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Today's News & Views

Global markets

European stocks close higher before Easter


7:27am Europe's main stock markets have closed higher ahead of the Easter weekend, shaking off early losses as investors kept a wary eye on diplomatic talks over the Ukraine crisis.

Wall Street

US stocks end mostly higher

Wall Street

7:25am US stocks finished a holiday-shortened week mostly higher following a plethora of earnings reports that generally met or exceeded expectations.

US economy

Federal Reserve to maintain low rates amid slack US job market: Yellen

Janet Yellen

Nelson Schwartz Despite steady improvement in the US economy, lingering signs of slack in the job market suggest the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates near zero and maintain an accommodative monetary policy, the US Fed's chairwoman Janet Yellen says.


Investors add Easter eggs and markets rally


Sally Rose The market pushed ahead despite softer iron ore, oil and gold prices and a stronger dollar as a slew of quarterly reports showed Australian resource producers are continuing to increase supply.


Qantas, four other airlines to pay $38m in air-freight rigging case


Georgia Wilkins Qantas and four other airlines, including Singapore Airlines, are preparing to settle a seven-year, $38 million class action relating to claims of rigging the cost of air-freight services.


Sonray director jailed for cheating on the books

Russell Johnson

BEN BUTLER Russell Johnson, the director of failed broker Sonray, has been sentenced to 6 and a half years' jail for defrauding clients of millions of dollars and stealing money from the company before its collapse in June 2010.

Australia Post's 'win-win' in the mail

Malcolm Maiden dinkus

MALCOLM MAIDEN Australia Post chief executive Ahmed Fahour is on tenterhooks as the May 13 budget looms and the Abbott government prepares to release the Commission of Audit's report on how to make the government leaner and more efficient.

Google's eye on the future a cause for concern


David Streitfeld Alexander the Great is said to have wept because he ran out of kingdoms to conquer. Google is eager to avoid such a miserable fate.

Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Macquarie Capital appointed for Medibank Private float

Anthony Macdonald, Sarah Thompson The government has appointed Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Macquarie Capital as it pushes ahead with the $4 billion sharemarket listing of private health insurer Medibank Private next financial year.


Bad debts force Australian Pharmaceutical Industries write-down


Glenda Kwek The company behind the Priceline and Soul Pattinson brands has issued a savage write-down - equivalent to half the size of its market capitalisation - after its struggling pharmacy customers failed to pay back loans.


Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Macquarie Capital appointed for Medibank Private float


Anthony Macdonald and Sarah Thompson The government has appointed Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Macquarie Capital as it pushes ahead with the $4 billion sharemarket listing of private health insurer Medibank Private next financial year.


Smith learns to love social media

CBD, dink and Colin Kruger

COLIN KRUGER ANZ's new journalism venture, Blue Notes, is only a couple of days old, but the bank's chief executive, Mike Smith, has already gone rogue.


Packer, Murdoch buy closure

The One.Tel team Brad Keeling, Lachlan Murdoch, James Packer and Jodee Rich

Madeleine Heffernan The final chapter of long-running legal action over failed telco company One.Tel has come to an end, with billionaires and one-time One.Tel directors James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch agreeing to a $40 million settlement with liquidators.


Wig off Padbury's $6b man

Roland Bleyer

Amanda Saunders, Peter Ker and Ben Butler Former hair regrowth king Roland Bleyer (aka Husner) is emerging as a key player in the mysterious $6.4 billion funding deal for iron ore tiddler Padbury Mining.

Packer, Murdoch stump up $40m for One.Tel

5:37pm Billionaire James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch will pay $40 million to settle a long running dispute with One.Tel creditors Telstra and Optus.


Watchdog to clamp down on CBD copper phone services

copper cables

MAX MASON 5:31pm The competition watchdog says it is planning to clamp down on wholesale copper phone services in CBD precincts, quoting evidence that Telstra was charging wholesale customers close to 40 per cent more in unregulated areas.

Court approves $40m One.Tel settlement

Murdoch Packer

BEN BUTLER 3:38pm Lachlan Murdoch and James Packer have agreed to pay $40 million to settle a long-running stoush over the failure of era telco One.Tel in 2001.

Inflation expected to rise past 3%

Jason Cadden 2:25pm Annual inflation is expected to have risen by 3.2 per cent, above the RBA's two to three per cent target range, an AAP survey shows.

Genesis Energy soars on debut

Suze Metherell 1:56pm Genesis Energy's shares have spiked in the immediate aftermath of its listing on the NZX, rising by 18 per cent.


Genesis Energy surges on debut

Angela Macdonald-Smith 1:12pm New Zealand electricity retailer Genesis Energy has enjoyed a buoyant start to life as a publicly listed company, with its shares surging as much as 17.7 per cent when they started trading on Thursday.


Business chiefs play knights and dames

Tony Abbott slams the ABC (Thumbnail)

MAX MASON 1:08pm Tony Abbott's step backwards in history to the time of knights and dames could take shareholder returns with it.

Air cargo class action nears settlement homer --- ground crew load a qantas jet at sydney airport --- generic aircraft , flight , airport , travel , holiday , departures , arrivals , ground crew , luggage , freight ---afr first use---

1:11pm Airlines at the centre of a class action over alleged price fixing on freight services have agreed to a $38 million settlement.


Woolies, Woodside lead local bourse higher

ASX trading floor, Generic, Australian Securities Exchange, Stocks, shares, trading, share price, 19th of July 2013 Photo Sasha Woolley

Sally Rose 5:22pm Shares pushed ahead despite the challenges of softer iron ore, oil and gold prices and a stronger dollar as a slew of quarterly production reports showed Australian resource producers are continuing to increase supply.


Japara impresses on first day

ageing OTHER 79798798

aged - old - elderly - aged care


SALLY ROSE 5:41pm Strong investor appetite for opportunities to profit directly from Australia’s ageing population has delivered a stellar debut from the first ASX-listed aged care company.


How Mike Smith learnt to love the social media bomb


COLIN KRUGER 12:16pm ANZ's new journalism venture Blue Notes is only a couple of days old, but the banks chief executive Mike Smith has already gone rogue. He posted an article on Linkedin titled 'How I became a social media believer and why banking's future is digital'.

Business confidence still high, says NAB

11:46am The National Australia Bank business survey showed a small fall in confidence in the March quarter, but it remains in positive territory.

Pharmacy operator to take $131m hit

PHARMACY 040518 AFR PHOTO BY VIRGINIA STAR Generic pic of a Priceline pharmacy chemist pharmacies retail chemists AFR FIRST USE ONLY SPECIALX 25232 ***FDCTRANSFER***

11:56am Australian Pharmaceutical Industries will include a $131 million writedown on the value of its assets in its upcoming half year results.


Sonray director Russell Johnson jailed for fraud, theft offences

Russell Johnson

BEN BUTLER 11:53am Sonray director Russell Johnson has been sentenced to six and a half years for fraud and theft offences over the broker's collapse in June 2010 that left 3500 clients $46.7 million out of pocket.

Nexvet raises $US31.5m

11:07am Unlisted Australian firm Nexvet has raised $US31.5 million to advance its drug development program for the treatment of sick pets.


Select Harvests faces $9m court battle

Tim Binsted 10:47am ASX-listed almond group Select Harvests is facing a court battle after Almas Almonds lodged a $9 million claim against the company for alleged mismanagement of two almond orchards.

Santos LNG projects nearly complete

Greg Roberts 5:15pm A flat quarterly production report from Santos has been overshadowed by news its massive LNG projects are nearly completed.

Woodside could move quickly in Canada

Kim Christian 2:28pm Woodside Petroleum could be forced to move quickly on a growth project on the west coast of Canada after signing a three-year land use agreement.


Hedge funds face tighter funding restrictions


Karen Maley 10:10am Hedge funds, which are only beginning to recover from their bruising first quarter, now face the prospect that the US central bank could be about to make it more difficult for them to borrow heavily in short-term credit in order to fund their risky trades.

Bank of New Zealand names new boss

10:16am The new chief executive of the Bank of New Zealand will be its current head of its business bank, Anthony Healy.

Gap outlines growth plans for China

Anne D'innocenzio 10:16am Clothing retailer Gap says it plans within three years to triple its sales in China, where it generated $US300 million in sales in its past fiscal year.

Aust bonds rise ahead of Easter weekend

4:53pm Australian bond futures prices bounced ahead of the Easter long weekend.

Dick Smith says turnaround is working

Evan Schwarten 3:00pm Electronics retailer Dick Smith has lifted its third quarter sales and its CEO says further growth is on the horizon.

Stocks to watch at close on Thursday

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


Designer sneakers the new blue-chip stock


With sneakers slung around their shoulders and pockets full of cash, young boys huddle in hotel ballrooms and high school gyms, shouting and bartering as though they belong on a trading room floor.

Commodities markets summary

Commodities news from around the world

IBM posts lower 1Q earnings, revenue

Computer company IBM says it's achieved first-quarter earnings of $US2.38 billion, down 21 per cent on the previous year due to reorganisation costs.

International markets roundup

News from the world’s major stock markets


Google's $3.7b profit disappoints Wall Street


Google says its first quarter profit rose 32 per cent from a year ago to $US3.45 billion ($A3.70 billion), in results below most Wall Street expectations.

Third straight day of gains on market

The Australian share market closed higher on Thursday, continuing its recent strong run.

$A loses momentum ahead of Easter break

Belinda Merhab The Australian dollar has drifted lower ahead of the Easter holiday.


need2know: Yellen's positive push

Generic photo of the ASX  board in Melbourne.I

Local stocks are poised to open higher on the promise of lower for longer US interest rates.


Bitcoin exchange MtGox in administration

Bitcoin exchange files for bankruptcy  (Thumbnail)

Failed Bitcoin exchange MtGox has been placed in administration by a Japanese court, with an order for bankruptcy expected to be issued soon, its administrator and chief executive says.

Wall Street

US stocks gain for third-straight day

Wall Street

US stocks rose, with the Standard & Poor's 500 Index capping its best three-day rally in two months, as Yahoo! earnings topped estimates and industrial production gained more than forecast.


Janet Yellen says Fed will wait for 'right time' to raise rates


Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Wednesday the US economy appeared to be slowly moving toward full employment, but that it would need help from the central bank for some time to come.

Global markets

European stocks rebound to end higher


European stock markets have rallied despite high tension over the Ukraine crisis, heartened by strong company earnings, Chinese growth data and a positive start on Wall Street.

Growth picks up across most of US

Paul Wiseman Ten of the Fed's 12 regions reported an increase in economic activity, according to the Beige Book survey in the US.

Stimulus needed for job market: US Fed

Martin Crutsinger In her first major speech on Fed policy, Janet Yellen sought to explain the Fed's shifting guidance on its interest-rate policy.

Malcolm Turnbull's high hopes for NBN chief Bill Morrow

Malcolm Maiden dinkus

MALCOLM MAIDEN Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has to be wishing Bill Morrow good speed as NBN Co's new chief executive asks the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to block junior telco TPG from competing head-on with the National Broadband Network.


Market rises as China pips expectations, BHP reveals iron-ore plan


Sally Rose The market moved higher as Australia's biggest trading partner, China, narrowly beat expectations to avoid posting its slowest rate of economic growth in five years, and BHP Billiton told shareholders it planned to boost its iron-ore production.

NBN Co chief Bill Morrow calls for levy on rivals after TPG Telecom broadband bid

David Ramli NBN Co's new chief executive, Bill Morrow, will push the government to charge a levy against its rivals in densely populated urban areas, to pay for building broadband in the bush.

Non-advised investors miss the market bounce

Stewart Oldfield

Stewart Oldfield One of Australia's biggest industry funds used to encourage input from its members about how to invest their savings until it realised just how lousy the majority of its members were at picking markets.

Fortescue well-placed to ride iron ore price volatility

Elizabeth Knight Dinkus

ELIZABETH KNIGHT Recent history shows the iron ore price is susceptible to bouts of volatility.

Industrial output slowdown hits China's economic growth figures

Philip Wen China has narrowly avoided posting its slowest rate of economic growth in five years, but lacklustre industrial output has underlined how the world's second-largest economy may be struggling to respond to government stimulus.


Iron ore remains strong performer for miner BHP Billiton


PETER KER Iron ore looks set to be BHP Billiton's biggest money-spinner for a while yet, after the miner revealed full-year production of the steel ingredient would be more than 2 per cent higher than previously advised.

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