Wry & Dry

Where's the Bolly, Darling? Profits: Up & Down. World's worst stock.

It's a bumper edition, this week.  Company profit results are coming in (see this week's Investment Matters) and all of Melbourne is abuzz with the news that, for the sixth consecutive year, the Economist Intelligence Unit has ranked Wry & Dry's hometown as the world's most liveable city.

Sydney, eat your heart out.

But, as W&D points out elsewhere this week, rankings depend on the factors used.  And clearly the assessors hadn't sat at the Collingwood-supporters' end of the MCG.

Just as globally, W&D remains entranced by the Olympics, both on and off the track.  On the track it was all about Usain and similarly endowed athletes.

Off the track, it's a game of Join Da Dots.   Brazilian police have arrested Pat Hickey, the head of the Olympic Council of Ireland.  More than 800 Olympic tickets allocated to Ireland were found in the hotel room of a colleague of Mr Hickey. 

W&D is not suggesting, of course, that Mr Hickey or his colleague hadn't paid for the tickets.  And had intended to use them themselves.  All 800. 

But there are bigger risks in Rio...

Russian mosquito

Meanwhile, readers will recall that hundreds of dairy farmers faced financial ruin after Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co. Limited (MG) slashed its milk price without warning in April, backdating the price cut to the previous July, to claw back $200m from supplier farmers.  Damned disgraceful.

Sure, the milk price collapsed because of a global oversupply.  That's part of being in a global business.  But to hoover back cash by backdating a price change is almost as bad as backdating a superannuation change.

But W&D is concerned that PM Turnbull and Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce have met with the troubled dairy company.  Is there a farmer bailout in the offing?

Surely if the farmers were willing to take the profit upside of an increase in the global price of milk, why should we-the-taxpayer foot the bill if a price fall causes a loss?

That logic, of course, will fall on the stony agrarian-socialist ground upon which Barnaby walks. 

W&D is delighted that Greece is back in the news this week.  It has been so boring writing about Trump and others who don't have a chance.  Which is what W&D believes will be the case also with Greece.

Readers may have seen Greek PM Alexis Tsipras' vow to do "whatever is necessary" to get Germany to pay damages for wartime atrocities of Nazi troops.  A special Greek parliamentary committee into war reparations came with a damages total of, wait for it... €269.5 billion.  They now just need to get Slater and Gordon onto the case.

Speaking of lawyers lining their pockets, W&D notes that three US investors (including the legendary Steve Eisman, played by Steve Carell in the movie dramatisation of The Big Short) have launched a class action against the big four Australian banks, Macquarie Bank and a dozen investment banks over alleged rigging of Australia's benchmark interest rate, BBSW.

The last time someone took on all four banks in a law suit, it was in the famous Alan Bond/ Bell Group court case, which lasted 20 years and cost the banks over $250m in legal costs.  

Good luck with your projects, lads.  

More comprehensively, this week, W&D ponders Bollinger; looks at what Americans really think of Clinton and Trump; peeks under the bonnet of the worst stock ever; and also considers that the latest global ranking of universities is meaningless.

Follow The Money updates the odds on the US presidential race.  W&D has had it confirmed that The Trumpster has booked his Club Med vacation for early November.

And, of course, Miscellany, to soothe your troubled mind.

Our sister publication, Investment Matters reviews how company profit reporting season went for both First Samuel investors and the broader universe.  Some profits went up.  Others went down.

Plus the markets: this week and FYTD.