Top Stories

  • Killing cancer from the inside AAP - 5 minutes ago

    Australian biotech Phylogica is focusing on killing cancer "from the inside", which it says is a more effective way of fighting the disease. The Perth-based company's key objective is to get therapeutic drugs inside cells, where most drug targets are found. "We're about trying to take this new generation of smart drugs that they (big pharmaceutical firms) have been developing and deliver them much more efficiently inside the cells so they can access their targets," Phylogica chief executive Richard Hopkins says. For example, Phylogica is targeting MYC, a protein that turns on genes that cause cancer and which is present in more than 50 per cent of all cancers.

  • Hockey seeks discussion on tax, super AAP - 26 minutes ago
    Hockey seeks discussion on tax, super

    Treasurer Joe Hockey says tax, superannuation and workplace changes are more important than immigration when it comes to turning the budget and economy around. Mr Hockey, who is in Brisbane on Friday, is engaged in a media blitz a day after releasing the intergenerational report. The treasurer says there needs to be a conversation about laws, including superannuation, to help keep older people in work. "Should superannuation laws be changed so they can accommodate our needs as we go in and out of the workforce, and change careers?" Mr Hockey told the Seven Network.

  • MIDDAY UPDATE: Warehouse shares fall after trimming forecasts BusinessDesk - 40 minutes ago

    Shares of Warehouse Group dropped 4.8 percent in morning trading after the country’s biggest listed retailer cut its forecast annual profit and return to shareholders.

  • Aust shares open flat AAP - 49 minutes ago

    The Australian share market has opened flat. At 1010 AEDT on Friday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 5.2 points, or 0.09 per cent, at 5,899, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 4.4 ...

  • Warehouse eyes costs, better products as it targets earnings growth BusinessDesk - 52 minutes ago

    Warehouse Group is turning its focus to reducing costs and improving its products and productivity as it seeks to get a return from its increased spending on the business. The Auckland-based company today lowered its forecast for annual profit after first-half earnings fell, prompting it to renege on its dividend pledge. Warehouse shares are rated an average 'sell' and have shed 23 percent of their value over the past year as analysts and investors say they want the company to start producing profit growth after spending hundreds of millions of dollars overhauling stores and buying new businesses the past few years. Chief executive Mark Powell, who has led the spending programme after taking over almost four years ago, previously expected annual profit growth to resume this financial year.

  • Lower oil prices will stay a while: CEOs AAP - 1 hour 1 minute ago

    Exxon Mobil chief executive Rex Tillerson expects the price of oil to remain low over the next two years because of ample global supplies and relatively weak economic growth. The price of oil plunged in the second half of 2014 when it became apparent that production was outpacing global demand. Meanwhile, weakening economic conditions in China, Japan and Europe slowed the growth in oil demand. BP chief executive Bob Dudley made remarks similar to Tillerson's in a recent call with investors.

  • Construction industry in decline AAP - 1 hour 24 minutes ago

    The construction industry is deteriorating as the house building boom fails to fill the massive hole left by mining. Australia's construction sector shrank for the fourth straight month in February, falling ...

  • NZ wholesale trade rises for third quarter in December BusinessDesk - 1 hour 49 minutes ago

    New Zealand's wholesale trade grew for a third quarter in the final three months of 2014, with increased activity for apparel, pharmaceuticals and furniture leading the expansion. Seasonally adjusted sales rose 0.3 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31, slowing from the 0.6 percent pace in September, and rounding out a third quarter of growth, according to Statistics New Zealand. Other goods, which includes textile and apparel, pharmaceuticals, and furniture and floor coverings, led the quarterly gain, up 4.7 percent, or $152 million, while commission-based wholesaling climbed 9.2 percent, or $38 million. Grocery, liquor and tobacco wholesale trade dropped 1.5 percent in the quarter, while machinery and equipment decreased 0.3 percent.

  • Aust bond futures prices strengthen AAP - 1 hour 55 minutes ago

    Australian bond futures prices are slightly higher after the European Central Bank announced the details of its bond buying program. The ECB said it would begin a 1.1 trillion euro ($A1.56 trillion) bond ...

  • Malaysia Airlines readies for change AAP - 2 hours 1 minute ago

    After a year of calamity, Malaysia Airlines is shrinking to survive. The government, which owned most of the airline, took 100 per cent ownership and removed it from the Malaysian stock exchange in 2014. The airline is now aiming to return to profitability by 2017 with a drastic $US1.7 billion ($A2.17 billion) overhaul that includes cutting nearly a third of its staff. Key to the plan is a new chief executive, Christoph Mueller, a turnaround specialist who led a successful revival of Ireland's Aer Lingus.

  • Fulton Hogan 1H earnings dip on weak Aussie economy BusinessDesk - 2 hours 10 minutes ago

    Fulton Hogan, the privately held construction firm, says first-half pre-tax earnings dropped 10 percent as Australia's economic woes kept a lid on spending in the resources and state sectors, while the strong kiwi dollar eroded profit earned across the Tasman. Fulton Hogan still expects to grow annual post-tax profit from the $138.2 million it earned in 2014, and is involved in $2.8 billion of tender bids which it hopes will boost its forward work book. "A steep reduction in mining royalties has impacted infrastructure and maintenance spending by federal and state governments in Australia, combined with the negative impacts of a strong New Zealand dollar when repatriating Australian profits to the New Zealand parent company, has been a challenge," managing director Nick Miller said. Fulton Hogan said its forward work position was down 20 percent from a year earlier, though "a significant flow of new projects coming to the market in early 2015" was likely to turn that around.

  • Women shut out of senior management positions Newstalk ZB - 2 hours 22 minutes ago

    The number of New Zealand women in the top job has reached an all time low.

  • Migrants lazy way to grow economy: Hockey AAP - 2 hours 53 minutes ago
    Migrants lazy way to grow economy: Hockey

    Treasurer Joe Hockey says immigration is the lazy way to grow the economy. Mr Hockey said the government was forecasting a drop in immigration as a percentage of the total population. "Immigration is a rather lazy way to try to grow your economy," Mr Hockey told ABC radio. Mr Hockey released his five-yearly review of the 40-year outlook for the Australian economy on Thursday, which projected an Australian population of about 40 million by 2055.

  • Banks relieved as RBNZ drops '5-plus' test for home loans BusinessDesk - 3 hours ago

    The major banks are breathing a sigh of relief that the Reserve Bank of New Zealand has dropped proposals that would have deemed anyone owning five or more residential properties as a commercial borrower, although the Property Institute is unhappy with the latest proposals, published yesterday for consultation. The central bank intends to require banks to set aside more capital against lending on homes that are not owner-occupied, to reflect the greater risk to financial stability of investing in residential property for profit rather than to own a place to live in. In sharp contrast to its heated objection to the introduction of loan to value ratio lending restrictions on all residential lending in 2013, the Bankers Association is welcoming the proposals, which have dropped earlier plans to target all owners of more than five residential properties and reclassify them as commercial borrowers.

  • $A sinks on RBA comments, $US strength AAP - 3 hours ago

    The Australian dollar has dropped back below 78 US cents following a surge in the greenback and suggestions that the Reserve Bank is willing and able to cut rates again. At 0700 AEDT on Friday, the local currency was trading at 77.74 US cents, down from 78.16 cents on Thursday. The Australian dollar's descent began on Thursday, when RBA deputy governor Philip Lowe said the currency needed to fall further and that interest rates could afford to be cut again. We're some way from that, which means we have some scope to lower interest rates again if that's appropriate," Dr Lowe said.

  • Skeleton horse erected shows ticker AAP - 3 hours ago

    London's Trafalgar Square, full of tourists, pigeons and military monuments, has a new occupant - a skeletal horse displaying stock quotes. German artist Hans Haacke's Gift Horse was unveiled on Thursday atop the square's "fourth plinth," a major platform for public art. The work is a skeleton horse with a London Stock Exchange ticker tied to its leg. He said he hoped visitors would be "intrigued by what the ticker of the London Stock Exchange tells them about their fortunes".

  • Stocks to watch on Friday AAP - 3 hours ago

    Stocks to watch on the Australian stock exchange on Friday, March 6: FMG - FORTESCUE METALS GROUP - steady at $2.29 Fortescue Metals Group is bolstering its balance sheet by refinancing $US2.5 billion ...

  • Air NZ bins automatic travel insurance after warning from ComCom BusinessDesk - 3 hours ago

    Air New Zealand, the national carrier, will scrap its pre-selected travel insurance option after receiving a formal warning from the Commerce Commission, which is cracking down on businesses misleading consumers with 'opt out' additional products. The Auckland-based airline has agreed to no longer pre-tick travel insurance on its online ticketing system from April after a warning from the anti-trust regulator, the commission said in a statement. "Consumers are perfectly capable of deciding for themselves whether they want to pay for additional products or services," commission chairman Mark Berry said.

  • Warehouse Group profits take heavy hit Newstalk ZB - 3 hours ago

    Profit is down for The Warehouse Group.

  • Commodities markets summary AAP - 3 hours ago

    A summary of trading in key commodities markets overseas: ENERGY Oil prices have climbed as Libyan unrest offset a jump in US crude stockpiles, analysts say. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery ...

  • Finance News Update, what you need to know AAP - 3 hours ago
    Finance News Update, what you need to know

    WORLD FINANCE UPDATE: The Australian dollar has dropped back below 78 US cents after the European Central Bank said it would begin a 1.1 trillion euros ($A1.56 trillion) bond buying program next week. ...

  • International markets roundup AAP - 3 hours ago

    A roundup of trading on major world markets: NEW YORK - US stocks have opened higher, ending a two-day downturn, with AbbVie's $US21 billion takeover of cancer drug developer Pharmacyclics giving a charge ...

  • BUSINESS BREAKDOWN: RBNZ fires warning shot to property speculators BusinessDesk - 3 hours ago

    The Reserve Bank has lined up property speculators in its sights as it prepares to make it more difficult for residential lending for purely investment purposes.

  • Australian market set to open flat AAP - 4 hours ago

    The Australian market looks set to open flat after a lacklustre finish on Thursday and an unriveting performance on Wall Street where stocks lifted slightly. At 0645 AEDT on Friday, the share price index ...

  • $A drops back below 78 US cents AAP - 4 hours ago

    The Australian dollar has dropped back below 78 US cents after the European Central Bank said it would begin a 1.1 trillion euros ($A1.56 trillion) bond buying program next week. At 0630 AEDT on Friday, ...

  • NZ economy to grow close to 3% in 2015 as building offsets dairy decline: Moody's BusinessDesk - 4 hours ago

    New Zealand's economy is expected to grow at an annual pace close to three percent this year as increased building activity in its two biggest cities, Auckland and Christchurch, offsets the sharp decline in dairy prices last year, according to global rating agency Moody's Investors Service. The country's economy is "growing strongly" and growth is likely to remain robust through next year, which is supported by the government's expectation to return to an operating surplus in the 2016 financial year, Moody's said in a report.

  • NZ dollar falls after RBNZ looks for ways to curb residential property investment BusinessDesk - 4 hours ago

    The New Zealand dollar fell after the Reserve Bank said it is looking at ways to curb lending to residential property investors, which could pave the way for it to lower interest rates. The local currency weakened after the central bank said it is looking at ways to tighten rules around lending for residential rental properties to better reflect the risks. Some traders speculate that further curbs on property market lending could help slow rising house prices, and allow the central bank to reduce interest rates. The New Zealand dollar "has the dubious honour of being the worst performing currency, by some margin, over the past 24-hours," Kymberly Martin, a senior market strategist at Bank of New Zealand, said in a note.

  • While you were sleeping: European stocks, bonds rally BusinessDesk - 5 hours ago

    European stocks climbed, while the euro dropped to the lowest level in more than 11 years, after the European Central Bank said it will start wider asset purchases next week. The ECB said it will start its new government bond-buying program of 60 billion euros a month on March 9, including some debt with negative yields. "We expect the economic recovery to broaden and strengthen gradually," ECB President Mario Draghi said in a statement. The UK's FTSE 100 Index advanced 0.6 percent, while France's CAC 40 Index gained 0.9 percent, and Germany's DAX climbed 1 percent to a record-high close.

  • Hockey to kick along debate on future AAP - 7 hours ago

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott wants a bipartisan approach to dealing with the challenges of an ageing population. Treasurer Joe Hockey released his five-yearly review of the 40-year outlook for the Australian economy on Thursday, a report he hopes will spark a national conversation about the future. Mr Hockey has left open the possibility of tax cuts if all the government's measures from his first budget are passed by the Senate and the budget returns to surplus in 2019/20.

  • Reserve Bank wants new rules for property investors Newstalk ZB - 7 hours ago

    Landlords are again in the spotlight, following confirmation the Reserve Bank wants new rules for loans to property investors.

  • Gorgon given green light for expansion AAP - 13 hours ago
    Gorgon given green light for expansion

    Chevron's Gorgon liquefied natural gas project has been given the green light to expand production capacity. The West Australian Environmental Protection Authority has recommended conditional approval ...

  • Mortgage rates lowest since 1968 AAP - 13 hours ago
    Mortgage rates lowest since 1968

    Home loans have dropped to their lowest level in almost half a century after the Reserve Bank's surprise interest rate cut in February. Mortgage rates fell to 4.9 per cent after the cut, levels not seen since 1968 - the year Martin Luther King Jnr was shot in the United States and Hey Jude by the Beatles was at the top of Australian music charts. Home owners with a $400,000 mortgage in late 2011 - before interest rates started falling - paid about $27,200 a year in interest. Mr Lawless said with the housing market running so hot, the Reserve Bank and regulators faced the challenge of trying to keep a lid on soaring property prices.

  • Pension gender gap shrinking, but remains AAP - 15 hours ago

    Women still face significantly bigger challenges to funding their retirement than men - but the pension gender gap is shrinking. According to an annual state of retirement report from LV=, women who have occupational or private pensions are reaching retirement with pots worth on average STG107,000. One in four (23 per cent) women approaching retirement has only the state pension to rely on, compared with less than one in 10 (nine per cent) of men, according to the study. The report warned that both sexes are facing a STG3,744-a-year shortfall between what they need to live on during their retirement and what they will actually have.

  • Uber heads in new mapping direction AAP - 15 hours ago
    Uber heads in new mapping direction

    Uber Technologies is buying digital mapping specialist deCarta in a deal that might help the rapidly growing ride-hailing service lessen its dependence on navigation services from Google and Apple. Although deCarta is not as well known as Google Maps, its technology is used extensively by consumers. In its early years, Google Maps even tapped into deCarta's technology, according to deCarta. The acquisition confirmed on Wednesday will provide Uber's drivers with another way to find passengers summoning rides on the company's mobile app and deliver them to their destinations more quickly.

  • Qld Labor under fire for assets promise AAP - 15 hours ago

    Queensland's Labor government has reworded its key election promise, but insists it hasn't backflipped on public assets sales. Throughout the January election campaign, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's overarching promise to voters was that "Labor will not sell your assets". Deputy Premier Jackie Trad insisted Labor was keeping its word, even if its wording has changed three times this week. "What we said was that we would not sell assets that deliver dividends to the Queensland state budget," she said.