Round and round the Telstra regulatory mulberry bush we go,
says Michael Sainsbury in The Australian. At noon today, Telstra’s latest and loudest
regulatory tsar, Phil Burgess, will host the company’s mysteriously delayed
regulatory briefing that the market had been promised last week – it was
Thanksgiving last week, you know, turkeys and all that. So,
today, Telstra will renew its unprecedented and generally unhelpful attack on
the government and its competition regulator.

One hopes Telstra avoids past pitfalls of simple applying US
experience as showing the path forward, says John Durie in the Financial
‘s Chanticleer (not online). Obviously, the US
and other countries can serve as a guide, but on telecoms policy, the existence
of an unregulated cable-television industry as a more than viable competitor is
but one difference between the two countries.

Meanwhie, a drop in petrol prices encouraged consumers to
spend again last month, particularly at cafes and restaurants, reports the Fin, fuelling retailer optimism for
stronger sales during the vital Christmas shopping season. True, says the
paper’s David Bassanese, there are tentative grounds to think the worst is over
for retailers, but the way ahead could still be a hard slog.

The timing of Rio Tinto’s $400 million sale of its 14.5%
shareholding in Papua New Guinea’s Lihir Gold was exquisite, says Bryan Frith in The Australian. It sold on the day
that the gold price went above $US500/oz for the first time in 18 years and at
a price which is close to a seven-year high. That’s another benefit of the
blind date process for handling large block sales – it enables the transaction
to be completed much more quickly once a decision has been made, giving the
seller greater control over the timing and enabling it to capitalise on a
strong market.

“It’s not mine at the moment, but it one day will be mine.”
That’s what James Packer told a packed courtroom yesterday, referring to the
family’s private investment company, Consolidated Press Holdings Ltd, says Lisa
in The Sydney Morning Herald. But
Packer, who was giving evidence in the NSW Supreme Court as part of the One.Tel
case, didn’t let on just how well the family company was doing.

This week, New Zealand’s richest man Graeme Hart will get a real feel for
whether he made the right decision to re-float Goodman Fielder or whether he
should have taken the money from venture capitalists – a cleaner and easier route,
but potentially less profitable, says Elizabeth Knight in the SMH. The retail investment
market knows the Goodman Fielder brands, but they need to be convinced, as do
professional fund managers, that it’s a compelling story. They want to see a
growth trajectory of some kind and they want to have yield.

And Virgin Blue has, for the first time, publicly articulated its revised
strategy and, while it is unlikely to set off any alarms at Qantas, says
Stephen Bartholomeusz in The Smage it
does provide an insight into how Virgin Blue plans to broaden the tussle for market
share and yield and into its own view of its competitive advantages.

On Wall Street, US stocks ended lower overnight, but a fall in
crude-oil prices, stabilizing long-term interest rates and upbeat
economic data helped the market to solid November gains. The Dow Jones ended down 82.29 points at 10,805 – MarketWatch has a full report here.