Financial News from AAP

  • Sydney rally as Greens oppose NorthConnex AAP - 4 hours ago

    The Greens will outline their opposition to the proposed NorthConnex project at a rally in Sydney's north. Greens NSW MP John Kaye will attend the community rally on Saturday in Wahroonga and explain the health, traffic and environmental issues of the coalition government's transport project. According to Mr Kaye, the NSW Department of Health has raised serious concerns about the pollution from vehicles being concentrated into two stacks in residential areas.

  • GrainCorp expects profit to halve AAP - 9 hours ago
    GrainCorp expects profit to halve

    GrainCorp has warned its full year profit could dive more than 50 per cent due to smaller crops and weaker exports. Chief executive Mark Palmquist blamed the weaker outlook on a smaller winter crop and reduced exports.

  • Aussies splash out at Harvey Norman AAP - 10 hours ago
    Aussies splash out at Harvey Norman

    Australians are splurging at Harvey Norman as their houses and share portfolios increase in value. The retailer is forecasting sales growth in its homemaker products this year thanks to improved consumer confidence following a 27.4 per cent boost to half year net profit. The robust result prompted the company to lift its interim dividend to nine cents and issue a special dividend of 14 cents per share. A strong housing market in Australia, record low interest rates, major infrastructure investment in NSW and stable consumer sentiment were pointing to positive trends, chairman Gerry Harvey said.

  • RBA expected to cut rates again AAP - 10 hours ago
    RBA expected to cut rates again

    A growing band of top economists expect the Reserve Bank to take a razor to interest rates again next week, amid further signs the economy is deteriorating. All 17 economists surveyed by AAP expect the RBA will deliver at least one more rate cut in 2015, taking the cash rate to a new record low of two per cent. Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, Westpac and AMP Capital are among those forecasting a March cut, with the general consensus being the RBA tends to deliver cuts in pairs. It's normally two," Commonwealth Bank senior economist Michael Workman said.

  • Glencore slashes coal production AAP - 10 hours ago
    Glencore slashes coal production

    Global mining giant Glencore is cutting its Australian coal production by 15 million tonnes due to weak demand. Glencore currently employs 8,600 workers. It said it would make changes at several sites, including underground roster changes, scaling back of some open pit mining and revisions to its product portfolio, to better match its volume and coal quality to current market demand. "We will continue to review all our coal operations in the prevailing economic climate," Glencore said.

  • More WA public sector 'efficiencies' ahead AAP - 10 hours ago

    Facing three straight deficits, West Australian Treasurer Mike Nahan says there's "great scope" for more belt tightening in the public sector. Dr Nahan told a business briefing on Friday the state budget was still heading for the red after about a 50 per cent plunge in the iron ore price during the past 12 months. "I think the time is right ... and I've got good feedback from the Commonwealth government, but I haven't banked it yet and it's yet to be achieved," Dr Nahan later told reporters. "For the last two years, the treasurer - first Wayne Swan and then Joe Hockey - overrode the Grants Commission on the system for iron ore fines.

  • High-income welfare set debt trap: Fraser AAP - 12 hours ago
    High-income welfare set debt trap: Fraser

    The new head of Australia's Treasury department has blamed years of spending on "middle and higher-income welfare" for creating costs the nation won't be able to afford in the future without serious reform. In his first public address as Treasury Secretary, John Fraser flagged superannuation and middle-class welfare as areas that must be reassessed if Australia is to be able to meet its future health and ageing costs. Mr Fraser also criticised the level of political debate in Australia about the economy, saying both sides of politics were guilty of taking too much joy in knocking ideas instead of serious discussion. A former investment banker, Mr Fraser told a business lunch in Sydney that in the six weeks since his return to Australia from London he had been disappointed by the level of public debate.

  • ACCC OKs Fairfax-Macquarie radio merger AAP - 13 hours ago
    ACCC OKs Fairfax-Macquarie radio merger

    The merger of Macquarie Radio Network and Fairfax Media's radio business is one step closer after the national competition regulator gave the green light to the proposed venture. The ACCC said on Friday that it wouldn't oppose the merger as the combined business would "continue to face strong competition from other commercial radio stations". "The ACCC considered the effect of the proposed transaction on the price of radio advertising, as well as the quality of news and other content provided to audiences," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said. Fairfax owns Sydney's 2UE, Melbourne's 3AW, Brisbane's 4BC and Perth's 6PR, while John Singleton's Macquarie Radio owns 2GB, home to Alan Jones, and easy listening 2CH.

  • $A under pressure after US inflation data AAP - 14 hours ago

    The Australian dollar is struggling to hold above 78 US cents after strong core inflation figures from the US strengthened the greenback. At 1700 AEDT on Friday, the local currency was trading at 78.03 US cents, down from 78.47 cents on Thursday.

  • PaperlinX falls to $91m half year loss AAP - 15 hours ago

    Packaging group PaperlinX has announced an even deeper half year loss stemming from problems in Europe, a week after its chief executive was sacked and replaced. The company behind industrial packaging, fine paper and signs blamed surprisingly poor market demand and unsustainably low prices in the UK and midwestern Europe for a loss of $90.8 million in the six months to December 31. The bad news comes nine days after the company sacked and replaced chief executive Andrew Price after just over a year in the top job. Chairman Robert Kaye said its poor performance in Europe had overshadowed its healthier operations in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

  • Rate cut talk pushes share market higher AAP - 15 hours ago

    Speculation about a rate cut next week has buoyed the big banks and lifted the share market, securing a sixth consecutive week of gains. Disappointing December quarter capital expenditure data has boosted ...

  • Woolies promises cheaper food prices AAP - 15 hours ago
    Woolies promises cheaper food prices

    Woolworths will funnel more than $500 million into improving sales as it lags further behind supermarket rival Coles. Woolworths has downgraded its full year profit guidance and its director of supermarkets and petrol, Tjeerd Jegen, has resigned. Chief executive Grant O'Brien says the profit forecast has been downgraded so it can invest more into reducing its food and grocery prices. "All our efforts will be on restoring sales' momentum and continuing to deliver profit growth," he said.

  • Cabcharge profit falls AAP - 15 hours ago

    Payment and transport business Cabcharge is searching for new income beyond taxis and considering a name change after a 13 per cent fall in half year profit. "The enduring solution to our challenges will come from new revenue streams and we are determined to leverage our payments expertise outside the taxi industry," chief executive Andrew Skelton said. The company blamed a fall in half year profit to $31 million on lower income due to price caps on taxi service fees in Victoria and NSW, a move the Western Australian government has also now made. Cabcharge said it has achieved annualised savings of $7 million, including reducing taxi driver bonus schemes.

  • Aust bond futures mixed on US inflation AAP - 15 hours ago

    Australian bond futures prices are mixed after US core inflation figures came in better than expected. Official US figures showed plunging petrol prices had pulled inflation down sharply in January. At 1630 AEDT on Friday, the March 2015 10-year bond futures contract was trading at 97.575 (implying a yield of 2.425 per cent), down from 97.615 (2.385 per cent) on Thursday. The March 2015 three-year bond futures contract was at 98.230 (1.770 per cent), up from 98.210 (1.790 per cent).

  • Treasury looks beyond Penfolds for growth AAP - 15 hours ago

    Treasury Wine Estates is looking to cultivate demand for its top shelf labels - and not just Penfolds. The maker of wines, including Wolf Blass, Lindeman's and Pepperjack, says the first half of the financial year was "all about Penfolds", with the 2014 release of the Bin Series and Icon and Luxury Collection moved from March and May to October, significantly lifting earnings. Treasury Wine made a net profit of $42.6 million in the period, down 60 per cent from a year earlier when it benefited from a large tax offset. "We're now addressing the under investment in our other brands beyond Penfolds," chief executive Michael Clarke said.

  • Stop knocking reform ideas: Treasury boss AAP - 15 hours ago
    Stop knocking reform ideas: Treasury boss

    Australia's new federal Treasury secretary has bemoaned the level of political debate about the economy, saying there is too much joy taken in knocking ideas instead of serious discussion. In his first public address as Treasury Secretary, John Fraser flagged superannuation and middle class welfare as areas that must be reassessed if Australia is to be able to meet its future health and ageing costs. A former investment banker, Mr Fraser told a business lunch in Sydney that in the six weeks since his return to Australia from London he had been disappointed by the level of public debate. "Too often in this country you see good ideas hit over the fence in about 24 hours, and that applies to both sides of politics," Mr Fraser said at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia lunch.

  • Rio Tinto workers fear more job cuts AAP - 15 hours ago
    Rio Tinto workers fear more job cuts

    Workers fear more jobs are to be cut by mining giant Rio Tinto as it begins a new round of cost cutting by merging its copper and coal divisions. Under the new arrangements, Rio Tinto's operations will be condensed into four groups - iron ore, aluminium, copper and coal, and diamonds and minerals. The Western Mineworkers Alliance (WMWA) said Rio employees were hearing conflicting reports of proposed job cuts at sites across the Pilbara, involving between 100 and 800 employees. Alliance representative Stephen Price said Rio was treating Pilbara workers with disrespect, and has called on the company to specify whether voluntary redundancies will be offered.

  • Stocks to watch at close on Friday AAP - 15 hours ago

    Stocks to watch on the Australian stock exchange at the close on Friday: CAB - CABCHARGE - up 14 cents, or 2.8 per cent, at $5.11 Payments system operator Cabcharge is looking to expand beyond the taxi ...

  • Aussie shares close higher AAP - 15 hours ago

    The Australian share market closed higher on Thursday, with positive manufacturing data out of the US overnight and China during the day promoting positive investor sentiment.

  • Economist disappointed by capex AAP - 16 hours ago

    It was the quarterly survey of projected capital spending (capex) by businesses from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. "Today's capex report has dashed hopes of a recovery in non-mining business investment," ANZ's Felicity Emmett said in her commentary on the numbers. Westpac's Andrew Hanlan warned that early estimates of capex are notoriously unreliable but was still unable to put much of a gloss onto the figures. "The initial estimate for 2015/16 is disappointing and points to downside risks to business investment for that year," he said.

  • Four lessons from reporting season AAP - 16 hours ago

    The stock market can be brutal at times, just ask shareholders in any company that fell short of profit expectations or lowered their guidance in February. "If you've changed your guidance to the downside you've been hurt and hurt badly," IG market strategist Evan Lucas said. Woolworths became probably the most high profile example on Friday, with its share price dropping eight per cent after abandoning its previous profit forecast. Just look at Seven Group, which reported a 74 per cent profit slide but saw its share price lift almost ten per cent after announcing it would buy back almost 18 million shares.

  • $A struggles to fall against yen, euro AAP - 19 hours ago

    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 - 19 hours ago

    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.

  • The week in numbers to February 27 AAP - 19 hours ago

    The big and small numbers that grabbed attention - or should have - in the business world over the past week. Monday: 8.1pct - Australia's biggest steelmaker BlueScope reintroduced dividends after lifting ...

  • Stocks to watch at noon on Friday AAP - 19 hours ago

    Stocks to watch on the Australian stock exchange at noon on Friday.

  • Woolworths woes, CBA gains balance market AAP - 19 hours ago

    The Australian share market is flat, with strong gains from heavyweight Commonwealth Bank offset by a disappointing first half profit result from Woolworths. "This is translating into not much change ...

  • Oil slump threatens Norway's affluence AAP - 20 hours ago

    Losing his job on a Norwegian oil rig meant a shift down in lifestyle and expectations for Kristoffer Sandberg, something an increasing number of people in this small oil rich country are facing. It's the start of what economists are predicting will be a long recession in the energy industry, which accounts for 15 per cent of Norway's economy, more than half of its exports and 80 per cent of the state's income.

  • Treasury Wine says revamp is working AAP - 20 hours ago

    The maker of Penfolds wine has taken a large hit to half year profit despite stronger sales, as it makes major changes to its business. Treasury Wine Estate's net profit in the six months to December 31 dropped 60 per cent from a year ago to $42.6 million, as the previous half year result was boosted by a tax benefit. Chief executive Michael Clarke said the owner of the Wolf Blass and Rosemount Estate labels had a good start to the financial year, with sales revenue up almost nine per cent to $883 million. Treasury Wine is also spending on its key growth markets of north Asia and the United States.

  • PaperlinX makes $91m half year loss AAP - 20 hours ago

    Packaging group PaperlinX has announced an even deeper half year loss stemming from problems in Europe only a week after its chief executive was sacked and replaced. The company behind industrial packaging, fine paper and signs blamed surprisingly poor market demand and unsustainably low prices in the UK and midwestern Europe for a loss of $90.8 million in the six months to December 31. The bad news comes nine days after the company sacked and replaced chief executive Andrew Price after just over a year in the top job. Chairman Robert Kaye said its poor performance in Europe had overshadowed its healthier operations in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

  • Harvey Norman profit up 27.4% AAP - 21 hours ago

    Retailer Harvey Norman is forecasting sales growth in its homemaker products thanks to improved consumer confidence. A strong housing market in Australia, record low interest rates and major infrastructure investment in NSW and stable consumer sentiment were pointing to positive trends, chairman Gerry Harvey said. "In Australia, our stores are benefiting from improved consumer confidence on the back of strong equity markets and strong growth in the housing market," Mr Harvey said. Mr Harvey said the strength of the company's online strategy and the benefits of the integrated Harvey Norman system helped the result.

  • Haiti celebrates completion of hotel AAP - 21 hours ago

    PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, AP - A second international-branded hotel has opened in the Haitian capital in what backers of the project and officials hope will be a spur to further economic development in the impoverished country. The 175-room Marriott Port-au-Prince is a four-star hotel geared primarily toward travellers looking to do business in Haiti, said Denis O'Brien, chairman of Digicel, the telecommunications company that developed the project adjacent to its Haiti headquarters in the Turgeau neighbourhood of the capital. "If a foreign direct investor is going to Haiti, they have to have a good first impression," O'Brien, whose company is the largest private employer in Haiti, said in an interview before Tuesday's event. O'Brien, an Irish billionaire whose company recently completed building 150 schools in Haiti and restored the historic Iron Market that was damaged in the January 2010 earthquake, said the hotel will directly create about 200 jobs, but that he hopes it will lead to more.

  • Qantas gets outlook upgrade from Moody's AAP - 21 hours ago
    Qantas gets outlook upgrade from Moody's

    Qantas has received a more favourable outlook from credit ratings agency Moody's after the airline delivered its best half year result in four years. Moody's gave Qantas a junk status credit rating in January 2014, with a Ba credit rating which is below investment grade. The airline still has a Ba credit rating, which entails substantial credit risk. "The change in outlook to stable from negative reflects the strengthening in Qantas' credit profile following the significantly improved earnings and credit metrics for the first half of fiscal year `15, which we expect to be sustained for the next six to 12 months," Moody's senior analyst Matthew Moore said.

  • Market opens lower after Woolworths result AAP - 21 hours ago

    The market has opened weaker, dragged down by losses in the energy sector and a dismal Woolworths half yearly result. The supermarket giant downgraded its full year guidance following a 3.1 per cent slide ...

  • Graincorp flags 50% profit drop AAP - 21 hours ago

    Graincorp expects its full year year profit could be cut by more than half due to smaller crops and weaker exports. The company is now forecasting an underlying profit of between $45 million and $60 million, down from $95 million in 2014.

  • Woolies shares dive on weaker outlook AAP - 21 hours ago
    Woolies shares dive on weaker outlook

    Shares in Woolworths have been hammered after a slide in the supermarket giant's half year profit led to a downgrade of its full year earnings forecast. Woolworths has downgraded its full year guidance and announced plans to step up investment in its core supermarkets business after falling further behind arch rival Coles. Woolworths suffered a 3.1 per cent slide in its first half profit to $1.28 billion due to costs associated with its efforts to turnaround Big W, but beat market expectations by lifting its underlying net profit to $1.38 billion. Chief executive Grant O'Brien said the company was stepping back from its earlier guidance to allow itself to make investments for the longer term in the supermarkets business.