Weekly commentary

Economy: Long term interest rates in both the US and Australia have declined sharply over the past week as the economic outlook in both Australia and US point to a slowdown in economic activity.

We believe that the next move in official interest rates will be down in the first half of 2001 once inflation pressures from strong oil prices subside.

Equities: US equity markets were once again volatile on earnings concerns and US election uncertainty. The NASDAQ reaches its lowest level for the year of 2,755 points a decline of 46% from its peak reached in early March. The Australian market remains resilient against a backdrop of worldwide stock market volatility.

The market continues to favour defensive stocks such as Banks, Infrastructure & Utilities & Retailers.

Investors remain cautious towards growth, technology and telecommunication companies as earnings expectations are revised down.

Corporate activity particularly in the resources sector should underpin the market.

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