Interdum stultus opportuna loquitur...

Friday, February 06, 2009

OzRant: Caedite Eos...

Note - from June 24th 2009, this blog has migrated from Blogger to a self-hosted version. Click here to go straight there.

Yesterday, a display of profitable incompetence.made the day arduous but reasonably lucrative; today it was like shelling peas. 45 minutes to pocket a little over 4 hunjie, then a return bout just after 3 p.m. which made a hunjie in three minutes.

With the week ending on a high note, another 5 hunjie taken off the Assembled Various in the SPI today, and with your beloved GT able to toot away to his heart's content about the fulfilment of his forecast of a 5% bounce in the DAX... a short rant is warranted.

The topic of today's wild-eyed ravings is the idea that a great deal of the law foisted on us by your political overlords have no victim whatsoever; they justify themselves based on the (fatuous) claim that the law in question is promulgated to 'reduce risk'.

For examples, we need look no further than the road laws.

Speeding may be associated with some minuscule proportion of accidents (as I understand it, 'excessive' speed plays a part in about 4% of all motor fatalities), but to have a blanket limit - which takes no account whatsoever of driver ability - is to penalise people who are at zero risk of losing control over their vehicles.

We already have copious tort law which enables people to seek redress if some dill speeds and hits them. To have a 'strict liability' offence which applies irrespective of the ability of the driver, is simply tyranny.

It's all very well to bleat about some or other kiddie who got smeared by a driver going too fast... but what was the stupid kid doing on the road? Where were its parents? Why are today's children so stupid that we have to 'go slow' around schools? Don't their parents teach them that cars are big, fast, and - above all - hard?

But take it one step further.

Let's say I was on, say, a Suzuki RG500R (a classic 2-stroke maniac-chariot which will wheelstand in 4th). 

Let's say I was on a completely empty Tullamarine freeway at 3 a.m., and I decided to open it up. An RG500 is capable of about 300km/hr, but let's say I was a big girly sissy so I kept it tame at 180-200.

Who - apart from me - is at risk? Nobody, that's who. But if a 'safety camera' (thanks, Orwell) snaps a blurred image as I clean-line a corner, I would get treated as if I had endangered somebody.

I have said before that I think speeding is dumb - mostly because it achieves nothing (it doesn't save enough time on any sensibly-sized trip to be worth doing). But whether it is sensibe or not, is not the point - people have a right to do stuff, and to pay the consequences (if any) only if they stuff up.

Instead we have a strict-liability offence which claims to be about pre-empting some putative disaster, and that is just wrong.

Likewise drink-driving law: if you are drunk behind the wheel, but nobody has yet been hurt, on what basis are you fined and/or arrested? On the basis that your odds of harming a third party have increased?

That sort of idea is straight out of Minority Report. Minority Report was a dystopian piece of sci-fi; doubtless part of the background to that story is that the State got the 'precog' law passed by scaring housewives and then assuring them that precogs would help keep their kiddies safe.

Drug law, licensing, restrictions on what you can do to your own property... the State claims a right to interfere in all these things.

On what basis? Where is the contract between you and the State, that gives some bunch of parasites who live off your taxes the right to stick their oar into any aspect of your life that they decide they need to regulate?

Now speaking of the contract (for those who believe the stupid STUPID idea of a 'social contract' which requires obeisance to the State).

What sort of contract can be varied by one of the parties, unilaterally, with no means of redress or right of refusal or wothdrawal by the other party?

Well, the answer is easy: a slavery contract.

What sort of contract permits one party to acquire compulsorily, the goods (or, in the case of conscription, the person) of the other party, with the other party having no right of redress, refusal or withdrawal?

Again - a slavery contract.

And finally, under what sort of contract does one party assume the right to deem the offspring of existing counterparties to be subject to the obligations of the contract, with no right of withdrawal or refusal?

You've probably worked out the answer... slavery.

Show me the document that justifies the State compelling me to do anything, and show me my signature on it. If such a document does not exist, then the State obtains its rights solely as a function of having more armed goons than I have. That is, it is purely the fact that the parasites who run the State think that their monopoly on organised violence gives them the upper hand.

Well, I've got news for the State: it might have more armed goons, but when people like me decide that we have had enough, then politicians start dying, and armed goons get to flail around in the aftermath. You don't need superior firepower, or superior numbers. You just need the will: politicians then die in large numbers, and governments fall.

Some years ago, I sent a letter to the ATO and to the office of the Prime Minister (the chief parasite), declaring that his 'government' was failing to fulfil what I considered to be their contractual obligations, and if the breach was not remedied forthwith, I would terminate our arrangement. The breach centred on the obligation of a counterparty to abide by the law, and the fact that at the time the government was engaged in a flagrant criminal conspiracy to invade a sovereign country (Iraq).

I asked for the legal doctrine under which the Commonwealth government claimed ownership of me - that is, claimed the right to do with me as it saw fit, or to bind me to its laws - and received no response.

I'll dig that letter out and post it at some stage... needless to say, the government didn't bother responding, but since that date I consider myself as having absolutely no obligations towards any government whatsoever.

But back to this idea that you ought to have laws that interfere with people's lives when the only likely casualty is the 'offender'. 

If we are to have such laws based on the idea that it will pre-emptively prevent carnage, then I have a proposal for a new law which will save, oh, about 250 million lives a century... 

Anybody who becomes a politician should be put to death (preferably strangled with their own entrails) and then fed to pigs.

One last thing... who was it who - for lo these many years - has warned that QAN was a hollow log that constantly needed to raise new capital? You will have heard of the űber-analyst that I'm thinking of... he's really handsome (some would say HOT, although others say simply 'gorgeous'), and likes bacon and eggs.

Anyway... while credit markets were willing to lend to any dill with a bit of patter, QAN could hide the fact that it's 'profitability' was coming from accounting treatments of things, not from operations. I mentioned this in 2002 and got accused of trying to undermine 'an Aussie icon' (oh PLEASE).

How's it feeling, QAN shareholders? Sting a bit? A bit 'ouchie ouchie ouchie'? Hmmm? Stings? Hmmm?

Major Market Indices

The broad market - the All Ordinaries (XAO) - rose pretty strongly, registering a gain of 37.2 points (1.10%), finishing at 3409.8 points. The index hit an intraday high of 3430.4 at 10:41 am, while the low for the day was 3372.6 - set at 10:00 am Sydney time.

Total volume traded on the ASX was 1.02bn units, 6.4% below its 10-day average of 1.09bn shares.The ASX's daily listing of all stocks included 988 different 3-letter FPO's which traded (i.e., had non-zero trade volume). Of these, 408 issues rose, with volume in rising issues totalling 600.9m units; there were 350 declining stocks, which traded aggregate declining volume of 287.1m shares.

Of the 485 All Ordinaries components, 226 rose while 161 fell. Volume was tilted in favour of the gainers by a margin of 2.1:1, with 525.12m shares traded in gainers while 247.54m shares traded in the day's losers.

The Index that forms the cash basis for the SPI Futures - the S&P/ASX 200 (XJO) - managed a solid gain, adding 43.3 points (1.26%), closing out the session at 3471.9 points.

GT Intraday Chart
Name Close +/-(%)
All Ordinaries 3409.80 37.20 (1.1%)
ASX 20 2140.50 29.30 (1.4%)
ASX 50 3538.50 47.40 (1.4%)
ASX 100 2866.10 37.20 (1.3%)
ASX 200 3471.90 43.30 (1.3%)
ASX 300 3456.10 42.80 (1.3%)
ASX Mid-Cap 50 2987.40 28.50 (1.0%)
ASX Small Ordinaries 1587.00 7.90 (0.5%)

The "heavy hitters" of the Australian market - the ASX 20 Leaders (XTL) - performed solidly, in moving up 29.3 points (1.39%), closing out the session at 2140.5 points.

Among the 20 big guns, 14 index components finished to the upside, and 6 lost ground. The stocks which make up the index traded a total of 126.36m units; 14 index components rose, with rising volume amounting to 101.03m shares, while the 6 decliners had volume traded totalling 20.64m units. The major percentage gainers within the index were

  • Stockland (SGP), +$0.26 (9.39%) to $3.03 on volume of 9.4 million shares;
  • Newcrest Mining (NCM), +$1.73 (5.74%) to $31.88 on volume of 2.6 million shares;
  • Wesfarmers (WES), +$0.50 (3.33%) to $15.50 on volume of 4.9 million shares;
  • Westpac Banking Corporation (WBC), +$0.48 (3%) to $16.50 on volume of 5 million shares; and
  • Foster's Group (FGL), +$0.13 (2.54%) to $5.25 on volume of 3.7 million shares.

On the less salubrious side of the big-cap fence, the following stocks were the worst-performed within the index:

  • Macquarie Group (MQG), -$0.74 (3.07%) to $23.39 on volume of 1.3 million shares;
  • Rio Tinto (RIO), -$0.65 (1.37%) to $46.75 on volume of 3.9 million shares;
  • Woodside Petroleum (WPL), -$0.35 (1.08%) to $32.00 on volume of 2.3 million shares;
  • Origin Energy (ORG), -$0.13 (0.92%) to $14.00 on volume of 1.7 million shares; and
  • National Australia Bank (NAB), -$0.14 (0.75%) to $18.50 on volume of 3.2 million shares.

The ASX Small Ordinaries (XSO) advanced by half a percent, adding 7.9 points (0.50%), closing out the session at 1587 points.

Among the stocks that make up the Small Caps index, 105 index components finished to the upside, and of the rest, 73 closed lower for the session.

The 208 stocks which make up the index traded a total of 244.29m units: volume in the 105 gainers totalling 111.87m shares, with trade totalling 92.98m units in the index's 73 declining components. The major percentage gainers within the index were
  • City Pacific Limited (CIY), +$0.02 (24%) to $0.09 on volume of 126 thousand shares;
  • Cudeco (CDU), +$0.33 (19.88%) to $1.99 on volume of 41.2 thousand shares;
  • Skilled Group (SKE), +$0.19 (18.81%) to $1.20 on volume of 129.2 thousand shares;
  • Macarthur Coal (MCC), +$0.30 (11.49%) to $2.91 on volume of 894.7 thousand shares; and
  • CBH Resources (CBH), +$0.00 (10.81%) to $0.04 on volume of 595.3 thousand shares.

In the red-zone of the little-stock index, the following list represents the biggest downers (in terms of percentage decline):

  • Paperlinx (PPX), -$0.05 (11.84%) to $0.34 on volume of 1.9 million shares;
  • Virgin Blue Holdings (VBA), -$0.03 (8.93%) to $0.26 on volume of 11.4 million shares;
  • PMP (PMP), -$0.04 (8.43%) to $0.38 on volume of 494.4 thousand shares;
  • Macquarie DDR Trust (MDT), -$0 (8.33%) to $0.04 on volume of 5.3 million shares; and
  • HFA Holdings (HFA), -$0.01 (7.94%) to $0.06 on volume of 4.7 million shares.

Index Changes
Code Name Close +/- % Volume
XAO All Ordinaries 3409.8 37.2 1.1 860.2m
XFL ASX 50 3538.5 47.4 1.36 329.3m
XJO ASX 200 3471.9 43.3 1.26 752.5m
XKO ASX 300 3456.1 42.8 1.25 801.6m
XMD ASX Mid-Cap 50 2987.4 28.5 0.96 239.9m
XSO ASX Small Ordinaries 1587 7.9 0.5 232.4m
XTL ASX 20 2140.5 29.3 1.39 116.9m
XTO ASX 100 2866.1 37.2 1.31 569.2m
Market Breadth
Advances 14 62 120 226 105 408
Declines 6 36 73 161 73 350
Advancing Volume 101m 436.6m 500.1m 525.1m 111.9m 600.9m
Declining Volume 20.6m 133m 201.9m 247.5m 93m 287.1m
GICS Industry Indices

Among the 11 industry indices, it was green across the board, as every sector managed to keep its head above water.

The best performing index was Property Trusts (XPJ), which added 27.7 points (4.08%) to 706.1 points. The 21 stocks which make up the index traded a total of 211.97m units; 15 index components rose, with rising volume amounting to 165.35m shares, while the 3 decliners had volume traded totalling 27.8m units. The major percentage gainers within the index were

  • Commonwealth Property Office Fund (CPA), +$0.10 (13.57%) to $0.80 on volume of 16.1 million shares;
  • Mirvac Group (MGR), +$0.10 (11.36%) to $0.98 on volume of 7.1 million shares;
  • Babcock&Brown Japan Property Trust (BJT), +$0.03 (10.64%) to $0.26 on volume of 1.5 million shares;
  • Stockland (SGP), +$0.26 (9.39%) to $3.03 on volume of 9.4 million shares; and
  • Centro Retail (CER), +$0.00 (5.45%) to $0.06 on volume of 2.8 million shares.

Second in the index leadership stakes was Materials (XMJ), which gained 140.4 points (1.62%) to 8820 points. The 46 stocks which make up the index traded a total of 187.3m units; 31 index components rose, with rising volume amounting to 149.68m shares, while the 10 decliners had volume traded totalling 32.45m units. The major percentage gainers within the index were

  • Macarthur Coal (MCC), +$0.30 (11.49%) to $2.91 on volume of 894.7 thousand shares;
  • Kagara Zinc (KZL), +$0.04 (10.77%) to $0.36 on volume of 3.5 million shares;
  • Mincor Resources NL (MCR), +$0.06 (9.16%) to $0.72 on volume of 1.1 million shares;
  • Incitec Pivot (IPL), +$0.11 (5.79%) to $1.92 on volume of 34.3 million shares; and
  • Newcrest Mining (NCM), +$1.73 (5.74%) to $31.88 on volume of 2.6 million shares.

The bronze medal for today goes to Consumer Staples (XSJ), which climbed 86.6 points (1.44%) to 6110.6 points. The 13 stocks which make up the index traded a total of 29.74m units; 9 index components rose, with rising volume amounting to 16.79m shares, while the 4 decliners had volume traded totalling 12.95m units. The major percentage gainers within the index were

  • Timbercorp (TIM), +$0.01 (8.7%) to $0.13 on volume of 199.3 thousand shares;
  • Wesfarmers (WES), +$0.50 (3.33%) to $15.50 on volume of 4.9 million shares;
  • Foster's Group (FGL), +$0.13 (2.54%) to $5.25 on volume of 3.7 million shares;
  • Lion Nathan (LNN), +$0.10 (1.24%) to $8.18 on volume of 1.2 million shares; and
  • Woolworths (WOW), +$0.22 (0.79%) to $27.95 on volume of 1.7 million shares.

As mentioned above, there were no declining sectors today - so we can move on down to the Asian market stuff now.

Sector Indices
Code GICS Sector Close +/- % Volume
XPJ Property Trusts 706.1 27.7 4.08 212m
XMJ Materials 8820 140.4 1.62 187m
XSJ Consumer Staples 6110.6 86.6 1.44 30m
XHJ Healthcare 8817.5 105.8 1.21 10m
XIJ Information Technology 384.2 4.2 1.11 3m
XXJ Financials ex Property Trusts 3588.3 37.5 1.06 56m
XUJ Utilities 4110.7 32.9 0.81 20m
XTJ Telecommunications 1267.3 9.9 0.79 46m
XNJ Industrials 2680.4 14.8 0.56 104m
XDJ Consumer Discretionary 1023 4.5 0.44 52m
XEJ Energy 11395.2 18.1 0.16 36m

All Ordinaries Major Movers

All Ords Volume Leaders
Code Name Close +/- % Volume
IPL Incitec Pivot 1.92 0.11 5.79 34.3m
TLS Telstra Corporation. 3.71 0.03 0.82 33.6m
VMG VDM Group 0.19 -0.24 -55.81 27.1m
MOF Macquarie Office Trust 0.16 0.01 3.23 26.7m
VPG Valad Property Group 0.04 0.00 5.41 25.5m
All Ords Percentage Gainers
Code Name Close +/- % Volume
AXQ Allco Max Securities And Mortgage Trust 0.00 0.00 33.33 155.2k
CMV CMA Corporation 0.14 0.03 27.27 132.2k
CIY City Pacific 0.09 0.02 24 126k
CDU Cudeco 1.99 0.33 19.88 41.2k
SKE Skilled Group 1.20 0.19 18.81 129.2k
All Ords Percentage Losers
Code Name Close +/- % Volume
VMG VDM Group 0.19 -0.24 -55.81 27.1m
FCL Futuris Corporation 0.39 -0.10 -20.62 10.3m
ARR Arasor International 0.02 -0.01 -17.24 173k
MAFCA Multiplex Prime Property Fund 0.01 0.00 -15.38 135.6k
MRZ Mirvac Real Estate Investment Trust 0.27 -0.04 -12.9 372.6k