What we Liked? The Australian economy is looking a lot stronger following a raft of positive economic data this week. Economic growth rose on the back of a lift in company profits, wages, and stronger exports from the December quarter last year. Gross operating profits rose by 5.9% above the 3% expected, driven by the mining sector. Wages rose by 0.8% in the quarter and 5.1% over the year which was a strong reading. All this led to a better than expected GDP rise of 1.0% from 0.5% in the first three months of 2018. This takes the annual rate to 3.1% and above the long run average of 3.0%. The positive rise was driven also by exports in coal, iron ore and liquefied natural gas. Vicinity Centres (VCX) who own Chadstone Shopping Centre, are offloading $1 billion of its medium sized shopping centres to fund development of prestige projects. Last week Westfield announced a similar move. It’s another sign that the Amazon effect is in full flight and causing a shift in the way consumers shop and malls operate. Our next UWJ Quarterly edition will cover this Amazon disruption effect and how shopping centres are adapting. The Commonwealth Bank has agreed to pay a $700m fine making it the largest civil penalty in Australia’s corporate history. The amount will settle claims it breached anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws. Whilst the penalty is negative…

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