8

Retail woes

Picking the direction of retail demand is an issue assuming considerable importance for investors in the stock market.  It is a matter of deciding between two reversions to “normal” behaviour — consumption norms or savings norms. Many brokers are anticipating that consumer demand will be lower, but return to normal, which is why they have

Latest posts

26

The trouble with fund management

Open the money section of any newspaper and you will be bombarded with stock tips, tables of the best performing funds, and interviews with fund managers who claim they are “beating the market.” Most of this advice and commentary is misleading at best, and, at its worst, downright dangerous to your financial health. In fact,

2

Weekly Market Analysis: Risk is up!

The S&P/ASX200 index closed 0.91 per cent higher to 4,742.6 points on Friday, after a strong rebound rally. The index is up 116 points or 2.5% for the week, but still down 1.75% since the start of March and no movement at all for the year. For a primer on how I do my analysis,

19

Hyper-inflation is here

Last weekend, the MacroBusiness New York bloggerspondent, Rotten Apple, mounted an interesting critique of the dominance of neo-liberal economics in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary.  It details the hypocrisy of our times: how a global debauch by the financial sector — one of the most irresponsible collective acts, or thefts, ever seen

14

Tick Tock goes the clock

For those of you who don’t happen to live in Brisbane you probably will not know who Michael Matusik is. He is an old property bull turned bear who then picked up a job as the property blogger at the Courier mail. It seems however that his time at the newspaper has spurred him back

16

Here come the rate cuts, not

From Banking Day: The Australian Government will set the cap on the percentage of assets that can be used to support covered bonds at eight per cent, the Financial Review reports – up from the cap of five per cent suggested by the Government back in December. For some weeks, talk in banking and government

5

Two-up on the Aussie

Years of experience in financial markets has taught me never to crow to loudly on victories as Hubris is an always close stalker. But equally I’ve learnt not to despair to much if you get it wrong. That’s what stop losses are for. There are two sides to every trade and my selling sees someone

60

The carbon tax bunyip (updated)

When Tony Windsor, MP, said that he would like to see the carbon debate in this country move beyond the words “tax” and the word “lie”, it really struck a chord with me. We seem to be stuck in this Groundhog Day style conversation where each issue is immediately translated into a one line pro

18

That’s not a first home owner grant!

This is a first home buyer grant. From the UK Telegraph: [A] controversial new mortgage deal is being launched by five local authorities and backed by Lloyds Banking Group, one of the lenders bailed out by the taxpayer during the credit crisis. The scheme is aimed at struggling first-time buyers who are unable to afford the

1

Oh, that’s what he said

This morning I posted a message from a reader about statements by the member for Gaven. I said at the time I couldn’t find the transcript  of his statements so I couldn’t verify the claims. Well our reader has got back to us with some more information, and what Alex Douglas actually said is even

14

RBA warns banks on expanding risks

Back in March 2009, former Reserve Bank Governor Ian Macfarlane gave a now famous speech in which he outlined why Australian banks had avoided the worst consequences of the GFC, because of dumb luck. One of his principle insights in drawing this conclusion was that the banks had benefited from the ebbing of competitive pressures

1

Gold: Global currencies and demand

Guest post from The Bullion Baron An interesting article was posted on Mineweb earlier this week comparing the performance of Gold over several currencies. The 4 currencies it was compared in were the US Dollar, Renminbi, Indian Rupee and Euro. With the growth of three tied so closely it was almost just a comparison of

10

What did he just say?

We received an e-mail from a reader last night about something they had heard on ABC local radio in Brisbane as they were driving home. On the way home from work today, on 612 ABC Brisbane’s news, there was a story about the member for Gaven, Alex Douglas (shown above) suggesting that the state and

0

Rio’s iron cross

Rio Tinto is complaining that governments are seeking rents when the rents should obviously go to Rio Tinto, as my co-blogger Houses and Holes pointed out. More pragmatically, is the stock accurately priced? Brokers are mostly putting buys on it, because that is the obvious thing to do. Yes, its very, very big — big

3

How to Sell a Donkey – Ask an “Expert”

The Prince sent me a link this morning to an article in the Oz about the WAN-7 Merger, which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago.  This quote in the article had me painfully coughing up my Weeties through my nose: “An independent expert’s report found Seven Media was worth between $519m and $986m

26

The economics of government service failure

Today I want to cover a topic that I have not discussed previously. I have often thought about posting on it but it wasn’t until I had a discussion on another thread that I realised how important the topic might be for others. The catch cry of the public is “why does the government waste

114

Is the first home buyer pool running dry?

Last week, I quoted an Australian Financial Review article explaining how Australia’s banks are lifting maximum loan-to-value ratios (LVRs) and are, in some cases, waving mortgage insurance payments on high LVR loans in an effort to increase mortgage lending: Major banks are pitching special mortgage deals to their customers in an effort to generate business

4

Rio has a whinge

Some days rent-seeking is a challenging business. Take Tom Albanese, CEO of Rio Tinto, who today held forth on the evils of government intervention in mining. According to Reuters: Besides, technical constraints, we are also seeing human constraints. We are seeing a combination of resource nationalism in some cases,” he said, citing “difficult governance” in

16

Gov’ should fund equity research

My co-blogger, The Prince, has devised a fine scheme to fund innovation that might prove highly effective. Which is why it will never happen, most probbaly. Still, to continue the practice of tilting at windmills, I wish to propose something else that might prove effective (and so also will probably never occur). Public funding of

26

Mirror image

As regular readers will know, I am a close follower of the Canadian economy and housing market. Like Australia, Canada is a commodity exporter and more or less dodged the global recession that recently shocked the developed world. As in Australia, there is also widespread debate about whether Canada is experiencing a speculative housing bubble

38

It seems to be getting worse

As my readers would know I am a keen watcher of all things real estate and that makes me a very interested in the Queensland market. As tourist destinations, places like the Gold Coast and Cairns have always had large percentages of holiday homes and holiday “investment” properties. They are therefore fringe markets and in

2

Japan and local stocks

The financial markets are starting to settle after the tsunami in Japan, although matters remain ominous in North Africa. Brokers are starting to return to more conventional analyses of commodity trends, suggesting that stocks will also return to more predictable valuations, experience less volatility. UBS is reasonably bullish on the effects of the earthquake on

57

The US economy: hurtling towards another crisis

In a recent post, “Should the US balance its budget“, I argued that it would be a folly for the US to try to balance its budget in the near term, as this would seriously impede the economy’s recovery from the recent deep recession. But this leaves us with some obvious questions. Is the economy

4

Gotti is wrong on oil

But should be congratulated for staking out a position, a rare event in today’s world of commentary flip flopping. As Deus Forex Machina likes to say, disagreement makes a market so let’s rip in. Gotti asks: Why should oil prices rise in response to the latest turn of events in Libya? We are already seeing

14

Research Bonds

My fellow equities blogger Sell on News recent excellent post gave an credible rationale on why property has become the No.1 investment option for Australians – purely by default. This post will go over a very “beta” version of an idea I had awhile back in how to arrest the problem of an insufficient base

20

Dateline questions the China growth story

SBS Dateline last night showed an investigative story entitled China’s Ghost Cities. The video takes viewers on a tour of vast new cities of apartments and shops that are being built across China and which remain almost completely empty – all in the name of achieving economic growth. One of the people interviewed in the

13

Guest Post: Leigh Harkness

I discovered Leigh Harkness’s web site a few months ago while doing some research on foreign trade.  His site so intrigued me that I contacted him to see if he would be interested in doing a series of guest posts about his research and experience in his little understood area of economics. Leigh accepted my

108

Ponzi dynamics (by Leith van Onselen)

An article in Friday’s Australian Financial Review (AFR) entitled “Getting a foot in the door” neatly highlighted the ponzi-like nature of the Australian housing market and the unsustainability of current housing values. Below are some extracts from the article along with some commentary of my own. It took Lee Palmer two years of trying before

127

It is not just economics

Some days I get some very nice messages from readers, other days I don’t. Friday was one of those “other” days. An excerpt from my inbox after a run through the abuse filter. When will you renter losers just accept that you are wrong and that housing isn’t going to crash. I am sick of

87

Questioning the wisdom of austerity

I have written a series of posts on this blog questioning the wisdom of fiscal austerity in the United States today. Inevitably when I make such an argument, I get comments along the lines of “what about Zimbabwe!”, “it’ll lead to hyperinflation!” and “they’re even worse off than Greece!” But these worries are all based