15/07/2009 - 06:45

Today's Business Headlines

15/07/2009 - 06:45

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Share surge on swelling confidence; States battle to contain wages; BHP takes hard ore price line; Allco debacle costs Sir Rod chair at ANZ; Asciano open to bids as boss sells

Share surge on swelling confidence
The Australian sharemarket delivered its best gain of the year yesterday -- surging 3.5 per cent and adding $36 billion to the value of companies -- as hopes grew that the global financial system had stabilised and the worst of the domestic recession had passed. The Australian

States battle to contain wages
The states and territories face an escalating battle with public sector unions over their wage bills, which will rise by 5.5 per cent this financial year to almost $69 billion as the downturn slashes government revenues. The Fin Review

BHP takes hard ore price line
The global steel industry is consumed by the intrigue about Rio Tinto and its iron ore negotiations with China, but BHP Billiton is quietly pushing its own index pricing agenda with bedrock Asian customers. The West

Allco debacle costs Sir Rod chair at ANZ
The ANZ Bank's plan for Rod Eddington to become chairman is set to be abandoned with ANZ director John Morschel in the running as replacement chairman. Sydney Morning Herald

Asciano open to bids as boss sells
Transport infrastructure group Asciano is open to takeover offers after chief executive Mark Rowsthorn sold more than half his 10.9 per cent stake, giving up his ability to block hostile buyers. The Australian

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 4: The Australian economy may have turned the corner after a survey yesterday showed business confidence at its highest since 2007 and a lift in trading conditions to pre-crisis levels.

Ian Jones has been appointed general manager of West Australian Newspapers' Regional Publications.

Page 5: Royal Perth Hospital reached gridlock yesterday when there were no beds available and all contingency measures had been exhausted.

Page 9: Campaigners to save historic homestead The Cliffe were concerned that Colin Barnett's 2007 involvement came less than six weeks after his son was appointed director of a company whose biggest shareholder owned the property.

Page 12: China is said to have arrested more of its steel executives as it widens a probe into the alleged theft of state secrets by an Australian Rio Tinto executive.

Page 13: The number of West Australian in dire need of public housing has ballooned by almost 80 per cent in the past year, prompting the opposition to call for Housing Minister Troy Buswell to be replaced in the portfolio.

Business: The global steel industry is consumed by the intrigue about Rio Tinto and its iron ore negotiations with China, but BHP Billiton is quietly pushing its own index pricing agenda with bedrock Asian customers.

Mum and dad investors accounted for the bulk of cash tipped into the managed schemes run by failed agricultural giants Great Southern and Timbercorp, most of them sinking up to $100,000 into the projects, fresh figures have revealed.

A sharp swing in optimism yesterday sent the Australian sharemarket to its biggest gain this year, with the S&P-ASX 200 racing 3.5 per cent higher.

A Margaret River coffee roaster last night won top honours at the WA Telstra Business Awards.

WA stockbroker Terry Hogan has described the sudden closure of his broking firm last year and the subsequent life ban handed out to one of his long-serving staff members on Friday as a "tragedy".

Mindax Resources has been granted WA government approval to drill its Bulga Downs prospect west of Leonora.

Rio Tinto moves today from the cloak and dagger aspects of its spying case in China to the humdrum of reporting its production figures for the June quarter.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The states and territories face an escalating battle with public sector unions over their wage bills, which will rise by 5.5 per cent this financial year to almost $69 billion as the downturn slashes government revenues.

It's hundreds of thousands of kilometres long, based on technology that dates back more than a century, and it could be yours for between $20 billion and $30 billion - it's Telstra's local telephone network.

The Chinese crackdown on iron ore trading has widened to more steel mills and possibly other foreign mining companies, as Treasurer Wayne Swan yesterday took a cautious approach on the future of bilateral economic relations with China.

Business conditions have recovered to levels not seen since the global financial crisis hit last September, as a record increase in employment expectations added to evidence that companies are trying to hold on to staff.

Page 3: The Australian Taxation Office needs to fix a significant threat to the security of taxpayers' confidential information or risk unauthorised access to protected records, the federal Auditor-General has warned.

Page 5: The Business Council of Australia has raised fresh criticism of the federal government's proposal to curtail "creeping acquisitions", warning it could make the economy less attractive to investors and impair the growth of businesses.

Page 9: Millionaire mining identity Mark Creasy rejected allegations last night that West Australian Premier Colin Barnett's son Russell stood to benefit from his father's role in successfully campaigning to help Mr Creasy overcome a decade-long property battle.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Kevin Rudd's plan to save jobs in vulnerable areas is struggling to meet the promised deadlines, with just $1.8 million of the first $100m in spending handed out despite it targeting projects that were "shovel ready" from July 1.

Import restrictions, which have protected the Australian book industry and pushed up prices, will be removed in three years, opening the market to competition and cheaper books.

Australian shares yesterday enjoyed their best rally of the year, surging 3.5 per cent on rising hopes the worst of the global recession has passed.

Kevin Rudd has chided China for using its political might to get its own way in business dealings as it emerged that Chinese police had seized sensitive files from the Rio Tinto computer of imprisoned Australian mining executive Stern Hu.

Environment Minister Peter Garrett -- former rock star critic of uranium mining and one-time candidate for the Nuclear Disarmament Party -- yesterday approved the establishment of Australia's latest uranium mine.

Page 2: Innovation and leadership are being stifled in government schools as education authorities bully them into accepting one size-fits-all projects under the Rudd government's education stimulus package, according to public school principals.

Page 5: The Australian Society of Authors has rejected the findings of a report that recommends Australia's restrictions on parallel book importation be abolished in three years.

Page 6: Employers have warned that any "green shoots" in the beleaguered economy are not sufficient to sustain a rise in the minimum wage for workers in NSW.

Business conditions have bounced back to their strongest levels since September last year.

Liberal MPs believe Malcolm Turnbull has emerged from his political and polling battering of recent weeks better placed to be party leader.

Page 7: A building union organiser threatened a non-union subcontractor with bankruptcy, telling him he would "screw you and make your life a misery" if he continued to work on a NSW shopping centre project without joining the union.

The Queensland government is demanding special treatment to shield its coalmines from the cost of Canberra's action on climate change.

Page 8: Chinese President Hu Jintao had not authorised the investigation that led to the arrest of Australian Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

Detained Rio Tinto iron ore executive Stern Hu chose his unusual English first name from his love of violin virtuoso Isaac Stern, who visited China in the late 1970s.

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett argued for the demolition of an "extremely significant" jarrah mansion belonging to a multi-millionaire miner on the grounds that it was dilapidated and too expensive to fix.

Business: The Australian sharemarket delivered its best gain of the year yesterday -- surging 3.5 per cent and adding $36 billion to the value of companies -- as hopes grew that the global financial system had stabilised and the worst of the domestic recession had passed.

Transport infrastructure group Asciano is open to takeover offers after chief executive Mark Rowsthorn sold more than half his 10.9 per cent stake, giving up his ability to block hostile buyers.

You only have to digest China's recent import data to identify the central paradox of the miserable and divisive theatre that is the Stern Hu affair.

Alliance Resources' Four Mile deposit in South Australia has been given the green light by Environment Minister Peter Garrett, making it only the third uranium mine approved in 20 years.

Hostilities resumed yesterday in the battle of Australia's media heavyweights, with James Packer paying $26.5 million to buy another 10 million shares in Consolidated Media Holdings and move his stake above 40 per cent for the first time.

The nation's two biggest banks are rolling out schemes to deal with mortgage brokers, with the Commonwealth Bank's more onerous requirements causing distress among some brokers.

Energy Resources of Australia boosted output at the nation's biggest uranium mine last quarter as it mined higher-grade ore and ran its mill at almost 100 per cent capacity.

As the relationship between Australia and China becomes increasingly fractious, business and government leaders from both nations are preparing for an investment conference in Beijing next Thursday.

Hearing implant maker Cochlear has downgraded earnings guidance after being hit by the rising Australian dollar on its largely offshore operations.

Australia's proposed carbon trading scheme is vulnerable to fraud and companies are set to be hit with class actions by activist groups because they are not adequately protected by proposed laws, a climate change expert has warned.

Legislative changes under consideration by the federal government to prevent businesses from increasing their market power via so-called "creeping acquisitions" would act as a deterrent to investment, according to the Business Council of Australia.

Goldman Sachs' second-quarter earnings jumped 65 per cent, well ahead of analysts' expectations, thanks to a smashing performance at its trading operations.

A divorce proceeding involving a top United Technologies official has uncovered potentially embarrassing records that show he made extensive personal use of company aircraft.

US government officials are in advanced talks about providing some sort of aid to CIT Group, one of the country's primary lenders to small and mid-sized businesses.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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