The Reserve Bank of Australia
delivered the share market a much needed fillip yesterday, reportsThe Australian, declaring the biggest
share boom in 12 years was fully justified by the strength of company profits.

And while Australia’s export performance has been
“disappointing”, the Reserve Bank says the flood of cheap consumer
products from Asian producers could help shackle inflation and keep interest
rates on hold for months, reportsThe Age.

Barloworld’s potentially killer bid for Wattyl has given
ACCC boss Graeme Samuel another opportunity to shape Australia’s corporate
landscape, says Matthew Stevens in The Oz. If he gives the green
light, Wattyl will be South African.

The crucial issue for paint maker Wattyl’s shareholders is
not whether Allco Equity will offer more than Barloworld’s rival cash bid of
$3.80 a share – it won’t – but whether Barloworld will actually get to make
its $321 million recommended offer, says Bryan Frith in the paper.

And while AEP might not
be able to offer as much as Barloworld, says Stephen Bartholomeusz in The Smage, it has three advantages
– it doesn’t need ACCC approval, it doesn’t need 100% of Wattyl and it
controls the timing of the takeover.

The “nab” formerly known as National Australia Bank,
formally unveiled its new logo and branding yesterday, says Anneli Knight in The Sydney Morning Herald. But customers
have a choice: They can pronounce the bank’s new name by its initials –
“n-a-b” – or they can keep it to one syllable – “nab.”

US-EU trade relations look headed for rough waters after yesterday’s
World Trade Organisation ruling gave Brussels
permission to reimpose sanctions on about $4 billion in US exports.

On Wall Street, US
stocks
closed off their lows overnight, undermined by inflation and interest-rate
worries after a Fed official said economic growth appeared to be picking up,
while Google Inc. was sent lower by a negative write-up in financial weekly
Barron’s. The Dow Jones fell 26.73 points to
10,892.

Peter Fray

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