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Car warranty company to refund $5m

A company selling car repair warranties will refund $4.9 million to thousands of customers who were sold high-priced cover by sales staff chasing bigger commissions. National Warranty Company will repay 6,367 customers after it let sales staff charge their own prices for a repair warranty, with a higher sale price ensuring bigger commission. The Australian…

SA power supplier loses revenue hike bid

South Australia’s electricity provider has lost a Federal Court bid to boost its revenue in a ruling the state government says has spared consumers from a price slug. The court on Thursday dismissed an appeal from SA Power Networks (SAPN) against a ruling by the Australian Energy Regulator, later upheld by the Australian Competition Tribunal,…

Woodside output falls, LNG tipped to rise

Woodside Petroleum’s total full-year production has dropped 11.1 per cent, but the company expects a significant increase in liquefied natural gas (LNG) output throughout 2018. The energy giant on Thursday said it had produced 21.9 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe) in the fourth quarter, down to the prior corresponding period’s 23.8 MMboe, but up…

Jobs grow for record-equalling 15 months

Australia has achieved a record-equalling 15th consecutive month of increasing job numbers and economists have given glowing assessments of the labour market despite an increase in the unemployment rate to 5.5 per cent. The number of people in work rose by 34,700 in December, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data – well above expectations…

Banks improving but still work to be done

Banks are improving their approach to customers but still have a way to go to prevent ‘back-sliding’, an independent reviewer warns. In his seventh quarterly assessment of responses by the banks to lift their performance, independent governance expert Ian McPhee has praised changes to date. But the former auditor-general reports three of 13 planned measures…

Aust shares edge lower on energy weakness

Australian shares have closed barely lower, with banks and consumer stocks among the few sectors to record gains as energy and mining stock weakness weighed on the market. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 0.02 per cent at 6,014.6 points on Thursday, with softer commodity prices compounding heavy losses in the energy sector. Disappointing trading…

Whitehaven cuts full-year output forecast

Whitehaven Coal has cut its full-year production guidance, despite a seven per cent lift in its first-half saleable coal output. Shares in Whitehaven dropped 29 cents, or 6.2 per cent, to $4.40 on Thursday after the NSW based coal miner reduced its annual production forecast from a 22 million to 23 million tonne range to…

BHP boosts H1 copper, energy coal output

BHP Billiton has maintained its full-year production guidance for most commodities including iron ore after reporting a first-half boost in production of copper and energy coal. The global miner lifted copper production by 17 per cent in the six months to December, compared to the prior first half, while iron ore volumes were flat and…

Stocks to watch

Stocks to watch on the Australian stock exchange: BHP – BHP BILLITON – up 24 cents, or 0.8 per cent, at $30.98 BHP Billiton’s production of copper and energy coal for the first half of the fiscal year is up, but volumes are flat in its iron ore business and petroleum and metallurgical coal volumes…

International markets roundup

NEW YORK: Wall Street’s main indexes have all risen more than one per cent – with the Dow again above the 26,000 mark – as investors’ expectations for higher earnings lift stocks across sectors. The S&P 500 has rallied strongly in the new year, gaining 4.8 per cent so far and posting only two sessions…