Archive for April 2019

Shares enjoyed solid buying throughout Monday, largely boosted by investor appetite for most of the banks and energy stocks though Myer suffered some investor displeasure.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 lifted 0.3 per cent higher to 5919.2 points and the broader All Ordinaries Index bumped up 0.2 per cent to 5983.7 points.

The Australian dollar traded at US76.75 cents after falling below the US77 cent mark last week for the first time since July.

Robust growth figures out of the United States last week reaffirmed the global view that the major economies are enjoying a synchronised upswing.

“Good global growth is good for the economy and therefore good for banks, so we’re seeing that in the market direction,” said Romano Sala Tenna, portfolio manager at Katana Asset Management.

“We also had a few nasty days last week so Monday is seeing a bit of a rebound. The banks might have been a bit oversold on the back of the ANZ result last week.”

ANZ finished the day up 0.7 per cent, National Australia Bank was up 0.7 per cent and Westpac also closed 0.7 per cent higher. Commonwealth Bank was the only bank to finish the day in the red, down 0.3 per cent.

Myer ended the day 3.2 per cent lower after the retailer’s largest shareholder, Solomon Lew threatened legal action against the company over the department store chain’s alleged lack of disclosure.

A bump in the oil price above $US60 a barrel saw investors pour into the energy names, with the sector finishing up 1.5 per cent for the day.

Australia’s largest oil producer Woodside Petroleum enjoyed a 1.3 per cent lift and Caltex, the country’s biggest oil refiner, closed up 0.2 per cent.

On the downside, Telstra was one of the worst performers, trading down 0.6 per cent. Property sector plays were also weak, with Westfield shares losing 1.4 per cent, Scentre down 0.7 per cent and LendLease lower by 1.6 per cent.

Insurers were also dragging, with QBE down 1 per cent and Insurance Australia Group down 0.6 per cent.

Iron ore play Fortescue slipped 1 per cent in the mining sector and South32 lost 0.9 per cent.

In other equities news, Sigma Healthcare fell after the company’s trading update revealed pharmaceutical giant Astra Zeneca will exclusively distribute a portion of its products direct to pharmacies, eroding around 1 per cent of Sigma’s sales. The stock closed the day down 4.9 per cent. Market MoversStock Watch: Hydroponics Company

Shares in diversified cannabis company rocketed 42 per cent higher to 32?? on Monday. Hydroponics announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Canndeo has been granted a medicinal cannabis licence by the Office of Drug Control. The licence will allow the firm to advance commercial cultivation of Cannabis sativa, and supports THC’s dual strategy for supplying medicinal cannabis products to support patients in Australia by local production and importation. This is the second of three licences that the company has sought, with its Manufacturing Licence application lodged and waiting for approval. Oil

The price of brent crude shot up over $US60 a barrel on Monday amid speculation that OPEC may look to extend its supply-restraint deal, a move that has seen global stockpiles shrink and has offset rising US drill numbers. Prices have surged to levels not seen since 2015 when Saudi Arabia backed further cuts. Global inventories are down to about 160 million barrels above the five-year average and prices are heading toward “fair” levels, Qatar Energy Minister Mohammed Al Sada said on Sunday. US drillers added one rig last week, according to data released Friday. Brent crude was fetching $US60.41 a barrel at market close on Monday while West Texas Intermediate was trading at $US53.90 a barrel. Chinese stocks

A pronounced bond selloff in mainland China has seen the Chinese sharemarket drop the most since early August, shattering the Communist Party Congress induced calm. The Shanghai Composite Index fell as much as 0.4 per cent on Monday. Investors punished small-cap shares the most as the 10-year yield climbed 4 basis points to 3.89 per cent, a three year high, amid concern Chinese authorities will intensify a deleveraging program. Iron ore

The price of iron ore slid 2.3 per cent on Monday to $US60.08 a tonne as new data showed iron ore holdings at China’s ports have surged to the highest level in two months, adding to signs that the nation’s widespread curbs on steelmakers’ output are starting to bite as policy makers clamp down to try to ensure clean air over winter. Stockpiles expanded 2.7 per cent to 135.75 million tons last week to post the biggest gain since February, according to data from Shanghai Steelhome E-Commerce on Monday. That caps the fourth weekly rise in five, and puts holdings back on a path toward the record 141.5 million tons hit in June. Petrol prices

The price of petrol has soared to a 2-year highs, according to the Australian Institute of Petroleum. The national average Australian price of unleaded petrol rose by 9.0 cents last week to 136.4 cents a litre, reflecting the ending of discounting cycles in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. It was the biggest weekly lift in the national petrol price in 13 years of records. “Petrol prices are coming down in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and motorists can expect relief at the bowser over the next 7-10 days,” says Craig James, chief economist at CommSec. “But so far the price declines are much more tepid than in recent price cycles.”

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

He threatened to spoil Winx’s Cox Plate party and now Darren Weir’s ironhorse Humidor will wade into spring carnival waters not tested in almost a decade by contesting all three of Melbourne’s spring carnival majors in the one year.

Not since Master O’Reilly ran in the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup in 2008 has a horse contested three of Australian racing’s four grand slams in the space of 17 days, but Weir will wind back the clock for the $6 million race.

It is a program which has become almost obsolete in the modern-day, cotton wool caper of nursing horses to their major targets, yet Weir is adamant Humidor is thriving with repeat races.

Elvstroem is the only other horse to have tackled the big three in the same year in recent times, winning the 2004 Caulfield Cup before progressing to the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.

He ran fourth in the second of Makybe Diva’s three-peat, coincidentally the same place Master O’Reilly finished when chasing home the Blake Shinn-ridden Viewed.

Shinn was confirmed on Monday as Humidor’s rider for the Melbourne Cup after Godolphin surprisingly paid up for last year’s placegetter Hartnell, who was widely tipped to run in the Emirates Stakes on the final day of the Flemington carnival.

Damian Lane, who was admonished by Weir for his aggressive Caulfield Cup ride on Humidor, will partner Hartnell should James Cummings elect to start him.

Shinn was widely praised for his canny ride on Humidor, which almost crashed Winx’s bid to equal Kingston Town’s three Cox Plate wins, less than an hour after he racked up his fourth winner on one of Australian racing’s biggest days.

And he will now have the chance to add a second Melbourne Cup to his trophy cabinet after his success on Viewed in 2008.

“It’s as good a chance I will have to win a second Melbourne Cup,” Shinn said. “It’s exciting. It shows his toughness. Darren’s able to peak them after hard runs and I know I’ll be on a fit horse.”

Humidor remains a $7.50 second favourite with Sportsbet for the Melbourne Cup, shadowing Lloyd Williams’ Almandin ($6.50).

“He put it to the great mare on Saturday and he gave me an unbelievable feel,” Shinn said. “The blinkers definitely helped and knowing Darren is happy to run him again just gives me so much confidence.

“I’m thankful to the owners for making the decision to keep me on.”

Meanwhile, trainer Alain Couetil flew into Melbourne and had his first look at Tiberian as the French stayer attempts to emulate the feats of Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011) in winning Australia’s most famous race.

“I think he’ll run very well,” Couetil said. “The owner of Dunaden didn’t think he was capable of running [and winning a Melbourne Cup], but he’s said from the start this one is capable of running and adapting to the racing out here.

“Americain didn’t win a group 2 in France and came here [to win a Melbourne Cup]. On paper he’s probably better. I think for Tiberian, with 24 runners, the race is very difficult.

“[But] the horse is really well. I think he’ll run well. The horse is really intelligent and he adjusts to the ground he’s galloping on. A little bit of rain would be good. I think he’s got the speed to go with them.”

Tiberian is part-owned by Darren Dance’s Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock, which also brought Heartbreak City Down Under last year when the horse was a gripping second to Almandin.

One of Europe’s most prolific riders, Olivier Peslier, has been booked to ride Tiberian. Connections are hoping Peslier will familiarise himself with Flemington on his first Australian visit with rides on Derby Day.???

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

Virgin Australia is scrambling to accommodate thousands of passengers after the Samoan government blocked it from operating flights between the Pacific island and New Zealand.

Samoa pulled the plug on Virgin Samoa, a joint venture with Australia’s number two airline, in May and is preparing to launch its own national carrier called Samoa Airways.

Virgin Australia had planned to fly its own services from Australia and New Zealand to the Samoan capital Apia from November 13, but on Monday said that permission for Auckland to Apia flights had not been granted.

“Virgin Australia is disappointed with the Samoan government’s decision to deny authorisation of our services,” a Virgin Australia spokeswoman said.

“We are working in conjunction with the Australian government to explore options to encourage the Samoan government to reconsider its decision.”

About 6000 passengers booked on the five weekly return Auckland – Apia services will be affected. Virgin said it would fly those passengers to Samoa via Australia or to other destinations, or give them refunds.

“We are working hard to re-accommodate affected passengers as a matter of priority and will be proactively communicating with them to discuss their options,” the spokeswoman said.

Virgin’s twice weekly return services from Sydney to Apia and weekly return service from Brisbane will go ahead as planned from November 13.

Virgin management is understood to view the decision as a move to protect Samoa’s fledgling national carrier, and is in breach of Australia and Samoa’s bilateral air services agreement.

The decision means Air New Zealand and Samoa Airways will be the only carriers servicing Auckland to Apia from November 13.

Virgin Australia and the Samoan government each owned 49 per cent of Virgin Samoa, which will cease flying on November 12; resort and hotel operator Grey Investment Group controls the remaining 2 per cent.

Virgin Samoa made a $4.2 million profit from $47.8 million in revenue last financial year, according to Virgin Australia’s 2017 annual report.

The Samoan government reportedly withdrew from the venture amid dissatisfaction over high airfares and allegations that Virgin and Air New Zealand had been colluding on fares.

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

THE politicians are in Israel for the ceremony to mark the 100thanniversary of the Battle of Beersheba.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will take his place in thesolemn line-up, despite the chaos left behind after an historic High Court citizenship case that cost the Turnbull government dearly.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is in Israel, too. He wasted little time after landing in Jerusalem to take a swipe at the Prime Minister for the citizenship chaos. Veterans Affairs Minister Dan Tehan tried to settle the argument, but his comment that “This sort of thing happens all the time” probably didn’t help.

A search of Hansardfrom Federal Parliament in Australia’s earliest years as a nation shows political debate has not changed a great deal in 100 years. But Australia has changed, which is why it is interesting to consider our extraordinary fascination with warsand our involvement with them.

A majority of Australians had most likely not heard of the Battle of Beersheba before we embarked on a four-year, $600 million commemoration of World War I.

Gallipoli was the Turkish campaign that captured public attention and redefined Anzac Day, for many, as a symbol of Australian male courage under fire. For servicemen, though, it was the campaign that had them openly challenging the glorification of war.

It is a wonder why the Battle of Beersheba, with its dramatic charge by two Australian Light Horse units on a Turkish stronghold, was not better known or commemorated.

It was, after all, the battle that prompted British General Edmund Allenby to thank the Australians in a letter that ended: “Such a complete victory has seldom been known in all the history of war.”

In Israel, at Beersheba, there will be a re-enactment of that famous charge that started at 4.30pm and ended with the town of Beersheba falling. It is credited with changing the course of history because of subsequent events that were pivotal to establishment of the state of Israel.

Commemorations are political. The relationship between Australia and Israel is a cause of celebration for some, concern for others. But even in Israel the reality of what was at stake for those young men on that autumn afternoon will almost certainly hit home, despite the pageantry.

Back in Australia that reality finds proof in weathered graves now a century old –that young men died while fighting for others.

Issue: 38,636.

The Tax Office has fallen short of budget revenue targets by $4.2 billion, its 2017 annual report shows.

The 20,435-strong organisation also reported it continued to cut deals with the top end of down, rather than heading to court.

Over the past financial year the ATO initially issued 36 large companies with tax bills amounting to $2.8 billion, but after wheeling and dealing it collected only half that amount – $1.4 billion.

Net tax collections in 2016-17 were $359.3 billion, up $16.7 billion (4.9 per cent) over the previous year, but $4.2 billion (1.2 per cent) below the amount expected at the time of the budget 2016-17. The shortfall was under the amount recorded a year earlier (2015-16) of $14.5 billion. Low wage growth

“Subdued wage growth” continued to have an impact on individual’s tax collections in 2016-17, the ATO’s annual report said, which were up $6.8 billion (3.6 per cent) over the previous year, but below budget expectations by $3.1 billion.

GST collections were $2.5 billion (4.3 per cent) higher than the previous year, but $0.9 billion (1.5 per cent) below the budget 2016-17 expectations, “reflecting softer consumption growth and lower consumer price inflation than anticipated”.

Company tax receipts were $5.8 billion (9.2 per cent) higher than the previous year. “This reflected higher commodity prices flowing on to stronger growth in company profits,” the ATO said.

Australians claim about $23 billion in tax deductions for work-related expenses each year. Photo: Erin Jonasson Tax refunds hit $42 billion

In 2016-17, the agency issued income tax refunds with a total value of $42.4 billion. It also issued activity statement refunds with a total value of $56.7 billion. Total refunds were $99.1 billion, up 2 per cent from 2015-16.

The ATO completed 3.1 million compliance activities across all taxpayer segments this year, raising $15.6 billion in total liabilities and collecting $10.2 billion in cash, although it said that some related to liabilities raised in previous years.

Work-related expenses accounted for about 76 per cent of deductions for individuals (about $23 billion), but individuals commonly over-claimed rental and work-related expenses, it said.

To deal with this, the agency undertook 762,000 compliance activities and raised tax liabilities of $893.8 million. Cutting deals with big bosses

The ATO recently came under criticism for cutting deals with big companies.

In 2016-17, there were about 650 settlements, with 89 per cent occurring in the pre-litigation stage. This compares with about 1350 settlements, or 96 per cent, occurring at the pre-litigation stage in 2015-16. Most of these matters related to the 2014 tax amnesty known as, Project DO IT, and the agency’s offshore voluntary disclosures.

While most settlements, in percentage terms occur with micro-businesses (50 per cent with 326 micro-businesses in 2016-17), the value of settlements in dollar terms is highest at the top-end of town (in 2015-16 it settled on $1.36 billion of revenue with 36 large companies)

In the high-weallth individuals market it also settled big – they got hit with $237 million worth of tax bills but in the end paid $95.5 million.

The ATO is changing the way it reports settlements in its annual reports. It now wants to measure settlements by “client groups”.

It reported that in the “public and multinational businesses” segment there were 61 taxpayers that initially got served tax bills of $3.7 billion but in the ATO got $2.3 billion (a variance of $1.4 billion).

The ATO said it was “settling cases earlier” with taxpayers and “continues to be aware of community concerns that we are settling the right cases in the right way”. That’s why it had engaged three retired Federal Court judges to conduct “independent assurance” of large settlements.

In the “public and multinational businesses” segment there were 61 taxpayers that initially got served tax bills of $3.7 billion but in the ATO got $2.3 billion Photo: Louie DouvisCollectible debt

Collectable tax debt was $20.9 billion, up from $19.2 billion in 2015-16. The majority was owed by small business. Small businesses owed nearly $13.9 billion in collectable tax debt, an increase of 7 per cent from last year.

The 12-month rolling average of the ratio of total collectable debt to net tax collections was 5.6 per cent, “not quite achieving the target of ‘below 5.5 per cent'”, the ATO said.

These were “reasonable results”, it said, given a year-on-year increase of $1.8 billion in audit-raised liabilities, including liabilities flowing from the Tax Avoidance Taskforce, the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce, Operation Elbrus and Operation Nosean.

???The decrease in debt collection activities was due to the lead-up to an ATO system upgrade in November 2016 and IT outages late last year and early this year. Complaints up

The ATO received 25,073 complaints – inclusive of 1274 complaints to the office of the Inspector-General of Taxation Ali Noroozi.

The ATO received 25,073 complaints – inclusive of 1274 complaints to the office of the Inspector-General of Taxation Ali Noroozi. Photo: Louie Douvis

Community complaints represent 0.1 per cent of the total tax returns lodged in 2016-17, and its complaint processing time was improving.

At the end of 2016-17, 88 per cent of liabilities had been paid on time, down 1.4 percentage points from last year, and 96 per cent of liabilities had been paid within 90 days of becoming due, consistent with 2015-16.

The ATO registered 190 and finalised 192 compensation claims, with 79 resulting in compensation being offered.

The total amount of compensation payments made in 2016-17 was $801,305. The median payment was $500 and the average was $8,435. Fraud investigations

Fraud prevention and internal investigations across the year – which in some cases included collaborating with the Australian Federal Police – resulted in 404 allegations or reports, of which: 122 were substantiated, 134 were unsubstantiated, 35 were not able to be determined and 113 remain open at the end of the year.

“Unauthorised access continues to be the largest category of substantiated allegations, and is identified through proactive monitoring and integrity scanning,” the agency said, which “predominantly involves access to the employees own records or those of their family members or other people to whom they are connected”.

At Senate Estimates last week, Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan revealed that ATO staff that were the subject of Operation Elbrus investigations breached the agency’s code of conduct but are now back at work.

Former ATO deputy commissioner Michael Cranston stepped down from the agency in June. Photo: Peter Rae

Mr Jordan told estimates that while one of the ATO’s highest-ranking officers, Michael Cranston, stood down in June following allegations that he abused his position, other staff members involved in breaches of the code have returned to work with sanctions. Multinational focus

The ATO was performing one-on-one reviews of the largest 100 public and multinational groups.

Engagement with taxpayers under the Top 1,000 program resulted in 12 voluntary disclosures, with a tax impact of over $24 million.

At the end of June, the ATO had 98 audits under way covering 81 public and multinational businesses. There were 33 audits finalised at 30 June 2017, with total income tax liabilities raised in excess of $4 billion.

The agency in 2016-17 collected $1.7 billion in income tax from public and multinational businesses.

More was coming with 18 companies – such as Google and Facebook – restructuring under the federal government’s Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law (MAAL), meaning $6.5 billion in sales was now being counted as part of the Australian tax base.

18 companies – such as Google and Facebook – are restructuring under the government’s Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law (MAAL) Photo: Phil Carrick

The Diverted Profits Tax (also informally known as the ‘Google Tax’) applying from July this would see more money (estimated at about $100 million) coming in. Move to lock in deals

More multinationals were coming to the ATO to lock-in deals ahead of time to avoid getting hit with big tax bills later. This in ATO-speak is known as “Advance Pricing Arrangements (APAs)”.

In 2016-17, the agency completed 16 APAs (6 bilateral and 10 unilateral). This was down compared to the 41 APAs it completed in 2015-16, when it processed a larger than average number of APAs on a project basis.

At 30 June 2017, there were 114 applications in place and another 106 in progress, including 31 in the early engagement stage.

Taxpayers continued to make voluntarily disclosures of underpaid or unpaid tax, which resulted in $776 million in liabilities (this included about $193 million in GST liabilities, with cash collections of $187 million as a result of voluntary disclosures from large businesses in 2016-17).

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