Breaking news

First home buyers hold their ground

The number of home loans approved for owner occupiers continued to soften in January but first home buyers are pushing their way into the market. Approvals for loans to first-time buyers lifted 1.7 per cent in January, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show. While the total value of lending to first-home buyers dropped…

Inquiry told NAB staff took loan bribes

A syndicate of National Australia Bank employees took $2800 bribes for fraudulent home loans with the money exchanged in white envelopes passed over the counter, a royal commission has heard. The group made up fake payslips, IDs and Medicare cards, a whistleblower told the bank in late 2015. The syndicate involved 11 people, six of…

Manufacturers remain largely upbeat

The outlook for manufacturers remains largely upbeat with a strong global backdrop and a relatively low Australian dollar aiding exporters. However, the latest Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Westpac industrial trends survey does note some moderation in new orders in the first three months of 2018. The survey’s composite index declined to 58.3 points in…

Weak GDP figures weigh on confidence

Consumer confidence has fallen in the past week on the back of weaker-than-expected gross domestic product figures and as households remain concerned about financial conditions. The latest ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Index shows a 2.5 per cent drop to 116 points in the week to March 11, dragged down by households’ pessimism towards current and…

Xenophon to tackle water shortage

South Australia could become a world leader in tackling water shortages and waste under a plan outlined by Nick Xenophon ahead of the South Australian election. SA-BEST has pledged $20 million towards a state-wide stormwater plan and research to help the state cope better with droughts, including plant resilience and increasing crop yields, if it…

Stocks to watch

Stocks to watch on the Australian stock exchange: STO – SANTOS – down 5.0 cents, or 1.0 per cent, at $4.93 ORG – ORIGIN ENERGY – up 1.0 cent, or 0.1 per cent, at $8.82 OSH – OIL SEARCH – down 8.0 cents, or 1.1 per cent, at $7.07 The energy sector is lower on…

NBN congestion cut to just 12 minutes

Congestion on the National Broadband Network has shrunk from almost five hours to just 12 minutes, while the number of homes and business connected has jumped by more than one-and-a-half million. The latest monthly report from NBN Co shows a major improvement for broadband consumers, largely thanks to retailers providing more bandwidth than before. Average…

Gold prices dip on US jobs data optimism

Gold prices dipped on Monday as the previous session’s upbeat US payrolls data sparked a fresh rally in equities, shoring up expectations that the US Federal Reserve would press ahead with further interest rate rises this year. World stocks hit a two-week high on Monday after Friday’s strong jobs data helped offset investors’ concerns about…

Aust shares close lower on broad weakness

The Australian share market has closed lower amid weakness across most sectors, with the miners the biggest drag following falls in commodity prices and a negative lead from US markets. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Tuesday down 21.4 points, or 0.36 per cent, at 5,974.7 points. CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said the…

Woodside to operate Scarborough gas field

Woodside Petroleum has confirmed it will operate the Scarborough gas field after securing the support of co-stakeholder BHP Billiton for its purchase of ExxonMobil’s 50 per cent stake in the Western Australia field. BHP Billiton, which holds 25 per cent of the offshore field, will not oppose Woodside’s purchase of ExxonMobil’s holding – a $US750…