Easter is a difficult time for your correspondent. Not from a spiritual or family perspective though. More from the inconvenience of Bunnings not being open last Friday when we wanted to buy something.
It was lucky for us that Bunnings was only a five minute drive away otherwise we would have sulked for much longer. It wasn’t just the mighty hardware store that was closed, everything – well nearly, we noticed that McDonalds was flying the flag for retailers everywhere by staying open.
Maybe our reliance or dependence, or expectation that a shop will be open whenever we want, explains something. Perhaps it explains the continuing rise in consumer credit. Perhaps it explains the latest increase in retail sales numbers. Or the continuing pressure on inflation as we all spend, spend, spend.
The next Federal budget is due in about one months time and despite the efforts of the Treasurer to dampen down expectations of a tax cut, we can be almost certain that there will be one. Of course they will not want to appear as though they have added to inflationary pressures so they will most likely stagger it over the next couple of years and then claim that the tax cut will be under threat if the opposition gets in.
We are prepared to bet that on the religiously important – for Christians anyway – day of Good Friday that there were more people mumbling and grumbling at home about nothing being open, and what a boring day it is (at least when all the shops are closed on Christmas Day there is the compensation of having a whole bunch of presents to open, and a slap up feed to consume), than there were devotedly queuing up outside the local parish church.
Fortunately we only had to wait until Saturday morning for everything to open as usual. The great spendfest could continue in earnest following a brief – very brief – respite from the true religion. We can only be grateful that there is just the one Easter holiday each year.
Back to the markets. It seems like only a week ago that we were musing about the speed with which the All Ordinaries had recovered from the crash/crumble/crisis/correction of late February and early March. In fact it was about a week ago.
In that time the All Ordinaries has managed to meet and then surpass the previous all-time high reached approximately one month before. As of last Thursday – a shortened trading day – the All Ords had increased by 1.4% for the week. The trend still appears to be upwards, and only the brave would go out on a limb to predict that this market has reached a top.
It was a similar story on Wall Street where the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.7% for the week, shrugging off many of the doubts surrounding the sub-prime mortgage problems. We still wait to see whether this will turn into the biggest financial markets headache since Long Term Capital Management, or whether the markets are now so sophisticated that any permutation of trouble is hedged out of the markets completely, or is diluted to such an extent that any problem is more like a small ripple of waves rather than a devastating tsunami.
Anyway, today will be, or should be a quiet day on the Australian market at least, seeing as it is closed. Those troopers in the United States are back to work tonight, clearly incapable of taking anything longer than a three day-weekend. We may make some comment on their activity tomorrow – if it is of interest.
Happy last day of Easter.
Markets and Money