Financial News from ABC

  • Proposal to end Automotive Transformation Scheme will create job loss 'avalanche' in SA: Nick Xenoph … ABC - 10 hours ago

    Plans to cut a scheme supporting innovation in the car industry will create "an avalanche of job losses", South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon has warned. The Federal Government wants to end the Automotive Transformation Scheme (ATS) at the start of 2018 in a move that would save it $900 million. It said it was in line with plans by Ford and Holden to stop manufacturing cars in Australia in the next two years. Senator Xenophon said the fund was designed for a continuing industry and "now that the industry is in transition, it needs sensible, targeted assistance more than ever".

  • Strong retail stocks claw back early market losses ABC - 12 hours ago

    The local share market was helped by a strong rise in retail stocks to claw back earlier losses. After being down around 0.5 per cent midway through trade, the All Ordinaries finished two points higher ...

  • Qantas planes' mid-air distance rule breach due to human error and malfunctioning equipment: report ABC - 13 hours ago

    Pilots of two Airbus A330 aircraft flying in opposite directions between Sydney and Perth had to take evasive action about 17 kilometres west of Adelaide over the Gulf of Saint Vincent in September 2013. The pilots on board the Sydney to Perth flight were given clearance to climb from 38,000 feet to 40,000 feet despite a Perth to Sydney plane flying at 39,000 feet. A passenger on board the Perth to Sydney flight recalled the plane dropping twice in a "smooth" fashion while a passenger on board the counter said he saw the plane flying beneath them. An Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) investigation into the so called "loss of separation" incident found an air traffic controller issued the instruction to climb without properly assessing traffic in the area.

  • Evocca College: Private training giant issued show cause notice by peak body ACPET ABC - 14 hours ago

    The peak body for private training colleges has issued a show cause notice to Evocca College, asking the vocational training giant to justify why its membership should not be terminated. This week, the ABC revealed only about 2,000 students had graduated from the college out of 38,000 that enrolled at the college since its launch in 2011. During the same period, the college attracted nearly $300 million in federal funding for student loans called VET FEE-HELP. The Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) chief executive, Rod Camm, said Evocca College had until next week to convince ACPET in writing why it should remain a member of the organisation.

  • Tiwi Land Council signs framework for 10,040-hectare 99-year lease to private companies ABC - 14 hours ago
    Tiwi Land Council signs framework for 10,040-hectare 99-year lease to private companies

    Private companies will be allowed to lease 10,040 hectares of Indigenous land on the Tiwi islands under an agreement signed by Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles. The announcement came as Mr Giles visited Melville Island to inspect a remote deep water port facility under construction. In August 2013 the NT Government paid the Tiwi Land Council (TLC) $1 million as a down payment on a deal for a 99-year lease of the land. On Thursday, the Chief Minister announced the signing of the Tiwi Development Framework agreement with the TLC, Tiwi Resources Pty Ltd and the Tiwi Aboriginal Land Trust, allowing private companies to use land on the Tiwis.

  • Cadbury dips out of $16 million grant for Tasmanian factory upgrade after 'failing to meet criteria' ABC - 16 hours ago
    Cadbury dips out of $16 million grant for Tasmanian factory upgrade after 'failing to meet criteria'

    Chocolate maker Cadbury has withdrawn its application for a $16 million grant from the Federal Government to upgrade its Hobart factory because it had failed to meet certain requirements. The factory, operated by Mondelez International, was promised the funding injection by Prime Minister Tony Abbott during his 2013 election campaign. It was to be spent on a new visitor centre to allow Cadbury's famous factory tours to resume.

  • Intergenerational Report: Protecting Great Barrier Reef a 'significant challenge' over coming decade … ABC - 16 hours ago
    Intergenerational Report: Protecting Great Barrier Reef a 'significant challenge' over coming decade …

    Protecting the Great Barrier Reef over coming decades will be a "significant challenge", the 2015 Intergenerational Report has found. The report said climate change and Australia's growing population, leading to increasing tourism pressure, are among the threats facing the unique attraction. 2010's Intergenerational Report listed climate change as one of the most significant threats to Australia's environmental and economic prosperity, directly linking the early adoption of carbon pricing to Australia's economic future.

  • Intergenerational Report: Document retro-fits Abbott Government's argument for tough 2014-15 budget ABC - 18 hours ago
    Intergenerational Report: Document retro-fits Abbott Government's argument for tough 2014-15 budget

    Instead, the Federal Treasurer, Joe Hockey, says the latest Intergenerational Report shows "our best years are ahead" and now he wants to have a conversation with Australia about what the future will look like.

  • Australian retail sales grow by 0.4 per cent to $23.9 billion ABC - 18 hours ago
    Australian retail sales grow by 0.4 per cent to $23.9 billion

    Official figures show Australia's retail sector had a healthy start to 2015, with sales growing in January. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said retail trade increased by 0.4 per cent in the month, in seasonally adjusted terms, to $23.88 billion. "The retail trade 'pulse' was fairly weak over the final months of 2014, with average monthly growth of just 0.2 per cent over October to December," Deutsche Bank chief economist Adam Boyton said.

  • UK online gambling giant Bet365 being sued by ACCC over 'misleading representations' ABC - 18 hours ago

    A UK online gambling giant has been taken to court by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which says it breached consumer law and made "misleading representations" to customers. The case, which began with a pre-trial hearing in the Federal Court in Darwin, pits the consumer watchdog against the Bet365 group, the UK's self described "biggest online betting provider... The ACCC alleges Bet365 made "misleading representations" in breach of Australian consumer law with its free bet or deposit bonus offers. The offers, it was alleged, "conveyed the general thrust or dominant message that new customers of Bet365 would be entitled to up to $200 in bets without limitation or restriction.

  • Intergenerational Report: Population projected to near 40 million in 'ageing boom' ABC - 19 hours ago

    A Federal Government glimpse into the future shows a growing and ageing population of 40 million Australians, facing ballooning budget deficits and increased pressure on health services, aged care and the environment. Treasurer Joe Hockey delivered the long-range forecast with less than 10 weeks before he hands down his second federal budget. In keeping with his early messages about the budget, Mr Hockey emphasised the need to encourage more people to work more â harnessing an "ageing boom" of older workers, putting more women in paid work, and getting younger Australians into a job. The number of Australians aged 65 and over is projected to more than double.

  • Aldi threat growing for Coles, Woolworths: Moody's ABC - 19 hours ago

    The rise of German-based cut-price supermarket chain Aldi is posing a long-term challenge to the traditional retail giants of Woolworth and Coles, according to credit ratings agency Moody's. Moody's said Aldi's penetration into the supermarket sector had mostly been at the expense of independent retailers and Metcash IGA, but the habits of traditional grocery shoppers were changing. Moody's vice president and senior analyst Ian Chitterer said the "increasing acceptance of Australian consumers" and Aldi's "aggressive expansion plans" were a long-term threat to the duopoly of Woolworths and Coles.

  • Australia Post faces long wait for stamp price rise ABC - 19 hours ago
    Australia Post faces long wait for stamp price rise

    Australia Post faces a snail-pace wait for an increase in the cost of a basic postage stamp, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) saying it could take between six and nine months to consider the proposal. Earlier this week Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced approval for the introduction a two-speed service for letters - a regular service operating two days slower that the current delivery speed, and a premium-rate priority service. ACCC chairman Rod Sims told AM the regulator will need to undertake wide consultation to determine the fairness of increasing the stamp price. "We need to understand what the efficient cost of a standard letter service is," Mr Sims said.

  • Nurofen: ACCC launches action over 'misleading' products ABC - 21 hours ago
    Nurofen: ACCC launches action over 'misleading' products

    The competition watchdog is taking court action against the maker of the popular painkiller Nurofen, accusing it of misleading customers with some of its products. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says at least four Nurofen products marketed as being formulated to treat specific ailments, including back pain and migraines, all contain the same active ingredient. The action has been instituted by the ACCC against Nurofen maker Reckitt Benckiser in the Federal Court. The painkillers were approved by the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods but the ACCC says the claims made about them are false and misleading.

  • Wall Street falls for second straight session ABC - 22 hours ago

    Wall Street fell for a second straight session overnight, with some analysts speculating that US markets may have peaked, in the short-term at least. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 106 points ...

  • Joe Hockey approves $1.4b takeover of Primo by Brazilian company ABC - Wed, Mar 4, 2015 10:57 PM AEDT

    The Federal Treasurer has approved a $1.4 billion takeover bid by Brazilian meat company JBS, to acquire Australian smallgoods producer Primo. Joe Hockey's decision follows an announcement by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) last month that it would not oppose the move. The final go-ahead is conditional on JBS being able to maintain third party access to Primo's abattoir in the northern New South Wales town of Scone. Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos told Sky News this condition was proof the approval system is effective.

  • Macquarie Group pays its staff too much, says rival investment bank UBS ABC - Wed, Mar 4, 2015 7:57 PM AEDT

    It may be a case of people in glass towers throwing stones, but Australia's only listed investment bank, Macquarie Group, has been told it pays its staff about $800 million over the odds by another investment bank, UBS. On UBS's figures, if Macquarie re-jigged its compensation model so each of its divisions paid staff at around the top 25 per cent level of its global peers, annual costs would be cut by $809 million and earnings-per-share (EPS) would jump 32 per cent. UBS said that given Macquarie was now a globally diversified financial services company, a staff expense-to-income ratio of 35 to 38 per cent was appropriate. "This compares to 46 per cent today using MQG's (Macquarie Group's) outdated investment banking structure," UBS noted.

  • Weak data, major stocks going ex-dividend do little to lift share market ABC - Wed, Mar 4, 2015 6:40 PM AEDT

    Weak data and some major stocks going ex-dividend has done little to lift the share market. The All Ordinaries ended 0.5 per cent lower at 5,871 and the ASX 200 matched that fall to 5,902. Resource stocks ...

  • ASIC launches investigation into suspect Australian dollar trading ahead of interest rate announceme … ABC - Wed, Mar 4, 2015 6:13 PM AEDT
    ASIC launches investigation into suspect Australian dollar trading ahead of interest rate announceme …

    The integrity of the local foreign exchange market has been called into question after the corporate regulator launched an investigation into suspect trading in the Australian dollar. Last month and again on Tuesday, traders appear to have correctly guessed surprise decisions on interest rate movements by the Reserve Bank in the minute immediately prior to the official release. On both occasions the Australian dollar moved sharply just seconds before the Reserve Bank announcement. Just 45 seconds before the Reserve Bank released its decision to keep rates on hold â which caught markets off-guard â an unidentified trader put through a buy order for Australian dollars that booted the currency more than 25 basis points higher.

  • Forced sale of $39m Sydney mansion unlikely to help average house buyer, property analyst says ABC - Wed, Mar 4, 2015 5:24 PM AEDT

    A property analyst has cast doubt on how much the Treasurer's order to sell a foreign-owned Sydney mansion would help average house hunters. Joe Hockey announced in Parliament on Tuesday that Point Piper property Villa del Mare, purchased last year for $39 million by a Hong Kong-owned business, must be sold. "They have 90 days to sell the property," Mr Hockey said. It is the first time the foreign investment rules have been applied to a home buyer since 2006.

  • GDP growth slows in December quarter ABC - Wed, Mar 4, 2015 11:36 AM AEDT
    GDP growth slows in December quarter

    Australian economic growth slowed in the final three months of last year and remains firmly below trend, according to official figures. The Bureau of Statistics says Australia's gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 0.5 per cent in the December quarter. The decline was in line with the consensus view of economists, as the Reserve Bank considers whether it should follow up on last month's cut to interest rates. "The good news is we've now completed 23 years of continuous growth, the bad news is we're still running below trend, which will keep upward pressure on the unemployment rate, and keeps the RBA on rate-cut watch," Commonwealth Bank chief economist Michael Blythe said immediately after the figures were released.

  • Analysts expect softer GDP in December quarter ABC - Wed, Mar 4, 2015 9:59 AM AEDT

    Official economic growth figures to be released this morning are expected to highlight the significant impact of the mining sector slowdown. The Bureau of Statistics will release the December quarter gross domestic product figures less than 24 hours after the Reserve Bank decided the signs of economic weakness were not enough to merit another cut to the official interest rate. Some are expecting the result to be significantly worse though, led by three analysts predicting GDP growth will fall to 2.2 per cent. HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham expects today's figures to show the rebalancing act from mining-led growth to other parts of the economy is proceeding at a sluggish pace.

  • Wall Street falls as US winter bites into February car sales ABC - Wed, Mar 4, 2015 8:40 AM AEDT

    Weaker-than-expected US car sales have helped drive markets on Wall Street lower overnight. Having hit fresh record highs in the prior session, traders also took stock ahead of more economic data due out ...

  • Cash could disappear within decade as digital economy grows, researchers say ABC - Wed, Mar 4, 2015 8:20 AM AEDT
    Cash could disappear within decade as digital economy grows, researchers say

    Notes and coins could disappear within a decade with the development of a cashless economy, according to researchers at the Australian National University (ANU). The ANU Research School of Economics has been developing a model for government-certified digital money that researchers said could be circulating in five years. School director Professor Rabee Tourky said there was no future for cold hard cash. Professor Tourky said Bitcoins, a type of digital currency that is created and traded electronically, were the inspiration behind a new proposal to turn all money digital.

  • Evocca College under investigation by the Australian Skills Quality Authority after reports of low graduation … ABC - Tue, Mar 3, 2015 7:53 PM AEDT
    Evocca College under investigation by the Australian Skills Quality Authority after reports of low graduation …

    One of the largest players in the training industry is under investigation by the federal regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority. Figures obtained by the ABC show Evocca College has a graduation rate of about 10 per cent despite claiming more than $290 million in government funding via the VET FEE-HELP student loan scheme. The figures show out of 38,213 students who signed up to its diploma courses in the past four years, only 2,058 were handed diplomas by October 2014. There were 16,567 students who officially cancelled and 3,897 who timed out of the course.

  • New ACT Heritage Council chair backs light rail plan, denies conflict of interest ABC - Tue, Mar 3, 2015 5:09 PM AEDT
    New ACT Heritage Council chair backs light rail plan, denies conflict of interest

    The new chair of the ACT Heritage Council David Flannery says he fully supports the Territory Government's light rail project, but denies there is a conflict of interest. Mr Flannery appointed to a three-year term by the Government on Monday, replacing Duncan Marshall whose term had come to an end. Mr Flannery is an experienced architect, heritage consultant and urban planning researcher for the Canberra Urban and Regional Futures. Speaking to 666 ABC Canberra, he said despite his support for the light rail project, there was no conflict of interest surrounding his appointment.

  • Charity donation: Australians donating less to non-government organisations ABC - Tue, Mar 3, 2015 3:28 PM AEDT
    Charity donation: Australians donating less to non-government organisations

    Australians are donating less to non-government organisations, a study has found. The study by the Australian National University's Development Policy Centre found in 2012/2013, Australians gave nine cents in every $100 to international development NGOs, compared to 14 cents in 2004 and 11 cents in 2007. It said since about 2006, public giving in Australia to these organisations flatlined, just keeping up with inflation. Co-author of the report, Jonathan Pryke told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program that even if individuals in Australia earn more, they tend to still donate the same amount as before.

  • Reserve Bank keeps interest rates on hold at 2.25 per cent ABC - Tue, Mar 3, 2015 2:29 PM AEDT

    The Reserve Bank has resisted pressure to cut the official interest rate again, though the decision has done nothing to dampen expectations that another cut is around the corner. "The board judged that, having eased monetary policy at the previous meeting, it was appropriate to hold interest rates steady for the time being," RBA governor Glenn Stevens said in his statement on the decision. "We continue to favour May as the most likely timing for the next cut in the cash rate," St George Bank senior economist Hans Kunnen said before the RBA's decision was announced.

  • Australia Post: Malcolm Turnbull confirms plans for two-tier mail service, wants postage stamp cost to … ABC - Tue, Mar 3, 2015 12:01 PM AEDT
    Australia Post: Malcolm Turnbull confirms plans for two-tier mail service, wants postage stamp cost to …

    Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australia Post would introduce a two-speed mail service, with a regular service operating two days slower than the current delivery speed, and a premium-rate priority service. At a meeting of Coalition MPs this morning, Mr Turnbull explained the plan, saying there needed to be greater transparency from Australia Post - what he called an "open kimono" approach. Mr Turnbull said the two-tier system would not be introduced until September at the earliest. "[Letters] will be slower to arrive on the regular service - and they will be more expensive - but the alternative is either massive subsidies ...

  • Business Council calls for 10-year bipartisan budget plan ABC - Tue, Mar 3, 2015 9:49 AM AEDT

    The Business Council of Australia is calling for a bipartisan 10-year plan to put growth back on track, saying it wants to see the "blame game" taken out of the current federal budget debate. Chief executive Jennifer Westacott told AM that the Federal Government needed to complete unfinished business from last year's budget, and that reviews should be undertaken into the welfare system including healthcare and disability payments. The recommendations in the BCA budget submission released today come with the future of both the Prime Minister and the Treasurer under a cloud as leadership speculation continues. Ms Westacott urged the Government to continue its spending cuts, but agreed that some of the measures outlined in last year's budget were "too harsh".

  • Wall Street rises despite mixed economic data ABC - Tue, Mar 3, 2015 8:53 AM AEDT
    Wall Street rises despite mixed economic data

    Wall Street has gained ground despite a mixed set of economic data, in what was a red-letter day for technology stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average closed 156 points or 0.9 per cent higher at 18,289. ...

  • Senate stoushes could cost budget $112 billion over next decade: Parliamentary Budget Office ABC - Tue, Mar 3, 2015 7:07 AM AEDT

    The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) had tallied the cost of 30 Abbott Government measures that had been announced but not yet legislated. Many were part of the May budget and some had already been voted down by the Senate. The PBO research found the budget would take close to a $23 billion hit over the next decade if the Government was not able to reduce the indexation of the age pension by linking increases to inflation. The research was requested by Liberal MP Andrew Laming and distributed to all MPs, Senators and staff yesterday afternoon because his request was not marked confidential.

  • Economists predict Reserve Bank will cut interest rate to 2 per cent, survey finds ABC - Mon, Mar 2, 2015 8:44 PM AEDT

    Most economists believe the Reserve Bank will cut the cash rate again today, but that it is likely to be a tough call. Last month the Reserve Bank cut the key rate to a historic low of 2.25 per cent and another cut today would 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 he says recent data only adds to his case.

  • Share market hits seven-year high on hopes of possible interest rate cut ABC - Mon, Mar 2, 2015 7:12 PM AEDT

    The share market has hit a seven-year high, spurred on partly by hopes of an interest rate cut. The Australian dollar was pulled down slightly on Monday in anticipation of an interest rate cut on Tuesday. The struggling retailer's chief executive Bernie Brookes has quit and will be replaced by Myer's current chief information and supply chain officer, Richard Umbers.

  • Weakening economy blamed for manufacturing shrinkage ABC - Mon, Mar 2, 2015 2:28 PM AEDT

    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.