21/11/2008 - 06:54

Today's Business Headlines

21/11/2008 - 06:54

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Share prices off 50pc in a year; We can avoid deficit - Swan; Banks seek guarantee overhaul; iiNet faces action over piracy; Housing finance skids

Today's Business Headlines

Share prices off 50pc in a year
The sharemarket crash of 2008 yesterday extended its plunge to more than 50 per cent as come of the country's blue chip stocks were hammered again and one of the nation's top economists warned Australia was headed for a recession. The West

We can avoid deficit - Swan
The Rudd government believes it can get through the next year without being forced into deficit, but plunging financial markets show investors are already trading on the basis that the economy is heading for recession. The Australian

Banks seek guarantee overhaul
Major banks are demanding that the federal government overhaul its guarantee on bank deposits and wholesale funding, including lowering the $1 million threshold on free guaranteed deposits and shortening the scheme's three-year time frame. The Fin Review

iiNet faces action over piracy
WA internet service provider iiNet is being taken to the Federal Court by some of the biggest names in the film industry for allegedly allowing its users to download pirated movies and television shows. The West

Housing finance skids
The potential for a sharp slowdown in the domestic property market has been underlined by new figures showing growth in housing finance screeched to its lowest annual rate in two decades during September. The Fin Review

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The sharemarket crash of 2008 yesterday extended its plunge to more than 50 per cent as come of the country's blue chip stocks were hammered again and one of the nation's top economists warned Australia was headed for a recession.

Page 4: A consortium led by two Spanish engineering giants was named yesterday as the preferred builder and operator of the state's second desalination plant near Binningup.

Water Corporation workers yesterday accepted pay rises of up to 30 per cent over three years as the public service faces the prospect of job cuts under the state government's efficiency drive.

Page 5: WA internet service provider iiNet is being taken to the Federal Court by some of the biggest names in the film industry for allegedly allowing its users to download pirated movies and television shows.

Just when it seemed the fall from grace could not get much worse for beleaguered entrepreneur Warren Mead, it has emerged that a finance company is trying to repossess his Mosman Park house.

Page 6: Five financial planners who sold their clients shares in failed fuel company Firepower have been suspended because they acted without proper authority.

Page 10: Ford has performed a U-turn on its decision to close its engine plant in Geelong, securing the future of 400 workers who faced the axe.

Page 19: The number of unqualified people who have applied to teach in WA schools almost doubled in the past year in another indication that many schools are struggling to find enough trained teachers.

WA winemakers were facing the end of the boom times with the global credit crunch likely to create "uncertain" demand for top-quality wines, an industry expert said yesterday.

Business: Andrew Forrest has tried to restore shareholder confidence in his battered miner, revealing yesterday that Fortescue Metals Group was using surplus cash to buy back its own debt, while it has also managed to convince one of China's biggest steelmakers to order more Pilbara iron ore.

Perth corporate lawyer Rob Franklyn and fellow legal eagle Simon Salter have teamed up with Sydney-based mid-tier commercial firm Middletons in a deal which will see the pair merge their boutique operations into a full-service firm.

Rio Tinto's aggressive swoop on Perth explorer Extract Resources and Kalahari Minerals has scuttled a merger between the uranium juniors amid fears the mining giant could seize control of the merged group.

It was standing room only at Gindalbie Metals' annual meeting yesterday where chairman George Jones tried to reassure shareholders its relationship with Chinese steel giant Ansteel, which wants to invest $162.1 million in the WA miner, would see Gindalbie through the market meltdown.

Things have gone from bad to worse for Babcock & Brown, with the besieges investment firm in a trading halt after revealing it was in dispute with one of its lenders.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The Federal Reserve's grim outlook for the world's largest economy and likely rejection by United States legislators of a bail-out plan for the American car industry, sparked a savage sell-off on global markets, leaving the Australian sharemarket its lowest level in five years.

Major banks are demanding that the federal government overhaul its guarantee on bank deposits and wholesale funding, including lowering the $1 million threshold on free guaranteed deposits and shortening the scheme's three-year time frame.

Page 3: The Rudd government has used its $6.2 billion car assistance fund as leverage to persuade Ford Australia to keep open its Geelong engine plant, which it had planned to shut down in 2010.

Page 5: The likelihood that Telstra will bid for the federal government's $4.7 billion national broadband network became even slimmer yesterday after it failed to secure adequate assurances its operations would not be split under the tender process.

Page 9: The potential for a sharp slowdown in the domestic property market has been underlined by new figures showing growth in housing finance screeched to its lowest annual rate in two decades during September.

Page 10: Thirty-four firms linked to some of the world's biggest movie producers have filed a landmark legal action against Australia's third-largest internet service provider, iiNet, alleging breach of copyright for allowing customers to download their movies.

Page 15: Trade schools are suffering as most businesses, especially in construction, and are hiring far fewer apprentices.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The Rudd government believes it can get through the next year without being forced into deficit, but plunging financial markets show investors are already trading on the basis that the economy is heading for recession.

Page 3: Australia's biggest film and television companies have ignited a long-simmering war with the internet sector, lodging a lawsuit against Perth-based broadband provider iiNet seeking damages that could run into millions of dollars.

Business: The Australian market slumped 4.19 per cent yesterday, taking its losses since the November 1 peak to 50.9 per cent in a selling wave that has slashed $905 billion from listed companies.

Babcock & Brown appears close to collapse after a deal to set fresh debt covenants stalled when Germany's HypoVereinsbank refused to inject emergency cash into the troubled company.

The removal of the ban on short selling of non-financial stocks this week has prompted renewed interest in the practice on local markets, with stocks that are highly geared or tied to the consumer economy among the chief targets.

Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly has finalised her executive line-up, appointing a business banking veteran to head the St George side of the merged business.

As a global recession looms larger, few market observers in Australia are prepared to call a bottom to the equity market slide that has wiped more than 50 per cent from the market's value since its high point.

Extract Resources' merger with AIM-listed Kalahari Minerals has collapses over concerns that the move would hand control of the uranium company to global mining giant Rio Tinto.

Babcock & Brown now looks terminal.

Fortescue Metals group has announced that a mystery Chinese steel mill has agreed to boost its offtake agreement with the iron ore miner for 2009, increasing its contract by 3.5 million tonnes to 5.5 million tonnes.

China's $900 billion stimulus package will not rescue the steel industry from its decline, with one analyst listing all steel stocks as a sell.

Gindalbie Metals says its growing war chest is the positive outcome of a large share placement to Chinese steel making giant Ansteel.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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