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Posted on: Jan 13 2020, 07:37 PM


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Amazed Jim has not shuffled off yet. Yes, a legend, made a fortune from memory working with George Soros when Soros took someone else's advice and broke the Bank of England, retired in his early mid thirties, travelled around the world, wrote some very readable investment books, as an old man moved to Singapore so his young daughter could grow up speaking mandarin. My impression is that he has been very early with pretty much all of his predictions in the last decade or so. But we live in an age devoid of consequences so predicting that there will be consequences has been a mug's game.
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Posted on: Jan 4 2020, 07:50 PM


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The ACT has had an interesting time of it lately. There's been a heavy smoke cover for much of the last month or so, on Tuesday there was a break from the smoke, instead there was a dust storm whipped up by a blustery wind and high temperatures. Within a day the dust was replaced with the heaviest smoke blanket yet: good air is about 50 units, hazardous air is anything above 200 units, parts of Canberra were reporting more than 5,000 units. Today the smoke has largely gone, but an 80 year temperature record was broken by over a full degree, topping out at around 44 degrees (Canberra is in the Southern Highlands so misses some of the heat that the Riverina cops). Tonight it remains as hot as but the stillness has been replaced by that blustery wind again. This area has won the lottery in that there have been no fires in the region, as the whole place is tinder dry from the prolonged drought and with the heat and the winds a repeat of 2003 would have been on the cards.
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Posted on: Dec 15 2019, 04:56 PM


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No idea why we batted on through last evening and into today ... almost as if they were trying to get a fifth day of tv time. Also clearly bowling in the late session is a tremendous quite possibly match winning advantage. You could argue it is similar to winning the toss on a greeentop and bowling first but winning the toss is pure luck whereas sides will wifully manipulate play to ensure they are bowling with a relatively new ball for the evening session.
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Posted on: Dec 8 2019, 07:14 PM


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J - I heard one of the Cricket Australia bosses interviewed on ABC radio this morning and he was asked what did Channel 7 tell them was the best thing about this season's women's comp. No, it wasn't the overall improvement in the skills levels on show, nor the emergence of genuine high profile stars, nor the number of great contests on show etc etc. No, Channel 7 apparently reckons the accessability (spelling?) of the players was the highlight. Yes, the mindless drivel of Ms Harris - and she herself said this morning she was quite surprised that the tv company wanted her to continue babbling on - is what Channel 7 is looking to serve up rather than actual cricket.

And back to the cricket: a couple of missed chances in the field made it a comfortable win for the Heat. Congrats to all involved.
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Posted on: Dec 8 2019, 08:29 AM


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Go the heat. Some very ordinary fielding and bowling in the two semis yesterday but looking forward to today's contest (not keen on the stream of consciousness commentary from the bowler as she is in the process of bowling - not insight, just drivel - but of course you can rely on Channel 7 to lower the standards of anything they touch).
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Posted on: Dec 6 2019, 07:47 PM


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J - Willis was a real overachiever as he was a bit of a make-do by the poms seeing they had no one else who was an out and out fast bowler. In the end he was deservedly rewarded for his perseverance: he was a tough test cricketer. My memory was that he was always a yard short of being fast enough and for him to put in a decent bouncer he used to bowl outrageous no balls - it wasn't as if his foot was just missing the line, for some of his no balls he was half a stride over the line and it wasn't as if he bowled these howlers every so often, particularly as he aged.
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Posted on: Dec 2 2019, 06:25 PM


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I reckon this is a shite article from a bloke who specialises in shite articles.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-02/davi...6?section=sport

I suspect most everyone is of the view that Shane Warne was / is a selfish d!ckhead who you wouldn't trust a bit but that does not stop him being universally acknowledged as one of the greats. The fact that I may or may not rate David Warner as a bloke does not influence my opinion that he really is a flat-track bully. Given inferior opposition and benign conditions he can absolutely monster a game but to do what Steve Smith did in England is what separates the men from the boys.
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Posted on: Nov 30 2019, 09:33 AM


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I see on macrobusiness that David Warner commented that he wished he could bat against decent Pakistani bowlers like Waqar and Wasim, and someone pointed out that he's just had the chance to perform against a class bowler in Suart Broad and flopped. As much as I like seeing Aussie batters do well, and continue to like watching Lambshanks, all the signs are that the conditions and the opposition are such that this series is just not a contest. Good for Channel 7 though as they will get their full 5 days to run all their special /human interest segments.
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Posted on: Nov 6 2019, 01:58 PM


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Yeah but they would have bills to pay and most creditors likely would want the readies. The drillers have done well and the fact that have not totally cashed and taken the profits suggests they think there might be more to come / or maybe they are compulsive gamblers and are happy to go double or nothing.

(I'm not sure why I am so interested in Stavely seeing that I've not held any SVY for yonks. I suspect it is because it is such a shining example of the randomness of success).
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Posted on: Nov 5 2019, 06:37 PM


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Interesting interplay going on in the HC SVY threads. There's Blackie's mate, shimmer, who is a smooth as silk upramper and now there's high quality downramper, Henry Walton, has joined the fray. They are not going head to head and their styles are diametrically opposed: as I said shimmer is all smoothness and supreme confidence that the SVY shareprice is going to go off like a rocket in coming months whereas Henry Walton is all detail and analysis to back up his position that Stavely does not have a commercial find. I've not come across either of them before but Henry Walton has a remarkable 1,120 lightbulbs from only 683 posts (even the top analysts that I regularly watch on hc don't bat at more than 100%) so some must think he has substance. Apparently he's a day trader though.

HW's style reminds me a lot of our very own King Baz who for a time on sharescene really was king (and kahuna). From memory though, king baz blew his credibility with some bad calls and getting too full of himself. It must be over a decade ago that he strutted around sharescene and I've not seen anything of him since: I presumed he may have passed away. But maybe not.

As for Stavely the next few core samples will tell the story apparently.
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Posted on: Nov 5 2019, 07:01 AM


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Yes, this. Some of my family are involved in the racing industry and they say that the Melbourne Cup is about the hardest race to pick as pretty much every horse in it, and its a big field, have been primed for this one race and pretty much every trainer and jockey are striving to win. None are there for a training gallop. So, pretty shirts or funny names or favourite numbers are the way to go apparently (fairly much how I pick my share investments come to think of it...).
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Posted on: Nov 2 2019, 07:51 AM


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Good on Glenn Maxwell for looking after himself and having the guts to recognise he is crook and to do something about it. And good on Steve Waugh, a reputed hardman, for backing Maxwell up. I read somewhere that something like a quarter of young people have mental health issues. Not sure of the reasons - high expectations, social media, low life prospects, ?? dunno - but whatever the reason it can be very debilitating for the sufferer. To suggest to them when they are at their "weakest" that they need to harden up apparently is not always the best option.

To show just how distorted the times are, Cricket Australia actually agreed, for money of course, for a pay to view operator to have exclusive rights to international T20 games and yet we can watch local soccer, basketball, racing, motor sports, rugby, domestic womens cricket all on free to air. Cricket needs to learn the lessons that rugby went through: if you sell out to the pay to view operators and take your product off free to air you might be getting a few more dollars in the short term but you are damaging your product in the longer term.

I watched Meg Lanning smash her team to victory in a rain affected T20 game (late) last night. She was dead lucky as she should have been stumped by about 3 metres early in her innings but champions do what champions do.
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Posted on: Oct 30 2019, 04:05 PM


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"they offer nothing..."

I dunno, a bit of traffic on this site would be a change. If not for nip and blackie backed up by eb and Mick (with J and Mr B for cricket) it gets very quiet on SS / SC these days. Arty's contributions to this site were immense and his passing left a giant deficiency here imo. And of course flower was your typical angsty pom but he did manage to keep things lively.

I used to check in with topstocks a number of years back but never came across the consistent quality of analysis and commentary as provided here by Arty and Kahuna and several others.


Anyway, let these topstocks trolls just try stuffing up SS / SC .... they'll be met with some very stern words.
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Posted on: Oct 22 2019, 08:06 PM


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Results are out! the zit potion is moving to phase 3 trial .... Yay! ... but a major part of the trial showed no statistical significance .... Boo! ... the results from the Australian bit of the trial were great! .... Yay .... but in the US part of the trial the placebo performed better than the drug .... Wha???

On hc, there is a small group of previously-unheard-on-the-BOT-threads posters that are posting negatively and repeatedly and most of the rahrah fan club have gone silent for the time being. One hc poster, Rusty, one of the fan club, is attempting to be rational / analytical and has picked up the disparity between the US and Australian results. It looks to me like they stuffed the trial up by using different products in the US than in Australia and the company is looking to move into phase 3 based on the Australian results. I suspect that Rusty is right that the company's announcement yesterday of having signed up one supplier to provide all future CBD requirements may well be an attempt to make sure this stuff-up does not happen again.

But I guess the bottom line is there is uncertainty in this announcement and as the market dislikes uncertainty the BOT share price is going lower.
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Posted on: Oct 22 2019, 02:53 PM


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Mr B - I suspect it all comes down to money. A slugathon that runs for the full 5 days is better for the media outlet that paid lots of money for the rights to the cricket than something that has 39 wickets fall in three and half days.
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Posted on: Oct 22 2019, 10:39 AM


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So, the time of judgement for Botanix and its many rabid supporters on hc has arrived. The stage 2 trial of its zit cream was completed last month and the stock has gone into a trading halt to allow for the "top line data" - which, as I learned yesterday, is a legal term - to be released. A few on hc are hedging by saying that they are actually waiting for some other trial results due out early next year. But the bottom line it seems to me is that given the hypothesis is that the anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial effects of CBD make it effective for not only acne, but also atopic dermatisis and psiorias (spelling?), then a poor result from the acne trial bodes badly for future trials for those other skin afflictions.

An interesting side-bar to this trading halt is that a couple of days ago a poster on hc claims he is a researcher and lecturer at the same institution as the lead researcher for the Melbourne part of the trial and apparently the poster claimed that the lead researcher told him that the Botanix product was not effective (I did not read the post before it was moderated but from what others said that appears to be the gist of the claim). Now others on hc have pointed out that the trial was a double blind trial so the researcher would not know which of his patients were treated with the Botanix product and which were treated with a placebo. Fair point, I think.


Also my view is what are the chances that a person smart enough to become a well-regarded specialist in dermatology is dumb enough to tell inside information about a commercial-in-confidence trial to someone he occasionally socialises with who is also smart enough to be a university researcher but is dumb enough to ask and receive inside information and then go onto the largest stock forum in the country and blurt out that inside confidential information. Personally I can imagine maybe one of the two people being momentarily imprudent but both of them? Doesn't past the sniff test for me.
But at the very least, this episode may possibly have brought forward when Botanix releases the results - there was a view that they would time releasing the results with the AGM that is on next week. Even any suggestion that there is trading of the stock when there is the taint of insider information floating about should be enough to bring a halt to trading (even more so if the company finds out that one of their lead researchers has spoken out of turn).
The rahrahness of the BOT threads on hc has all the feel of a mania but as Stavely has shown sometimes behind all the pumping and puffery there is substance. We will find out in the next couple of days whether Botanix is another exception to the rule.
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Posted on: Oct 17 2019, 09:44 PM


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Given the date stamp on the letter, the time you posted it and the time difference between here and Washington DC you don't even need to check the wording to identify it is as a fake.... graduated.gif
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Posted on: Oct 17 2019, 07:27 AM


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Really strong interview by Kyle Bass of Robert Spalding, who was defence attache at the US Embassy in Beijing and who has penned a book on his assessment of China and the Chinese Communist Party.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl5279dWqGs

I consider Scott Morrision to be a fool, and his defence of Gladys Liu by claiming any examination of her activites to be "racist" and offensive to 1.4b Chinese and over a million ethnic chinese Australians only confirmed that to me. His response was a word perfect rendition of the CCP's main diversionary tactic.

(h/t to Timmeh at MB)
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Posted on: Oct 16 2019, 01:27 PM


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nip - Brian McNamee is rewriting history a tad imo. Whilst not many would have predicted CSL would grow into what it has become now everyone back then knew that CSL was an iconic operator with a big future. I've just drafted a very full explanation of why I say that but prudence has got the better of me and I've binned it. Let me just say that Brian Mc's story is more monty phython - I grew up in a shoe box I did - skit than reality, from my perspective anyway.
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Posted on: Oct 13 2019, 06:35 PM


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I see Warner's back to being a chmapion again according to Langer .... no he's not, for ever more he'll be known as Stuart Broad's bunny.

Also, the authorities dish up another concrete pitch for a first class game and ... geez all of a sudden we have lots of batsmen capable of scoring lots of runs.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-13/shef...-farce/11597968
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Posted on: Oct 10 2019, 11:36 AM


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blacksheep - no, I was more reminding myself of the regard that I have held Chris Cairns in, as my spidey sense was that this discovery seemed perhaps a bit too convenient.

The promotion of Stavely is a little complicated by the spruiking being done by an investor who used to be CC's brother-in-law and is now CC's ex-sister-in-law (which some may find an interesting story in itself, there's a 60 Minutes program about it, but the transformation is irrelevent to the Stavely story). Anyway CC's ex in-law is a very successful investor who has been heavily invested in Stavely and who has been doing some fairly impressive promotional work, including on hc, of the company. I tend to be wary of spruikers and was of the view that CC's ex in-law, plus a few others on hc, were going a bit hard on promoting what was a junior explorer that had little to show for all the drilling it had done. But without any decent drilling results all that promotional work would have come to nothing, and more to the point was coming to nothing. But then, this. Lots of pent up interest in Stavely built up on the SVY threads on hc turned into kenetic energy on the stock market and everything has changed.

Who is shimmer? I can't recall that name as being a hc regular, certainly not on the SVY threads.
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Posted on: Oct 9 2019, 10:12 PM


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The developers of lithium ion batteries are awarded the 2019 Nobel prize in chemistry.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-09/nobe...opment/11588298

And it was also announced that the parents of one of the winners, John B Goodenough, were given a posthumous kick up the bum for branding their son with a name that after 97 years he has finally lived up to. Reminds me of Johnny Cash's song about the boy being named Sue so as to toughen him up.
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Posted on: Oct 8 2019, 05:09 PM


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blacksheep - I've been watching the work of Chris Cairns, Stavely's main man, for over a decade and to date he's struck me as not one of the shonkies.

So in that light I can say without being accused of implying something dodgey that these results are the most convenient turnaround story I've witnessed for a junior mining stock. For months and months Cairns had been putting out announcements indicating that they were on top of the geology of where they were exploring and were just so close from discovering a potential massive porphery system. But in the end they had to suspend that search and move on to proving up what they had previously found in the shallows but had not thought to follow through with at the time. They were getting low on cash, it appeared that they had made a stumble in Tasmania, all their theories about the porphery system had not delivered results, CC was having issues in his private life, the indications were that Stavely was down to the last throw of the dice ... and then, THIS. It really is fairy tale / Hollywood stuff.
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Posted on: Oct 6 2019, 02:48 PM


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hat tip to skippy at macrobusiness:

https://twitter.com/BittelJulien/status/1179685787434180609


QUOTE
Yikes! Yesterday’s Conference Board CEO confidence number was just plain ugly. Lowest reading since Q4 ’08 & YoY lowest since Q2 ’79. CEO confidence has never been this low outside of US recession. This is the chart you should be paying attention to today. Recession is knocking.


Check out the top chart.
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Posted on: Oct 5 2019, 07:10 AM


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"Sex, drinking, driving: five areas where men and women are more similar than you think"

Apparently maths is not a strong suit amongst the headline writers at the London Tele ... (and no, I didn't read the article, even if I could get around the paywall it obviously is a puff piece).

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Posted on: Oct 2 2019, 06:48 PM


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It must be a hard day at the office being a bowler in top class limited overs cricket. Aaron Finch broke some sort of record with his 188 against Qld yesterday, Usman belted two big centuries in three days and Ms Healy went on a total rampage. The only way not to be belted is to bowl rubbish. Also it just gives an unfair advantage to players who throw the bat through the line of the ball. Neither Finch nor Usman show off too much if the bowlers are given half a chance (though Allysa Healy does appear to be more of a Matty Hayden then an Aaron Finch)
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Posted on: Oct 2 2019, 01:46 PM


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I see Stavely has put out a clarification statement regarding its door-busting announcement of 26 September. I skimmed it and it seems that Chris Cairns is pointing out that a fair portion of the drilling went through rock with little or no copper and that the results reported were based on visual analysis not assay results. I must have that wrong as I was sure that Stavely reported in the 26 September announcement hits of up to 40% copper from that hole (???) but the statement did clearly say that assay results are due in the next couple of days. Anyway SVY is off to the races again today so I must have looked at the wrong bits of the statement.
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Posted on: Sep 30 2019, 10:54 AM


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Mark Diamond ... unusual name for a fat opera singer ... (when someone with vested intersts says that their company is at fair value ....)
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Posted on: Sep 28 2019, 04:41 PM


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Trumpy's negotiating tactics...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_JOGmXpe5I
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Posted on: Sep 26 2019, 08:05 PM


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"you still in, triage?"
No, Chris Cairns was adament back in the middle of last year that they had picked up the scent of a porphery system and would have found it well before Christmas 2018. In my year end review I decided to move onto something a little less speculative. This latest hit seems to have been a hail mary as they had just announced they were giving up on the long held dream of finding that big porphery system. But anyway this time the luck of the bit went his way and it's always better to be lucky than good. I congratulate all those who hung in there with Chris and the team .... (but still, bugger).
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Posted on: Sep 25 2019, 11:43 PM


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P & A

I understand what you are saying about judicial activism but I thought this case was quite different and I see it is a conflation to look at this particular case through the judicial activism lens. The pommy legislature had actually passed a law related to brexit and the executive had attempted to close down the legislature so that the executive could operate unhindered by what the legislature had voted on (and which liz had signed off on) and likely would vote on. That is why the third branch of government, the judicial, stepped in, not to push its own agenda but to ensure that the legislative branch of government was not trampled on. This notion that it is only the executive - comprising the chosen leaders of those sitting in the government benches - that controls government is quite foreign to the westminster system as I understand it.


I see little difference between what our High Court did with the foreign citizenship issue and what the pommy Supreme Court did here. Remember if it had been left to our executive branch a number of people ineligible to be in parliament would have remained in place.


And as to the judges being unelected, well so are prime ministers. Both judges and prime ministers are selected by the elected.
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Posted on: Sep 24 2019, 08:20 PM


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It's good to see the British system is holding up despite all the stresses being placed on it. I don't care what the poms do regarding Europe - well actually about pretty much anything really - but given how closely our system is based on their system it is reassuring that the checks and balances there are kicking in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMGirLS4EBg
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Posted on: Sep 23 2019, 06:22 PM


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Well I stuffed up the first bit. The ASX is actually the Australian Securities Exchange, not the Australian Stock Exchange. Mea culpa.
But yeah, about company directors being prolific inside traders while the regulators pull a sargent shultz....
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Posted on: Sep 23 2019, 07:02 AM


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Signs that a journo is not fully across their subject matter .....

...."A new study suggests insider trading by company directors trading on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is rife"......

And the finding of that study can't be right otherwise the regulators would be prosecuting company directors and I can't remember that ever happening in Australia.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-23/insi...-finds/11537080
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Posted on: Sep 15 2019, 07:40 AM


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Headline in the London Tele this morning ...

"£4.8m golden lavatory stolen from Blenheim Palace ... police have nothing to go on".

(also, the cricket).
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Posted on: Sep 13 2019, 06:47 PM


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balance - the point for me is that if you let first class cricketers hang around in the test team for long enough then sooner or later they will have a good day. Jason Gillespie has a test double century to his name, and good on him, but he was not a regular test player on the chance that he would produce such an innings. If the selectors keep giving Mitchell Marsh opportunity then sure he will have days like he had overnight. But why him, and not, say, Travis Head or Joe Burns or .... anyway, by all reports it was a good performance by Marsh last night.
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Posted on: Sep 12 2019, 11:14 PM


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I get the win the toss and bowl first bit ... this way the poms will bat for a day and a half, Mitch's magnificant bowling talents will be needed to plug an end from time to time while the proper bowlers have a rest, and then when we finally get to bat, Dave and Mitch might get to swing the bat at a few more straight ones than usual in this series. rolleyes.gif

Seriously why would you drop a youngish (25 year old) middle order batsman after winning a test whilst perservering with a 32 year old opener whose recent batting average is in the single digits.

The selections, the decision to bowl first and the sloppy fielding effort in session one suggests that they are either still hungover or have clocked off early.
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Posted on: Sep 9 2019, 07:34 PM


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Well, to be more precise, Steve Smith is a better team than the poms. If Smithy played in the last test we would likely have had a lead of at least 60 more runs. End result, the poms would not have won it. If "Smudge" was not playing in this test we would have been smashed and even his 82 in the second innings meant the poms had been batted out of the contest.

We have been fortunate to witness a once in a century cricketer in action. I remember watching a young Wally Lewis play Brisbane club footy, simply breathtaking, such dominance. I get the same vibe watching Steve Smith, and he is consistently doing it at the highest levels of competition.
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Posted on: Sep 8 2019, 10:11 AM


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Well the 80 odd from Steve Smith and the two quick wickets by Pat Cummins changed everything. Now, surely, it is just a matter of whether Nathan Lyons can do what he often does.

The commentators, both pommy and aussie, keep raving on about our bowling attack. Two things, if they are so good how come so often they can't get 20 wickets in a test, and, personally Stuart Broad would be my first pick in any bowling attack. He has shown grit and skill ever since he came into test cricket and, other than him having no answer for Steve Smith, he has been at the peak of prowess this series as well.
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Posted on: Sep 7 2019, 11:48 PM


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We only have to draw this test and the next and we retain the ashes but we are now so far ahead it will be tempting to press on for the win here and make the last test a dead rubber. The problem with going for the win is the GOAT looks all out of form, he failed to bring us home last test and looked fairly ineffectual in the first innings just concluded. And after the shemozzle of the last test the poms will likely back themselves a chance to run down even a sizeable total.


Also, it's a travesty that Joe Burns will not make an appearance in this series. Lots of goodwill shown by the authorities in sticking with Dave Warner, not sure it was warranted.
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Posted on: Sep 4 2019, 10:42 PM


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Lambshanks plays lucky but he seems a confident young bloke and is again taking the contest to the poms. Hopefully he keeps developing as a test player.


And it must be about time that the SOS goes out once again for Joe Burns to replace Warner (for starters he is right-handed)
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Posted on: Sep 2 2019, 05:25 PM


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... Mitch ....('cause the poms have an allrounder and look how well he went / 'cause his dad was really really good / 'cause it doesn't matter that he doesn't get many test wickets as we have the best bowling attack in the world).


... but yeah, hopefully you are right.
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Posted on: Aug 27 2019, 10:16 PM


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Well, that news comes as a shock ... they scored more than 67 runs and still lost. Must have had some bad luck.
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Posted on: Aug 24 2019, 03:02 PM


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balance - at one point last night there was some talk from the pommy commentators that this particular type of Duke ball is not fit for purpose. Apparently it was used in a county game some time ago and the game was called off (?) or at least it was a total shemozzle as the ball was virtually unplayable. So there was some surprise when the authorities decided to bring it back for the Ashes Series. It now seems that the pommy authorities outsmarted themselves because by targetting all the Aussie batsmen who can only play against undeviating white balls on unresponsive pitches they also exposed all their own batters who are actual world champions at that type of cricket. (I enjoy the understated commentary from most of them but if only I could selectively mute out Warne and Beefy Boofhead ... but I can't so I watch most of the coverage with the mute on).

Even the body language of lambshanks is that of a number 3.


I'm hoping the Goat will bring us home. I saw the only over he bowled in the first innings and he got one to rear up off a reasonable length and hit Paine around the neck.
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Posted on: Aug 23 2019, 10:56 PM


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"Sun will shine and the ball will be ramrod straight when it resumes tonigh for the Poms to bat." ... or not. That's the best I've seen Hazlewood bowl, ever. Sure, the conditions suit him and the Duke ball actually moves but he was bowling more fourth stump rather than his usual fifth and sixth stump stuff. I'm amazed all the poms seem to be batting with hard hands, I thought they would be used to playing in these conditions.
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Posted on: Aug 22 2019, 11:49 PM


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Not sure how you are supposed to bat when the ball is moving as much as it is today ... but the shot that Khawaja got out with was just a gift to the poms. I've pretty much given up on him, at least as a number 3, seems to get out to too many lazy shots. Two down for not much ... at least the NRL was worth watching tonight.
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Posted on: Aug 19 2019, 06:20 PM


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balance - I reckon lambshanks is a dead cert no matter if Smith is right to go or no, apparently he is the form player in county cricket this season and if we don't pick him then the poms might be tempted ( rolleyes.gif ).

Regarding Steve Smith's concussion ... apparently he passed all the tests on the day he got hit ... if that is right then they need to change the tests that they use. If any rugby league player got up off the ground as dusty as Smith was I'm fairly certain they would not be allowed back onto the playing field. He was clearly not compus mentos when he got out - the poms likely did him a favour by not bowling bouncers at his head. They will if he shows up to play on Thursday.
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Posted on: Aug 18 2019, 10:09 AM


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Yeah, but when I saw that the ball had hit towards the back of Steve Smith's neck I thought of what happened to Phil Hughes. I don't think Smith had those protective flaps on the back of his helmut that most players these days have.

Regarding Warner, I read that he dropped two catches last night. If he is not scoring runs and remains out of sorts maybe he needs some time away to get his act together. Bancroft too but at least he is contributing on the field. In the 3 innings in this series so far, Australia would have been absolutely buggered if not for Steve Smith. We simply cannot continue on carrying the openers and the number 3 and have the middle order spluttering along, as the poms have put together a very competitive combination of fast bowlers. I doubt if the home side will deliver a road for any of the rest of the matches and Warner seems not equiped to handle any sideways movement. Anyway we'll see what happens tonight but as it stands now I reckon at least one, maybe two, of the top order need replacing.

PS aren't the pommy crowds up themselves. Booing some bloke who has retired hurt. Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
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Posted on: Aug 16 2019, 05:42 PM


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If Troy was mining 4.3g/t ore it would be pulling in mountains of cash, but it's not and it aint, more like 2 g/t. Also Troy has been frustrated by narrow complex seams of ore. Maybe Guyana Goldstrike has better fortune ....
  Forum: Macro Factors

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Posted on: Aug 10 2019, 08:23 AM


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The Ramelius boss mentioned a few months ago that the rising cost of labour was a major reason why his firm's AISC was higher than planned, and the Dacian boss clearly blamed shortages of maintenance dudes for one of their contractors not delivering on production levels. But the Perth real estate market continues to say the crazy times of a few years ago have not returned to WA. I think the construction boom required far more workers than the production boom does, so yeah there might be shortages in certain trades but not for general rousabouts.

I think, in terms of investment, the shortage of funding to parts of the sector is more interesting. After Gascoyne, and the stumbles of Dacian and a few others, I suspect it will be hard work for a start-up goldy to get funding, either debt or equity, to drill out prospective areas and develop those areas into working mines. But the gold producers like Ramelius and Silver Lake who are sitting on torrents of cash flow from the jump in gold prices are well positioned to take out these wannabes cheaply and self-fund these developments. I'm not sure whether the money to be made is buying the wannabes or buying the predators. Explaurum shareholders certainly did well out of Ramelius taking them over (I don't know enough about Silver Lake's current target but from what I've read it looks to be a far better prospect than Explaurum and Silver Lake wants to pay less for it than Ramelius paid for Explaurum).
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Posted on: Aug 2 2019, 07:23 PM


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You still on the horse, Mick? Looks someone's been slipping a bit of elephant juice into its feed bin of late.
  Forum: Investment Discussion

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Posted on: Aug 2 2019, 07:20 AM


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Gawd I find the ABC newsfeed webpage bloody frustrating ... Steve Smith score a gross and pulls Australia back from disaster and I only find this out when I look at the Guardian's and the London Tele's front pages ... what a little champion the bloke is turning out to be. Day one of the ashes - how important a time for him to stand up and put all those demons to rest. ... instead the ABC just in page is full of articles of the type you give to your work experience kids ... whoever is in charge of that service needs sacking .... elation mixed with frustration ...
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Posted on: Jul 30 2019, 09:42 PM


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nip - the word on hc from a couple who say they have been talking to Botanix is that $35m is going to a US specialist in biotech, Cowan, whilst Bell Potter and Agro the puppet (?) gets the opportunity to try and stag $5m, all done and dusted at 21 cents. What is not yet clear to me is whether Cowan has acquired a takeover blocking stake in Botanix itself or whether it is merely acting as a ticket clipper.


The Botanix threads on hc are dominated by a few butch cheerleaders who demand either fluff or pump posts and they have regathered their senses (from the initial shock of Botanix doing exactly what they declared repeatedly they would not do) and are now spinning this as a positive thing. Yeah nah. Botanix still have not handed out the final report on the early stage psoriasis trial and they are about a month away from getting some prelim feedback about the 2nd stage acne trial. The timing of this cap raise and the fact that it was got away at a 20% discount to yesterday's price smacks to me of Botanix hedging their bets. If the trial results are good then no one will be complaining about whether the share price was 21 cents or 26 cents at the beginning of August 2019 and if the results are disappointing then at least the company has enough in the kitty to try their luck with other product candidates: today's cap raise makes sense either way but does not predict one scenario over the other.
  Forum: By Share Code

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Posted on: Jul 23 2019, 07:22 AM


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Hang on, going on current trends in fifty years Israel will be an arab, muslim country. What we see now is akin to the last days of colonial India.

In the shorter term Israel can protect itself but has no chance of taking on a major military force like Iran, that's why they've been trying for years to get the Americans to take the lead on Iran. Not sure what Trumpy is up to...
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Posted on: Jul 8 2019, 08:24 PM


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Geez J, I watched a couple overs when Healy straight drove three or four times in a row. She looks a lot like her uncle but those shots were pure Greg Chappell. I remember seeing some games on the teeve a few years ago and most of the players were struggling to hit the ball to the boundary but the timing of some of the stroke play on display last night was just fantastic.
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Posted on: Jul 4 2019, 06:36 PM


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Not really apparently. EV's have something like 20 or so breakable moving parts - how often do you service your fridge? Even regarding all the computers and software apparently Tesla can do most of it remotely. That may be somewhat simplistic but one of the big investment banks has predicted that more than 50% of car dealerships in the US will close down in the next few years (and the big money in them currently is not in selling vehicles but in servicing them).
  Forum: Investment Discussion

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Posted on: Jun 29 2019, 09:47 PM


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nip - as was pointed out on macrobusiness this would be more of a Bear Stearns moment than a Lehman moment. Just as the US government bailed out Bear Stearns the Chinese have bailed out Baoshang Bank. The Lehman moment broke the dam wall because the authorities refused to bail them out causing a massive systemic shock.

I like how they said that Baoshang Bank had been reporting non-performing loans at only 2% until the muck hit the fan.


Anecdote time: Many years ago I had a meeting with the boss of a second tier Chinese financial entity who insisted that they had absolutely no non-performing loans. Knowing that his firm was based in a part of China that just had a real estate bust I quizzed him on the claim but he refused to budge. Afterwards one of the locals explained to me that if the financial entity did not insist that borrowers pay them back then the loans would not be classed as non-performing even if no repayments had been made. Moreover the rumour was that this financial entity had close working relationships with associates of the PLA and the provincial government so it had virtually an unlimited source of funds (from the provincial government) and had no wish to offend the PLA associates by asking them to repay the loans. No doubt China has tightened up a lot since then but I suspect that a lot of these financial entities would fold the moment various Chinese governments withheld their backing for them.
  Forum: Investment Discussion

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Posted on: Jun 29 2019, 08:04 AM


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Toyota also seems to be leaning towards hybrids over EVs but are of course covering all bases. I see it got to over 45 degrees celsius in France overnight. A bit of hot weather and Trumpy playing chicken with the Iranians in the Straits of Hormuz might tilt the argument away from ICE vehicles perhaps.
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Posted on: Jun 20 2019, 07:02 PM


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A very impressive ASX announcement I have to say. Keen to see what the yanks and Europeans make of it overnight. I am always cautious of the spin that the corporate spruikers put on such developments so am interested in what the UQ researcher reports to a microbiology conference next Monday in the US.
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Posted on: Jun 18 2019, 08:59 PM


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Really poor timing by Ramelius to have come out with a mediocre update.

They reduced expected FY20 production from 230k to 250k ounces to just shy of 215k and they quantified that Explaurum had done a Gascoyne with the Tampia project (only with rose coloured glasses was either Gascoyne's Dalgaranga project or Explaurum's Tampia project a real show). The market seems to be forgetting that Ramelius bought Tampia using very conservative resource figures, not the pie in the sky figures that Explaurum had been using. But anything tainted with the overstatement of resources at the moment is getting hammered.


I think it will take Ramelius to remind the market that they are extremely good mine managers before it forgives them. That and some decent drill results.
Such is life.
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Posted on: Jun 16 2019, 10:23 PM


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Good point nip. Back in 1989 it was the visit by Gorbachev of the USSR to Beijing in mid May that caused the Chinese leadership to play nice for a while. They even kept Zhao Ziyang on as General Secretary of the Communist Party for Gorbachev's visit but within days he had been effectively purged and it had been decided to impose martial law.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1989_Sino-Soviet_Summit
  Forum: Investment Discussion

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Posted on: Jun 13 2019, 08:24 AM


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A good visualisation of why attempting to predict future events based on recent events can be a mug's game.


The way I read that graphic is not a single analyst was within a bull's roar of getting the end of June yield right and that the article also seems to make a false assumption that by the end of December some of those analyst predictions will not end up close to the mark. It may well be that yields recover from here (?).


Actually there is one analyst who totally broke from the pack but guessed the wrong way (if they'd got lucky and guessed the right way they'd be able to live off that lucky pick for years to come as the only analyst who got the yield call right in 2019).

https://ritholtz.com/2019/06/surprise-treasury-yield/
  Forum: Investment Discussion

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Posted on: Jun 7 2019, 12:42 PM


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Phillip Soos is an independent economist and commentator. I watched a recent interview of him where he claimed that the the "debt accelerator" (annual change in the amount of mortgage debt) and the sales to new listings ratios are the two most reliable leading indicators he knows of for house prices, with about a 6 to 9 month lag. He said that even after the election those two metrics were indicating not only a continued fall in property prices but that the falls would begin to accelerate.

He appears to be of similar thinking to Steve Keen and also often refers to the analytical work of Martin North so it may be that he resides in the housing bears echo chamber. Martin North keeps pointing to what happened in Ireland in 2008 as the best guide for what may well happen in Australia in coming months (though as John Hempton points out, Ireland was tied to the euro whereas Australia has the free floating AUD which normally acts as a cushion for the domestic economy).

On the other hand the two main bloggers at macrobusiness, David Llewellyn-Smith and Leith van Onselen, have recently done pretty much a 180 degree turn by saying that now is the time for owner occupiers to buy as there is a new but weak cycle forming (something to do with housing not being about economic fundamentals but more to do with political economics and if the powers-that-be want the housing market to recover then it will).

But back to the hard grind of reality I just saw that a very average 4 bed house with no usable garage and only one bathroom in an average Canberra suburb sold at auction the other day for $706k. That is just silly.
  Forum: Investment Discussion

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Posted on: Jun 5 2019, 12:36 PM


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Just a follow up ....

... I see Dacian made an ASX announcement this morning and it was much, much more than just a production update. Basically the wheels are falling off and they've put a for sale sign up for the company. Is now off its lows for the day but still down about 60% on the price it was when it went into a trading halt a couple of days ago (and that was already about 40% off its highs).

I feel sorry for the mum and dad investors that got suckered by what appears to may have been a series of less-than-frank company updates in recent months. Gold is a major industry in Australia and this company was not a small speccy so it is quite possible some investors thought they may have been playing safe by investing in Dacian (as usual the regulators will do nothing: it seems in Australia these days the only way the ordinary people get looked after is if an ambulance chaser sees enough bounty to justify a class action). On the other hand I'm relieved I've dodged this particular bullet.
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Posted on: Jun 5 2019, 07:45 AM


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smile.gif
  Forum: Investment Discussion

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Posted on: Jun 4 2019, 08:02 PM


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Mick - another local goldy that could be going against the rising tide created by the high AUD gold price is Dacian Gold (DCN). I've been cramming this evening as to what is going on with it but apparently last quarter it downgraded its production estimate and guidance going forward and then yesterday it went into a trading halt as it prepared another production update. I'm not sure I can remember seeing a company take two full days to crunch the numbers for a production update other than when things are falling apart and they need to totally re-consider all their assumptions ie the update which may come out tomorrow will likely be a fair bit more than just a production update (??).

It does not appear to be the basket case that Gascoyne and Blackham are in that it still has a market cap of over $300m. However the DCN share price has crashed something like 40% in recent times on the basis that it seems that they are not finding the amount and grade of gold their modelling suggested they would find. Interesting side story is that co-incidentally the geologist who was the competent person in the modelling of Gascoyne's mine which is not producing the gold that was thought to be there was also the competent person for the modelling of Dacian's mine which apparently is also not producing the gold that was thought to be be there. How unlucky?
  Forum: Investment Discussion

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Posted on: Jun 4 2019, 04:35 PM


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Well Gascoyne (GCY) hasn't, earlier this week they called in the administrators a month after they did a cap raising of about $25m. CBA is is owed heaps, I think the total debt outstanding is about $100m. Strangely enough the administrator has said it will keep the mine operating even though the company said they are going backwards with every ounce extracted.

And Blackham (BLK) is one sick puppy as well. Still operating and still mining but has the look of a zombie.

If these outfits can't make a quid with Aussie gold at record prices well I'm not sure there is much hope for them. Maybe AUD at 60 cents might do the trick?

On the other hand miners like Ramelius (RMS) and Silver Lake (SLR) with several operating camps, with no debt and each pulling in about $25m in free cash each quarter should, I would think, be solid performers.
  Forum: Investment Discussion

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Posted on: Jun 2 2019, 01:05 PM


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Is that the one in Bangkok? You jetsetter you. rolleyes.gif


Capital Appreciation, who apparently is a bit of legend in ACT real estate blogging, mentioned on macrobusiness that he went to an auction in Narrabundah yesterday. The place sold for $895k late last year and all they got yesterday was crickets from the crowd, so it was passed in at $900k (taking into account costs these people are looking at a chunky loss).

https://www.allhomes.com.au/sale/11-warramo...berra-176697316

Someone else pointed out that the number of confirmed sales in Sydney yesterday was about the same as for the corresponding weekend last year and about half that of the corresponding weekend in 2017. Sydney and Melbourne have been deflating for about 20 months straight now, and that predates the royal commission and any effect of the ALP's election platform. Perhaps we will see a dead cat bounce in the big cities but given the coalition has undertaken to cut another $1.5b from the public service maybe Canberra will flatline at best (???).
  Forum: Investment Discussion

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Posted on: Jun 2 2019, 10:21 AM


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This is probably good news for Botanix (BOT not BOX) which is working through the formal processes of getting several of its trial products approved by the US FDA.


https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/201...cannabis-weekly

Botanix uses synthetically produced CBD which means it is using a pure substance, unlike CBD produced from plants which contains varying amounts of CBD and impurities. And it already has two products in phase 2 trials, for severe acne and atopic dermatitis, and one for psoriasis in an early stage safety trial, which if they survive the trials will allow Botanix to seek FDA approval. Pressure for the FDA to go easy on CBD products will be alleviated if it can show that it is working with companies to produce CBD based products that have been proven to meet its standards.

What also separates Botanix products from over-the-counter type products is that the delivery system Botanix uses is able to deliver much higher amounts of CBD under the skin than other products that have been tested.

Anyway, Botanix is late delivering the results from a couple of trials which is rarely a good sign. So it may go the way that most of these pharma start ups go...
  Forum: By Share Code

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Posted on: May 29 2019, 07:25 PM


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nip - I don't follow Galaxy but from what I gather they announced they are doing a buy-back and also that they are going to build a downstream processing operation in China. Re the first one, that's pretty weird if you ask me, I would have thought the company would do far better putting every dollar it has into expanding its operations. Buy backs are for companies and sectors far more matured than Galaxy and lithium (???).

And re the second one, it is one thing to swim with the sharks, it is another thing entirely to stick your head in a shark's mouth. I know a number of the WA spodumene (?) miners have done sales and equity deals with Chinese firms and that all seems to be okay. But, if, as it seems, China views lithium production in the same strategic way it sees rare earth production, then it is crazy-brave in my view for Galaxy to be injecting capital into a processing plant in China.

There is more talk, there is always talk, on hc that Pilbara (PLS) is about to announce the jv with the South Korean, Posco, which will mean it is also going downstream but in South Korea. I note that Pilbara does have a couple of Chinese entities on its registry and marketing its product.

Also, Orocobre recently posted a photo of a couple of its executives meeting with a Chilean official. Orocobre is a bit exposed in that both of its projects are on the same salt lake in Argentina. I would guess both Orocobre and its Japanese backers would be concerned about the concentrated location and country risk in the current set-up. It would make sense were they to diversify by acquiring and developing a lithium brine operation in Chile (but no talk of that yet).
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Posted on: May 28 2019, 12:55 PM


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What? Forget about the pathetic battery hen, why no mention of the rise of that all conquering, all devouring Australian Bin Chicken?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4dYWhkSbTU
  Forum: Off Topic Chat

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Posted on: May 24 2019, 07:37 AM


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nip - I listened to his interview on the Swagman podcast and in that interview he was very specific he was talking about Sydney markets, and more so the north western suburbs. He was asked what he thought about the Melbourne market and he said he had no opinion. The metric he was using was loan size over household income. He said that initially he was told by bankers that the maximum they would lend was 6.8 times household income but when he made enquiries of some mortgage brokers they were able to offer bank loans at over 10 times his stated household income. Hempton said he had no idea what percentage of mortgage loans in the Sydney market was above the 6.8 times banks themselves advised were the maximum. He said if only 5% of bank loans were over the maximum then no big deal but if it were 30% or 50% then that could trigger a major economic recession.

I thought the biggest statement Hempton made in that interview was his belief that the RBA will not defend the AUD and that so in an economic downturn it will be the AUD that crashes to buffer the rest of the economy from much of the pain.

My understanding is that whilst Hempton and his hedge fund is based in Sydney both his clients and his investments are mainly in the US and Europe. Anyway if you think he's a doomster then go for it, I have no particular dog in that fight.
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Posted on: May 23 2019, 05:32 PM


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eb - thanks for that. There is a park called Jingshan Park which is immediately north of the forbidden city in Beijing where on weekends crowds of people go to either ballroom dance (or some other form of group exercise) or to sing patriotic songs. Mostly the people who knew all the old revolutionary songs were the older generation but there would always be a smattering of younger people as well. Made for an enjoyable outing.

Also I remember the time when China played Japan at the main soccer stadium in Beijing and over 50,000 beiren began chanting "kill the japanese". The Japanese team had to get extra protection to get out of the stadium unharmed. I have little doubt that the Chinese populace will fall totally in line with the authorities as soon as there is any preceived external challenge. When stirred China can out-North Korea North Korea. I would not want to be an expat living in China should Trumpy attempt to humiliate China. (sorry, wrong thread).
  Forum: Off Topic Chat

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Posted on: May 22 2019, 12:16 PM


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He didn't call a crash. From what I can see he said that in the worst case scenario prices would drop x% and the AUD would drop y%. He also provided another scenario, one that he thinks more likely, where the outcomes would be far less dire.

The differences from Steve Keen and John Hempton is that Keen is an academic and Hempton is a money manager and that Keen spoke in absolutes and Hempton appears to be speaking in probabilities. Hempton would be crazy (and broke) if he did not look at all scenarios and to be ready to adjust depending on which scenario plays out.
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Posted on: May 16 2019, 08:26 AM


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Another big US thermal coal producer goes broke, forced out by cheaper, cleaner alternatives.

https://arstechnica.com/information-technol...for-bankruptcy/

The difference is that in the US gas is accepted as a cheaper, cleaner alternative to thermal coal whereas in Australia it is not.

(also the url misspeaks by saying the company is the third largest US coal producer when in the article the company is identified as being the fourth biggest).
  Forum: Macro Factors

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Posted on: May 15 2019, 11:52 AM


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This should make your blood boil. How the hell are we having to import gas??? Why do we let big companies get away with avoiding paying tax??? And in what world does it make sense that Australia, which is one of the biggest exporters of gas, end up paying more for its retail gas than customers in east Asia???


From Michael West, one of the last investigative journalists left in Australia (and hat/tip to jelmech@bigpond.com)


https://www.michaelwest.com.au/gas-deal-a-m...-and-singapore/
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Posted on: May 8 2019, 08:57 PM


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Tis a poor tradesman that blames his tools ... also, this decision seems to confirm that Telstra is the only silver-back allowed in this patch of the forest.
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Posted on: May 7 2019, 05:44 PM


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Didn't stop them in 2007 or 2013 though (both instances saw a change in government). It's as much a political decision not to cut the rates now as to go ahead and do it, certainly Josh Friedburger is playing it up as a sign the current government is on top of things. The RBA was in a no win situation today but they will cop some flack if they drop the rates in June and then again soon after.
  Forum: Investment Discussion

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Posted on: May 7 2019, 02:24 PM


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Mick - I was thinking the same thing. I've known a couple of wallopers who've worked in a PM's protection unit. I would think the bloke on duty will cop some stick from his mates and perhaps a bit more from his boss. The young lass with the egg looks harmless enough and generally we expect our bodyguards to be a bit more discreet than say the yanks. But still, that's a breach.

(also my "shocking!" was not my reaction but more a weak attempt at a play on the journo using "unphased" [as in electricity] in place of "unfazed").
  Forum: Off Topic Chat

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Posted on: May 7 2019, 12:15 PM


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"He appeared unphased in the minutes after the incident..."

Shocking!

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-07/scot...-trail/11087174

The protestor probably used an organic free range egg, if she'd only used a cheap cage egg the eggshell would not have been so hard to crack.
  Forum: Off Topic Chat

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Posted on: May 7 2019, 10:24 AM


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Mick - the advantage of using one of the big accounting firms is that they will give you the conclusion and recommendations you paid for.


The obscene amount of fees paid by government to the major consulting/accounting firms is one of the great conjobs of our history. For starters, how the hell does Defence not have inhouse expertise on something as basically important as aircraft maintenance. And even if they do not, as you say surely there are actual experts in engineering and the like that service the aircraft industry.
  Forum: Off Topic Chat

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Posted on: May 5 2019, 08:04 AM


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Kyle Bass was one of a group of analysts on China that I used to regularly listen to. I've not seen or read anything by him for years but my memory was that he made some couregous predictions which did not quite come to pass and he lost his standing somewhat. Anyway I've stumbled across this recent presentation by him in which he sort of comes across as a USA USA MAGA sort of spruiker rather than a rational analyst.

Interesting what he says about Hong Kong - it has been defying the odds pretty much for as long as I've had anything to do with it. I agree it is overextended in all sorts of ways but then again that has been the case for decades. Who is to say that now is the time it will all crash and burn. From a personal angle it would be not the worst thing to happen if HK hit a (small) wall as I know a few HKers who think that they are invincible as investors and who could do with an ego check (imo).

Also interesting how he is keen for Trumpy not to sign a trade agreement with China but rather wait them out for another six months until they have no choice but to submit, along the lines of the USSR collapsing. Again, I suspect that that is too simplistic a take on things because there is nothing to suggest that the Chinese Communist Party has reached a similar place to the Soviets under Gorbachev. China effectively stood by the US during the GFC and if they think that the US is successfully destabilising them now then there will be repercussions. But anyway USA USA MAGA.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFHblUtKOhw
  Forum: Investment Discussion

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Posted on: May 4 2019, 02:38 PM


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Yeah, fair point, I was not aware that there was so much promised action in WA.

But $600m? The Orocobre LiOH plant to be built in Japan has a US$91m price tag. The Kidman plant might just be intended to have a much higher production rate but also Orocobre will be feeding 99% pure lithium carbonate into its LiOH plant whereas I think the hard rockers' product is about 6% pure which may require much more processing to get to LiOH.
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Posted on: May 3 2019, 11:47 AM


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From the ABC about Adani hitting a hurdle on how it will look after a native finch at its proposed coal mine.

"Last night, the proposed coal mine was dealt a massive blow when the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES) rejected Adani's current management plan for the southern black-throated finch. It told the Indian miner ..."

In the ACT there is an active trapping and killing campaign for the introduced bird pest, the Indian Myna. It seems like the Indian Miner is being as much of a pest for both major political parties and apparently for a native finch as the Indian Myna is for native birds in general.
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Posted on: May 2 2019, 02:15 PM


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Not up to speed on the hard rock lithium players but just on the chemical processing idea Orocobre is working with Toyota Tsusho - a trading firm in the Toyota stable - to build a LiOH processing plant in Japan (near the crippled nuclear powerstation) and Pilbara Minerals seems to be looking to build a LiOH plant by way of a JV with POSCO in Korea.

Both LiOH plants are being built amongst clusters of businesses working on battery production. Orocobre's plant, which they will hold 75% of but only need to put in US$6.8m (total cost is about US$91m and most of it is borrowed at mate's rates of less than 1% interest), will be built near a cathode manufacturer and there is a planned battery factory there as well (I'm guessing it may involve the JV between Panasonic and Toyota that was recently formed to build a series of battery factories).

I'm a great fan of Michael Porter's theory on clustering of related businesses giving a competitive advantage. Were Kidman to build a LiOH plant in WA it would stick out like a shag on a rock. Australia has no car industry, we forfeited our advantage in solar panels, and Perth is a long way from even the east coast research and development clusters. I don't know enough about Westfarmers as to whether they have much inhouse expertise with lithium processing. But I would think that SQM, a lithium big-hitter, would want to play safe with locating any LiOH plant near existing clusters of excellence. But I could be way off track here ...
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Posted on: Apr 30 2019, 12:45 PM


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This is not a river in Eygpt ... I read some analyst saying that a contracting housing market will not impact employment in the sector because Australia has a long term shortage of construction workers. But if a quarter of new home buyers are not going ahead with building surely that means that the demand of work building new homes will be cut by about the same proportion. I suppose not all alotment sales were going to new home buyers as apparently amongst the uber crowd people were leveraging up to the max to sit on numerous blocks in the expectation that prices would keep spiralling upwards.

From memory the construction sector employs about 9% of Australian workers so ...
(great link eb, thanks muchly).
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Posted on: Apr 26 2019, 04:38 PM


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Tesla's demise is like Brexit concluding, is like Trumpy finally going too far, is like China hitting the wall, is like the housing market having a major correction, is like a couple of my stocks becoming fairly priced, is like ... always about to happen, never seems to happen, we live in an era where there are no consequences. rolleyes.gif
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Posted on: Apr 14 2019, 04:07 PM


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Yeah I started using it after some poster kept calling me a sheeple just because I did not agree with his batshit crazy conspiracy theories. Hence, Shawn. Sharescene is not quite the barroom brawl it used to be but I've grown fond of the picture.
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Posted on: Apr 11 2019, 02:05 PM


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Well someone found it exciting.

https://imgur.com/gallery/eN6LVFM

Just think: in ten years time people will look at that page and marvel at how bulky the storage units required were not at how many petabytes it took.
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Posted on: Apr 11 2019, 10:26 AM


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Yes hardly worth the 55 million year wait is it. Certainly less momentous than the broadcast of the final series of Game of Thrones, which we know is already finished being filmed and is in the can... rolleyes.gif . The space geeks seem pretty excited by the photo but I suspect most ignoramuses like moi will just go, meh, and move onto the sports pages.
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Posted on: Apr 3 2019, 12:58 PM


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alonso - does sound like you're not a seasoned shopper. Both Woolies and Coles work on weekly cycles starting each Wednesday. If you stick to buying special deals from them and do a bit of stockpiling the Coles/Woolies portion of your grocery bills can be reduced by 40 or 50%. Lots of people shop on Wednesdays for that reason (Aldi also puts specials out on Wednesdays and Saturdays). Then you have the pensioners and other welfare recipients (and public servants?) that get their money on a Thursday and of course the double income families have little choice but to shop on weekends. Tuesdays are at the end of that cycle so yeah the supermarkets can go a tad quiet. (I've never actually seen stats to back all this up but generally speaking Tuesdays are the quiet day in retail). rolleyes.gif
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Posted on: Mar 28 2019, 12:07 PM


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Well the WA Supreme Court has okayed the schemes agreed to by Doray shareholders so the merger deal between Doray and Silver Lake should be done and dusted by 8 April (in time for Brexit! rolleyes.gif ). Don't know what the shorters are seeing, hopefully they do their dough. I've read all the arguments about shorters providing liquidity and such but much of the time I think they are parasites whose MO is to "short and distort" (as that article that blacksheep posted described it).
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Posted on: Mar 27 2019, 07:37 PM


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It must be something else as the scheme has already been approved by Doray shareholders and pretty much all that is left to complete the merger is for the WA supreme court to okay it first thing tomorrow morning. Perhaps there is a view that Doray is getting the better of the deal than Silver Lake and that when the deal is done on 5 April SLR shares will adjust downwards to factor in that misvaluation (?). I have found with gold stocks (well actually with stocks generally) that whatever can go wrong does go wrong so maybe the deal is about to fall over at the last hurdle.

It has to be said that Silver Lake has enjoyed a wonderful run of late, since late November, similar to that of Ramelius. Both are benefitting from record high gold prices and both are sitting on over A$100m in cash and gold reserves. With the merger with Doray Silver Lake will overtake Ramelius in terms of ounces produced this fiscal year but both have been feeling their oats.
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Posted on: Mar 21 2019, 06:47 PM


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Good to see the plod involved. If the matter was left to the financial regulators ...
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Posted on: Mar 15 2019, 04:16 PM


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... in bed with the vampire squid ... yeah nah I'll take that as a negative indicator for Geocon's prospects.
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Posted on: Mar 14 2019, 09:37 PM


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Mick

There's lots of this ...

https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2019-03-1...orkers/10900850

and this ...

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-14/fran...tation/10900582

(what I don't think is pointed out by that Senate report is that buying a franchise is commonly used by new migrants as a way of buying themselves and their family members jobs - they are easy targets for the franchisors because the new migrants are ignorant of local business practices and laws).

So the end result is that the newly arrived are undercutting wages and business profits for the already established locals.
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Posted on: Mar 14 2019, 04:53 PM


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Well for lots of the locals things are (relatively) grim already. Pretty much the only reason why this country has been growing in recent times is because the ATM government has effectively thrown the doors at the airports open and is letting in just about anyone who can get a visitor visa and an airticket. All those extra arrivals means the aggregate figures keep going up but the locals are not seeing any improvement in their personal circumstances.

Of course when the aggregate recession hits many of the newcomers will choose to leave which will push the aggregate GDP down even further.
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Posted on: Mar 14 2019, 01:02 PM


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... though there's this ... corelogic reported auction stats for Canberra for this last weekend and the corresponding weekend last year. The auction results were below 30% and I heard it explained as being a slow weekend because of the local long weekend (for Canberra Day). So it was reported that there were 44 auctions held last Saturday with only 10 "cleared" auctions (as in the gavel dropped), which is about a 28% clearance.


But for the corresponding weekend last year, which was also the Canberra Day long weekend, there were 64 auctions held with a clearance of about 77%. So not only was there a 30% drop in auction activity there was a collapse in properties sold by auction in the ACT of about 80% compared to the corresponding weekend last year.

House prices in the ACT appear not to have fallen much yet, but going on auction activity and auction clearance rates all of the pressure is starting to pile on to the sellers.

(data via macrobusiness)
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Posted on: Mar 14 2019, 10:38 AM


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nip - by my count Geocon currently has 8 construction sites for high rise developments in the ACT. They claim to account for about 50% of the apartments being built in the territory. All their sites seem to be active again after the Christmas shutdown but I keep expecting to see flags on their construction cranes during working hours (they hang an Australian flag on inactive cranes). I see that they are guaranteeing set rental yields for 5 years for at least some of their off-the-plan projects which suggests that their sales side is under pressure.

Having said that I know of no apartment projects in Canberra that have shut down and local house and unit prices seem to be holding up okay. People keep telling me that the Canberra market is different, maybe they're right.
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Posted on: Mar 14 2019, 10:27 AM


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"Kohli will be seething !!!"

But a lot of bookies, not so much.

On the face of it, yeah, a famous victory by an understrength Aussie side against a powerful opposition at home, but unfortunately spot and game fixing in international cricket is a thing.
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Posted on: Mar 8 2019, 07:47 PM


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Because it is costing currrent taxpayers about $5b a year for starters. Because it is allowing lots of baby boomers to sit on their accumulated capital and live off "refunds" financed by current taxpayers rather than to gradually liquidate that accumulated capital. I actually spent time in the part of government that helped formulate superannunation policy in the Keating years and I don't recall that the purpose of superannuation was to allow people to retire, to live off the income from superannuation and hang on to the capital, and then pass it all on to the kids.
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Posted on: Feb 27 2019, 03:29 PM


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Meh, what could go wrong? ... it's not as if they are both prone to over-reacting ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JW_a-lz8sg

(looks like John Cleese's take on the haka)
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Posted on: Feb 26 2019, 06:28 PM


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Mick - you might be interested in this recent article by Stephen Roach which looks at both the US and China. He is the first commentator I can recall that argues that the US may come out worse off than China from the current trade ruckus.

The article appears not to be behind the Australian Financial Review paywall but I've put it throught the Outline site just in case (from all I've heard Outline is not dodgey and does break through a number of the media paywalls).

https://www.outline.com/2TSN6t

Just a reminder that for pehaps well over a decade Stephen Roach was Morgan Stanley's China pointman and he is (or was) as well informed as any western analyst on what was happening in China. He was no doubt a full-on China bull, but he was a very knowledgeable one.
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Posted on: Feb 21 2019, 02:53 PM


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I hope that statement by the Helloworld CEO was drafted by his gun lawyer as to this mug punter it looks like it contains a clear misrepresentation.

His statement says in part: "Mr Burnes did not request the meeting with DFAT personnel in the United States."


But Helloworld's pointman on servicing the needs of the embassy in Washington, Russell Carstensen, has sent written correspondence to the Senate in which he says in part:"I was contacted by Mr Burnes [Helloworld's CEO] via email/SMS and voice call to tell me he had arranged a meeting with Mr Hockey and I had to fly home via Washington to meet with him. I asked Mr Burnes how could this be done so quickly. He verbally advised me, ‘Hockey owes me.’"

Carstensen also said that when he advised Department of Finance officials that he had met with Joe Hockey about travel services to the embassy in Washington they indicated their concern about the probity of this and as a result Carstensen made no further effort to correspond with Hockey. For those who don't know the Department of Finance is a central policy agency whose remit includes the expected standard of behavior from public servants (particularly when it comes to spending money).
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Posted on: Feb 21 2019, 11:33 AM


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Mick - though as it was pointed out on macrobusiness employment is a lagging indicator, many of the leading indicators are showing that a downturn will make itself obvious in a couple of months or so.


And yeah lots of the stats are totally screwed up by the unprecedented numbers of migrants being allowed in. For instance I saw that after scummo promised to create a million new jobs some analyst worked out that almost all the new jobs will be created as a result of the migration numbers and that almost all of the jobs created will go to migrants, not locals. So in terms of GDO per capita, wages growth and unemployment levels things will continue to go backwards. This country is likely already in a recession but no one knows about it (it's our wile e coyotee moment).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gq_bjaI0NTo
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Posted on: Feb 21 2019, 09:55 AM


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11:15 am is pretty much the same time that bank share prices took off on the day the banking rc was released. Looks like the trading desks start their day at 11:00.
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Posted on: Feb 21 2019, 09:49 AM


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He said another chain in the same boat was women's fashion house Maggie T, which was created in the image of fashion icon Maggie Tabberer.

"Maggie T was something of the past," he argued.

"It was nice, it was quaint, but it wasn't resonating with the greater bulk of the Australian consuming public."

Yeah I reckon that is a strange thing to say about Maggie T given that the brand was set up to cater for women of greater bulk.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-21/aust...tition/10832062

But anyway I reckon there is more to it than just local brands suffering from competition from foreign operators. In the two big shopping centres I frequent in the ACT there are shopfronts boarded up all over the place. I remember in the months leading into the 1990 recession you could see a wave of shops being vacated in regional cities and suburban centres. It was only when the full force of the recession hit that the effects became manifest on the high street. This time around even A grade retail locations are buckling even though talk of a recession is still only on the margins.
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Posted on: Feb 13 2019, 10:35 AM


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No EB, you're the little bird of happiness. biggrin.gif I think you are on the money.

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Posted on: Feb 9 2019, 07:25 AM


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I've been really unimpressed and disinterested in the Big Bash this year. Seems I'm not alone with crowds down about 30% on last year. From the snippets I've read about it lots of lopsided games, lots of players not firing etc. Anyway last night I decided I should make the effort to watch some on the teeve and it happened that the underperforming Heat were playing one of the Melbourne sides. I sat down just as the Heat started batting. Bloody hell! There was some clean hitting on display with both batters scoring about 80 off 30 balls to finish the game within 10 overs. What a demolition job.

So I was lucky to witness probably the best 10 overs of BBL cricket this year (though the women's semi finals were pretty good as well).

Also, what a joke the national selectors are: Kurtis Patterson scored two centuries for Australia A and goes straight into the test side (fair enough). Matthew Wade totally dominates the entire BBL season and cannot even make the limited overs squad. One can only assume that the national selectors are protecting Tim Payne who apears to be a better captain than he is a cricketer. Surely Wade could be selected purely for his batting skills. A travesty imo.
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Posted on: Feb 7 2019, 07:01 AM


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Yeah I doubt it would have come out of the lock-up. More likely it came from a polly or one of their staffers who would have been poring over and discussing the report for the entire weekend. Sometimes it's not what you say but what you don't that conveys the message. Shameful that they did not release the report on Sunday night. So obvious what they were setting up.
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Posted on: Feb 6 2019, 12:16 PM


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Gee there's no irony in the setting for that photo: scummo and two bankers at a happy clappy convention on values.
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Posted on: Feb 6 2019, 10:46 AM


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Mick - If Kenneth Hayne was a racehorse there would have been a stewards enquiry called and he would have been taken straight to the swabbing box and the vet would be whistling up a sample. Up till now I would not have considered it a possibility that a high court judge in Australia, even a retired one, could be nobbled, but there is little doubt in my mind that for whatever reason Hayne ran dead in writing up his report.

I thought Rowena Orr looked like something or someone had rattled her towards the end as well. I said at the time that the CEO of Combank had got the better of her, she seemed not to challenge some of his absurd assertions like she had done with previous people. Maybe she had a sick kid, maybe she had been cowered by an young buck alpha male, maybe it had been suggested to her that she needed to look ahead to her career prospects, I don't know but that was the first time I had the impression that the royal commission was starting to back away from its initial impressive approach.

I now see the productivity commission has come out and said that the various airport monopolies in Australia are, despite all indications, not behaving like monopolies. Graham Samuel, who admittedly heads up the airline lobby group, was scathing about that finding on ABC radio national this morning. He gave the simple example where the productivity commission found that stupidly high carpark prices at airports are fair because of the convenience factor, and he pointed out that to park at Sydney Airport costs $54 but to park at a nearby major hospital is $27, half the price. Smells like another dodgey report that protects existing oligopolies that have tight links with this government.
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Posted on: Feb 5 2019, 10:57 AM


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blacksheep - it now seems clear as day that it was all a stitch-up between the bankers and the current government. The only question unanswered is weather Kenneth Hayne was in on it or if he was just a patsy. Wonder who the commissioner ran the draft of his final report past for any suggested corrections?


https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-05/big-...letter/10778928
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Posted on: Feb 4 2019, 10:21 PM


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What EB said! biggrin.gif

Mick if you want to kill some hours SBS ondemand has heaps of kung fu shows on at the moment leading up to lunar new year.

(gong xi fa cai EB)

The worry I have with Mitchell Starc is that speed alone clearly is enough against the likes of the Sri Lankans but perhaps not against better batters. The Indians got into him a bit and he did not seem to rise to the occasion. But you'd have to keep picking him anyway as if nothing else he can clean up the tail.
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Posted on: Feb 4 2019, 06:50 AM


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The day is starting off appearing to be an absolute horror for the housing sector.

First up, today we get the final report of the Kenneth Hayne banking royal commission. Anything less than an excoriation of the lending mentality of the banks will be a shock and a profound disappointment. Any idea that the banks can go back to their old loose lending ways is or should be a fantasy. What has been going on in the housing market in the last six months will become the new norm.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-australi...SKCN1PS0M3?il=0

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-04/bank...making/10771612

Then there's this. A fire has broken out in a high rise apartment block in the Melbourne CBD at about 5:00 this morning. The ABC is reporting that firefighters believe that it is spreading through the combustible cladding on the building. From all reports there are thousands of apartment blocks in Australia where combusible cladding was used in construction. The problem (plus a few others not typical in modern Australian buildings) was highlighted by the Grenfell fire in the UK. Up till now no action has been taken for most Australian buildings but to remedy the problem will cost individual unit owners tens of thousands of dollars. Besides who wants to invest in or live in a fire-trap?

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-04/spen...bourne/10776018
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Posted on: Feb 1 2019, 08:47 PM


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The dudes at macrobusiness have been calling for some time now that the next RBA move will be down (they may not be considered mainstream but it is fairly obvious that lots of insiders keep an eye on what they are saying). Likely what the RBA does will not be the whole story anyway as the banks are pushing their rates up independently of what the RBA is doing (something like 40% of their money is raised offshore and that is where the upward pressure is coming from apparently). The other factor is banks are knocking back heaps more mortage applications - a couple of years ago they were knocking back something like 5% of mortgage applications now the figure is more like 40%.

Also, I've seen numerous reports where banks were offering loans of say $1.2m 12 months ago but now are only willing to lend say $800k. So someone who could afford to pay say $1.5m for a property can now only buy something worth say $1.1m. I suspect the banks will get such a rogering from the Royal Commission report that they will remain risk averse for the forseeable future.
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Posted on: Feb 1 2019, 08:36 PM


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Any experts on body language out there?

https://www.theguardian.com/global/video/20...ergs-hand-video
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Posted on: Jan 24 2019, 05:28 PM


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Different opposition and different conditions obviously but gee it's refreshing when one of our opening bowlers bowls full and at the wickets and takes a couple of early wickets. Pat Cummins and the GOAT can do the job from there.

Hey J what is wrong with the Gabba and Qld cricket fans? School holidays, 3 Qlders in the team, and yet when I was listening to it on the radio they had not much more than 6,000 at the ground. Why can smaller cities like Adelaide and Perth pull much bigger crowds? Are the tickets too dear or is there just no marketing done?
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Posted on: Jan 21 2019, 10:49 AM


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Sounds a bit like buying a lottery ticket: you know someone is going to make a killing from the venture but what numbers do you need for that someone to be you. (like the car industry in the US in the early 20th century - there were hundreds of start-ups but only a handful came through).
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Posted on: Jan 19 2019, 06:59 PM


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J - I listened to some of the call on ABC radio for both games. Really competitive stuff, and fantastic endings to both games. Healy's run out on the last ball of the Sixers Renegades game was also the work of a champion. But yeah it does look like Perry can do it all. Great stuff. Shame the boy cricketers cannot get their acts together and play like professionals.

The women also showed up the men at the tennis, if not in results then at least in effort. If it were up to me I'd ban both Tomic and Kyrios from all Australian tournaments for being incorrigible d!ckheads.
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Posted on: Jan 18 2019, 06:36 PM


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Nip - At the moment I'm reading a book called "The Tiananmen Papers" which is a chronologue of internal Communist Party reports leading up to the 4 June massacre. The striking thing for me is how all along Deng Xiao Ping and the other elders wanted to close down the "turmoil" being caused throughout China by university students protesting because it put at risk the clear strategy of reform and opening of China. Even though Li Ping should have been installed as the boss of the Communist Party during this period, Deng and Co plucked a little known Jiang Zemin out of Shanghai who had no experience in the Party Central in Beijing to be the big boss. Li was rejected by the elders to a large extent because he was a conservative not a reformer whereas Jiang was a pragmatist who knew to follow the codified instructions of the Party elders.

So this strategy of economic reform and opening - political reform and opening was never a starter - had been in place from Deng and Chen Yun to Jiang and onto Hu Jintao which is a span of about 35 years. It is true that it seems that Xi Jinping is attempting to turn back the tide by effectively renationalising much of the Chinese economy but it might be some time yet before we know that Xi's strategy is worse or better than the reform and opening strategy.
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Posted on: Jan 18 2019, 02:26 PM


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I read somewhere that about a quarter of this company's revenue comes from penalties for late payments and that it gets around being under the regulator's watch by not charging interest as such. I dunno, maybe it's another disrupter like Uber (was allowed to be), but I'm fairly confident there will be heavy lobbying for a "level playing field" for providers of consumer credit to include Afterpay.
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Posted on: Jan 18 2019, 10:42 AM


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I think this is a good read from the Irish Times (not intended as a shot at anyone here who is generous enough to share their thoughts and analysis).

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/persona...casts-1.3747774
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Posted on: Jan 12 2019, 12:16 PM


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No pajama cricket on free to air Channel 7 today. Yay, I actually find most ODI games unentertaining. Anyway, it doesn't matter as SBS is currently showing something like 8 hours of the Indian Pacific train journey, surely that's got to be the future of tv. smile.gif
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Posted on: Jan 10 2019, 08:40 PM


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"Beijing has announced it has deployed intermediate ballistic missiles to the country's north-west region, saying the weapons have the capacity to destroy US ships entering disputed waters in the South China Sea....


...Late last year, Chinese Navy Rear Admiral Luo Yuan suggested Beijing could sink two US carriers in a bid to deter the US from entering the South China Sea.

Admiral Lou was quoted in Taiwanese media as stating that destroying two carrier would kill around 10,000 US personnel, claiming that this would be the best way to hurt the US as 'America is most afraid of the death of its people.'"

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-10/chin...-ships/10705594

I don't think the Chinese are that stupid or ill-informed. The US came into existence on the battlefield and ever since has been a warrior nation, having fought against just about every major nation, in a steady procession of wars. They are not "most afraid" of the death of their countrymen, rather that is what riles them the most. They have tens of thousands of battle tested soldiers, and hundreds of senior officers that know how to fight and win battles and wars. Pretty much all of their military technology has been on-the-job tested and they still possess overwhelming military force. Mao thought he could overpower the US in the Korean War by inflicting maximum casualties on them but he was wrong. The US public opinion against the Vietnam War turned as much from the pointless loss of Vietnamese lives as American lives. And of course the attack on Pearl Harbour by the Japanese turned American public opinion from a disinterest in getting involved in the war to being fully in favour of it.

In contrast the last time the Chinese faced an enemy force was the Sino-Vietnam war in the late 70's in which the battle-hardened Vietnamese belted the snot out of the Chinese forces (though strategically Deng achieved what he set out to do) and Vietnam was only acting defensively. Not saying that the Chinese would be a walk-over or are not an impressive military power, but I do think it is naive to think the Americans would turn chicken.
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Posted on: Jan 10 2019, 06:14 PM


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Reuters has put out a list of announced investments by major car companies in electric and hybrid vehicles and batteries. Totals US$300b, about half of it to be spent in China.

https://graphics.reuters.com/AUTOS-INVESTME...B3HD/index.html
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Posted on: Jan 9 2019, 10:34 PM


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J, Don't forget your baseball mitt as the bash brothers seem to be hitting some form. smile.gif
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Posted on: Jan 7 2019, 11:55 AM


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Yeah, J, but the main thing is that they are all good blokes and they get along with each other ... The worry is that the selectors will give the current bunch one last chance to prove themselves against the Sri Lankans rather than blood the players that have the technique and statistics to warrant being taken on the Ashes tour.
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Posted on: Jan 1 2019, 11:25 AM


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So, Mick, you think the merger with Doray will make Silver Lake a better company not just a bigger company?

They're getting some promising hits in some of the old Integra ground they acquired so maybe they don't need Doray so much. I always wished Chris Cairns had not been so timid when he was running Integra and the current Silver Lake management is showing that he actually had plenty to work with. I can only guess that the plan is to absorb Doray so as to get Silver Lake to have a big enough market cap as to get the index funds and institutions interested.
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Posted on: Dec 30 2018, 05:52 PM


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All round shemozzle imo.

Rubbish MCG pitch again. The Indians deserved the thumping victory but surely much was decided by the toss of the coin.
They need to drop pretty much all the batters but they can't. Finch and the 2 Marshes have to go, should have gone for the SCG match but must go for the Sri Lankan games. Seems common agreement that Renshaw and Burns need to be readied for the Ashes series so they have to come in and also probably Maxwell

Our much vaunted bowling attack is underperforming. Gary and Pat Cummins are value but Hazlewood just has to start regularly taking bags of wickets or Cummins should open and perhaps look to Hazlewood or someone elsee as the first change bowler. Starc is a strike bowler but as Mitch Johnson commented during the Perth game, he just has to step up and be the leader.

And whichever official booted a few of the crowd out of the old Bay 13 for the chant "show us your visas" needs to be sacked. How is that even close to being racist? The Barmy Army go on about Aussies being convicts, I suppose the Aussies go on about bars of soap to the pommies, why is it racist to joke about a bunch of migrants being migrants.

Our cricketing world seems to have had a total collapse in confidence.
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Posted on: Dec 27 2018, 07:20 PM


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nip - JohnR at macrobusiness posted this link earlier today.

https://twitter.com/OddStats/status/1078033224801177607

It seems that yesterday's jump is in less than salubrious company. Also if the plunge protection team was to hit the market the day after Christmas would likely give them the biggest bang per buck possible (due to really low trading levels).

Let's see how things pan out when everyone is back at work.
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Posted on: Dec 20 2018, 09:04 PM


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sad.gif

(but in good news Australian Super has taken a 5% holding in Orocobre).
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Posted on: Dec 20 2018, 09:48 AM


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"What a lot of people don't know is, in his high school years he got sent to a military prep school. Upon graduation it was expected the graduands would go on to become an officer and a gentleman at one of their fine academies. He instead chose to go into business. But his buddies are now generals sitting opposite him for dinner."

That's a nice bit of rewriting of history. Trump was sent to "military prep school" because his old man was concerned young Donald was starting to play up. The New York Military Academy was a nursery for officers and gentlemen about as much as the Salvation Army is: the primary purpose of the former was to prepare kids for academic success. (and also, pretty much anyone who has read anything about Donald Trump knows he got sent to boarding school by his parents).
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Posted on: Dec 18 2018, 03:42 PM


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Yep, agree. I hope Gary got man of the match.
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Posted on: Dec 17 2018, 06:26 PM


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Could be Canberra's first multistorey cathouse, a new take on serviced apartments. rolleyes.gif Seriously what with the number of nail and eyebrow and massage shops that are filling in all the empty retail space in various shopping centres in the ACT we are probably not that far from going there (though I am constantly amazed by how busy even out of the way nail salons are, not only in Canberra but in rural towns).


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Posted on: Dec 17 2018, 12:55 PM


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Interesting, nip, thanks for that (is it from the soon-to-be-sold-or-closed-down Canberra Times?). My reaction:

1. they are just mimicking a Hong Kong fad (no doubt attempting to attract Chinese students &/or investors).
2. Those so-called micro-apartments are not so squeezy - micro apartments or nano units in HK come in at about 12 sq metres, that is 60% the size of even the smallest of the units in the Canberra proposal.
3. so sad, even in Honkers the fad of the micro apartment seems to have passed. Since this linked article was published last month one of those Tuen Mun projects mentioned have stopped its marketing campaign after they sold only 3 of the 150 units that they had put on the market.



https://beta.scmp.com/business/article/2175...-last-seen-2016

Also the ANU has said that they have placed a limit on the number of international students they will enroll in future years. What with the thousands of dogbox units coming onto the market in the next couple of years this proposed project could be answering yesterday's problems (a couple of years ago the ANU block booked a whole motel in Lyneham for a year to help alleviate a shortage of student accommodation but since then numerous student residential colleges have been completed).
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Posted on: Dec 15 2018, 11:31 AM


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Every year Barry Ritholtz posts a spray about the dangers of paying any attention to professional serial prognosticators, and it's that time of year again.

https://ritholtz.com/2018/12/fun-with-forec...g-2018-edition/

The bitcoin predictions are a giggle seeing how it is down under US$4k a pop at the moment but seeing I've never heard of any of those people it may be that they were fringe players just trying to get some attention.


And as far as I'm concerned Peter Schiff totally blew any credibility in 2007/08 when he picked the crash but then based all his predictive recommendations on the greenback crashing, all in with no hedging. Anyone that took his advice would have been smashed. As far as I know he's never owned up to it: he takes credit for calling the crash of course but not getting the greenback totally wrong. That he has rarely been right in the last decade also suggests he is probably not the best analyst to follow.

But that is a weakness for these regular columns by Barry Ritholtz. He only highlights the bloopers, not the clean hits. For instance I am pretty sure that lots of analysts who looked at the bitcoin market closely thought it likely that it would crash. And I know of no gold company that has developed a project based on gold moving to US$10k / oz.


The other weakness with Ritholtz's article is that it does not point out that most / many people read what the prognosticators say to look at the arguments they use to reach their predictions not necessarily the predictions themselves. Jim Rogers has been focused on the growing size and influence of China for more than a decade, Marc Faber has flagged weaknesses in the Chinese financial system for just as long. That China is not the dominant player that Rogers predicted and that China has not had a major crash that Faber predicted does not mean reading their analyses was a waste of effort.
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Posted on: Dec 13 2018, 06:08 PM


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The Washington Post is running with the story with a major article on its website. All over red rover. Trying to impose a media blackout these days is as effective as having an ashtray on a motorbike.
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Posted on: Dec 13 2018, 12:46 PM


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Mick - I am not sure whether merely posting links from overseas sites would be a breach of the court order preventing publication of any information about the court decision. The linked article is NOT about the clergyman and the court decision earlier this week and seems to be okay to post as it is an ABC Australia article.

_______________________________________________________

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-13/geor...dinals/10614092
_________________________________________________________

Funny story about how a Google executive had to explain to US Senators why if you searched for images of "stupid" the front results page was mostly of images of Donald Trump.
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Posted on: Dec 13 2018, 07:10 AM


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nip - no, if it's true (and both the Oz and the Age are commenting about a major court decision earlier this week which they cannot discuss) it is a biggy. Not sure that it matters but I'll not post the person's name or the crime he was convicted of but it is to do with a senior clergyman and child abuse. Apparently the block is in place because there is expected to be more court action, whether it's an appeal or a new case, due in early next year.


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Posted on: Dec 11 2018, 10:12 AM


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Not sure where exactly that ACCC has been during these years of bankers running amok but the good news is that once the ACCC get onto a case they go in boots and all (unlike the dandies at ASIC and APRA). So they reckon that once again the bankers didn't let a good crisis go to waste. When APRA insisted that bankers restrict interest only loans to 30% of the home loans they issued going forward the banks took the opportunity to act in concert and increase the interest rates on existing interest only home loans. By so doing the banks pocketed in excess of one billion bucks of windfall profit in just the last year.

Hopefully the ACCC takes 'em to the cleaners.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-11/exis...s-accc/10604314
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Posted on: Dec 8 2018, 01:48 PM


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Decided to dip my toe in the water and watch a bit of Channel 7 cricket. Not the best day, what with all the rain delays. But did see Michael Slater conduct a live interview with someone in the crowd that caught a ball ... came back later to hear Michael Slater and the Chris Gale journo talking about how well one of the Indian players can dance and how it's just fun to watch him celebrating scoring a century. They could have gone with an interview of a cricketer who caught a ball and they could have talked about why that Indian player was so happy but hell why talk about cricket...

So yeah nah, it's pretty obvious that Channel 7 intends to My-Kitchen-Rules test cricket. Can't wait to see interviews of some sheila who had a crush on the GOAT in primary school and how one of the player's dad is suffering from high blood pressure which puts a terrible strain on his relationship with one of his work-mates.

(of all the Channel 9 commentators why would Channel 7 save Michael Slater? He was by some margin the lightest weight at Channel 9, oh wait ...).
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Posted on: Dec 7 2018, 04:39 PM


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Or ... Trumpy has the pips with GM for closing down a number of manufacturing plants in the US after Trumpy claimed he had fixed the US car making industry. I find it doesn't pay to overthink what motivates Mr Trump, he is not cerebral he is reflex: you slight him, he slights you back.
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Posted on: Dec 6 2018, 05:34 PM


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What an excellent day of cricket, very competitive, lots of good performances. Great to see Hazlewood do damage early on.

Listened to a fair bit on ABC radio: great team of Jim Maxwell, Andrew Moore, Harsha Bhogle, Alison Mitchell, Ed Cowan, Jason Gillespie and Captain Grumpy. Recently I was talking to a bloke who lives in the same neighbourhood as Allan Border and apparently AB is a lovely chap in real life. Very sensible comments from him. I reckon Andrew Moore is the best NRL game caller going around and he has done a fine job today as a cricket caller.

... and to top it off, Pat Cummins throws down the wickets. Great stuff, really surprising.
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Posted on: Dec 5 2018, 09:20 PM


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Yeah the big miners do often arrive at the party just as the beer runs out.


Interesting that Rio is getting back into borate mining, if only by accident. They had a significant borate / borax operation in Argentina but considered the borax market to be in a long-term downturn so they sold it off to Orocobre (which is mainly a lithium producer from brine). To date it has not been a good buy for Orocobre so Rio got that one right.

Speaking of Orocobre, they recently finally announced that a final investment decision had been made for the stage 2 expansion of their Olaroz lithium brine operation (they hold about 66% in a jv). They intend to produce about 25,000 tonnes a year at the expansion plant.
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Posted on: Dec 5 2018, 09:05 PM


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"Ch 7 coverage ...... we await with bated breath !!"

I'm sure Bwuccy will make it speeeciaal (though hopefully he will not even be part of the commentary team). Gilly's good but Warne's a bore. I'll be sticking to the ABC radio call as much as possible.
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Posted on: Dec 4 2018, 07:30 PM


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As has been pointed out elsewhere, why would anyone pay to hear what the LNP thinks they might do regarding the banking royal commission findings when everyone knows that will be the job of the incoming Labor government. But yeah obscene that the mob that 27 times knocked back the idea of a banking royal commission being needed are now trying to profit from the rc's existence. There is a saying: "never let a good crisis go to waste".
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Posted on: Dec 1 2018, 10:19 AM


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Mags - it gets worse - Ken Henry is on the board of dirctors of the ASX. Gamekeeper or poacher?
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Posted on: Nov 30 2018, 05:59 PM


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Mick - nothing like that will happen here if Morrison and Frydenberg have any say in the matter. Even before he was interviewed by the Royal Commission the boss at APRA, Wayne Byers, had his tenure extended by the Hungarian, as if to warn Kenneth Hayne that Byers is a protected species. Nothing like pre-empting the RC's findings.

I watched much of his interview by Michael Hodge QC today. Byers to me came across as shifty, cunning, sly, and in the quietest of voices Hodge demolished his credibility and reputation.

Regarding the fees for no service scandal Byers regularly asserted that actions and decisions were made by APRA in 2015 and Hodge regularly pointed out that the RC had specifically asked for documentation witnessing the what and the when of these actions and decisions but that APRA had no such documentation. Byers attempted to pass it off as (1) the APRA officials would not be expected to commit to the record such information (as if!) (2) APRA had assumed that ASIC was already on that case (but apparently no-one in APRA checked with ASIC) (3) APRA thought the problem was just isolated gremlins in the financial institutions' systems and (4) that it was a matter for APRA's operational staff alone. Commiss Hayne pointed out that this single issue will cost some individual finanical institutions hundreds of millions of dollars in remediation and Michael Hodge pointed out that the issue was of such size as to bring into question the very survival of affected financial institutions (Byers jumped on that comment, saying that no financial institution was at risk of failing due to the fees for no service matter, but the point is that having numerous industry players each skimming hundreds of millions of dollars from customers could hardly be waived away as isolated gremlins in the system).

I thought Ken Henry has proven to be shameless for not resigning after his outrageous performance earlier in the week. The same now goes for Wayne Byers as far as I'm concerned. And this current government is attempting to protect him!!

Anyway all we can do is wait until 1 Feb next year and see what Kenneth Hayne's assessment is.
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Posted on: Nov 28 2018, 11:56 AM


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Surprise, surprise, our little mate, Ken Henry, was a member of the board at the Reserve Bank from 2001 to 2011 (due to him being Secretary to the Treasury for that period). There were no consequences for those in charge of the Reserve Bank and its subsidiaries, hopefully Ken Henry is not allowed to get off scott free for the shemozzle that has been NAB under his chairmanship.
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Posted on: Nov 27 2018, 03:05 PM


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I thought Ken Henry was about the worst performance I've seen at the rc. So full of himself, so much pontificating and condescension, so much indifference to his duties as a board member. He comes with the arrogance of being a long-term senior advisor and policy maker to numerous governments: he is our version of Sir Humphrey Appleby. The very fact that he has not yet resigned as NAB chairman pretty much says it all.

Having said that I think that for all her brilliance and competence Rowena Orr does seem to struggle a bit in questioning alpha males, last week Matt Comyn of the CBA and now today Ken Henry. I thought she allowed Ken Henry a little bit too much lattitude to obfuscate around answering questions, even allowing him to get away with snide remarks about both her and Commissioner Hayne. She did stand him up one time to give a direct answer to one of her questions, and he noticeably bristled at her impertinence.

Martin North and others have speculated that were the housing crash to get bad enough at least one of the big four banks would likely fold, with both Westpac and Netbank being the popular favourites. Having seen Ken Henry's lousy performance today I'd steer well clear of NAB as long as he is in the picture (saw some talk that the ALP are actually keen to bring him back to lead the commonwealth public service after May).
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Posted on: Nov 22 2018, 09:47 AM


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... in a trumpian way, j, in that they scored more runs than we did but we clearly won. rolleyes.gif
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Posted on: Nov 18 2018, 09:07 PM


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J - I know he is keen to re-introduce asbestos into the building industry so I had assumed he thought he could use asbestos in the forests as well but no, apparently not .... his solution is to rake the "floors" of the forests ...

https://imgur.com/gallery/qdleaVP

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration...g-the-floors-of

No doubt someone talked to him about control burns and clearing the undergrowth and Trumpy's translated that into Nu York talk.
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Posted on: Nov 17 2018, 08:04 AM


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Mick - there was a counter view expressed in an article on the ABC website. It was that ASIC had done its typical trick of flaying a big bank with a feather, that by not bothering to go through each of the cases but effectively merging them into one transgression ASIC was letting Westpac off the hook with the $35m penalty. $35m to Westpac is nothing and there would have been dancing in the corridors of Westpac's HQ for getting out of the mess so lightly.

The "ABC" view was that the judge was telling ASIC to go back and do a better job, and work out if and why specific loans were faulty and that only then could he work out what penalty Westpac should face for each and every transgression. If it is found that there were no transgression then Westpac would get off with no financial penalty but if it were found that the transgressions were systemic then Westpac could potentially be facing fines upwards of a billion dollars.

I think that is Commiss Hayne's view as well. He has clearly stated that in his view existing laws and regulations are sufficient, and that what needs to happen is for the regulators to stop appeasing the banks. By allowing banks to pass off a series of individual transgressions as a single transgression minimises the blame.

Anyway we will know in a fortnight whether the banking royal commission was all window dressing or not.
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Posted on: Nov 16 2018, 04:48 PM


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Wow, maccas finally makes an appearance.

Disappointing but not unexpected that the Hungarian pre-empted this session of hearings by extending the tenure of the APRA boss months before it was necessary. Wonder if Commiss Hayne takes the hint and backs off zeroing in on APRA or whether he presses on undaunted.

I suspect the major item of interest in the first week will be how the counsels assisting go about pulling apart the HEM issue with ASIC and Westpac. The judge in his ruling left it open that in fact Westpac may not have broken any law by pushing through dodgey loans based on HEM. I think we already know what Kenneth Hayne thinks about that so perhaps Westpac and ASIC will get some of the hard questions that they have avoided addressing to date.

Could be an anticlimax but there is already talk that at least one of the Big 4 CEO's could be gone by the end of this fortnight.
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Posted on: Nov 13 2018, 07:21 PM


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Yeah but markets hate uncertainty, which is what the ASIC Westpac action has produced. It could take months or even years to conclude this court case and the financial risk to Westpac could be anywhere from $0 to some figure approaching $1b.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-13/west...-means/10492908

With the banking royal commission due to start up again next Monday, and it will be focusing on policy issues coming out of the previous hearings, I would expect that they will spend some time looking at the questions similar to that raised by this judgement. As pointed out in the article we already know what Commissioner Hayne's view is, which is not good news for Westpac and others.
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Posted on: Nov 11 2018, 09:25 PM


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Close but no cigar ... I thought the Stoinis wicket was the turning point...
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Posted on: Nov 11 2018, 06:03 PM


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Hey J - does Chris Lynn normally open for Qld? Does he prefer to open? Not sure why you'd send your shock trooper in to open against the best fast bowling attack in the world - the saffas showed that you do not need to start smashing the ball from the first over. Shaun Marsh needs to score a big ton from here even if we cannot get close to 300.

My pet whinge, Josh Hazlewood, saved his stats by taking a wicket off the third last ball of the innings. As I type this the third SA fast bowler has just taken a wicket...
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Posted on: Nov 6 2018, 07:05 PM


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Yeah Mick I get that but if Pakistan cannot play their home games at home then why let them play their home games at all. It seems to me to be all about the money from the arabs and from the cable networks. Anyway to be elitely honest we got a thrashing in both the tests and in the limited over games so I suppose we should take it on the chin.
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Posted on: Nov 6 2018, 10:50 AM


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I saw a story (on SBS I think) about the train trip from Adelaide to Darwin and basically how the drivers had bugger all to do for much of the time. In fact their main job was to keep pressure on one of the pedals - as soon as there was no pressure on the pedal the train automatically stopped. The idea is if the driver became incapacitated in any way there would not be a runaway train. I find it astounding that these BHP trains, presumably each with only one driver, would not have a similar feature. Madness. Unacceptable.
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Posted on: Nov 6 2018, 10:44 AM


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Actually I'm not sure why anyone agrees to play in the UAE. They don't even play cricket themselves do they. What's the point? I can only guess that the arabs throw bucketloads of cash around to buy some friends for a few days.

And as we know the only thing that interests Cricket Australia these days is the money (ratings for the first ODI of SA v Aust was about 200,000 on Fox cf the last ODI of SA v Aust in Perth was about 1,000,000 on 9 - but that doesn't matter because Fox agreed to pay CA more than 9 would).
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Posted on: Nov 4 2018, 07:30 PM


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No wickets for Josh Hazelwood again. Little point having a strike bowler who doesn't strike that often. Oh, that's right, he's a fixture in the side because he is one of the vice captains. In contrast it looks on paper at least that the old warhorse, Dale Steyn, ripped into our batting effort: 7 overs 18 runs and the early scalps of numbers one and three.

... we are in for a very long summer ...
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Posted on: Nov 4 2018, 04:50 PM


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I suspect the saffas have forgotten what form of the game they are playing today. At the rate they are going in the first four overs they will have chased our score down within 20 overs.
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Posted on: Nov 4 2018, 03:49 PM


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Yeah another poor performance from those apparently in possession of elite honesty. If they keep up this level of performance they'll soon be downgraded to bogan honesty (which is yeah of course I cheat if I think I can get away with it). wink.gif

I heard Michael Klinger on ABC radio saying that the pitch they are using has a fair amount of grass on it and if they'd used that pitch for shield or test cricket the game would be over in 2 or 3 days. Not sure why you'd prepare such a track when the visiting team has the best fast bowling attack in the world (I remember they did that for one of the WI sides that had Holding, Garner, Marshall and another (??)). It is one thing to be fair and honest it is something entirely different to be masochistic.
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Posted on: Nov 2 2018, 07:03 AM


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Recently an ex-test cricketer, can't recall who, noted that for a top line batsman, once you get a start the onus is on you to go on and score a lot of runs, anything less should be viewed as a failure. According to this argument yeah sure Shaun Marsh is a quality player but the fact that he got a start in both innings and did not score at least one big century is not good enough. You let someone like Kohli or Smith get a start and it may not lose you the match but you know you will struggle to win the match. Shaun Marsh does enough to keep getting picked in the test side. Is that really enough for a 35 year old player? (there's a difference for when Hayden and Langer and perhaps Damian Martin were pushed out of the door for having poor form as they still had the ability and the attitude to deliver big scores at the test level). If Shaun Marsh cannot deliver innings that win test matches I say we should start developing younger players.


But yeah also, I've seen a few comments that the standard of domestic cricket is pretty lousy so far this season.
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Posted on: Nov 1 2018, 06:47 PM


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Ian Chappell claims another official's scalp. He took on the Don back in the day as well.


https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-30/ian-...8?section=sport
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Posted on: Oct 25 2018, 09:39 AM


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Geez this annoys me, more defence of the fact that the two Marsh brothers keep getting extra chances at the top level. There are plenty of cricketers, particularly from Victoria and Queensland, who no doubt were talented players but were given none of the consideration that the Marsh brothers have repeatedly had. The simple fact is Shaun Marsh at 35 is not the future of Australian cricket and he is currently out of form: drop him. Another simple fact is that Mitch Marsh was selected primarily as an all rounder but his bowling clearly is not up to test level and if he also fails with the bat: drop him.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-25/you-...rmance/10425754

Anyway the cricket wil be on 7 this season and those clowns take everything to the lowest common denominator and I'm not particularly into the personal stories of some sportsmen's relatives so yeah ... bring on the A League and ABC radio.
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Posted on: Oct 24 2018, 02:05 PM


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According to this article there are plans for a new competitor to Tesla to begin constructing electric cars in Singapore. I'm not sure whether this story is all hot air or whether the new venture actually has a chance of cleaning up...

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45950377








(sorry, rolleyes.gif )
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Posted on: Oct 19 2018, 09:11 PM


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I dunno, J, the marinated lambchop (will have to make an effort to remember his name) played good. Picked up 5 wickets for the game, got a start in both bats, including a top score in the second innings. Better than the combined effort of the brothers Marsh.


Who do we play next? India, yes? Bloody hell, we could be in for another touch up. Khawaja's injury will just be seen as an opportunity for Shaun to open again, before the spinners come on.
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Posted on: Oct 19 2018, 06:15 AM


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Trouble brewing at the Atacama Salar in Chile. A version of the tragedy of the commons where both lithium companies seem intent on grabbing as much brine as they can no matter what the long term consequences may be.

https://graphics.reuters.com/CHILE-LITHIUM/...B1MH/index.html

Working on the theory that problems for your competitors is good news for you the lithium brine stock I follow, Orocobre, which operates from a different salar, in northern Argentina, may attract more intention from investors as a result of these concerns in Chile. Anyway, we'll find out how Orocobre is managing its own production problems as we should get to see their September quarter production figures in the next few days.
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Posted on: Oct 18 2018, 09:14 PM


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spot fix much? Naaahh, surely not that obvious ...

Anyway they lead by 500 runs with 2 days to play ... has a test match ever been called off due to a sandstorm? Or is it too much to ask for that a gulf war breaks out in the next 48 hours?
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Posted on: Oct 17 2018, 09:41 PM


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Pakistan are already 220 runs in front into the second innings and it's still only day 2. We'll lose this one, the low scoring in the Pakistani first innings actually meant that they had more time to do us over.

Ah well you can put this series down as being good batting practice for the Marsh boys as they start building up for a big summer back home.
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Posted on: Oct 16 2018, 10:08 PM


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Marnus Lambchops: has bowled 9 overs and has taken 3 for 30.

Mitchell Marsh: has bowled 5 overs and has taken 0 for 15.

Just saying ...

ps game on with Pakistan at 8 for 247 after winning the toss and batting first.
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Posted on: Oct 16 2018, 06:01 AM


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The lead story in this morning's Early AM on ABC radio was ... confirmation that the sixth in line for the pommy throne is not shooting blanks .... really? this is the most pressing issue of the day? ... how pathetic are we that this is anything other than a human interest filler ... anyway going on that lot's form I'd probably wait for the test results before getting too cocky.
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Posted on: Oct 14 2018, 01:23 PM


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"therapeutic cannabinoid" - yeah nah, probably. As Botanix Pharmaceuticals says why would you extract therapeutic cannabinoids from a plant when you can manufacture the stuff in the lab. Similar logic to the production of aspirin: lots of people use aspirin but these days virtually none of it is produced from willow bark. A couple of major problems with relying on grown cannabis is you cannot be sure of the quality or the quantity of the input (growing conditions).
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Posted on: Oct 12 2018, 06:56 AM


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In the end a solid defensive effort from the baggy greens to just hang on for a draw. Hopefully a turning point for Khawaja with a big ton against spin and good to see some gristle from a couple in the middle order.
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Posted on: Oct 11 2018, 08:35 AM


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Mitchell Marsh: in this test match bowled a total of 10 overs for 38 runs for no wickets and faced a total of 52 balls for a total of 12 runs.

Obviously not there for his good looks or rapier-like wit so ... a leader of men he must be.

To be fair it looks like Pakistan winning the toss and batting first pretty much took Australia out of the game.
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Posted on: Oct 10 2018, 10:59 AM


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So .... when's the footy season start up again ? ....

(but sledging waahooo, yes it's good to know that we are still good at sledging because you know, these are the important things in life).

https://www.crictracker.com/didnt-bother-ab...n-haris-sohail/
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Posted on: Oct 6 2018, 04:21 PM


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" the duration of the principle and interest mortgage"

Hmm is that an actual cut and paste from the Oz? If so, I'm surprised on two levels: first, that a professional journalist would make such a basic error and secondly that the spellchecker that News Ltd uses even recognises that word (boom, boom).
Also funny question at the end. Surely the key question should be why so many interest only loans were approved in the first place not why are so many of them are now being converted into principal and interest loans. Once interest rates start to trend up and/or property prices begin to trend down it is more prudent and humane to clean out most of the interest only loans sooner rather than later.
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Posted on: Oct 4 2018, 07:42 AM


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A while back I joked that Honda should invest in Tesla to get its exposure to the ev market (joked as in I have no idea what I'm talking about and was just making shit up). Well as it turns out, I almost fluked it.

Honda is going to invest US$2.75b into a GM unit that is developing self-drive or autonomous vehicles. The payment stream is over 12 years but they are putting up US$750m upfront so they appear to be fair dinkum. The headline refers to GM's autonomous technology but a statement from Honda refers to both the autonomous and ev technologies. So clearly they were looking aournd for a dance partner but decided to ask the popular girl instead of the wall flower that is Tesla.

https://www.engadget.com/2018/10/03/honda-g...omous-vehicles/
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Posted on: Sep 29 2018, 05:39 PM


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Obviously the contest tightened up in the second half and they are describing it as one of the great grand finals (the good thing about Aussie Rules is that there is never any hyperbole involved...). Oh well, my loss, but I still thought the first half was very ordinary, particularly the eagles, another one that got away from the poor old Collingwood fan base.

Onto cricket I see both Mitchel Marsh and Josh Hazlewood have been made vice captains: does that allow them to drop one of them from time to time but still have a vc in the team? Why do you need a captain and two vice captains in a 11 man team? Why have I got so much shit on my liver today?
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Posted on: Sep 29 2018, 03:45 PM


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If Channel 7 let Bwucy MacAveny anywhere near the cricket I'll, I'll, well I won't watch the bloody cricket that's for starters. I now know why women get so annoyed at mansplaining.

See the one day domestic comp is underway ... and getting maximum exposure.

PS another ordinary game of aussie rules unfortunately. I've tried to watch multiple games this year on the teeve and end up turning them off: low scoring, one sided contests, average skills.
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Posted on: Sep 28 2018, 03:31 PM


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Missed the Hungarian's response but did catch Tanya Plibersek's (Bill must have the day off). I don't follow local politics much but I do know that Ms Plibersek attracts a fair amount of venomous comment, not sure why (and here is not the place).

Anyway she made the point that the current mob in government knocked back this royal commission 26 times and delayed it getting underway for something like 600 days. Also that they have cut the funding to ASIC twice in the last 4 or so years and wanted to give tax cuts to the tune of about $17b to the big banks.

She announced that if they win the next election Labor will set up a task force within Treasury to implement the rc's recommendations from the final report, and that the government should agree if the commissioner says he needs more time.

Anyway about now I suspect this all becomes a political football so I will drop off posting until they hold the next session, about the regulators, in mid November.
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Posted on: Sep 28 2018, 02:18 PM


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Stephen Letts from the ABC has produced an excellent chronology of major events pertaining to the banking royal commission.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-28/bank...meline/10310800
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Posted on: Sep 27 2018, 07:43 PM


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Here's an appetiser as we wait for tomorrow's release of the Hayne RC's preliminary report: Slater and Gordon go after NAB regarding their credit card insurance.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/money/company-new...ocid=spartanntp
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Posted on: Sep 26 2018, 12:40 PM


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Yeah that's a dumb comparison. For one thing Kodak and Blockbuster did not have a fair chunk of their customers effectively locked into decades long contracts. Anyway how the hell is Wayne Byres still getting paid by APRA, shameless bastard. Let's see what the royal commission's prelim report says about the regulators on Friday.
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Posted on: Sep 21 2018, 06:21 PM


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Used to be that Australia rode on the sheep's back. Nowadays it seems that our companies and businesses can't make a quid without riding on the underpayment of workers. Macrobusiness has a long list of the employers who have been caught underpaying their workers, and now it seems that the big east coast coal miners, like BHP and Anglo, are going to have their turn in the spotlight (or at least the labour hire firms they use are).

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-21/mine...ne-key/10290834

Anyone know any litigation funders that are investable? The ones funding the various class actions facing the banks are tapping into a billion dollar business.
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Posted on: Sep 21 2018, 08:28 AM


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So apparently the cure for obesity is to normalise it. This article starts off talking about how for centuries authorities ignored that consuming citrus fruit was a cure for scurvy and then jumps to discussing the massive increase in obesity rates in the US. And the logic is just as scurvy was cured by treating it obesity can be cured by ignoring it. The justification is that most diets do not work and that some obese people are quite healthy therefore being obese is a normal healthy state of existence, and what really needs to be done is to destigmatise it.

https://highline.huffingtonpost.com/article...esity-is-wrong/

A bit like how some American drug companies invent diseases for drugs they have developed so I see efforts such as this as part of an attempt to rewrite reality into a form that better suits you or at least better suits some vested interest. It is not much of a stretch to think that some evil food production company is behind nonsense such as in this article. For a large percentage of the community the simple fact is that if you get reasonable exercise and you stick to a moderate balanced diet then you will likely stay both healthy and fit.
But we live in a "truth isn't truth" age. Sad.
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Posted on: Sep 18 2018, 05:17 PM


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I see that Peter Kell, the deputy chair of ASIC, just quit. He had been exposed by the royal commission for being very chummy with the banks, particularly CBA, and I thought he was doing the honorable thing by falling on his sword. But the Guardian is reporting that actually the royal commission is about to zero in on how ASIC has been regulating the banks and insurers and it seems that Mr Kell may have cut and run before he had to face Rowena and the Commissioner (I think the last time he gave evidence to the RC he was questioned by Michael Hodge who is also doing a good job).

Makes me wonder how the APRA boss has managed to hang onto her cushy job after her trainwreck of a performance at the Royal Commission: helps to have no shame I suppose.
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Posted on: Sep 18 2018, 01:15 PM


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Rowena Orr is onto the insurance company, Allianz, for badgering and bullying the audit firm Ernst Young into producing an "independent" report on its compliance function that minimalised the problems in that function. This raises the issue of the nonsense that is "independent" work done by the big audit and legal firms done for big business and government.

It is one reason why the big audit firms have pulled such massive revenue streams out of the government agencies in Canberra. The agencies pretty much get to write the conclusions they want in their "independent" reports and studies under the cover of the reputation of the audit firms. Often the conclusions are written before any investigation is carried out.

Just as the regulators like ASIC are captured by the banks and insurance companies so are the big advisory firms. Everything is such a shemozzle.
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Posted on: Sep 18 2018, 11:55 AM


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Interesting times at Ramelius, lots of moving parts at the moment.

It appears that whether the acquistion of the Edna May operation by Ramelius was a profitable decision remains an open question. But in recent weeks they have begun acquiring a number of satellite gold prospects with the intention of feeding ore into the Edna May plant. They began by picking up the smallish Holleton project to the south of Edna May. Then, last week they launched a hostile takeover of Explaurum Ltd (EXU) to get control and access to that company's Tampia Hill development project and adjoining Mace prospect which lies about 150km south of Edna May. Ramelius is proposing to swap one RMS for 4 EXU which puts a value of about $60m on the deal. To top it off they also announced their plan to acquire the busted Marda project from the creditors for about $13m.

Today the company announced that they have decided against moving to stage 3 of the open pit development of Edna May but instead they will focus on much higher grades available underground. This option means a much reduced capital cost in developing Edna May but also means that they have heaps of spare capacity at the EM plant (thus leading to higher operating costs per ounce produced). Clearly they intend to haul lower grade ore from Marda and hopefully Tampia Hill to mix in with the ore coming from EM underground and the adjacent Greenfinch open pit (yet to be approved and developed).

Also today they put out their 2018 (as at 30 June) Resources and Reserves Statement which shows total resources of about 3.5m oz at 1.5g/t and total reserves of about 700k oz at 1.6g/t.

All looks promising to me: heaps of cash, heaps of reserves, heaps of development and production options, no debt, managers that keep underpromising and overdeveloping. They need to get the Explaurum deal over the line but it is not a mortal blow if they do not.
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Posted on: Sep 17 2018, 08:16 PM


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Scummo only called a royal commission on aged care because 4 corners tonight starts a two part special on the aged care sector and he wants to get ahead of the story. According to the ABC when 4 corners put out a call for anecdotes about abuse in aged care facilities they were overwhelmed with the number of responses.

The thing is a politican should never ask a question that they don't know the answer to, and I think that once the horror stories start coming out on a daily basis from the rc the government will be put on the defensive. Maybe the plan is to have the election before the rc gets underway.
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Posted on: Sep 17 2018, 12:24 PM


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AMP just admitted that it has discovered that it continued to charge premiums to over 4,000 people who had AMP life insurance policies after being notified of their deaths and to date had failed to refund those premiums. It lodged a breach notice with ASIC over this earlier this year (and was only picked up by AMP after CBA got caught by the Royal Commission charing dead people fees). It also admitted that even when it did refund premiums paid by dead people it did not include allowance for interest lost on those premiums (in other words AMP held the premiums for a prolonged period of time and kept the interest earned on those held premiums) and do not consider that practice requiring of a breach notice.

Rowena Orr has now moved onto general insurance. One of the factoids she gave in her opening summary is that insurance companies in 2017 (?) paid car dealers about $600m in commissions for signing car buyers up for add-on insurance, that add-on insurance products generated about $1.6b in revenue for these insurance companies but that only about $114m was paid out in claims. So the car dealers pocketed a net $600m on selling these add-on products and the insurance companies pocketed about a net $900m on these add-on products. Like printing money ... She flagged that they will be doing a case study on the add-on insurance products flogged to car buyers.
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Posted on: Sep 16 2018, 10:29 AM


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This unnamed American investor seems to think that the Royal Commission will have a major impact on Australian banks in that by triggering the banks to tighten lending the RC will bring about the bursting of the housing bubble.


Much of what he says has been talked about by various chicken littles for yonks but any yank who knows it is ozzie and not occie shows that he has put a reasonable effort into garnering the facts about what he is talking about. (that he mentioned that he found Rowena Orr, one of the senior counsels assisting the rc, formidable also shows he is indeed following the rc).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lrdxpKPocY...amp;app=desktop

(h/t: timmeh at macrobusiness)
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Posted on: Sep 15 2018, 12:09 AM


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According to Martin North, 60 Minutes is going to do a very bearish piece on Australian real estate this weekend.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHNiML-5URg


I confess I have not watched any 60 Minutes program in decades. Too tabloidy. But hey, I need a bit of confirmation bias so will probably tune in.

(hat tip: Gavin at macrobusiness)
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Posted on: Sep 14 2018, 03:45 PM


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ABC reports on analysis from Morgan Stanley suggesting that the big four will get away with at worst gravel rash from their brush with the banking royal commission.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-14/bank...-banks/10246846

As plenty have said, this was always going to be the case. When four companies make up 25% of your stock market only a fool would expect serious injury to be inflicted on them (that's me...).

The best I can hope for is a root and branch reorganisation of the financial regulators, some banking executives facing jail-time or substantial financial penalties, a number of executives and board members fall on their swords, some of the existing functions that the banks have taken on being hived away from them (the most obvious one is trusteeship of bank-run super funds but I question the banks involvement in superannuation and funds management at all), a substantial upping of the scale and application of "enforcement actions", an expansion of the role of the financial ombudsman service (who have come out of this week most impressively).
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Posted on: Sep 13 2018, 11:14 AM


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An article about Westpac's potential exposure to be taken to the cleaners.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-13/west...-loans/10238710

And Commbank only admits to repeated misleading behavior because one of its executives has been placed under oath at the rc. Also, interesting that ASIC allowed CBA to draft an ASIC media release which allowed CBA not to admit to misleading behavior.


http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-13/bank...e-blog/10241132
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Posted on: Sep 13 2018, 08:18 AM


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Could be an interesting morning for CBA and ASIC at the royal commission today.

Yesterday, the counsel assisting, Rowena Orr, spent a surprising amount of time talking to a CBA boss about a single heart attack victim who was denied a payout by CBA because of the definition of heart attack used at the time by CBA. So far I think it has been established that after some unaccepatable provarication to the client and to the Financial Ombudsman Service CBA eventually paid the customer what he would have been paid had they accepted that he'd had a heart attack. In part, this was brought to a head by a Four Corners story in early 2017 (?) that alleged that CBA had broken the law in how it handled claims for illnesses such as heart attacks. All good (and great for the customer affected) but hardly suggestive of some massive systemic problem like many of the previous case studies looked at by the royal commission.

But then yesterday afternoon Ms Orr moved onto the fact that ASIC had carried out an investigation of the claims made in the Four Corners story about CBA insurance. In late 2017 ASIC found that CBA had not broken any laws and within the bank this was seen as a massive victory. But Ms Orr then showed that since at least 2011 CBA was aware that its definition of heart attack fell well short of what was universely accepted by relevent international heart specialist organisations, was being advised by its own chief medical officer that the definition it was using was wrong and discriminatory but persisted with using that definition for commercial reasons. Moreover she seemed to suggest that ASIC, in preparing its final report on the Four Corners allegations, worked with CBA so that CBA could present itself in the best possible light. Again, I think it is worth noting that it was made quite clear that the way ASIC handled the issue was considered by CBA executives as a massive win for CBA.

Ms Orr may not attempt to join the dots here but my feeling is that she is not far from suggesting that for a number of years CBA wilfully ripped off its insurance policy holders and that ASIC gave CBA a free pass on that behavior. I suspect this will be another example of the regulator working too closely with the regulated.
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Posted on: Sep 11 2018, 08:36 AM


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Let me preface this by saying I don't have much truck for Aunty-bashing holus bolus. I take the bits of it that interest me and ignore the bits that don't interest me but it remains my main primary source of local news and entertainment.

That being said ... this morning's early AM started with a story about some Canadian fund manager who basically said that markets cycle, that just as we had a crash a decade ago at some point in the future we will have another crash. If anyone thought that was news or fresh information then clearly they need to up their financial literacy. Meanwhile during yesterday's Banking Royal Commission hearing a senior boss of an insurance company admitted that it appears his company committed something like 300,000 criminal offences in the past five years but there was no mention of that on the ABC news bulletin that preceded early AM nor during early AM itself.

Why there is not ongoing and daily renewed outrage about what is being uncovered by the banking rc amazes me. Why the ABC (and perhaps other local MSM outlets (?)) does not think these relevations are newsworthy is so disappointing.
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Posted on: Sep 10 2018, 09:27 AM


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Bloomberg has actually corrected the range the new mercedes EV has from 200 miles to 280 miles which is better than that offered by the Tesla X. So, game on.

Also this article indicates that Mercedes is going to build their EV at an existing plant that produces ICE vehicles as a way of allowing it to handle volatility in demand (as in, if the EV becomes a hit they can quickly scale up using existing facilites but if the take-up of the EV is slower than predicted then the facility can focus more on producing the ICE vehicles).

Perhaps best not to get the entry of Mercedes into the EV niche out of perspective though. Check out the chart in the article which shows that using current projections Tesla will still be the dominant EV brand in the luxury sector for at least the next couple of years.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/201...ion-attack-plan

(Also right at the end of the article it is noted that Mercedes say they are not interested at this stage in investing in Tesla).
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