Monthly Archives: March 2019

2019
03/21

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Australian shares end the week in a correction after weak earnings growth

The ASX finished the week in a technical correction, pushed down amid a storm of profit announcements of weak earnings growth. Photo: Dominic LorrimerReporting season had a dismal second week that dragged the Australian equities market to a seven-month low and into a technical correction as profit numbers underwhelmed and a shock devaluation of the yuan sparked volatility in global markets.
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The sharemarket slumped into official correction territory on Wednesday with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index falling 10 per cent below its April high. Friday reinforced that trend, as energy names and the big banks helped push the benchmark index down 32 points, or by 0.5 per cent, to 5356.5, and 2.2 per cent lower for the week.

The week was dominated by a hectic schedule of profit reports, a $5 billion capital raising by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and a surprise devaluation of the Chinese currency, which spooked global markets and triggered further volatility in commodity prices.

On Friday energy companies suffered the heaviest share price falls as the oil price continued to come under pressure. Santos plunged 9 per cent on the day to $5.99, down 11.3 per cent for the week, as investors fretted over the possibility the debt-laden company would need to raise capital. Woodside Petroleum was down 3.3 per cent on Friday and for the five sessions to $32.84.

The week saw major companies such as the Commonwealth Bank, Telstra and property powerhouse Mirvac release results, as well as Ansell, Cochlear and Fairfax Media.

Tribeca senior fund manager Sean Fenton said the disappointing week was due to weak earnings growth across the board.

“There seems to be a general inability, especially at the larger end of the market, to actually grow earnings,” Mr Fenton said. “Some companies have pulled off significant jumps but it remains to be seen if these are not just one-offs.”

Mr Fenton said poor earnings growth was particularly hurting the big banks, which are faced with further challenges around raising capital to satisfy increasingly stringent regulatory requirements.

“There are a few different moving parts in banks but when you force them to raise more capital it tends to damage their earnings. Their lending books are so big now that the ability to grow it is limited as costs keep rising.”

The Commonwealth Bank on Wednesday announced a $9.4 billion profit and a $5 billion fundraising round to bolster its capital reserves and entered a trading halt. But the move pushed the financial sector into the red with ANZ Banking Group finishing the week down 1.6 per cent at $29.29, National Australia Bank finishing 3.2 per cent lower on $31.76 and Westpac Group closing the week at $31.33 down 1.5 per cent.

Another ASX-topping company shedding value was Telstra. The telco giant’s shares tumbled 3.3 per cent this week to close at $6.08, despite meeting  $4.23 billion full year profit and upping its dividend from 29.5 cents to 30.5 cents.

Among the more encouraging earnings results were JB Hi-Fi reporting a 6.3 per cent rise in profits and Automotive Holdings 20.8 per cent jump in its annual earnings.

The biggest gainers of the week were Greencross, up 23.8 per cent to $7.13, after the pet care business bounced back on strong results after months of sell offs triggered by a slight profit downgrade, and News Corp, up 8.8 per cent to close the week at $20.17, despite posting a $202 million net loss, due to a $617.4 million impairment related to its restructuring.

Some of the biggest losses of the week was sustained by Ansell, after revealing profits that had been buffeted by currency shifts throughout the year. The stock finished the week down 14.2 per cent at $21.24. Computershare also disappointed jittery investors with its profit release, and its shares plunged 17.2 per cent over the five sessions to finish at $9.84.

Meanwhile, China’s currency devaluations sparked heavy volatility across Asia-Pacific financial markets, which kept a lid on the big miners despite a small pick-up in iron ore late in the week.

Rio Tinto finished the week at $51.13, down by 4 per cent while BHP Billiton finished at $25.32, down 2.4 per cent. Fortescue Metals group was down 4.8 per cent to $1.79 while Newcrest Mining almost had a good week as the gold price recovered, down only 0.1 per cent to finish at $10.95.

One of the worst company reports of the week was Atlas Iron. The company has a market cap of just below $80 million but it reported a staggering $1.4 billion loss due to this year’s plummeting iron ore price. It finished the week at 31¢, down by 3.1 per cent.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

2019
03/21

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‘Bureaucrats should get off Facebook’

Cyber warriors: Nuix chief executive Eddie Sheehy with former Pentagon investigator Keith Lowry. Photo: Louie DouvisIslamic State posts Australian hit list after hackDefence staff should ‘erase their online lives’Insiders a ‘greater threat to security than cyber attacks’More public service news
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Most public servants should quit Twitter and Facebook or at least minimise their use of social media, lest they become unwilling agents of terrorists or criminals, a top data investigator says.

Eddie Sheehy, the head of global forensic data firm Nuix, said this week’s release of an Islamic State “kill list” – apparently stolen from a credit card database – was an example of terrorists’ increasing reliance on cyber attacks for propaganda, funding and intelligence.

He advised Canberra public servants, most of whom are security vetted and have access to at least some classified information, to avoid posting any details of themselves online, as they could be blackmailed or seduced into aiding enemies.

Islamic State published personal details of more than 1400 people this week and urged its followers to kill them.

Most of the people named were linked to the US military, though the list included at least eight Australians, including ADF employees and their relatives, a Victorian MP and several public servants.

Mr Sheehy – whose staff include former Pentagon official Keith Lowry, who investigated the massive Wikileaks intelligence breaches involving Edward Snowden and Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning – said while the latest hack was “not that extensive”, the details stolen could prove “very important” to the terrorists.

“Look how much we’re talking about it, and the propaganda value of that [to IS],” he said.

“But also, once you start getting little bits of information, you can add them together to create a picture of an individual.

“Once you get their telephone number you can ring it and can probably get their geolocation. So you know where they are, you know when they’re at home and when they’re not.”

Mr Sheehy “totally agreed” with the advice of Melbourne IT academic and former army officer Mark Gregory, who said anyone connected with Australia’s military – be they enlisted personnel, Defence Department bureaucrats or contractors – should erase their online profiles.

After a university database at the Australian Defence Force Academy was hacked in 2012, exposing the identification details of about 10,000 students and 1900 staff, Dr Gregory called social media a “goldmine” for the nation’s enemies.

He recommended that “on the day [ADFA] cadets enlist, their entire electronic lives be erased”.

“They should have no Facebook accounts, no Google accounts, no iTunes accounts. They should not exist on digital networks until they retire from Defence.”

Surveys suggest a third to a half of all cyber-security breaches are aided by insiders, who are motivated by a wide range of factors.

Mr Sheehy said cyber terrorists and criminals were constantly searching for individuals inside the organisations they had targeted, whom they could either encourage or force to help them steal data.

Social media was an obvious means of finding the right victims.

“In the end, you’re creating a picture of yourself that can be used by anybody,” Mr Sheehy said of social network posts.

“You’re giving people information that they can use to your disadvantage.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

2019
03/21

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Wed happily ever after

HAPPY: Hilda and Harold Biggs still make each other laugh after 70 years of marriage. They will celebrate the anniversary of their Ballarat war-time wedding this week. Picture: Lachlan BenceIn some ways, does it still feel like your wedding was just like yesterday?
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Hilda and Harold Biggs say not at all, really. Seventy years have passed since their special day and Hilda saidso much has happened since.

Yet she can still clearlyrecount the red carpet laid out from council at St Andrew’s Kirk in Sturt Street. The bells pealing from the town hall. They wed on August 18 at 2pm. Another wedding followed at the church later that afternoon.

Harold and Hilda were married 10 days before end of war celebrations erupted on Ballarat streets in 1945. But their wedding festivities were impressive too. The couple had a big wedding with lots of family and work friends. Even their work superiors were in attendance at the church.

They say there are no secrets to making along and happy marriage –they have facedtheir share of life’s rollercoasters. They just enjoy spending time with each other and their family. Wherever their journey has taken them, they have moved as a family to stay together.

And they dance.

Hilda said they had always danced together. They have long been involved in highland dancing as a family and have attended many Maryborough Highland Gatherings for New Years.

This is a big year for the couple. Harold turned 90 last week, Hilda turns 90 in December and they mark their 70thwedding anniversary on Tuesday. Their anniversary celebrations will be a little more low-key than the day they wed. Family, and a few extras, will gather for a party. They share three children, six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Hilda said most of their closest friends were up north, mostly in Queensland, for an extended hiatus through the Ballarat winter months. Their friends ensured they made a big fuss of Harold’s 90thbirthday. A line of colourful cards lines a side table in their dining room.

This couple remains fiercely independent. They like to potter about their garden and Hilda still does a little driving.

Hilda enjoys a chat and Harold is quiet and patient. Their children say they complement each other.

And they still make each other laugh.

A candid photo shoot withThe Courieron Friday definitely captured that.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

2019
03/21

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Nobbys may remain closed after another shark sighting

Nobbys may remain closed after another shark sighting Another shark sighting closes Nobbys Beach. Picture: Darren Pateman
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Nobbys closes after another shark sighting: Ski paddler Greg Goodwin raised the alarm. Another shark sighting closes Nobbys Beach. Picture: Darren Pateman

Another shark sighting closes Nobbys Beach. Picture: Darren Pateman

Nobbys closes after another shark sighting: Ski paddler Greg Goodwin raised the alarm. Another shark sighting closes Nobbys Beach. Picture: Darren Pateman

TweetFacebookNOBBYS Beach may be closed on Saturday because of a shark residing near the shore.

The beach has been closed twice in the past two days after a shark was sighted near the reef.

Greg Goodwin saw the shark’s fin not far from the reef on Friday while he was 300 metres from the shore.

He used the reef to hide from the shark, which was about 60 metres away, and watched it closely.

After 10 minutes of constant surveillance he hurried back to the beach and raised the alarm.

‘‘It was a single fin and it was not small either,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s the first shark I’ve seen in that area and I’ve been coming here for 25 years.’’

‘‘It’s the first shark I’ve seen in that area and I’ve been coming here for 25 years”: Greg Goodwin. Picture: Darren Pateman

Nobby’s Surf Life Saving Club will search the area on Saturday before re-opening the beach.

Mr Goodwin said there was a large crowd of bait fish and a lot of seaguls around the reef, which could explain why the shark was hanging around.

2019
03/21

Category:
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Christ Church flower festival more than a fundraiser

CHRIST Church Cathedral is promoting next month’s annual flower festival as more than a fundraising event.
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The Very Reverend Stephen Williams in the cathedral. Picture: Peter Stoop

In announcing this year’s program, the Dean of Newcastle, Stephen Williams, said the centenary of Anzac added a poignant note, given the many historic associations that Christ Church had with the Great War.

‘‘This year’s festival will fill the cathedral with themed floral tributes to our servicemen and women across the past 100years,’’ Father Williams said.

The festival runs from Friday, September 4 until Monday, September 7, with an official opening being held on the evening of Thursday, September 3.

Father Williams said the Governor of NSW, David Hurley, would open the festival on the Thursday night, with guests including Williamtown RAAF commander Air Commodore Steve Roberton.

While the flowers would be the headline attraction, Father Williams said the open cathedral also gave people an opportunity to view some of the lesser-known parts of the building, including the Warrior’s Chapel and the associated collection of military treasures.

The Warrior’s Chapel, also known as the St Michael Chapel, dates from 1924.

At its southern end, Father Williams pointed out a shrine known as the Forster Monument, a memorial ‘‘to the fallen’’ that was modelled on a young Alfred Henry Forster, who died in 1919.

His father, Sir Henry William Forster, was Australian governor-general from 1920 to 1925.

He lost his two sons to the war and Father Williams said the Warrior’s Chapel was regarded as the oldest war memorial in Australia.

Father Williams said the festival would help raise funds for the maintenance of the cathedral, which was a constant effort.

Tickets were $10 for adults and $5 for children with an $8 concession price.

The displayed arrangements would be sold through a silent auction that would finish on the Monday.