Financial News from AAP

  • Regional lifestyle property markets rising AAP - 4 hours ago

    Equity-rich Sydney and Melbourne homeowners may help boost Australia's coastal lifestyle markets. Iconic lifestyle markets such as the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Cairns have started to bounce back and record strong housing market conditions after ongoing weakness between 2008 and 2014, property analytics firm CoreLogic RP Data says. CoreLogic research analyst Cameron Kusher says some areas are starting to show growth although regional housing markets are a mixed bag.

  • US OKs F-16 jets sale to Pakistan AAP - 11 hours ago
    US OKs F-16 jets sale to Pakistan

    The US government said it had approved the sale to Pakistan of eight F-16 fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp, radars and other equipment. The Pentagon's Defense Security Co-operation Agency said ...

  • US, Cuba to sign agreement on flights AAP - 14 hours ago
    US, Cuba to sign agreement on flights

    US officials say the United States and Cuba will sign an agreement next week to restart commercial air traffic for the first time in five decades. US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx flies to Havana on Tuesday to cement the deal. There has been no commercial air traffic between the nations since shortly after Cuba's 1959 revolution.

  • Volkswagen group sales return to growth AAP - 16 hours ago
    Volkswagen group sales return to growth

    Volkswagen group sales returned to growth in January thanks to demand in China, where core brand VW posted its best month ever despite the furore over the German carmaker's cheating of US diesel emissions tests. Deliveries at the 12-brand group, including luxury division Audi and sports-car maker Porsche, climbed 3.7 per cent to 847,800 in January, Volkswagen said on Friday. Volkswagen sales growth turned negative for the first time in at least four and a half years in April 2015, raising pressure on the automaker to fix trouble spots laid bare by the shock ousting of long-time Chairman Ferdinand Piech.

  • New iPhone, iPad in March: report AAP - 16 hours ago
    New iPhone, iPad in March: report

    Apple Inc is on target to introduce its next iPhone and iPad models on March 15, and aims to start selling the devices in the same week, technology blog 9to5Mac reported, citing sources. Apple, which will introduce a new 4-inch iPhone, dubbed the "iPhone 5se", and a new iPad Air at a launch event, is unlikely to take pre-orders for the new devices, the blog reported. The technology giant has hit a trough in iPhone demand.

  • Trump settles Miss Universe lawsuit AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 8:12 PM AEDT
    Trump settles Miss Universe lawsuit

    Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump says he has settled a $US500 million ($A704.37 million) lawsuit against Spanish-language television network Univision Communications Inc over its decision ...

  • Qld Nickel admin faces huge task AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 6:50 PM AEDT

    Administrators of Clive Palmer's troubled nickel business are facing a large and complicated task to determine whether its north Queensland refinery and hundreds of jobs can be saved. The enormity of the job became clearer in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Friday when FTI Consulting was given more time to investigate Queensland Nickel before convening a second creditors' meeting. The court heard the administrators need to sort through 11,000 boxes of company records, investigate claims of insolvent trading and probe political donations made to the Palmer United Party before deciding the best way forward.

  • WA Market City asset sold for $135.5m AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 5:47 PM AEDT

    Market City has become the first asset sale announced by the West Australian government after a $135.5 million bid by Perth Markets. The industry consortium, led by the Chamber of Fruit and Vegetable Industries in WA, will take over the Canning Vale site on March 31 and it will continue to operate as WA's primary trading centre for fruit and vegetables. The sale of Market City, currently managed and owned by the Perth Market Authority, is the first under the state government's asset sales program in an attempt to ease WA's crippling debt.

  • Baby Bunting celebrates sales bump AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 5:46 PM AEDT
    Baby Bunting celebrates sales bump

    New stores and the collapse of a rival have helped drive soaring sales at leading pram, cot and nappy retailer Baby Bunting. The publicity created by Baby Bunting's strong debut on the share market in October and four new stores helped lift its profile among customers, chief executive Matt Spencer said. The momentum has continued into the second half of the financial year, with comparable store sales up 11.2 per cent for the seven months to the end of January.

  • Bluescope boosts earnings guidance AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 5:44 PM AEDT

    BlueScope Steel shares have hit a 12 month high as Australia's biggest steelmaker upgraded its half year earnings forecast for the second time in four months. Bluescope has raced to cut costs to offset weakening demand and a slump in steel prices, and now expects underlying earnings of around $230 million for the six months ended December 31. The news cheered investors, with Bluescope shares adding 62 cents, or 14.2 per cent, to $5.00, their highest level in a year.

  • No recovery expected for Woolies AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 5:30 PM AEDT

    Analysts expect Woolworths is still losing ground to rivals Coles and Aldi even as it steps up its profit draining price battle. The latest half year results from Woolworths are not anticipated to show signs of a sales recovery when they are unveiled later this month. Coles on the other hand is expected to boost its profit and continue to achieve like-for-like food and liquor sales growth, a key indicator of market share.

  • Uranium decision 'a kick in the face' AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 5:26 PM AEDT

    The Northern Territory government's decision not to prosecute a uranium miner for a major contamination spill near Kakadu National Park is a kick in the face for the public, an environmental lawyer says. The Department of Mines and Energy on Friday said it was not in the public interest to press charges against Rio Tinto subsidiary Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) for breaching the Mining Management Act when up to one million litres of contaminated acidic slurry spilled from a collapsed leach tank in December 2013. Department CEO Ron Kelly said there was doubt about whether ERA directly caused the tank to collapse by failing to monitor it or ensure it was strong enough to contain the slurry.

  • Economist dissect RBA testimony AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 5:26 PM AEDT

    The highlight for economists this week was the testimony by top RBA officials. Royal Bank of Canada's Michael Turner said the key discussion about the domestic economy concerned the labour market and non-mining investment. Monetary policy appears increasingly tight with a two per cent cash rate suddenly looking unusually high, 10 year bond yields are only a third of a percentage point more than the interbank cash rate, and the Australian dollar 71 US cents despite ongoing pressure on commodity prices, Mr Turner said.

  • $A up as greenback slides and oil rebounds AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 5:10 PM AEDT

    The Australian dollar has edged higher as oil prices surge. Weakness in the greenback and a recovery in commodity prices were pushing the Aussie up, he said. "A five per cent gain in oil prices is helping," he said.

  • Aust share market lower on weak banks AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 5:03 PM AEDT

    The Australian share market has closed more than one per cent lower after the big four banks sagged, taking their lead from global markets. Financial stocks took a hit on Friday due to sentiment in offshore markets, Macquarie Private Wealth division director Lucinda Chan said. "It's actually holding quite well I think given how severe the offshore markets did plummet, we actually held on better," Ms Chan said.

  • Rate cut won't deliver growth: RBA AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 4:59 PM AEDT
    Rate cut won't deliver growth: RBA

    The Reserve Bank may yet cut rates again but its boss warns that rate cuts have little firepower left to lift economic growth to the level Australia needs. RBA governor Glenn Stevens painted a mildly positive picture of the nation when he fronted a House of Representatives economics committee hearing on Friday, saying the economy is growing at a modest pace despite the challenges of falling terms of trade and a wind-down in mining-sector investment. Noting the RBA board had left the official cash rate unchanged at the record low of two per cent at its February meeting, Mr Stevens said the central bank "retains the flexibility to ease further, should that be helpful".

  • Thousands flock to English class at Bondi AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 4:58 PM AEDT

    Thousands of foreign students are flocking to Sydney's Bondi Beach in an attempt to set a world record for the biggest ever English lesson. About 3,000 university and English language students are heading to the world-famous beach for the class to help attract global attention to Australia as a top tertiary study destination. The education industry is Australia's third largest export earner, with recent ABS figures showing it was worth $19.6 billion to the economy during 2015.

  • House price falls won't spark a rout: RBA AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 4:43 PM AEDT
    House price falls won't spark a rout: RBA

    Cooling house prices in Sydney won't spark a property market bust, the Reserve Bank boss says. RBA governor Glenn Stevens says he welcomes the nation's two housing hot spots, Sydney and Melbourne, taking "a breather" from the recent surge in prices. "I don't think that's going to be developing into some kind of rout in property," Mr Stevens told the House of Representatives economics committee on Friday.

  • Aust bonds give back some gains AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 4:38 PM AEDT

    The Australian bond market has eased off from gains made as global risk sentiment continues to sour. "We've drifted off a bit today; it's a little bit of rally fatigue," Westpac senior market ...

  • Baby Bunting sales soar AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 4:28 PM AEDT
    Baby Bunting sales soar

    Sales have shot up at retailer Baby Bunting, helped by its aggressive expansion and the publicity created by its sharemarket listing. Baby Bunting has upgraded its full-year sales forecasts from $218 million to a range of $225 million to $235 million, and forecast underlying earnings of between $16.5 million and $18.5 million. Chief executive Matt Spencer attributed the sales growth to increased awareness of the brand, created by publicity around its market listing in October, plus the opening of three new stores in Queensland and one in NSW.

  • BHP to go harder than Rio on dividends AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 4:28 PM AEDT
    BHP to go harder than Rio on dividends

    Global miner BHP Billiton is expected to go harder than rival Rio Tinto in slashing shareholder returns when it reports its financial results this month. Rio Tinto announced it will scrap its generous progressive dividend policy next year after reporting an annual loss of $US866 million ($A1.22 billion) on Thursday, as a collapse in commodity prices weighed down earnings. UBS resources analyst Glyn Lawcock said the market had been saying for many years that it did not make sense for companies to have fixed progressive dividends.

  • Stocks to watch on Friday AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 4:18 PM AEDT

    Stocks to watch on the Australian stock exchange on Friday: BBN - BABY BUNTING - up two cents, or 0.8 per cent, at $2.52 Sales have shot up at retailer Baby Bunting, helped by its aggressive expansion ...

  • Aust shares close lower AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 4:17 PM AEDT

    The Australian share market has closed more than one per cent lower, held back by the banks. At the close on Friday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 55.8 points, or 1.16 per cent, lower at 4,765.3, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 54.3 points, or 1.11 per cent, at 4,816.6.

  • No more cuts at Olympic Dam: BHP AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 4:15 PM AEDT

    BHP Billiton says it has no plans for further job cuts at Olympic Dam as it embarks on cost-cutting at the copper mine. It comes after 550 jobs were lost at Olympic Dam in 2015, reducing the workforce to about 3000 employees and contractors. Olympic Dam asset president Jacqui McGill says the cuts reflected the need for drastic action to improve the operation's performance.

  • Aust needs broader tax conversation: RBA AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 4:12 PM AEDT

    All the talk about tax reform has missed a vital point, Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens argues. There is a gap, and Mr Stevens is worried Australia is not talking about it. Amid concerns about the possible dampening effects of income tax bracket creep on people's incentive to work, Mr Stevens said the nation's political leaders had to engage with the community about the appropriate level of tax relief average income earners could expect.

  • Qld sailors protest to keep jobs AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 3:55 PM AEDT

    The Maritime Union of Australia claims large businesses, such as mining giant Rio Tinto, are sacking Australian seafarers and replacing them with cheap foreign labour. Around 50 workers from several unions held a protest outside Rio Tinto's Brisbane CBD office on Friday. Rio Tinto said the decision to no longer use the vessel was because it wasn't commercially viable.

  • The Star to spend more on Gold Coast AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 3:22 PM AEDT

    Casinos operator The Star Entertainment Group is set to spend even more on revamping its Gold Coast casino and hotel complex as it adds another new hotel tower to the property. The company has already committed $345 million to giving the existing hotel's 600 rooms a makeover and building a six-star 17-storey hotel tower, with more than 50 luxury suites. The Star Entertainment Group said on Friday that it is planning a new 200-metre hotel tower, comprising around 700 hotel rooms and apartments, on the ocean side of the Gold Coast property.

  • Olympic Dam job cuts behind us: BHP AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 3:11 PM AEDT

    BHP Billiton says it has no plans for further job cuts at Olympic Dam as it embarks on cost-cutting at the copper mine. It comes after 550 jobs were lost at Olympic Dam in 2015, reducing the workforce to about 3000 employees and contractors. Olympic Dam asset president Jacqui McGill says the cuts reflected the need for drastic action to improve the operation's performance.

  • Signs property market still strong AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 3:01 PM AEDT

    Home loan approvals have soared to a seven-year high, suggesting there is plenty of life left in a cooling property market. "December was an incredibly strong month," Mortgage Choice chief executive John Flavell said. St George senior economist Janu Chan said the figures showed the property market remained a key supporter of economic growth, despite recent reports of slower price growth, particularly in the strongest markets of Sydney and Melbourne.

  • Flexible yuan rate welcome: RBA AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 2:55 PM AEDT
    Flexible yuan rate welcome: RBA

    China's devaluation of the yuan should be welcomed, Reserve Bank boss Glenn Stevens says. Mr Stevens has been surprised by the world's reaction to China's "quite small" reference rate cuts over the past six months. Mr Stevens called their recent policy focus on the yuan rate "eminently sensible".

  • RBA governor's thoughts on economy AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 2:47 PM AEDT

    RESERVE BANK GOVERNOR GLENN STEVENS' TAKE ON THE ECONOMY: INTEREST RATES "It's, I think, pretty unlikely we're going to be raising rates any time soon." "I don't really see much of a case ...

  • Qld premier welcomes casino high-rise AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 2:37 PM AEDT

    Queensland's premier believes a proposed 200m high-rise development at Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast is a win for the tourist strip. On Friday, casino owners Star Entertainment Group announced an additional proposal to build the 700-room tower and a live sports theatre at their Broadbeach property. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says if the proposal is approved she anticipates it'll create 1000 jobs during the construction period and increase Jupiters' workforce from 1800 to about 2300.

  • Gold Coast casino proposes high-rise AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 2:10 PM AEDT

    Queensland's premier has welcomed a proposal to build a 700-room tower at Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast. The casino owners, Star Entertainment Group, announced on Friday a plan to build the tower and ...

  • Xinjiang at crossroads of new Silk Rd AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 2:01 PM AEDT

    The Youngor cotton spinning factory is one of the biggest employers in Aksu, an agricultural town on the edge of the Taklamakan desert in China's restive Xinjiang region. Youngor, one of China's largest shirt-makers, opened the plant in 2011 to be closer to the main cotton-growing region in Xinjiang. Soon it will be joined by others: Beijing wants to create one million textile jobs in Xinjiang by 2023.

  • Japan's MHI willing to build subs in Aust AAP - Fri, Feb 12, 2016 1:57 PM AEDT

    Japanese industrial conglomerate Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is willing to build Australia's new submarines in Australia if need be. MHI chief executive Shunichi Miyanaga also says the Australian workforce is quite capable of building the vessels. Mr Miyanaga is in Australia to promote and answer questions on MHI's bid for the submarines contract, inspect Australian shipyards and investigate potential areas of co-operation between MHI and Australian industry and research institutions.