The Fin Review reports that the Howard government’s economic
growth forecasts for this financial year have been backed by private
sector economists, who expect tame inflation to allow the RBA to leave
interest rates unchanged for the next six months. The platinum-card
decade is over, says Alan Mitchell in the AFR. The dual economy
is back. Over the next year or two, economic growth will climb back to
about 3.5 per cent, which is not much shy of its average growth rate
for the past decade, and most economists would say it is pretty good
for an economy so close to full employment.

Counter-cyclical share investors always feel that the logic of
buying low and selling high is on their side, but as my latest
“Dogstar” survey shows, sometimes shares are low and high for very
good reasons, says Malcolm Maiden in the Smage.

Macquarie Bank has emerged as the frontrunner to buy Morgan
Stanley’s US aircraft leasing business, AWAS, which could fetch
more than $2 billion, reports The Smage. A successful bid by the acquisitive investment bank would put
AWAS, which was set up by Sir Peter Abeles 20 years ago as the
leasing arm of failed airline Ansett, back in Australian hands.

And The Australian reports that
AWB chief executive Andrew Lindberg has dismissed any notion that 2005
was an annus horribilis for the monopoly wheat exporter. Not the months of trouble at Iraqi ports, the bad press after a UN
investigation alleged AWB had paid $300 million in kickbacks to Saddam
Hussein in the food-for-oil program, not softer prices, nor criticism
of its monopoly from the US, Europe and at home, could qualify 2005 for
that description in his eyes. After all, the year also left AWB almost alone in its monopoly
powers, despite a continuing fight with the big West Australian grain
handler, CBH.