Today's News & Views


Caltex eyes franking credits as Chevron exits

Caltex/Woolworths and Matilda Blue at Morningside both had discounted unleaded petrol on offer for less than $1/L on Sunday.

Peter Ker 5:25 PM   Caltex will find it easier to release franking credits to shareholders now that its United States-based 50 per cent shareholder has exited the register.

Markets expected to stay low in short week ahead

Shares succumbed to fresh investor unease last week.

Mark Mulligan 4:18 PM   Australian stocks are expected to open sharply lower on Monday, as the volatility seen across most asset markets last week persists in the lead-up to the Easter weekend.

Banks slam global banking watchdog over risk modelling revamp

Australia’s banks have launched a stinging attack on proposals by the international banking regulator on capital levels.

James Eyers 3:26 PM   Australia’s banks have hit out at the international banking regulator's plan to overhaul risk modelling, warning that the move would only add to the complexity of the Basel framework.

Weedkiller, once cleared, now doubted again

Questions over Roundup

ANDREW POLLACK 2:31 PM    Thirty years ago, an Environmental Protection Agency committee determined that the popular weed killer Roundup might cause cancer. Six years later, in 1991, the agency reversed itself after re-evaluating the mouse study that had been the basis for the original conclusion.

Questions linger after employee's loss in Silicon Valley trial

Ellen Pao walks to the courtroom before the start of her trial at San Francisco Superior Court in San Francisco, California.

Paresh Dave 2:28 PM   A jury has spoken in a case that riveted Silicon Valley, but that doesn't mean all is over.

Eurozone "untenable" in current form, says world's biggest bond fund


Szu Ping Chan 2:16 PM   The eurozone is "untenable" in its current form and cannot survive unless countries are prepared to cede sovereignty and become a "United States of Europe", the manager of the world's biggest bond fund has warned.

Greece's international creditors mull over reforms

Greek flag

Mehreen Khan 2:13 PM   Greece international creditors spent the weekend mulling over a series of reform measures.

Cinderella's new moral: Be rich or be a pumpkin

In the end, Cinderella gets the prince and the palace, and the other women get absolutely nothing. That's the way of tournaments.

Lynn Stuart Parramore 8:46 AM   At first glance, Kenneth Branagh's remake of the classic Disney film seems to offer a sunny romp through the magic kingdom. But a closer look reveals a troubling economic message.

US stocks lift on takeover speculation as oil slides further

Street signs for Wall St. and Broad St. hang at the corner outside the New York Stock Exchange March 24, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Callie Bost and Oliver Renick 1:19 AM   US stocks gained as takeover speculation fuelled a late-day rally in chipmakers, overshadowing comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that an interest-rate increase may be warranted this year. Treasuries rose and the dollar dropped for a second straight week. Oil slid.

Bigwigs won't be held to account in tax avoidance inquiry

Michael West dinkus Dinkus

Michael West   The Senate Economics References Committee this week kicks off its hearings into corporate tax avoidance in a fortnight, but has confirmed that corporations can select their own witnesses.

CSG doubts fan fears in Barwon

Santos's CSG storage ponds in the Pilliga State Forest.

Peter Hannam   Santos Energy is seeking approval for a new waste treatment plant at its controversial pilot coal seam gas field in northern NSW without identifying how it will dispose of the briny and potentially toxic end product.

What to study to make a fortune

Do it yourself (diy) super funds Photo illustration Karl Hilzinger 040518

Choosing the right degree at university may be the first step to your first billion.

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Google to pay new CFO more than $70 million

Ruth Porat, who will join Google on May 26, will also get an annual base salary of $650,000.

Google has said it would pay its new Chief Financial Officer, Ruth Porat, more than $70 million through a combination of restricted stock units and a biennial grant.

Booming coffee market moves into consolidation phase

The classic English breakfast (L), the cafe uses Yahava coffee roasters.

Madeleine Heffernan   The retail coffee sector is estimated to be worth $3.2 billion a year so there is no wonder it attracts the likes of Retail Food Group.

Janet Yellen says Fed will increase US rates slowly

Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen.

Binyamin Applebaum   The Federal Reserve chairwoman says the Fed plans to raise interest rates more slowly than during past recoveries because of the unusually fragile condition of the US economy.

Share register something new for Myer to consider

Malcolm Maiden - dink - dinkus - thumbnail

Malcolm Maiden   The Myer department store group got something else to think about on Friday when investment bank Deutsche filed a 5.2 per cent substantial shareholding notice.

Farrell fells wood as market moves

Marcus Padley dinkus Dinkus

Marcus Padley   Remember Bob Farrell and his '10 market rules to remember'? Looking at the Dow Jones and ASX 200, investors would do well to remember his edict on bear markets, writes Marcus Padley.

Rio slashes M&A team as cuts deepen

Rio Tinto has lost a test case against the Australian Taxation Office over the claiming of GST credits for housing it builds for workers in remote locations.

Peter Ker   Rio Tinto's continuing ongoing austerity campaign is set to force departures from its mergers and acquisitions and business development areas.

OrotonGroup boardroom comes out to buy


Christopher Webb   OrotonGroup scrip fell when the fashion apparel retailer released its interim results. The reaction in the group's boardroom was to buy the stock.

RBA warnings fail to dampen property bonanza

One Sydney real estate agent will auction off 128 homes this weekend.

Clancy Yeates   Sydney's housing investors are ignoring repeated warnings about the growing the risks in bricks and mortar.

Mood builds for corporate tax cut

RED TAPE 040303 AFR PHOTO BY VIRGINIA STAR Generic pic of a businessman wrapped in red tape , male , executive , corporate , government , unions , tied up , tax , suit , AFR FIRST USE ONLY SPECIALX 23798

Peter Ker   Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has echoed Treasury's concerns about the impact Australia's high corporate tax rate is having on foreign investment

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Banks say they are 'paying their way'

Bank big four

Clancy Yeates   Banks say they pay more than one-third of the tax paid by ASX 200 companies.

Super balances above $2.5m in firing line

Calls to reform tax concessions on superannuation come as the government struggles to manage the budget and support an ageing population.

Sally Rose   Pressure is mounting on the government to change the rules that allow wealthy people with millions of dollars in superannuation savings to access their money in tax-free lump sums.

Apple's Tim Cook to donate his $1b fortune

Apple logo

Apple chief executive Tim Cook is joining the roster of the very rich who are giving away their wealth - once he's paid for his nephew's education.

Radio silence from Pandora on Australian accounts

Radio in the shape of Lips

Madeleine Heffernan   Internet radio service Pandora joins Facebook, Twitter and BuzzFeed in seeking exemption from filing accounts that would reveal its local earnings and tax.

Second banking executive charged over corruption allegations

Former Commonwealth Bank executive Jon Waldron.

Ruth Liew, Paul Smith and Luke Malpass   A second man arrested in connection with a multi-million dollar bribery in Commonwealth Bank of Australia's technology division, Jon Waldron, was a regular speaker at conferences around the world.

Chevron selling 50% stake in Caltex

Woodside has sold its Caltex share.

US energy giant Chevron is looking to sell its 50 per cent stake in Caltex Australia.

Wavering faith in US sends ASX down

Wall Street weighed heavily on the ASX during the week.

Stephen Cauchi   Investors second-guessing the state of the US economy have dragged the Australian sharemarket into the red this week.

Rate cut may make $A, kiwi equal value

he kiwi rose to 97.13¢ as at 5pm in Wellington, from 96.98¢ on Thursday.

The NZ dollar is continuing to rise against the Aussie, with another RBA cut possibly pushing it to parity.

Volatility shakes currency markets

Nervous markets will favour the greenback as a traditional safe-haven asset, but not the Australian dollar.

Vesna Poljak   Volatility is creeping back into the market and creating headaches for foreign exchange traders.

Rio Tinto to cut M&A jobs as deals appetite wanes

Rio Tinto has a long-standing blanket policy of not donating to any political parties.

Anjuli Davies and Silvia Antonioli   Rio Tinto will cut jobs in M&A and business development to cut costs as it battles falling commodity prices.

Iron ore futures tumble as Rio comment stokes glut worries


Iron ore futures in China and Singapore slid about 4 per cent on Friday, pressured by worries global producers would continue to lift supply in a glut-hit market.

Loyalist or sales seeker: What kind of shopper are you?


Australians are a very loyal bunch, with 60 per cent rarely venturing beyond their 10 preferred stores and online shops, a credit card survey has found.

Power sector to get special treatment under Direct Action

Hazelwood: Australia's most emissions-intensive major power plant.

Peter Hannam and Lisa Cox   The Abbott government has proposed a major concession to the heavy-polluting electricity industry in its Direct Action climate change policy by exempting individual companies from caps on emissions.

Evolution confirms La Mancha talks

La Mancha's assets include Frog's Leg underground mine, the White Foil open pit mine and Mungari processing plant.

Tess Ingram   Evolution Mining has confirmed it is in talks with La Mancha Resources over the potential purchase of its West Australian gold assets.


Fortescue: worthless or worth holding on to?

Fortescue shares are not worth anything at the current price of iron ore, say analysts.

Patrick Commins   Fortescue's stock is worthless at current spot iron ore prices, analysts at CBA calculate. Yet the broker community is, overall, neutral on the stock.

Sold! The suburban Sydney tennis court became the key to an $11 million property deal

Former owner: John O'Brien on <i>Inside the Siege: The Untold Story</i>.

Eamonn Duff 12:15 AM   On paper, it was just another bumper sale of prime coastal real estate, soon to make way for a block of luxury units boasting ocean views.  

Pimco bets against $A

"We remain short the yen and the Australian dollar against a long US dollar position," says Pimco.

Netty Ismail and Shigeki Nozawa   Pimco is seeking to profit from declines in the currencies of Australia and Japan against the US dollar even after the Fed signalled it wasn't in a hurry to raise borrowing costs.

Metcash supermarkets boss departs

Chief executive Ian Morrice will "take on the day-to-day running of the supermarkets business" after Fergus Collins' departure.

Madeleine Heffernan   Grocery wholesaler's chief executive Ian Morrice will run the businesse until a permanent replacement is named.

Committee calls for rethink on ATO powers to fight tax evasion

The committee recommended the onus should be on the ATO to prove the accused taxpayer was guilty.

Nassim Khadem   The Abbott government should change the law so that it places the burden of proof on the Australian Taxation Office, where fraud and evasion is alleged, according to the final recommendations of the parliamentary inquiry into tax disputes.