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Richie Porte climbs higher on Tour de France general classification as Miguel Angel Lopez wins epic mountain stage

Australia’s Richie Porte gritted his teeth and delivered a brave performance to finish fifth on the most difficult stage yet of this year’s Tour de France which finished at the summit of Col de la Loze.

The fifth placing on the stage moved Porte up from sixth overall to fourth in the general classification as Colombia’s Miguel Angel Lopez took advantage of the high altitudes so familiar to him in his native country and sprinted clear in the final kilometres to take the stage victory.

The win moved him into third position overall behind yellow jersey wearer Primoz Roglic, who was second on the stage ahead of his nearest rival and fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar.

“I feel emotional because of the work done at home with my family, my wife, my son, I dedicate this victory to them,” Lopez said.


Lopez moved to within 1:26 of Roglic, who extended his lead over Pogacar to 57 seconds after the two engaged in an epic duel to the finish line, in which Roglic seemed to break his younger countryman’s spirit.

The pair, along with Porte and Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma teammate Sepp Kuss, had already engaged in a tough battle that started during the final ascent, which included gradients of 24 per cent on the final 21 kilometre climb.

“It was again a good day for us,” Roglic said.

“Of course, I always want to win but I gained some time and I saw that others had problems. I knew I could gain time today and that’s what we did.”

Painful climb to the finish

With four kilometres to go Kuss took off when the man who had led for much of the day — Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz — came back to the small chasing pack, but he was followed by Lopez who had far more speed.

Commentators speculated at the time that it was a poor move for Kuss to leave his teammate and yellow jersey wearer but Roglic confirmed it was all part of a plan.

“Also, the others tried to chase him back and it helped me realise many guys around me were struggling.”

Australia's Richie Porte wearing white rides up a French peak, mouth open as another cyclist smiles from behind.
Richie Porte pushes through the pain as he battles Sepp Kuss to the finish line on stage 17 of the 2020 Tour de France.(Reuters: Stephane Mahe)


Porte did well just to hang on for as long as he did, having been dropped a few metres off the back of Roglic and Pogacar as they sought to jostle for second, but on multiple occasions the Australian managed to get back on their tail.

However with two kilometres to go the Slovenians showed their class and finally dropped the dogged Australian, who eventually crossed the line with American Kuss.

Porte finished the stage in fourth overall on the general classification 3’05” behind Roglic and 1’39” behind third-placed Lopez

Fans ignore COVID-19 protocols

Masked Tour de France fans converge as leading riders make a large climb.
Tour de France fans crowd around Tadej Pogacar as he makes the final climb to the stage 17 finish.(Supplied: SBS Television)

Present for the stage was French President Emmanuel Macron, but he was far from the only one and it would be hard to imagine that Tour organisers were happy with scenes that were beamed across the world as the leaders made the final climb.

This year’s Tour set against the backdrop of the global coronavirus pandemic has seen riders frequently tested and the usual crowds sparse, but that was not the case as large numbers of cycling fans closed in on the road and leaders during the final climb.

After the stage Mr Macron told reporters: “It’s extremely important to show that we can live with the virus.”


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Investors snap up child care centres and development sites for higher returns

Michael Vanstone, who heads up Burgess Rawson Sydney’s Childcare Team, said the milestone highlighted the strength of childcare as an investment class, both nationally and across New South Wales.

“Many aspects of the commercial property industry are as strong now as they were pre-COVID and early childhood education is a clear example of that,” Mr Vanstone said.

“Childcare centre yields have held firm in recent months despite the challenges of COVID-19 to the sector, with our latest childcare yields remaining consistent with those sold late last year.”

Burgess Rawson recently sold a G8 Education childcare centre in Horningsea Park, Sydney for $3.1 million at a 4.19 per cent yield and a childcare centre for $4.2 million at a yield of 6.98 per cent at Singleton, in the Hunter Valley, NSW.


Mr Vanstone added that a key factor to this asset class’ continued investor interest was the increasing demand and ongoing government support.

“The sector enjoys bipartisan federal government support, and if anything, COVID-19 has reiterated the importance government places on this sector, with some of the earliest specialist assistance packages directed to the industry,” he said.

Post-COVID, Mr Vanstone added he did not foresee the long-term investor demand for early childhood education abating.

On the development side of the ledger, the Byron Bay Holiday Village at 116-118 Jonson Street is for sale and is one of the last significant multi-storey developable sites in the heart of Byron Bay.

The local Walker Family built the property and while no price was revealed, similar sites have garnered about $20 million.

The 4282 square metre, local centre-zoned property will be marketed by John Musca of JLL hotels and hospitality group in conjunction with Elliott O’Shea of JLL metropolitan investments.

Owned by the Walker family for for 37 years, the business currently operates as the Byron Bay Holiday Village Backpackers, with a capacity of up to 200 guests, and was the first purpose-built backpackers in Australia when built in 1983.

Having sold the Beach Hotel in Byron for $104 million, Mr Musca noted that the measured approach to new development had helped in maintain the area’s unique coastal culture, while also amplifying the interest in those last remaining sites offering favourable zoning.

“Now recognised as Australia’s most expensive residential city in terms of median house prices, and with a recognised lack of large, mixed-use town-centre developable opportunities, subdued project pipeline is driving continued interest in the shire,” Mr Musca said.

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Dexus predicts higher office vacancy rates before economy recovers

Dexus chief executive Darren Steinberg said demand for office space would remain soft for the next 12-18 months, but once the economy showed signs of an upturn, he predicted people would want to return to the office.

“The office market has slowed but it’s not dead and as the economy improves we expect to see a rise in white-collar employment and people wanting to come back to the office,” Mr Steinberg said.

“However, with Australia in a recession, we are preparing for subdued tenant demand and increased
vacancy levels in our core office markets. In this environment we remain focused on maintaining high portfolio occupancy.”


According to the latest Property Council of Australia office market report to July, Sydney’s CBD office vacancy was 5.6 per cent, up from 3.9 per cent in January and the Melbourne CBD vacancy was 5.8 per cent, a rise up from 3.2 per cent in January.

“We will also make decisions that set the group up to perform over the long term. We will selectively recycle assets, which may result in short-term earnings dilution but will enable us to reinvest into opportunities that we believe will drive stronger investor returns over the next decade.”

Darren Leung, analyst at Macquarie Equities, said the result showed a better-than-expected COVID outcome but predicts office activity will continue to deteriorate.

Dexus paid a dividend of 50.3¢. The shares are up 0.7 per cent to $8.47 per security in late afternoon trading.

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ASX set to bounce higher as Wall Street jumps

The gridlock in Washington regarding a new US fiscal package continues, but the market found a potential circuit breaker after the Trump administration announced it may force through its own package via executive order. US-China trade tensions have continued to simmer too, as the Trump administration ordered a deal for the sale of TikTok to be completed by mid-September.

3. US and Chinese PMI data add to hopes of economic revival: The markets did welcome some solid economic data, that aided the view that the global economy remains on the path to recovery. US ISM and China’s Caixin PMI readings were released, and bolstered risk appetite after both surveys broadly exceeded expectations.

Manufacturing activity in the US expanded by its most since March 2019, with the surveys headline number coming-in at 54.2. While manufacturing in China has also sustained its rebound, with the Caixin survey activity lifted to a robust 52.8 last month.

4. US Dollar rebounds to begin new month: A broad-based rebound in the US Dollar defied what was an otherwise pro-risk day in global markets. The greenback rallied across the board yesterday, largely, it would seem, off-the-back of new month positioning, and as the currency corrects from technically oversold levels.

The Swiss Franc proved the biggest-loser from Dollar strength, shedding half-a-per-cent on Monday, while the Euro also retraced some of its recent rally. The AUD/USD also declined, with the Australian Dollar finding itself broadly sold as traders priced-in the implications of Victoria’s new social and economic restrictions.

5. ASX200 showing the scars of new-wave of lockdowns: The ASX200 fared slightly better yesterday, closing Monday’s trade practically flat, with SPI Futures pointing to a robust 1.4 per cent rebound for the index this morning, courtesy of the solid overnight lead.

The fears about fresh lockdowns in Australia was clear to see in the sectoral performances of the market yesterday. Bank stocks plunged, proving the biggest weight on the market, while the lockdown sensitive consumer discretionary and real estate stocks were the only other sectors to sustain losses yesterday.

6. The RBA meeting the major global macro event today: The attention in domestic markets will now turn to the RBA’s monthly meeting this afternoon. Very few surprises are expected out of this month’s RBA meeting, with the central bank’s broad policy settings all but certain to remain as they are.

The overarching focus for market participants will be clues on the RBA’s updated economic outlook, ahead of the release of the quarterly Statement of Monetary Policy on Friday, which is expected to show a markedly revised set of economic projections.

7. A thin day on the economic and corporate calendar: Globally, the data-docket is much lighter today, as market participants prepare for a backloaded end to the trading week. Local trade balance data is released today, and is expected to show an expanding trade surplus.

Globally, little high to medium impact data is due to drop in the next 24-hours. But US earnings season continues to roll-on, with the Walt Disney Company reporting after Wall Street’s close tonight.

8. Market watch:

ASX futures up 84 points, or 1.4 per cent, at 6.59am AEST

  • AUD at 71.23 US cents at 7.49am AEST
  • On Wall St: Dow +0.9% S&P 500 +0.7% Nasdaq +1.5%
  • Europe: Stoxx 50 +2.3% FTSE +2.3% CAC +1.9% DAX +2.7%
  • Spot gold at $US1974.81 an ounce
  • Brent crude +0.8% to $US43.86 a barrel
  • US oil +1.3% to $US40.78 a barrel
  • Iron ore +5% to $US116.03 a tonne
  • 10-year yield: US 0.56% Australia 0.81% Germany -0.53%

This column was produced in commercial partnership between The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and IG

Information is of a general nature only.

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ASX to rise as tech rally drives Wall Street higher

US stocks rose as investors looked past tensions between Washington and Beijing and sought out tech companies thought to be insulated from rising coronavirus infections.

The S&P 500 Index climbed to a one-month high on Wednesday (US time) , while advances in high-flying megacaps like Apple and sent the Nasdaq Composite to a record. HSBC slumped after a report that some of President Donald Trump’s advisers proposed a move to destabilise Hong Kong’s currency peg to punish China. Banks led European stocks lower.

Wall Street advanced on Wednesday.

Wall Street advanced on Wednesday. Credit:Bloomberg

The S&P closed 0.8 per cent higher and the Dow Jones added 0.7 per cent while the Nasdaq jumped by 1.4 per cent. It sets up the Australian sharemarket for gains this morning with futures at 6.28am AEST pointing to a gain of 46 points, or 0.8 per cent, at the open. On Wednesday, the ASX slumped by 1.5 per cent.

Analysts are debating what comes next for the US economy as states allow businesses to reopen, but with much of the world stuck at home, investors have been bidding up tech shares. That pattern appeared again Wednesday, with pandemic-sensitive sectors like airlines sinking even as online names held up.

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ASX set to surge higher as Fed fuels Wall Street rebound

But stocks and Treasury yields began to trim their losses as the day progressed. They popped decisively higher after the Fed said in the afternoon that it will buy individual corporate bonds. The purchases will be part of its previously announced program to keep lending markets running smoothly, which allows big employers to get access to cash.

Volatility is here to stay, at least for a little while. Nobody in the financial industry has a good way to forecast this.

Jason Pride, chief investment officer of private wealth at Glenmede

They’re also the latest reminder that the Fed is doing everything it can to help support markets, analysts said. Central banks have repeatedly come to the economy’s rescue over the years, and it was huge, unprecedented moves by the Fed earlier this year that helped put a halt to the S&P 500’s nearly 34 per cent sell-off on worries about the recession coming out of the coronavirus pandemic.

The S&P 500 rose 25.28 points to finish at 3,066.59, which is 9.4 per cent below its record set in February.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 157.62 points, or 0.6 per cent, to finish at 25,763.16 after earlier being down as many as 762 points. The Nasdaq composite added 137.21, or 1.4 per cent, to 9,726.02.

“Volatility is here to stay, at least for a little while,” said Jason Pride, chief investment officer of private wealth at Glenmede. “Nobody in the financial industry has a good way to forecast this.”

Case numbers are still growing in states across the country and nations around the world. Governments are relaxing lockdowns in hopes of nursing their devastated economies back to life, but without a vaccine, the reopenings could bring on further waves of COVID-19 deaths.

China is reporting a new outbreak in Beijing, one that appears to be the biggest since it largely stopped its spread at home more than two months ago. In New York, the governor is upset that big groups of people are packing together outside bars and restaurants without face masks, and he threatened to reinstate closings in areas where local governments fail to enforce the rules.

That’s the biggest worry for markets: If infections swamp the world, governments could bring back the orders for people to stay at home and for businesses to shut down that sent the economy into its worst recession in decades. Even if that doesn’t happen, rolling waves of outbreaks could frighten businesses and consumers enough to keep them from spending and investing, which would itself hinder the economy.

It was just a week ago that investors seemed ebullient about expectations for a coming economic recovery. The hopes got a shot of adrenaline earlier this month when a report showed that US employers added jobs to their payrolls in May, a big surprise when economists were expecting to see millions more jobs lost. That raised expectations that the economy could climb out of its hole nearly as quickly as it plunged into it.

Crude oil cut losses and turned higher on signs members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting countries and allies were complying with a production cut, and on signs of rising fuel demand.

Crude oil cut losses and turned higher on signs members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting countries and allies were complying with a production cut, and on signs of rising fuel demand.Credit:AP

That optimism sent the stock market on a second leg of its rally, which began in March after the Federal Reserve and Congress promised unprecedented amounts of aid to support the economy. Besides its corporate bond buying program, the Fed has also cut interest rates back to nearly zero and expects to keep them there through 2022. Its chair, Jerome Powell, may offer more details about the Fed’s outlook in scheduled testimony before Congress this week.

All through its torrid rally, though, many professional investors were warning that the market’s gains may have been overdone considering how long and uncertain the economic recovery looked to be. The S&P 500 climbed back to within 4.5 per cent of its record high last week.

Some of the rally was likely driven by a big influx of individual investors into the market. Brokerages reported big increases in client numbers and trading earlier this year, and stocks popular with individual investors have returned 61 per cent since the market hit a bottom on March 23, according to Goldman Sachs. That’s much more than the 45 per cent rise for stocks popular with hedge funds and traditional mutual funds.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 0.71 per cent from 0.69 per cent late Friday. It tends to rise and fall with investors’ expectations for the economy and inflation, and it had been above 0.90 per cent earlier this month.


In Asia, South Korea’s Kospi dropped 4.8 per cent, Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 3.5 per cent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 2.2 per cent. In Europe, France’s CAC 40 slipped 0.5 per cent, Germany’s DAX lost 0.3 per cent and the FTSE 100 in London dipped 0.7 per cent.


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Anti-malarial drug taken by Trump linked to higher death rate – Sky News Australia

  1. Anti-malarial drug taken by Trump linked to higher death rate  Sky News Australia
  2. Coronavirus update: Hydroxychloroquine drug favoured by Donald Trump linked to increase risk of death in COVID-19 study  ABC News
  3. Donald Trump is taking hydroxychloroquine to ward off COVID-19. Is that wise?  The Canberra Times
  4. Is Donald Trump Wise For Taking Hydroxychloroquine To Ward Off COVID-19?  Gizmodo Australia
  5. Anti-malaria drug taken by Trump linked to coronavirus death risk  9News
  6. View Full coverage on Google News

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ASX tipped to edge higher as states signal easing curbs – The Australian

  1. ASX tipped to edge higher as states signal easing curbs  The Australian
  2. 5 things to watch on the ASX 200 on Monday  Motley Fool Australia
  3. ASX Today: Slow start as ASX trails Wall Street recovery  The Market Herald
  4. iSignthis (ASX:ISX) loses the battle but continues to wage the war: Aus shares to open higher  Finance News Network
  5. View Full coverage on Google News

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ASX set to edge higher to start week

Such was the optimism in the market Friday, market participants have shrugged-off more bombastic trade-war commentary from US President Trump on Friday, with the President stating he is “torn” on the viability of the phase-one trade-deal.

3. US earnings season continues to disappoint: The S&P500’s run back above the 2900-mark on Friday night comes as a disappointing US reporting season winds down. 86 per cent of companies have reported now for Q1. According to data compiled by Fact Set, the reporting period has delivered a blended EPS contraction of -13.7 per cent, with only 66 per cent of companies exceeding analyst estimates further quarter.

Of greater import to market participants, earnings growth expectations have been considerably downgraded this quarter, with EPS growth across the S&P500 for Q2 being cut to -42 per cent.

4. Growth beats safety on Friday: Growth signals in broader financial markets were more positive Friday, but still point to economic headwinds for the global economy. Rates on US interest rate futures contracts pulled-out of negative territory, with US Treasury yields climbing marginally across the yield curve.

Commodity currencies outperformed, pushing the AUD/USD 0.56 per cent higher for the session, and the Japanese Yen declined. Gold prices also pulled back on higher global bond yields, shedding 0.78 per cent, while the pro-growth bent to the day’s trade pushed oil prices up by over 5 per cent.

5. RBA delivers dim outlook; a glimmer of hope remains: Australian economic fundamentals were put into focus on Friday, with the RBA’s Statement on Monetary Policy putting forth a dimmer outlook for the Australian economy. The central bank outlined its base case whereby the local unemployment rate will top-out at 10 per cent, and GDP ought to contract by -5 per cent in 2020.

In what might be considered a glimmer of hope for the Australian economy, the RBA’s baseline forecasts are based on a re-opening of the economy by the end of September – a date that may be considered on the conservative side, given the announcement of the Federal Government’s plan to begin easing social restrictions on Friday.

6. ASX200 rallies Friday, likely to open flat today: Courtesy of the Government’s announcement, sectors most acutely hit by the COVID-19 shut down outperformed the broader ASX200 on Friday. Consumer discretionary stocks lifted 2.16 per cent, real estate sector stocks gained 1.84 per cent, and the banks added 0.7 per cent. It underpinned a 0.5 per cent rally for the ASX200, which failed to once again break convincingly above the 5400-mark.

It appears the index may have a similar issue at the outset of trade this morning, with SPI Futures pointing to a broadly flat open for the market.

7. Australian jobs data in focus this week: While less high-impact than last week, several events jump out on the calendar as key event risk risks for the markets in the week ahead. Locally, the biggest will likely be Australia’s labour market data, which is expected to reveal 550,000 Australians lost their jobs last month, and that the country’s unemployment rate leapt to 8.3 per cent.

Internationally, US CPI and Retail Sales figures will capture attention, as will German GDP data. While the RBNZ will also hand down their policy decision for the month, with little change of policy settings tipped there.

8. Market watch:

ASX futures up 3 points or 0.1% to 5405

  • AUD +0.6% to 65.32 US cents
  • On Wall St: Dow +1.9% S&P 500 +1.7% Nasdaq +1.6%
  • In New York: BHP +2.4% Rio +2.5% Atlassian -2%
  • In Europe: Stoxx 50 +1% FTSE +1.4% CAC +1.1% DAX +1.4%
  • Spot gold -0.8% to $US1702.70 an ounce in New York
  • Brent crude +4.8% to $US30.88 a barrel
  • US oil +5.1% to $US24.74 a barrel
  • Iron ore +5% to $US88.60 a tonne
  • Dalian iron ore +0.8% to 637 yuan
  • LME was closed Friday for a UK holiday
  • 2-year yield: US 0.16% Australia 0.20%
  • 5-year yield: US 0.33% Australia 0.37%
  • 10-year yield: US 0.68% Australia 0.88% Germany -0.54%

This column was produced in commercial partnership between The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and IG

Information is of a general nature only.

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Genworth braces for higher claims with $181.8m write-down

Morningstar analyst Nathan Zaia played down the chances of the company paying a first-half dividend, adding that a small payment at the full year was more probable but still uncertain.

“The company essentially exists to provide some downside cover for the banks in the event of a downturn, and while Genworth looks like it has a strong enough capital position to withstand this downturn, the severity of the downside is extremely uncertain,” Mr Zaia said.

“I think it will take a brave board to seek APRA approval to pay out an interim dividend while recording losses and with so much uncertainty ahead.”

Genworth shares were 1.5 per cent higher at $2.07 shortly after midday.

While conditions were favourable early in the year as the housing market recovered, the coronavirus pandemic had sparked a major change in its operating environment, prompting it to assess scenarios on how it could be exposed.

Based on a central estimate that included a peak unemployment rate of 8.2 per cent, and property prices falling 5.4 per cent this year, the insurer found there was a case for the $181.8 million write-down to its deferred acquisition costs.

It said unemployment had been concentrated among people who were less likely to have mortgages, such as casual employees, so it had assumed a lower level of unemployment for its portfolio when it conducted the assessment.

The company cautioned that predicting future claims was very difficult, and it would depend on the length of the downturn and the role of banks’ repayment deferrals.

Chief executive Pauline Blight-Johnston said: “Given the current economic uncertainty and APRA guidance encouraging insurers to seriously consider deferring decisions on dividends and capital returns until the outlook is clearer, we believe it is sensible to preserve capital at this time to sustain our strong capital position.”

Genworth, which counts banks including the Commonwealth Bank among its customers, said gross premium revenue rose 32.2 per cent to $114 million in the quarter compared with last year, while the delinquency on its loan portfolio was unchanged at 0.57 per cent.

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