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Archives for November2018

Boosted by Apple, Wall Street parties like it’s 19,999

The Dow came within one point of 20,000 for the first time ever on Friday and the Nasdaq and S&P 500 reached record highs, boosted by Apple, extending a two-month rally on optimism about President-elect Donald Trump’s big-spender plans for the world’s largest economy.
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Apple climbed 1.1 per cent after Canada’s Competition Bureau did not find sufficient evidence the iPhone maker had engaged in anti-competitive conduct, closing a two-year investigation into the company.

Wall Street has been on a tear since Trump won the US election in November, with the Dow up 9 per cent as investors bet he will stimulate the economy with lower taxes and infrastructure spending.

While Friday’s gains suggested the rally was not yet over, some investors have grown cautious.

“The market’s advance is understandable because of the economic stimulus optimism associated with a new Trump presidency,” said CFRA chief investment strategist Sam Stovall.

“But parabolic market advances traditionally experience digestion of these gains, and I don’t think this time will be any different.” Jobs data

The record trading session followed a US Labor Department report that showed the economy added fewer-than-expected jobs last month but wages increased, suggesting resilience in the labour market.

Mohamed El-Erian, Allianz’s chief economic advisor, said the jobs report will encourage the Fed to proceed with raising interest rates, though he cautioned that a strong US dollar could weigh on growth.

Stocks did not react significantly to a report that five people were dead in a shooting at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale airport.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 64.51 points, or 0.32 per cent, to end at 19,963.8 points. The index rose as high as 19,999.63 but lost ground.

Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs rose 1.48 per cent, helping the Dow more than any other stock.

The S&P 500 gained 7.98 points, or 0.35 per cent, to 2276.98, its highest close ever. The Nasdaq Composite added 33.12 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 5521.06, also a record.

Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 industry sectors rose, led by technology’s 0.96 per cent gain.

The MSCI All-Country World Index slipped 0.1 per cent to pare a weekly gain to 1.7 per cent.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.1 per cent, trimming a weekly advance, as commodity producers declined.

In New York, BHP Billiton fell 1.1 per cent, Rio Tinto tumbled 2.4 per cent Bonds, dollar

In the bond market, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note jumped after falling nine basis points on Thursday.

Oil slipped and gold retreated from a four-week high.

ASX futures rose 9 points or 0.2 per cent, to 5730. The Australian dollar slid 0.5 per cent to US73.01¢, briefly dipping into US72¢ territory.

Evidence of a healthy US labour market helped the greenback recoup some losses as investors speculated growth in the world’s largest economy is poised to accelerate.

Mohamed El-Erian said the jobs report will encourage the Fed to proceed with raising interest rates, though he cautioned that a strong US dollar could weigh on growth. Commodities

The spot price of iron ore dropped $US2.68 or 3.4 per cent, to $US76.25 a tonne, according to Metal Bulletin.

“Chinese mills are only buying materials on an as-needed basis from the ports, where prices have stayed rangebound this week,” Metal Bulletin reported. “Both enquiries and transactions were scarce in the seaborne market.”

Crude was little changed at $US53.74 a barrel in New York. US government data showed strong job and wage gains while Kuwait and Saudi Arabia signalled they are curbing output.

Gold futures fell 0.8 per cent to $US1172.50 an ounce.

Copper slipped 0.6 per cent and natural gas futures slid 0.7 per cent. Can the rally continue?

The strength of fourth-quarter earnings reports from US companies over the next few weeks will be closely watched by investors eyeing high stock valuations.

Following its recent gains, the S&P 500 is trading at about 17 times expected earnings, which is pricey compared to its 10-year average of 14, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream.

Analysts on average expect fourth-quarter earnings to rise 6.1 per cent compared to a year before, when slumping oil prices crippled energy companies.

The S&P 500 posted 24 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 76 new highs and 15 new lows.

About 6.4 billion shares changed hands in US exchanges, a bit under the 6.7 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.

Reuters/Bloomberg

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Pier to Pub swimmers taking the plunge despite shark fears

The race must go on – Lorne’s Pier to Pub will take place on Saturday despite shark sightings.Lorne’s famous Pier to Pub swim is going ahead despite repeated shark sightings in waters off the Great Ocean Road.
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But a State Control Centre spokeswoman said there were no reports of any sharks off Lorne on Saturday.

Fairhaven Beach remains closed after multiple reports of sharks at Fairhaven on Saturday.

There have also been reports of sharks off Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet and off Eastern View.

A Life Saving Victoria spokeswoman said there had been a confirmed sighting of a shark at Black Rocks in Anglesea on Saturday morning.

On Friday, five great white sharks were spotted in the waters off Aireys Inlet, Big Hill, Eastern View, Fairhaven, Lorne, Memorial Arch and Moggs Creek.

VicEmergency issued a dangerous animal alert for beachgoers because of the sharks which are thought to be 3 to 3.5 metres in length.

But Lorne’s annual race will take place as normal on Saturday, with thousands of swimmers due to enter the water.

Race director Mark Williamson had earlier told Fairfax Media there would be extra helicopter patrols and the event would be cancelled if sharks were spotted at Lorne.

“We’ve cancelled our event twice in the past due to weather but we’ve never had issues with sharks at Lorne for the Pier to Pub,” he said. “Lorne Surf Lifesaving Club has a detailed plan on how to manage our event safely.”

It is the world’s largest open water swim, with a 1.2 kilometre course starting at the pier and ending on the shore near the Lorne Surf Lifesaving clubhouse.

Five thousand people will participate in the race that starts at 12.30 pm on Saturday.

Dorothy Dickey, who is participating in her 31st  Pier to Pub swim, said she was not afraid to get into the water.

The 86-year-old from Doncaster, who is a Sharkbait Club member, a group of swimmers who have taken on the race 10 or more times, said the surf club was doing a good job of being vigilant.

“They have got the helicopters out there looking for them, they have got the boat set up searching,” Ms Dickey said.

“And, obviously, if they sight one, there will be an alarm.”

Ms Dickey said other participants also didn’t seem worried.

“We are here for a good day,” she said.

“It is a lovely weather. There is nice and hot sun. It will be a beautiful swim.”

with Marika Dobbin Thomas

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Crews on alert as grass fires burn throughout Victoria

A watch-and-act warning has been issued for multiple grassfires in Victoria. Photo: Patrick ScalaFire crews are bracing for worsening conditions on Saturday evening and Sunday morning as temperatures remain high across the state and wind speeds increase.
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On Saturday afternoon, there were six grass fires burning, although none of them were classified as major emergencies.

Craig Lapsley, emergency management commissioner, said overnight temperatures in the high 20s would create challenging conditions if more fires start in the late afternoon.

“If we have fires running, and we haven’t got any [serious ones], it offers us a lot more challenges in a control sense if we have hot overnight temperatures and stronger winds,” he told media.

“Sunday morning will start hot and remain hot. Winds will be stronger, there will be a higher fire danger.”

He said the central and north-east districts would be the areas of greatest risk.

“The winds are not there today. It’s very hot and dry, but we don’t have the traditional strong winds from the north-west to see the fire danger elevated,” he said.

“It’s not the traditional change at four or five in the afternoon. It’s a slower change … so we will have elevated danger tomorrow morning.”

Fires have been burning at Wye River, Benwerrin, Runnymede and Big Desert.

The fire at Runnymede is not yet under control and 19 crews are attending. No property is under threat.

Paul Holman, state health commander, urged Victorians to check on elderly relatives and vulnerable neighbours and friends in the hot weather.

“There isn’t a lot of relief around tomorrow,” he said. “Today’s not a day to be running around the Tan or exercising.”

Sunday’s forecast is for a minimum of 26 degrees and a maximum of 32, which Melbourne will reach before a slight cool change about lunchtime.

For the latest fire information visit the Victoria Emergency website.

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Allen’s Lollies hits the personalisation sweet spot

Snakes are always a favourite. Photo: Eddie JimOne hour north of Melbourne there’s afactory that makes magic. You can smell it in the air the moment you open your cardoorin the dusty, workers’ car park.
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It’s the sweet scent of treats and a business that has stood the test of time and even the digital revolution to remain near the very top of every child’s wish list.

It’s the Allen’s Lollies factory and this is thewhere every jellybean, red frog, raspberrysnake and party mix bag is made for Australia and New Zealand, that’s starch-moulded jelly central, if you’re in the trade.

Vince Giovanniello​is the manager of the Nestle-ownedfactory and in charge of the team of 250 workers, who run the Broadford factoryand turn out about 240 million snakes a year or 3000 tonnes of the sugary reptiles.

But it’s the old favourites that proved with big drawcard sinceAllen’s launched its pop-up lollybar in Sydney late last year.

Building on the success of its Kit Kat store in Melbourne, Nestle’s lolly bar offered customers a change to create their own lolly mix and sample some old, out of production favourites such as spearmint leaves and green frogs.

Allen’s Lollies factory in Broadford, the secrets of your favourite lollies revealed. Photo: Eddie Jim

Vintage demandDemand for the vintage sweets was so strong the pop-up shop quickly sold out and had to go back to the Broadford factory to order more and avoid disappointing customers, some of whom travelled long distances for the chance to sample their childhood favourite.

Nestle revealed shoppers arrived at the shopfrom as far away as Canberra and Adelaide to put together their own customised lolly jar, featuring up to eight of their favourite sweets and create their own personallabel.

“When a consumer tastes a lolly that they tasted as a kid, it takes them back to when they were standing in that milk bar with their pocket money choosing their lollies,” Mr Giovanniello said.

“That nostalgia and going back to your childhood is a great experience and I think that iswhat’s generating a lot of that interest.”

It’s understood Nestle may use the pop-up lolly bar as a test case for a permanent store along the lines of its Kit Kat shop in Melbourne, a standalone candy bar for consumers keen to personalise their Kit Kat treat with the “Make Your Break” bar.

For $15 Kit Kat addicts can design their own set of eight fingers utilising dozens of ingredients, including pretzels, popping candy and marshmallows.

Factory manager Vince Giovanniello at the Allen’s Lollies factory in Broadford. Photo: Eddie Jim

Building beansBack at theBroadford factory every Allen’s lolly is created through a process of pouring liquid jelly into a mould that’s punched into a mould board or a tray of starch flour.

The humble jelly bean, one of the most popular treats in the Allen’s family takes about 28 days to create including the final polishing stage to give the little, coloured beans their sheen.

The factoryemploys about 250 workers as well as some of Nestle’s patented robotics, whichhave automated parts of the production process.

There’s a computer-controlled bagging machine that measures and fills as many as 100 party mix bags a minute, carefully selecting the mix of sweets to ensure each bag is the right weight and has the right combination of lollies.

One of the most noticeable changes in the past few decades is the reduction in the size of the jelly-moulded treats. Allens is working hard to keep ahead of the anti-sugar movement withsmaller treats and a lot of messaging around responsible consumption.

Nestle recently said it had developed a fast-dissolvingsugar that would allow it to use lesssweetener in its lollies and chocolates, a move that could keep it ahead of campaigners keen to reduce sugar in children’s diets.

Pool re-opening another step closer

The announcement of the private operator that will manage and operate the upgraded Port Lincoln Leisure Centre is another big step in the long process so far to secure long term community access to indoor aquatic facilities.
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Despite a few construction delays, which many predicted were inevitable from the beginning of the upgrade, the pool is expected to be open again by the end of February, about two months later than originally planned.

Unfortunately it has been closed for a lot of the summer season and Christmas and new year visitors to the region missed out on using it but there is plenty of good weather left this season and the pool is well used year round.

Short term pain for long term gain.

Before the council decided to buy back the leisure centre and upgrade it, there was a lot of debate about which option would provide the best long term value for ratepayers and the community – a new pool or refurbishing the leisure centre.

Once the leisure centre option was decided on, it was always going to be key to get a private manager in to operate it on behalf of the council, hopefully with experience in managing similar centres and making them profitable or at least minimising the subsidy required from the council.

The recently announced operator, YMCA South Australia, will be a criticalplayer in making the refurbishmentoption successful.

We do not yet know the details of the financial arrangements between the not-for-profit organisation and the Port Lincoln City Council and but we do know the five-year agreementincludesagreed profit and financial risk sharing arrangements, presumably to protect the operator.

YMCA has experience in the field, managing700 facilities across Australia and partneringwith more than 15 regional and metropolitanlocal government authorities in South Australia, to managesport and recreational facilitiesincluding the Whyalla Health and Leisure Centre, the Port Pirie Pool and the Marion Leisure and Fitness Centre.

While the agreement has only just been announced it started on January 1 and the operator is already recruiting for staff and will soon start taking swim lesson bookings with plans for new health an fitness programs to be launched later this month.

It has been a while but it seems Port Lincoln will soon be back in the swim.

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