Economy

Former Genetic Technologies chief jailed for market manipulation; Merry Christmas ahead for property buyers at auctions: Midday Roundup

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Former Genetic Technologies (GTG) chief executive Dr Mervyn Jacobson was today handed a jail sentence of two years and eight months, after being convicted of manipulating the company’s share price on the Australia Securities Exchange.

Jacobson was convicted on 35 charges in relations to the manipulation of GTG shares earlier this month. The share price manipulation was said to have occurred over a six month period and two of the charges involved Jacobson conspiring with other people.

In handing down the sentence, Justice Stephen Kaye said Jacobson’s conduct “had the capacity to erode the integrity of, and public confidence in, the securities market, and thereby to cause damage to members of the community, who have invested their savings in that market”.

In a statement, ASIC Commissioner Cathie Armour said the outcome of the trial “reflects ASIC’s determination to take action against market misconduct and to protect the integrity of our financial markets”.

Jacobson’s imprisonment follows the conviction of his daughter Tamara Newing in 2011. Newing was sentenced to 21 months in jail after admitting she bought 5.9 million shares in Genetic Technologies to manipulate its share price.

Property buyers in luck for Christmas auctions

Buyers may be in luck in the lead up to Christmas, with property volumes remaining at historical highs and demand easing, particularly in Melbourne, according to RP Data housing market specialist Robert Larocca.

Melbourne recorded a 63.7% clearance, compared to 72.7% the same time last year, during a weekend that was largely undisturbed by the Victorian election.

“The state election has had no impact on results that are on trend with the mild easing in demand seen over November,” said Larocca.

Larocca said the number of active buyers appears to be rising in line with supply in Sydney, where the city cleared 75.2% of its properties under the hammer, ccompared to 72.7% last year.

The national clearance rate was logged at 66.6% for the weekend, compared to 66.9% the same time last year.

Aussie shares down

Local shares are down this morning, as investors keep an eye on commodity prices.

“The question of whether last week’s high momentum sell off in commodities is set to continue will be the key focus for investors at the beginning of a busy week,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

“The upcoming drop in petrol prices will be a plus for other areas of the economy. However, investors may be concerned about the overall headwind for the Australian economy created by falling commodity prices.”

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was down 55.5 points to 5257.5 at 12:06pm AEDT. On Friday, the Dow Jones closed 0.49 points up to 17,828.2.

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