Financial News from AAP

  • Flats give new home sales a big boost AAP - 6 hours ago
    Flats give new home sales a big boost

    Sales rose 1.1 per cent in February, seasonally adjusted, after a 1.8 per cent gain in January, the Housing Industry Association new home sales report shows. Although houses used to be the most common type of home in metropolitan regions, HIA chief economist Harley Dale said this had changed in the past four years with sales of flats, townhouses and semi-detached homes at all-time highs. "When it comes to housing, the Australian dream has typically been characterised as a house in the suburbs, on a quarter-acre block, a lawn in the back yard with a hills hoist, and an Australian made car (or two) in the driveway," Dr Dale said.

  • Treasury Wines to sell wineries, vineyards AAP - 8 hours ago
    Treasury Wines to sell wineries, vineyards

    The winemaker behind Penfolds is selling three Australian wineries and closing a packaging business as it embarks on the latest chapter in its massive cost-cutting drive. Treasury Wine Estates has hung out the for sale sign at its South Australian Ryecroft winery - which used to produce much of the group's famous Rosemount wines - along with the T'Gallant and Baileys wineries in Victoria. A Treasury spokesman said T'Gallant, which focuses on pinot varieties, and Baileys, known for its dry reds and dessert wines, did not have sufficient scale for TWE's needs. Treasury will also wrap up its wine packaging and warehousing business at Karadoc, near Mildura in Victoria, and sell its Asti winery in California.

  • MYOB launches $2.7b return to share market AAP - 8 hours ago

    Accounting software giant MYOB plans to raise more than $800 million in a return to the stock market after a six year absence. The company plans to use those funds to pay off debt when it returns to the Australian Securities Exchange in May. "It's largely restructuring of our balance sheet," chief executive Tim Reed told AAP. During its absence from the share market it transformed into a company that mainly provides cloud-based accounting and payroll software for small and medium businesses in Australia and New Zealand.

  • CSG action call after NSW poll AAP - 8 hours ago

    Conservation groups have rejected claims coal seam gas and mining were not critical issues in the NSW election, describing results in northern NSW as a "political earthquake". The Lock the Gate Alliance says the fall of Ballina and possibly Lismore - traditional Nationals strongholds - to the Greens had demonstrated the deep community disquiet about CSG. "The NSW government has an overwhelming mandate to change direction and act to protect water, farmland and people from the impacts of coal and gas mining," Lock the Gate national co-ordinator Phil Laird said on Tuesday. NSW Farmers president Fiona Simson said after Saturday's election that, while CSG was the critical issue in Ballina and Lismore, coal mining and CSG were not key factors in rural electorates elsewhere in the state.

  • $A falls to two week low on rate cut hopes AAP - 8 hours ago

    The Australian dollar has slipped to a near two week low due to falling iron ore prices and rising expectations of an April interest rate cut. The Australian dollar has been the worst performer among major currencies so far this week, FXCM chief currency strategist John Kicklighter said.

  • Aust and China youth tackle common issues AAP - 8 hours ago

    Plenty of Australian graduates want to become entrepreneurs - the problem is keeping them in the country, a top business school executive says. Manager of executive programs at the University of Technology Sydney Business School, Stephen Rutter, is sick of young Aussie talent moving overseas to set up their own business or join big corporations. "We're having 8,000 graduates a year leave the university sector Australia wide, but 6,000 are leaving straight away to work for companies overseas," he said. Mr Rutter is helping a group of 10 young Australian and Chinese thinkers to address this problem as part of the China Australia Millennial Project (CAMP).

  • Fairfax Media's real estate revenue soars AAP - 9 hours ago
    Fairfax Media's real estate revenue soars

    Revenue in Fairfax Media's real estate advertising business Domain continues to soar, confirming its status as the company's primary focus. Domain has been the target of massive spending by Fairfax as it competes with rival, which is controlled by News Corporation.

  • Toy company's loss widens to $28m AAP - 9 hours ago

    The distributor of brands including Chupa Chups, Warheads and Cabbage Patch Kids said weaker than expected international sales and excess stock contributed to the loss, which was worse than the previous year's $25.9 million half year deficit. Lower margins in its Australian business due to a weaker currency, and the costs of rationalising its operations were also to blame, Funtastic said. The continued expansion of its Chill Factor range of slushy, ice cream and jelly makers, and cost saving initiatives, are expected to deliver benefits in the second half of the fiscal year.

  • Shares rebound on China stimulus talk AAP - 9 hours ago

    The Australian share market has rebounded on expectations of monetary easing in China, finishing the session strongly and posting an almost nine per cent gain for the year's first three months. China's central bank chief has said the country has room to act on both quantitative measures and interest rates, while low local interest rates and high dividends are luring investors. CMC Markets analyst Michael McCarthy said the local bourse had finished the quarter almost nine per cent higher after a weak day on Monday. "We're close to recouping all of yesterday's losses," Mr McCarthy said.

  • Strong start for market's new players AAP - 9 hours ago

    A software developer, diseases screener and mobile marketer have enjoyed strong share market debuts, while investors also welcomed a New Zealand diary giant to Australia. The a2 Milk Company and smaller companies Touchcorp, Genetic Signatures and OtherLevels joined the market on Tuesday, the last day of the March quarter. It was a good day to begin trading, with the market up as much as 1.5 per cent during the session, which explained a lot of the strong performances, IG market strategist Evan Lucas said. Biotech firm Genetic Signatures, a developer of technology that enables hospitals and pathology labs to rapidly screen for infectious diseases, gained 21.3 per cent in market value.

  • Aust bonds firmer on rate cut hopes AAP - 9 hours ago

    The Australian bond market is stronger, helped by increasing expectations that the cash rate will be cut at the Reserve Bank's April board meeting. The futures market is now pricing in an over 70 per cent chance that the RBA will reduce the interest rate to two per cent next week, up from a 68 per cent chance on Monday and 60 per cent last week. Deutsche Bank fixed income strategist David Plank said there was a decent rally in bonds during the local day on the back of this news. At 1630 AEDT on Tuesday, the June 2015 10-year bond futures contract was trading at 97.680 (implying a yield of 2.320 per cent), up from 97.635 (2.365 per cent) on Monday.

  • Stocks to watch at close on Tuesday AAP - 10 hours ago

    Mining giant BHP Billiton has been given until 2016 to go ahead with the expansion at the Olympic Dam mine in South Australia.

  • Aussie shares close higher AAP - 10 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.

  • Tax the rich more, make multinationals pay AAP - 10 hours ago

    Increase the income tax rate for the rich and remove their superannuation tax concessions. More than half (55 per cent) of the 1017 people surveyed believed high earners should have their super tax concession removed while 65 per cent said income tax should be increased for the wealthy. An even greater number, 76 per cent, said multinational companies should be forced to pay a minimum tax rate on their Australian earnings.

  • MYOB poised for May market debut AAP - 10 hours ago

    Accounting software giant MYOB is preparing to raise more than $800 million ahead of its Australian stock market debut in May. Under the much-anticipated move, MYOB will sell 672.5 million shares priced ...

  • Packer sells Perisher to the US AAP - 10 hours ago
    Packer sells Perisher to the US

    James Packer has finally managed to offload his family's stake in Australia's biggest ski resort, with Perisher set to fall into American hands. Vail Resorts, America's largest mountain resort operator, has lodged a bid to buy Perisher from two private companies, James Packer's Murray Publishers and Transfield Corporate. It is the first international purchase for Vail, which operates ski resorts in Colorado, California, Nevada, Utah, Minnesota, Michigan and Wyoming. "Australia is one of the most important international markets for ski resorts across the northern hemisphere, generating an estimated over one million skier visits annually to resorts in North America, Japan and Europe," Vail chairman and chief executive Rob Katz said.

  • Argo creating global building company AAP - 10 hours ago

    Broad-based financing group Argo Investments is creating Australia's first globally focused listed infrastructure company. New York-based investment group Cohen & Steers would advise this new company on where to invest. "Cohen & Steers is one of the world's largest investors in real assets, including global listed infrastructure and real estate," Argo's managing director Jason Beddow said. Argo Investments is expected to issue a prospectus with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in May outlining the number of shares to be issued, along with the capital raising target and the share price offer.

  • Govt has appetite for reform: Billson AAP - 10 hours ago

    Competition Minister Bruce Billson hopes the Harper report will bring the same benefits as the last similar review 22 years ago. Releasing the report and its 56 recommendations from the review panel led by Professor Ian Harper on Tuesday, Mr Billson said the result of the last review produced a 2.5 per cent increase in GDP. "I'm optimistic that this report maps out a roadmap so we can aspire to those same kinds of goals," Mr Billson told reporters in Melbourne.

  • WA man defrauded US credit card customers AAP - 10 hours ago

    A Perth man faces dozens of charges after allegedly using the credit card details of more than 1000 US-based bank customers in fraudulent transactions. Police seized two credit card writing devices and ...

  • ASIC bans advisor for 18 months AAP - 10 hours ago

    The corporate regulator has banned an employee of the Commonwealth Bank's financial planning division for 18 months for creating false documents for clients' files. It said Rebecca Locksley of Merewether was the servicing planner of banned Commonwealth Financial Planning Ltd (CFPL) advisor Jade Zaicew from 2011 to 2012. Mr Zaicew was suspended in April 2014 from providing financial services for seven years. Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) said while Mr Zaicew was suspended, Ms Locksley prepared and backdated around 40 documents, including records of advice, to give the impression they had been prepared at the time of the client transactions.

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook defends gay rights AAP - 11 hours ago

    Apple CEO Tim Cook has again been the centre of a new episode in the battle between defenders of religious freedom and defenders of gay and lesbian rights in the United States, the latter of which he supported in an op-ed in The Washington Post. He cited the bill enacted in Indiana last week "that drew a national outcry and one passed in Arkansas," which say that individuals can cite their personal religious beliefs to refuse service to a customer - for instance, a gay, lesbian or transsexual person - or resist a state nondiscrimination law. Indiana's Republican governor, Mike Pence, last Thursday signed the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which gives businesses in the state carte blanche to prohibit entry to gay couples in the name of freedom of religious belief. The Apple CEO, who last year publicly announced his homosexuality, warned that other states are working on even harsher laws, such as one in Texas that would allow salary or pension payments to be withdrawn from officials who issue marriage licences to same-sex couples "even if the Supreme Court strikes down Texas' marriage ban later this year".

  • Iron ore price slump fuels rate cut talk AAP - 12 hours ago

    Sliding iron ore prices and the still-too-high Australian dollar are fuelling expectations that the Reserve Bank will be forced to cut interest rates next week. The market is now pricing in a 70 per cent chance of a 25 basis point cut when the RBA board meets on April 7, after the price of iron ore slumped to $US52.90 a tonne overnight - its lowest level since records began in 2008. The dramatic moves dragged the Australian dollar almost one US cent lower toward the 76 US cent level. It also prompted Barclays chief economist Kieran Davies to bring forward his rate cut forecast from May to April.

  • Budget deficit smaller as of February AAP - 12 hours ago

    The federal government has forked out some $4 billion less in cash payments so far this financial year than it predicted in December. As a result the 2014/15 underlying budget deficit is running at $40.5 billion after the eight months to end of February, rather than $44.6 billion anticipated in the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook, the government's latest monthly financial statement shows.

  • Hockey hopes for simpler FBT AAP - 13 hours ago
    Hockey hopes for simpler FBT

    Treasurer Joe Hockey hopes his tax review will result in a less complex fringe benefits tax regime, one of the compliance bugbears of small business. In an address to the Institute of Public Affairs in ...

  • Packer sells Perisher to US ski giant AAP - 13 hours ago
    Packer sells Perisher to US ski giant

    Australia's biggest ski resort, Perisher, is poised to fall into American hands. Vail Resorts, America's largest mountain resort operator, has lodged a $A176.6 million bid to buy Perisher from two private companies, James Packer's Murray Publishers and Transfield Corporate. Nestled in the Snowy Mountains and Kosciuszko National Park, Perisher is Australia's largest ski resort.

  • Software firm makes strong market debut AAP - 13 hours ago

    A technology company behind software used in cash registers and mobile payments has enjoyed a strong share market debut. Touchcorp shares began trading at $1.63 when they hit the market at 1200 AEDT, up ...

  • A2 Milk starts trading on ASX AAP - 13 hours ago

    Shares in New Zealand-based milk supplier a2 Milk Company have slipped slightly after they started trading on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). "The ASX listing, in conjunction with the listing on the main board of the New Zealand Securities Exchange, provides a closer alignment between our capital markets profile and our current business," a2 Milk managing director Geoffrey Babidge said on Tuesday.

  • Shares rally on China stimulus talk AAP - 13 hours ago

    The share market has bounced back on expectations of monetary easing in China. China's central bank chief has said that China has room to act on both quantitative measures and interest rates. "Global markets did very well overnight partly on the back of speculation of stimulus in China and merger reports in the US particularly in the health care and IT sectors," CommSec market analyst Steven Daghlian said.

  • Software firm Touchcorp debuts on ASX AAP - 14 hours ago

    A technology company behind software used in cash registers and mobile payments has enjoyed a strong share market debut. Touchcorp issued 16 million new shares at $1.40 each as part of its float. The initial public offering took the total number of shares to 116 million, which meant Touchcorp's market value had surged by 16.5 per cent to $189 million as it debuted on the Australian Securities Exchange. Touchcorp is the developer, owner and manufacturer of the Touch System software program, which is used by convenience store chain 7-Eleven, telcos Telstra and Optus, healthcare providers and the government.

  • $A falls as rate cut expectations rise AAP - 14 hours ago

    Increasing confidence of a Reserve bank rate cut has hit the Australian dollar. At 1202 AEDT on Tuesday, the local currency was trading at 76.61 US cents, down from 77.23 cents on Monday. Westpac senior ...

  • Stocks to watch at noon on Tuesday AAP - 14 hours ago

    Stocks to watch on the Australian stock exchange at noon on Tuesday: BKL - BLACKMORES - up $4.94, or 10.08 per cent, at $53.96 Shares in Blackmores have leapt after a healthy lift in profit guidance from ...

  • Rouble bounce rare ray of sunshine AAP - 14 hours ago

    It's been a torrid time of late for the Russian economy as the fallout from Ukraine and tumbling oil prices have plunged the country into financial crisis. "The economy is sliding into recession, elements of the banking system remain vulnerable and financial sanctions remain in place," he said.

  • How to make money from your savings AAP - 14 hours ago

    While borrowers enjoy record low interest rates, returns for savers are abysmal. The average savings rate is 2.62 per cent, according to research by Mozo, with several accounts paying less than one per cent interest. Michelle Hutchison, from comparison website, says some lenders started slashing their savings rates before cutting their borrowing rates following the Reserve Bank's February rate cut. "It's interesting to see that these lenders have missed off any announcements about the bad news for savers of dropping their savings account rates but are happy to announce the good news of dropping variable rate home loans," Ms Hutchison said.

  • Jay Z, Madonna, among streaming owners AAP - 14 hours ago

    Madonna, Rihanna, Beyonce and Jay Z are among the A-List musicians who are co-owners of Tidal, a streaming service being billed as the first artist-owned platform for music and video. The membership-based service - similar to subscription service Spotify - will provide music and video content that users can stream on computers, tablets and smartphones or listen to offline. It is being offered at two price points: $US10 for standard sound quality and $US20 for "lossless high fidelity sound quality". Few other details were released about the streaming service.

  • Home sales have strong start to 2015 AAP - 15 hours ago
    Home sales have strong start to 2015

    Sales of new homes are at their highest in almost a year, boosted by a surge in multi-unit dwellings. The sale of new homes jumped 1.1 per cent in February, seasonally adjusted, the Housing Industry Association new home sales report shows. Sales of flats, townhouses and semi-detached houses jumped 11.1 per cent in the month but houses were down 1.3 per cent. "The signal from both HIA new home sales and Australian Bureau of Statistics building approvals is for further upward momentum to multi-unit dwelling construction in 2015, but a consolidation in detached house building at volumes above the long term average," HIA chief economist Harley Dale said.