As the threat of more terrorist
attacks looms, petrol prices are sure to remain high, notwithstanding a
small decline as the demand for air travel dwindles in the short term.
High petrol prices, along with the much-hyped interest rate hike, have
both added significant downward pressure to consumer confidence, with
the latest Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Rating, released this morning, plunging 15.1 points from 118.8 in July to 103.7 points at present.

Great
that the counter-terrorist guys got this lot, but the sophistication of
the attempts shows what we are up against. No doubt flying will be even
more uncomfortable and time consuming than it has been but, like
turning 60 (as Henry has just done), it is better than the main
alternative.

To return to more prosaic subjects, Sol Trujillo
has got a massive (to us ordinary folks) bonus despite laying waste to
a once fine telecommunications company. The results really are awful,
and how the grizzled survivor of the telephone wars and dotcom crash
can so cheerfully claim “growing momentum” is beyond Henry. I guess he
meant to say “growing downward momentum”, but perhaps it’s time for ASIC
to take a look at all Telstra’s statements to investors since Sol and
his Amigos arrived.

Henry has been really stuffed about trying
to get a new broadband service installed. “Free installation” is part
of the come on, but after one grapples for hours with Telstra’s
technical “service” centre only to find it is a Telstra problem AND
they do not keep promises to fix it and call back, one is forced to
conclude that Sol’s team knows very little about customer service.

The
local ripples from the stunningly strong jobs data reported yesterday
included a hike in bond yields and increased probability of another
rate hike soon. For a short time, news of the London terror plot
spooked regional markets. European equities dived, though by the time
US markets opened the price of oil had fallen on the assumption of less
air travel in the immediate future. Together with strong US earnings
reports, US equities were up by around one half on one percent.

Sir Wellington Boot makes
a brave prediction about how the current Israel-Hezbollah conflict will
end, although I guess he’d describe it as a very uneasy truce – no
peace in our time.

Read more at Henry Thornton.

Peter Fray

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