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Today's News & Views

Jetstar employee labels passengers complaining of delays 'a bunch of whingers'

Misa Han, Scott Parker and Deborah Gough 5:03pm A Jetstar employee labelled those complaining about delays on Saturday "a bunch of whingers" and "nuts freaking about delays".

Wall Street

US stocks up for 3rd day, led by energy shares

Wall Street

9:28am Energy shares have best week since December 2011.

Trade

Canada slaps sanctions on Russian oil industry

Canadian flag

8:26am Canada announced new sanctions against Russia on Friday, including additional restrictions on the export of technology used in the oil and gas industry.

Jetstar computer glitch causes delays on first day of school holidays

Jetstar passengers have been told to check the airline's website for information on delayed flights.

Scott Parker, Deborah Gough 3:34pm Passengers embarking on holidays with Qantas' low-cost carrier Jetstar have experienced delays on Saturday morning after IT systems that include planning and preparing for flights experienced problems, with the airline having to convert to manual passenger processes and procedures in order to get flights away.

Jetstar flights delayed nationwide after IT outage

Delays of up to 90 minutes are expected.

DEBORAH GOUGH 8:36am A technical fault in Jetstar's computer systems was blamed for delays of up to 90 minutes on Saturday as travellers prepare to take holidays or return home in the lead up to Christmas.

Energy

Oil jumps 5% for second time in week

Oil prices have jumped sharply.

8:08am Oil prices jumped more than 5 per cent on Friday for a second time in a week as short-covering alleviated pressure.

Retail

Lifting the lid on Aldi

Aldi logo

MADELEINE HEFFERNAN How big can Aldi get in Australia? And how much secrecy is too much?

Friendly fire: Is the economy a victim of the Coalition's war on wages?

Peter Martin dinkus Dinkus

PETER MARTIN Like the punchline to a joke, Joe Hockey saved the best twist in the Coalition's war on wages until the end.

Let's stay close together in time-honoured summer holiday spirit

Harold Mitchell dinkus Dinkus

HAROLD MITCHELL There’s excitement in the air. It’s finally time to get away from it all. Some will be travelling overseas, but the time-honoured Australian tradition is to head for the beach or the hills and that camping spot or caravan park that has been handed down for generations.

Wages

As the mining boom ends wages just aren't what they used to be

Sandra Bell (right) with her daughter Amy Bell with children Donlo Williams and Megan Smith.

LUCY CORMACK Sandra Bell loves her job in childcare, but at 66 years of age she could happily retire, if not for the one thing holding her back.

Business section headlines for 2015

Marcus Padley dinkus Dinkus

MARCUS PADLEY While the Fairfax business folk drink celebrate their underfunded get-together, Marcus Padley takes a peek at the headlines ready for 2015.

MYEFO forecast not for the real world

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ROSS GITTINS Did you catch the apparent contradiction in this week's midyear budget update?

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East West Link takes the wooden spoon for 2014

Malcolm Maiden dinkus Dinkus

MALCOLM MAIDEN You don’t have to look past the infrastructure sector to find the best and worst deals of 2014.

Glencore buying Rio Tinto could burn hole in Hockey's pocket

Michael West dinkus Dinkus

MICHAEL WEST A Glencore merger with Rio Tinto would be damaging for Australia and ought to be, and very likely will be, knocked on the head by the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Directors

Directors trades: Santos boardroom lends its support

Santos shares have fallen after credit rating cut.

CHRISTOPHER WEBB The value of directors’ trades fell this week but nevertheless there was buying across a wide front of industrials and explorers.

Gina Rinehart's beef interests grow

Australia's richest person, Gina Rinehart, has bought land and cattle in NSW, expanding her presence in the beef industry.

French economy: Stars align to boost modest recovery hopes

French President Francois Hollande.

Ingrid Melander and Michel Rose The euro has fallen, oil prices have tumbled, and borrowing rates are at record lows: French President Francois Hollande has had much of his economic wishlist granted, and it may just help him kickstart a long-awaited recovery in 2015.

Amazon's cloud business a harder sell in post-Snowden era

Established business: Kiva robots transport goods at an Amazon fulfilment center in Tracy, California.

Deepa Seetharaman and Bill Rigby This spring, Taser International Inc won a small but high-profile contract to supply body cameras to the London police. But the deal nearly collapsed over one issue: where the video footage would be stored.

Big overhaul for financial adviser standards

Adele Ferguson dinkus Dinkus

ADELE FERGUSON The financial planning industry is set for a massive overhaul of its education standards, level of professionalism and ethics, after a powerful set of recommendations by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services.

ASX

Fed sends Australian shares surging to best day in 18 months

Australian shares have had a Fed-fuelled Christmas rally.

MAX MASON The Fed sent global sharemarkets into a frenzy, with the ASX recording its strongest day in a year and a half.

Dollar

Australian dollar isn't done dropping, say analysts

The Australian dollar's falls aren't over yet.

Yolanda Redrup Despite slumping to new four-year lows against the US dollar and also dropping against other currencies in the past days, the Australian dollar still hasn’t troughed, analysts believe.

Broking

Watchdog bites Commsec over using clients' money

<i>Sources: ABS, COMMSEC, RBA, APM, REIV, RP DATA-RISMARK</i>.

GEORGIA WILKINS An independent expert will review the Commonwealth Bank's online broker, Commsec, as part of increased scrutiny over the brand's handling of client accounts.

Cuba

US companies assess a beachhead in Cuba

A Che Guevara painting on a house in Havana: The memory of socialism is quickly fading as US companies are gearing up to conquer the island nation.

Julie Creswell PepsiCo wants in. So do Caterpillar and Marriott. Within hours of the US's historic move to restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba, companies have started positioning themselves to enter a market they have not been in for the better part of 50 years - if ever. But don't expect to see a McDonald's on every corner.

Construction

Banned Boral hails inquiry for stance on CFMEU

The report recommends that charges be brought against some CFMEU officials for acts of intimidation and coercion.

Tim Binsted Boral chief executive Mike Kane has hailed the trade union royal commission’s interim report as “a powerful and authoritative endorsement” of Boral’s stand against illegal activity by the Victorian CFMEU.

Telco

Telstra signs $390 million NBN planning and design deal

pink Telstra

MAX MASON Telstra will begin planning and design work on the National Broadband Network early next year as part of a new four-year deal, worth up to $390 million, to assist NBN Co with the rollout.

Gaming

Xi's visit to Macau deals cold deck to VIP gamblers

Casino moguls operating in Macau are  under pressure to add non-gaming elements to secure gambling tables.

As Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Macau for his first official visit in five years, the message from Beijing is clear: the world's biggest gambling centre cannot remain a one-industry town -which could increase pressure on international casino moguls such as Steve Wynn and James Packer.

Energy

Oil rout may trigger takeover wave in energy sector

Oil and gas producers are becoming increasingly stretched as the oil plunge continues.

Perry Williams Collapsing oil prices below $US60 a barrel may trigger largescale corporate consolidation not seen since the late 1990s as international oil companies scramble to generate enough cash to cover their spending commitments.

Telecoms

Vodafone Australia's most complained-about telco

Vodafone attracts nearly twice as many complaints as Telstra.

Vodafone remains Australia's most complained-about telco despite big improvements in the past year.

Storm clouds ahead for Incitec

Greg Roberts Chemical company Incitec Pivot is facing some headwinds including rising gas prices and weaker demand for explosives, shareholders heard at its AGM

Petrol

Hot dog prices more stable than oil for Shell

Hot dogs are big business - at least in Norway, where some of Shell's service stations sell more than 1000 hot dogs a day.

The price of oil may be disappointing to Royal Dutch Shell’s top executives, but their hot dogs and coffee are doing just fine - prompting the energy giant to step up an expansion of its petrol station stores.

Retail

Sephora in damage control over broken Australian price promise

Sephora

ADELE FERGUSON International cosmetics giant Sephora has gone into damage control amid a customer backlash over revelations it is flouting promises that it would not engage in price gouging.

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NBN

NBN Co adds cable TV infrastructure to rollout plan

NBN roll-out

MAX MASON NBN Co will begin a customer pilot on the cable television infrastructure it acquired from Telstra and Optus, as part of the new multi-technology National Broadband Network, in the final quarter of next year.

Energy

Putin says Russian economy must brace for $US40-a-barrel oil

Vladimir Putin is seen on a screen during his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow.

Jake Rudnitsky The Russian economy must adapt to the reality of oil prices that could fall as low as $US40 a barrel, President Vladimir Putin said as he faces the worst financial crisis since coming to power in 2000.

Downer EDI wins $2b Adani contract

Engineering group Downer EDI has won a $2 billion contract to provide services to Adani's massive Carmichael mine.

Takeovers

Transfield bid not high enough to get deal done, key investor says

Transfield Chair Diane Smith-Gander has agreed to enter talks with Ferrovial even as she said the offer didn’t reflect her company’s “underlying value.”

Ferrovial $1 billion offer for Transfield Services does not reflect a fair long-term valuation for the contractor, which runs Sydney's ferries, according to its biggest shareholder.

Clive Palmer media adviser Andrew Crook detained over alleged kidnapping: reports

Crook

Latika Bourke and Bevan Shields Clive Palmer's media adviser, Andrew Crook, has been detained in raids connected to the alleged kidnapping of a bank executive, according to reports.

Economy

Swiss National Bank adopts negative interest rate

The Swiss National Bank said the effect on rates paid on individual savers' accounts  was beyond its responsibility. Interest rates paid to savers in Switzerland are already extremely low, so there is little room for further cuts.

David Jolly Switzerland's central bank is starting to charge banks to hold deposits, moving to push down the Swiss franc amid turmoil in global currency markets and deflation concerns.

Oil

$1b loan gives Santos room to move

Santas CFO Andrew Seaton says the loan aids the company's liquidity profile.

Angela Macdonald-Smith Santos has given itself more room on its funding capacity, taking out a new $1 billion loan facility with ANZ Bank.

Mining

Yancoal to get debt injection before covenants bite

Coal

PETER KER Yancoal's major shareholder will lend more money to the struggling coal miner despite the Takeovers Panel rendering the offer less attractive.

Santos secures $1b for a rainy day

Kim Christian Energy giant Santos has secured $1b in new debt from the ANZ Bank ahead of a potential balance sheet shakeup in 2015 as GLNG comes online

Energy

Oil drops to five-year low on concern supply glut will worsen

Sticking to his output policy: Saudi Arabia's oil minister, Ali al-Naimi.

Moming Zhou Must have been a dead-cat bounce: Crude oil resumed its losses overnight, dropping to the lowest level in more than five years on concern a supply glut will worsen.

Transport

Chinese visitors keep airport terminals busy

Sydney and Melbourne airports have both reported a surge in international visitors.

MATT O'SULLIVAN A surge in Chinese visitors has again helped Melbourne and Sydney airports to boost the total number of international passing through their terminals.

Markets

S&P 500 caps best two-day gain since 2011

Traders on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday as the sharemarket had its best day of trading this year.

Callie Bost and Lu Wang The Standard & Poor's 500 Index had its best two-day gain in three years as global equities rallied on the Federal Reserve's pledge to be patient on boosting rates.

Wozniak to be a permanent fixture

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has just become an Australian permanent resident.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is one step closer to becoming an Australian citizen after securing permanent residency.

NAB lifts business customer satisfaction

National Australia Bank has lifted business customer satisfaction levels after lagging behind its major rivals.

Bond market weaker on US rate expectation

The bond market has closed weaker for the second straight day as the US Fed chief's interest rate remarks continue to influence investors.

Menus should label seafood origins, Senate recommends

Label My Fish: Frank Camorra, executive chef of the hatted MoVida restaurants, has been calling for better labelling on seafood products.

Pallavi Singhal Restaurants and other seafood retailers should have 12 months to begin labelling seafood with country of origin information, a senate committee has recommended in a partial win for Greenpeace and other campaigners.  

Tax

MYEFO shows cost of disputes with ATO at $5.1b

The value of the past year's tax disputes in Australia is $5.1 billion.

NASSIM KHADEM The value of tax disputes, including court cases between taxpayers and the ATO, is down on last year.

Quickflix asks customers for money

Following the failure of its latest capital raising, streaming service Quickflix is asking its customers for money.

Commodities markets summary

Commodities news from around the world.

need2know

need2know: Shares extend their rally

Local shares look to be extending their rally.

Tim Moore Local shares are poised to extend their rally as global investors poured into equities in Europe and on Wall Street on the US Fed’s "patience" on rates and optimism on the US economy.

Stocks to watch at close on Friday

Stocks of interest on the Australian Securities Exchange at close on Friday

Shares soar as Christmas nears

The share market has risen almost 2.5 per cent in its strongest session since mid-2013.

Oil

ITAC Services likely to avoid liquidation

ITAC Services specialises in the mobilisation of gas drilling equipment.

Angela Macdonald-Smith The administrators of failed drill-rig mover ITAC Services have voiced confidence in selling the company as a going concern.

$A recovers as local share market climbs

Stephen Johnson The Australian dollar has recovered from its lowest point in more than four years as the share market enjoyed a Christmas rally.

US jobless aid applications decline

In a sign of growing confidence among American employers, latest data shows a drop in the numbers seeking unemployment benefiits in the US.

German business confidence up

Business confidence in Europe's biggest economy, Germany, has risen for the second month according to new data.

First home saving hard with low rates

Record low interest rates are great if you have a mortgage, but not if you're trying to save up to buy your first home.

Sephora not living up to promises on price

Sephora store in Sydney.

ADELE FERGUSON Global cosmetics giant Sephora claimed its arrival marked the end of price gouging in Australia, but it's not living up to its promises of lower prices in Australia.

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Housing market coming off the boil, with growth set to slow in 2015

There are many variables when buying property, and every negotiation has subtle differences.

ELIZABETH KNIGHT After 2½ years of rising prices, the housing market appears to be running out of steam.

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