The Australian sharemarket recorded its second consecutive financial
year of double-digit growth in 2004-2005, but leading fund managers say
the period of bumper growth returns is over, reports the Fin Review. The common prediction is that slack domestic demand and a slowing global economy will lead to subdued earnings growth at home.

From afar, the Australian stockmarket appears alluring for investors,
but looking through the haze, it becomes apparent that there are some
structural and cyclical challenges for the market over the next 12
months, says Robert Guy in the AFR. While the market appears welcoming, investors need to beware of value traps all round.

Energy giant Santos will boost its coal-seam gas assets in
Australia by up to 30% with the $600 million acquisition of
Tipperary Corporation, reports The Age. The purchase of the loss-making US listed company provides
Santos with a 75% share in the Fairview field, one of the
largest high-quality, coal-seam methane fields in the country.

The Australian reports that the cost of developing the Hope Downs iron ore
project has spiralled to more than $4 billion, making it imperative
that Gina Rinehart’s company chooses a partner as robust as Rio Tinto to
develop it.

And the AFR’s Neil Shoebridge reports that the bitter fight between
Seven, Nine and Ten for viewers is getting uglier and more expensive as
the networks roll out their program schedules for the second half of
the year. More than 30 series will debut or return to air over the next
two months.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey