Financial News from ABC

  • Australian share market makes solid gains ahead of Easter long weekend ABC - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 6:38 PM AEST

    Regional banks also did well, with Bank of Queensland adding almost 2.5 per cent, and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank closing 1.9 per cent higher. Woodside Petroleum gained 1 per cent today, after announcing a 5 per cent rise in production during the March quarter, compared to the same time last year.

  • Santos production disappoints, Woodside meets analyst forecasts ABC - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 3:17 PM AEST
    Santos production disappoints, Woodside meets analyst forecasts

    Santos produced 12.2 million barrels of oil equivalent in the March quarter - the 'barrels of oil equivalent' measurement is based on the approximate energy released by burning one barrel of crude oil. Santos shares eased 0.2 per cent to $13.41 by 3:11pm (AEST) following the results. Rival Woodside Petroleum announced a 5 per cent rise in production during the March quarter compared to the same time last year.

  • Does Australia make it hard for Chinese tourists to apply for a visa? ABC - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 1:33 PM AEST

    The recent trip to China by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Australian business leaders highlighted the importance of China to Australia's economy. When it comes to tourism, China is Australia's fastest growing inbound tourism market and largest contributor to international visitor spending in Australia. James Packer, a member of Mr Abbott's business delegation, says it should be easier for Chinese people to visit Australia. Mr Packer is the chairman and majority shareholder of Crown Resorts, the operator of casino hotels in Melbourne, Perth and the Macau Special Administrative Region of China, which competes with other destination resorts in places such as Singapore and Las Vegas.

  • Survey finds foreign buyers increasing, tips Queensland for best property gains ABC - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 12:06 PM AEST

    A major bank's survey of real estate professionals and investors finds foreign purchasers now account for up to a quarter of buyers in some markets. It has found that an estimated 24.4 per cent of new dwelling sales in Queensland are going to foreign buyers, while sales to non-citizens or permanent residents amounted to 13.9 per cent of the market for new or off-the-plan sales nationwide. Perhaps more surprising is that foreign buyers were estimated to be the purchasers in 9.5 per cent of established property sales, and 12.7 per cent in New South Wales - there are tight restrictions on such purchases, which are generally only allowed to temporary residents while they are in Australia, with the property having to be sold once they leave.

  • Fat profits beckon for Skinny Tan entrepreneurs ABC - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 11:04 AM AEST
    Fat profits beckon for Skinny Tan entrepreneurs

    It is where best friends Louise Ferguson and Kate Cotton, two pregnant mothers on maternity leave, hatched the idea of their new business. "There is a bit of a fear when you are going on maternity leave that you won't have an income, and we just couldn't bear the idea of leaving our babies in childcare - it's quite expensive as well," said Louise Ferguson. "A tanning product," interjected co-founder Kate Cotton. That product is called Skinny Tan and in just one year it went from an idea to sales of nearly a million dollars.

  • ABC's Australia Network signs China content deal ABC - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 9:36 AM AEST
    ABC's Australia Network signs China content deal

    The ABC's Australia Network has struck a deal for what it says will provide unprecedented opportunities for Australian content in China. The agreement with the Shanghai Media Group is expected to be signed in Shanghai on May 4. Under the deal, ABC International will establish an online portal in China through which a range of ABC and other Australian media content and services will be available to partner Chinese media organisations. The ABC will have official approval to sell media content, enter international co-productions and generate sponsorship through a base in Shanghai.

  • Cyclone Ita recovery: Queensland rail network under repair after category-four storm ABC - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 9:20 AM AEST

    Queensland Rail says there is significant damage in the state's north after Cyclone Ita, with parts of the east coast network likely to stay closed until at least Sunday. The service between Townsville and Cairns is expected to reopen tomorrow morning, but the track between Mackay and Townsville will remain closed. North Queensland regional general manager Michael Mitchell says repairs are being completed as quickly as possible. "With the torrential rain, lots of washouts and scouring across the network, so there's quite a few locations from basically Mackay all the way through to Cairns," he said.

  • NBN contractors put legal action over Tasmanian rollout on hold ABC - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 9:20 AM AEST

    Tasmanian civil contractors are postponing legal action against the company rolling out the National Broadband Network, but have asked for government help. They were planning a class action but contractor Andrew Bullock says it is on hold while the Premier, Will Hodgman, looks at the case. Mr Bullock says Mr Hodgman has only a few weeks to help. Mr Hodgman says he is lobbying the Federal Government on behalf of Tasmanian contractors who believe they have been short-changed.

  • Fatal coal mine collapse: recovery operation hampered by age, depth of Hunter Valley mine ABC - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 7:28 AM AEST
    Fatal coal mine collapse: recovery operation hampered by age, depth of Hunter Valley mine

    The man tasked with retrieving the bodies of two mine workers in the New South Wales Hunter Valley says the depth of the coal mine poses some challenges. Philip Grant, 35, of Metford and Jamie Mitchell, 49, of Aberdare were killed by a wall collapse at the Austar mine at Paxton, south of Cessnock, on Tuesday night. The general manager of NSW Mines Rescue, Paul Healey, says recovering the men's bodies is the focus of the operation today.

  • Fatal coal mine collapse: Bodies recovered at Hunter Valley site ABC - Thu, Apr 17, 2014 6:31 AM AEST
    Fatal coal mine collapse: Bodies recovered at Hunter Valley site

    The bodies of both men killed in an underground mine collapse in the Hunter Valley have been recovered. Philip Grant, 35, of Metford and Jamie Mitchell, 49, of Aberdare were killed when a wall collapsed at the Austar mine near Cessnock on Tuesday night. Jamie Mitchell's uncle, George Mitchell, says the dangers of the job are always in the back of his mind.

  • Queensland landholders claim secrecy over experimental coal gasification plant ABC - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 7:06 PM AEST
    Queensland landholders claim secrecy over experimental coal gasification plant

    Landholders on Queensland's Darling Downs say they are being kept in the dark about the nature of serious environmental harm allegedly caused by an experimental coal gasification plant. Last week the Queensland Government filed four criminal charges of irreversible or "high impact" harm relating to the plant against resources company Linc Energy. Linc Energy faces four charges of "wilfully and unlawfully" causing serious harm, with the company facing fines of more than $2 million for each offence. Cropping and livestock farmer George Bender said he had been told there was no "immediate" threat, but wanted this clarified.

  • Planned Canberra memorial to honour war correspondents ABC - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 6:36 PM AEST
    Planned Canberra memorial to honour war correspondents

    From the days of Banjo Paterson, Australia has been sending war correspondents to cover the conflicts and ensure the people back home are informed. There is now a push to build a permanent reminder of their sacrifice at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. The War Correspondents Memorial is the brainchild of the CEW Bean Foundation, named after Australia's official World War I historian Charles Bean. The foundation's chairman Rodney Cavalier says the project has been years in the planning and will honour those who have paid the ultimate price in the line of duty.

  • Russia's natural gas is Vladimir Putin's political and economical weapon ABC - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 3:58 PM AEST
    Russia's natural gas is Vladimir Putin's political and economical weapon

    For Vladimir Putin, natural gas is not just a resource. I cannot recall now whether we were heading back to Moscow from Makhachkala, Samara, or Ulyanovsk. There on the tarmac on the side of a Soviet-era Tu-154 jet were the proud words â Ð Ð°Ð·Ð¿Ñ Ð¾Ð¼ Рвиаâ , or Gazprom Avia. To understand how energy exports - especially natural gas â have helped fuel Mr Putin's long reign, look no further than Gazprom.

  • NBN Co boss says apartment, office rollout accelerated to combat TPG ABC - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 3:48 PM AEST

    NBN Co has reported an operating loss of more than $1.1 billion for the nine months to March. The company is building the National Broadband Network, and says almost 167,000 Australian properties had an active NBN service at the end of March. NBN Co's chief executive Bill Morrow has only been in the role for two weeks but he says, in that time, it has become clear the firm's performance has to improve. Earlier this week TPG Telecom launched its NBN retail prices, and last year it announced plans to roll out a fibre-to-the-basement network into high-density urban areas.

  • Santos suspends gas drilling after accident at Mount Kitty field in Northern Territory ABC - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 3:29 PM AEST

    An international gas company says it has suspended drilling at a central Australian well until all investigations into an accident at the site last weekend have been concluded. Santos has been doing exploratory drilling at the Mount Kitty gas field in the Southern Amadeus basin for the past seven months. In the same week its joint venture partner Central Petroleum announced a flow of up to 500,000 cubic feet of gas a day, a drill rig toppled over at the site, about 220 kilometres south-west of Alice Springs. The Northern Territory Government has launched an investigation into the incident but the Mines Department has confirmed that no one was injured.

  • Premier accused of using the forest peace deal's achievements to sell wood in Japan ABC - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 2:51 PM AEST
    Premier accused of using the forest peace deal's achievements to sell wood in Japan

    The Tasmanian Premier, Will Hodgman, has put environmental groups further offside by promoting their support for the timber industry to attract Japanese buyers. Mr Hodgman has declared his week-long trade trip through China and Japan a successful exercise in building relationships with potential investors. "We have made very important contact with key executives in China, in Japan and there were also senior executives from Australia who participated in this very rare experience and that was this delegation that consisted not only of the Prime Minister but all the state premiers," he said. Mr Hodgman says he told Japanese buyers that Tasmania's timber industry would continue to be supplied only from forests considered by environmental lobby groups and the Greens to be "non-contentious."

  • Phone company TPG fined $400k for cutting off access to emergency services ABC - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 2:25 PM AEST
    Phone company TPG fined $400k for cutting off access to emergency services

    Telephone company TPG has been fined $400,000 in the Federal Court for failing to give customers access to the triple-0 emergency service. She could not get through and later discovered that TPG had cut off access to the emergency service number because her phone bill was in arrears. An investigation by the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) revealed there had been another 193 failed emergency calls from 100 home phones. ACMA said TPG failed to ensure the service was available to nearly 6,000 telephone services.

  • Opening of Emporium shopping centre tipped to revitalise retail in Melbourne's CBD ABC - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 1:25 PM AEST
    Opening of Emporium shopping centre tipped to revitalise retail in Melbourne's CBD

    A long-awaited retail development on one of Melbourne's most historic shopping sites has opened its doors. Emporium Melbourne, on the iconic Myer site in Lonsdale Street, has been overhauled in the hopes of revitalising shopping in the city. Victorian Premier Denis Napthine was on hand to open the first Australian-based store for Japanese casual clothes chain, Uniqlo, which takes up two floors inside the centre. "There is no doubt that Melbourne is the fashion and retail capital," Premier Napthine told reporters.

  • Blackout report: Tollner slams Power and Water Corporation for 'slack' work practices ABC - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 12:28 PM AEST
    Blackout report: Tollner slams Power and Water Corporation for 'slack' work practices

    The Power and Water Corporation has admitted last month's electricity blackout across the Top End was partly due to human error. Northern Territory Treasurer Dave Tollner publicly released the report into the blackout from the Utilities Commissioner yesterday afternoon and accused the utility of "slack" work practices. Power and Water managing director John Baskerville admits workers were partially to blame but says the problems should not happen again. Territory organiser of the Electric Trades Union says it was wrong of the Treasurer to blame the power outage on workers.

  • Chinese economy slows, GDP growth at 7.4pc ABC - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 12:07 PM AEST

    Chinese economic growth has slowed to 7.4 per cent for the year to the end of March, but beat forecasts. That gross domestic product result is down from 7.7 per cent in the previous figures for the year to December. Westpac's senior international economist Huw McKay says these sectors are more relevant than overall GDP to Australia's commodity exporters. "The month of March indicates that momentum was no good, and we're moving into a second quarter where Chinese growth is going to be less of a support [to Australia's economy] than we've become used to over recent years," he told ABC News Online.

  • Sherwin Iron halts trucking operations for Easter weekend to aid highway safety ABC - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 11:47 AM AEST
    Sherwin Iron halts trucking operations for Easter weekend to aid highway safety

    A mining company in the Northern Territory's Roper River region is suspending its trucking operations from the mine during some periods over the Easter weekend. Sherwin Iron will stop trucking ore on Thursday ...

  • Badgerys Creek airport project: Tony Abbott announces multi-billion-dollar roads package ABC - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 11:19 AM AEST
    Badgerys Creek airport project: Tony Abbott announces multi-billion-dollar roads package

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott has unveiled a $3.5 billion roads package for western Sydney, saying it will fund the infrastructure that will make the city's second airport work. But a tourism group says it cannot understand why the "infrastructure prime minister" has overlooked rail, saying the decision will leave western Sydney's roads more congested. Mr Abbott is staring down criticism of his plan to build a second airport at Badgerys Creek, saying it has been put in the political too-hard basket for too long. He says the combined funding from the Commonwealth and New South Wales governments will see the upgrades of major roads surrounding the Badgerys Creek site.

  • Lewis book reignites debate on high frequency trade on Australian markets ABC - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 11:05 AM AEST

    Authorities in the United States and Europe are promising a crack-down on high frequency trading, following allegations in finance author Michael Lewis's new book "Flash Boys" that the US stock market is rigged. High frequency trading (HFT) is a recent stock market bogeyman. Now critics of HFT have more ammunition â the new book by celebrated finance author Michael Lewis, "Flash Boys", which alleges that the US stock market has been rigged by a small number of HFT insiders, at the expense of long-term investors. The allegations have sparked an FBI investigation, and now the US Securities and Exchange Commission is understood to be looking to shut down a number of HFT firms.

  • BHP Billiton says record production reached for four commodities ABC - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 10:00 AM AEST

    BHP Billiton has increased its iron ore output, and also raised its full-year sales guidance for the key steelmaking ingredient. BHP Billiton says production of steelmaking coal was also 24 per cent higher in the first nine months of the financial year than during the same period last year. Energy coal production was only slightly higher than last year's output. March quarter global copper production was down, but output was slightly higher over the nine months to March when compared to that same period last year.

  • It's up to ERA: Rio Tinto sidesteps Ranger uranium open-cut mine rehabilitation costs ABC - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 9:32 AM AEST

    Mining giant Rio Tinto has distanced itself from the future rehabilitation of the Ranger uranium mine site in the Northern Territory. Rio Tinto subsidiary Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) has completed open-cut mining and wants to establish an underground mine. But before it can do that, it needs to start work on cleaning up the site, which is located within the boundaries of Kakadu National Park, about 200 kilometres east of Darwin. Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh has told the company's annual general meeting in London that rehabilitation of the mine site is ERA's responsibility.

  • Rio Tinto warns of more economic upheaval at annual general meeting in London ABC - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 9:18 AM AEST

    Rio Tinto's chairman expects financial market volatility to continue this year, warning the global economy is likely to face more challenges in 2014. Addressing shareholders at the company's annual general meeting in London, Jan du Plessis outlined international issues likely to impact on the company's operations and results. Mr du Plessis says he also expects short term ups and downs in China, Rio Tinto's major customer. Chief executive Sam Walsh says he is taking Rio Tinto "back to the future" after a year of cost cutting, increased production and selling off mines.

  • Calls for Mt Wellington cable car to be given project of significance status ABC - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 8:17 AM AEST
    Calls for Mt Wellington cable car to be given project of significance status

    Tasmania's Premier is not ruling out making a Mount Wellington cable car project a project of state significance. The plan involves a cable car that would start at the Cascade Brewery and travel past the Organ Pipes to the summit of Mount Wellington. The Tourism Industry Council's Simon Currant told the function he believed the proposal was sensitive and logical. Opposition Leader Bryan Green says the project could be one of state significance, but agrees a business case is needed.Traffic trouble

  • Forestry SA jobs facing the chop, minister Leon Bignell holding talks ABC - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 7:58 AM AEST
    Forestry SA jobs facing the chop, minister Leon Bignell holding talks

    Forests Minister Leon Bignell has confirmed Forestry SA is keen to cut almost 100 jobs in South Australia over the next two years. Mr Bignell has met Forestry SA officials at Mount Gambier and says the Government now will consider the organisation's proposed cuts. "Forestry SA obviously has a view that they want to reduce the workforce here by 45 staff next year and 50 the year after to save between $8.5-9 million," he said. The union says it was told at a meeting with Forestry SA on Monday the organisation wanted government approval to halve its workforce within a year and use more contract work.

  • Food star rating system starts as Sydney muesli company goes it alone ABC - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 6:59 AM AEST
    Food star rating system starts as Sydney muesli company goes it alone

    The controversial star rating system that evaluates the health benefits of food will appear on supermarket shelves for the first time this week. A family-owned muesli producer in Sydney has put the stars on the labels of its muesli packets to be sold in supermarkets around Australia and exported to Asia. Husband-and-wife team Trevor and Kim Lauman from the Monster Health Food Company started their muesli business in the family kitchen 21 years ago. Mrs Lauman says it was an easy decision to become the first company to adopt the system.

  • Badgerys Creek airport project: Federal, NSW governments to announce $3.5 billion roads package ABC - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 12:45 AM AEST
    Badgerys Creek airport project: Federal, NSW governments to announce $3.5 billion roads package

    The federal and New South Wales governments will today announce they are spending nearly $3.5 billion on roads to support the construction of Sydney's second airport. The money will flow over the next decade and the news has been welcomed by some nervous federal Liberal MPs in western Sydney who hope it will dampen community opposition to the Badgerys Creek project. Last night many of the MPs had a phone hook-up with senior ministers to hear what an airport at Badgerys Creek might mean for them. Unsurprisingly, many wanted to know if the airport would run around the clock.

  • Badgerys Creek: Jackie Kelly launches attack on PM Tony Abbott over second airport plan ABC - Tue, Apr 15, 2014 9:27 PM AEST
    Badgerys Creek: Jackie Kelly launches attack on PM Tony Abbott over second airport plan

    The former Liberal member for the key Western Sydney seat of Lindsay, Jackie Kelly, has launched a blistering attack on Tony Abbott, warning she will "do the prime minister over" with a "soccer mums" grassroots campaign against his plan to build a second Sydney airport in her old electorate. Speaking to the ABC from London where she is holidaying, Ms Kelly told the ABC she is "ballistic" with Mr Abbott's decision to okay a second Sydney airport at Badgerys Creek. She said Mr Abbott has signed a "death warrant" and writing on her Facebook page has warned the Prime Minister will come to "regret this epitaph".

  • Tasmanian Government may challenge a decision to award ambulance paramedics a big pay rise ABC - Tue, Apr 15, 2014 8:26 PM AEST
    Tasmanian Government may challenge a decision to award ambulance paramedics a big pay rise

    About 300 ambulance paramedics in Tasmania have been granted a substantial pay rise, but their celebrations may be short-lived. The State Industrial Commission has awarded the medical workers a 14.1 per cent pay rise, or about $10,000 more each year, in what is considered a landmark ruling. Unions claim the ruling recognises the skills of paramedics have grown since the last assessment. Tim Jacobson of the Health and Community Services Union says pay rates had not been reviewed for 25 years.

  • Malaysia Airlines MH370: Wreck hunter confident plane will be found ABC - Tue, Apr 15, 2014 7:21 PM AEST
    Malaysia Airlines MH370: Wreck hunter confident plane will be found

    One of the world's foremost wreck hunters believes searchers have found the crash site of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, and recovering the plane's black boxes is inevitable. "I think essentially they have found the wreckage site," the director of the UK-based Bluewater Recoveries, David Mearns, told 7.30. Mr Mearns solved one of the nation's greatest maritime mysteries when he found the wreck of HMAS Sydney deep in the Indian Ocean. His advice was also crucial in helping to find the wreckage of Air France flight 447.

  • Share market starts to recover, CBA shares rise despite technical fault ABC - Tue, Apr 15, 2014 6:37 PM AEST

    Australian stocks have ended their losing streak, with every sector closing higher as investors cheered a recovery on Wall Street. US stocks were buoyed by a strong retail sales report and a profit from ...

  • Tigerair takes flight between Darwin and Brisbane ABC - Tue, Apr 15, 2014 4:08 PM AEST
    Tigerair takes flight between Darwin and Brisbane

    Darwin airport will welcome the first Tigerair passenger flight from Brisbane tonight. It marks the start of a new daily service between the two capital cities. The flights will make 130,000 more airline seats a year available for the Northern Territory capital. NT Airports chief executive officer Ian Kew says Darwin International Airport was the first base for Tigerair when it started flying to Australia from Singapore.