Australian Market Notes – 20 November 2006

NORTH TERRACE, ADELAIDE, 20 November 2006 – The All Ordinaries had a pretty flat week, closing down by eighteen points at 5,391.50.  But still probably not as bad as it could have been given the softening in commodity prices over the last week.  Oil especially has fallen to multi-month lows and metals prices on the London Metal Exchange all weakened.

However, we could not get past today without having something more to say about Telstra (ASX: TLS).  We are sure we will have some else to chip in with tomorrow as well.  There is bound to be plenty of Telstra action on the market today with the T3 installments listing.

Yesterday it was announced that those lucky investors who have snapped up the T3 shares in the offer will only have to pay $3.60 per share across two installments, with the first being $2 and the second of course being $1.60 in 18 months time.

Now that the bidding is over, the government can safely offload $15.5 billion worth of stock.  Almost double the $8 billion they had initially intended on selling.

AAP News tells us that the $3.60 price tag is “just under analysts’ expectations of a figure around $3.75, which was where Telstra’s existing shares closed on Friday.”  ‘Just under’?  Quite a bit under we would have thought.  What will happen to the share price when it lists at 11.30am this morning?

Given that the last traded price was $3.75 for the normal Telstra, and the new lot are selling for $3.60, we wonder whether the $3.60 price tag has been set in order for the two to meet somewhere in the middle.  Don’t be surprised if Telstra opens at around the $3.67 price mark.  Of course, we could be wrong!

On another note… we can confirm that we had nothing to do with anything that happened outside the G20 confab in Melbourne.  It is by pure coincidence that we have taken the first plane out of Melbourne this morning to arrive across the border in South Australia.

We read and watched with interest the news reports which highlighted the fighting and screaming and general carrying on.  Our impression of the events based on a tram ride past the Hyatt on Friday on our way to lunch at the Swiss Club was that it all looked fairly boring.  About fifty of the local constabulary standing watch over an old bed sheet that had some sort of slogan scrawled upon it.

The protestors didn’t seem to be anywhere.  Perhaps they thought better of it and decided to enjoy the pleasant weather instead.

We can’t say we saw too much action on Saturday either.  Granted, we were at the other end of Collins Street, but we were able to drive as close as Swanston Street – one block away – without the slightest hint of anything particularly unsavoury happening further along the road.

Our guess is that the media were hoping for the type of anti-globalisation protests that were seen during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.  The facts appear to be that the craze or fad of anti-globalisation has waned.  Rather than Asian countries appearing to be unwilling sweatshops of the first world economies, most radicals have realised that these countries and others are actually quite grateful that first world economies are investing there leading to higher employment rates and – relatively – greater prosperity.

Unfortunately, we still have to put up with Bono.  The trite “Make Poverty History” campaign is easy for anyone to say, especially a multi-millionaire rock star who doesn’t actually concern himself with doing anything apart from making impossible promises.  We wish Bono a good night’s sleep in his five-star hotel as the real do-gooders go about their business as usual, without any fanfare in refugee camps and amongst the poor across the world.

Kris Sayce

Kris Sayce, dubbed the ‘Jeremy Clarkson of Australian finance’, began as a London finance broker specialising in small-cap stock analysis on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM). Kris then spent several years at one of Australia's leading wealth management firms. A fully accredited advisor in shares, options, warrants and foreign-exchange investments, Kris was instrumental in helping to establish the Australian version of the Markets and Money e-newsletter in 2005.
He is currently the Publisher, Investment Director and Editor in Chief of Australia's most outspoken financial news service — Money Morning.

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