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Markets Live: Miners take a beating

Date

Patrick Commins, Jens Meyer

Local stocks clawed back some early losses but still finish down, dragged lower by falls in the miners, while the dollar showed no signs of retreating.

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That’s it for Markets Live today.

You can read a wrap-up of the action on the markets here.

Thanks for reading and your comments.

See you all again tomorrow morning from 9.

Rising fears of tougher sanctions on Russia, combined with uncertainty about the health of the world's second biggest economy, pushed Australia's sharemarket back into the red.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index sagged 0.5 per cent on Thursday to 5350.1 points, while the broader All Ordinaries Index shed 0.5 per cent to 5359.7 points, eroding most of Wednesday's gains.

The losses followed a bleak night in overseas trading, where stock markets started in positive territory but ended weaker after the US and Europe agreed to possibly increase sanctions against Russia over its occupation of Crimea, St George economists said.

But Patersons Securities strategist Tony Farnham said the US-Russian tensions were a ''ready-made excuse'' and the reaction of global equity markets was ''beyond reasonable''.

''If Russia pushed further into the eastern part of Ukraine, then sure markets will get nervous but at this stage they're simply delivering a show of strength.''

Mr Farnham said the Wall Street sell-off was mainly due to technology stocks tumbling.

Investors snubbed Facebook's $US2 billion deal to buy virtual reality company Oculus and steered clear of Candy Crush creator King Digital, which slumped 15.5 per cent on its first day of trade after raising $US500 million in an IPO.

Locally, Mr Farnham said a sell-off in base metals, which he attributed to concerns about China's growth, weighed on the market.

Read more.

Lynas Corp this morning before market open told the ASX it didn't know why its shares had fallen so sharply, but by close its stock had bounced by 25 per cent, making it by some distance the best performer in the top 200 today.

Meanwhile Navitas led a cast of mostly miners to be the worst performer.

Asian equity markets are mixed, with Chinese stocks down.

  • Nikkei +0.6%
  • Hang Seng -0.3%
  • Shanghai Comp -0.9%
  • Taiwan TAIEX +0.5%
  • KOSPI +0.6%
  • Singapore FTSE Straits Times +0.4%
  • Jakarta Comp 0.3%
  • Kiwi NZX 50 flat

The Australian dollar is tipped to strengthen beyond its fresh highs but will be held in check by a resurgent US dollar, currency experts say.

The Australian dollar hit four-month highs late Wednesday, building on the surge that followed Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens' comments on his upbeat outlook for the local economy in a speech in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

But its recent appreciation, which has seen it rise more than 3 per cent this year, is not set to bring the currency back to the parity levels of early 2013. Instead, the recovery in the US economy is expected to gradually boost the American dollar and restrain the Australian currency's rise.

The Australian dollar pushed to US92.45¢ late Wednesday, in what analysts said was a marked shift away from the bearish sentiment that had weighed it down in 2013. It slipped slightly but rose again and was fetching US92.37¢ late Thursday.

"This week's price action has been very telling," said Westpac's senior currency strategist Sean Callow.

"The low for the week came on HSBC's China PMI (Purchasing Managers Index), which took us down to US90.50¢. And since then, it's been almost one-way traffic."

The eventual normalisation of US monetary policy could also be the reason why the Reserve Bank has appeared to be more comfortable with the Australian dollar's recent appreciation, said Mr Callow.

Read more.

Speculators are reducing their net short positions on the Australian dollar, according to data from the US-based Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which means they are less negative about its outlook.

Speculators are reducing their net short positions on the Australian dollar, according to data from the US-based Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which means they are less negative about its outlook.

Shares have regained some of their early losses to close 0.5 per cent down, with the ASX 200 27 points lower to 5350.1 and the All Ords 28 points down to 5359.7.

Miners led the retreat, finishing down 1.5 per cent as a group, while the gold miners subgroup did even worse, down 3.1 per cent.

The online classified stocks had a poor day, with the IT sector the next worst, closing 1.4 per cent lower.

BHP (-1.6 per cent), Telstra (-0.6 per cent) and CSL (-1 per cent) were the biggest single drags on the market.

Banks were mixed but outperformed the market, with the best of the Big Four CBA, up 0.2 per cent, and the worst Westpac, 0.2 per cent lower, while ANZ and NAB were broadly flat.

They might be considering an end to fossil fuel investments, but Norway's giant sovereign wealth fund has no problem with IVF and reproductive technologies.

Norges Bank, which manages what some consider the world's biggest wealth fund, has today become a substantial shareholder in ASX-listed Virtus with just over 5 per cent of the stock.

Virtus was one of the best performed floats of 2013 with its predictions of soaring demand for IVF in societies where women are generally having children at an older age.

Norges Bank is also one of the biggest shareholders in BHP Billiton, Anglo American, and a host of major oil and gas companies.

Despite the new investor, shares are down 2.5 per cent at $7.52.

Morgan Stanley is sticking to its buy recommendation on Chinese stocks, saying concern that there’ll be a “significant market disruption” in the world’s second-largest economy is overstated.

China’s consumption and services are bigger than officially reported, giving the economy more room to cope with slowing productivity growth, the Morgan Stanley analysts say. The government’s reforms and its “formidable” financial resources will help policy makers transform the economy without triggering a debt crisis, the analysts write in a report in which they kept their overweight calls on both Chinese and Russian equities.

The economy’s slowdown and rising debt levels pushed the Hang Seng China Enterprise Index, which tracks Chinese firms listed in Hong Kong, into a bear market on March 20. It has since rebounded 7 per cent, but is down 0.2 per cent today.

While Morgan Stanley’s analysts say that debate is mounting about whether China is approaching a “Minsky moment”, a term used to explain an asset collapse following the exhaustion of credit expansion, they say they remain bullish:

  • The apparent deterioration in productivity and diminishing returns to leverage are not as severe as the consensus thinks when one takes into account true activity in the consumer and service sectors of the economy.

The economic slowdown this year led some investors including John Mauldin at Millennium Wave Advisors to warn that the “Minsky moment” may be reckoning following the buildup in private debt over the past few years. The term is named after US economist Hyman Minsky, who argues that periods of rising asset valuation lead to speculation with borrowed debt, only to end in crisis.

Morgan Stanley’s analysts said such a prediction is premature because the service and consumption industries are under-reported in government figures.

The Hang Seng China Enterprise Index has rebounded from last wek's lows, but is still down 9% since the beginning of the year.

The Hang Seng China Enterprise Index has rebounded from last wek's lows, but is still down 9% since the beginning of the year.

A bubble could form in the US economy even as the Federal Reserve unwinds its accommodative policy, a top US central banker says, adding policymakers' ability to spot them had improved substantially.

James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, also told an investment conference in Hong Kong that while there was a risk of keeping rates too low for too long, he did not think the Fed was doing that.

"I don't see an immediate bubble now, but maybe one would form as we are trying to remove policy accommodation in the years ahead, because that's what happened in the 2004-06 period," Bullard said.

Bullard said the Fed's unconventional policies were effective, even as he nodded to the possibility they may be suboptimal and therefore contributing to unnecessary global volatility.

In response to a question, he said he did not favour raising the inflation target in the United States to 4 per cent from 2 per cent.

"I don't think it is a good idea," Bullard said. "Most of the models say 'just name an inflation target and proceed from there', but I don't see it as a good idea."

Bubble in the making

Bubble in the making Photo: Danielle Smith

Qantas will let go of 26 managers over the coming months as part of a what it describes in a leaked internal document as ‘‘major changes’’ to the make up of its senior leadership team.

In the seven-page memo to staff, the airline reveals the extent of the changes to roles across the airline group, including its premium domestic and international divisions, and budget offshoot Jetstar.

The airline group names 26 senior managers who will be leaving, including Qantas International security head Steve Tregarthen, senior engineering manager Gavin Harris and Jetstar executive strategy manager Max Kownatzki. Simon Chamberlain, who led the new travel booking site Hooroo, will also leave Jetstar.

It is the most detailed breakdown of the changes to its leadership team since Qantas confirmed a month ago that it will axe 5000 jobs as part of efforts to strip out $2 billion in costs from the business over the next three years.

However, the top echelon of Qantas’s most senior management has so far escaped the deep cost cutting despite a muted investor response and the airline failing to convince the Abbott government to agree to its pleas for a debt guarantee or an unsecured $3 billion loan.

The leaked document shows Qantas’ struggling international division will consolidate the roles of some of its regional general managers, resulting in some overseeing a larger number of countries.

Read more

Qantas has announced a major shake-up of its management ranks.

Qantas has announced a major shake-up of its management ranks. Photo: Jim Rice

Total household wealth (net worth) stood at a record $7.532 trillion at the end of December, up $253.7 billion over the quarter – the biggest quarterly rise in four years, CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian notes:

  • In per capita terms, wealth rose to a record $322,757 in the December quarter, up $9,529 over the quarter.
  • Households held a record $830.9 billion in cash and deposits at the end of December. Cash and deposit holdings represented 22.1 per cent of financial assets, above the decade average of 20 per cent.
  • The global financial crisis caused the biggest ever drop in wealth for Australian households; however wealth levels have been repaired over past couple of years and have hit new highs.
  • Interestingly just over 22 per cent of total household assets are being held in cash and deposits - well above the decade average of 20 per cent.
  • The strength in share markets has certainly been the key driver of the turnaround in wealth and more importantly the pickup in wealth is expected to continue.
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Another Australian coal mine has succumbed to the severe cost pressures in the industry, with mining giant Glencore Xstrata announcing the closure of the Ravensworth underground mine in New South Wales.

With thermal coal prices slumping close to four-year lows, the Hunter Valley mine was no longer profitable and will be closed by September. The closure will affect about 130 workers at the mine, and follows several other coal mine closures - and deferrals of new coal mines - over the past two years.

Glencore said in a statement that the closure was due to low coal prices, high mining costs, the high Australian dollar and geological constraints. The underground mine is one of three at the Ravenswood precinct in the Hunter Valley, and the closure will only affect the underground mine.

The Ravensworth underground mine produces 2.1 million tonnes of semi-soft coking coal annually, with the mine to be placed on 'care and maintenance' from September.

Other shareholders in the mine are Marubeni Corp and Korean steel maker Posco.

At the start of March, representatives from eight of Australia's biggest listed companies travelled to Japan to attract new investors, with the offer of dividend yields rarely seen in the Japanese market.

The increased interest in Japan in the high-yielding Australian sharemarket is simply the latest trend in ever-changing global markets' attitudes towards equity investments in Australia.

Trips to Edinburgh are considered less and less rewarding, while London investors remain open-minded. New York is considered a hit-and-miss market.

There remain too many hedge funds looking for a quick trade rather than long-term investors interested in backing a sustained recovery in the Australian economy. The sustainability or otherwise of the Australian housing market still dominates most conversations with potential US investors.

Examining the register of a major corporate, such as Commonwealth Bank, shows that foreign institutional ownership has risen over the past five years from about 15 per cent to about 20 per cent, but that covers both active and index-linked institutional buying.

Japanese investors have been steadily increasing their presence on such registers. Unlike some jurisdictions, Japanese retail investors can readily invest directly in foreign equities through retail broking outlets that are commonplace in big Japanese cities.

With interest rates on deposits near record lows and fears of inflation growing under the expansionist policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Australian stocks offering high single-digit yields look attractive to Japanese investors wanting to preserve their incomes.

Three of the major banks, CBA, Westpac and ANZ, as well as Telstra, AMP, QBE, Challenger Financial and Amcor all presented at the Daiwa Capital Markets conference in Tokyo and declared the trip worthwhile.

Read more.

Here's a nifty chart from Westpac international economist Elliot Clarke, who is not convinced that the strong growth in the US stockmarket has been built on strong economic fundamentals, and so questions the ability of the S&P 500 to continue to make gains. (And he's not the Lone Ranger there.)

To boost their bottom lines, US companies have relied on cost cutting and capital management (such as buy backs). He points out that earnings have outstripped sales by a long way in the past few years.

Which leads him to question how sustainable the current strength in US stocks is:

Being able to meet, and indeed exceed, investor expectations through management of the bottom line has negated the need [for US businesses] to invest in their own productive capacity.

This has resulted in a deteriorating underlying trend for business investment, further impacted by the various bouts of fiscal uncertainty.

Needless to say, this is not a viable long-term strategy. One has to argue that there is an inevitable limit to the earnings benefits achieved through cost and capital management, with top-line trends the inevitable determinant of long-term success and stock performance.

All else equal, the absence of persistent investment in productive capacity and efficiency creates a tension between the market’s expectations and firms’ ability to perform. This tension has been magnified by the degree of liquidity provision offered by the Federal Reserve.

The apparent disconnect between financial market performance and real economic activity should concern investors. If the FOMC’s economic forecasts fail to be achieved again in 2014 and, at the same time, liquidity continues to be removed, the sharp improvement seen in household financial wealth may be jeopardised.

 

US listed companies have been relying on cost cutting and capital management to grow earnings.

US listed companies have been relying on cost cutting and capital management to grow earnings.

Transurban has strengthened its position in Sydney's toll roads, with the $475 million purchase of the Cross City Tunnel.

It had been shortlisted, earlier, so the deal comes as little surprise.

Shares are down 0.3 per cent at $7.28.

The prodigal son, Lachlan Murdoch, was in Sydney when the first major plank in his father Rupert's succession plan was revealed.

It was the culmination of talks that had started six months ago between them and a victory for Murdoch sr, who had for eight years been attempting to lure his son back to the family business.

But what was the trigger that dictated the timing?  Most importantly someone had disappeared from the equation - Rupert's now ex-wife Wendi Deng.

The disdain in which Lachlan held Deng was legendary as was the family brawl over how Deng's children would figure in the corporate inheritance. While it was ultimately settled they would ultimately receive non-voting shares and the elder children, James, Lachlan, Elisabeth and Prue could receive the voting shares which conferred control, the relationship between Lachlan and his father could never be completely mended while he was with Deng.

(The split became public in June last year and the divorce settlement was reached in November.)

This opened the door for Lachlan to at least begin talks with his rather about changing his role within the family companies. Until now he had been a non-executive director of both Murdoch's companies, 21st Century Fox and News Corp.

Read more.

Nufarm may have sufficient funding to see it through the next year, but analysts and investors are starting to question whether that buffer is large enough to keep the company’s banks happy.

The agricultural business revealed $1.02 billion net debt at its first-half results on Wednesday, compared with $742.6 million a year earlier. Interest expense climbed to $31.7 million from $23.1 million for the six months ended January 31.

UBS analysts said Nufarm’s gearing looked stretched compared with other ag companies and the wider industrials market.

The broker said Nufarm was overgeared with net debt to EBITDA of more than two times through to the end of 2014-15.

“The company has provided medium-term targets around improving working capital, which have been communicated previously,” UBS analysts told clients in a report this morning.

“However we remain sceptical of these targets given the company’s earnings transition to the more capital-intensive South American region.”

Credit Suisse analysts were less sceptical. The broker said that if Nufarm could convert $300 million of working capital into cash in the second half, the company’s shares could jump quickly.

Credit Suisse identified a number of areas which could help Nufarm achieve strong cash flows in the coming six months, including the collection of $200 million of South American receivables, favourable payment terms and growth in the US and Europe.

Tech stocks - whether they are Chinese or American - have been on a tear of late as investors show they are prepared to pay hand over fist for any stock that promises growth.

Australia, as we all know, doesn't have much in the way of a listed tech sector, but we do have the four online classifieds businesses: REA Group, Wotif.com, Seek, and Carsales.com.

Comparing the four (see table below) and what immediately struck us was Wotif.com - a growth stock yielding 7.9 per cent!

Of course, the problem is that the market has de-rated the stock on concerns around the longevity of its online travel business model in the face of big international competitors.

Just as investors are keen to reward companies with a solid expected earnings profile, they seem quick to punish those that fall off the growth bandwagon.

Indeed, the long-term estimated annual earnings per share growth rate is close to -10 per cent, according to Bloomberg. That's why you get a PEG ratio of "N/a".

The PEG ratio is a value measure that factors in estimated earnings growth, and is calculated as est. P/E divided by the long-term annual projected EPS growth rate. A score below 1 is considered good value.

On that basis REA Group - trading on a est. P/E of 41 - looks reasonable value, while Seek looks the most expensive.

Which, if any, of these names would you buy?

Some vital states of the small online tech sector in the ASX 200.

Some vital states of the small online tech sector in the ASX 200.

Breaking into the property market is about to become tougher as the effects of record low interest rates taper, according to the Housing Industry Association.

The HIA-Commonwealth Bank Housing Affordability Index slipped 0.5 per cent in the December quarter as stimulus from the last interest rate cut in August ‘‘washed through the system’’.

HIA chief economist Harley Dale said the decline ended a ‘‘considerable improvement’’ in housing affordability and buying a home would become more expensive this year:

  • In 2014 we are likely to see further gains in residential property prices, but in an environment of subdued household earnings growth and steady interest rates.
  • The strong cyclical improvement to affordability for existing participants in the home ownership market has therefore run its course.

The Reserve Bank has indicated that it will keep interest rates on hold in coming months, despite the Australian dollar appreciating towards the mid-US90¢ bracket again.

The housing affordability index declined in four out of the six capital cities. Hobart recorded the biggest decrease at -9.2 per cent, followed by Sydney, which plunged 4.4 per cent. Perth and Brisbane eased 2.5 per cent and 1 per cent respectively.

But affordability in Melbourne and Adelaide increased, both rising 5.5 per cent.

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Critics of the locked up cross shareholding between Brickworks and Washington Soul Pattinson received more fuel today from the flat Soul Patts interims, released earlier.

Soul Patts blamed a sharp profit downturn at energy group New Hope for the flat earnings, with that decline more than offsetting gains elsewhere, such as with its Brickworks and TPG Telecom investments.

But buried in the accounts is a $21.4 million loss from the wholly owned CopperChem, which has a mine in North Queensland. Ouch!

In early afternoon dealings, Soul Patts was down 1 per cent at $14.98.

The US Federal Reserve has rejected plans by Citi to buy back $US6.4 billion of shares and boost dividends, saying the bank is not sufficiently prepared to handle a potential financial crisis.

The decision marks the second time in three years that Citigroup has failed to win the Fed's approval for its plan to return money to shareholders, known as the "capital plan".

Officials at the bank never saw the rejection coming, a source close to the matter told Reuters.

The rejection underscores that whatever strides Citi's chief executive, Michael Corbat, has made in fixing the bank's difficulties, he still has work to do. Shares of Citigroup, the third-largest US bank, fell 5.4 per cent to $US47.45 in after-hours trading.

The bank, like its competitors, faces two opposing goals. It wants to have large amounts of capital to please regulators; it also wants to please its shareholders, and high levels of capital weigh on profitability.

Citigroup's complexity - it operates in over 100 countries, and was built over decades of acquisitions - may be working against it, analysts said.

"Citi needs to make this defeat into victory by improving the pace of restructuring," said Mike Mayo, an analyst at CLSA, saying the bank should consider breaking itself up more dramtically than it already has.

The other banks blocked by the Fed on Wednesday in their plans for higher dividends or share buybacks were the US units of HSBC, RBS and Santander, due to weaknesses in their capital planning processes.

The Tax Office is allowing Australians with money parked in offshore accounts to avoid harsh penalties by coming forward, in an amnesty program worth up to half a billion dollars.

ATO Commissioner Chris Jordan will announce the program today, which will reduce the penalties for taxpayers who hand over information about their hidden accounts over the past four years.

The program is being drummed up as the 'last chance' for tax evaders to make peace with the Tax Office, before greater information sharing powers with overseas jurisdictions come into effect.

''We're getting into a world where there may be a lot more automatic exchange of information,'' ATO Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston said. ''What we're saying to taxpayers who have stayed hidden is, one day you will get caught. And it will be a lot worse for you when you do.''

The program is targeting rich individuals but Cranston said there's nothing to stop a company such as Google or Apple from coming forward.

Read more

'Last chance' for tax evaders.

'Last chance' for tax evaders.

Real-estate classified giant REA Group should quickly appoint a permanent chief executive who is tech-savvy and independent of its majority owner News Corp, an analyst says.

REA's chairman, Hamish McLennan, will take on a heavier role at TV company Ten Network, it was announced last night. In addition to his REA duties, McLennan will be both executive chairman and CEO of Ten. According to Ten spokesman Neil Shoebridge, the dual role is not temporary. A combined role is not common in Australia, due to corporate goverance concerns.

REA is now led by interim chief executive Peter Tonagh, News Corp Australia's chief operating officer, who replaced Greg Ellis. The $6.2 billion company is also looking for a chief financial officer to replace Jenny Macdonald.

Morgans analyst Ivor Ries says the market would not take kindly to Tonagh getting a permanent gig:

  • It needs to find a CEO. An interim CEO doesn't solve the problem.
  • The market wants to see a guy with an online background rather than a News Corp lieutenant.
  • If he [Mr Tonagh] continued and became permanent I think the market would be disappointed."

But Mark McDonnell, analyst at BBY, says the appointments are simply a "timing issue", and shareholders are more likely to be pleased with the company's share-price performance.

REA has been one of the star performers this year, with shares up 25.5 per cent year to date. Today they're being sold off, however, down 1.15 per cent to $47.40.

The rumour spread quickly. A small rural lender in eastern China had turned down a customer's request to withdraw 200,000 yuan ($32,200).

Bankers and local officials say it never happened, but true or not the rumour was all it took to spark a run on a bank as the story passed quickly from person to person, among depositors, bystanders and even bank employees.

Savers feared the bank in Yancheng, a city in Sheyang county, had run out of money and soon hundreds of customers had rushed to its doors demanding the withdrawal of their money despite assurances from regulators and the central bank that their money was safe.

The panic in a corner of the coastal Jiangsu province north of Shanghai, while isolated, struck a raw nerve and won national airplay, possibly reflecting public anxiety over China's financial system after the country's first domestic bond default this month shattered assumptions the government would always step in to prevent institutions from collapsing.

Rumours also find especially fertile ground here after the failure last January of some less-regulated rural credit co-operatives.

Read more.

Woodside is expected to sign its final agreements to take up equity in Israel’s giant Leviathan gas project amid speculation that exports will be limited to 6 to 8 billion cubic metres a year, Israel's Globes newspaper has reported.

The restriction applies to gas exports via pipeline, the newspaper reported, citing licence conditions published Wednesday.

The licence requires the partners in Leviathan to keep capacity of 8-10 billion cubic meters of gas a year for the domestic market, which would leave 6-8 BCM a year for exports.

This volume of exports is enough for a single anchor customer, according to the report, which could be either Egypt or Turkey, but not both.

A strong performance from its building products division helped Brickworks to offset declines in its property and investment arms to post a steady interim profit.

The net profit of $56.3 million for the six months to the end of January was earned on revenue of $325.6 million up from $311.3 million.

The interim dividend was raised to 14c from 13.5c on earnings a share of 36.1c down from 37.9c.

The pretax profit from the building products arm rose 37 per cent to $19.2 million.

Victoria is continuing to suffer from a "major decline" in starts of detached housing, Brickworks said, with activity at record levels n Western Australia and firm in most other markets. In NSW, most activity is in the high rise sector, it said.

The slow recovery in building products demand is now behind it, with volume demand at its Austral bricks unit ahead 30 per cent in March, year on year, it said.

"Significantly higher earnings" are expected from the building products division in the second half, it said.

Overall, full year earnings will "comfortably exceed" the year earlier figures, it said.

In the year to July, the net profit totalled $85.2 million, with analysts expecting a full year profit of around $105-110 million.

Brickworks shares are up 2 cents to 67 cents.

Read more.

Wall Street had a fairly average session yesterday, with the S&P500 falling 0.6 per cent, but losses were largest on the Nasdaq, which fell 1.4 per cent.

The tech-heavy index has been under more pressure than the Dow or the S&P500 since Janet Yellen's post-FOMC press conference last week, when she suggested US interest rates could rise as early as April next year. The Nasdaq has since dropped 3.5 per cent and is now again in negative territory for the year.

Last night, Facebook plunged 6.9 per cent to $US60.38, after agreeing to pay $US2 billion for virtual reality company Oculus. It's Facebook's second big acquisition in as many months. Last month the social network announced that it would pay $US19 billion for messaging startup WhatsApp.

King Digital Entertainment, the maker of the popular "Candy Crush Saga" game, slumped 15.6 per cent, to $US19.00.on its first day of trading. The company raised $US499.5 million in an initial public offering that values the company at about $US7.1 billion.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq (white line) has fallen more than both the ASX200 (purple) or the S&P500 (green) since Yellen's press conference.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq (white line) has fallen more than both the ASX200 (purple) or the S&P500 (green) since Yellen's press conference.

Surging house prices – growing at an unsustainable annualised pace of 20 per cent – are likely to trigger early official rate hikes with Sydney acting as the Reserve Bank’s “canary in the coalmine,” an economist has warned.

Kieran Davies, chief economist at Barclays Bank Australia said RBA governor Glenn Stevens was no longer “relaxed” by housing market gains after previously being unconcerned by last year’s strong increases because they were a natural consequence of record low rates.

The booming market has even triggered a rethink within the bank about so-called macro prudential tools, Mr Davies said.

These include forcing banks to cut lending to risky borrowers.

“That said, the governor still seems sceptical of macro-prudential policy, suggesting that ‘prolonged use’ of prudential tools indicates that interest rates are too low,” Mr Davies said.

Mr Stevens ramped up warnings about the property market on Wednesday, telling investors to be aware prices could and would fall from time to time. He also expressed optimism that the economy had turned a corner and would accelerate off the back of a “boom” in home construction.

The comments are spurring a rethink in financial markets about the timing of the first official rate rise, and sent the dollar above US92¢ for the first time in four months.

“The Sydney housing market is the canary in the coalmine for the RBA, with Sydney house prices growing at an annualised rate of 20 per cent and investors now accounting for a record 54 per cent of new home loans written each month in NSW,” Mr Davies said.

Chemist wholesaler Sigma Pharmaceuticals is feeling the effects of government reform to bring down the price of prescription medicines with slow sales growth missing expectations.

But full year net profit more than doubled due to a number of one-off events.

Sales increased 1.1 per cent to $2.97 billion in the 12 months ended January 31, which missed analysts expectations of just over $3 billion.

Sigma, which supplies prescription medicines and over the counter goods to pharmacy brands like Chemist's Warehouse, Guardian and Amcal, said the volume of products delivered increased 3.3 per cent.

But this volume growth was offset by the reduced prices paid by government for prescription drugs through the $9 billion Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

"This impact is expected to continue in the year ahead, with the next round of Government price disclosure changes occurring in April 2014," the company said.

Sigma's full-year net profit rose 187 per cent to $53.5 million. EBIT rose 204 per cent to $70.3 million. Analysts had expected net profit of $47.6 million, according to Bloomberg.

Both increases were boosted by one-off events.

Sigma shares are up 6.4 per cent to 67 cents.

Read more.

Shares in Lynas have soared after the rare earths miner said commercial production and sales of rare earth oxide products for the March quarter will both be higher than the previous quarter.

Shares, which have been trading around five-year lows, are up 13.9 per cent at 20.5 cents.

Fund managers are keenly awaiting the $4 billion initial public offering of the country's largest private health insurer Medibank Private, saying government vendors often leave room for earnings growth because the companies are forced to become more efficient operators when they are listed.

Yesterday Finance Minister Mathias Cormann announced the Coalition would push ahead with plans to float the government-owned insurer in 2014-15.

The float could be popular with mum and dad investors who are familiar with the well-known Medibank brand and who remember the previous successful sales of government assets like Telstra and CSL.

Nomura analyst Toby Langley said Medibank would likely be worth about $4 billion, based on the valuation of its competitors.

Medibank controls about 30 per cent of the private health insurance market.

But Mr Cormann said Medibank policy holders would not receive shares in the float.

Investors Mutual equities analyst Daniel Moore said government-owned businesses often perform well as listed companies because executives are given new incentives that encourage them to more aggressively pursue profit.

"Generally if executives have better opportunities to earn bonuses and [gain] value from options through executive options schemes they tend to work a bit harder and are more driven to deliver profit outcomes year to year," he said.

Read more.

Diversified investment company Washington H. Soul Pattinson has increased its interim dividend despite a decline in interim earnings as a result of mixed contributions from key investments.

A steep profit decline by coal miner New Hope, partly offset by higher earnings from TPG Telecom and Brickworks, resulted in the net profit falling to $63.5 million from $80.5 million in the six months to January.

The company’s interim dividend was raised to 19¢ from 18¢ on earnings a share of 30.8¢ compared with 31¢ earned a year earlier.

Shares have opened sharply lower, with the ASX 200 down 54 points, or 1 per cent, to 5322.6, while the All Ords is trading down 52 points lower at 5335.1.

Metals and mining stocks have reversed yesterday's gains, down 1.7 per cent, while gold miners slumped 2.6 per cent.

BHP has fallen 1.7 per cent, and Rio 1.6 per cent.

The big banks are all down between 0.7 and 0.9 per cent, while QBE has slumped 2.1 per cent.

The best performer in morning trading is Lynas, which is up 9.7 per cent - one of only 22 stocks to advance in the ASX 200.

Gold fell to a five-week low in New York as signs of economic recovery in the U.S. boosted speculation the Federal Reserve will further pare stimulus, curbing demand for the precious metal as a store of value.

Orders for durable goods climbed a more-than-forecast 2.2 per cent in February, reflecting the biggest gain in automobile demand in a year, a government report showed. Gold has lost 2.8 percent since March 19, when Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank’s debt-buying program may end this year.

“The durable goods number was stronger than expected, and that’s weighing on the market,” Bill O’Neill, a partner at Logic Advisors in New Jersey. “Further ideas that the Fed will move at a quicker pace toward tightening continue to be an overhang factor.”

Hedge funds and other speculators have been closing bullish bets to curb losses, O’Neill said.

The drop in prices has taken gold near the 200-day moving average of about $1,299.78. The metal last traded below the measure in mid-February, and a close below that may signal further losses to some traders who study price charts.

More on Qube Holdings, which entered a trading halt this morning.

The logistics group will invest $50 million in a joint venture with Hong-Kong based agricultural group Noble to build a new grain handling depot at NSW’s Port Kembla.

The depot, which will be known as Quattro Grain, will export up to 1.3 million tonnes of grain annually.

Noble will use Qube Logistics’ rail services to transport grain to Quattro Grain on a “take or pay” basis.

Grain traders Emerald and Cargill have also agreed to use Quattro Grain and Qube’s rail services, and other grain groups are also welcome to use the depot, which is expected to start operating in early fiscal 2016.

“This is a significant strategic project which we believe will alter the dynamics of the tightly-controlled grain handling market,” said Maurice James, Qube’s managing director, adding it would diversify the company’s earnings and create “significant” growth opportunities.

“The investment is consistent with Qube’s strategy to invest in port infrastructure that aligns with Qube’s operations.”

Emerald and Cargill have been given call options to invest in Quattro Grain. If they take up the options, Qube’s and Noble’s interest in the depot will drop to 30 percent each.

Investors are scampering to unwind wagers on a decline in Australia’s dollar as a pickup in the economy stokes speculation that the central bank will start to raise interest rates next year.

Hedge funds and other large speculators cut so-called net shorts by 25,643 contracts to 15,370 contracts in the week ended March 18, the second biggest reduction on record, while longer-term investors such as pension funds bet on an advance for a second week, according to data from the Washington-based Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The Aussie has strengthened 3.4 per cent versus the US dollar this month, the best performance among 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

Shorting the Aussie dollar for structural reasons was a popular position going into 2014,” Brian Daingerfield, a US-based currency strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland. “Now, the data there has looked quite a bit stronger and the Reserve Bank of Australia has shifted to a more neutral outlook.”

Traders who, at the start of the year, expected the Aussie to suffer amid a slowdown in China, have been caught off-guard as the economy starts to rebalance away from its dependence on commodities-led growth.

Citigroup Economic Surprise Index for Australia, which measures the gap between data reports and strategists’ estimates, rose this month to the highest level since May after improvements in growth and employment.

“The markets are recognizing that the drivers for Australia’s economy are becoming increasingly diverse and much of the potential negative impulses from China appear priced in now,” Rick Harrell, a Boston-based senior sovereign analyst at Loomis Sayles.

Shares in News Corp and 21st Century Fox are expected to fall today, following Wall Street's lead, on news that Rupert Murdoch has promoted his sons and likely answered succession questions.

Shares in News Corp and Fox fell overnight in the US, by 1.9 per cent and 1 per cent respectively, underperforming the S&P500's 0.6 per cent drop.

Ivor Ries, analyst at Morgans and former senior journalist, says the announcements - that Lachlan Murdoch would be non-executive co-chairman of News Corp and 21st Century Fox, and James Murdoch would be co-chief operating officer at News Corp - have been coming a long time:

  • The question really was whether it was going to be James or Lachlan. That's been answered now.
  • The announcement does not signal, however, that Rupert Murdoch intends to step aside in the near term.
  • Rupert will be chairman of these companies until he takes his last breath, but obviously wants the dynasty to be up to speed.
Murdoch appointed News Corp co-chairman (Video Thumbnail) Click to play video

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Murdoch appointed News Corp co-chairman

Businessman Lachlan Murdoch takes the helm of his father's news empire, being named co-chairman of News Corp and 21st Century Fox. Nine News.

PT0M19S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-35jkz 620 349

Stevedore firm Qube Holdings is in a trading halt pending the announcement of the outcome of a planned $200 million share placement to institutional investors.

After the placement, a $30 million share purchase plan will be made available to eligible investors.

The company said it expects to make the announcement before the end of trading on Monday, 28 March.

The money will be used to fund capex associated with a new joint venture - to be announced before the bookbuild starts - reduce debt and pay for other planned expenditure.

Local stocks are poised to open lower as global investors continue to fret on the economic repercussions of Russian aggression in the Ukraine.

What you need2know:

  • SPI futures down 33 points to 5337 at 8.45am AEDT
  • AUD at 92.26 US cents, 94.15 Japanese yen, 66.91 Euro cents and 55.67 British pence at 6.00am AEDT
  • On Wall St, S&P500 -0.7%, Dow Jones -0.6%, Nasdaq -1.4%
  • In Europe, Euro Stoxx 50 +1.1%, FTSE100 flat, CAC +0.9%, DAX +1.2%
  • Spot gold fell 0.6% to $US1302.93 an ounce
  • Brent oil flat at $US107.06 per barrel
  • Iron ore up 0.1% to $US110.90 per metric tonne.

 

What’s on today in economics:

  • Australia - ABS population figures, financial accounts, Dec quarter
  • US - Unemployment claims, final GDP numbers for December quarter (both 11:30pm AEDT)

 

Stocks to watch:

  • Brickworks reports interim earnings
  • Washington Soul Pattinson reports interim earnings
  • Sigma Pharma reports full-year profits
  • Hartleys Research has a “buy” recommendation on MACA Ltd with a 12-month price target of $2.61 a share, implying an FY15 P/E of 8.7x
  • Morningstar has a “buy” recommendation on gold miner Kingsgate Consolidated. “Our recently adjusted $4.20 Kingsgate fair value estimate stands, and at $1.02 the shares persist at a substantial discount,” the research house said

 

Read more.

Good morning and welcome to the Markets Live blog for Thursday.

Your editors today are Jens Meyer and Patrick Commins.

This blog is not intended as investment advice.

BusinessDay with wires.

Quotes Search

Sort comments by:
  • The current valuation of all residential property is @4.5T. When it corrects down 30% net wealth per capita will be at @ 2003 levels.

    GFC2 will shave off another 20%.

    Commenter
    Allan
    Location
    Prahran
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 4:44PM
  • "In per capita terms, wealth rose to a record $322,757"

    It's not a record. It's $267,000 in 2007 dollars so it is @ 5% lower than 7 years ago which accords with the total returns on the share market of zero and @ 5% for property trust and other financial collapsed.

    Commenter
    Allan
    Location
    Prahran
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 4:38PM
  • When will google maps get it right?https://www.google.com/maps?q=Ukraine&hl=en&ll=45.02695,35.112305&spn=14.349166,36.5625&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=32.197599,73.125&oq=uk&hnear=Ukraine&t=m&z=5

    Commenter
    Wwwish Lion
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 3:57PM
    • What's wrong with it, or should it by now all be shown as part of the new Russian empire.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 4:22PM
  • @ 3.16, household wealth continues to rise, and the majority of Australian households are in good shape.

    Not shown in these figures is the fact that mortgage repayments across the board are well ahead of requirements.

    Australians responded to the GFC exactly as they did to the 1987 crash by lifting savings. $830B in cash and term deposits - that's nearly $1 trillion in cash.

    The note says that this is 10% above the decade average, but it's actually more than that above the long-term whole of cycle average because of the high-weighting in the last decade to post-GFC behaviour.

    Australians will go on to respond over the next decade just as they do in every recovery by reverting to the long-run consumption/savings ratios. This will see hundreds of billions of dollars released from cash into consumption or investment.

    The economic impact of 500 job cuts here, or 1,000 job cuts there, are as nothing in the scheme of things (devastating as it is for the individuals involved). Anyone who cannot see the next uptick in the cycle coming full steam ahead has no-one but themselves to blame.

    And btw, with hundreds of billions of invest-able cash waiting to be put to work, don't hold your breath waiting for house prices to crash.

    Commenter
    pass the red
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 3:50PM
    • and when will the next uptick in the cycle be.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 4:17PM
    • I don't see housing prices crashing, but I don't see them increasing much over the next decade or so either. I don't think residential housing is a great investment, unless very well selected. Australian stocks, however, I believe will likely steadily rise during that time until probably XAO 15,000 or so before the next decent crash/obligatory buying opportunity. I think it'll take that long for people to forget the GFC and get reckless again.

      Commenter
      player1
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 4:30PM
    • @ mitch - the uptick started in March 2009 when the stock market bottomed out. Stocks are up 60% since then. Housing rose last year. The most important variable in my book is the savings rate which peaked last year and has begun to decline (ie people are spending again).

      I know you are predicting the market to retreat a few hundred points by June and maybe you're right, maybe not. But short-term ups and downs are irrelevant over the timeframe that I'm interested in, which is the next ten to fifteen years. I'm going to sit back and enjoy the replay of 1992-2007.

      Commenter
      pass the red
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 4:47PM
  • shorters taking another beating.
    any still in the game?

    Commenter
    no banks .. no party!
    Location
    love it.
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 3:47PM
    • Just in Metcash!

      Commenter
      GS
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 4:22PM
  • "Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has been given a 21.8 per cent increase to his annual salary."

    Will someone slap the politicians in this country?

    Commenter
    Allan
    Location
    Prahran
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 3:01PM
    • ...and they were laughing at the commies...lol; these guys are far worse.

      Commenter
      Lenin
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:25PM
    • I wonder if Eric Abetz will be outraged about this "wages breakout"?

      Commenter
      Fred
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:29PM
    • is there anyone you're not upset with?
      chill

      Commenter
      no banks .. no party!
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:35PM
    • Trouble is if they're not paid well we don't get quality....Oh, hang on..

      Commenter
      JohnBB
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:36PM
    • Well deserved, if you want quality people you have to pay for it and Campbell Newman is doing a great job in repairing Queensland's financial turmoil.

      Commenter
      Salary Sam
      Location
      Brisvegas
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:42PM
    • @no banks .. no party!...No don't chill. That's how this country's in the mess it is.

      Commenter
      JohnBB
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:50PM
    • No one you know.

      Commenter
      Allan
      Location
      Prahran
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 4:40PM
  • Anyone interested in starting an ASX listed company turning over billions in profit a year?

    Compete with the rip off feeBay.

    Commenter
    JohnBB
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 3:01PM
    • Why don't you start up the competitor, JohnBB?

      You told us recently that you are wealthy, and retired young. You clearly have plenty of time on your hands, and as someone who has criticised the high fees at least 20 times, you obviously must have a good feel for the market and the margins.

      This is a serious question.

      Commenter
      pass the red
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:25PM
    • Yeah okay. I'll put in a couple of hundred thousand.....All we need are some IT skills and we're off.

      BTW. I'm well off as far as my standards go...They may be different to yours. It's no lie I'm semi retired...

      Commenter
      JohnBB
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:47PM
    • I'm sorry JohnBB. I have zero confidence in your idea. Amazon is the 12th most frequented site in the world and eBay is the 23rd most frequented site in the world. You think you are going to compete with them with "a couple of hundred thousand.....All we need are some IT skills and we're off." LOL

      Good luck!

      Commenter
      Gordon Akman
      Location
      Broadbeach
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 5:00PM
  • So Transurban has purchased Sydney's Cross City Tunnel from the liquidators.. Better be third time lucky as it has gone bust 2 times. Then there is the Lane Cove tunnel and the Clem 7 and Airport Link roads in Brisbane who've also gone bust. Take note Victorians, these flashy, you beaut, will solve everything toll road tunnels have a bad habit of disappointing. The Victorian government refuses to present its business case for the 15 billion dollar East West up for an independent review by Infrastructure Australia. Nah, its all going to be reviewed by a parliamentary committee headed by Abbot's political sidekicks. Yep, really independent and knowledgable. LOL

    Commenter
    Jim
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 2:40PM
    • It is oneupmanship Jim.
      Vic Labour built the Wonthaggi desal plant for $1B and it's never been used, so the Coalition want their own white elephant only bigger.
      It all about leaving a legacy for future generations.

      Commenter
      Learner
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:47PM
    • We need to build a pipeline to swan hill and irrigate (i really want to flood it) the desert with our desal water.

      Commenter
      Wwwish Lion
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 4:19PM
    • We will be in an El Nino cycle by this time next year. That desal plant might come in very handy. Better to be prepared than caught horribly short.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 4:20PM
  • 2:18pm: Here's a nifty chart from Westpac international economist Elliot Clarke..... This chart tells a big story. The average pleb in USA has not seen a rise in their buying power so their purchases have rise weakly. To increase purchases they need a decent rise in their take home pay. Barak O has been talking recently for such a lift in the minimum wage but of course has no power to grant one. The chart shows the power and the greed of the 1%.

    Commenter
    Wally
    Location
    Flynn
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 2:37PM
  • People can write and say whatever they like.....as long as it is NOT about me!

    Commenter
    Ox
    Location
    Kensi Pk
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 2:30PM
  • George Brandis, second leper of the Liberal Party. To be followed closely by Scott Morrison and Greg Hunt.

    Commenter
    Allan
    Location
    Prahran
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 2:27PM
    • Get lawyers out of government. Where in business or social arenas do we find a gaggle of lawyers? Nowhere but government. Get rid of them.

      Commenter
      JohnBB
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 2:50PM
  • There's a revolt going on in QT

    Commenter
    mitch of ACT
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 2:26PM
    • Well I drove up the Pacific Highway today and parts of it remind me of the Gibb River Road in Western Australia.

      Certainly can understand why it is so important to fix these roads so I can see why the Tony Abbott has made infrastructure a high priority for his Government. I bought LEI @ $17 and have FBU on my radar

      Commenter
      "P" Plater
      Location
      Grafton
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 2:55PM
    • It's truly amazing how biased Bronnie is. One of the worst Speakers of all time.

      Commenter
      Basic
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:00PM
    • QT?

      Commenter
      JohnBB
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:02PM
    • Just a stunt @ basic, happens all the time when a Political Party has no direction, they waste Question Time with trivial interjections. Been happening since day 1 they were in opposition.

      I see it all the time!

      Commenter
      Xenaphon
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:20PM
    • "We're open for business"......

      We the LNP invite all to come and rip Australians off. They'll put up with anything. eBay, want to charge them 10% to put a picture and a few words on a website, they'll put up with it. Want to charge them more than anywhere else on the planet for Apple stuff? They'll put up with it. Want to charge them more for media than anywhere else, they'll put up with it....and we'll even make sure they keep doing it by shafting them with pirating restrictions....Yep, "We're open for business".....

      Commenter
      JohnBB
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:26PM
    • all speakers show a certain amount of bias, it is impossible not to, however, that should not be a criticism just understanding human nature.

      bronwyn bishop is very knowledgeable and no worse than anna burke. end of story

      Commenter
      Common Sense
      Location
      prevails
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:38PM
  • Just watching Hockey pointing out the mess left by the last mob, unbelievably gross mismanagement of taxpayers money!

    Commenter
    Aussie Al
    Location
    Adelaide
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 2:23PM
    • and you believe Hockey over the IMF, World Bank, three other ratings agencies?

      Seriously? Someone from the LNP bagging someone from Labor, or the other way around, is a reasonable source in your eyes?

      Commenter
      Econorat
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:35PM
    • Spot on rat.

      Commenter
      Jim
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:58PM
  • Any good reason one of the most under rated bio-techs, Pharmaust (PAA) is getting belted today?

    Commenter
    Happy Hippy
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 2:19PM
    • Its their turn.

      Commenter
      Grinch
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 2:38PM
    • I think when any Co, has too many shares as they do with 1.4 Billion worth a couple cents each, (market cap 17 million) you are more susceptible to shorting because one of the mechanisms of shorting is loading huge volumes on the sell side that cannot be absorbed, so panicking sellers to the bid side and thus the price drifts lower.

      Another good reason to consolidate that huge issued capital is that you pay less fees to ASX to be listed.

      Commenter
      Learner
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:40PM
  • "Sovereign Islands mansion Utopya failed to sell under the hammer on Tuesday night despite owners Thomas Dirckx and Marie van Overloop offering a car licence plate spelling out the home’s name in the deal."

    Commenter
    Amused Resident
    Location
    Utopya
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 2:07PM
    • I must say, a Tuesday auction is rather inconvenient for us Fat Cats to attend. Next time I'll send my assistant!

      Commenter
      GS
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 2:17PM
    • Well there's currently over 100 properties for sale in the suburb of Sovereign Islands so you have plenty to choose from...

      Commenter
      Curious Observer
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 2:51PM
    • Yeah but do they include a car licence plate??? I DON'T THINK SO!!!!

      Would have looked totally sweet on my Hyundai Excel :(

      Commenter
      GS
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:15PM
  • Someone needs to do some analysis and compare rainy days to the performance of the stock market.

    What a dreary day it has been today both outside and on the ASX.

    Commenter
    Basic
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 1:57PM
    • But it can be raining in Sydney, fine in Melbourne and bucketing down in Perth, (they could do with a break in their drought)

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 2:07PM
    • More likely to be sunny in Perth and Sydney, and cold and rainy in Prahran.

      Commenter
      Chumlee
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 2:33PM
    • Basic: I bet someone has done it, I think there is a strong corro in wet days in Syd and the ASX sliding a few points. You can probably discount out Melb and Perth (or they might be minor influencers if it is raining in those places too) since the majority of trading happens here.

      Commenter
      DraftReader
      Location
      syd
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 4:18PM
  • "The ASF consortium is facing a probe by city councillors on whether it has the financial muscle and environmental record to deliver a cruise ship terminal to the Gold Coast."

    There is no other real estate market in Australia where so many fools have been parted with their money.

    Commenter
    White Shoe Brigade
    Location
    Headquarters
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 1:48PM
  • How many millions wiped off the ASX today? Sell in March and go away!

    Commenter
    sir panda
    Location
    perth
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 1:47PM
    • Who cares....it's not really money anyhow.

      Commenter
      Speculator
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 1:52PM
    • I agree with Mitch. I am holding out till late April when my bank shares will hit the market. I will then go away in May.

      Commenter
      Wally
      Location
      Flynn
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 2:32PM
    • 100k on the sideline, 30k in spec.

      Commenter
      mystery
      Location
      punter
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:11PM
  • Hm.. Glencore Xstrata citing lower prices, high production costs, and a strong Australian dollar. I bet their Ravensworth mine is not the only one bleeding money in Australia and will have to close.

    Commenter
    Gordon Akman
    Location
    Broadbeach
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 1:33PM
  • Now isn't that funny. I openly express my bigotry about the Abbott gov't as encouraged to by George (bookshelves) Brandis and those supporting him get their knickers in a knot. Now they know how some poor person of another race, creed or lifestyle must feel when they are subjected to such abuse. Thank you for helping me make the all too obvious point.

    Commenter
    mitch of ACT
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 1:32PM
    • People can write and say whatever they want as far as I am concerned. As I stated I don't support any censorship at all. If you want to "step into the ring" have enough courage to debate and cop the responses.

      If you want to personally insult people leave that to the pubs or much better still confront them face to face instead of the comfort of a key board.

      Commenter
      Harry Rogers
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 1:42PM
    • Now that's what I'd like to see, Brandis explaining his concept of the right to open express bigotry to a roomful of NESB Australians. It would be as fraught an atmosphere as a liquidator telling a roomful of shareholders that the CEO of their company had absconded with their equity.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 2:10PM
    • @Mitch. There are two sides to every story. Both sides need to agree to disagree.

      Commenter
      Wally
      Location
      Flynn
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 2:30PM
    • Hmm. I would have thought that just makes you a hypocrite, Mitch.

      Commenter
      Panhandler
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 2:41PM
    • Brandis and for that matter Bill Shorten , Penny Wong etc all have the courage of their convictions to openly debate in public and accept the consequences of being in the public eye. That takes courage. Do you know what that is?

      Something that is entirely lacking from sideline keyboard abusers.

      Commenter
      Harry Rogers
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:30PM
  • UBS suspended foreign-exchange traders in the U.S., Singapore and Switzerland as its investigation into the alleged rigging of currency.

    Oh dear, not again.

    See businessweek for more read.

    Commenter
    Mr patient
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 1:28PM
  • all I see is bubbles, bubbles everywhere.
    Cheap money has always led to speculation in assets, biotechs and dot com bust (vol 2) coming! Short NASDAQ:FB

    Commenter
    worried33
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 1:16PM
  • EPD.. shorters dream..pity I went long at 70.. any takers ..trying to get 55 ..

    Commenter
    Lean Too
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 1:13PM
  • SBM down another 6% today, when will it end?

    Commenter
    screen
    Location
    watcher
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 1:08PM
    • Why would anybody want to own shares in a company that in the last 10 years has undertaken capital spending of $3.48 per share in order to earn a total of 30 cents per share? This company should do it's shareholders a favour and liquidate.

      Commenter
      Chumlee
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 2:09PM
    • Same as FGE the way it is going, who would be dumb enough to take this one over!

      Commenter
      Half Back Flanker
      Location
      Prahran
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 2:15PM
    • Because you're getting that capital for 30c. Simples. Gamblers stock. Not for mums and dads.

      Commenter
      Allan
      Location
      Prahran
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 2:25PM
    • Simple. The market is telling you that capital has not been spent wisely and is no longer worth it's original value.Takeover is highly unlikely.

      Commenter
      Chumlee
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:02PM
    • Not often I agree with Allan, and I don't know the first thing about the specifics of SBM, but share prices reflect future expectations, not past events. Obviously past behaviour maybe says something about management, but that is only one of many variables that impact on any stock going forward.

      Commenter
      pass the red
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:56PM
  • "be pleased to know that the Abbott gov'ts bigot-in-chief, George Brandis"

    Some commentators on this blog just have no capacity to legitimately debate an issue. They always revert to abuse and diminish any relevance they may have. Very sad.

    Commenter
    Harry Rogers
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 1:04PM
    • I'm very sad I had to resort to that level to show how distasteful the whole matter has become. I think we really have the right to expect far more from those who would seek to lead us. But this lot have fallen down there as they have everywhere else.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 1:13PM
    • bias-in-chief commentors dont want everyone to have the right to an opinion, only them.

      Commenter
      Wwwish Lion
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 1:23PM
    • Harry - how else would the left debate? They certainly don't have any arguments ...

      Commenter
      Dr No
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 1:30PM
    • Brandis is right, for once (he couldn't have been more wrong on Edward Snowden)

      The day being a bigot becomes a crime is the day the thought police have won.

      Commenter
      Fred
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 1:38PM
    • Having raised this issue I would like to make it perfectly clear that I have long departed the scene where there is "left" and "right". I believe most people have legitimate views and complaints no mater their political leaning.

      Change only occurs because of these debates and also an open mindedness to listen and talk constructively ignoring the noise.

      With apologies for any philosophical overtones.

      Commenter
      Harry Rogers
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 1:47PM
  • Boart Longyear getting smashed again lol

    Commenter
    Rattle Snake
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 1:02PM
  • KCN. Anyone read the Morningstar recommendation? A buy recommendation with fair value of $4.20. They've got to be kidding. The text hardly supports their case. Market also seems to disagree.

    Commenter
    Yin or yang
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 12:57PM
  • The Block is almost finished & House Rules about to start.

    Everybody gonna get PUMPED from the all the profits they'll make and how "easy" it is! :)

    Can't wait for the 2nd property boom year of 2014!! Woohoo!

    *waits for property haters* hehehe

    Commenter
    GS
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 12:56PM
  • AMP analysis. The first hurdle is to actually find the notes to the accounts they are a separate download and not included. Once you get there you still can read the front pages which now give comments just in case you missed them in the pictures blurb of the other report.

    It doesn’t take long to see that AMP lost it’s way totally under the previous management and board. They must have thought “what a dream directorship” when appointed.

    Well they should be asked for some of their fees to be returned . The life insurance business has obviously “missed the bus” on changing attitudes of the public. I’m not paid to provide the details and figures so just a word of caution to private investors. AMP has a long way to go to recapture and realign where they should be heading.

    Unfortunately I hold shares.

    Commenter
    Harry Rogers
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 12:45PM
    • Yes the AMP share price is an embarrassment to all involved. However, you will recover from this misstep. Your comments are written with impeccable command of the English language and are credit to you.

      Commenter
      Teacher
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 1:00PM
  • All of those on here who are anxious about the way foreigners are snapping up our housing will be pleased to know that the Abbott gov'ts bigot-in-chief, George Brandis, is doing his level-best to frighten them off, along with any foreign tourists who don't have whiter-than-white skin. Who in their right mind would want to come to a country inhabited by those who consider it their right to express their bigotry. I suggest you get rid of shares in any company that caters to the tourist trade or students from overseas. Their days are numbered.

    Commenter
    mitch of ACT
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 12:41PM
    • have you walked through a busy mall ( like rundle mall ) and watch gob smacked as christian groups with loud speakers waving bibles around abuse young women and homosexuals that walk past. free from any recriminations. Its taken several years for the local council to try and get them moved on but it appears they know the legislation well and have plenty of $$$ behind them to fight. these new laws would have given them carte blanche to say whatever they like. the language they use is abhorrent.
      think of those wacky usa style churches with placards.

      Commenter
      smilingjack
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 12:59PM
    • Mitch, I'm not a fan of this government, but I agree with Brandis on this.

      People have a right to have whatever opinion they want and they should be able to express it, regardless of whether someone takes offence.

      Honestly, who cares if you're offended!? There's more important things in life than having a whinge about 'poor me, someone said something that offends me, woe is me'

      Commenter
      Fred
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 1:01PM
    • The open expression of bigotry begets violence.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 1:15PM
    • Mitch - the hundreds of thousands of migrants who arrive in Australia must all me masochists then....

      Commenter
      Dr No
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 1:33PM
    • A lot of things beget violence.

      Drawing cartoons of Mohammed begets violence. Do you think cartoonists should be censored?

      I find usually those who are easily provoked to violence are not 'the poor victims', it is those upon whom the violence is unleashed.

      If somebody gets offended, I don't care. That's their problem.

      Commenter
      Fred
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 1:43PM
  • Our good friend Prime Media (PRT) nearly hitting that $1 :)

    Auto Holding gave me some good sell & trading prices today!

    Bought more Telstra

    Great morning indeed :)

    Commenter
    GS
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 12:39PM
    • Ssh, you'll frighten it away.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 1:16PM
    • hehe I know I broke my silence rule, but looking damn strong atm.... ok now going back to radio silence mode!

      Commenter
      GS
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 1:29PM
    • PRT now trading at $1! Well done - hope you are making a packet.

      Commenter
      confused
      Location
      syd
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 2:02PM
  • "China Three Gorges replaced its chairman and general manager, weeks after an antigraft probe uncovered problems at the state-owned company's $23 billion dam project."

    Commenter
    Ding Dong
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 12:07PM
  • PNA ..worth a shot at these prices.

    Tip and run when they bounce on an up night!

    Commenter
    Ox
    Location
    Kensi Pk
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 12:04PM
  • Down Down prices are down

    Commenter
    Coles
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 11:55AM
  • LYC up 20% today because they release a memo saying this quarter is better than the last trust us.

    Commenter
    craig
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 11:52AM
    • I regularly review my holdings and try to ensure duds dont linger - not always easy. If I held LYC, today would have been a sell day - I'd hope I'd got rid of them earlier.

      Commenter
      Yin or yang
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 12:36PM
    • as I said yesterday. santos and other groups have been busy buying buying buying in SA. talks are underway for at least major ports and the rail to bring what ever they dig up to the ports. they might be a take over target in the not too distant future.

      Commenter
      smilingjack
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 1:02PM
  • A rise in interest rates in the present environment, particularly after the depressing effect likely to come from the May Budget, is likely to kill off the whole economy. That's a high price to pay just to quell soaring house prices in Sydney. A more prudent measure would be to enforce tighter lending standards in out-of-control markets. That will reduce the fever in the market pushing prices higher. The banks must do that anyway to protect their bottom lines from the inevitable bad debts that come from lax lending practices.

    Commenter
    mitch of ACT
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 11:23AM
    • How do you control lending from overseas investors who are pushing the market? If you crack down on the locals you end up making an unpopular move for your voters.

      Commenter
      DraftReader
      Location
      syd
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:33AM
    • There is no macroprudential coming. A complete betrayal of every generation in Australia both present and future...Not many consider the retired wanting better rates on their savings.....The disgraceful behaviour of the RBA, LNP, Labor and Greens will eventually become apparent to all Australians.....In fact I think many are finally starting to connect the dots.

      Just want to put a general warning out there. ...."All the criminals in their suits and their ties"... destroying Australia will pay a price when it all inevitably comes crashing down. We are not yet oppressed America. We will revolt and come for your families wealth.

      Commenter
      JohnBB
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:38AM
    • I disagree. Near 0% interest rates obviously devalues money, distorts markets, and causes severe long term problems. Dumb people are taught that money is worthless. It is critically important for all market participants (particularly dumb people) to have some idea about the value of money. The sooner a realistic price is put on money the sooner assets can be more accurately priced. Then the global economy can begin to digest the US$100 trillion of outstanding debt and begin the long slow healing process that has always inevitably come at the end of the long term debt cycle.

      Commenter
      Gordon Akman
      Location
      Broadbeach
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:48AM
    • Cashed up multi millionaire overseas based investors don't have to borrow to purchase our property. They pay crazy prices and our economy and domestic borrowers get whacked by higher interest rates as a result.

      Commenter
      Chumlee
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:50AM
    • If RBA has woken up from its slumber of ignorance , they will know that a symbolic .25% rise is the only thing that will snap people out of hysteria. It is exactly what happended after 2009 surge in prices post GFC. RBA lifted rates and housing flatlinen.. which is what will happend again. .25% rise will not Kill anything in other sectors unless its already dying.

      Debt Crisis caused by speculative housing is greater threat to rest of the economy than smal rate rise.

      Other measures such as restrictive lending will not work due to Mort.Brockerage industry which is sales driven and plagued by unethical behaviour. I am pretty sure giving 85 old pensioners 35 y mortgage is in breach of existing standards and practices yet its being done. Same industry is now proposing that Stamp duty be deferable for FHOB as an incentive which is absolutely reckless idea yet ministers are listening.

      If RBA has any sense an Early Rate hike could potentialy frighten off speculators and flatline market again.

      Commenter
      DJ77
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:51AM
    • @Gordon Akman....add "particularly dumb people" to particularly greedy people and I give you the Australian electorate.

      Commenter
      JohnBB
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 12:01PM
    • @Draftreader, so rising interest rates would make voters happy at the same time that the gov't cuts their childcare rebate, makes it harder to get Family Allowance and a wave of new taxes and charges come through.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 12:13PM
    • @mitch. Yep those will all make me happier

      Commenter
      Wwwish Lion
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 1:24PM
    • @wwwish, you do realise that the less money consumers have to spend the less revenue and profits of the businesses that you have shares in. Yes you might make more from higher interest rates but lose the gains from lower dividends.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 1:45PM
  • RBA ....."Banks highly profitable on a global basis, bad debts falling, funding costs falling, some of the most efficient banks in the world in terms of costs house prices up, net worth up"......

    This is fricken great....We can just sell houses to each other at higher prices forever and never have to produce anything...This economic model is so fricken great, we can sell all that useless manufacturing stuff and populate to add more house buyers.

    Commenter
    JohnBB
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 11:09AM
    • Who is going to service the debt?

      Answer: the next victim.

      Commenter
      Opinion Only
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:17AM
    • LOL...I like it John +1

      Commenter
      Mack
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:27AM
    • +1

      Commenter
      Matt
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 1:24PM
  • Dear editor this is unrelated to your article.

    Ebay have just announced they will charge fees for total sale amounts including postage this means one will pay fees on monies they pay to postage services.
    In perspective :- if you sold say 30 items a month with around $10 postage each item 30x10 = $300 and you'd pay $30 fees on the postage cost that you never keep because you hand it to Australia Post, not to mention higher courier charges for large or bulky items which can goe into the hundreds.

    See Ebay's notice below:

    From 6 May 2014 selling fees (final value fees) will be charged on the total cost of a sale, i.e. the sale price + postage cost.

    With more than 60% of items sold on eBay.com.au already offering free postage, the new way of calculating final value fees means all sellers pay a fee based on the total sale price, whether postage is included in the cost of an item or charged additionally. Customers love free postage and we know it can help increase the likelihood of a sale. If you can't make it free, make sure it's reasonable.

    If you currently offer free postage on most of your items, this change will have little or no impact on you.

    Commenter
    unrelated
    Location
    vic
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 10:57AM
    • Thank you for your post. It is indeed entirely relevant to this blog. eBay shares are up over 500% in the last 5 years. It's one of my favourite stocks as regulars on here would know.

      Commenter
      Gordon Akman
      Location
      Broadbeach
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:24AM
    • One reason for this is a lot of sellers will sell a $40 item for $1 with $50 postage cost to avoid paying ebay fees.
      More people should be looking at alternatives such as QuickSales.com.au (owned by carsales) which has no fees

      Commenter
      Wwwish Lion
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:29AM
    • FFS can someone compete with these crooks. You'd be a gabazillionaire in no time. HALVE their fees and get 5% of every transaction made. We are the mugs of the world. Everyone's got their hands in Australia's dwindling till.

      Commenter
      JohnBB
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:33AM
    • ACCC why can't you get us a better deal? Or isn't it about us?

      Commenter
      JohnBB
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:34AM
    • @Gordon Ackman..."eBay shares are up over 500%"....Their fees are ridiculous, their profit is ridiculous, their share price is ridiculous...Something has to give...Either bring their fees way down or someone will out compete them...Virgin? Consortium of IT nerds?

      Commenter
      JohnBB
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:44AM
    • @JohnBB I disagree with people saying eBay fees are "too high". How much would it cost for a business to direct the type of traffic you can get on eBay to their own website? You could spend a lot of money on advertising to get deals on your own website and still get less deals and pay more per deal in advertising than someone selling on eBay.

      There's plenty of Australian sellers on eBay that have 100 000, 200 000, 300 000 + positive feedback. So every one of those positive feedback comments was a transaction. Also, not everyone leaves feedback on eBay. So those businesses must have got hundreds and hundreds of thousands of deals on eBay. How many stand alone websites in Australia have done hundreds of thousands of deals?

      Commenter
      Gordon Akman
      Location
      Broadbeach
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 12:33PM
    • @Gordon Akman...10% is a ridiculous amount to be charged for doing more than listing OUR item for sale...I'm talking about a company making a new auction site....Hosting an add does not cost 10%. A lot of Australian companies margin is smaller than that...For that they have to make the item, store it, have money tied up in the item, then transport it, sell; it, pay wages electricity, rent, etc etc etc etc etc etc...

      Ebay just take money for doing pretty much nothing.

      Commenter
      JohnBB
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 2:47PM
  • I need2 know how big is the barrel the iron ore comes in?

    Commenter
    Peetnpal
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 10:51AM
    • Sorry, don't mean to be rude...but why? R U planning to carry it....?

      Commenter
      Max
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:09AM
    • Yes, pretty slack - that error re 'barrels' was posted by m and still no correction. Yesterday he editors were rather sloppy on SPI comments.

      Come on editors...cut out the silly errors. Please.

      Commenter
      Tony L
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:23AM
  • population reached 3 bill in 1960
    it took 14 years to hit 4 bill in 1974.
    another 13 years to hit 5 bill in 1987.
    12 years to hit 6 bill in 1999.
    today we are approaching 7.25 bill.
    the interesting thing is that those who predict future populations say we have more or less hit a wall predicting we will be lucky to hit 10 billion by 2083?
    thats about a 40 million per year or the equivalent of a bill every 25 years.
    if that is the case the majority of that number ( at least 75% ) would be over 65
    I would love to know what the projected age groups are and seriously doubt those figures with the massive increase in medical science.
    anyone have any statistics?

    Commenter
    smilingjack
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 10:48AM
    • Declining birth rates in the West and in East Asia won't have an impact globally, population growth in Africa and places like Pakistan and Afghanistan is so rapid that any slowing elsewhere in the world will be dwarfed.

      Commenter
      Fred
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:19AM
  • Eds, link to Medibank story (10.31am) doesn't work. I think you've linked to a file on your local C: drive.

    EDs: Thanks Dan, it was indeed. Fixed now. Chrs

    Commenter
    Dan
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 10:40AM
  • The Russians leaving the Country and taking all their money with them, Putin what are you doing?.

    Commenter
    EF
    Location
    Syd
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 10:36AM
    • Don't believe what you read these days...Propaganda galore. I doubt one single Russian has left.

      Commenter
      WiseMan
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:29AM
    • Russians may not be fleeing the country but their money is. $70b so far since the crisis began and that's the official figure the real number is probably much higher. A business mate of Putin's sold his very significant interest in Russia's largest oil company the day before the sanctions started. If the West imposed deeper sanctions on the oligarchs and the Russian economy Putin's support would slip away and he wouldn't even be able to pay his troops.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 12:06PM
    • Buying.

      Commenter
      St Putin, patron of the thieves
      Location
      as overheard by Catch 22
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 1:29PM
  • Who else is just saving up their money with the intention of buying something else later in the year?

    I don't think I will be buying any stocks for a few more months at least.

    Commenter
    Basic
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 10:32AM
    • I am, I am saving hard, will buy later in the year but not in Australia...Paris, Paris...here I come.

      Commenter
      Romantic
      Location
      Paris (to be)
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 10:40AM
    • With the exception of TLS which i bought as a defensive stock at 4.99, all my recent trades have been sells. I've been clearing the decks in expectation of market falls and opportunities arising later in the year. My total stockholdings are now about 30% what they were 6 months ago. I had to take some losses but LEI made me a handsome profit that more than offset them.

      Commenter
      Grinch
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 10:46AM
    • Based on what's happened on the AllOrds for the last 4 years stocks are on a steady downwards trajectory from around mid-April to June and don't start to pick up again until early July. The ex-div trading from the last reporting season and "sell in May and go away" are factors depressing the market. But I expect the May Budget to be a big player this year due to the savage cuts to gov't spending and hence disposable incomes.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:09AM
  • What the ASX giveth,
    ASX takes away !!
    C'mon get out of this rut & move forward after all these years... so frustrating !!

    Commenter
    clueless
    Location
    wonderland
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 10:29AM
  • "Signs of economic stress are mounting as Chinese companies report disappointing profits and state-owned banks take large debt write-offs."

    Commenter
    Sum Ting Wong
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 10:27AM
    • The mother of all credit defaults are just behind the corner ...

      Commenter
      Dr No
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 10:37AM
  • Hi everyone; I just sold the house & am waiting for the right time to jump into BHP/CBA/WOW/ANZ.... any advice/thoughts from the gallery would be greatly appreciated.

    Commenter
    fiscal freddy
    Location
    bondi
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 10:27AM
    • Wait until the April/May sell off is complete.
      Are you buying another property?

      Commenter
      Stoja
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:02AM
    • BHP...No, better go for RIO
      CBA...No, simply No...big NO.

      ANZ...perhaps but surely not yet.
      WOW...not yet.
      When? Consider end of 2nd half of this year, not before. The time is near when there'll be a major downturn. Be careful. Never invest your home/house money, but only what you're comfortable to lose. TD your house money.

      *this is not an investment advice, personal risk profile has not been taken into account.......

      Commenter
      Wise Advisor
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:08AM
    • You're 4 years too late.

      Commenter
      nolongerconfused
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 12:25PM
    • Hi Stoja - thank you for your reply/advice - no, not buying another property yet...unless something comes up or mkt dips.

      Hello Wise Advisor - thank you for your detailed response, esp re RIO/ CBA! Cheers! I will 'wait' in TD.

      Commenter
      fiscal freddy
      Location
      beach
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 12:35PM
  • This market is really boring me...

    There's no fun any more; I want to see volatility, collapses, defaults, new speculative IPOs...anything...but I get this boring market. Yawn, I should have kept my Yoga Guru position.

    Commenter
    Market Guru
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 10:19AM
    • bulls well in charge = no volatility
      bears well in charge = no volatility
      else
      volatility

      Commenter
      no banks .. no party!
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 10:31AM
  • Is QE forever possible? For all the talk of 'tapering' I get the feeling that the Fed and others around the world will keep the printers going to some extent for as long as they can get away with it... In fact I think they are trapped, they simply CAN'T stop.

    Commenter
    Fred
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 10:17AM
    • They will keep going for as long as the slimy politicians who cover for them are in power. But there is a revolution brewing, as could be seen in the French local elections, which will reach crescendo with EU elections in Europe in May followed by the congressional elections in the US. Come 2016 Rand Paul will slam dunk the Fed and in 2017 Marine Le Pen will strangle the European Central Bank. Patience my friend.

      Commenter
      Dr No
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 10:47AM
    • Some interesting points Dr No.

      The success of the FN in the French municipal elections was remarkable, a genuine rejection of the two big parties. They didn't field candidates everywhere, but where they did, they did astoundingly well. Winning cities like Perpignan and Avignon (comparable to cities like Wollongong and Geelong)

      In Australia if we're angry with government we tend to just vote for the other big party, who then dishes up more of the same, and we repeat the cycle.

      As for Rand Paul, I slightly prefer his father, but all the same, he is by far the best option for President.

      I agree, Dr No, change is coming.

      Commenter
      Fred
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:16AM
  • Always amused when it takes the market all day to climb 40 points on good news and less than 10 minutes to fall 50 points on no news. The previous day's feverish buys for fear of missing out must be looking a little expensive now.

    Commenter
    mitch of ACT
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 10:15AM
    • yep. they never learn. I will play just one more hand at the casino and try to win my money back. sorry - the bank always wins.
      there must be algorithms out there that can read every buy and sell order and process the prices accordingly.

      Commenter
      smilingjack
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 10:26AM
    • There are. The big players have their computers hooked up to the main trading computer at the ASX observing every buy & sell order, processing every piece of information from a multitude of sources and reacting accordingly and a million times faster than you can blink. You cannot beat them and it has taken all of the spice out of trading for the individual investor.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 10:53AM
    • mitch your a mug if you play every day. It's a stochastic random walk.
      Play the long to medium-term and you'll usually get it right.

      Commenter
      Econorat
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 3:37PM
  • putinnnnnnnnnnnnn
    do something!
    prices still to high.

    Commenter
    no banks .. no party!
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 10:10AM
    • This is kindergarten stuff.

      Commenter
      Teacher
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 10:23AM
    • keeps me young.
      chill teacher...allan or whoever you are.

      Commenter
      no banks .. no party!
      Location
      moscow
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 10:55AM
    • He's never been the same since the banks dropped 10%.

      Commenter
      Allan
      Location
      Prahran
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 1:31PM
  • Yes please buy KCN and let me recover my loses

    Commenter
    JimmyM
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 9:59AM
    • You are joking! Shareholders have been "offered"" the opportunity to buy shares in the capital raising for no less than they are trading for. The letter suggests if the offer is not taken up my holding will be diluted. These losses have nothing to do with management first offering to institutions the chance to buy at a 30% discount! Ordinary investors have faced a drop over a few years of around 90%. They still use slogans like "creating shareholder value". Don't get me started.

      Commenter
      Bruiser
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 10:58AM
  • Once again the ASX has one good day in the sun and then precedes to go down twice as much as anyone else and 60 X more than the FTSE went up. This is a joke. ASX hitting 6000 this year Switzer your kidding.

    Commenter
    Davidson
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 9:56AM
    • another set of advice from "average readers" in the business advice section today.
      surprise surprise. yes er um we think shares are your best option and super super super.
      that we get a cut from every deal has nothing to do with it. put your money in fixed interest with no fees. well thats just ridiculous.

      Commenter
      smilingjack
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 10:29AM
    • Agree with your comment and it's in the name of greed. I bought some bank shares on the advise of my accountant, which I plan to hold onto for several year, so naturally I started to keep a check on the market. I find it quite shameful the way the big investors react to the slightest piece of news. They would buy and sell their own families if they thought they could make a few cents

      Commenter
      wallen
      Location
      Korumburra
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 1:13PM
  • Of course the detail is yet to come, but is anyone here tempted to buy shares in Medibank?

    I would consider it. I don't hold any health stocks at present and this could possibly be a decent foot in the door.

    (I bit my tongue on the politics of the sale, I hope you're impressed eds!)

    Commenter
    Fred
    Location
    Date and time
    March 27, 2014, 9:41AM
    • You will be buying shares in a company dressed up for sale on the surface but loaded with debt underneath to maximise the cash to the gov't. Previous performance data will be unreliable because of the cost of servicing that debt. Its client base will be dropping away as rising health insurance premiums at 4 times the growth in wages progressively price more and more people out of the market, particularly the healthy ones who are the most profitable for a health insurance company. Probably only good for a short-term flutter to take advantage of those who jump in for fear of missing out.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 10:30AM
    • Mitch, great overview; everything you really need to look out for in one short, sharply expressed paragraph. Quality.

      Commenter
      Catch 22
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:00AM
    • I haven't seen any detail on the structure of this deal, but I just don't believe they are going to pump the business full of debt to pay out the govt. Nothing that won't be mostly mitgated by the cash inflows from the IPO. They might need a working cap facility to run the business, but I don't think they'll get away with doing too much out of the normal. I guess we'll see when they announce the list price and can work backwards from there. I'd be interested to see how many shares the Future Fund picks up from this, maybe they should partly underwrite it!

      Commenter
      DraftReader
      Location
      syd
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:31AM
    • I heard on The Business last night on ch2 that the gov't is going to make it easier for health insurance companies o leverage up their balance sheets. Govt's, State and Federal, have a track record of loading up businesses they sell with debt by extracting special dividends. That way they get the proceeds of the sale plus the dividend.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Location
      Date and time
      March 27, 2014, 11:58AM
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