Expect tough love on May 13: Hockey

Australians should expect a serve of tough love when the Abbott government hands down its first budget, Joe Hockey has warned. However, in a speech delivered weeks out from the May budget, the treasurer has also promised big investments in infrastructure that will help spur on the nation's economy. "All Australians must help us to do the heavy lifting," Mr Hockey said in an address hosted by the…

  • Rates to remain stable in budget run-up AAP - 7 hours ago

    At least Australians won't have to contend with higher interest rates while swallowing the bitter pill of the federal government's budget. The latest official inflation numbers proved tamer than feared, keeping the consumer price index within the Reserve Bank's two to three per cent target band and suggesting interest rates will remain stable for a while yet. The data came as Prime Minister Tony Abbott was again warning of a big repair job when the government's first budget is handed down on May 13. "You have got to fix the budget if you are going to fix the economy," he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

  • Govt's audit to be released next week AAP - 7 hours ago
    Govt's audit to be released next week

    Treasurer Joe Hockey will next week release the long-awaited commission of audit that is helping him frame his first budget. But Mr Hockey told a Sydney audience on Wednesday he will not automatically accept all the recommendations. The commission finds government spending has almost tripled in the past 40 years. Mr Hockey said the age pension is the largest program "by a fair margin" and already takes up 10 per cent of all commonwealth spending.

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    China Mobile profit down 9.4 per cent

    China Mobile, the world's biggest phone carrier by number of subscribers, says its latest quarterly profit declined 9.4 per cent despite a rise in customer numbers as spending per account declined. The ...

  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles AAP - 8 hours ago
    Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles

    Toyota has kept its position at the top in global vehicle sales for the first quarter of this year, outpacing rivals General Motors and Volkswagen. Toyota Motor said on Wednesday that it sold a record 2.583 million vehicles in the January-March period, putting the Japanese carmaker ahead of Detroit-based GM at 2.42 million and Volkswagen of Germany at 2.4 million. Toyota's first quarter sales rose by more than 6 per cent from the same period the previous year. GM's sales grew 2 per cent, while Volkswagen's added nearly 6 per cent.

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    Sales of existing US homes slipped in March to their lowest level since July 2012 as rising prices and a tight supply of available homes discouraged many would-be buyers. The National Association of Realtors says sales edged down 0.2 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million. Sales rose in the US Northeast and Midwest, suggesting that cold winter weather did not slow sales. Fewer homes for sale, higher mortgage rates and rising prices have contributed to lower sales since last summer.

  • $A falls on lower than expected inflation AAP - 8 hours ago

    The Australian dollar has fallen after lower than expected inflation figures reduced the likelihood of a rate hike in the near future. "When we got a downside surprise on the CPI, which goes against the recent trend of positive surprises for the economy and speculation that the RBA could hike rates, it drove the Aussie lower," Mr Been said. Meanwhile, the CPI figures saw Australian bond futures prices rally, Nomura head of macro products Jon Linton said.

  • Economists focus on CPI data AAP - 8 hours ago

    Economists focused on the March quarter inflation figures this week. The responses by economists to the consumer price index figures on Wednesday confirmed that. The figures showed inflation at 2.9 per cent, less than most economists had tipped. "Today's inflation report was weaker than both our and the RBA's expectations," Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Alex Joiner said in a report.

  • Shares hit another high AAP - 8 hours ago

    The share market has hit another high after a fifth consecutive day of gains, driven by low inflation. The market opened strongly and reached near six-year highs as solid earnings and major pharmaceutical-sector ...

  • Stocks to watch at close on Wednesday AAP - 8 hours ago

    Stocks to watch on the Australian stock exchange at the close on Wednesday: ALZ - AUSTRALAND - down five cents, or 1.2 per cent, at $4.23 SGP - STOCKLAND - down two cents, or 0.5 per cent, at $3.76 Australand ...

  • Aust bond prices rally on lower CPI print AAP - 8 hours ago

    Australian bond futures prices have rallied on the back of lower than expected inflation, which has reduced the likelihood of rate hikes in the near future. The consumer price index rose 0.6 per cent in the March quarter, for an annual rate of 2.9 per cent. Nomura head of macro products Jon Linton said the bond market followed moves in the US overnight and opened weaker, before receiving a boost from the inflation numbers. "We went into the CPI print with bond yields higher and most of the domestic market were expecting a much stronger print," Mr Linton said.

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    Newcrest confirms new CEO

    Newcrest Mining's outgoing head Greg Robinson has been described as having had to save the company last year as it announced he would leave in July. Mr Robinson will leave his $2 million a year salary running Australia's largest gold company on July 4, to be replaced by chief operating officer Sandeep Biswas. The departure of Mr Robinson, plus Newcrest's former chairman Don Mercer, were first flagged before the company's AGM in October. The chief executive leaves after barely three years in the job, after a horror 2013 when the gold price, and Newcrest's share price, plunged.

  • Inflation corralled by slack jobs market AAP - 9 hours ago

    The measures of underlying inflation, which strip out extra-large rises and falls in the components of the consumer price index, averaged out at 0.55 per cent for the quarter and 2.65 per cent for the year. That's a very benign set of figures for the Reserve Bank of Australia, which tries to keep inflation in the two to three per cent range on average over time. And an expansion of the profit share of national income can allow prices to race ahead of labour costs for a time. But for those one-off increases to develop into ongoing prices rises, year after year, they need to feed back into labour costs, which are the biggest cost facing businesses.

  • Property developers in takeover stoush AAP - 9 hours ago

    Property developer Stockland will wait to hear what investors have to say about the rejection of its $2.4 billion takeover proposal for Australand before considering further options. Australand's board has determined a share-swap takeover proposal presented by Stockland was not in the best interests of Australand securityholders. Australand also rejected a request from Stockland to open its books and enable Stockland to carry out due diligence on a potential merger. Stockland chief executive Mark Steinert has urged the Australand board to engage with his company, which holds a 19.9 per cent stake in Australand.

  • LinkedIn to anchor new Frisco high-rise AAP - 9 hours ago
    LinkedIn to anchor new Frisco high-rise

    San Francisco mayor Ed Lee says the professional networking site LinkedIn will expand its presence in the city by anchoring a high-rise office building under construction. Lee announced on Tuesday that LinkedIn has signed a lease to occupy the entire 26-storey structure scheduled to be completed in the city's South of Market neighbourhood by 2016. City officials say the nearly 450,000 square feet of office space could accommodate about 2,500 employees. Mountain View-based LinkedIn Corp currently occupies 135,000 square feet in a downtown San Francisco tower and plans to occupy another 87,000 square feet near downtown.

  • Shares at highest point since mid-2008 AAP - 9 hours ago

    The Australian share market has hit another six year high as positive US corporate earnings reports boost global sentiment. At the close on Wednesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 38.5 points, ...

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