As of December 2nd the P/E ratio for the S&P/ASX 200 was 8.46. The dividend yield was 6.71%.
Volatility Index (VIX)
Another index we are keeping an eye on in the USA is the CBOE Volatility Index. This index purports to be a key measure of market expectations of near term volatility conveyed by the S&P 500 share index. The higher the level of index, the higher are expectations for volatility in the S&P 500 index. For more information on how the VIX is calculated please take a look at - www.cboe.com/micro/vix/introduction.aspx
As at the 5th of December the index closed at a level of 59.93. This is significantly down from the 72.67 level reached a fortnight ago and down from the 80.1 level it has reached at its peak.
Since our previous edition, all growth asset classes have rebounded in value. The S&P ASX200 Index has risen by 2.15% from the 21st of November to the 5th of December. It is now down 46.38% from the same time last year and down 44.95% for the calendar year so far.
The MSCI World Index - ex Australia, a measure of the global market, has risen 6.32% over the same period. The index is down 43.96% from the same time last year and down 43.37% for the calendar year so far.
Emerging markets have also experienced positive movement with the MSCI Emerging Markets Index rising 6.52% since the 21st of November. This index is down 51.98% from the same time last year and down 51.13% for the calendar year so far.
Listed property has also risen over the past fortnight. Australian listed property trusts have risen 0.22%. The index is down 60.91% from the same time last year and down 56.98% for the calendar year so far.
The S&P/Citigroup Global REIT - Ex Australia Index has risen strongly over the fortnight by 14.99%. This measure is down 31.70% from the same time last year and down 28.23% for the calendar year so far.
As of 4pm the 5th of December, the value of the Australian dollar was up 4.12% against the US Dollar at .6441. It is now down 26.02% from the same time last year and down 26.94% for the calendar year so far. Since November 21st the Aussie has risen 3.26% against the Trade Weighted Index, with the index now at 53.8. This puts it down by 20.53% since the same time last year and down 21.69% for the calendar year so far. (The Trade Weighted Index measures The Australian dollar against a basket of foreign currencies.)
Since our previous edition, the Reserve Bank of Australia Board has taken the decision to reduce official interest rates by a further 1.00% leaving the official target rate at 4.25%. This is the lowest level seen since April 2001.
The Australian Bureau of Statistic has released the latest economic growth data to the end of September 2008. The figures show that the economy grew by 0.1% over the September quarter and grew 1.9% over the year to the end of September.
The ABS has also released the latest population estimates placing Australia's population at 21.374 million, an increase of 1.7% over the past year. Western Australia (2.7%), Queensland (2.3%) and the Northern Territory (2.3%) have experienced the largest growth.