Malcolm Surry

Hush hush whisper who dares

MOST of us have played the children’s game of Chinese Whispers.

Taking your shorts to the bank

PLATINUM Capital is one of the most successful fund management companies in the country. Under the stewardship of Kerr Neilson, its portfolio grew by 13.8 per cent in the year to June, compared with a 23 per cent slide on world stock markets.

Betty Bullock burns big tobacco

AMERICANS, the most self-confident of all people, have sunk into a morass of despondency. The investing public, in the popular vernacular, has lost its ticker.

A jaundiced view of health

WHAT business is worth more than $60 billion a year, is guaranteed to expand at more than 5 per cent, and is substantially underwritten by government? The answer is the healthcare industry.

‘Rajah’ directors on notice

TREASURER Peter Costello’s 41 proposals to give the Australian Securities and Investments Commission bared teeth will get an armchair ride through parliament.Few in big business, the accountancy or financial services professions, or the financial s...

Lima and Seoul top list

THE stock markets you should ideally have had your money in over the past 12 months were South Korea and Peru. It is doubtful your financial adviser mentioned those.

A smutty story that taxes belief

AUSTRALIA’S $5 billion worth of coal exports to Japan face being hit by an environmental tax that appears to have floated out of the rarefied air of the Johannesburg “earth summit”.

Glint of rising sun between typhoons

I HAVE always maintained that business breakfasts are strictly for the birds. But there are notable exceptions. One was the recent morning munch hosted by the Consulate General of Japan and the University of Western Australia.

War drums at the petrol pump

THE price of oil briefly nudged $US30 a barrel last week, its highest level for 15 months. That looks peculiar, because OPEC is currently pumping out 1,000,000 barrels a day more than the droopy world economy can use.

No doffing of caps in Canberra

FEW political spectacles are more entertaining than government ministers seeking to explain the inexplicable. The plea by Qantas to have the 45 per cent cap on the airline’s foreign ownership lifted has been rejected.

Now we can really step on the gas

AUSTRALIAN share traders had virtually given up on the North-West Shelf partners winning the $25 billion jackpot to supply LNG to China, which goes to show they were not much good at reading Chinese tea leaves.

Anybody for a cold double dip?

THE US economy, the engine that pulls the global growth train, is puffing to a halt in the sidings. In some ways, what is happening is a mirror image of the 1997 Asian crisis.

Fitzpatrick kicks for the boundary

MIKE Fitzpatrick, one-time Subiaco ruck-man and captain-coach of Carlton, runs Hastings Fund Management, which has about $2 billion in assets under management.

Choice rates high on RBA list

WHEN Ian Macfarlane sits down with his Reserve Bank colleagues on August 5 to set interest rate policy it will be one of the bigger calls of his illustrious career.

Choice rates high on RBA list

WHEN Ian Macfarlane sits down with his Reserve Bank colleagues on August 5 to set interest rate policy it will be one of the bigger calls of his illustrious career.

Bears are having a long picnic

THE bear market on Wall Street is now the most protracted since President Nixon was in the White House – when gold was hitting $US875 an ounce and the Middle East embargo sent oil to $41 a barrel.

Sitting tight is paying dividends

THE gnashing of teeth and rending of garments over the turbulent stock market is only background noise for many Western Australians.

New low for corporate America

AN accountant in Clinton, Mississippi, is caught fiddling the books and investors in Australia get hit directly in the wallet. That’s the global village for you.

Get a little sand in your shoes

IT would not have been surprising to see a fleet of Arab dhows sailing up to the Old Swan Brewery recently. Taking place inside was the biggest seminar ever staged in Perth on doing business amid the shifting sands of the Middle East.

Foodland claims victory in NZ test

TREVOR Coates, captain of the Foodland’s team, had one hand on the Bledisloe Cup for the trans-Tasman supermarket championship, when the linesman suddenly ran on the field waving his flag.

Jobs bad news for economists

IT was the eminent John Kenneth Galbraith who said: “Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists”. Practitioners of the dismal science are hard to please.

Pundits miss golden prospect

GOLD is finally having its day in the sun. Some believers thought they might be carried into the cemetery before they saw it rise again. This columnist regularly harangued readers on the merits of the metal, before he too threw in the towel.

Fainting lady a welcome respite

THE Australian dollar batted her eyelashes and flirted with the greenback at US56 cents last week. But the excitement was too much, and the little lady fainted.

Feisty new face can work wonders

IT can be hard yakka making money in the stock market these days. One way has been to buy the shares of a company that has recently installed a feisty chief executive.

Economic drivers make rise right

ANYONE who didn’t see higher interest rates coming should not be allowed to drive a car. The Reserve Bank of Australia had cut the price of money to the bone as an insurance policy against global recession.


QANTAS boss Geoff Dixon boldly put into words what some business leaders are privately thinking when he launched a stinging attack on the modus operandi of Allan Fels.

More energetic effort needed

HOW often do you hear a Federal minister accept criticism, apologise for government foot dragging and promise to do better?

Dollar to ride on commodities’ back

THE Aussie dollar jumped through US54 cents when nobody was looking, and optimists are now predicting a Viagra-style performance in the coming months.

Finger poised above rates button

THE Reserve Bank of Australian has chosen to leave interest rates as they are. Foreign exchange traders immediately sold the Australian dollar below US53 cents, demonstrating that they have the attention span of labrador puppies.

Keeping pace with Chinese developments

A DIRECTOR of a public company recently asked me when China might become a member of the WTO. Try last November, chum. Taiwan was admitted in January. While few businessmen are as out of touch as our friend, some might be a tad slow.

Health charges a bitter pill

THE sickening hike in health fund charges will dim hopes of keeping a lid on inflation this year. Medibank Private was first ambulance off the rank with a 9 per cent hike in premiums.