Top Stories

  • Share market slips despite iron ore rise AAP - 4 minutes 20 seconds ago

    The share market has fallen further away from the key 6,000 point level as a recovery in commodity prices failed to boost the big miners. Iron ore prices in China edged closer to the $US60 a tonne mark ...

  • Bonds weaken as May cut hope subside AAP - 6 minutes ago

    The Australian bond market is weaker as the chances of a May interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank decrease.

  • Murray warns of ratings risk AAP - 22 minutes ago
    Murray warns of ratings risk

    Australia's prized AAA credit rating is increasingly at risk, setting the scene for some nasty knock-on effects across the entire economy, the head of the government's financial systems inquiry has warned. David Murray says ratings agencies would be increasingly uneasy about Australia's budget position. Mr Murray said continued budget deficits would bring Australia's debt levels closer to a point agencies like Standard and Poor's believed unacceptable for a AAA rated economy. "The change in the terms of trade and the difficulty of quickly bringing that debt to a more stable position ... means it will be increasingly apparent that we will get close to those benchmarks with the ratings agencies," he told AAP.

  • Blackmores forecasting record profit AAP - 23 minutes ago

    Vitamin and herbal supplements maker Blackmores is forecasting a record full year profit, with demand for complementary medicine immune from an economic slowdown. Chief executive Christine Holgate says the business is weathering waning consumer sentiment in Australia. Blackmores made a net profit of $12 million during the March quarter, up 125 per cent from the same period in 2014. It made a profit of $31 million during the financial year so far, with sales growth in Australia up by more than a third.

  • Stocks to watch at close on Tuesday AAP - 25 minutes ago

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

  • Aust shares close lower AAP - 30 minutes ago

    The Australian share market has closed lower, breaking a three-session winning streak. At the close on Tuesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 34.2 points, or 0.57 per cent, lower at 5,948.5, while ...

  • Retirees 'much worse' off: RBA AAP - 51 minutes ago
    Retirees 'much worse' off: RBA

    Soon-to-be retirees are being warned by the Reserve Bank governor that they face tough times ahead and will need to take risks with their lifesavings to fund their retirement. Central banks around the world have lowered their interest rates to record lows to stimulate their economies, causing yields on safe investments such as term deposits to fall. The RBA's Glenn Stevens says that as a result, retirees are have to take more risks with their investments than those in the past in order to generate an adequate future income. National Seniors chief executive Michael O'Neill said historically low interest rates had cut the income of some retirees in half in the past couple of years.

  • Bank bosses urge advisers to rebuild trust AAP - 52 minutes ago
    Bank bosses urge advisers to rebuild trust

    Three of Australia's most senior banking figures are calling for a change of culture to fix the scandal-ridden financial planning industry. Australia's most senior banker, Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens says trustworthiness of planners appears to have eroded while incentives paid to them have grown. "Finance depended on trust, and where trust had been damaged, repair was needed," Mr Stevens told a banking summit in Sydney on Tuesday. Commonwealth Bank chief executive Ian Narev said banks should hire advisers who are more focused on the customer, rather than bonuses and commissions.

  • Qld govt decision prompts power hike fear AAP - 1 hour 5 minutes ago

    Death and taxes are known certainties but in Queensland it seems there is a third inevitability: increased electricity prices. The Palaszczuk government has deferred deregulation of electricity prices in the state's southeast for 12 months to give a soon-to-be-established Queensland Productivity Commission the chance to hold a public inquiry. Treasurer Curtis Pitt could not say what impact the move would have on power bills, other than to say they would not have the "double digit" increases seen under the former Liberal National government. The Queensland Competition Authority was working on the assumption that price deregulation would start on July 1, but will now set approved increases for power prices across the state.

  • Pre-budget assurances help consumer mood AAP - 1 hour 28 minutes ago

    The Abbott government's soothing tones about a responsible budget may finally be making an impression. Consumer confidence rebounded 2.8 per cent in the past week, all but reclaiming the 3.1 per cent drop of the previous three weeks. "The real test will be over the next few weeks as Australians digest the 2015 budget and the government's new fiscal strategy," ANZ chief economist Warren Hogan says. Treasurer Joe Hockey is very confident of getting his second budget - one that focuses on jobs and growth - through parliament.

  • Virgin appoints its first woman chair AAP - 2 hours 26 minutes ago
    Virgin appoints its first woman chair

    Airline Virgin Australia has appointed leading business woman Elizabeth Bryan as its first ever female chairman. Ms Bryan is also the chairman at Caltex Australia, but is not currently on Virgin's board. She replaces the long-serving Neil Chatfield, who has been chairman since June 2007 and announced last October he would step down in 2015 once a replacement was found. Ms Bryan's previous roles include chief executive of Deutsche Asset Management Australia and chairman of UniSuper.

  • Virgin Aust's new woman chair a 'positive' AAP - 2 hours 28 minutes ago
    Virgin Aust's new woman chair a 'positive'

    Virgin Australia's appointment of leading businesswoman Elizabeth Bryan as the airline's next chairman has been welcomed as positive move by a group representing women on boards. Virgin announced on Tuesday that Ms Bryan would replace Neil Chatfield as chairman, a position Mr Chatfield has held since June 2007. Ms Bryan, who is also the chairman at Caltex Australia and UniSuper, is not currently on Virgin's board. Her previous roles include chief executive of Deutsche Asset Management Australia and its predecessor, the State Super Investment and Management Corporation.

  • Qld deregulation delay could push up price AAP - 2 hours 40 minutes ago

    Queenslanders have been denied cheaper power bills after the state government deferred electricity price deregulation, the opposition says. Shadow treasurer John-Paul Langbroek says the 12-month delay, to make way for a Queensland Competition Authority review, shows the government is making up policy on the run. "By abandoning power price deregulation, Labor has abandoned the Queenslanders that are crying out for cost of living relief," Mr Langbroek said. Mr Langbroek said deregulation would have potentially brought more competitors into the market.

  • Stop making super about rich people: HESTA AAP - 2 hours 52 minutes ago
    Stop making super about rich people: HESTA

    Australia needs to put an end to a superannuation debate that continually focuses on a minority of rich people while alienating the rest of the population, the head of a major industry fund says. Between the unattractive jargon, inequitable government policy and overdramatic media headlines about needing $1 million in retirement, many Australians, particularly women, are tuning out when it comes to super, HESTA boss Debby Blakey says. As chief executive of the industry super fund for health and community services, most of Ms Blakey's members are middle-aged women on modest wages, juggling part-time work with motherhood and with little superannuation to speak of. "Some of the mainstream media is obsessed with us needing $1 million in retirement and for many of our members, when they hear that, it actually switches them right off and they take the attitude that, `well I'm never going to reach $1 million so I won't even bother'," Ms Blakey told AAP.

  • Banks urged to brace for ratings fall AAP - 3 hours ago
    Banks urged to brace for ratings fall

    Australia's prized AAA credit rating is at risk due to a deteriorating federal budget and the country's banks need to prepare for the fallout, the head of the government's financial system inquiry says. David Murray, who chaired the inquiry that handed down its report to the Abbott government in late 2014, warns the weakening state of the budget could lead to a ratings downgrade by credit agencies. Treasurer Joe Hockey appeared to back Mr Murray's comments, conceding in an interview with ABC Radio that Australia could lose its Triple A rating if it doesn't rein in spending. Mr Hockey said if the government didn't get back to living within its means the risk to its credit rating would flow through to banks in the form of higher costs.

  • Costello changes tune on GST rate AAP - 3 hours ago
    Costello changes tune on GST rate

    Peter Costello appears to have had a change of heart about raising the GST rate. "The trouble with the idea we can tax the budget back into balance by soaking the rich is there just aren't enough rich to go around," Mr Costello wrote in News Corp newspapers on Tuesday.

  • Card surcharges necessary, RBA says AAP - 3 hours ago
    Card surcharges necessary, RBA says

    The head of the Reserve Bank has defended credit card surcharges as helping to keep the price of goods and services down, but says review is needed. While surcharging tends to be a "hot button issue" with consumers, the RBA considers its decision to allow surcharging in 2002 to have been a valuable reform, governor Glenn Stevens says. "Our current review will consider ways we can retain the considerable benefits of allowing merchants to surcharge, while addressing concerns about excessive surcharges," Mr Stevens said.

  • Property, budget lifts consumer confidence AAP - 3 hours ago
    Property, budget lifts consumer confidence

    Consumer confidence rebounded last week largely due to continued strength in the housing market and optimism about the upcoming federal budget. Confidence rose 2.8 per cent in the week ending April 26, making up most of the ground lost by falls during the previous three weeks, ANZ/Roy Morgan's consumer confidence barometer found. Despite the pick up last week, the survey indicated confidence remained below average and was trending down, ANZ chief economist Warren Hogan said on Tuesday.

  • Why McDonald's is still a powerhouse AAP - 3 hours ago

    McDonald's sales have been sputtering for more than two years and the company seems trapped in a cycle of bad headlines that likely won't end soon. McDonald's has many strengths that the rivals biting at its heels can only envy, including Ronald McDonald's worldwide recognition. Here are six reasons why McDonald's is nowhere close to death's door for now. McDonald's has more than 14,300 locations in the US and that ubiquity continues to make it a default option for many.

  • Qld govt unsure about power bills AAP - 3 hours ago

    The Palaszczuk government is reluctant to say what effect its decision to defer electricity price deregulation will have on power bills in southeast Queensland. Treasurer Curtis Pitt and Energy Minister Mark Bailey said the 12-month deferment in the state's southeast, announced on Tuesday, would give a soon-to-be-established Queensland Productivity Commission the chance to hold a public inquiry into power prices. "It just makes sense to defer electricity deregulation for 12 months to make sure we get it right," Mr Bailey said. Mr Pitt said he was confident consumers wouldn't see the "double digit" price increases of the past few years under the Liberal National Party government, but couldn't say exactly what would happen to power bills.

  • Virgin names Elizabeth Bryan chairman AAP - 4 hours ago
    Virgin names Elizabeth Bryan chairman

    Airline Virgin Australia has announced former Deutsche Asset Management Australia chief executive Elizabeth Bryan as its new chairman. Ms Bryan is also the chairman at Caltex Australia and UniSuper but ...

  • Finance industry needs to build trust: RBA AAP - 4 hours ago
    Finance industry needs to build trust: RBA

    Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens has called for a cultural change in the financial services industry, saying the sector depends on trust. Referring to recent cases of misconduct within the industry, ...

  • $A higher on concerns over US data AAP - 4 hours ago

    The Australian dollar is higher as concerns continue about downbeat US economic data in the lead up to this week's US Federal Reserve meeting. The Australian dollar was worth 78.69 US cents at 1200 AEST ...

  • Share market retreats at sign of 6,000 AAP - 4 hours ago

    The share market is weaker, with traders continuing a trend of recent weeks of retreating when it gets close to the 6,000 point mark. The market has not hit the elusive 6000 point level for more than seven ...

  • Stocks to watch at noon on Tuesday AAP - 4 hours ago

    Stocks to watch on the Australian stock exchange at noon on Tuesday: AZJ - AURIZON - down 10.5 cents, or 2.1 per cent, at $4.895 Australia's largest rail freight operator Aurizon has struck an 11-year ...