Interest Rates

  • Business confidence needs another rate cut AAP - 58 minutes ago

    The reluctance of businesses to borrow funds for growth makes another interest rate cut more likely, an economist says. The Reserve Bank's February rate cut, which took the cash rate to a record low of 2.25 per cent, has done little to spur business borrowing, a survey by Dun & Bradstreet found. Just 19 per cent of firms surveyed plan to borrow during the June quarter, compared with 18 per cent a year ago, and Dun & Bradstreet economic adviser Stephen Koukoulas said weak business confidence made another rate cut more likely. "With expectations for a much needed, sustained upswing in business investment and employment having stalled, it is likely that the RBA will need to provide further monetary policy stimulus in the near term," said Mr Koukoulas, who is a former senior Treasury economist and economic adviser to former prime minister Julia Gillard.

  • The surprising cost of replacing cashier's check - 4 hours ago

    I misplaced a cashier's check issued to me when I closed a business account. The bank is willing to eventually replace the check for $35. It's common for a bank to require a set period of time to pass before issuing a replacement for a lost cashier's check. The FAQ section of the website for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the government regulator) says banks may require a waiting period of 30 to 90 days.

  • What if your house spent like the White House? - 4 hours ago

    Ever wonder what the federal budget would look like if Congress worked with your salary instead of a few trillion dollars in public money? Some of those massive earmarks might not seem so big when shrunken to the size of a household budget. This calculator uses the White House's $3.9 trillion 2015 budget proposal that was analyzed by the Office of Management and Budget. *Editor's note: Click on a category in the doughnut chart to read the explanation of what the government spends in that category.

  • Properly defined dependents can pay off at tax time - 4 hours ago

    The key tax breaks associated with a child are the child tax credit, the child and dependent care credit and the earned income tax credit. Each dependent directly translates into an exemption, a specific dollar amount, adjusted annually for inflation, that you deduct from your adjusted gross income.

  • 740 credit score is mortgage sweet spot - 4 hours ago

    Today's lowest mortgage rates and fees go to borrowers with credit scores of 740 or higher. This is a change from a few years ago, when a 720 credit score was good enough to merit the best deals. The fees are higher for borrowers with credit scores of 700 to 719, and they continue to kick higher for every 20-point drop. "What used to be great is now only good," says mortgage broker Todd Huettner, president of Denver-based Huettner Capital.

  • 4 secrets to budgeting for a home purchase - 4 hours ago

    "If buying a home is your goal, then it needs to be your priority," says Tim Kirchner, formerly vice president of MetLife Bank in Irving, Texas. "The most important focus for all potential buyers should be improving their credit score," says Jean Badciong, chief compliance officer of Inlanta Mortgage in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Greg Holmes is national director of sales and marketing for Credit Plus, a company in Salisbury, Maryland, that provides credit reports to mortgage lenders. To improve their credit scores, buyers should pay off past-due bills, pay every bill on time and reduce their balances to less than 30 percent of the credit limit on every account, Holmes says.

  • What do financial advisers get asked about IRAs? - 4 hours ago

    Taxes, investing and retirement represent a trifecta of thorny topics for many people, and IRAs combine all three subjects in one package. Once savers figure out the tax benefits and the rules of contributing, retirement comes along and new rules apply. An IRA is just a trust established with certain tax-favored rules. They think the IRA is the actual investment," says Jim Saulnier, CFP professional, founder of Jim Saulnier and Associates in Fort Collins, Colorado.

  • Paperwork you need to get a home mortgage - 4 hours ago

    Lenders require paperwork that verifies every facet of your financial life: taxable income, assets, rent payments and more. "Even if you are the most perfect (borrower), expect that you might still get singed going through," says Metzler, who heads Mortgages Unlimited in St. Paul, Minnesota. You can prove this with paycheck stubs. Employees that are paid electronically may be able to access a corporate website to print out paycheck stubs.

  • Does home insurance cover termite damage? - 4 hours ago

    Will my home insurance policy pay for the damage? The content is broad in scope and does not consider your personal financial situation.

  • Economists predict Reserve Bank will cut interest rate to 2 per cent, survey finds ABC - 5 hours ago

    Most economists believe the Reserve Bank will cut the cash rate again on Tuesday but that it is likely to be a tough call. Last month the Reserve Bank cut the key rate to an historic low of 2.25 per cent and many expect a cut today will take it to 2 per cent. The figures show the long-awaited boost in non-mining business investment remains a long way away, with many economists scaling back their expectations for growth in the December quarter. Since February ANZ senior economist Justin Fabo has forecast a cut and said recent data only adds to his case.

  • $A lower ahead of RBA board meeting AAP - 8 hours ago

    The Australian dollar is lower as the market cautiously awaits the Reserve Bank interest rate decision on Tuesday. Last month, the Reserve Bank cut the cash rate to a new record low of 2.25 per cent, saying economic growth was going to be slower than expected and the unemployment rate was going to peak at a higher level. research analyst Chris Tedder said the release of weak business investment data last week means that a second interest rate reduction is inevitable after a bout of weak economic data in recent days. At 1700 AEDT, the Australian dollar was at 93.15 Japanese yen, up from Thursday's close of 92.99 yen, and at 69.54 euro cents, down from 69.57 euro cents.

  • Bonds slightly weaker before RBA decision AAP - 8 hours ago

    The Australian bond market has been trading in a tight range as the market awaits the Reserve Bank interest rate decision on Tuesday. Last month, the Reserve Bank cut the cash rate to a new record low of 2.25 per cent, saying economic growth was going to be slower than expected and the unemployment rate was going to peak at a higher level. UBS interest rate strategist Andrew Lilley said the trading range on Monday for three-year bonds has been the tightest he's seen in a while and trading volumes are also down.

  • Falling profits add to case for rate cut AAP - 9 hours ago
    Falling profits add to case for rate cut

    Company profits fell almost six per cent in 2014, a sign the economy is struggling and more interest rate cuts are likely. JP Morgan economist Tom Kennedy said the figures definitely add to the case for another interest rate cut from the Reserve Bank.

  • House price rise eases, but not in Sydney AAP - 9 hours ago

    Home price growth is expected to ease from its recent blistering pace, but not in Sydney. Sydney is still the strongest market, with prices up 13.7 per cent in the 12 months to February, almost double the pace of the next best market in Melbourne, and up on a 12.4 per cent rise in 2014. The median house price in Sydney has now passed three quarters of a million dollars, and a flat will set you back over half a million. The good news for potential buyers elsewhere is that national price growth is easing.

  • Weakening economy blamed for manufacturing shrinkage ABC - 11 hours ago

    The contraction of Australia's manufacturing sector has intensified, with lacklustre domestic demand offsetting the benefits of a weaker Australian dollar. The February edition of the Australian Industry Group's Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) fell 3.6 points to 45.4. "That's largely been driven by a lack of domestic demand," AIG chief executive Innes Willox said. Manufacturing production fell 3.7 points to 45, while the sub indices for supplier deliveries (46.9) and stock levels (47) also slipped into contraction.

  • It's a big week for Australia, China CNBC - 12 hours ago
    It's a big week for Australia, China

    Key highlights this week include a batch of economic numbers, alongside a central bank decision from Australia and an annual meeting of China's parliament.

  • House prices rise as Sydney surge continues ABC - 12 hours ago

    Capital city house prices have continued rising, with the Sydney market still outperforming the rest of the country. Figures from CoreLogic RP Data show the average capital city home price rose by a further 0.3 per cent in February, taking the annual increase to 8.3 per cent. Sydney led the gains with a rise of 1.4 per cent and was up a stellar 13.7 per cent over the past 12 months. The once-booming Perth market felt the pinch of falling commodity values and a declining jobs market, with prices tumbling 2.2 per cent last month.

  • $A drifts back below 78 US cents AAP - 13 hours ago

    The Australian dollar has drifted back below 78 US cents as investors await Tuesday's Reserve Bank interest rate decision. The Australian dollar got a boost over the weekend after the Chinese central bank announced rate cuts in a bid to stimulate waning growth in the world's second largest economy.

  • House prices rise 0.3% in February AAP - 14 hours ago

    Capital city home price growth has slowed slightly, as a weak economic outlook overshadows expectations of more interest rate cuts, a survey shows. Capital city dwelling values rose by a seasonally adjusted ...

  • Inflation unchanged in February AAP - 15 hours ago

    Inflation was flat in February, as rises in prices for fuel and utilities were not enough to overcome falls in fruit and vegetables and holiday travel and accommodation. The unchanged result in the February TD Securities/Melbourne Institute monthly inflation gauge follows a meagre 0.1 rise in January. The annual rate of inflation was 1.3 per cent, well below the Reserve Bank's two to three per cent target band.

  • Reporting season wraps up; focus shifts back to RBA ABC - Sun, Mar 1, 2015 8:42 PM AEDT

    The final week of the February reporting season saw a slip in the quality of results, but overall the four-week "Festival of the Spreadsheet" was probably neither better nor worse than expected. The improvement in profits relative to the year before is pretty well the norm for corporate Australia.

  • How to adjust your withholding - Fri, Feb 27, 2015 9:00 PM AEDT

    Through this process, a percentage of your pay is taken out each pay period and sent to the IRS, where it is credited toward your final tax bill. Payroll withholding is something you want to get just right. The best course, tax experts say, is to adjust your withholding so your tax payments will match your actual tax liability.

  • Does employer match count toward 401(k) limit? - Fri, Feb 27, 2015 9:00 PM AEDT

    Do employer contributions to a 401(k) plan count against the maximum limits you can contribute to the plan? Do they affect the amount you can put into a traditional or Roth IRA? The employer matching contributions don't count toward the maximum limits that you can contribute to a 401(k) plan. There is, however, a combined contribution limit of $52,000 for the employer and employee contributions in 2014.

  • Can I say no to rental car insurance? - Fri, Feb 27, 2015 9:00 PM AEDT

    My wife and I recently planned a trip, and when she was reserving the rental car online, the form asked if we wanted insurance coverage. I thought the car insurance that rental car companies sold was just a way for them to make a few extra dollars, but my wife is concerned we shouldn't be going without. How important is it to buy the insurance the car rental company is offering? Having insurance on your rental car isn't important at all -- assuming nothing happens!

  • Will the Supreme Court kill Obamacare? - Fri, Feb 27, 2015 9:00 PM AEDT

    President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement, the Affordable Care Act, is making its way before the Supreme Court again, in a case that puts the law at risk of losing its pulse. At issue are the federal tax subsidies at the heart of the law that have made health insurance more affordable for many. According to one nonpartisan study, the appeal now before the nation's highest court threatens to set off a chain of events that could bring about a nearly 50 percent increase in health insurance premiums in most states. The latest Supreme Court challenge is based on a mere four words in the Affordable Care Act.

  • How early retirees balance growth and income - Fri, Feb 27, 2015 9:00 PM AEDT

    Jason Flurry, president of Legacy Partners Financial Group, uses a "bucket system" to show how simple it can be to meet income needs of $60,000 per year, factoring a 3 percent withdrawal rate, without taking unnecessary risks. For example, a 4 percent withdrawal rate might be used with a high probability for success.

  • The pros and cons of investing in gold - Fri, Feb 27, 2015 9:00 PM AEDT

    Gold might be a glittering temptation for investors looking to fatten their investment returns with a relatively safe commodity. Indeed, gold shouldn't be considered an investment at all, says Chris Hyzy, chief investment officer at U.S. Trust, the private wealth management arm of Bank of America in New York. Traditionally, investing in gold has been used as a hedge against inflation.

  • Home construction loans and how they work - Fri, Feb 27, 2015 9:00 PM AEDT

    Can you explain how construction loans work? Construction loans for new-built homes are either obtained by the homebuilder or prospective owner. Let's proceed on the assumption that you're taking out an individual construction loan. Construction loans are typically short term with a maximum of one year, and have variable rates that move up and down with the prime rate.

  • How early retirees can build an income bridge - Fri, Feb 27, 2015 9:00 PM AEDT

    If throughout your career you maximized savings into your tax-advantaged retirement accounts and diligently socked money into after-tax savings, you may be able to retire early -- well before you're old enough to collect Social Security or pensions. Now the challenge is how to manage money in early retirement: specifically, figuring out how to withdraw income from your investment portfolio to support you until normal retirement age, while still allowing for growth to supplement expenses down the road. You need a retirement income bridge -- a stream of income from your portfolio to last until pensions and Social Security help fill in the gaps. Their goal is to maximize tax benefits in their retirement accounts for as long as possible, maintain investment growth and withdraw a steady stream of income.

  • $A struggles to fall against yen, euro AAP - Fri, Feb 27, 2015 12:54 PM AEDT

    The Australian dollar's race to the bottom is not going to plan. Reserve Bank boss Glenn Stevens wants a lower Aussie dollar to boost economic growth, but the European and Japanese central banks also want the same thing with their currencies. In the past seven months the Australian dollar has dropped almost 20 US cents, from 95 US cents in July to 76 US cents in early February, and most forecasters expect it to bottom out between 70 and 72 US cents in 2015. HSBC head of Asian currency research Paul Mackel said it's becoming difficult for the RBA to engineer a faster depreciation for the Australian dollar.

  • Capex figures a drag on the $A AAP - Fri, Feb 27, 2015 12:45 PM AEDT

    The Australian dollar is struggling to recover the losses suffered after the release of bleak local capital expenditure figures. FXCM chief currency strategist John Kicklighter said the figures do not bode well for a busy period of local economic data next week, which includes the release of gross domestic product figures on Wednesday. "The Aussie dollar dropped against all of its major counterparts with the exception of the euro this past session," he said. The futures market and economist are giving a rate cut a better than even chance, which Mr Kicklighter said could add to further volatility for the Aussie dollar.

  • How to invest in precious metals - Thu, Feb 26, 2015 9:00 PM AEDT

    Lesser-known precious metals, such as palladium and platinum, may be just the ticket for investors looking beyond gold and silver. All precious metals move together, says David Morgan, founder of Platinum, which follows the price of gold, can even sell at a premium to its fellow precious metal. Before investing in platinum or palladium, ground your portfolio by investing in gold and silver first, Morgan says.

  • CD rates for Feb. 26, 2015 - Thu, Feb 26, 2015 9:00 PM AEDT

    Interest Rate Roundup Compare CD rates nationally and in your area. CDs 1-year CD yields: 0.27% 5-year CD yields: 0.87% Rates on certificates of deposit barely changed in this week's rate survey. The average ...

  • Sick of checking fees? Check out credit unions - Thu, Feb 26, 2015 9:00 PM AEDT

    Thinking about moving your checking account to dodge fees? You're twice as likely to find free checking at a credit union than a bank, according to a new study by

  • Auto loan rates for Feb. 26, 2015 - Thu, Feb 26, 2015 9:00 PM AEDT

    Interest Rate Roundup Find the best auto rates in your area. Auto Loans 60-month, new car: 4.07% 36-month, used car: 4.86% Rates on auto loans were mixed this week, according to Bankrate's latest survey ...