November. In a statement of claim filed in the New South Wales Federal Court, the CFMEU claims Rio Tinto breached four sections of the Fair Work act by discriminating against members of an industrial association.

Here's the full article

Nice little lunchtime read in our Money section: sites like Airbnb - where you can rent a spare room out - are becoming increasingly popular. Now the taxman is twigging on.

The sharemarket has shrugged off the inflation data, choosing instead to focus on BHP Billiton’s strong half-year production results.

Bell Potter senior adviser Stuart Smith says that with almost four million shares being traded in the company, the results are spurring the Australian equities market.

BHP Billiton shares are up 1.2 per cent.

A former Treasurer and Prime Minister would have called the inflation figures a “beautiful set of numbers”. And with good reason, says CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian:

  • Inflation is not an issue at present, meaning that rates can stay lower for longer.
  • The Reserve Bank is the envy of central banks across the globe. In Australia, inflation is contained, unemployment is low, the economy is growing close to a “normal” rate and there hasn’t been a recession for 21 years. In short, the Reserve Bank’s wall of worry is decidedly empty.
  • Inflation is well and truly contained and the Reserve Bank certainly has the scope to cut interest rates interest rates in February if it believes it is necessary. The low inflation result removes any lasting hurdle for the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates over the next few months.

The fear and loathing of 2012 seems like a distant memory now with equities continuing to trade positively over the past week, Fat Prophets write in their weekly comment. Here are the key points:

  • Markets trading positively on a strong US earnings season, US economic gains, and positivity on China
  • We see a commitment to easing by central banks (the Bank of Japan being the latest) as ultimately providing a further tailwind
  • Debt monetisation is building upward pressure on gold prices in our view. Germany’s decision to ‘take back its gold’ also highly significant.
  • We are bullish on soft commodities and also fertiliser businesses due to their role in helping boost crop yields
  • We have added Incitec Pivot to the portfolio this week as we like the company’s integrated producer model and the fact it is increasing leverage to key commodity markets in expanding capacity through plant expansions. Another attraction is the low cost nature of the company’s operations.
  • We have issued a sell on Graincorp at $12.05. We added to the portfolio last year at $7.79. A bid by Archer Daniel Midlands for Graincorp has crystallised a value and a premium. With a higher bid looking remote we are taking some gains off the table.

Some more economist reactions to the CPI numbers:

RBA Capital Markets senior economy Su-Lin Ong:

  • These numbers are coming a bit below the RBA's own forecasts, so inflation is possibly surprising them slightly to the downside.
  • It increases the risk of a rate cut, because inflation is coming in lower than what the RBA had forecast and because it is in the bottom half of the target range and very well-behaved.
  • We've had one more cut in the profile. We've been thinking that they delivered some easing in Q4 and they may wait a little bit. But this will increase speculation of a move from them sooner rather than later.

Macquarie Bank senior economist Brian Redican:

  • I don't think it's quite weak enough to push the RBA over the line (to cut rates). Certainly it makes it easier for the RBA to cut rates and it suggests they will be revising down some of their inflation forecasts.
  • There's probably a 35 to 40 per cent chance of a February rate cut so not enough to get it over the line, but certainly we think the prospects of a March rate cut are very real.
  • The RBA will continually have to cut rates over 2013. If the capex investment report at the end of February is softer again, then it will open the door to a March rate cut.

Here are some tweets on the softish CPI figures, which basically all say the numbers give the Reserve Bank the scope to cut rates, but Stevens & Co are likely to hold fire:

#CPI data allows the #RBA to cut, but they won't. Global economy is definately on the mend and they were 'finely balanced' in Dec #ausbiz

David Scutt @David_Scutt

#RBA in the fortunate position of having the flexibility, but perhaps not the need, to cut rates further after benign Q4 inflation print.

Glenn Maguire @AsiaSentry

This inflation climate gives RBA lots of scope to cut ... but the world has turned up since then

Stephen KoukoulasVerified @TheKouk

The lowish inflation numbers are the headline figures, the underlying numbers the RBA tends to followare fairly in line with expectations, rising 0.6 per cent in the quarter and 2.2 per cent over the year - definitely leaving the door open for another rate cut.

Yhe dollar is hovering just below $US1.0550, about a tenth of a cent below where it was ahead of the CPI release.

The dollar has slipped slightly on the CPI numbers, as lower than expected inflation may convince the RBA to cut rates again. The dollar is currently trading at $US1.0542.

CPI figures are in and they're lower than expected: 0.2 per cent for the quarter and 2.2 per cent rise for the year.

The dollar is trading at $US1.0559 ahead of the CPI data.

Fourth-quarter inflation numbers are due in three minutes. Expectations are for a 0.4 per cent quarterly rise and 2.4 per cent over the year.

Underlying inflation is tipped to have been 0.65 per cent for the quarter and 2.4 per cent over the year, around the middle of the RBA’s target range of two to three per cent.

Here's ANZ's Warren Hogan tweeting:

AusCPI - If inflation 'pulse' is around 2.25% then no case for cut rates in next few months. Would need a very weak # to trigger cut in Feb

Growth in the Australian economy looks set to improve in the coming months, a study shows.

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Leading Index - which indicates the likely pace of economic activity three to nine months into the future - rose to 3.9 per cent in November, from 3.1 per cent the previous month. This places it above the long-term average of 2.8 per cent.

However, Westpac’s Coincident Index - which measures current growth - was 2.7 per cent, below its long-term average of 3.0 per cent.

Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said he was surprised by the leading index result, which was more optimistic than the bank’s predictions for gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013.

‘‘The Index is sending a somewhat more buoyant growth signal than we currently expect to be the case,’’ he said. ‘‘Over the course of the last six months, the annualised growth rate in the Index has increased from 1.5 per cent (well below trend) to 3.9 per cent (above trend)."

Linc Energy shares have jumped more than 10 per cent after the company told the stock exchange that two independent experts had confirmed there was a potential shale oil resource of between 103 and 203 billion barrels of oil equivalent in three formations in the Arckaringa Basin in South Australia.

Linc shares jumped 20 cents to $2.17.

Linc has appointed Barclays Bank to advise on strategic options including the introduction of an experienced shale operator to joint venture the development of "this emerging world-class shale play".

Linc shares have been on a bit of a run over the past months as the following chart shows - but they're still well off 2008 record highs of $4.96.

Now for some of the early sliders on the ASX200:

  • Nufarm: -7.58%
  • Mirabela Nickel: -6.6%
  • Downer EDI: -3.62%
  • Henderson CDI: -2.95%
  • Ten: -2.9%
  • Amcor: -1.88%
  • Billabong: -1.8%

Shares in pesticide maker Nufarm slumped 7 per cent in early trade this morning after the company said hot and dry weather in eastern Australia this summer would hurt its earnings, stoking fears of a downturn in earnings for agribusiness stocks.

Nufarm stuck to its earnings for the first half of 2012-13, saying a better than expected performance from its operations in South America and Europe would offset the weaker Australian business.

Phillips agribusiness analyst Paul Jensz said Nufarm was ‘‘just flagging Australia’s been dry, as everyone knows, but they’re a diverse company and can fight back’’.

Nufarm said Autumn rainfall would determine planting activity and the demand for crop protection products for the second half of the financial year.

‘‘It is very likely, however, that due to the poor first-half conditions in Australia, the regional result at the full-year will also be well down on the 2012 full year,’’ the company said. Nufarm expects its underlying profit for the six months to January 31 to be 15 per cent higher than the $37.8 million reported a year earlier.

Evan Lucas from IG Markets has asked the question, what will it take for the ASX200 to hit 5200 this year? His answer is that the share prices of the big miners need to see some gains. He writes:

Since a low of 3985 back in June, the local market has risen 20% in seven months, but the push has been led by high-yielding income plays such as the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, Wesfarmers, Telstra and Woolworths, which have all risen by approximately the same amount as the market.

If the market is to head to 5200 points by the end of the year as some are suggesting, BHP and RIO are going to have to do some heavy lifting, coupled with investors unwinding some of their defensive yield-plays which are becoming over-crowded.

We note that the last time the ASX 200 traded around the current level of 4780 points, BHP and RIO were sitting at $45 and $80 respectively. This suggests the current uptrend can continue (and quickly) if the equity market switches from the defence to attack.

Looking at the early gainers on the ASX200 now:

  • St Barbara: +7.93%
  • Resolute Mining: +4.26%
  • Buru Energy: +4.09%
  • Atlas Iron: +3.22%
  • Perseus: +2.72%

A quick reminder that we've got inflation data due out at 11.30am.

A Bloomberg survey expects the inflation rate to have risen to 2.4 per cent cent over the year, up from 2.0 per cent, but the quarterly rate is expected to have fallen to 0.4 per cent, down from 1.4 per cent during the three months to the end of September.

But those are the consensus estimates. Some are much higher or lower. Westpac is forecasting the quarterly number will come in at +0.2 per cent and the year-on-year number will print at +2.2 per cent. At the other end of the scale, Su-Lin Ong at RBC Capital Markets sees the quarterly number coming in at +0.7 per cent and the annual result to reach 2.7 per cent.

And as an aside, Credit Suisse data shows a 25bp rate cut in February has only a one-in-three chance.

Looking at the big miners early on:

  • BHP is 1.04% higher to $36.96
  • Rio is 0.19% lower to $66.76
  • Fortescue is 0.43% higher to $4.66

Info tech shares are leading the ASX200 higher with a gain of 0.98 per cent. Here's how the other sub indices are performing in early trade:

  • Materials: +0.67%
  • Energy: +0.43%
  • Consumer staples: +0.41%
  • Financials: +0.4%
  • Utilities: +0.27%

Boral shares are higher after the company upgraded its forecast for its underlying first-half profit due to cost saving measures and improved trading conditions in the lead-up to Christmas.

Its shares have added 1.2 per cent, or 6 cents, to $4.94.

The ASX has opened a third of a per cent higher.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index is up 16.5 points, or 0.34 per cent, at 4,795.6, while the broader All Ordinaries index is up 16.0 points, or 0.33 per cent, at 4,818.9.

On the ASX 24, the March share price index futures contract was up 17  points at 4,759, with 7,730 contracts traded.

Investors like the BHP update. It's shares are 1.2 per cent higher in opening trade. The general market is 0.2 per cent higher.

Evan Lucas of IG Markets points out that shares in Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold, which is the world’s largest traded copper, surged 5.3% on Wall Street on the miner’s fourth-quarter earnings overnight. In a note this morning he writes:

Watch for OZL, PNA and SFR to get a possible kick today on the result. If our market is going catch up to its American counterpart, the likes of BHP, RIO, WPL, and even to some extent FMG, it is going to have to be switched on. We continue to remain bullish on cyclical Aussie equities and for good reason: China has snapped a seven straight quarter GDP decline showing that it isn’t in for a hard-landing.

Moving to the open and we are calling the ASX 200 up 0.21% to 4789 points. After a firm lead from the US due to its reporting season kicking into gear, we expect volumes to pick up today after two days of thin trading, and the BHP result to add weight to any market uptrend.

One to watch in early trade:

A few analyst rating changes for this morning:

  • Henderson Group cut to sell at Societe Generale
  • Henderson Group cut to sector perform at RBC Capital
  • Mount Gibson Iron cut to neutral at Credit Suisse
  • Perseus Mining cut to sector perform at RBC Capital
  • cut to reduce at Nomura

Heading offshore for a moment, and German analyst and investor morale hit its highest level in more than 2-1/2 years in January, suggesting the euro zone crisis is no longer hurting Europe's largest economy as much as it was late last year.

A ZEW economic institute survey showed that German investor sentiment had soared to 31.5 points in January from 6.9 points in December - the highest level since May 2010, when Greece had to be bailed out and the sovereign debt crisis began to unfold.

ZEW economist Michael Schroeder said solving the fiscal problems in southern Europe was the main reason for the jump in the index and that its rise showed Germany's economy, which shrank 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter, had turned a corner and should start to grow slowly from now on.

Boral has this morning upgraded its forecast for its underlying first-half profit due to cost saving measures and improved trading conditions in the lead-up to Christmas.

Boral now expects its net profit for the six months to December 31, excluding one-off items, to be about $52 million, it said on Wednesday. That is up from its previous forecast of about $35 million, which it issued in November.

‘‘The improvement on Boral’s previous guidance primarily reflects better than anticipated trading conditions in Australian construction materials underpinned by favourable weather conditions,’’ the company said in a statement.

Also in local news, brewing giant SABMiller has reported a boost in sales of Victoria Bitter.

VB, Foster's flagship beer, which returned to full-strength in October, was "benefiting from the brand restoration programme and improved retail engagement", SABMiller said in a statement overnight.

The result defies brewer Foster's continued drop in sales. Beer sales for Foster's slid four per cent on a pro forma basis, compared with a decline of eight per cent in the first half of 2012.

More on BHP. Pengana Capital's resources fund manager Tim Schroeders said iron ore had not quite lived up to market expectations.

''The iron ore result was probably slightly disappointing by a couple of million tonnes,'' he told Sky News Business.

The 295,000 tonnes of copper produced during the past three months was a strong result and keeps BHP well ahead in its copper numbers for the year.

With six months of the financial year remaining, BHP's copper production is already more than 10 per cent higher than it was at this time last year.

David Lennox from Fat Profits said copper would be the one division that BHP was "very happy with" on the back of today's results.

It's been a busy morning in local company news, with BHP delivering its December quarter production report.

Resources writer Peter Ker reports that the world’s biggest miner will need to lift its iron ore exports over the next six months if it is to meet guidance for the 2013 financial year, after its December quarter results fell short of the improvement analysts were hoping for.

BHP's Pilbara operations produced an extra 3 million tonnes in the December quarter compared to the September quarter, but the 42.1 million tonnes attributable to the company was below the 49 million tonnes hoped for by some analysts.

The company has promised to produce 183 million tonnes in the 2013 financial year, meaning that about 55 per cent of that total will have to come in the second half of the year.

Full story.

For a comprehensive look at this morning’s business news, check today’s need2know. Here are this morning’s key markets numbers:

  • SPI futures are 11 points higher at 4753
  • The $A is higher at $US1.0563
  • In New York, the S&P500 was 0.44% higher at 1492.51
  • In Europe, the FTSE100 rose 0.03% to 6179.17
  • China iron ore was flat at $US145.90 a metric tonne
  • Gold rose 0.4 per cent, to settle at $US1,693.20 an ounce
  • WTI crude oil added 46 US cents to $US96.02 a barrel
  • Reuters/Jefferies CRB index was flat at 301.2

Morning everyone. Welcome to the Markets Live blog for Wednesday.

Contributors: Thomas Hunter, Jens Meyer, Max Mason

This blog is not intended as investment advice

BusinessDay with agencies

Quotes Search

Sort comments by:
  • Market rallies 52 points over the opening 10 mins of the last two days and manages to hold on to 10 points. If the market was a race horse they'd swab it, send it to the Knackers yard, shoot it and then send it to the Russian front.

    Date and time
    January 23, 2013, 4:37PM
  • "Five years after the start of the Great Recession, the toll is terrifyingly clear: Millions of middle-class jobs have been lost in developed countries the world over.

    And the situation is even worse than it appears.

    Most of the jobs will never return, and millions more are likely to vanish as well, say experts who study the labor market. What's more, these jobs aren't just being lost to China and other developing countries, and they aren't just factory work. Increasingly, jobs are disappearing in the service sector, home to two-thirds of all workers.

    They're being obliterated by technology."

    Yikes! What will that do to house prices?

    Date and time
    January 23, 2013, 4:17PM
  • Wayne Swan talked about a fair share for all Australians when he discuued the mining tax. So far no tax collected so no fair share NIL ZERO ZILTCH NOTHING $0.00 but he did managed to make the mining companies look like laughing stocks over the past two and a half years. I hope Wayne Swan gets his fair share of votes on 26/10/2013..l $0.00c NIL

    Date and time
    January 23, 2013, 3:17PM
  • "Here's an interesting piece from the Guardian, a US company has unveiled plans to launch of fleet of spacecraft to hunt for asteroids in the hope of mining them for resources"
    How much ore can you load on a flying pig ?.

    Another Grump
    Date and time
    January 23, 2013, 3:09PM
  • The Treasurer's comments about the carbon tax raise an interesting question. Was the tax deliberately designed to have as little impact on prices as possible?

    If so this makes a mockery of the intended effectiveness of the tax which was supposed to drive environmentally conscious purchasing decisions based on price differentiation.
    I guess once the Greens signed on to support Gillard it didn't matter so much if Labor later gutted the carbon tax of it's effectivenes.

    Congrats to Swan for sucessfully implementing another ineffective tax... perhaps he'll take another curtain call on the missing Resources Tax proceeds shortly...

    Date and time
    January 23, 2013, 1:45PM
    • How so? It was always meant as a "zero sum gain", not a revenue raiser. Poluters pay more while innovators and the voters, sorry public pay left. What's a mockery is the LNPs projections and analysis. If they can't do simple modelling, how TF are they going to run a country? On another note, can someone please explain why the Reserve Bank WON'T cut, given benigh inflation and rising unemployment?

      Just the Facts
      Date and time
      January 23, 2013, 2:24PM
    • re 'just the facts' thank you for the ALP promo...

      The carbon tax was supposed to drive prices of pollution intensive products up which is why there was so much 'compensation' to voters...

      Date and time
      January 23, 2013, 3:04PM
    • It cannot possibly be a zero sum game. The reasosn are so obvious i will not elaborate them here. Economics 101 should cover it. By the way niether Gillard or Swan are economists.

      Another Grump
      Date and time
      January 23, 2013, 3:08PM
    • The whole point of a pigovian (or negative externality tax) is to correct the market outcome (ie. social cost of pollution) which is not covered by the private total cost of the activity.
      The carbon tax is purely a wealth redistribution tool.

      Date and time
      January 23, 2013, 3:56PM
  • My bank manager rang me the other day and told me he was going to foreclose on my mortgage, as I haven’t been making my payments. I told him that I would do ‘whatever it takes’ to ensure my payment are made from now on. He said: “Good enough for me, but you will have to do something about the huge debt you have if you want to remain in your house. This can’t go on forever.”
    Later that morning, I rang the bank and enquired if I could get an increase to my visa’s credit limit. The girl said certainly, how about we double it? I said “that would be good, does it matter that I am unemployed?” She replied, “No, that’s fine, but remember, the money has to be paid back at some point of time, at the moment your payments are overdue.” I told her that I would do ‘whatever it takes’.
    Thinking to myself, that was easy; I quickly rang another bank and asked them if I could apply for a new credit card. In no time, the application was complete and they even transferred the balance of my original card to my new card. Now I owed nothing!
    Later that morning, my bank manager rang me and thanked me for paying of my credit card so quickly. As I was such a valued customer, he offered me a new loan so I could take a holiday. I told him it wouldn’t be necessary, as I could put the holiday on my visa card as it had been paid off in full. He said: the 'Darkest clouds over your finances have passed'.
    I thought to myself, credit is great. Life is great. The world is my oyster.

    Date and time
    January 23, 2013, 1:09PM
    • Fifteen tonnes and what do you get?
      Another day older and deeper in debt! Oh dear, good old debt forever.

      Gordon Gekko
      Date and time
      January 23, 2013, 2:11PM
    • Yes it's interesting the way bank have been bumping up credit card limits so easily. Maybe because people are paying their huge mortgages with their credit card.

      Of course banks offering credit increases without payslips, income statements, asset statements, expense statements and tax returns are in breach of the resposible lending clauses of the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 Chapter 9. That doesn't seem to have sunk in yet.

      With unemployment trending up and a long period of low asset price deflation ahead Australian banks won't be able to defy economic realities for much longer. Then it will really get ugly and we'll see how many of our $10M bank ceo's are worth the money (ie none).

      Date and time
      January 23, 2013, 2:15PM
  • CSL is there some news that hasn't made the media? I'm confused by the constant down days.

    csl why??????
    Date and time
    January 23, 2013, 12:41PM
    • CSL is a beautiful trading stock. Recently lifted profit upgrade and it's trending forever upwards. But, there is a limit, and who knows what that is and when.

      Gordon Gekko
      Date and time
      January 23, 2013, 1:20PM
    • Underlying trend in CSL is very solid & fundamentals supportive. Uptrend continues unless the trend itself says otherwise.

      If you're in for the long term, pullbacks like this are to be expected (as a result of the activity of traders, as Mr Gekko mentioned). If you're a trader, you wouldn't be asking this question so I'll assume you're an 'investor' & in that case my above comment applies ;-)

      El Toro
      Date and time
      January 23, 2013, 3:50PM
  • Dont you love the way the trader/brokers did not know it was going to be a dry summer until Nufarm told them. So much for analysts, can't lift their heads from the Dow Jones and Hangseng long enough to see the weather.

    Another Grump
    Date and time
    January 23, 2013, 11:47AM
    • This is the reason why Ginger the cat is so important to the world economy.

      Snidery Mark
      Date and time
      January 23, 2013, 12:55PM
    • I think we need to bring back the FIFA world cup octopus.

      Another Grump
      Date and time
      January 23, 2013, 1:06PM
  • Can anyone kindly provide me with thoughts as to where the AUD could be against USD by end Feb. 2013. Cheers.

    Blue Stallion
    Date and time
    January 23, 2013, 11:10AM
    • End of February?
      Two choices:

      1. All being well and the bottom doesn't fall out of the underwhelming passive market, around the same as now - $ 1.05 US.

      2. If the Yanks debt is addressed, the Chinese give us their true figures, Japan has another tsunami or Europe implodes, it could be as low as 85 US cents.

      I'll put my money on $ 1.043 US.

      Snidery Mark
      Date and time
      January 23, 2013, 12:52PM
  • OCT 2009 NOW
    ASX 4860 4790
    CAC 3110 3740
    DAX 5015 7680
    FTSE 4503 6180
    DOW 10020 13700
    H/K 16027 23679
    JAP 9041 10700
    NZ 2904 4200

    As an investor I see the money slip away at around 10.10am. It seems to me that the ASX would be on a par with all these other bourses if we could have dropped 5 points less at 10.10am since 15/10/2009. Can't wait till 26/10/2013 ( Goodbye Julia day) to see if things change.

    Date and time
    January 23, 2013, 10:57AM
    • This will be the catalyst for the mother of all bull markets. Institutional (domestic and international) investors have placed a 'sovereign risk' discount of ~10% - 15% on Australian Equities since the 2010 Federal Election.

      On top of this, the effect of the current legislative regime on consumer confidence is real and is just not reported on as companies fear reprisal if they speak up too loudly. Once there is a change of government, watch consumer confidence and consumer spending spike, along with the market.

      Date and time
      January 23, 2013, 11:36AM
    • I don't see it as a given that we will be able to get rid of the Federal ALP government at the next election... they have slandered Abbott pretty effectively in the past and he's hopeless at convincing people on what he stands for given his past self confessed 'weathervane' moments...

      Without some change to the approach taken by the libs, a change of government seems likely to be heavily dependant on when some scandals break (and how they play in the media) eg slipper/ashby, thomson and the investigation(s) into Gillards past.

      Republicans paid the price for running a presidential candidate who was perceived to be out of touch & too right wing on key issues, the question is will the libs pay a similar price... with Abbott in the leadership it seems too close to call.

      Date and time
      January 23, 2013, 12:38PM
    • Seriously, your scaring me. There is no way this country can prosper under another Gillard government. I will seriously think about leaving the country if we have another Labor government, i can trade in Europe as easily as here. It does not bear thinking about seeing her smug face and listening to her whineing voice every day for another 3 years. Bring back Rio Tinto !, forget about that, its much more likely that others will join them overseas. However to look on the bright side we may get rid of that Handcock harradin.

      Another Grump
      Date and time
      January 23, 2013, 1:20PM
    • Another Grump, remember to turn the lights out when you leave ..... Fair enough if you don't believe in the policies of the ALP, but this constant "they've stuffed the economy" mantra is bordering on farcical.!

      Just the Facts
      Date and time
      January 23, 2013, 2:33PM
    • just the facts... not sure what you base your views on... my views are based on the following:

      - additional workplace regulations driving up business costs
      - pro union laws damaging productivity and encouraging union claims in areas that fall clearly under management perogative.
      - retrospective anti business tax laws
      - big business now paying tax monthly
      - Gillard jerking business around about a company tax cut for months then abandoning it in favour of cheap vote buying
      - the initial resources tax structure (one of the most poorly structured tax proposals in Australias history) which damaged Australia's reputation as a safe investment destination...
      - A Treasurer who can't understand (or acts like he can't understand) relatively simple concepts like how bank funding costs work.
      - Several unnecessary budget deficits due to out of control spending.

      Yep absolutely no reason to think this government has been bad for business and the economy...

      Date and time
      January 23, 2013, 3:14PM
    • It's completely understandable that you'd be concerned about the chance of Gillard winning re-election but it's just so unlikely. It comes down to a similar reason why Obama won re-election.

      In Australia, elections are determined by the results in marginal seats (just as elections in the US are determined by results in swing states). The national vote that we see published in opinion polls is next to useless. And private polling from both major parties show Abbott is way in front in those marginal seats (predominantly in Western Sydney and Qld). Yes he is disliked nationally, but in those marginal seats, he is streets ahead of Gillard, who is far and away the most hated PM of all time.

      Date and time
      January 23, 2013, 4:41PM
  • The Age says BHP's output is below expectations, while the Financial Review says BHP's out is above expectations. What do you make of that. The Age is long, FR is short!

    Gordon Gekko
    Date and time
    January 23, 2013, 10:54AM
    • They had vastly varying expectations...?

      Snidery Mark
      Date and time
      January 23, 2013, 12:53PM
  • Here comes the ride down AGAIN

    Date and time
    January 23, 2013, 10:42AM
  • Very subdued market. Trading is very thin. I wonder what the big funds are thinking?

    Gordon Gekko
    Date and time
    January 23, 2013, 10:33AM
  • Morning all - so much for the Japanese announcement. Another damp squib of an outcome for the chicken littles.

    Another Grump
    Date and time
    January 23, 2013, 10:22AM
  • Today will see a straight line ramp of the index, like every other day. Prices are set by big players looking to entice small investors back into a plainly manipulated and overpriced market.

    But understand that the inflated index price is only a price at which you can buy, not sell. Any significant selling and the algo bids vanish immediately. The largest fraud in Australian history is being perpetrated right in front of your eyes, right now.

    The market is ramped daily. Does this make you want to jump in to make profits? If you discovered Madoff precrash, would your instinct be to join his fraud or avoid it?
    Date and time
    January 23, 2013, 10:19AM
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