Qantas shares have hit a record low as investors continue to desert the company because of its financial woes. Qantas shares were worth 96.5 cents at the close of trade on Tuesday, below the previous all-time ...
Woodside Petroleum chief executive Peter Coleman says competition is about to heat up in the domestic gas market in Western Australia. But he believes there are still good opportunities to market gas to Australian industrial customers, despite an anticipated boost to supply. While the local market is well supplied by the North West Shelf joint venture in the short to mid-term, Mr Coleman says it would become "quite a competitive market" as Chevron's Gorgon and Wheatstone projects came online. "There are still good opportunities and there are some good industrial customers out there," Mr Coleman told media on Tuesday.
BHP Billiton chief Andrew Mackenzie says his main aim is not growing volumes, confirming plans to cut capital expenditure by 25 per cent this year and further next year. The comments highlight the difference in leadership between Mr Mackenzie and his predecessor Marius Kloppers. When Mr Mackenzie took the reins as chief executive in May it was with a mantra of controlling cost inflation in a world of lower commodity prices. "My principle aim is not to grow volumes," Mr Mackenzie said.
The consumer watchdog has started legal proceedings against two large-scale egg producers accused of misleading consumers by falsely claiming their products were free range. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has filed federal court proceedings against Western Australia-based Snowdale Holdings and Pirovic Enterprises from New South Wales. It's alleged the companies marketed their eggs as "free range" and represented them as having been produced by hens who were farmed in conditions where they were able to move around freely. In reality, the ACCC said the hens were housed in crowded barns and unable to move around freely.
The Australian dollar has moved above 91 US cents, helped by mostly positive local economic data. Since 0700 AEDT on Tuesday, the Australian dollar traded between 90.76 US cents and 91.18 cents. National Australia Bank's monthly survey showed business confidence was still strong at five points in November, despite falling falling from six in October. CMC Markets sales trader Betty Lam said there was a mixed reaction by the Australian dollar to the mixed data.
Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey's mid-year budget review will reveal in "graphic detail" the state of the budget and the economy he inherited from Labor. Mr Hockey will release the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook (MYEFO) at 12.30 pm at the National Press Club in Canberra next Tuesday. "What that will illustrate to the Australian people is that (Labor) were the most reckless government in modern Australian history," he told parliament on Tuesday. He took the opportunity to chastise Labor and the Australian Greens for blocking $20 billion of savings in the Senate, including $13.4 billion that will result from scrapping the mining tax.
The gender pay gap never goes away, even in retirement. New research shows the average 60 year old woman would need to work an extra 25 years to retire with the same amount of superannuation as her male counterpart. More than 80 per cent of women aged between 40 and 65 said they did not feel prepared for retirement. Westpac's Larke Riemer said women needed to start planning for retirement earlier.
Dexus Property Group has upgraded its earnings guidance as a result of a buyback of securities and the net impact of Dexus' investment in the Commonwealth Property Office Fund (CPA). Dexus also says its office and industrial portfolios are performing solidly. Dexus on Tuesday lifted its earnings guidance for the 2014 financial year to 8.29 cents per stapled security, from 8.15 cents per security - up seven per cent on the 2013 result. "Today's increase in guidance is evidence of our focus on enhancing value and returns to investors," Dexus chief executive Darren Steinberg said in a statement.
The Engineers, Printing and Manufacturing Union believes Tiwai Aluminium Smelter could pay far less than the suggested $20 million, if it loses an appeal in the Employment Court.
OptionsXpress market analyst Ben Le Brun said investors were still looking for assurance that the US Federal Reserve would not start tapering its economic stimulus program too soon. He also said insurer QBE's shock announcement on Monday that it expects a a $250 million net loss this year continued to weigh upon investor sentiment. "It (the market) has completely died on its run this afternoon, unfortunately," Mr Le Brun said. QBE continued to drop, falling $1.18, or 9.83 per cent, to $10.82.
Shares in Recall, the information management business formerly part of Brambles, rose on their first day of trading on the Australian share market. Recall, which manages and stores documents and records, was recently demerged from Brambles, and its shares closed at $4.50 after opening at $4.15 at 1200 AEDT. Chief executive Doug Pertz said it was an exciting day for Recall, a firm that serviced many large multinational companies. Brambles earlier said the demerger enabled it to concentrate on growing its pooling solutions business, which provides reusable CHEP and IFCO pallets, crates and containers to industry.
Home loan approvals rose 1.0 per cent in October - another sign that low interest rates are doing what they're supposed to. There were 52,305 approvals in the month, compared to 51,792 approvals in September, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released on Tuesday. "It looks like another fairly solid outcome," National Australia Bank senior economist Spiros Papadopoulos said. "It's another indicator that points to the recent strength that we've seen in the housing market and growth in the investor sector.
Investors and home-buyers are pumping $4.7 billion a month more into the housing market than they were a year ago. If sustained over a year, that would amount to 3.6 per cent of gross domestic product. And the housing market may be getting even more of a boost than that. But even if the unknown contribution from those sources turns out to be negligible, there's still a heck of a lot more money being funnelled into the housing market these days.
Australian bond futures prices are slightly lower, and suffered a brief fall on the back of mixed local economic data. The National Australia Bank monthly survey showed business confidence was up, but business conditions were still subdued. UBS interest rate strategist Andrew Lilley said the market had a slight reaction to the data. "As he is generally seen as an inflation dove and with inflation where it is, if we hear a few more of those comments we could see a sell off in bond markets from here," Mr Lilley said.
Air New Zealand expects first half pre-tax earnings of $NZ166.8 million ($A153.29 million) on optimism about its December bookings and on certainty over redundancy costs. New Zealand's national carrier on Tuesday said it expects normalised earnings before tax to increase about 20 per cent in the six months ending December 31, including about $NZ10 million ($A9.19 million) of redundancy costs, from $NZ139m a year earlier. Air New Zealand said it had made "good progress" so far this financial year and is on target to exceed last year's full-year earnings. Shares in Air New Zealand rose 0.9 per cent to $NZ1.645 on Tuesday.
Fonterra admits it has work to do to improve water quality after a report highlighting how increased dairy farming is polluting waterways. Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright says in a report released on Thursday that water quality is highly likely to get worse in New Zealand if dairy farming keeps growing. Dr Wright says the increase in the number of dairy farms and dairy intensification - putting more dairy cows on any area of farmland - produces a rise in nitrogen and phosphorus levels which can lead to excessive growth of weeds, slime and algae.