Westpac exposed. Earlier this month Westpac was the first of the big four banks to sting mortgage holders by charging them more to help meet the cost of the higher capital levels for big banks as demanded by regulators -- and Westpac also indicated its final dividend would rise 2 cents a share to 96 cents a share, thereby sticking it to mortgage holders a second time in the one statement, which was quite an achievement. Fast forward to this week and ANZ and NAB released their full-year profits, which were OK. But both NAB and ANZ declared unchanged final dividends -- 99 cents for NAB and 95 cents for ANZ. These were decisions that seem to be carrying two messages: the first is that the outlook is uncertain thanks to the higher demands for capital from regulators and the weak economy and slowing housing boom. But there’s also a PR image factor -- after stinging mortgage holders last week, both banks have given the impression shareholders will pay a small part of the cost of the higher capital demands from regulators, unlike Westpac and its 2-cents-a-share lift in its final dividend. Westpac is due to confirm those results on Monday, so will that proposed rise appear? -- Glenn Dyer
Dick doesn't. The board and newish management of Myer must be raising a bacon roll (more than 50 grams of bacon, folks, come on, live dangerously, you have been doing just that for years) to the management of Dick Smith, the electronics retailer, for its sterling efforts in becoming the new black sheep of Australian retailing and replacing Myer in that role. Dick Smith shares ended down 34% at 84 cents yesterday, a record low and taking losses so far this year to 58%. The shares are now trading at less than half their December 2013 issue price of $2.20 (shades of Myer, which floated at $4.10 and ended at 97.5 cents yesterday). Dick Smith’s private equity owners, Anchorage Capital, sold out at $2.20. Kaching!