Aust bonds weaker after Fed comments

The Australian bond market is slightly weaker after the head of the US central bank indicated that an interest rate hike before the end of the year is possible. US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said ...

  • UPDATE: Contact shares rocket up on capital return … BusinessDesk - 22 minutes ago

    Contact Energy shares jumped more than 14 percent after the energy generator and retailer said it had ditched plans for now to invest in geothermal schemes offshore and will increase returns to shareholders, including a special dividend. Contact announced a 50 cents per share fully imputed special dividend, payable June 23, and a new ordinary dividend payout ratio of 100 percent of underlying earnings after tax. It also flagged the prospect of share buybacks if free cash flow allows larger distributions in the next few years, when Contact has no significant investment plans in New Zealand, where there is currently an over-supply of electricity generation.

  • Commodities markets summary AAP - 31 minutes ago

    Oil prices have fallen as the dollar strengthened on firming US inflation data, and profit-taking weighing in after a two-day crude rally. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in July dropped $US1 to finish at $US59.72 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday. The Labor Department reported US consumer prices rose for a third straight month in April.

  • Methven lifts annual profit 21% as new China plant … BusinessDesk - 39 minutes ago

    Methven, the NZX-listed tap and shower manufacturer and exporter, lifted annual profit 21 percent, in line with guidance, after the acquisition of a Chinese manufacturing plant widened margins. Profit rose to $5.69 million in the year ended March 31, from $4.71 million a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. At balance date the tap and shower maker's debt increased to $22.75 million from $14.45 million a year earlier, after it finalised the purchase of its Chinese manufacturer, Methven Heshan, formerly Invention Sanitary.

  • Evolve posts smaller FY loss than forecast as settlements … BusinessDesk - 1 hour 17 minutes ago

    Evolve Education Group, the childcare operator that listed in December, reported a smaller annual loss than forecast in its offer document as it settled a series of acquisitions faster than anticipated, driving higher revenue. "The result was driven by accelerated settlement of acquisitions and improved operational performance at the ECE (early childhood education) centres," chief executive Alan Wham said in a statement. The company raised $132.3 million in its December initial public offering to fund a series of acquisitions, including Lollipops Educare, the in-home childcare Porse Group, Wellington-based I-Kids and Christchurch-based Artemis Learning.

  • International markets roundup AAP - 1 hour 17 minutes ago

    A roundup of trading on major world markets: NEW YORK - Wall Street stocks have finished lower in light pre-holiday trade after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the plan to raise interest rates ...

  • $A falls after strong US data AAP - 1 hour 21 minutes ago

    The Australian dollar is lower following the release of strong US inflation figures and falls in commodity prices. At 0700 AEST on Monday, the local unit was trading at 78.23 US cents, down from 79.12 ...

  • Stocks to watch on Monday AAP - 1 hour 41 minutes ago

    Stocks of interest on the Australian Securities Exchange on Monday: BHP - BHP BILLITON - up one cent, or 0.03 per cent, to $29.25 FMG - FORTESCUE METALS GROUP - down one cent, or 0.47 per cent, to $2.11 ...

  • Australian market set to open lower AAP - 1 hour 42 minutes ago

    The Australian market looks set to open lower following falls on Wall Street on Friday. The June share price index futures contract was down nine points at 5,6732. On Friday, US stocks finished lower after ...

  • Contact cans offshore geothermal plans, gives 50cps … BusinessDesk - 1 hour 55 minutes ago

    Contact Energy has dropped any immediate plans to invest in offshore geothermal energy projects in favour of paying a 50 cents per share special dividend to shareholders, raising its target dividend payout to 100 percent of underlying earnings and dangling the prospect of share buybacks if free cash flow allows an even higher payout ratio. "Contact has concluded there are no material investment opportunities at this time that would sufficiently reward shareholders and that the company can support increased distributions to shareholders," chief executive Dennis Barnes said in a statement to the NZX.

  • $A lower after strong US inflation data AAP - 2 hours 22 minutes ago

    The Australian dollar is lower after the US dollar gained on the back of strong inflations figures. At 0630 AEST on Monday, the local unit was trading at 78.26 US cents, down from 79.12 cents on Friday. ...

  • KiwiSaver providing poor value for money, needs rewrite, … BusinessDesk - 2 hours 26 minutes ago

    The Treasury recommended a wider review of the KiwiSaver scheme than just axing the $1,000 kick-start payment, arguing it represents poor value for money for the government and has vague aims, according to its regulatory impact statement on the post-budget law change needed to drop the incentive. Reducing incentives would improve the scheme's value for money as wage and salary earners were likely to join anyway because of employer-subsidised schemes and didn't need the kick-start to join, said the Treasury's financial markets manager, James Beard. The RIS shows the $1,000 kick-start payment is by far the less costly part of the two incentives that operate to encourage KiwiSaver membership.

  • NZ dollar falls as greenback strengthens after inflation … BusinessDesk - 2 hours 35 minutes ago

    The New Zealand fell as the US dollar strengthened following signs of rising US inflation and after Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said interest rates were on track to increase this year. The US dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, touched its highest in almost four weeks as investors became more confident that a strengthening US economy would lead to US interest rate hikes this year. While US inflation gained just 0.1 percent in April, a slower pace than the 0.2 percent gain the previous month, the measure of core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy costs, advanced 0.3 percent, the largest increase since January 2013.

  • World Week Ahead: Investors seek new inputs BusinessDesk - 3 hours ago

    As earnings season fades and data continues to disappoint, investors are searching for fresh reasons to extend their equities bets after global markets mostly extended their bull-market rallies last week in lighter than usual volume. On Friday Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen confirmed in a speech that the central bank remains intent on lifting its benchmark interest rate at some point this year. "If the economy continues to improve as I expect, I think it will be appropriate at some point this year to take the initial step to raise the federal funds rate target and begin the process of normalising monetary policy," Yellen said on Friday.

  • MP glad committee won't look at iron ore AAP - 16 hours ago
    MP glad committee won't look at iron ore

    Tony Abbott's parliamentary secretary doesn't think an inquiry into iron ore would have found the truth of what is happening with resources pricing. West Australian Liberal Christian Porter has blasted the work of parliamentary committees, saying he's glad the government won't ask one to look at iron ore prices - as some crossbench senators and Fortescue metals boss Andrew Forrest wanted - because they're "not very good bodies at finding the truth of a situation". "What passes for evidence before parliamentary committees is largely hearsay and certainly just views and opinions layered on each other," Mr Porter told Network Ten on Sunday.

  • Budget set to again face Senate hurdles AAP - 18 hours ago
    Budget set to again face Senate hurdles

    Joe Hockey's second budget may have won an initial round of applause from voters but that does not mean it will get an easy passage through parliament. Heading into a sitting fortnight for the House of Representatives, Prime Minister Tony Abbott is urging the Labor Party to "work with us" in backing the $20,000 instant asset write-off for small business when budget bills start to be debated.

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  • House panel votes to repeal country-origin meat labeling law Associated Press - Thu, May 21, 2015 8:35 AM NZST
    House panel votes to repeal country-origin meat labeling law

    A House committee has voted to get rid of labels on packages of meat that say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered. The House Agriculture Committee voted 38-6 to repeal a "country-of-origin" ...

  • What you need to know about the Takata air bag recall Associated Press - Thu, May 21, 2015 8:34 AM NZST
    What you need to know about the Takata air bag recall

    A recall of air bags made by Japanese auto parts supplier Takata Corp. now has the dubious distinction of being the largest in U.S. history. The number of vehicles in the U.S. being recalled because of ...

  • This New Virtual Reality Headset Tracks Your Eye Movements Entrepreneur - Thu, May 21, 2015 7:50 AM NZST
    This New Virtual Reality Headset Tracks Your Eye Movements

    FOVE has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund production and manufacturing of its headset.

  • Target beating Wal-Mart in race for turnaround Associated Press - Thu, May 21, 2015 5:58 AM NZST
    Target beating Wal-Mart in race for turnaround

    Target is beating Wal-Mart in the race to beef up sales. Target Corp. on Wednesday reported a nearly 52 percent surge in its first-quarter profit on strong sales of more profitable items like fashion and ...

  • Toyota recalls 181,000 cars AAP - Wed, May 20, 2015 8:13 PM NZST
    Toyota recalls 181,000 cars

    Toyota Australia has ordered the recall of 181,000 cars after an airbag fault linked to five deaths worldwide. The decision is part of a global recall of more than five million Toyotas which have been fitted with airbags from one of the world's biggest air-bag companies, Takata. Toyota Australia says its recall will affect vehicles built between 2003 and 2007 and includes its Yaris, Corolla, Avensis Verso, Echo and Rav4 models.

  • House to consider repeal of meat labeling law Associated Press - Wed, May 20, 2015 7:29 PM NZST
    House to consider repeal of meat labeling law

    A House committee is moving swiftly to get rid of labels on packages of meat that say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered. The House Agriculture Committee will consider a bill to repeal ...

  • Takata air bag recall doubles to nearly 34 million Associated Press - Wed, May 20, 2015 2:37 PM NZST
    Takata air bag recall doubles to nearly 34 million

    Under pressure from U.S. safety regulators, Takata Corp. has agreed to declare 33.8 million air bags defective, a move that will double the number of cars and trucks included in what is now the largest ...

  • US investigation of 2007 peanut butter recall wraps up Associated Press - Wed, May 20, 2015 2:16 PM NZST
    US investigation of 2007 peanut butter recall wraps up

    ConAgra Foods is likely to face a criminal charge now that the U.S. government has completed its investigation of the company's 2007 peanut butter recall. A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in ...

  • Illinois Supreme Court hears $10B Phillip Morris appeal Associated Press - Wed, May 20, 2015 8:49 AM NZST
    Illinois Supreme Court hears $10B Phillip Morris appeal

    The fate of a $10.1 billion class-action judgment against the nation's largest cigarette maker is in the hands of justices at the Illinois Supreme Court, who heard oral arguments Tuesday in Phillip Morris ...

  • Fried chicken chain KFC resurrects Colonel Sanders for ads Associated Press - Wed, May 20, 2015 7:01 AM NZST
    Fried chicken chain KFC resurrects Colonel Sanders for ads

    KFC is bringing back Colonel Sanders as the fried chicken chain seeks to refresh its image by harkening back to its past. Sanders, who founded KFC, will be played by "Saturday Night Live" alumnus ...