Today's News & Views


$2.5m cap on super gains support

Actuaries Institute superannuation committee head and Towers Watson boss Andrew Boal has added his voice to the call for a $2.5 million cap on super.

Sally Rose 8:29 PM   Peak bodies representing retail and industry super funds, actuaries and the Grattan Institute have backed a call to limit retirement balances to $2.5 million or lower.

Asian stocks fall on China growth concerns as oil extends drop

China investors have been disappointed by latest economic indicators showing manufacturing is still in the doldrums.

Emma O'Brien 8:15 PM   Asian stocks fell for the first time in four days amid signs of a deepening slowdown in China's economy. Crude declined with copper, while the won strengthened.

IOOF executive's final warning 'went stale'

IOOF is believed to have reported 13 adviser-related breaches to ASIC in the past two years.

Adele Ferguson and Sarah Danckert 10:15 PM   An IOOF senior executive received two final warnings for misconduct rather than being dismissed because the first warning had "gone stale".

Dick Smith targets small appliances as consumers get connected

Dick Smith NZ

Sue Mitchell 7:54 PM   Dick Smith is taking a leaf out of its rival JB Hi-Fi's book and plans to establish small appliance shop-in-shops under the ConnectedHome brand in about 100 Dick Smith stores.

Former White House adviser tips $A to fall towards 65¢, metals to recover

Gene Sperling, former economic adviser to President Clinton and Obama, current economic adviser to Global Investment Management Funds, Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO).

Tess Ingram 7:50 PM   Former White House economic adviser Gene Sperling says he doesn't "buy into the hard landing in China" and thinks China and India will both provide strong demand for minerals over the next decade.

Why Rio Tinto shares are about to surge

Is Sam Walsh Rio Tinto's master puppeteer?

Peter Ker 7:09 PM   Rio Tinto shares have taken on a certain degree of predictability.

Suncorp reports results ahead of the pack

Suncorp CEO Patrick Snowball said the impact of the two natural disasters within six months would make it unlikely for the company to reach its ROE target.

Ruth Liew 6:34 PM   Suncorp Group is extending its cost cutting and lean practices to its financial reporting - a move that will see the bancassurer report its earnings weeks earlier and pay investors their dividends sooner.

KG2 seeks years of board records in Bendigo action

Kisimul Holdings is seeking orders from the NSW Supreme Court to conduct a detailed search for evidence in the records of Bendigo Bank and subsidiary Rural Bank

Shaun Drummond 6:29 PM   Farmer database company Kisimul Holdings is upping the pressure on Bendigo and Adelaide Bank to allow it to trawl through years of bank board minutes in its bid to prove executives at the bank were complicit in the alleged theft of Kisimul's database by a former executive at Kisimul.

Gorgon faces delay as workers mull strike action

Chevron has been building the massive Gorgon project, Australia's single-biggest resources investment, for more than five years at Barrow Island.

Julie-anne Sprague 6:24 PM   The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union says it is likely highly paid workers will walk off the job at Chevron's Gorgon project as part of its push to gain the industry's most attractive work rosters.

Rio wants exploration collaboration to discover next big seam

Rio Tinto's exploration director Ian Ledlie is keen to work in partnership with junior players.

Tess Ingram 6:23 PM   Rio Tinto has used its first presentation at the Diggers and Dealers conference in eight years to call for collaboration in exploration in order to find the next major mineral discovery in Australia.

Commodities swing from bad to worse as China data disappoints

Workers in a factory in Shenzhen, China, where manufacturers are reporting lower output.

Vesna Poljak 6:06 PM   The bad news keeps mounting for commodities after the sector was dealt a further blow with weaker than expected China data leaving experts to warn of more production sites to close.

BoQ targets share and profit in rate rise

Bank of Queensland has joined the list of banks hiking investor home loan rates.

Shaun Drummond 5:36 PM   Bank of Queensland is the latest bank to hike its investor home loan rates but it is seeking market share as well as profit by mostly raising rates on existing loans.

Asia fund passport could manage $600b by 2030: AT Kearney

James Eyers 5:19 PM   More than $600 billion of assets could be managed under a multilateral framework for funds management in Asia within 15 years, says a report by AT Kearney, but competing schemes to liberalise funds management trade in the region must be consolidated before investors and fund managers benefit from the liberalisation.

ASX falls as copper, gold sink

The big miners bore the brunt of falling commodity prices.

Stephen Cauchi 5:12 PM   Falling commodity prices and a poor overseas lead weighed on Australian shares on Monday, with light trading volumes throughout the day due to a bank holiday in New South Wales.

Australian dollar awaits RBA statement

The Australian dollar continues to trade near US72-73¢ but is set to slide by the end of 2015.

Rose Powell 4:49 PM   Strategists are braced for the Reserve Bank of Australia's update to monetary policy because it could serve as a catalyst to drive the dollar up or down.

Why the tax man doesn't scare Uber

The ATO is standing firm, insisting that Uber's ridesharing drivers must pay GST.

John McDuling 2:55 PM   There is a very simple reason Uber is prepared to so brazenly challenge the Australian Tax Office. 

HSBC's first-half profits rise 10pc

Hong Kong is considering whether to move its headquarters from London to the Asian hub.

2:54 PM   HSBC reported a 10 per cent increase in earnings for the first half of the year, boosted by bumper profits in Hong Kong.

Federation Centres shocks with new CEO

Angus Mcnaughton, the new CEO of Federation Centres who has replaced Steven Sewell.

Carolyn Cummins 2:19 PM   Retail landlord Federation Centres has surprised the market with the appointment of former Novion Property's Angus McNaughton as the new chief executive, to replace Steven Sewell, effective immediately.

RBA almost certain to leave rates on hold

Economists are keen to hear RBA governor Glenn Stevens' latest views as the central bank's board meets on Tuesday to debate monetary policy.

Mark Mulligan 1:38 PM   The Reserve Bank of Australia is almost certain to keep the cash rate on hold at 2 per cent when its board meets on Tuesday, with analysts instead focused on governor Glenn Stevens' statement around the decision.

Job ads slip for first time since March

Total job ads slipped 0.4 per cent in July, ANZ said on Monday.

Mark Mulligan 12:53 PM   Newspaper and online job advertisements weakened in July, suggesting employment growth could be slowing.

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China PMI hits 2-year low in July

New orders for China's factories went backwards in July.

12:22 PM   China's factory activity shrank more than initially estimated in July, dashing hopes that the world's second-largest economy may be steadying.

Million-dollar super targets labelled scare campaign

AustralianSuper chief executive Ian Silk wants people to be reassured that even a modest superannuation balance will make their retirement more comfortable.

Sally Rose 12:10 PM   The popular claim that Australians need more than $1 million in superannuation to fund a comfortable retirement is a myth that risks undermining the strength of the system, warns a new report.

Comments 184

China manufacturing shrinks at fastest rate in two years

Fears of a full-blown market crash have added a new sense of urgency for policymakers in Beijing. A private index shows manufacturing shrinking at the fastest rate in two years.

12:08 PM   China's factory activity shrank more than initially estimated in July, contracting by the most in two years as new orders fell and dashing hopes that the world's second-largest economy may be steadying, a private survey showed on Monday.

Why the RBA is set to leave rates on hold

Homes are seen for sale in the northwest area of Portland, Oregon, in this file photo taken March 20, 2014. U.S. home resales rose in June to their highest level in nearly 8-1/2 years, a sign of pent-up demand that should buoy the housing market recovery and likely keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates later this year.   REUTERS/Steve Dipaola/Files

Michael Pascoe 10:16 AM   When the Reserve Bank board members meet tomorrow, they'll be weighing all the detail of a new quarterly statement on monetary policy prepared by the bank's staff. The last two times they did that, the cash rate was cut 25 points.

CVCheck ticks the box for IPO

CVCheck founder Steve Carolan expects marketing strategies to drive growth.

Rose Powell 8:50 AM   Online screening software company CVCheck will have a market cap of $36.9 million on listing this month.

Greek financial markets set to plunge 20pc as talks continue

Greek financial markets reopen on Monday after a five-week suspension as talks continue with creditors.

8:39 AM   Greek financial markets reopen on Monday after a five-week suspension as talks continue with creditors on austerity measures and reforms required for a third bailout.

Mining's M&A spree a sign of better times ahead - for some

North Star chairman Chris Rowe, left, and MD Bil Beament: four acquisitions in six months.

Tess Ingram 7:56 AM   The steady fall in commodities and a string of M&A deals targeting Australia has some poised to punt on a resurgence ahead of the annual Diggers and Dealers conference.

Australian business calendar, August 3-7

The ASX has set a deadline of January 2016 to remove companies that have been suspended from trading for a continuous period of three years.

6:26 AM   What's on this week.

need2know: Defensive start to week

ASX, Australian Stock Exchange pictured in March 2012.
AFR Picture by ROB HOMER

5:54 AM   Local shares are poised to open flat on Monday as investors await fresh data on the local economy and position for Tuesday's RBA's rates call.

Mark Bouris won't stray from Yellow Brick Road

Mark Bouris is on the yellow brick road.

Colin Kruger, CBD 12:02 AM   After all of our grouching last week about Redesign My Tobacco Brand star, Todd Sampson, and his extensive extracurricular activities, CBD was pointed in the direction of a corporate titan who manages to meld his celebrity and work commitments quite nicely.

What's good about economics and economists

Ross Gittins

Ross Gittins   We need economists, as well as their model, to keep reminding us of the seemingly obvious and doing what they can to stop us wasting money.

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Focus on tax avoidance, not GST hikes

Michael West dinkus Dinkus

Michael West   What is the difference between 30 per cent of zero and 20 per cent of zero? Correct: precisely $5,227.27 less than a Bronwyn-Bishop-taxpayer-funded helicopter trip from Melbourne to Geelong.

Trevor O'Hoy's excellent Mongolian adventure ends, but vitamins, beer booming

The wild and woolly ways of business in Mongolia, with Trevor O'Hoy.

Simon Evans   The wild and woolly ways of doing business in Mongolia have prompted former Foster's chief executive Trevor O'Hoy to resign his board position after three years with APU, the country's largest alcohol group.

Roll-up strategy sees Estia Health shake off weak debut

Estia chief executive Paul Gregersen, the company is on its way to adding 500-plus places in the 2016 financial year.

Sally Rose   Victorian aged-care operator Estia Health has received a boost on news of its latest acquisitions, and analysts are optimistic the company will continue to deliver.

Few earnings surprises for investors in reporting season

Weaker data out of China could set back any hope of a recovery among key Australian commodities such as iron ore and copper.

Rose Powell   The week ahead for Australian investors will see full year reporting season begin as commodity prices and slowing Chinese growth drive the Australian dollar down further.

Companies fear further economic slowdowns

Executives share the Reserve Bank of Australia's views about the transitioning economy, which is moving from a mining boom to one with a more diversified economic base.

Ruth Liew   Financial services companies are bracing for at least one more major economic shock in the next decade, and cite delivering sustainable returns to shareholders as one of their biggest challenges by 2025.

Disrupters in battle for access to credit data

Annabel Spring, of the Commonwealth Bank, told the Boao Forum incumbency was a big advantage for big banks.

James Eyers   Control of customer credit data is emerging as a flashpoint between banks and peer-to-peer lenders despite the introduction of "comprehensive credit reporting", which disrupters say is inadequate.

Mobile banking tipped to wipe out 600 branches

Businesses that are more committed to mobile banking technology are likely to get the most benefit in the years ahead, UBS says.

James Eyers   The proliferation of smartphones provides banks with an unprecedented opportunity to slash overheads and will lead to the widespread closure of branches, UBS says.  

Atlas Iron hoping for currency buffer after tough June quarter

Atlas Iron's performance in the June quarter was marred by the temporary suspension of operations at its three Pilbara mines.

Tess Ingram   Atlas Iron is hoping the Australian dollar's fresh lows could buy the junior iron ore miner some breathing room on its costs, as it targets breaking even at a headline price of $US50 a tonne by the end of 2015.

Greece may seek €24b from lenders in August

Greek financial markets reopen on Monday after a five-week suspension as talks continue with creditors.

Greece may seek €24 billion in a first tranche of bailout aid from international lenders in August to prop up its banks and repay debts falling due at the ECB, a pro-government Greek newspaper said in its early Sunday editions.