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Analysis and Comment (38)

Chipping away at casino strategies. Chipping away at casino strategies. clry2

Using a fund manager? You’d get the same results at a casino

The people who manage pensions and investments are locked in a constant battle to win our custom, often dazzling us with examples of how well they have beaten the market in the hope that this success will…
A formal, transparent and public assessment of infrastructure benefits and costs is the only way to ensure the right decision are made. A formal, transparent and public assessment of infrastructure benefits and costs is the only way to ensure the right decision are made. Dan Peled/AAP

Realising Abbott’s infrastructure dream will need state support

One of the many challenges facing the Australian economy over the next decade or two concerns investment in transport, electricity, water, communications, health and education, and other infrastructure…
All a blur. The Alibaba IPO sets a new benchmark. All a blur. The Alibaba IPO sets a new benchmark. Qilai Shen/EPA

Alibaba’s IPO signals a fresh appetite for Chinese technology

The planned stock market listing of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba in New York is a landmark deal for several reasons. The listing is anticipated to become the largest in the US since Facebook’s issue…
Surviving or thriving? Surviving or thriving? britta heise

Explainer: how big tobacco turns profits

In 2013 Imperial Tobacco, one of four major transnational tobacco companies, posted its first fall in profits in 17 years. One could be forgiven for thinking from the proposed introduction of new restrictions…
Headaches ahead. Headaches ahead. Tired businessman image

New standards could make university finances appear at risk

Winning large research and capital grants could soon bring unwanted headaches for UK universities along with all the acclaim. From the next academic year, their accountants will be expected to adopt new…
Much to ponder for Osborne’s favourite voters. Much to ponder for Osborne’s favourite voters. Robert Sharp

Budget 2014: there could be a sting in the tail for savers and pensioners

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, “pulled a rabbit out of the hat” for pensioners and savers with changes to UK pensions that have been hailed as the most significant overhaul to the system…
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim warns investors not to ignore climate risks. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim warns investors not to ignore climate risks. EPA/Chris Kleponis

Fossil fuel campaigners win support from unexpected places

If you haven’t heard about the growing campaign for fossil fuel divestment, and what it means for both your retirement funds and for the global economy, it’s time to pay attention - because now even the…
Australia’s property market is heating up; but what role have self-funded superannuants played? Australia’s property market is heating up; but what role have self-funded superannuants played?

Are SMSFs inflating a property bubble?

Self managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) have come under criticism from regulators amid concerns that the sector is over-investing in the residential property sector. The profession has hit back at the…
Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo, faces the challenge of adding value to the company’s shares, without detracting from the user experience. Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo, faces the challenge of adding value to the company’s shares, without detracting from the user experience. AAP

Twitter’s IPO: what we know so far

In a tweet that could represent US$110 million for every one of its 135 characters, Twitter last week announced that it would be following fellow social network providers Facebook and LinkedIn in becoming…
Research suggests Twitter trends can accurately forecast stock market changes. Research suggests Twitter trends can accurately forecast stock market changes. www.shutterstock.com

How twitter informs the stock market

On April 23, the US stock market suddenly lost 1.5% of its value after news of an attack on the White House quickly spread from the (hacked) Twitter account of the Associated Press news agency. Within…
Investing in large-scale infrastructure will make Australia’s economy more efficient in the face of a receding mining boom. Investing in large-scale infrastructure will make Australia’s economy more efficient in the face of a receding mining boom. AAP

Beyond the mining boom: from resources to infrastructure

The term of the new Australian government – whether finally led by Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott or Malcolm Turnbull – will be shaped by one dominant economic reality: the end of the mining boom. The immediate…
Greece is feeling the heat from its European creditors. Greece is feeling the heat from its European creditors. liako

Battle over broadcaster a sign of deeper Greek political woes

The latest political crisis in Greece began with a spat over the future of public tv and radio. The fragile political consensus among the three-way government coalition was finally broken with one party…
Time to start building, George. Time to start building, George. Lefteris Pitarakis/PA

IMF no longer BFF for Osborne

The International Monetary Fund’s annual investigation into the health of the UK economy makes ugly reading. The IMF points out that “per capita income remains 6% below its pre-crisis peak, making this…
Speed is not enough, we need growth. Speed is not enough, we need growth. Gareth Fuller/PA

Planes and trains can deliver the growth the IMF wants

The International Monetary Fund’s annual report on the UK economy calls for the Chancellor to boost economic growth through investing in infrastructure. While the IMF is right to make this point, we must…
Gold and silver are traditionally considered “safe havens”. Gold and silver are traditionally considered “safe havens”. Image sourced from shutterstock.com

Explainer: what are safe haven investments?

Safe haven investments are investments that provide a low level of risk during periods of extreme economic uncertainty. The problem is that a safe haven investment is a safe haven investment until it is…
College day betting lead to a fascination with the stockmarket for this physicist. College day betting lead to a fascination with the stockmarket for this physicist. Dan Raustadt Flikr

A rocket scientist’s view of the stockmarket

The last Space Shuttle recently returned to Earth. That reminded me that 45 years ago I was undertaking a PhD in physics at Australian National University, investigating the re-entry of the space shuttle…
BHP Billiton CEO Marius Kloppers is expected to announce the company’s first profit fall in three years. BHP Billiton CEO Marius Kloppers is expected to announce the company’s first profit fall in three years. AAP

Investments are nearing their peak, but the mining boom isn’t over yet

It has been an anxious day for Australian investors. Shares have dipped as the market awaits BHP Billiton’s full-year profit report. It is expected that the market heavyweight will post its first profit…
Mitt Romney’s running mate, Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan, has articulated a bold - if perhaps inefficient - vision for the US economy. Mitt Romney’s running mate, Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan, has articulated a bold - if perhaps inefficient - vision for the US economy. AAP

Paul Ryan’s path to recovery – or renewed financial crisis?

Much ink has been spilled over the budget proposals advanced by Mitt Romney’s choice as Vice Presidential running mate, Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan. Acting as Chair of the House Budget Committee, Ryan…
There are economy-wide gains to be made from lowering the corporate tax rate, but businesses will need to make concessions of their own. There are economy-wide gains to be made from lowering the corporate tax rate, but businesses will need to make concessions of their own. Image from www.shutterstock.com

Subsidies are standing in the way of corporate tax reform

Yesterday, the government’s business tax working group released its discussion paper on possibilities for tax reform. The paper makes a case for a broader base and lower tax rate (the corporate tax is…
If China opens up its capital account, there will be significant ramifications for Australia. If China opens up its capital account, there will be significant ramifications for Australia. epSos.de

The liberalisation of China’s capital account will be a game-changer for Australia

In previous articles on The Conversation, I have noted that our economic relationship with China stands on only one leg. In contrast to two-way trade – merchandise trade topped $120 billlion in the year…
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Julia Gillard are at loggerheads over the investment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Julia Gillard are at loggerheads over the investment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. AAP

A dangerous investment: Australia, New Zealand and the Trans-Pacific Partnership

This week, San Diego is hosting the latest round of talks over the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Australia and New Zealand are at loggerheads over this secretive new trade treaty spanning the Pacific Rim…
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has called on miners to accept that the resources they mine belong to the people. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has called on miners to accept that the resources they mine belong to the people. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Mining could invest in a future that belongs to all of us – education

Prime Minister Julia Gillard delivered one of her strongest messages to the mining sector last night, telling mining bosses at a Minerals Industry dinner in Canberra that they don’t own Australia’s minerals…
Australia’s mining boom is both a boon and a bane to our economic development. Australia’s mining boom is both a boon and a bane to our economic development.

Managing the mighty structural forces unleashed by the mining boom

Australia’s stark comparative advantage in mining is both a boon and a bane to our economic development. Investment in the mining industry as a share of Australia’s GDP has already reached unprecedented…
Irrational decision-making can have significant consequences for financial markets. Irrational decision-making can have significant consequences for financial markets. AAP

Mood swings and the market: how to understand irrational investor behaviour

Fred Tomczyk, a 20-year veteran of the financial services industry, has his finger on the pulse of investor sentiment: “ … the preference for cash that we’re seeing among new investors suggests a stronger…
Despite Cameron’s half-hearted efforts, democratisation of listed UK corporations is unlikely. Despite Cameron’s half-hearted efforts, democratisation of listed UK corporations is unlikely. AAP

‘Empowering’ shareholders won’t revolutionise corporate culture

Executive remuneration is out of control in the United Kingdom. The final report by the High Pay Commission concluded that “there is rarely a link between directors’ incentives and the way a company performs…
Are ordinary homeowners perpetuating Australia’s property bubble? Are ordinary homeowners perpetuating Australia’s property bubble? AAP

The property bubble makes us slaves to each other’s debt

While my recent commentary (here and here) demonstrates Australian housing is in a bubble, I have not explained where this situation has come from. Asset markets, in this case, property, are the subject…
There is more behind the Qantas lockout than short-term industrial disputes. There is more behind the Qantas lockout than short-term industrial disputes. AAP

Qantas is waving the Australian flag … goodbye

As the initial shock of the Qantas lockout of its workforce abates, it is time to consider the wider implications of this action. One lesson is the folly of national identification of companies that are…
By 2050, China’s economy is projected to be as large as the US and India combined. By 2050, China’s economy is projected to be as large as the US and India combined. AAP

Doing business with China is a necessity, not a choice

Opposition leader Tony Abbott has sparked some controversy with his suggestion that Australia’s trade emphasis should be on Japan, rather than China. Abbott’s suggestion that it would be easier to negotiate…
The share market is often driven back into the black by canny investors looking for a bargain. The share market is often driven back into the black by canny investors looking for a bargain. AAP

Global economic shakeout: the zig-zag market heralds nasty times ahead

After falling by almost 20% in week-long sell-off, the Australian share market has bounced back and began trade today up more than 3.5%. The market’s recovery follows a strong comeback on Wall Street overnight…
Uncertainty about the US economy is driving investors back to the safe-haven metal. Uncertainty about the US economy is driving investors back to the safe-haven metal. AAP

Explainer: Why gold is still precious for investors

The price of gold reached a record high of $US1607.01 an ounce on Tuesday as investors turn to the precious metal amid uncertain global economic conditions. University of Western Australian Professor of…
Find out where your money goes. Find out where your money goes. Ahmad Nawawi/Flickr

One small thing you can do for the environment: invest ethically

Welcome to “One small thing …”. We asked our authors what one small thing they, or you, could do for the environment. We’ll bring their answers to you on Friday afternoons. Today’s one small thing comes…
Is legal action becoming a bad habit for tobacco companies? Is legal action becoming a bad habit for tobacco companies? effb/Flickr

Big Tobacco v Australia: taking the battle to the global stage

This week’s legal action by tobacco giant Philip Morris to overturn the federal government’s plain packaging proposals is not its first attempt to stifle anti-tobacco legislation. Philip Morris is also…
It is far from clear whether Philip Morris' tactic against plain packaging will succeed. It is far from clear whether Philip Morris' tactic against plain packaging will succeed. AAP

Big Tobacco v Australia: Philip Morris jumps the gun on legal challenge

In the latest salvo in the fight over plain packaging for tobacco products, Philip Morris is launching legal action under Australia’s bilateral investment treaty with Hong Kong. The key aspect of Philip…
Despite attempts at regulatory reform, ratings agencies still act with little threat of litigation. Despite attempts at regulatory reform, ratings agencies still act with little threat of litigation. AAP

Should investors sue ratings agencies? It’s a matter of opinion

Standard & Poor’s downgraded Greece’s sovereign debt rating by three notches on Monday, reflecting its view that it would be next to impossible to imagine a scenario where the country could restructure…

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