While you were sleeping: More clouds on rates

US stocks, bonds, and the dollar slid after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen warned valuations were quite high, while weaker-than-expected private jobs data added to recent data suggesting the central bank might not lift interest rates as soon as thought. In late trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.78 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined 0.71 percent, while…

  • Perth median rent down by $10 a week AAP - 31 minutes ago

    The median rent for Perth homes has dropped by $10 to $430 a week as the vacancy rate has risen. The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia says March quarter figures show rents are about $450 a week for a house and $420 for an apartment or villa. Its president, David Airey, says the metropolitan median rent has dropped $30 since March last year and he expects the vacancy rate to rise further in winter. "The Perth vacancy rate lifted to 4.4 per cent for the first three months of the year, due to falling population growth, the volume of new dwellings on the market and the number of former tenants who became first home buyers while interest rates are low," he said.

  • New battleground over zero-hours contracts Newstalk ZB - 1 hour 25 minutes ago

    There is no rest for the Government as unions continue the battle to ban controversial zero-hour contracts.

  • Jobs data to help Hockey finalise budget AAP - 2 hours 5 minutes ago

    Labour force figures will give Treasurer Joe Hockey his final piece of key economic data before he puts his budget forecasts to bed. Economists expect Thursday's jobs figures will show the unemployment rate ticking up to 6.2 per cent after the unexpected drop to 6.1 per cent in March. Mr Hockey says Tuesday's budget will focus on jobs and growth, as well as families and small business packages.

  • Miners hurting from job losses Newstalk ZB - 2 hours 11 minutes ago

    There's no quick solution to more potential job losses on the West Coast.

  • Hockey accepts GST carve-up recommendation AAP - 8 hours ago
    Hockey accepts GST carve-up recommendation

    Treasurer Joe Hockey has written to his state and territory counterparts accepting a Grants Commission recommendation on how the GST will be carved-up in the next year financial year. It means Western ...

  • Proxy votes back BHP Billiton spin-off AAP - 8 hours ago
    Proxy votes back BHP Billiton spin-off

    The non-core parts of BHP Billiton look almost certain to be spun off into a new entity, with proxy votes backing the South32 demerger as expected. At the conclusion of a general meeting in Perth, it was revealed 97.2 per cent of BHP Billiton Ltd's shareholders and 98.1 per cent of BHP Billiton Plc investors had voted in favour of the proposal. BHP Billiton chairman Jac Nasser earlier told the meeting the company had considered all options before settling on South32, which bundles together aluminium, base metals, silver, manganese and coal assets. "We believe the demerger is likely to create more value than other alternatives, including asset sales," Mr Nasser said.

  • Aussies falling out of love with beer AAP - 9 hours ago
    Aussies falling out of love with beer

    Aussies may be known the world over for their love of beer, but new data shows consumption of the amber liquid has fallen to levels not seen since World War II. CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian called the result "stunning", but said he couldn't explain it. Full-strength beer consumption fell from 3.32 litres to 3.28 litres, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, while low-strength was down from 0.15 litres, to a record low of 0.13 litres. Wednesday's data showed the fall in beer consumption was part of a wider trend, with total alcohol consumption also down.

  • Qld parliament supports ethanol mandate AAP - 10 hours ago

    The Queensland parliament has voted to support an ethanol mandate on the state's fuel. The Liberal National Party put forward the motion on Wednesday night. It also called for the formation of an implementation board to consult stakeholders and consumers, determine preferred ethanol levels for fuel and determine time frames for the introduction of mandated ethanol levels. Labor supported the idea, but called for an amendment seeking a broader approach to biofuels and to acknowledge the fact Labor had already introduced a bill to start the implementation of an ethanol mandate.

  • WA package sensible: Bowen AAP - 10 hours ago
    WA package sensible: Bowen

    Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen has backed as sensible the Abbott government's decision to provide almost $500 million to Western Australia to compensate for the state's dwindling share of GST revenue. However, ...

  • Lawyers for ANZ customers go to High Court AAP - 11 hours ago

    Lawyers fighting Australia's banks over hundreds of millions of dollars in excessive fees are appealing to the High Court after a landmark win against ANZ was overturned. The Federal Court in April reversed its 2014 ruling that the bank's charges of up to $35 for late credit card payments were illegal. The decision was a big win for ANZ in Australia's biggest class action, which was launched in 2010 by thousands of angry customers seeking to claim back more than $50 million in excessive fees. The law firm representing the customers, Maurice Blackburn, also lost its own appeal, in which it argued four other unpopular bank exceptional fees - honour, dishonour, over-limit and non-payment fees - were illegal penalties and should lead to compensation.

  • Banks rebuked over home loan rate cuts AAP - 11 hours ago
    Banks rebuked over home loan rate cuts

    Some of Australia's biggest banks are under attack for failing to pass on in full to home loan customers the Reserve Bank's interest rate cut. Only one of the nation's big four banks, ANZ, has followed the RBA's lead and cut standard variable home loan rates by 25 basis points. ANZ's rivals, the Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank, held back and trimmed their rates by just 20 basis points. Westpac late Wednesday announced a cut to its variable rate by 0.22 per cent to 5.48 per cent after the RBA sliced its cash rate by 0.25 per cent to a record low of two per cent on Tuesday.

  • Beware pharmacy rule changes: Sigma AAP - 11 hours ago

    Planned changes to rules governing the ownership and location of pharmacies won't necessarily benefit the sector, the chairman of drugs wholesaler Sigma Pharmaceuticals says. The recent Harper competition review urged the federal government to scrap rules about where pharmacies are located as well as those restricting ownership to qualified pharmacists. Sigma's chief executive Mark Hooper also urged the federal government to increase subsidies paid to pharmacies selling drugs covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Under the agreement, pharmacies that buy PBS-listed drugs from wholesalers are reimbursed by the government when they sell them to customers.

  • Aust $ rises on retail spending AAP - 11 hours ago

    The Australian dollar has rallied strongly on signs retail spending is improving. Retail spending grew modestly by 0.3 per cent in March, the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show. The data backed the Reserve Bank's upbeat outlook on the economy that triggered Tuesday's cash rate cut, ANZ senior FX strategist Dan Been said. "The retail sales print in Australia details were slightly stronger and backed up the Reserve Bank's comments yesterday that domestic demand was starting to stabilise for the household sector," he said.

  • New home sales hit 5-year high AAP - 12 hours ago
    New home sales hit 5-year high

    The number of new home sales rose to a five-year high in March, with record low interest rates helping to fuel the housing boom. New homes sales rose 4.4 per cent in March, seasonally adjusted, the Housing Industry Association says. The result come the day after the Reserve Bank cut the cash rate for the second time this year, reducing it to a new record low of two per cent.

  • Woolies plans to retain its profit margins AAP - 12 hours ago
    Woolies plans to retain its profit margins

    Supermarket giant Woolworths will shed an extra 400 jobs and try to match competitor Aldi's prices to turnaround sluggish sales growth. Woolworths unveiled a three-year growth strategy to analysts on Wednesday after posting a disappointing 2.3 per cent rise in food and liquor sales during the third quarter. Woolworths' total sales fell 1.6 per cent to $14.96 billion during the quarter, weighed down by weakness at its Big W chain and lower petrol profits following the slide in oil prices and changes to its alliance with Caltex. It's three-year growth plan includes reducing costs to counter low food inflation, cheaper items, new food and liquor store formats and increasing market share.

New Zealand Markets

Company Finances

  • Sustainable food wins big for Dan Barber at Beard awards Associated Press - Wed, May 6, 2015 12:29 AM NZST
    Sustainable food wins big for Dan Barber at Beard awards

    An almost obsessive dedication to regional and seasonal foods has netted Dan Barber a first-ever culinary hat trick in the nation's top restaurant awards. The James Beard Foundation on Monday named Barber's ...

  • 12 Ways to Eat Healthy No Matter How Busy You Are Entrepreneur - Tue, May 5, 2015 11:30 PM NZST
    12 Ways to Eat Healthy No Matter How Busy You Are

    Resist the temptation to skip meals and rely on processed snacks to get through the work day. Sound nutrition is essential for staying sharp.

  • Cramer: Warren Buffett's biggest diet nightmare CNBC - Tue, May 5, 2015 11:03 AM NZST
    Cramer: Warren Buffett's biggest diet nightmare

    Jim Cramer talks to Ali Partovi on the growing trend of organic farming and three major trends flipping the table on how the world eats.

  • McDonald's challenge: Make it simpler, but add choices Associated Press - Tue, May 5, 2015 6:40 AM NZST
    McDonald's challenge: Make it simpler, but add choices

    McDonald's wants to simplify, simplify, simplify — but also add a bunch of choices for customers to avoid growing stale. CEO Steve Easterbrook said Monday that he will strip away the bureaucracy at McDonald's ...

  • McDonald's to simplify structure, focus on customers Associated Press - Tue, May 5, 2015 3:13 AM NZST
    McDonald's to simplify structure, focus on customers

    McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook says he's stripping away layers of bureaucracy and increasing accountability so the company can move more nimbly to keep up with changing tastes. During a 23-minute video ...

  • The 4 Things You Need to Know About McDonald's Turnaround Plan Entrepreneur - Tue, May 5, 2015 2:49 AM NZST
    The 4 Things You Need to Know About McDonald's Turnaround Plan

    Delivery, refranchising and a new organizational structure – here are the hard facts on how McDonald's wants to fix a broken system.

  • McDonald's plan lacks direction, ex-exec says CNBC - Tue, May 5, 2015 1:42 AM NZST
    McDonald's plan lacks direction, ex-exec says

    McDonald's hotly anticipated turnaround plan went over like a limp fry on Monday.

  • McDonald's to detail latest turnaround plans Associated Press - Mon, May 4, 2015 11:13 PM NZST
    McDonald's to detail latest turnaround plans

    McDonald's is set to unveil its latest plans to revive its sputtering business on Monday. The plans are to be detailed just two months after CEO Steve Easterbrook stepped in to take charge of the world's ...

  • Smokers turn to illegal imports: study AAP - Mon, May 4, 2015 4:13 PM NZST
    Smokers turn to illegal imports: study

    Federal government policies have fuelled a surge in Australia's illegal tobacco trade, tobacco giants say. A new study suggests smokers are turning to illegal imports, typically from Asia, to avoid hefty tax hikes on legal products. The study, by KPMG UK for tobacco giants Philip Morris, British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco, says Australia has missed out on an estimated $1.35 billion in taxes as a result of the illegal trade.

  • Dean Foods plots milk's comeback with 'DairyPure' CNBC - Sun, May 3, 2015 4:00 PM NZST
    Dean Foods plots milk's comeback with 'DairyPure'

    Starting Monday, a national campaign will launch for DairyPure, which places all of the milk produced at Dean Foods' regional dairies under one label.