Bearish Bets Against Markets Are Surging
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    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,613,207 (-0.60%)       Melbourne $969,484 (-0.54%)       Brisbane $991,125 (-0.15%)       Adelaide $906,278 (+1.12%)       Perth $892,773 (+0.03%)       Hobart $726,294 (-0.04%)       Darwin $657,141 (-1.18%)       Canberra $1,003,818 (-0.83%)       National $1,045,092 (-0.37%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $754,460 (+0.43%)       Melbourne $495,941 (+0.11%)       Brisbane $587,365 (+0.63%)       Adelaide $442,425 (-2.43%)       Perth $461,417 (+0.53%)       Hobart $511,031 (+0.36%)       Darwin $373,250 (+2.98%)       Canberra $492,184 (-1.10%)       National $537,029 (+0.15%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 9,787 (-116)       Melbourne 14,236 (+55)       Brisbane 8,139 (+64)       Adelaide 2,166 (-18)       Perth 5,782 (+59)       Hobart 1,221 (+5)       Darwin 279 (+4)       Canberra 924 (+36)       National 42,534 (+89)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,638 (-81)       Melbourne 8,327 (-30)       Brisbane 1,728 (-19)       Adelaide 415 (+10)       Perth 1,444 (+2)       Hobart 201 (-10)       Darwin 392 (-7)       Canberra 1,004 (-14)       National 22,149 (-149)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $820 (+$20)       Melbourne $620 ($0)       Brisbane $630 (-$5)       Adelaide $615 (+$5)       Perth $675 ($0)       Hobart $560 (+$10)       Darwin $700 ($0)       Canberra $680 ($0)       National $670 (+$4)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $750 ($0)       Melbourne $590 (-$5)       Brisbane $630 (+$5)       Adelaide $505 (-$5)       Perth $620 (-$10)       Hobart $460 (-$10)       Darwin $580 (+$20)       Canberra $550 ($0)       National $597 (-$)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 6,197 (+313)       Melbourne 6,580 (-5)       Brisbane 4,403 (-85)       Adelaide 1,545 (-44)       Perth 2,951 (+71)       Hobart 398 (-13)       Darwin 97 (+4)       Canberra 643 (+11)       National 22,814 (+252)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,884 (-22)       Melbourne 6,312 (0)       Brisbane 2,285 (-54)       Adelaide 357 (-14)       Perth 783 (-14)       Hobart 129 (-14)       Darwin 132 (+6)       Canberra 831 (+15)       National 21,713 (-97)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 2.64% (↑)      Melbourne 3.33% (↑)        Brisbane 3.31% (↓)       Adelaide 3.53% (↓)       Perth 3.93% (↓)     Hobart 4.01% (↑)      Darwin 5.54% (↑)      Canberra 3.52% (↑)      National 3.34% (↑)             UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 5.17% (↓)       Melbourne 6.19% (↓)     Brisbane 5.58% (↑)      Adelaide 5.94% (↑)        Perth 6.99% (↓)       Hobart 4.68% (↓)     Darwin 8.08% (↑)      Canberra 5.81% (↑)        National 5.78% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.8% (↑)      Melbourne 0.7% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 0.9% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.0% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.1% (↑)      Brisbane 1.0% (↑)      Adelaide 0.5% (↑)      Perth 0.5% (↑)      Hobart 1.4% (↑)      Darwin 1.7% (↑)      Canberra 1.4% (↑)      National 1.1% (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 29.8 (↓)     Melbourne 31.7 (↑)      Brisbane 30.6 (↑)        Adelaide 25.2 (↓)       Perth 35.2 (↓)     Hobart 35.1 (↑)      Darwin 44.2 (↑)        Canberra 31.5 (↓)     National 32.9 (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 29.7 (↓)       Melbourne 30.5 (↓)     Brisbane 27.8 (↑)        Adelaide 22.8 (↓)     Perth 38.4 (↑)        Hobart 37.5 (↓)       Darwin 37.3 (↓)       Canberra 40.5 (↓)       National 33.1 (↓)           
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Bearish Bets Against Markets Are Surging

Investors are loading up their bets against a number of big tech stocks, positioning for a reversal.

By KAREN LANGLEY
Wed, Feb 23, 2022 11:18amGrey Clock 3 min

Investors are wagering that the recent pain in markets will intensify.

Stocks dropped sharply in another wild session Tuesday after Russia deployed troops into two breakaway areas of Ukraine, escalating tensions in the region. The S&P 500 ended the day down 1%, extending the losses from its January record to more than 10% and meeting the criteria of a market correction. The index hadn’t suffered a similar decline since February 2020.

Short sellers have been adding to their positions against the SPDR S&P 500 Exchange-Traded Fund Trust, which tracks the broad U.S. stock index, at the fastest rate in nearly a year. Other investors are scooping up at record pace options contracts that would pay out if the recent declines in the stock and bond markets worsen.

The escalating geopolitical tensions come at a time when a surge in inflation and uncertainty about the pace of the Federal Reserve’s expected interest-rate increases have already whipsawed financial markets to start the year. Earnings growth, meanwhile, is expected to moderate from its red-hot pace in 2021, when profits were being compared with their knocked-down levels during the early stages of the pandemic.

The S&P 500 is down 9.7% in 2022, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite has tumbled 14%. In the bond market, benchmark borrowing costs rose above 2% earlier this month for the first time since mid-2019.

“Sentiment is really poor,” said Danny Kirsch, head of options at Piper Sandler, who said he has noticed more clients opting for hedges recently. “People are nervous.”

Short sellers added $8.6 billion to their positions against the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust over the four weeks through Thursday, according to projections from technology and data analytics company S3 Partners. That amount would be the highest since a four-week period ending in early March 2021.

Short sellers borrow shares and sell them, with a plan to repurchase them at lower prices and pocket the difference. Investors shorting the market may be placing an outright bet that stocks will fall or reducing their exposure to a market downturn while betting that particular stocks will outperform.

Jordan Kahn, chief investment officer at ACM Funds, said his firm has been trimming its positions in stocks in one of its strategies while adding to short positions against exchange-traded funds that track the broad market.

Mr. Kahn said he grew concerned near the end of 2021 when he saw that individual stocks were selling off, while the largest stocks kept major indexes afloat.

“That’s kind of a red flag for us,” he said. “We think that the most likely scenario is that those big stocks that haven’t had as big a correction yet will probably at some point play catch-up to the downside.”

Investors are loading up their bets against a number of big tech stocks that led the way higher in recent years, positioning for a reversal. Investors added $1.3 billion to their short positions against Tesla Inc. over the 30 days through Friday and almost $844 million to their bets against Nvidia Corp., according to S3 Partners. They have been trimming their bets, by contrast, against Bank of America Corp., Apple Inc. and Texas Instruments Inc.

Nvidia shares have fallen 20% in 2022 but are still up 63% over the past year. Tesla is down 22% this year but is up 15% from a year ago. Both stocks have skyrocketed since the end of 2019.

Many traders have stepped in to buy the stock market dips, despite the volatility. However, traders have also been tapping other options strategies to profit from the downturn or hedge their portfolios. Three out of five of the most active days for put options trading in history have occurred in the first weeks of 2022, according to Cboe Global Markets data as of Friday.

Call options on single stocks as a percentage of total options activity recently fell to the lowest level since April 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic was first spreading through the U.S., according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

For much of last year, turbocharged bullish bets on stocks were in vogue, and many traders rode the S&P 500’s ascent to 70 fresh highs.

Calls give the right to buy shares at a later time, by a stated date. Puts confer the right to sell.

Investors are also hedging against potential declines in the bond market. The prospect of higher interest rates has triggered a rush out of bonds, with outflows from money-market and bond funds on pace to be the biggest in at least seven years.

The number of put options outstanding tied to the iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF, which goes by the ticker HYG, and iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF, or LQD, recently jumped to the highest level on record, according to Barclays PLC.

To some traders, the dour sentiment can be an opportunity to capitalize on any rebound.

Julien Stouff, founder of hedge-fund firm Stouff Capital in Geneva, Switzerland, said he placed short-term bullish bets on stocks in January around the time he noticed many traders growing more pessimistic on the market. Recently, he has taken a neutral stance through the options market.

“This fear normally creates a buying opportunity,” he said.



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The Top 10 highest paid CEOs of the ASX 200 revealed

Along with pay rates, the latest report from the ACSI shows bonuses are no longer based on exceptional results

By Bronwyn Allen
Tue, Jul 23, 2024 2 min

The CEOs of the ASX 200 were paid a little less in FY23 compared to the year before, but bonuses appear to have become the norm rather than a reward for outstanding results, according to the Australia Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI). ACSI has released its 23rd annual report documenting the CEOs’ realised pay, which combines base salaries, bonuses and other incentives.

The highest-paid CEO among Australian-domiciled ASX 200 companies in FY23 was Greg Goodman of Goodman Group, with realised pay of $27.34 million. Goodman Group is the ASX 200’s largest real estate investment trust (REIT) with a global portfolio of $80.5 billion in assets. The highest-paid CEO among foreign-domiciled ASX 200 companies was Mick Farrell of ResMed with realised pay of $47.58 million. ResMed manufactures CPAP machines to treat sleep apnoea.

The realised pay for the CEOs of the largest 100 companies by market capitalisation fell marginally from a median of $3.93 million in FY22 to $3.87 million in FY23. This is the lowest median in the 10 years since ACSI began basing its report on realised pay data. The median realised pay for the CEOs of the next largest 100 companies also fell from $2.1million to $1.95 million.

However, 192 of the ASX 200 CEOs took home a bonus, and Ed John, ACSI’s executive manager of stewardship, is concerned that bonuses are becoming “a given”.

“At a time when companies are focused on productivity and performance, it is critical that bonuses are only paid for exceptional outcomes,” Mr John said. He added that boards should set performance thresholds for CEO bonuses at appropriate levels.

ACSI said the slightly lower median realised pay of ASX 200 CEOs indicated greater scrutiny from shareholders was having an impact. There was a record 41 strike votes against executive pay at ASX 300 annual general meetings (AGMs) in 2023. This indicated an increasing number of shareholders were feeling unhappy with the executive pay levels at the companies in which they were invested.

A strike vote means 25 percent or more of shareholders voted against a company’s remuneration report. If a second strike vote is recorded at the next AGM, shareholders can vote to force the directors to stand for re-election.

10 highest-paid ASX 200 CEOs in FY23

1. Mick Farrell, ResMed, $47.58 million*
2. Robert Thomson, News Corporation, $41.53 million*
3. Greg Goodman, Goodman Group, $27.34 million
4. Shemara Wikramanayake, Macquarie Group, $25.32 million
5. Mike Henry, BHP Group, $19.68 million
6. Matt Comyn, Commonwealth Bank, $10.52 million
7. Jakob Stausholm, Rio Tinto, $10.47 million
8. Rob Scott, Wesfarmers, $9.57 million
9. Ron Delia, Amcor, $9.33 million*
10. Colin Goldschmidt, Sonic Healthcare, $8.35 million

Source: ACSI. Foreign-domiciled ASX 200 companies*

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