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Weak consumer spending worries RBA

The Reserve Bank has painted a foreboding outlook for consumer spending, as wages continue to grow slowly and household debt levels remain high. But the central bank remains generally upbeat about the economy, with global conditions improving over 2017 and full-time employment in Australia growing at its fastest pace in a decade. Minutes from the…

Retail Food Group to take a profit hit

Shares in Gloria Jean’s owner Retail Food Group have plunged to an eight year low after the company warned its half year profit is set to fall by more than a third. A 25 per cent fall in the company’s share price on Tuesday to $1.98, its lowest level since August 2009, caps a 55…

NAB refunds $1.7m in mortgage interest

National Australia Bank has refunded $1.7 million to almost 1,000 mortgage customers after charging them too much interest because it failed to properly set up their offset accounts. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission on Tuesday said NAB had refunded 966 home loan customers after the bank’s own review found that between April 2010 and…

Australians upbeat about national economy

Voters are upbeat about the economy and their icy attitudes towards Australian politics are beginning to thaw, new poll results show. Australians believe 2017 has been a relatively good year for large companies, their workplaces, themselves and their families, according to an Essential survey released on Tuesday. This optimism extends into outlooks for next year….

Share market hits a fresh decade high

The share market has hit a fresh decade high thanks to strong commodity prices and positive leads from overseas markets. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 stock index rose 0.5 per cent to 6,071.8 points, as all sectors gained ground, with the exception of industrials. The index is at its highest level since January 2008. Charles Schwab market…

Consumer confidence at a holiday high

Consumers are set to head into Christmas on a high, armed with improved confidence about current and future economic conditions. Views towards economic conditions has risen for the third straight week, underlining the sustained turnaround in overall sentiment since August. The last ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Index reading for the year shows a 1.2 per…

No policy change needed: climate review

A damp squib, a wasted opportunity, or a practical plan that needs leadership: the Turnbull government’s review of climate policy is out and the response is less than welcoming. The environment department’s year-long review, released on Tuesday, has concluded the government’s existing climate policies are good enough to meet Australia’s international commitment to cut emissions….

Fairfax fails to overturn ban on NZ merger

Fairfax has failed in its bid to overturn a decision by New Zealand’s competition watchdog blocking a merger between its local assets and rival NZME. New Zealand’s High Court on Tuesday dismissed the media firms’ appeal, backing the NZ Commerce Commission’s assessment of the likely impact on online national news and Sunday newspapers, plus reader…

Stocks to watch

Stocks to watch on the Australian stock exchange: ANZ – ANZ BANKING GROUP – up 22 cents, or 0.8 per cent, at $29.04 ANZ chairman David Gonski regrets that public concern about big banks’ behaviour was allowed to escalate to the point that a royal commission became necessary to restore confidence in the industry. FXJ…

$A creeps slightly higher against $US

The Australian dollar has crept a tad higher against its US counterpart. At 0635 AEDT on Tuesday, the Australian dollar was worth 76.65 US cents, up from 76.61 US cents on Monday. Westpac’s Imre Speizer says that while US equities had enjoyed a boost by the expected economic growth implications of US tax reform, the…