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Today's News & Views

International markets roundup

7:32am News from the world’s major stock markets.

World

IMF to continue Greece support after vote

7:22am The International Monetary Fund says it is prepared to continue its financial support of Greece, a day after an election swept in the leftist, anti-austerity party Syriza.

Markets

need2know: Steady open in store, iron ore tumbles

For 2014, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index edged up just 1.1 per cent to 5411 points.

6:59am Despite a plunge in the price of iron ore, local shares are poised to open little changed ahead of the NAB's December business confidence report.

$A falls below 79 US cents

6:44am The Australian dollar has hit fresh five-and-a-half-year lows amid increasing expectations of a Reserve Bank of Australia interest rate cut.

Markets

Iron ore plunges 4.3% to new five-year low

Steel production in China grew at the slowest rate on record in 2014 amid a slowdown in the country’s property market.

5:51am Iron ore retreated to the lowest level in more than five years as a slowdown in China hurt the outlook for demand in the world’s biggest user while the largest mining companies add to supply, boosting a surplus.

Shifting ground water levels add to AGL's CSG doubts

Coal seam gas operations near Gloucester in November.

PETER HANNAM 12:15am AGL has attributed large fluctuations of groundwater levels at its coal seam gas monitoring bores near Gloucester to the effects of sampling but water experts say more information is needed before interference with the water table can be ruled out.

TAX

Tax Uber, Airbnb urges Labor's Andrew Leigh

Andrew Leigh:

NASSIM KHADEM 12:15am Regulators need to stop online companies such as Uber and Airbnb – as well as people using their services – from dodging their tax obligations, says Labor assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh.

Resources

Oil and gas industry 'needs $US170 billion cut in costs'

Large-scale corporate M&A deals are more likely than at any point since the late 1990s.

Angela Macdonald-Smith 12:15am The global oil and gas industry needs to cut costs by at least $US170 billion to avoid an increase in net debt, according to consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

How the tax system disadvantages singles

Doing taxes

NASSIM KHADEM 12:00am By 2031 the ABS estimates there will be 3.2 million single households. The Abbott government should not forget singles as it embarks on tax reform.

Banking

NAB customers given last chance to join class action on bank fees

NAB Bank

GEORGIA WILKINS 12:00am NAB customers have until Tuesday to join a class action over overdrawn fees as the bank prepares to settle its part in a long-running bank fee case.

Telecommunications

Singtel-Optus chief pledges to break Telstra's stronghold

Talk to the hand: SingTel-Optus’ new chief executive Allen Lew.

David Ramli 12:00am SingTel-Optus’ new chief executive Allen Lew has pledged to break Telstra’s mobile service dominance.

Alcoa of Australia refuses to be tempted by bauxite boom

mining, western australia

PETER KER 6:00pm The aluminium maker is enjoying a 17 per cent fall in the Australian dollar

Loans

European banks bail from Australian lending market

Total exposure of European banks fell to $US203 billion in the September quarter.

CLANCY YEATES 6:58pm European banks slashed their exposure to Australia's economy by more than $US30 billion in the year to September, according to figures from the Bank for International Settlements.

Reform

Business Council of Australia calls for better political leadership from Canberra

A man of action: Gough Whitlam.

GARETH HUTCHENS 5:33pm Business Council of Australia pointed to the legacy of Gough Whitlam to say Australia needs similar types of leadership from its current crop of leaders.

Energy

Tumbling oil prices could mean $30b hit for Australia's LNG exports

Tumbling oil prices could temper the bonanza expected from LNG exports.

Angela Macdonald-Smith 5:34pm The dive in oil prices could wipe more than $30 billion from Australia’s export bounty from liquefied natural gas in 2017-18, gouging a huge hole in revenue compared to the projections of just a year ago, according to Westpac economists.

Markets

Inflation data, Fed statement key to sentiment

The Aussie tumbled below US79¢ for the first time in more than 5½ years on Monday.

MARK MULLIGAN 7:09am The Australian dollar is likely to remain under pressure this week, with the local consumer price index (CPI) and US Federal Reserve policy meeting key to sentiment as the global data flow begins to intensify.

Property

Circular Quay set for new hotel and apartments after Gold Fields House sale

Artist impression of the landmark Gold Fields House at Sydney'??s Circular Quay.

CAROLYN CUMMINS 5:34pm Sydney's iconic Circular Quay precinct is to get a facelift with the addition of a five-star hotel and upmarket apartments, following the sale of the Gold Fields House at 1 Alfred Street to the Chinese Dalian Wanda Group for $415 million.

Blackstone sells Gold Fields House

2:17pm Blackstone Real Estate sells Gold Fields House to Wanda Group which plans to turn it into a 5-star hotel, retail and luxury residential complex.

Europe

Euro hits 11-year low in wake of Greek election

Supporters of opposition leader and head of radical leftist Syriza party Alexis Tsipras cheer at his campaign headquarters in Athens.

1:39pm The euro hit an 11-year low versus the US dollar on Monday as Greece's anti-austerity Syriza party swept to victory in a snap election.

World

Greek elections send anti-austerity message to Europe

1:39am Greece appeared to reject the punishing economics of austerity and sent a warning signal to the rest of Europe as the left-wing Syriza party won a decisive victory in national elections, positioning its tough-talking leader, Alexis Tsipras, to become the next prime minister.

Trade

Japan's exports grow most in year

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

12:04pm Japan's exports grew the most in a year in December, helped by a weak yen and pickup in overseas demand led by the United States, an encouraging sign for the recession-hit economy even as doubts persist about the strength of global consumption.

Traders price in NZ interest rate cut

Jonathan Underhill 12:01pm The NZ Reserve Bank is expected to cut the official cash rate by nine basis points over the next 12 months, based on the overnight interest swap curve.

Banking

ANZ to raise $750m hybrid capital

Some shareholders want to change the bank's constitution to force it to publish details on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions it is financing via loans and investments.

Jonathan Shapiro 6:08pm ANZ Banking Group has announced plans to issue $750 million of capital notes in what is likely to be the first ASX listed hybrid of 2014.

NAB fee reclaim deadline looms

2:40pm NAB customers hoping to recoup "unfairly charged exception fees" have 24 hours to register their claim, the company managing a class action urges.

Legal

Ansell takes condoms to court to protect profits

Ansell has argued that global consumer goods maker Reckitt Benckiser, which makes Durex condoms, has breached the patent behind its innovative prophylactic.

Jessica Gardner 10:31am Rubber glove and condom maker Ansell will use its expertise in protection to safeguard profits from its “natural feeling” SKYN brand condoms, which are at risk from a competitor product made by larger rival Durex.

Currencies

Australian dollar drops below 79 US cents on RBA rate cut bets

The local currency is at its lowest point since July 2009.

Will Willitts 12:51pm The Australian dollar sank below US80¢ on Friday and has continued its downward slide as the momentum behind an earlier-than-expected interest rate cut from the Reserve Bank of Australia gained pace.

Energy-hungry India doubles down on coal

India's coal demand shows no sign of retreating.

Annie Gowen 8:12am In the hilly Singrauli region of northern India, animals feed on ash-covered grass, smoke stings the eyes and burns the throat, and the reservoir is foul with toxins such as mercury and arsenic. Even the breakfast eggs are grey.

Stocks to watch on Monday

7:55am Stocks of interest on the Australian Securities Exchange on Monday

Commodities markets summary

7:49am Commodities news from around the world

Markets

Insider trading accused Trent Martin's guilt plea reversed

Sydney stockbroker Trent Martin  was accused of sharing a tip about a pending takeover bid with his roommate.

The New York insider trading case against Australian research analyst Trent Martin and four co-accused is on the verge of collapse after a judge vacated the defendants' guilty pleas.

International markets roundup

News from the world’s major stock markets.

Australian market set to open lower

The Australian sharemarket looks set to open lower.

Aer Lingus considering improved bid

Irish airline Aer Lingus has confirmed it is looking at an improved takeover offer from International Airlines Group worth 1.35 billion euros.

Fifty shades of lingerie to light up retail this year

Big business: Taylor Swift at the Victoria's Secret show.

CAROLYN CUMMINS Retail experts are tipping women's intimate apparel as one of the hot spots for the sector this year with the release of the steamy movie, Fifty Shades of Grey, expected to trigger a rise in sales of lingerie and related "items".

Wotif boss and other staff get a permanent vacation following Expedia takeover

Scott Blume had remained in charge since the takeover.

Jamie Freed Wotif.com Holdings chief executive Scott Blume and many other employees of the online travel agent will be departing the company as new owner Expedia undertakes a major restructure of the Australian online travel group.

Pirate video streamers won't affect Netflix's Aussie competition, says Village Roadshow boss

Netflix

JARED LYNCH Listed movie distributor Village Roadshow has dismissed concerns that Australians using "back door" software to access Netflix's US service will hurt the streaming giant's local competitors

Banking

Victims of Commonwealth Bank financial planning scandal and consumer group Choice question scheme's independence and reach

CBA stocks plunged 7.4 per cent in September.

GEORGIA WILKINS Consumer group Choice and victims of the Commonwealth Bank financial planning scandal have expressed fresh concerns over the handling of a bank-run compensation scheme, saying many potential victims have been left out and fresh questions were raised about its independence.

Australia Day honours: Wheelchair bound Bill Moss a beacon for disability advocacy

Bill Moss

LISA VISENTIN Bill Moss credits his disability with giving him the driving force that has seen him scale the heights of the business world, and more recently, become a tireless champion for disability rights. 

Sean Howard receives Australian Day honours

He's got mail: Ozemail founder Sean Howard is made an Officer of the Order of Australia.

LISA VISENTIN Ozemail entrepeneur Sean Howard, who has also founded charities for eye research, youth support and aged-care, becomes an Officer of the Order of Australia today.

Businessman John McDonald appointed AM

MacMahon Holdings co-founder John McDonald has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia.

Who can afford to live for 150 years?

David Murray: his financial system inquiry said running out of assets was

CLANCY YEATES Australia has one of the world’s biggest pools of private retirement savings, but retirees are among the most fearful they’ll outlive their nest eggs.

Stocks rebound across the globe as investors embrace risk

Australian stocks climbed by 1.5 per cent on Friday, helped by the European Central Bank's multibillion-euro stimulus package.

Joseph Ciolli Mario Draghi’s embrace of Federal Reserve-style stimulus gave US equities their first weekly gain this year and sent European shares to the best rally since 2011.

Glenn Stevens must act fast to rescue Australia's economy

William Pesek

William Pesek Few central bankers in modern history have had a better run than Australia's Glenn Stevens. He steered his country around the global financial crisis, drove its currency to record highs and extended its recession-free run past the two-decade mark.

Comments 102

Tough Joyce: Jetstar's difficult birth

CEO of Qantas Alan Joyce.

MATT O'SULLIVAN In an extract from his book, Matt O'Sullivan recounts how Qantas called on a fresh-faced young Irishman to spearhead its new budget airline, a project that would also give rise to tensions inside the company.

Careers are a work in progress, so start planning to achieve your goals

Take control of your career.

Andrew Pepar The new year is a good time to get your career in focus.

First China coal production cut since 2000

A move to cleaner energy sources has resulted in China recording its first drop in coal production since 2000.

The inside job: A lot of trial and error

Anna Temellini says the best gelati is made with well-sourced ingredients.

Sue White Making gelato is an art unto itself and Anna Temellini is passing on her skills.

The first day of school the start of something big

Harrington Street Public School's kindergarten teachers for 2015: Karen Yol, Teena Allen, Kristy Pham, Emma Meddows and Nicole Barahona.

Kristie Kellahan The first day of school is a big milestone for the littlest students (and their parents).

Government: Making the most of Wyong's open spaces

Working outdoors: Landscape architect Katherine Simmons enjoys the community perspective that drives local government.

Carolyn Rance Landscape architecture encompasses art, design, science and the natural environment.

Keeping wind farms turning over

Simon Parry has just completed his apprenticeship as a wind turbine fitter and turner.

Linda Sim Increasing demand for clean energy sources has resulted in the expansion of the renewable energy industry, and the associated jobs, in country areas.

Markets

Wall Street dips on UPS, miners; Starbucks jumps

It was the first positive week for major indexes in the last four.

US stocks fell on Friday, pressured by underwhelming corporate news including guidance from economic activity bellwether UPS and as materials stocks fell after bearish research notes.

McDonald's tops 4Q profit forecasts

McDonald's, the world's biggest hamburger chain, has exceeded Wall Street expectations by posting earnings of $US1.22 per share.

Grounded: How Alan Joyce brought Qantas and the nation to a standstill

 Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

MATT O'SULLIVAN In an exclusive extract from his book 'Mayday: How Warring Egos forced Qantas off course', Fairfax journalist Matt O’Sullivan reveals the behind-the-scenes story of one of the biggest controversies in Australia's aviation history.

2015 business outlook: sector by sector forecasts

The Aussie dollar will slide to 76 US cents in 2015, the sharemarket will trade sideways and interest rates stay flat, the broker predicts.

Australia has kicked off 2015 with a soft economy, a weakened dollar and a host of challenges facing its big corporate sectors. BusinessDay looks at the year to come.

Everything you know is already in the price and anything can happen next

Marcus Padley - dink - dinkus - thumbnail

MARCUS PADLEY Everyone is making predictions for 2015 but most of what you hear are what I call “Predictable Predictions”.

Chocolate company collapses sign of mid-tier marketers' struggles

Choc full: A stream of chocolate.

Vanessa Desloires The almost domino-like collapses of Ernest Hillier and Betta Foods this month might be cause for concern for the small chocolate manufacturers of Australia.

Too much tax? Middle income Australians pay 11 cents in the dollar, says the Australian Council of Social Service

Mr 50 per cent: Joe Hockey says Australians spend six months of the year working to fill the government's coffers, a claim disputed by a new report.

PETER MARTIN Australians pay far less tax than they believe a new report finds, and certainly far less tax than the Treasurer thinks they do.

Is Australia's economy at risk of deflation?

Gareth Hutchens dinkus Dinkus

GARETH HUTCHENS A few years ago conservatives in the United States were hyperventilating about the then-chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, because they believed his radical monetary policies were going to lead to an uncontrollable outbreak in inflation that would decimate the economy.

Dairy

Milk wars likely to claim more victims yet

MARK HAWTHORNE It is almost four years since Coles fired the first shot in the ''milk wars’’. Industry data obtained by Fairfax Media shows the extent of the impact on dairy giants Lion and Parmalat.

Bank of Queensland gears up for battle

Jon Sutton, Bank of Queensland chief executive.

CLANCY YEATES Bank of Queensland chief executive Jon Sutton✓ has vowed to lift the bank's low rate of home loan growth, in the face of competition that he says is near the most ferocious he has seen.

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Small Business

Do you have a terrorism plan?

Kate Jones

Businesses are being urged to assess their security measures in the wake of the Sydney siege and Charlie Hebdo attacks.

Organic wine back on Chinese tables

Gayle Bryant

After bureaucracy temporarily stopped Temple Bruer exporting to China, it is ramping up sales now to this lucrative market.

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