Top Stories

  • Suncorp to report annual profit AAP - 1 hour 32 minutes ago

    Heavy rains, hail storms and a cyclone are likely to feature when insurance giant Suncorp Group reports annual earnings on Tuesday. The company said three months ago that the cost of natural disasters would amount to up to $990 million in the 2014/15 financial year, due mainly to Cyclone Marcia in Queensland, NSW storms in April and Sydney's Anzac Day hail storm. Suncorp, which owns the AAMI, GIO and Apia brands, made a $631 million net profit in the first half of the year, up 15 per cent from the same period a year earlier.

  • PC report puts penalty rates on table AAP - 1 hour 33 minutes ago

    A new report is expected to give weight to a push for changes to penalty rates. The Productivity Commission will on Tuesday release the draft report of its inquiry into workplace relations. Business groups argue weekend penalty rates are too high and especially stop hospitality and retail firms from putting on more employees and making more money.

  • RBA tipped to leave rates on hold AAP - 1 hour 34 minutes ago

    Falling commodity prices and turbulence on China's share markets are not expected to be enough for the Reserve Bank to deliver another rate cut on Tuesday. "Iron ore is a little lower, China's a bit more volatile, but there's really not much a rate cut can do about all that," TD Securities chief Asia-Pacific macro strategist Annette Beacher said. The Reserve Bank cut rates to an historic low of two per cent in May, citing weak business investment and slowing Chinese growth.

  • Low interest rates to stay for a while AAP - 1 hour 34 minutes ago

    Economists widely expect the Reserve Bank to keep the cash rate at a record low two per cent at its monthly meeting on Tuesday. New figures for retail spending and international trade will also be released, although they are unlikely to alter the outcome of the central bank meeting. Likewise, the monthly international trade numbers are expected to show another large deficit close to $3 billion in June against the backdrop of weakening commodity prices, suggesting exports will have been a drag on growth in the June quarter.

  • Melb Port sale needs scrutiny: industry AAP - 1 hour 34 minutes ago

    The sale of the port of Melbourne and its impact on supply chains across Victoria will be examined in a state parliamentary inquiry. The opposition has launched an inquiry, with the support of the Greens, into the sale of the port's lease.

  • Growth in spending expected for June AAP - 1 hour 35 minutes ago

    Retail spending is expected to have lifted only marginally in June as local and global economic jitters continue to hold back consumers. Apart from a 0.1 per cent fall in May, retail spending has modestly improved every month since May 2014, as job security and a slowing economy continues to weigh on consumer sentiment.

  • Aussies fear lack of retirement funds AAP - 5 hours ago

    More than half of Australians fear they won't have enough money to fund their retirement, a survey shows. The latest quarterly Wealth Sentiment Survey by National Australia Bank's wealth management partner MLC shows there's been an improvement in people's confidence in their retirement savings. NAB client management general manager Lara Bourguignon said it was an encouraging sign.

  • Rent deal made as Melb port inquiry looms AAP - 9 hours ago

    A parliamentary inquiry will assess the $6 billion in potential revenue earned from leasing the Port of Melbourne to a private operator against how the lease will affect Victoria's long-term port needs. Treasurer Tim Pallas has warned against reducing the port's sale price, but Opposition Leader Matthew Guy says Victoria cannot afford to think just in the short term. Premier Daniel Andrews said the opposition should stick to what it said during the election and support the port's sale.

  • Abbott to woo SA on jobs and spending AAP - 10 hours ago
    Abbott to woo SA on jobs and spending

    After months of frosty relations between the federal and South Australian governments over funding for infrastructure and job creation projects, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Premier Jay Weatherill appear to be finally on the same page. Mr Abbott said his message to South Australia was to banish pessimism and defeatism and if he had a wish, it would be "to see this state restored to being an economic powerhouse". "My message to South Australia is that we can do it," he said.

  • Newmont scotches Kalgoorlie drill rumours AAP - 11 hours ago

    Newmont Mining says its exploration program at Kalgoorlie will not encroach on the historic gold rush town. Australia's largest gold producer says its focus is to the east of town and not beneath Kalgoorlie's historic Hannan Street. Newmont Asia Pacific regional senior Vice President Tom Palmer said the US-based company's syndicate was drilling around Kalgoorlie.

  • Rio extends offer to work with explorers AAP - 11 hours ago
    Rio extends offer to work with explorers

    Mining giant Rio Tinto is eager to work with junior exploration companies to develop the next high quality mine. Capital markets had almost dried up for smaller explorers, Rio Tinto exploration director of Australasia Ian Ledlie said. "As an industry, country and company we need new, high quality discoveries, greenfields and brownfields," Mr Ledlie told the Diggers and Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie on Monday.

  • $A slightly higher due to US dollar falls AAP - 11 hours ago

    The Australian dollar has finished slightly higher as concerns a US interest rate hike could be delayed weighs on the greenback. At 1700 AEST on Monday, the currency was trading at 72.99 US cents, up from ...

  • Melb Port inquiry to weigh long-term needs AAP - 11 hours ago

    The potential $6 billion revenue earned from leasing Port of Melbourne to a private operator will be weighed against Victoria's long-term port needs in a parliamentary inquiry. Treasurer Tim Pallas has warned against reducing the port's sale price, but Opposition Leader Matthew Guy says Victoria cannot afford to think just in the short term. Mr Pallas said last week he was happy to participate in a robust parliamentary review process.

  • Lower commodity prices weigh on market AAP - 11 hours ago

    The Australian share market has closed lower amid weak prices for commodities, such as oil, and weak manufacturing data from China. CMC Markets chief market analyst Ric Spooner said the key factor behind the market's fall was weaker commodities prices. Mr Spooner said another deterioration in manufacturing activity in China suggested soft demand for commodities.

  • Hitchhiking robot's trip ends prematurely AAP - 12 hours ago
    Hitchhiking robot's trip ends prematurely

    A hitch-hiking robot that captured the hearts of fans worldwide met its demise in the US. The Canadian researchers who created hitchBOT as a social experiment told The Associated Press that someone in Philadelphia damaged the robot beyond repair early Saturday, ending its first American tour after about two weeks. "Sadly, sadly it's come to an end," said Frauke Zeller, one of its co-creators.

  • Aust bonds firmer on weak US data AAP - 12 hours ago

    The Australian bond market is firmer after surprisingly weak American wage data weighed on expectations of a US interest rate hike. The US employment cost index for the second quarter grew at its slowest ...

  • Beef and Lamb launches referendum Newstalk ZB - 12 hours ago

    Beef and Lamb New Zealand has launched a referendum to decide whether the farmer-funded industry group continues or is wound down.

  • Argo annual profit lifts 16.5 per cent AAP - 12 hours ago

    Investment firm Argo Investments expects the recent fall in the Australian dollar will help the local economy in the 2015/16 financial year. Argo also expects the housing market to stay strong. Managing ...

  • Childcare takeover battle heats up AAP - 12 hours ago
    Childcare takeover battle heats up

    Childcare operator G8 Education has increased its takeover offer for rival Affinity Education to include almost $150 million in cash. The rapidly expanding G8 launched its bid for Affinity on July 3, which if successful will add 161 childcare and early learning centres to G8's portfolio, taking it past 620 centres, with places for more than 47,000 children. G8 originally offered one of its shares for every 4.61 Affinity shares, and that has now been improved to one G8 share for every 4.25 Affinity shares.

  • CSL shares inching towards $100 AAP - 12 hours ago

    The share price of blood products and vaccines supplier CSL continues to nudge the $100 mark. Morningstar analyst Chris Kallos says several factors have been driving CSL's share price, rise from around $65 a year ago. "That, I think, could be transformational for the company," Mr Kallos said.

  • Stocks to watch at close on Monday AAP - 12 hours ago

    Stocks to watch on the Australian stock exchange at the close on Monday: AFJ - AFFINITY EDUCATION - up 8.5 cents, or 11.5 per cent, at 82.5 cents GEM - G8 EDUCATION - up 10 cents, or 2.9 per cent, at $3.50 ...

  • Aust shares close lower AAP - 12 hours ago

    The Australian share market has closed lower ahead of a Reserve Bank rates decision and key employment data. At the close on Monday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 19.9 points, or 0.35 per cent, lower ...

  • Cuba emerges as paradise for gay tourism AAP - 13 hours ago

    As tourism flourishes in Cuba the island is emerging as a destination for gay and lesbian travellers. Pioneering this tourism in Cuba are the owners of Mi Cayito Cuba, a Web-based intermediary between "gay-friendly Cuban private initiative and clients around the world". "The island has great potential as a space for coexistence," company director Alain Castillo told EFE.

  • New home sales rebound in June AAP - 13 hours ago
    New home sales rebound in June

    New home sales have bounced back, posting a fifth rise in the first six months of 2015. New home sales rose 0.5 per cent in June, seasonally adjusted, the Housing Industry Association's new home sales report shows. It comes after new home sales recorded their first monthly fall for the year in May, slipping 2.3 per cent.

  • Newmont scotches Kalgoorlie drilling talk AAP - 13 hours ago

    Newmont Mining is pushing ahead with new exploration sites to extend the life of its Kalgoorlie operations, but says it will not encroach on the historic gold rush town. Australia's largest gold producer poured cold water on speculation it is planning to explore for gold beneath Kalgoorlie's historic Hannan Street, saying the company's focus was to the east of town. Newmont Asia Pacific regional senior vice president Tom Palmer declined to comment on the efforts of a syndicate drilling around Kalgoorlie and said Newmont, which operates the Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines Superpit, was focused on spending its exploration dollars on the open pit and the Hidden Secret prospect.

  • Budget slow to lift business outlook AAP - 13 hours ago

    The May federal budget was billed as pro-business but nearly three months on, few firms are punching the air and most still view the economic outlook in a negative light. A new survey covering the three months to June found business owner predictions for the next 12 months cooling for the fifth consecutive quarter. Prime Minister Tony Abbott, however, remains one of the economic optimists.

  • SA premier to put projects to PM AAP - 13 hours ago
    SA premier to put projects to PM

    Premier Jay Weatherill says the strength of the federal government's commitment to creating jobs in South Australia will become clear over the next few days. Mr Weatherill and Prime Minister Tony Abbott will hold talks on job creation and investment on Monday and Mr Weatherill says he has a long list of projects to put in front of the PM. Mr Abbott is in Adelaide before a federal cabinet meeting on Tuesday, and the government is expected to make a range of announcements, including the construction of Navy frigates.

  • Abbott, Weatherill in economic talks AAP - 13 hours ago
    Abbott, Weatherill in economic talks

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott will hold talks on job creation and investment with South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill on Monday. Mr Abbott is in Adelaide ahead of a federal cabinet meeting on Tuesday. ...

  • Component companies to share in govt cash AAP - 14 hours ago

    Nine auto component producers will share $5.7 million in federal funds to help them diversify their operations before the end of car manufacturing in Australia. Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane says the cash will allow the companies to shift their focus and plan for the future, while ensuring skills and jobs in Australian manufacturing are retained. "This is central to our commitment in ensuring a strong and sustainable manufacturing industry in Australia," the minister said in a statement.

  • Aust miners should plan for growth AAP - 14 hours ago

    Australian mining companies should plan for growth over the next decade as China's economy expands and demand for minerals in India increases, a former Whitehouse economic adviser says. Gene Sperling, who worked as an economic adviser for presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, says despite the commodities downturn and worries about China, Australian mining companies should plan for long-term growth in China, amid predictions the economy will grow around seven per cent for another 10 to 15 years.

  • Teenagers learn to be entrepreneurs AAP - 15 hours ago

    Teenagers at an entrepreneurship summer camp in Silicon Valley have been developing prototypes that have attracted the interest of local investors. At Young Outliers, around 300 children and teenagers are encouraged to start their own company in an intensive three-week course. Camp co-founder and entrepreneur Steve Hsia a personal reason drove him to the venture.

  • Childcare takeover battle steps up AAP - 15 hours ago
    Childcare takeover battle steps up

    Childcare operator G8 Education has stepped up its efforts to take control of rival Affinity Education, offering almost $150 million in cash. G8 had previously offered one of its shares for every 4.6 Affinity shares, which the takeover target described as opportunistic. G8 is now offering 80 cents cash for each Affinity share it does not own, which is about 80 per cent of Affinity's shares, in an offer that values Affinity at about $185 million.

  • Melb port sale inquiry terms released AAP - 15 hours ago

    The length of time Melbourne's port will be leased out for, and any limitations on a second port, will be examined in a Victorian Parliamentary inquiry. Opposition leader Matthew Guy has announced the terms of reference for the inquiry into the port sale, which the government is relying on to pay for level crossing removals.

  • Climate change: Obama orders steeper cuts AAP - 15 hours ago

    Aiming to jolt the rest of the world to action, President Barack Obama has moved ahead with even tougher greenhouse gas cuts on American power plants, setting up a certain confrontation in the courts with energy producers and Republican-led states. In finalising the unprecedented pollution controls, Obama was installing the core of his ambitious and controversial plan to drastically reduce overall US emissions, as he works to secure a legacy on fighting global warming. The Obama administration estimates the emissions limits will cost $US8.4 billion ($A11.49 billion) annually by 2030.

  • Job ads fall in July: ANZ data AAP - 15 hours ago
    Job ads fall in July: ANZ data

    A slowing trend in job advertisements warns of dwindling jobs growth, according to an ANZ economist. The number of jobs advertised on the internet and in newspapers has fallen, the ANZ's monthly data shows. The number of job ads fell 0.4 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms between June and July.