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Markets Live: Shares hit highest close for 2012

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Thanks for joining us today on the blog. That's all for now, enjoy your evening.

Click here for a full wrap of today's session.

Recent court decisions in NSW could leave serviced apartment investors with no rights to sue the builder for building faults, BRW reports.

Chris Kerin, a partner at Teys Lawyers, says a series of wins by developer Brookfield Multiplex in the NSW Supreme Court mean apartment owners are no longer able to sue for building negligence in the event of water ingress, cracks or other structural problems.

"All of a sudden there are a whole lot of buildings that don't have any recourse at all for building negligence," Kerin says.

More from reporter Ben Hurley here.

Here's how some of the blue chips performed on the local market today:

BHP: +1%

Rio: +0.7%

ANZ: -0.2%

CBA: -0.1%

NAB: -0.04%

Westpac: -0.1%

Fortescue: +0.7%

Woolies: +0.3%

Wesfarmers: unchanged

Telstra: -0.06%

India's industrial output rose by an unexpectedly strong 8.2 per cent year on year in October, according to data released today, spurring hopes the worst for Asia's third-largest economy may be over.

The figure was a big improvement on September's 0.4 per cent contraction and far outpaced market expectations of a 5.0 per cent rise, according to a Dow Jones Newswires poll.

So what should we expect from the Fed overnight? Well, the Federal Reserve looks certain both to extend its purchases of mortgage-backed debt and replace another expiring stimulus program with a new bout of money creation.

As its last program of Treasury purchases, known as Operation Twist, draws to a close, officials look set to replace it with a fresh $US45 billion per month in buying. Unlike those in Twist, which were funded by sales and redemptions of short-term debt, the new Treasury purchases will further expand the Fed's $US2.8 trillion balance sheet.

Economists also expect the central bank to continue buying $US40 billion per month in mortgage-backed securities as announced in September, keeping the monthly pace of total asset purchases at $US85 billion - a figure the Fed highlighted in its last policy statement.

This afternoon's steady slide from the day's highs may be a case of investors pre-empting the market's reaction to the Fed's anticipated next round of quantitative easing, Arab Bank trader David Scutt tweets:

 

 

The materials sector rose 0.5 per cent, while energy soared 1.5 per cent. Financials dropped 0.3 per cent, but telcos were again the biggest loser, falling 1.3 per cent.

The Australian sharemarket continued its steady December ascent thanks to another solid outing by the resource stocks, CMC Markets trader Tim Waterer says:

The ASX200 having a dalliance with the 4600 level today. Market attention will be focused on the FOMC to provide further direction for the remainder of the week.

The sharemarket has closed at a fresh high for the year. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 rose by 0.2 per cent to 4583.8, while the broader All Ords went up 10.5 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 4591.8.

Here's an interesting read on robots, capital-biased technological change and inequality, as recommended by FT Alphaville.

"What started as a discussion about the rise of automation in manufacturing – and its potential impact on 're-shoring' manufacturing to the US by some firms – has turned into a broader discussion about the impact of capital-biased technological change on the future of jobs and inequality.

"The discussion also touches on the role of increasing mark-ups in the shift in income away from labour."

More from Bruegel, a European think tank specialising in economics, here.

More on Mr Stevens's speech. He expands on central banks' programs of what he terms "unconventional monetary policy" over recent years.

They are, he lists:

  • reducing longer-term interest rates on sovereign or quasi-sovereign debt by ‘taking duration out of the market’ once the overnight rate was effectively zero
  • reducing credit spreads applying to private sector securities (‘credit easing’, operating via the ‘risk taking’ channel)
  • adding to the stock of monetary assets held by the private sector (the ‘money’ channel, appealing to quantity theory notions of the transmission of monetary policy)
  • in the euro area in particular, commitments to lower the spreads applying to certain sovereign borrowers in the currency union (described as reducing ‘re-denomination risk’).

Here's a graph on the balance sheets of central banks:

 

 

RBA Governor Glenn Stevens says major central banks are putting their independence at risk with bond buying.

Mr Stevens said in an address to the Bank of Thailand on its 70th Anniversary that the central banks could see their independence at risk once the time comes to unwind those policies.

Massive purchases of assets by some central banks, known as quantitative easing, was blurring the distinction between monetary and fiscal policy, he said.

"The problem will be the exit from these policies ... ending a lengthy period of guaranteed cheap funding for governments may prove politically difficult," Mr Stevens said in a speech on the challenges to central banking.

"There is history to suggest so," he added. "It is no surprise that some worry that we are heading some way back towards the world of the 1920s to 1960s where central banks were 'captured' by the government of the day."

You can read Mr Stevens's full speech here.

 

Economists have cut their economic forecasts and raised their inflation outlook for Singapore, a central bank survey released on Wednesday showed, in a further sign that the city-state is likely to face another year of sub-par growth and elevated inflation in 2013.

Economists now expect the Southeast Asian city-state's gross domestic product to grow by 1.5 percent this year, down almost a full percentage point from the median estimate of 2.4 percent in the previous poll, according to the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) latest quarterly Survey of Professional Forecasters.

Singapore, whose trade is three times GDP, has been hurt by the downturn in Western economies that has crimped demand for its exports. The wealthy city-state of 5.3 million people has also underperformed neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, which can rely on their much larger populations to prop up growth.

Here's a tweet from CommSec's chief economist Craig James:

 

The national average house prices are forecast to rise by 3 to 5 per cent, according to Australian Property Monitors.

Here's a snapshot:

  • Sydney prices up 3-5 per cent
  • Melbourne up 0-3 per cent
  • Brisbane up 3-5 per cent
  • Adelaide flat
  • Perth up 5-7 per cent
  • Hobart flat
  • Darwin up 5-7 per cent
  • Canberra up 0-3 per cent

The top ten insurers in Australia account for nearly 80 per cent of the sector’s $2.8 billion in profit last year, official figures show.

At the same time, some 23 insurers operating in Australia, including offshore majors Zurich, Warren Buffet-backed General Re and online specialist Progressive Direct delivered a loss last year.

Figures released by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority give a comprehensive snapshot on the nation’s 106 regulated insurers. They also provide financial details of separate insurance brand, as opposed to profitability at a group level.

Insurance Australia Group’s flagship general insurance arm was the most profitable operator, returning $419.8 million in the year to end June, the figures show.

Fiji has dropped the image of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II from a new range of bank notes and coins that were unveiled today, and replaced her with plants and animals native to the Pacific island state.

It is now time to move forward as we strive to create our own identity synonymous to what Fiji is all about,'' Fiji President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau said.

Images on the polymer bank notes include the rare kulawai lorikeet, the beli fish and the tagimoucia flower, while the coins depict flying foxes, parrots and the banded iguana.

Here are the best and worst performers of the ASX top 50 today.

 

 

China has made its biggest overseas takeover, paying $15 billion for Canada's oil and gas company Nexen.

For the Chinese government, the Nexen deal is an affirmation of its decade-old drive to encourage companies to go abroad to build international players and secure supplies of energy and raw materials to keep the economy humming.

The country's overseas acquisitions tripled to 177 between 2005 and 2011 and jumped five-fold by value to $US63 billion, according to law firm Squire Sanders and intelligence service Mergermarket.

Joshua Eisenman, a senior fellow for China studies at the American Foreign Policy Council, said that such deals were "tied to the Communist Party's national objectives, which increasingly include projecting economic power abroad".

 

The dollar is up today, surfing on a wave of optimism over a rebound in German business sentiment and hopes that the fiscal cliff standoff in Washington will reach a conclusion.

In recent trade the dollar was at $US1.0528, up from $US1.0482 yesterday afternoon.

It reached a high of $US1.0543 this morning, its highest point since September 17, following a strong overnight trading session.

ANZ foreign exchange strategist Andrew Salter said the better overseas news had been seen as  ‘'a step in the right direction and that has supported the currency’’.

Mr Salter said the release of weaker monthly domestic consumer sentiment data on Wednesday, which followed poor business confidence figures on Tuesday, had weighed against the currency but both pieces of data had been overshadowed by global sentiment.

 

Some news sure to displease small businesses ... Google has announced it will  no longer offer its web-based office productivity software free to SMEs, in the internet company's latest move to expand revenue beyond its core advertising services.

Interesting tweet from Arab Bank's David Scutt. Right now the ASX200 is at 4589.2.

The big Asian markets seen unfazed by the news that North Korea has launched a long-range rocket.

The KOSPI in Seoul held on to the gains it made at the open and, in recent trade, was up 0.4 per cent at 1971.06.

A similar picture was seen in Tokyo where the Nikkei was 44 points higher at 9569.39.

 

Coca-Cola Amatil,  Australia’s largest beverages company, has fallen the most in more than a year  after saying weak consumer sentiment and discounting by competitors hurt growth in sales volume.

The stock dropped as much as 3.2 per cent, headed for its biggest drop since Septemer 2011.

In recent trade it was at $13.51, down 2.95 per cent or 41 cents.

In a statement released earlier today, CCL said that in  the second half of the year, volume growth had been ‘‘restrained’’  by ‘‘price-driven competitor activity’’.

‘'Consumer spending levels continue to be soft,’’ it added.

In further indications that all might not be well in the world of one-time billionaire Nathan Tinkler, the Tinkler Group’s main website has been pulled down.

The site - which once once boasted that Mr Tinkler, was ‘‘guided, in business, by a philosophy that serves both he and his partners well" - now presents only as a single homepage with the group’s logo.

Read the full story, by BusinessDay’s Paddy Manning

The markets have stayed positive for most of the day.

In recent trade the All Ordinaries index is 24.4 points higher, or 0.5 per cent, to 4605.7, while the benchmark S&P/ASX200 is 22.9 points higher, or 0.5 per cent, to 4598.9.

IG Markets analyst Stan Shamu said overseas news - the release of positive German data on exports plus hopes that Washington will cut a deal on the fiscal cliff - has been driving the market today.

"At the moment it’s just the global macro economic picture that’s driving the market - what’s happening with the ‘fiscal cliff’ and also we got some pretty good economic data out of Germany which came in much better than expected and really set the tone for equities across the globe."

As we've seen, the big iron ore miners are up, with BHP Billiton rising  39 cents to $35.80, Rio Tinto surging 44 cents to $62.21 and Fortescue up  11 cents to $4.32.

Part of this rise has come from the returning strength in iron ore prices which this week climbed to their highest level since July. The spot iron ore, which fell as low as $US86.70 a tonne in September is at $US124.90 a tonne today

And in even more good news for the miners, the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics today revised up its forecast for iron ore output in fiscal 2013 to 529 million tonnes from 526 million previously, citing a rise in demand from China.

BREE also said the price forecast for iron ore would rise by $5 to $106 per tonne in calendar 2013.


CBA is inching closer to being Australia's first $100 billion bank - the stock hit a new all-time high of $61.62 today, taking its market capitalisation to around $99 billion.

It's since come back a bit and is currently trading at $61.44, up 14 cents for the day. The shares have gained 24.8 per cent in 2012, easily outperforming the ASX200.

Here's a chart showing CBA's ascent this year:

BHP Billiton's decision to exit the high profile Browse LNG joint venture is a reminder that the proposed location for the giant gas processing plant is not only contentious among environmental and indigenous rights activists, Peter Ker writes:

The prime site under investigation - James Price Point near Broome in WA - has long caused friction within the cluster of companies that are jointly developing the $30 billion project.

There has been persistent suggestions that some partners (BHP in particular) would like to save a few pennies by piping the gas south to the existing North West Shelf gas hub, while other partners (namely Shell) have been pushing their new floating LNG technology as an economic way to develop the gas without disturbing the dinosaur footprints that are dotted around the shoreline at James Price Point.

Here's the full article

Some more on the HSBC scandal: US authorities have described the dysfunction at the British bank HSBC as ‘‘astonishing’’ and say it helped Mexican drug traffickers, Iran, Libya and others to move money around the world.

HSBC has agreed to pay $US1.9 billion, the largest penalty ever imposed on a bank. The US stopped short of charging executives, citing the bank’s full co-operation and the damage on economies and people, including thousands who would lose jobs if the bank collapsed.

Experts said it was evidence that a doctrine of ‘‘too big to fail,’’ or at least ‘‘too big to prosecute,’’ was alive and well four years after the global financial crisis.

The settlement avoided a legal battle that could have further savaged the bank’s reputation and undermined confidence in the banking system. HSBC does business in almost 80 countries.

More economic data pointing to slowdown: personal finance loans fell by 0.9 per cent in October, the ABS says.

Personal finance commitments, seasonally-adjusted, fell to $7.343 billion in October, from a downwardly revised $7.409 billion in September. Total commercial loans in October rose 4.8 per cent to $31.699 billion, seasonally-adjusted, from $30.235 billion in September.

Lease finance was down 6.3 per cent to $543 million, compared with $580 million the previous month. Housing finance for owner occupiers dropped 0.2 per cent to $13.863 billion, from $13.885 billion the month before.

Looks like James Packer is heading back to Hollywood: Tower Heist and Red Dragon director Brett Ratner has told The Hollywood Reporter he's teaming up with James Packer to make movies.

Mr Ratner told the industry magazine in a statement that the Crown Ltd chairman is backing the company, to be called RatPac Entertainment.

A spokesman for Mr Packer confirmed the business magnate had made a "small private investment" into a US film production company.

This wouldn't be the Packer family's first foray into Hollywood. In 2008, Mr Packer was reported to have sold a 25 per cent stake in Hollywood film studio New Regency Productions for $US324 million ($348 million). Mr Packer's father, the late Kerry Packer, bought into the film and television company in 1994.

UBS economists Scott Haslem and George Tharanou have taken a look at the consumer confidence data and drawn a few conclusions:

Overall, the RBA’s significant easing cycle – coupled by a recently better trend of household wealth (driven by rising equities, with dwelling prices stabilising) – has boosted consumer sentiment to around average. 

Interestingly, business sentiment has failed to recover amid rate cuts, dropping in November to a 3½-year low. 

One plausible explanation is the persistently high AUD – which is a ‘positive’ for consumers’ purchasing power, but a drag on business competitiveness. ... (T)his divergence seems unlikely to persist forever, and eventually average consumer sentiment should translate to consumption, providing a support to business. 

Nonetheless, business conditions need to improve shortly, or the RBA may need to cut rates again.

Coca-Cola Amatil says trading conditions in Australia have picked up in the lead-up to Christmas as the beverage group forecasts a lift in profit and revenue for 2012.

The company also said it had signed a deal to distribute alcoholic cider in Australia from 2014. CCA said it expected net profit before significant items for the 12 months to December 31, 2012, to rise between four and five per cent from $532 million in the prior corresponding period.

But its shares have slumped in a positive market. They were down as much as 2.7 per cent to $13.55 in recent trade.

CCA managing director Terry Davis said CCA had gained market share in Australia over the year and had made a solid start to the Christmas season.

However, Mr Davis said the Australian market was still tough, with consumer spending levels ‘‘soft’’ and ‘‘price-driven competitor activity’’ during the second half restraining volume growth.

A quick look at the blue chips shows miners are up strongly, banks are flat to higher and the retailers are generally positive:

  • BHP: +1.23%
  • Rio: +0.71%
  • Fortescue: +3.09%
  • CBA: +0.26%
  • ANZ: +0.04%
  • NAB: +0.45%
  • Westpac: +0.04%
  • Woolies: +0.41%
  • Wesfarmers: +0.19%
  • Harvey Norman: +1.52%
  • David Jones: +0.4%

Linc Energy has been asked to explain a leap in its share price - up 11 per cent today and 17 per cent yesterday - following news that the company had contact with Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

In response to questions by the ASX, the Brisbane-based coal and gas company denied withholding sensitive information to the market, and attributed the jump to information shared with shareholders at its AGM last month.

“The company is not aware of any other explanation for the price change, but we note the increase in volume of trading in the company’s securities since the date of the company’s annual general meeting on 29 November,” it said.

“The company has also advised the market of further progress in the commercialisation of its clean energy technology in both sub-Saharan Africa … and Ukraine.”

It said it was in compliance with the listing rules.

Linc Energy chief executive Peter Bond told Bloomberg on Monday that it was in talks with Mr Abramovich, who owns investment company Millhouse LLC and London-based Chelsea Football Club, about opportunities for the company in Russia.

Shares in Linc rose 17.5 per cent on Tuesday to $1.04, and 9.2 per cent on Monday. So far they are up 11.5 per cent today.

The All Ords is now trading at 4605 and the ASX200 has climbed above the mark. It touched 4603 at 10.36am but slipped back, but it has just hit 4600.1. 

Both major indices are 0.5 per cent higher for the day - the question is, can they hold onto the gains through to the close?

There's still a couple of data releases to come: 

  • RBA credit card purchases and balances
  • ABS lending finance data for October

Here's a bit more detail on the consumer confidence data: 

  • The index of expectations for the economy in the next 12 months dropped 4.3 per cent, while that for the next five years sagged 8.9 per cent
  • The index of family finances compared with a year ago fell back by 7.2 per cent, but that for finances over the next 12 months picked up by 4.6 per cent
  • In a disappointing omen for Christmas sales, the survey's measure of whether it was a good time to buy a major household item fell 4.8 per cent
  • Yet lower rates did boost confidence around whether now is a good time to buy a house with that index up 1.9 per cent to its highest level since September 2009

File this under It Was Always Going To Happen ...

The premier of the Cayman Islands - the Caribbean tax haven that's home to most of the world's hedge funds - has been arrested on suspicion of corruption.

Premier McKeeva Bush – who also holds the position of minister of finance and tourism - was detained at his home by members of the Financial Crime Unit of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, a police statement said.

The 57-year-old premier is suspected of theft, alleged misuse of a government credit card and abuse of office over the alleged importation of explosive substances without valid permits, it said.

Shares in casino operator Echo Entertainment were up nine cents, or 2.64 per cent, at $3.50 after appointing a former head of major casino groups in the US, John Redmond, as its new chief executive. Full story here

Lonsec private client adviser Michael Heffernan said in early trade local investors took their cues from a positive night on offshore markets.

‘‘The overseas markets have shown very strong resilience and that is certainly powered our market opening today,’’ Mr Heffernan said.

‘‘There’s no major black spots on the international horizon and I think that has given a lot of confidence to our market. We are bounding along and could burst through 4,600 today.’’

The Australian dollar dipped slightly on the Westpac consumer data. It had crept above $US1.0541 in the moments before the release and slipped to about $1.0534. But that was the extent of it.

Here's the full story on the confidence data: Consumers turn gloomy

More on consumer confidence. Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said the result was unexpected, following a rise in confidence in November and the rate cut on December 4.

‘‘This is a very surprising result,’’ he said. ‘‘It was reasonable to expect that the index would respond quite positively to the rate cut the Reserve Bank delivered last week.’’

The RBA cut the cash rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 3.0 per cent at its December board meeting, its lowest level since 2009.

This first piece of today's economics data has arrived and it's weak.

Australian consumers are downbeat heading into Christmas despite the Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision to cut the cash rate to its lowest level in three years.

The Westpac Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment for December fell 4.1 points to 100.0 points.

A reading of 100 indicates equal numbers of pessimists and optimists among respondents. The fall in sentiment will be unwelcome news for retailers hoping for a sales boost in the lead up to Christmas. More soon.

Linc Energy is leading the market again today - up 9 per cent in opening trade, adding to yesterday's Here are the other strong performers on the ASX200 today:

  • GWA group: +6.11%
  • Northern Star Resources: +4.53%
  • Boart Longyear: +3.83%
  • Flight Centre: +3.63%
  • Foretscue: +3.09% 

Telecoms are going backwards in early trade, down 0.34 per cent, but it is the only sector trading lower:

  • Health: +1.27%
  • Energy: +1%
  • Materials: +0.78%
  • Industrials: +0.65%
  • Consumer disc: +0.62%
  • Utilities: +0.47%

John Redmond, the former head of major casino groups in the United States, has been named the new chief executive of casino owner Echo Entertainment.

Mr Redmond will take on the job in January, once all regulatory approvals are received. He replaces Larry Mullin, who announced his resignation in September. Read more here.

In early trade, the All Ordinaries index is 18.8 points higher, or 0.4 per cent, to 4600.1, while the benchmark S&P/ASX200 is points 18.7 higher, or 0.4 per cent, to 4594.7.

An interesting piece on how difficult it is for Aussie start-ups to find the investors they need to go global. Many experts say the 'next Google’ will never be built in Australia.

Shares in Macmahon Holdings won’t trade today. A release to the ASX says:

‘‘The securities of Macmahon Holdings ... will be suspended from quotation immediately, at the request of the Company, pending the release of an announcemnet.’’

The AFR said today that Leighton was buying Macmahon’s construction operations for less than $100 million "before other contractors get a chance to express interest  in the business".

Looking at the strength of the Australian dollar, ANZ’s Andrew Salter said the local unit was expected to remain strong today, with Asian markets expected to be buoyant.

‘‘We think the Australian dollar is going to remain well supported, especially because it’s now broken through the $US1.05 level, a level that’s proved a bit of an impediment over the past two or three weeks,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s established itself above $US1.05 successfully, and should hold there for the near term. It’s [also] contingent on what happens tonight with the FOMC [Federal Open Market Committee] and whether they meet market expectations for additional asset purchases.’’

Fitch Ratings says that Downer EDI Limited's ('BBB-'/Stable) rating is unaffected by the scaling back of capital expenditure in the Australian mining sector and by the settlement of the Singapore Tunnel dispute.

Fitch expects major mining companies' efforts to consolidate their contracting supplier base to benefit major contractors, including Downer, at the expense of their smaller competitors.

As mining companies reduce their output and contractor base to control production costs amid weak commodity prices, tier-one contractors are being retained for their flexibility in ramping up production in the event of a recovery in demand. Recent profit downgrades announced by second tier mining contractors highlight this trend. 

Some analyst rating changes for today:

  • WorleyParsons cut to neutral at Macquarie
  • Suncorp cut to underperform at Macquarie
  • Insurance Australia Group cut to neutral at Macquarie
  • Australand cut to neutral at Macquarie
  • Oceanagold rated new overweight at JPMorgan
  • Brambles cut to neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch

 

Lots of economic data out today, a lot of it consumer focussed:

  • Westpac consumer confidence
  • RBA credit card purchases and balances
  • ABS lending finance data for October
  • Westpac/Melbourne Institute Survey of Consumer Sentiment

More from IG Markets on some of the likely ASX action today. Cameron Peacock says we're looking at a fresh year high at the open with a gain of about 0.4 per cent:

Yesterday the market hit an intraday high of 4581, just shy of the previous high of 4581.8 reached on 18 October, but the strong performances from European and US equities will see that level comfortably surpassed this morning, with 4600 a very real possibility as some stage today.

Gains are again expected to be relatively broad based with another solid performance anticipated from the materials sector.  Iron ore prices were once again higher (+1.2% to $124.90) and BHP’s ADR is suggesting BHP’s breakout to the upside will continue with the local stock set to open up 0.3% at $35.71.       

Here's something on the expectations of the outcome of the US Fed's meeting. We'll know the outcome tomorrow morning AEST:

To give a sense of how buoyant European investors were overnight following the releases of the German confidence data, major indices there hit some impressive milestones:

  • Frankfurt's DAX 30 hit its highest level since the beginning of 2008
  • In Paris the CAC 40 jumped to its highest level since July 2011
  • London's FTSE 100 index of leading companies edged up to a nine-month high
  • Milan's FTSE Mib benchmark rebounded after slumping 2.22 per cent after Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti announced his intention to resign
  • Madrid's IBEX 35 rose 1.49 per cent, clawing back the previous day's losses

 

All the indications are for a strong start to local trade. Offshore trade was buoyant, the dollar is higher, the ASX200 is coming off a fresh high yesterday for 2012 and the US Fed meets tonight with many predicting a continuation of their bond buying program. Oh, and if you like the miners, the price of China iron ore gave $US125 a nudge. So for those with an optimisitic disposition there are lots of reasons to be bullish today.

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

  • SPI futures are 16 points higher at 4596
  • The $A is higher at $US1.0522
  • In the US, the S&P500 added 0.65% at 1427.84
  • In Europe, the FTSE100 added 0.06% to 5924.97
  • China iron ore added $US1.50 to $US124.90 a metric tonne
  • Gold rose  $US.40 to $US1708.55 an ounce
  • WTI crude oil fell $US0.32 to $US85.24 a barrel
  • Reuters/Jefferies CRB index was flat at 293.22

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

This blog is not intended as investment advice

Contributors: Thomas Hunter, Richard Hughes, Jens Meyer, Max Mason

BusinessDay with agencies

 

Quotes Search

Sort comments by:
  • My post from June:

    "Australia is an expensive place to do business, high costs and low productivity. House prices are going down and all the overgeared little landlords will default and trigger a series of huge write downs in the banks. AORD 2500 anyone?"

    And guess what? The economy has deteriorated significantly since then, interest rates are a GFC emergency lows, house prices are still falling and the Spring selling season was a dud.

    2500? is clearly predicated on the housing bust. The AORD is worth @ 3200 on earnings and a the housing bust could easily push it down to 2500.

    And that would be @ 1997 levels whch is where house prices should be.

    Enjoy!

    Commenter
    Allan
    Location
    Prahran
    Date and time
    December 12, 2012, 5:27PM
  • Dear Ed,
    Time to put your coffee down and change the heading.
    Maybe something like:-
    ASX WAS 4600 FOR A SHORT TIME.
    Allan of Prahran has sold all his stocks so
    he can invest in property. He has given up waiting for the end of the world. Due to his unloading of so much stock the market has retreated from 4600 mark.
    MORE TO FOLLOW Ed

    Commenter
    pest from the west
    Location
    Upper Lowood QLD
    Date and time
    December 12, 2012, 2:52PM
    • lol... i'm surprised that your comment actually got published

      Ed: No harm in friendly reminders...

      Commenter
      got brain
      Location
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 4:27PM
    • I'm geting quite a following. Cheers!

      Commenter
      Allan
      Location
      Prahran
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 5:19PM
  • CBA (Commonwealth Bank of Aust); Now, by looking at this bank's capitalisation, close to a mind boggling $100 billion it is surely standing up well to its name; Most of the wealth of Australia seems to be in it (and others alike). Where other (real) economies have strong sectors, manufacturing etc, we have...Banks! Heaven forbid another GFC. Oh yes, we also dig and sell our soil...standing up well to another of our name...Diggers.

    Commenter
    Dan
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    December 12, 2012, 1:20PM
    • hm...i tot we still have other companies to support the country like csl, bhp and rio

      Commenter
      sam
      Location
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 2:29PM
  • Watch Baillieu bottle out on implementing Fels' main recommendations for taxi reform.. Fels' reforms are actually a carefully worked out compromise. Baillieu is just another typical politician serving those who donate heavily to his political party. Surprise us Baillieu!

    Commenter
    Catch 22
    Location
    Date and time
    December 12, 2012, 12:31PM
    • Rubbish service, rubbish vehicles, exorbitant fares, ripoff payment charges and a bunch of speculator licence owners who have pushed the price up so high there is no money left for the actual drivers to make a decent wage.

      The taxi industry is a joke and needs to be thrown in the blast furnace.

      At least we can be certian that cabcharge is a dead duck. That's a start.

      Commenter
      Allan
      Location
      Prahran
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 1:33PM
  • "The index of expectations for the economy in the next 12 months dropped 4.3 per cent, while that for the next five years sagged 8.9 per cent."

    There won't be any miracle recovery. The global deleveraging process will take years.

    Yikes! What will that do to house prices?

    Commenter
    Allan
    Location
    Prahran
    Date and time
    December 12, 2012, 11:48AM
    • It will drag most real estate prices down, no doubt. I think it's time to set up that Hedge Fund in the Cayman Islands.

      Commenter
      Dan
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 12:12PM
    • Yikes, what will that do to house prices?

      Um, nothing. People with money will still have money, and people like Allan will still keep dreaming that one day the house fairy is going to offer them a Toorak mansion at half price.

      Commenter
      Balanced
      Location
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 2:46PM
    • Two suburbs have set new records this year in my neck of the woods. Hate to see what will happen in the next boom.

      Commenter
      No Vision
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 4:10PM
    • Toorak? No sold the family's properties in Toorak. I prefer Prahran.

      Oh and 50% drop? You're more of a bear than I am. I'd say another 30%.

      Commenter
      Allan
      Location
      Prahran
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 4:22PM
    • records? The whole market is in a bubble. DUH!

      Commenter
      Allan
      Location
      Prahran
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 4:26PM
  • Resistance to falls in the price of TEN's shares are starting to weaken... (probably speaking too soon on that call but you never know) a great short to have right now as more and more stock gets dumped by fund managers trying to stag the latest rights issue before the price tanks...

    I wonder how much of a shortfall will need to be picked up by the underwriters from the retail issue?

    Commenter
    Seriously...
    Location
    Date and time
    December 12, 2012, 11:41AM
    • Think you might be right unless the big guns are willing to provide more support.

      Commenter
      PDJ
      Location
      Hello Seriously
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 11:56AM
    • Tiny little parcels of CX sales are currently propping up the price at ~0.247. The big share dumps seem to be on open. Not sure it can hold this price as there is nothing coming from management. Sub 0.2 tomorrow i think.

      Commenter
      Another Grump
      Location
      M
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 12:13PM
    • Hi PDJ...

      Doubt the big private investors would be prepared to tip in more cash above the rights price.

      In addition, given the unreliability of earnings this company would fail the quality standards / quality screens of all the big fund managers at the moment, so it is difficult to see where any sustained buying would come from.

      Commenter
      Seriously...
      Location
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 12:18PM
  • Like I said yesterday Link Energy was having a crack at a dollar and now up 13.94% and BSLDA is still heading north so some folk certainly must think that it has a future. When everything looked rotten back in June was the time to buy not sell for many stocks but there you go optomists were as scarce as hens teeth then and a pall of gloom abounded. Interesting

    Commenter
    Opto
    Location
    Hi
    Date and time
    December 12, 2012, 11:34AM
    • June was the time to close shorts and wait for the next pollyanna rally which is what we're seeing now. Shares are 30% overpriced based on earnings. Consumer confidence down, BSL has lost 95% of its vlaue and cannot survive and some kleptocrat is pushing up the price on LINC (see I know how to spell it). Good luck.

      Commenter
      Allan
      Location
      Prahran
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 11:45AM
    • time is the best perspective that we can never have enough of

      Commenter
      Seriously...
      Location
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 11:56AM
    • At least you can spell Allan even if your call of late May was so badly wrong ASX 2500 anyone ?. And regarding the future of Bluescope I will watch with great interest your today's call. Cheers

      Commenter
      Opto
      Location
      Hi
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 12:01PM
    • Can you do no wrong Opti? You appear to be psychic! Interesting. What are your predictions for the next 6-12 months? Will hope get us through?

      Commenter
      cranberry
      Location
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 12:01PM
    • Where exactly are those supposed clouds for BSL? Companies without significant debt don't tend to fail easily.

      Given the rebound in the stock price prior to (and after) the consolidation from the lows around 25cents I would have thought you'd have given up trying to make people believe this company was about to be wound up?

      Commenter
      Seriously...
      Location
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 12:04PM
    • Simple, they are still losing money. They cannot make a profit making steel and to exit steel making will wipe them out. Why do you think the share price has dropped 95% notwithstanding bottom feeders such as yourself?

      Oh and Opto what was my timeframe for AORD 2500? You can't make a call without a timeframe. As it is there are still too many doe eyed pollyannas in the market. Just as well for the shorters.

      Commenter
      Allan
      Location
      Prahran
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 12:15PM
    • Personally Cranberry I think that despite the gloom things will gradually start to improve. Consumer sentiment will improve slowly, and business sentiment likewise. I think that in many parts of the world for instance southern Europe things have been abysmal. In many places this will probably be a bottom. American housing is starting to recover and that is a good sign. Here the iron ore price is providing support for our miners and the economy, while government policy is not. Housing in Australia notably the dearest in the world will probably mull around at these levels for some time, of course better supported in some places than others. I do not expect Allan's abrupt decline in prices just a waiting for the worlds housing prices to catch up a bit but not completely. I think that our market at least in the short term is gaining traction and will probably follow The Dow northwards in early 2013, notwithstanding the Fiscal cliff problems.
      And yes I have got some things wrong but fortunately they are recovering somewhat.
      Cheers to you

      Commenter
      Opto
      Location
      Hi
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 12:22PM
    • Hi Allan it was an imminent call and you know it! you can deny it all you like but all the good folk need to do is examine markets live records themselves and see your profusion of negative comments at that time. It is on the public record. Just type in markets live in their business search engine and go back to late May June 12'. And your profusion of comments on Australian housing prices are simply unequaled.
      A Big Cheers

      Commenter
      Optimist
      Location
      Hi again
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 12:33PM
    • No I don't know any such thing. How is ASX 2500 anyone? an immediate call? Stop making stuff up.

      Oh and house prices are contnuing to drop and the biggest falls are ahead. If you can't see the bubble here's a picturefor you:

      http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/IMG0077_13110796.PNG

      Enjoy!

      Commenter
      Allan
      Location
      Prahran
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 1:28PM
    • That's right Allan it was A Ords 2500 anyone here is the link for you :-
      http://www.theage.com.au/business/markets-live/markets-live-investors-in-panic-mode-20120518-1yudq.html
      it is way down the page not in time order
      Cheers

      Commenter
      Opto
      Location
      cheers
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 3:09PM
    • Yeah and? It's not an immediate call. Notice I said the market would take a big down turn once the housing market collapsed. Thanks for confirming what I said earlier.

      Commenter
      Allan
      Location
      Prahran
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 4:24PM
    • Oh Allan I commended you for spelling and now you have let me down certain is spelt certain with an ain not ian.
      Just for next time you know. And it's just fantastic to know that you are confirming your call of a housing market collapse followed by the poor old All Ords falling to 2500. Will be watching closely and I'm sure Australia will too. Your "Rep" you know.
      Cheers
      Cheers

      Commenter
      Opto
      Location
      Hi
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 5:23PM
  • Think i dodged a bullet with LYC ! Expected a lot bigger drop.

    Commenter
    Another Grump
    Location
    Melb
    Date and time
    December 12, 2012, 11:18AM
    • yesterday's clarification from Lynas management seems to have calmed the doomsayers down a bit... not sure there was a bullet to dodge just a media beat up over some politicians making populist statements to try to win votes...

      How unusual...

      Commenter
      Seriously...
      Location
      now with added sarcasm
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 11:55AM
    • wah. What makes you jump on LYC in the first place ? It's a big NO NO for me lol

      Commenter
      got brain
      Location
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 12:14PM
    • Sovereign risk in Malaysia is not a media beatup. They put their own Deputy PM in prison on false charges.

      Commenter
      Allan
      Location
      Prahran
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 12:25PM
    • LYC and LNC are not for the faint-hearted and I am one of those faint-hearted person.

      Commenter
      Jules
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 1:29PM
  • Aussie stocks to rise on US stocks rising on jump in German confidence. Perfect sense.

    Commenter
    merry go round
    Location
    Date and time
    December 12, 2012, 10:04AM
    • Hmmmm. Almost time for a new screen name.

      Commenter
      4500
      Location
      The New Black
      Date and time
      December 12, 2012, 11:16AM
  • Australian dollar up against the US...fantastic news for Dan! more topping up on US dollars today...yeyeye.
    Why isn't the Euro following suit? I wish so much it will hit at least $AUD 0.85 soon.

    Commenter
    Dan
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    December 12, 2012, 10:00AM
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