There’s an extraordinary amount of cash sloshing around the
market at the moment, with some
estimating there may be as much as $25 billion to be reinvested over
the next few weeks. The weight of money ought to provide a floor under the market
for a while and may help stimulate new issues and floats, says Stephen Bartholomeusz in the Smage. It could
also help ignite a wave of corporate restructurings/demergers – if Telstra really wants to float Sensis, now wouldn’t be a bad

The Australian reports that Telstra will name a new chief executive to
replace Ziggy Switkowski as early as tomorrow, with protracted
negotiations over salary and tax issues with a lone American candidate
close to conclusion. It’s believed that the new chief executive may
be available to start at Telstra on 1 July and be in Australia for the

Telecommunication Minister Helen Coonan’s decision on her Telstra
regulatory review due in late August or September will negatively
affect the company’s future whichever way she jumps; it’s just a
question of by how much, says the AFR’s Chanticleer. The only positive is that once the news is out, the uncertainty will be lifted.

The Reserve Bank’s decision to hold interest
rates steady wasn’t a surprise. What surprised was the extent of the
changes in the business environment that lie behind those steady rates, says Robert Gottliebsen in the Oz. The banks are just
starting to realise that their cozy “four majors” dominance is ending
and that they must cope with an internationally competitive environment.

James Hardie chairman Meredith Hellicar is seeking to
promote her embattled company as a champion of corporate social
responsibility, reports Leon Gettler in the Smage. Speaking at an Australian Council of Super Investors forum
yesterday, Ms Hellicar said there was a mistaken belief that James
Hardie was “a case study about directors who pursued profit and
shareholders’ interests without due regard for corporate social

A half-yearly global survey from ACNielsen
has revealed 43% of Australian consumers are now betting on a
downturn in Australia in the coming year – nearly twice the 23% recorded in the previous survey in October, reports The Age. That makes
Australia the most pessimistic of its neighbours in the
Asia-Pacific region.

The Smage reports that Collins Booksellers
will close almost half of its company-owned stores after
administrators failed to secure buyers for them. And accountants, lawyers and other professionals have won a 12-month
reprieve from a crackdown by the ATO on a trust structure widely used
to shift partnership profits to family members, reports the Fin Review.

On Wall Street, US stocks fell overnight after the Bush
administration revised its inflation forecast for 2005 higher – the Dow
closed down 6.21 points at 10,476. MarketWatch has a full report here.