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Aug 1, 2011

Property Observer Report: Jamie Oliver's Brisbane prospect; Mortgage broker banned; Water-damaged Woolwich record-setter on market; Melbourne's east leads rental growth.

property observer logo image

Today on Property Observer the Australian Bankers’ Association has labelled the Choice campaign to encourage 1000 or more borrowers to switch mortgage providers as a gimmick. The Choice campaign was launched on Sunday in tandem with loan advisor One Big Switch set up by Lachlan Harris, Kevin Rudd’s former spin doctor.
Meanwhile, bank regulator APRA has written to the banks noting concerns that lower mortgage growth was encouraging an aggressive approach by banks to win mortgage business including easing of lending standards to pre-GFC levels.
Of course things could change at 2.30 today, when the Reserve Bank’s August decision is released this afternoon. Economist Christopher Joye suggests both savers and borrowers have their fingers crossed. Joye notes that banks are always looking to improve margins, and it would not surprise him to see them pass on any RBA increase to their mortgagors (if and when rates do rise), but only give savers a slimmer increase.
Our Perth correspondent Andrea Dixon reports that there are fears for the ailing Freemantle retail strip as Myer considers skipping town. Council bosses made a recent dash to Myer’s Melbourne headquarters to convince the retailing giant to extend its soon-to-expire lease.

The latest housing data comes from the ABS price index for established houses for the eight capital cities, which decreased 1.9% in the year to June quarter 2011. Of the eight capital cities, only Sydney and Canberra recorded growth during the quarter.

For all this and more, visit our home page.

 – Jonathan Chancellor, editor

top stories

Jonathan Chancellor    Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver looks set to open his next Jamie's Italian restaurant in Brisbane. 

Larry Schlesinger    The revamp of an office tower in Chatswood will appeal to tenants who need 5,000 square metres or more.

new south wales
Jonathan Chancellor    After flooding and failed deals, a riverfront Woolwich mansion is up for sale again.

new south wales
Jonathan Chancellor    Stately mansion Boronia House in Mosman is now available for a 10-year lease. 


Larry Schlesinger     The Australian Bankers' Association has slammed a campaign to encourage borrowers to shop around for a better deal on their mortgages.


Chris Lang    Australia's commercial property is a good proposition, and buyers from Asia, the US an Europe know it.

Catherine Cashmore    The weekend auction clearance rate is not necessarily an accurate gauge of the number of properties that have sold.

David Curtis and Andrew McGrath    Now is a good time to invest in A-REITs, as they are reasonably priced and offer a modest level of risk.

trophy homes

south australia
  This period bluestone house has old-world charm and modern amenities.

Smartcompany: News: Myer set for free shipping, The new equal opportunity laws you should be across, Five things to learn from TopShop, Apple blocks Samsung tablet

smart company logo image
Today on SmartCompany we meet Australia’s first ever age discrimination commissioner, who is determined to shift employer mindsets over older workers. We also examine Myer’s move to offer free shipping from its online store, preview TopShop’s move to Australia and preview today’s crucial interest rates decision – head back to the homepage for the latest news shortly after 2:30pm. And in Entrepreneur Watch, James Thomson has a question for business leaders – would you be prepared to hand out your personal email address to customers?

And don’t forget to get your entry in for our Smart50 Awards for 2011. We’ve had some fabulous businesses enter so far, but we know there are more of you out there. Go here to register now.

For all this and more, head to our
home page.

Tax Update
Why you shouldn’t believe the latest super horror story
While the new draft tax ruling has SMSF owners shaking in their boots, the reality is that the ruling changes nothing. BY MICHAEL LAURENCE.

Legal Update
SMEs on notice as new Victorian equal opportunity laws kick in
Businesses have been warned that sweeping equal opportunity laws have set a new standard. BY MADELEINE HEFFERNAN.

Aunty B
Our PA has a crush on the boss. Help!
Who cares if the PA has a thing for the boss? Quite frankly, between you and me, I could do with a new crush myself.
Aunty B

People problems
Eve Ash
The best appraisals result when there has been a performance plan clarified at the outset, with targets to reach, specific goals and indicators to achieve.
Eve Ash

Michel Hogan
Whether your message is getting through or not is less about the specific words you use and more about the broader framing you invoke.
Michel Hogan

Behavioural Economics
Bri Williams
Mitigating bias takes courage, discipline and awareness, but the payoff is broader thinking and through that, reduced risk of failure.
Bri Williams

Entrepreneur Watch
James Thomson
The chief executive of Primus is putting his personal email on customer bills to lift service levels. How contactable are you?
James Thomson

Asia stocks retreat as exporters fall: MarketWatch | Asia Markets

By Sarah Turner, MarketWatch 

SYDNEY (MarketWatch) — Asian stocks dropped on Tuesday, with exporters broadly pressured after fresh indications that U.S. manufacturing is slowing, and with Japanese companies straining under the weight of a strong yen.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average JP:NIK -1.31%   fell 1.3% in the morning session, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index AU:XJO -1.35%  lost 1.3% ahead of an interest-rate decision, and South Korea’s Kospi KR:0100 -1.60%  fell 1.5%.
The Hang Seng Index HK:HSI -0.53%  declined 0.7%, while the Shanghai Composite index CN:000001 -1.61%  lost 1.3%.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords votes for debt deal U.S. House or Representatives erupts in applause as Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returns to DC and votes in favor of the debt-deal bill. It was her first appearance on Capitol Hill since being shot in the head last January. 

Washington was also a focus for investors, with the House of Representatives voting Monday to pass a bill raising the debt limit and staving off a possible default. The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate, which is expected to vote in favor of the bill on Tuesday. Read more on debt negotiations.
Asian stocks had gained sharply on Monday amid optimism about progress on the talks to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and cut spending, but those gains mostly evaporated Tuesday following U.S. data that showed manufacturing activity barely grew in July. Read more on U.S. ISM data.
The new-orders component of the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing report fell to its lowest level for 25 months, with strategists at Daiwa Securities saying the results are “signalling to us that Asia’s exports to the U.S. are likely to decelerate sharply further to just 5% to 6% year-on-year growth in January.”
Exporters were lower, weighed in part by the U.S. data, with Hyundai Motor Co HYMTF +4.11%  down 3.6% in South Korea, and Nintendo Co. JP:7974 -3.60%   NTDOY -1.65%  dropping 3.4% in Japan.
On Monday, Honda Motor Co. JP:7267 -0.16%   HMC -1.20%  posted a steep drop in quarterly net profit and, although the result beat analysts’ forecasts, the shares traded down 0.2%, with the strong yen capping gains. Read more on Honda results.
The dollar USDJPY +0.29%   traded at ¥77.40 midday Tuesday in Asia, after hitting an overnight low of ¥76.27, just off its all-time low of ¥76.25 last March.
The Japanese government is preparing to intervene in the currency market to weaken the Japanese yen, and the Bank of Japan is looking into additional monetary easing, according to a Nikkei business daily report. See more on reported plans for Japanese forex intervention.
Mainland China-based banks were mostly lower in Hong Kong, with shares of Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. HK:1398 -3.17%  [ IDCBY +0.07%  down 3% amid reports of a major share placement. Dow Jones Newswires reported the sale involved 638 million ICBC shares at a 2.5% discount to their Monday closing level.
HSBC PLC HK:5 +1.69%   HBC -0.19%  bucked the weaker trend, climbing 1.6% a day after it reported better-than-expected first-half results and announced a plan to cut 30,000 jobs by 2013. Read more on HSBC’s first-half results.
Sarah Turner is MarketWatch's bureau chief in Sydney.

Mobile exodus from Vodafone: Ping Newsletter

Ping Newsletter

Mobile exodus from Vodafone
VODAFONE Hutchison Australia is expected to reveal an exodus of mobile customers from its network.
Westpac to save with private cloud
WESTPAC expects a "private cloud" delivered by Microsoft and Fujitsu will enable it  slash tens of millions of dollars from its IT budget.
Tax office recoups millions
THE ATO is honing a set of computer models it hopes will help claw back millions of dollars lost through fraudulent individual tax returns.
Software reality check for wildlife
ECOLOGISTS will soon be able to make use of new software to dramatically cut the time and cost spent identifying wildlife species.
Tracker to transform libraries
MONASH University researchers have developed a chipless radio frequency identification system.
CSC warns of hard times ahead
IT services giant CSC Australia has maintained its $1 billion-plus annual revenue performance, but has warned of tough times.
AAPT and Oracle team up
TELECOMMUNICATIONS provider AAPT has made a play for the burgeoning infrastructure-as-a-service market by teaming up with Oracle.
Big tick for streamlined invoicing
Barwon Health has embarked on a major overhaul of its electronic billing system that processes about $100 million in revenue each year.
Using technology to delight, excite
A PASSION for IT was sparked the day Karen Holt took her children along to a computer class.
Sleeping easy in security blanket
WHEN Grenda Transit Management began using virtual computing four years ago, it didn't consider the backdoor hacking risks.
A portable Mack truck for gaming
BIG, heavy gaming laptops are for people who want a rig that carves through the latest computationally demanding games.
Optus gets you talking through walls
Optus has launched what it touts as "the biggest development in home telephony in decades".
Gillies cast as director at Manhattan
SUPPLY chain optimisation specialist Manhattan Associates has made two appointments at its Melbourne office to support growth in the region.
Instant fame can be yours
Once upon a time, if you wanted to be a celebrity you had to do stuff that was, you know, celebrated.
Anti-piracy deal a win for all
THE accord between US content creators and ISPs should inspire local players
Robots threaten China's workers
A PLAN to put one million robots in Chinese factories that make iPhones and Nintendo games is a nightmare for the country's workers.

The Australian Capital Circle: Rates verdict looms as health deal unveiled.

Capital Circle Newsletter
Rates verdict looms as health deal unveiled
Home owners wait on rates news as Julia Gillard claims a win today with the signing of a new national health deal.

Julia Gillard is in Canberra today. She is visiting Canberra Hospital this morning before a 9.30am press conference at parliament on a new health agreement with the states.
Tony Abbott is in Europe on holidays. Acting Opposition Leader Julie Bishop is in Sydney. She'll deliver the keynote address at a "Free Syria" public meeting at NSW Parliament House at 11am. She'll later visit a hospital with opposition health spokesman Peter Dutton to discuss health reform.
Health deal: After four years of federal Labor government, Julia Gillard will announce a national health agreement with the states today. It'll be held up as evidence her government is chalking up some wins. The watered-down deal will pump $175bn into public hospitals over the next two decades.
Rates: The Reserve Bank board meets today to decide what to do with interest rates this month. It's expected to keep the official cash rate on hold, amid growing economic uncertainty.
New poll: The latest  EMC poll has Labor on 31 per cent primary vote and support for a carbon price at 39 per cent vs 51 per cent opposed. But it was this somewhat leading question that interested us. "What do you think Tony Abbott actually believes about climate change?" More respondents thought he believed in climate change (27 per cent), than not (19 per cent). Almost a third thought he didn't care one way or the other.
Tweets: Mike Rann is tweeting on from India, determined to talk about anything but the messy and unfulfilled leadership coup against him. While faction bosses were tearing their hair out yesterday trying to convince him to step aside, the embattled Premier was tweeting from "education day" in Delhi. &q
Peter Brent
Peter Brent
Rann the odd one out
For a while there, South Australia was different to other Australian jurisdictions. Elsewhere, premiers or prime ministers watch a procession of opposition leaders…
More Peter Brent

News Alert: House approves raise in federal debt ceiling; bill goes to Senate : The Washington Post

News Alert: House approves raise in federal debt ceiling; bill goes to Senate
August 1, 2011

The House approved a bill Monday night that raises the federal debt limit and cuts discretionary spending by $1 trillion over the next 10 years, a key step toward averting a government default. The 269 to 161 vote sends the bill to the Senate, which is likely to consider the plan Tuesday -- the day that the Treasury has said it would begin running short of cash to pay the nation's bills. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords cast her first vote in the House since being shot in January, voting yes.

For more information, visit

The Economist | Selected New Articles: Free Exchange (That debt ceiling deal) / Newsbook ( Hama is hit again) ... and More

Free exchange: That debt ceiling deal

Newsbook: Hama is hit again

Banyan: The trouble with democracy—and dictatorship

Schumpeter: Where federal taxes are raised and spent

Online debate: Should Europe abandon the euro?

Kitco New York Market Close Report

New York Market Close Aug 01/11 05:21 PM EDT

Money Show Investor Daily Alert: Jim Jubak article and video, The Week Ahead, Top Pros' Top Picks .

Investors Daily Alert 
Just released on®—Jim Jubak article and video, The Week Ahead, Top Pros' Top Picks articles, Gurus' Views & Strategies, SavageMoney Blog, Today's Charts in Play, Ideas from Around the World, and Featured Videos are now available for immediate access!
NEW! THE DAILY GURUCandid Daily Interviews with Top Market Experts
3 Recent IPOs Poised for Next Market Uptrend, Mike Cintolo

Jim Jubak on
DuPont Painting a Profitable Picture
Don't Cheer New Greek Rescue Plans

The Week Ahead
The Week Ahead: More "Bizarro World", Tom Aspray

Today's Top Pros' Top Picks
5 Funds from an 82-Year Street Veteran, Tom Taulli
The One Energy Company to Buy, Elliott Gue

Today's Gurus' Views & Strategies
Harry Potter and the Deathly Debt Deal, Igor Greenwald
2011’s Second Half Looks Pretty Good, Robert Johnson

SavageMoney Blog
Have Faith in America, Not in Congress, Terry Savage

Today's Charts in Play
Three S&P-Beating Global ETFs, Tom Aspray

Ideas from Around the World
5 Top European Income ETFs, Jim Lowell

Today's Featured Videos
Precious Metals ETFs and More, Doug Fabian
You Don't Need to Time the Market, James Stack

Reuters - Daily Investor Update: Factory growth slows, casts shadow on economy.

Wall St. slips for 6th day; debt deadline near
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell for a sixth day on Monday as time runs out for the government to pass a deal to avoid default and the economy shows further signs of stalling. | Full Article

Factory growth slows, casts shadow on economy
August 01, 2011 01:23 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Manufacturing grew at its slowest pace in two years in July as new orders contracted, a troubling development for the faltering economy. | Full Article
Juncker says a U.S. downgrade would hit whole world
August 01, 2011 02:28 PM ET
PARIS (Reuters) - Euro group chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said on Monday it would be surprising if the rest of the world, and the euro zone in particular, avoided repercussions were the United States to lose its AAA credit rating. | Full Article
HSBC sheds 30,000 jobs, posts surprise profit rise
August 01, 2011 10:58 AM ET
LONDON (Reuters) - HSBC will shed 30,000 jobs as it retreats from countries where it is struggling to compete, Europe's biggest bank said on Monday after it reported a surprise rise in first-half profit. | Full Article
Discounts, warm weather seen helping July sales
August 01, 2011 01:36 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Retailers are poised to report higher sales for July, a discount-driven month that may do little to lift their margins. | Full Article