Business demands early poll - Australian Financial Review Business demands early poll - Australian Financial Review

Friday, May 25, 2012

Business demands early poll - Australian Financial Review

Business demands early poll - Australian Financial Review
Business demands early poll

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Prime Minister Julia Gillard cross paths during a division at Question Time Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Michael Smith and Jenny Wiggins

Business leaders are calling for an early election, warning that the political uncertainty created by a federal government lurching from crisis to crisis is eroding confidence and forcing them to put investment decisions on ice.

Chief executives of top-100 listed companies interviewed by the Weekend Financial Review said “enough is enough” as a string of political scandals coupled with a deteriorating economic picture meant Australia could no longer afford to have a question mark over key policy areas.

They singled out uncertainty over the carbon tax, industrial relations, the national broadband network and the mining tax as the main areas of concern that could be resolved if the Gillard government went to the polls. “Business needs some stability, we have short enough parliamentary terms as it is. If those are mirrored by internal instability along the way, it really isn’t helpful for anybody,” the chief executive of rail and ports giant Asciano, John Mullen, said.

A Nielsen poll for the Weekend Financial Review two weeks ago found 52 per cent of Australians would like an election to be held as soon as possible, up from 50 per cent in February.

The business community’s confidence in the Gillard government, already damaged by the leadership challenge by Kevin Rudd in February, has further eroded following the Peter Slipper and Craig Thomson scandals.

Senior executives in the mining, retail, energy, financial services, transport and construction industries questioned by the Weekend Financial Review said an election was the only way to stop business being undermined at a time when the European debt crisis, falling stockmarkets and weak consumer confidence were rattling sentiment.

Myer chief executive Bernie Brookes said during the week that businesses were reluctant to spend money in the present political environment.

“When Parliament are concentrating on the marginal nature of the government and the vote, and concentrating on individuals, then it doesn’t work well to give a degree of confidence for both investors and consumers,” Mr Brookes said, although he stopped short of calling for an early election.

Myer joined David Jones this past week in issuing a profit downgrade following a sudden deterioration in sales. Mr Brookes blamed uncertainty created by the carbon tax and rising living costs for fewer people shopping in his stores.

The chief executive of building materials group Adelaide Brighton, Mark Chellew, said it was time to let the public vote on a number of policies that would hurt business, such as the carbon tax.

“Enough is enough. I think the government should call an early election and let the people decide,” Mr Chellew said.

“The government is implementing a number of policies which we think are detrimental on business, and the public should have the right to make a decision about the future of this country.”

The mining community has also lashed out at the Gillard government over taxes and workplace relations.

BHP Billiton chairman Jac Nasser attacked the government earlier this month, calling for an overhaul of the industrial relations system.

Treasurer Wayne Swan has criticised mining billionaires Gina Rinehart, Andrew Forrest and Clive Palmer in comments that upset the resources sector at a time when it is dealing with rising labour, capital and tax costs.

BC Iron chief executive Mike Young said an election should be held “the sooner the better”, saying the government, Mr Thomson and the independents holding the balance of power had all done the wrong thing by clinging onto power.

“The country is in suspended animation at the moment and you can’t do anything. Their bare-faced determination to stay in power is just breathtaking.

“I just can’t wait until they are gone,” Mr Young said.

“It makes my blood boil that we, of all countries on Earth, aren’t holding our head up high and being very proud of what we have achieved.”

The managing director of Lend Lease’s Australian construction business, Peter Brecht, said he was worried policy decisions were being delayed.

“Politics are very difficult at the moment . . . I think it does [affect us]. It’s a confidence issue, we just try and work through that,” he said.

“We try and encourage everyone to get on with it but we don’t like to see decisions delayed or postponed. They get caught up in the politics.”

Asciano’s Mr Mullen, who has been battling industrial relations disruptions at the company’s port operations for almost two years, said constantly changing policy was not healthy.

“We studiously try to avoid backing one horse or another or making specific comments on any individual thing but it’s clear to the whole of corporate Australia that insecurity and instability is just not good for the country,” he said.

“Whichever side is in power, or whatever the situation, the chopping and changing and reversal of policies and stated objectives is a perpetual threat of any changed government.”

AGL Energy chief executive Michael Fraser stopped short of calling for an election but said the energy sector was exposed to political uncertainty.

“Businesses right across Australia want to see stability in politics and stability in policy settings so we can make long-term investment decisions,” he said.

The chief executive of insurer IAG, Mike Wilkins, said: “Certainty is what Australian business looks for. Any uncertainty is not good for confidence and a clear and solid direction is paramount from our political leaders.”

Not everyone agrees, however. Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly said earlier this month that the government’s critics should back off. Some chief executives would not go on the record to call for an election but were highly critical in private of the political situation.

Several senior chief executives, however, said in private that Ms Gillard was more impressive than her public image portrayed.

Some business leaders also privately expressed concern about the quality of the Coalition leadership.

The Business Council of Australia declined to comment on whether the government should call an early election.

But president Tony Shepherd said this week government policy must balance the needs of different groups.

Asia stocks fall amid political turmoil in Greece - Yahoo Finance

BANGKOK (AP) -- Asian stocks dived Wednesday after a failure by Greece's political leaders to form a coalition government set the stage for new elections next month, keeping Europe's debt crisis center stage.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index dropped 1.5 percent to 8,771.60 amid discouraging economic news. Core private-sector machinery orders fell 2.8 percent in March, the first drop in three months, Japan's Cabinet Office said.

Elsewhere, investors remained focused on the turmoil in Greece. Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 2.8 percent to 19,346.54 and South Korea's Kospi fell 2.3 percent to 1,855.13. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 2.3 percent to 4,167.50 amid sliding commodities prices.

Newly elected Greek leaders — hotly divided over how to resolve the country's economic crisis — failed Tuesday to form a new government. That means new elections must be held in June.

Some investors fear a win by parties that oppose unpopular austerity measures necessary for Greece to qualify for urgently needed bailout money. Without the money, the country would likely default on its debt and leave the euro common currency.

"The Greek crisis will continue to frustrate markets, keeping sentiment under pressure," analysts at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong wrote in an email.

Blue-chip shares across sectors throughout Asia registered sharp losses. South Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics Co. shed 5.6 percent and Hyundai Motors Co. fell 3 percent. In Japan, Toyota Motor Corp. lost 2.5 percent. Nomura Holdings Inc. lost 1.8 percent.

Shares of major Chinese shipping companies plummeted amid fears of weakness in Europe, a critical export market. Hong Kong-listed China Shipping Container Lines Co. plunged 7.5 percent. China COSCO Holdings Co. dropped 4.5 percent.

"The Chinese shipping sector is down sharply and continues to downtrend," said Linus Yip, a strategist at First Shanghai Securities in Hong Kong. "The market is not good right now, but I expect a technical rebound is coming."

A comeback was likely among property and insurance shares, he said. In the meantime, those sectors took big hits. Hong Kong-listed Evergrande Real Estate Group Ltd. lost 4.4 percent. China Life Insurance Co., the country's biggest life insurer, tumbled 3.4 percent.

Falling commodities prices hurt Australia's mining sector. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's largest mining company, lost 4 percent. Rio Tinto Ltd. was down 3.6 percent. Paladin Energy Ltd. tumbled 9 percent.

Europe's latest political impasse cast a gloom over financial markets Tuesday. The euro plunged, and the Dow Jones industrial average extended a slide that has wiped out nearly 5 percent of its value in two weeks.

The Dow closed down 0.5 percent at 12,632. The Standard & Poor's 500 index finished down 0.6 percent at 1,330.66. The Nasdaq composite index fell 0.3 percent to 2,893.76.

Better news about the U.S. economy didn't help sentiment much. A measure of manufacturing activity in New York state jumped in May, reversing a large drop in April. Measures of new orders and employment rose.

And homebuilder confidence reached its highest level in five years in May, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index. Builders reported greater sales and higher traffic from prospective buyers.

Benchmark oil fell $1.23 to $92.75 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 80 cents Tuesday to finish at $93.98 per barrel in New York — oil hasn't finished that low since Dec. 19.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.2717 from $1.2734 late Tuesday in New York. The dollar rose to 80.36 yen from 80.27 yen.

Business Calendar for week of May 25 - Phoenix Business Journal

Wednesday, May 30

“Whittling Down the Details of a Business Bankruptcy,” Women in Banking, noon, offices of Ryan Rapp & Under­wood, 3200 N. Central Ave., Ste. 1600, Phoenix. Free. Emily Amparan, 602-763-1875 or

Thursday, May 31

“Identifying and Protecting Your Intellectual Property,” Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation, 11:30 a.m., GateWay Community College, 108 N. 40th St., Phoenix. Free. Reservations required: 602-286-8955 or

“Simple Steps 2: How the Right Information Can Make You a Lot of Money,” Greater Phoenix Score, 2 p.m., NMBCA/SSC Boring building, 1951 W. North Lane, Phoenix. $25. or 602-745-7250.

2012 Business & IT Expo, Arizona Technology Council and Phoenix Business Journal, 2:30 p.m., Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, 340 N. Third St., Phoenix. Free. www.aztech

Monday, June 4

“Global AZ Tech Beat,” Arizona International Growth Group, 7:30 a.m., ASU SkySong, Global Room, 1475 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. $20. globalaztechbeat

Wednesday, June 6

“Sales for the Technology Venture,” Arizona Small Business Development Centers TechEdge, 11:30 a.m., GateWay Community College Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation, 108 N. 40th St., Phoenix. Free. Reservations required: 602-286-8955 or

Manufacturing Series: “Portfolio Management,” Society of Manufacturing Engineers, 5:30 p.m., PADT offices, 7755 S. Research Drive, Ste. 110, Tempe. $20.

Thursday, June 7

West Valley Procurement Fair and Trade Show: “Mastering the Purchasing Maze,” Glendale Chamber of Commerce, 8 a.m., Thunderbird School of Global Management, Glendale. Free.


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Bank Runs in Europe: Reflection of the Global Financial Crises of 2009 -

European central bank logo

We often talk of once bitten twice shy, or so the saying goes. The current financial crisis in Greece, which is mooted to have spread to Spain, is causing bank runs in Europe albeit fears that the ‘wind’ that swept across the globe in 2009 is on the horizon. Greece has lost more than one third of its bank deposits as investors continue to seek for safer havens for their money. Spain, on the other hand has already shaded out more than $50 billion through direct withdrawals from banks, despite losing more than $140 billion from investment sellouts.

Bank Runs in Europe Mirroring the 2009 Global Financial Crises

Toward the end of the year 2008, a similar scenario took place at the Wall Street that sounded the beginning of the global financial crises. The current bank runs in Europe, albeit at the early stages, is nothing very different to what marked the beginning of 2009 global financial crises. The current divestiture taking place in Greece and Spain can only spark global crises if not monitored.

Even U.S banks with operations in Europe have already started feeling the pinch, as reported early this year during in their end year financial statements. The likes of Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), Unicredit Group, headquartered in Milan with operations in 22 countries including the U.S, and Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE:CS) headquartered in Zurich with operations in U.S, can bear witness to the impact of Greece financial crises. Some investors continue to substitute their Euro denominated assets with the pound or the dollar, while others seek the refuge of their investments in what appears to be stronger Euro zone countries, like Germany.

However, we can only wait and see how long that will last as the cancer of financial crises continues to spread to the rest of Europe. What started as a credit crisis from a distressed Greek economy appears to have won the panic of several investors who now feel that the only way is out. The ripple effect is what is likely to be disastrous, and is likely to relive the memories of the global financial crises of 2008/2009. The bank runs in Europe are by no means to be ignored with the assumption that they will simply fade off, not unless we never learned from the 2008/2009 global financial crises. The crises begun in U.S and spread to Europe, and then the rest of the world; I don’t see why the opposite should be ignored.

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  • Eurozone financial system needs "urgent overhaul," including banking regulator - Winnipeg Free Press

    FRANKFURT - A top European Central Bank official says the 17 countries that use the euro need an "urgent overhaul" of their banking and financial system to deal with the debt crisis, including a multinational authority with the power to restructure and bail out banks.

    Peter Praet said in a speech Friday in Milan that the eurozone crisis has been undermining much of the crossborder financial markets' integration brought about by the euro. In particular, bond and money markets now charge some countries much higher interest premiums because of a perceived increase in risk.

    "The euro area financial stability framework needs an urgent overhaul," said Praet, who is part of the six-member executive committee that runs the ECB's daily operations.

    He called for a eurozone-wide banking regulator with the money and authority to restructure banks operating across borders. Fears that banks may need government bailouts, potentially overwhelming public finances, have been a key driver of the eurozone debt crisis, most recently in Spain. Yet banking regulation remains largely at the national level, where officials have been slow to force shaky banks to restructure. Restructuring or recapitalizing banks can be expensive for governments and shareholders.

    Praet also called for a eurozone-wide deposit insurance program similar to the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Both measures would be funded by the private sector, not the government, so that taxpayers "would be shielded from picking up the bill for future banking crises," Praet said.

    The eurozone countries already have national deposit insurance but a stronger backstop would offer depositors more reassurance and forestall the possibility of destabilizing bank runs.

    Both ideas have been widely discussed by economists but so far EU officials and member governments have not moved forward on the issues.

    MacroSolve: Does Every Business Need a Mobile App? - Yahoo Finance

    TULSA, OK--(Marketwire -05/10/12)- MacroSolve, Inc., doing business as Illume Mobile (MCVE.PK) (MCVE.PK) ("MacroSolve," "Illume Mobile" or the "Company"), a leading provider of mobile technologies, apps, and solutions for business, today announced that on May 8th, 2012, Donald Trump Jr. was featured on Fox Business' Markets Now with Cheryl Casone and Dennis Kneale discussing the world of business apps and the defense of innovation (through the context of software patent litigation).

    In the segment, Donald Trump Jr. and Fox highlight the importance of utilizing mobile technologies for businesses today.

    "Today, perhaps the most important piece of real estate that someone can have, is... on their smartphones," claims Donald Trump Jr. "To be able to control a piece of that face, is really critical for business."

    Another topic of interest discussed was software patent litigation and, in Mr. Trump's words, the defense of innovation in America. Mr. Trump was stalwart in his defense of MacroSolve's robust patent portfolio and defended a number of lawsuits against major corporations including: Facebook, Walmart and Marriott.

    "There are patent trolls and then there are true innovators," states Mr. Trump. "Before anyone was even thinking about... patents and mobile apps and communicating this way, these guys [MacroSolve] came up with the technology to be able to do that. That kind of foresight and that kind of thinking really needs to be protected in this country."

    Coming off the recent launches of a number of innovative mobile applications including one for the Trump organization, the business-to-business app company released its first quarter results demonstrating its 5th consecutive quarter of top line revenue growth.

    Illume Mobile provides custom mobile solutions, and specializes in three industry-specific mobile application platforms: sales (SaleSentral), dining (DineSentral), and personal safety (GuardianSentral). SaleSentral takes sales information and presentations mobile through the development of a customer interface used for uploading and managing content, creating a sales toolkit to use anytime, anywhere. DineSentral makes it easy to promote a restaurant's brand, maximize sales and connect with customers by utilizing rich graphical content, social media, customer loyalty, customer feedback, and integration with third party applications. GuardianSentral is an easy-to-use smartphone application used in tandem with your current campus security offering (emergency phones, campus police, etc.) to provide real-time GPS tracking of individuals who feel they are in danger.

    "Businesses of all sizes recognize the need for a mobile strategy," says Steve Signoff, CEO of Illume Mobile, "but businesses are also savvy and know that having a mobile app means more than just checking a box."

    Fox Business' Cheryl Casone asks, "Does every business need a mobile app?" Through the innovative mobile technologies being developed and made available by companies such as MacroSolve, it wouldn't make business sense not to take advantage.

    About MacroSolve
    MacroSolve, Inc., doing business as Illume Mobile, is a pioneer in delivering mobile apps, technologies, and solutions. Leveraging its intellectual property portfolio, MacroSolve enforces its landmark patent while providing mobile app products and services under the name Illume Mobile. MacroSolve is positioned to become a leader in the mobile app development services space, which is projected to become a $100 billion market in 2015 according to Research2Guidance. For more information, visit Illume Mobile at

    Safe Harbor Statement
    This press release contains projections of future results and other forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties and are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor Provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Important factors that may cause actual results and outcomes to differ materially from those contained in the projections and forward-looking statements included in this press release are described in our publicly filed reports. Factors that could cause these differences include, but are not limited to, the acceptance of our products, lack of revenue growth, failure to realize profitability, inability to raise capital and market conditions that negatively affect the market price of our common stock. The Company disclaims any responsibility to update any forward-looking statements.

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