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Today's News & Views

Central banks can't do it alone, says RBA's Philip Lowe

Jonathan Shapiro 4:30am Cutting interest rates isn't working as well as it once did. It's up to policymakers to find ways for governments and businesses to take advantage of low rates and boost their impact, says the RBA's deputy governor Philip Lowe.

ACT retail figures for January fall hardest in Australia

 Work progresses at the Canberra Ikea store worksite at Majura Park.

JOHN THISTLETON 11:30pm Canberra retailers have missed out on the flow-on benefits of lower petrol prices and interest rates.

Mortgage rates lowest since 1968

Lucy Hughes Jones 5:31pm Mortgage rates have sunk to their lowest levels since 1968 - the year US activist Martin Luther King Jr was shot and Hey Jude topped the charts.

AGL slapped with $15,000 fine for Camden coal seam gas release

An AGL coal seam gas well on Sydney's south-west fringe.

PETER HANNAM 4:20pm AGL’s troubled coal seam gas operations have suffered another setback, with the NSW Environment Protection Authority fining the energy giant $15,000 for a gas leak at its field on Sydney’s south-western edge.

Solar shares fall as crude oil price dives

Stephen Johnson 3:41pm Global solar investments did even worse than Australia's energy and mining stocks during the past year as commodity prices dived.

Home loan caps won't stop house price growth: RBA's Philip Lowe

generic thumbnail, house prices up, real estate, property

Clancy Yeates and Jonathan Shapiro 4:01pm Imposing tougher lending rules on banks may slow but will not halt house price growth, the Reserve Bank’s deputy governor Philip Lowe says.

Australian dollar still too high, but getting closer to RBA's target

The market is increasingly betting on a rate cut next year, but the Aussie dollar could get in the way.

MAX MASON 4:01pm The Australian dollar got a small boost after RBA deputy Phillip Lowe said the currency is getting low enough to help support economic growth, giving an indication of the levels the central bank wants the Aussie to trade at.

Infrastructure Australia taps AECOM engineer Philip Davies as CEO

Jenny Wiggins 3:00pm AECOM executive Philip Davies has been appointed Infrastructure Australia's first chief executive as the statutory body prepares to release a new 15-year plan.

ASIC's currency probe a big task, says Greg Medcraft

ASIC chair Greg Medcraft ... 'We were already investigating last month's blip and now we are investigating what has happened this month.'

Sally Rose and James Frost 5:46pm ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft has described its investigation into the uncanny moves in the Australian dollar before the two recent RBA rate decisions as "quite massive".

Intergenerational report shows why super fees are too high

James Eyers 5:30pm The intergenerational report highlights the urgency of reducing superannuation fees, says a US-based expert who reckons fees can be halved if funds consolidate and adopt a passive approach to investment.

Gorgon given green light for expansion

4:35pm US energy giant Chevron has received a green light to expand production capacity from 15 to 20 million tonnes per annum on Barrow Island

ACCC gives Woodside's Apache deal ok

4:35pm Consumer watchdog gives the all clear to Woodside Petroleum to purchase $3.5 billion of Apache Corporation's assets in WA and Canada

Hard to 'spot winners' in private equity: Bain & Company

Head of Bain's Australian practice, Simon Henderson, said asset prices were a real concern for private equity firms seeking new investments.

Joyce Moullakis 2:10pm The private equity sector is benefiting from "superabundant" levels of capital, but still grappling with climbing asset prices and heightened competition for acquisitions, says Bain & Co.

Work-life balance? Take condoms, says Southern Cross Austereo radio boss

JARED LYNCH 4:23pm Southern Cross Austereo's Perth chief Linda Wayman says notions of easy work-life balance were "bullshit".

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How Qantas plans to land a Boeing 747 near Wollongong

A Qantas Boeing 747-400 VH-OJA will land at Albion Park on Sunday morning.

Jamie Freed 4:31pm In a fitting retirement for its oldest Boeing 747-400 aircraft, if all goes to plan Qantas flight QF7474 is due to land at 7:47am on Sunday at the Illawarra Regional Airport near Wollongong, NSW.

China flags slowest growth in 15 years

Red flags fly in front of the Chinese national flag, right, at Tiananmen Gate in Beijing ahead of China's annual meeting of the National People's Congress.

PHILIP WEN 1:37pm China has cut its growth target to the lowest level in 15 years, as its leaders seek to curb the side effects of a generation of heady economic development which include official corruption, polluted skies and severe imbalances in the economy.

Circus Oz climbs to new heights in Collingwood base

Circus Oz has high hopes for its new space.

Stephen Crafti 2:15pm The previous base for Circus Oz, a drill hall in Port Melbourne, suffered from not having the type of ceiling heights required by performers who use vertical space like dancers embrace their horizontal environment.

Intergenerational Report: how Australia will change over the next 40 years

money

Jacob Greeber 5:08pm How Australia will change over the next 40 years

Low rates having delayed impact, RBA says

Jason Cadden 4:17pm Record low interest rates, a weaker dollar and the housing boom are all helping Australia's economy, the RBA says.

Australia's glass ceiling still strong

Evan Schwarten 12:32pm Women occupy just 22 per cent of senior business roles in Australia - just the same as 10 years ago.

Rio Tinto wins planning nod for controversial Warkworth coal mine

Rio Tinto's Warkworth open-cut coal mine in the Hunter Valley.

PETER HANNAM 5:10pm Mining giant Rio Tinto has scored a major victory in its bid to extend its controversial Mount Thorley-Warkworth coal mine in the Upper Hunter, with the Planning Assessment Commission recommending it proceeds.

Australians to live and work longer in 2055, Intergenerational Report shows

Treasurer Joe Hockey releases the report on Thursday.

Mark Kenny, James Massola 5:25pm Australia's population will live longer and be poorer over the next 40 years, with slower economic growth and a massive spike in the number of people living to 100, the latest Intergenerational Report shows.

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Oil to stay below $US50 for the rest of 2015

Painted old oil pumps in a scrap yard in Bahrain. Oil prices are destined to remain low all year, Goldman Sachs says.

MARK MULLIGAN 3:11pm Goldman Sach's oil guru believes surplus storage space and oversupply of capital will keep United States oil prices at less than $US50 a barrel for at least the rest of 2015.

Syd Airport trims oOh!Media ad deal

1:39pm Sydney Airport has decided not to renew oOh!Media's advertising rights within the T2 domestic terminal.

Trade balance in deficit in Jan

11:37am The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released international trade figures for January.

China lowers growth target to about 7% as headwinds intensify

China's government has vowed to move away from expansion at all costs as it tries to clean up the nation's environment and control a debt surge.

11:32am China set the lowest economic growth target in more than 15 years as leaders tackle the side effects of a generation-long expansion that has spurred corruption, fueled debt risks and polluted skies and rivers.

America's pizza wars: Lobby fights with a thin crust and a firm resolve

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Andrew Martin 11:22am There is nothing quite like the pizza lobby in Washington, a rare coalition of competitors who have banded together to defend their "food of the gods" against junk food laws.

Macquarie Group raises $500m for aircraft buy

Macquarie Bank said some 6.8 million new shares were issued at a price of $73.50.

Joyce Moullakis 11:12am Macquarie has completed a $500 million capital raising to help fund its bumper $US4 billion ($5.1 billion) purchase of an aircraft portfolio.

Deflation spectre settles over Europe but slight fall in jobless offers ray of hope

David Jolly 12:17pm Europe is worried about possible deflation after a third straight month of falling prices - but a slight easing of the jobless rate offers a glimmer of hope.

NSW Planning blasted over Camberwell coal mine secrecy

Coal mines near Camberwell in the Upper Hunter Valley.

PETER HANNAM 3:30pm The NSW Department of Planning has been accused of operating under a cloak of secrecy, with senior bureaucrats working closely with a mining company to overturn the rejection of a coal mine expansion near Camberwell in the Upper Hunter Valley.

Future Fund goes haute couture, investing in fashion website Moda Operandi

The website lets customers pre-order the latest high-end fashion trends straight off the runways of Paris, New York and Milan - and the red carpets of Los Angeles.

Jonathan Shapiro 3:27pm Australia's $109 billion sovereign wealth fund has emerged as an investor in high-end fashion website Moda Operandi as it seeks to invest directly in promising technology start-ups.

Oil at $US95 a barrel discovered in SEC reporting rules

Deferred pain: There's a lot of write-downs in store when drillers' first-quarter numbers are announced over the next two months.

Asjylyn Loder 10:00am There's one place in the world where oil is still $US95 a barrel - on paper.

Uber heads in new mapping direction

Michael Liedtke 10:04am Controversial ride-sharing service Uber is acquiring digital mapping specialist deCarta in a deal but doesn't give details.

Japan orders Uber to stop pilot program

10:04am Japanes authorities have ordered ride-sharing service Uber to stop a pilot program in Fukuoka saying it breaches the nation's laws.

Investors welcome Fortescue's debt moves

Kim Christian 4:31pm Fortescue's debt profile is back in the spotlight as it refinances $US2.5bn of debt and pushes back maturity dates.

Woodside gets ACCC clearance for Apache deal

Woodside is buying Chevron's Wheatstone LNG project under construction in WA.

Angela Macdonald-Smith 4:37pm Woodside Petroleum secured clearance from the competition regulator for the purchase of Apache's Western Australian liquefied natural gas and oil assets, part of a $US3.75 billion deal agreed in December.

Fortescue Metals Group issues $US2.5b notes

 Fortescue Metals Group has moved to ease any pressure on its balance sheet.

James Thomson 9:45am Fortescue Metals Group has moved to ease any pressure on its balance sheet from falling iron ore prices by launching a $US2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) debt refinancing deal.

ACCC targets Reckitt Benckiser over 'misleading' Nurofen claims

The ACCC said the caplets in all four products contained the same active ingredient, ibuprofen lysine 342mg.

BEAU DONELLY 12:19pm The consumer watchdog has launched legal action against drug giant Reckitt Benckiser, alleging it misled customers over claims its range of Nurofen products targeted specific areas of pain.

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Last-minute supermarket rally takes ASX from red to black

Analysts attributed the recovery in Woolworth's share price to its poor performance during the earnings season.

MISA HAN 5:45pm The sharemarket continued its gloomy run for a third consecutive day as shareholders wallowed in profit taking, with miners and banks dragging down the sharemarket.

Aust bonds flat despite positive data

4:57pm Australian bond futures prices have barely moved despite the release of important economic data and a speech by the RBA deputy governor.

Retail sales rise 0.4% in January

The retail sales rise had been widely expected by economists.

MAX MASON 3:34pm Retail sales rose at the strongest rate in three months in January as the lower oil price helped encourage consumers to spend.

Aldi growth poses threat to big two, Moody's says

Aldi's rapid growth along the east coast of Australia and plans to expand into South Australia and Western Australia pose a serious threat to Woolworths and Coles, Moody's says.

Sue Mitchell 4:57pm A slump in supermarket sales in January has reignited concerns about the outlook for the $88 billion grocery trade as Woolworths, Coles and Aldi cut prices and open new stores.

US Fed Beige Book shows economy growing at moderate pace

US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen will use the data to decide on future rate moves.

8:56am The US economy was growing at a moderate pace through mid-February despite severe winter storms that disrupted activity in some regions, the Federal Reserve reports.

Commodities markets summary

8:23am Commodities news from around the world

Aussie dollar reaches new record low against New Zealand dollar

“We expect the markets to keep expectations live for a rate cut in the near term, keeping the New Zealand dollar and rates under pressure, and market reaction will be welcomed by the RBNZ.”: TD Securities.

8:13am The Australian dollar has reached a new record low against the New Zealand dollar ahead of Thursday night's European Central Bank policy meeting.

Stocks to watch at close on Thursday

4:21pm Stocks of interest on the Australian Securities Exchange at close on Thursday

Toyota promotes US execs,

10:04am Car giant Toyota has announced major management changes, giving greater voice to company executives from North America.

International markets roundup

7:20am News from the world’s major stock markets.

Hedge funds eye takeover targets but caution investors in frothy market

Swallow or be swallowed: Corporate deal-making will increase amid low interest rates and stronger company balance sheets, senior hedge funds managers say.

BIANCA HARTGE-HAZELMAN 4:23pm Hedge funds say the market is ripe for takeovers in Australia. Check out some of the likely targets.

need2know: ASX to open flat in backwards run

7:17am Local shares are poised to open flat ahead of retail trade data and as global investors position for the start of expanded bond buying by Europe’s central bank.

Copper stocks still rising as Chinese demand slows

Demand for copper is a closely watched indicator.

Agnieszka de Sousa 7:09am Falling demand for copper is leading suppliers to stash extra metal in warehouses, pushing inventories tracked by the London Metal Exchange to the biggest increase in a month.

US stocks decline as industrial shares lead drop

Trader F. Hill Creekmore, left, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015. U.S. financial markets drifted in morning trading Thursday, with energy stocks among the biggest decliners as crude oil prices fell. Investors were weighing new economic data on unemployment benefit claims, consumer prices and orders for long-lasting manufactured goods. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Oliver Renick 7:03am US stocks fell for a second day, after benchmark indexes reached records on Monday, as declines in industrial companies led a retreat before the government's jobs report on Friday.

US economy on moderate growth track: Fed

Veronica Smith 10:13am A new report says the wintry blast of snowstorms in the US has had an effect on the country's economy.

Republicans fail to override Obama veto of Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline

US President Barack Obama's veto against a tar sands pipeline survives a Senate vote.

Jim Snyder and Kathleen Hunter 6:58am The US Senate failed to override President Barack Obama's veto of a bill forcing approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, a setback for Republicans who've made building the $US8 billion U.S.-Canada oil link a legislative priority.

Retail rally drives share market rebound

4:53pm The share market closed flat as consumer related stocks led an afternoon recovery and mining stocks came under pressure.

No neutrality from Graham Richardson after Joe Hockey's Swiss spray

Graham Richardson photographed outside his house in December.

COLIN KRUGER 5:10pm There's nothing like a Keating vintage spray to remind us what's missing from our current batch of puppies in Parliament house.

$A steady as data meets expectations

5:43pm The Australian dollar is relatively unchanged from Wednesday evening despite a spike on expectations rate cuts might come later than expected.

Buybacks fuel bull market as investors head back to bonds

Markets and cash - US

Joseph Ciolli, Lu Wang and Oliver Renick 6:19am The biggest source of fresh cash in American equities isn't speculators or exchange-traded funds: It's companies buying their own stock.

Cheap petrol fuels January spending spree

Belinda Merhab and Lucy Hughes-Jones 2:58pm Retail spending is off to a strong start in 2015, as cheap petrol, low interest rates and rising home prices encourage people to splash their cash.

Glencore delivers a left hook to Rio Tinto

Elizabeth Knight.

ELIZABETH KNIGHT 12:15am From the predator's perspective, Rio is all the more vulnerable. For its part, Rio has reiterated recently that the merger is a no-fly zone. But, ultimately, it is up to shareholders.

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