Morning business roundup

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Read a sample of the Morning Business Roundup from today.

Market Reports

  • Australian Market Report: Shares overcame early losses to end the day modestly higher, thanks in large part to buying in the big banks and Telstra, as investors contended with one of the busiest days of the August reporting season. The relatively mild 28-point move higher in the S&P/ASX 200 index to the day's high of 5785 points concealed some spicier action among the ASX's blue-chip names..... [more]

  • U.S. Market Report: U.S. shares rose Wednesday as investors bet that weak housing data could slow U.S. rate hikes, while the dollar gained on the euro as hopes ebbed for a monetary policy change in Europe. U.S. Treasury yields were little changed in advance of the release of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's July meeting as investors waited for clues about whether the U.S. central bank would announce a plan to begin reducing its balance sheet..... [more]

  • North/South Americas Market Report: North and South American markets are mixed today. The Bovespa is up 0.74% while the S&P 500 gains 0.07%. The IPC is off 0.60%..... [more]

  • European Market Report: European markets finished higher today with shares in Germany leading the region. The DAX is up 0.71% while France's CAC 40 is up 0.71% and London's FTSE 100 is up 0.67%..... [more]

  • Asian Market Report: Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Hang Seng gained 0.86%, while the Shanghai Composite led the Nikkei 225 lower. They fell 0.15% and 0.12% respectively..... [more]

Australian Business News

  • Wages growth remains at a record low 1.9 per cent, and with only a gradual improvement expected in the coming months economists are forecasting no moves in interest rates for some time. Total hourly rates of pay, excluding bonuses, rose 0.5 per cent in the June quarter, matching market expectations and keeping the annual rate of wages growth at 1.9 per cent for a fourth consecutive quarter, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics Wage Price Index..... [more]

  • Any downturn in the construction industry could trigger job losses to a range of sectors that support the building industry, such as planning, project management, real estate and property services. This threat reveals the risk of relying on building and construction to sustain the economy..... [more]

  • Aussies losing faith in home ownership. More than one third of Australians who are either home owners or aspire to buy in the future no longer believe it's the best way to guarantee their financial future. Westpac recently had Ipsos , and ask them to agree or disagree with certain statements on a sliding scale..... [more]

  • How Aussie cities fared in The Economist’s global livability report..... [more]

  • Despite encouraging signs the global economy is picking up, two surveys of fund managers indicate that caution is the prevailing sentiment in the industry, with a record number of professional investors saying equities are overvalued. Of the 174 fund managers surveyed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, with $US587 billion of assets under management, 46 per cent say stocks are too expensive and just over a third of investors believe corporate profits will improve over the next 12 months..... [more]

  • Jameson Resources has filed four applications for coal exploration licenses at its Crown Mountain coking coal project..... [more]

  • Activist investor Elliott Management has racheted up the pressure on BHP, repeating its call for the mining giant to sell its US shale assets, as Elliott said it now owned 5 per cent of BHP's British shares. The news comes just days before BHP reports what are expected to be healthy results for fiscal 2017, which investors and analysts will be watching closely to see if the company sends any signals about the future of its often maligned US shale assets..... [more]

  • Santos expects US$690m impairment.... [more]

  • Orion Minerals NL to lift cash for South African zinc-copper hunt.... [more]

  • Woodside Petroleum’s shares surged after reporting its half-year profit jumped 49 per cent to $US507 million ($648 million), helped by improved market conditions and higher oil prices. However, the energy giant reported a 3.6 per cent decline in revenue to $US1.87 billion for the six months to June 30, mainly due to lower sales volumes..... [more]

  • Retirement village operator Aveo Group says demand for its units have rebounded quickly after critical media reports about its fees and contracts hurt sales for a month. In late June, a joint Fairfax Media-ABC Four Corners probe into Aveo aired concerns raised by former residents and staff, including hefty exit and maintenance fees, a "bleed them dry" approach to customers and safety concerns. Shares in Aveo, which had fallen by more than 20 per cent since the media coverage broke June, were up 24 cents, or 9.9 per cent at $2.67 by 1427 AEST..... [more]

  • Surging electricity prices will dampen earnings growth for Stockland Group this financial year, the property developer and shopping centre owner says. After boosting its full-year net profit by 34 per cent to $1.2 billion in the year to June 30, Stockland on Wednesday said rising power costs in its retail portfolio - its largest asset class - will slow earnings in 2017/18. Stockland shares dropped four cents to $4.34..... [more]

  • Structural Monitoring Systems PLC is preparing to reveal details of an agreement with a pre-eminent leader in the global aerospace industry. The ASX has granted the company a trading halt to prepare, with its shares placed in pre-open..... [more]

  • Job ads portal SEEK has pushed its sales revenue past the the $1 billion mark as investments in its Australian and New Zealand business start to deliver. The online job-search company's underlying net profit, which excludes one-off significant items, grew 11 per cent to $220.8 million in the 12 months to June 30, while total revenue from ordinary activities rose nine per cent to $1.06 billion. SEEK shares fell 57 cents, or 3.2 per cent, to $17.26 on Wednesday..... [more]

  • Optiscan Imaging has secured its first order into the U.S. market for its new generation ViewnVivo Preclinical System through its North American distributor, Scintica Instrumentation Inc. Scintica has agreed an indicative minimum number of ViewnVivo systems which would deliver a revenue in excess of $1 million in the next 12 months. Optiscan’s shares were last trading 12.5% higher intra-day, at $0.09..... [more]

  • Eagle Health Holdings has signed an agreement to sell Omni Innovation’s pre-meal shake product for diabetes throughout mainland China. Eagle is a vertically integrated nutritional products business distributing its products through pharmacies, health food stores, supermarkets and online channels throughout China..... [more]

  • FlexiGroup decreased net profit from continuing operations 4% to $90.3 million for the year to June 30, 2017. Group volume from continuing operations grew 54% to $1.95 billion driven by the cards businesses, which included a full year of the New Zealand cards business. Australia cards recorded strong growth across all key metrics with a clear path from transaction volume to revenue and profit..... [more]

  • Shares in Sealink Travel have sunk despite the ferry operator's annual profit rising seven per cent to $24 million. The company's operations include Captain Cook Cruises and ferry services in Townsville, Darwin and to Kangaroo Island in South Australia..... [more]

  • Shares in Perth technology company Fastbrick Robotics have soared after it signed a non-binding deal to supply about 100 home-building robots to Saudi Arabia. The memorandum of understanding with the Saudi Government covers the potential construction using the automated bricklaying technology of at least 50,000 home units in the Middle East kingdom..... [more]

  • Australia's National Broadband Network revealed its connections had been rated as low as 5.9 out of 10 by users but blamed individual internet providers for much of the “negative sentiment” around the $49 billion network. NBN Co revealed the score, and its average ranking of seven out of 10, as it delivered its annual financial results, showing the broadband network had reached 5.7 million premises by the end of the financial year..... [more]

  • Telstra's $20 billion question: Should it sell its future NBN revenues now?.... [more]

  • Vivid Technology has had a great start to FY18 after securing orders worth $3 million recently, of which $1.7 million are from new customers in the health and facilities management sector. Vivid is a provider of "internet of lights" and energy efficient cloud based solutions for industrial and infrastructure clients..... [more]

  • Seven West Media managed to keep its revenue steady last financial year despite challenging trading conditions, the company’s annual results revealed this morning. Revenue for the year ending June 24 fell just 2.7 per cent to $1.67 billion but Seven West Media posted a loss of $744.3 million courtesy of almost $1 billion in writedowns, including a $432.4 million revision of the value of the company’s television licence..... [more]

  • A crowdfunding campaign has been set up with the aim of paying the legal bills of Amber Harrison, the former lover of Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner. A campaign with the title "Amber Harrison Guilt-free TV" has been set up on crowdfunding site Gofundme and had raised more than $5,000 towards a $200,000 target by Wednesday afternoon..... [more]

  • Liquidators of Queensland Nickel have accused Clive Palmer of being "less than frank" with courts and creditors and potentially presenting fake evidence as they move to freeze his assets. Government-appointed liquidators PPB Advisory have been trying to stop the former federal MP from selling or spending hundreds of millions of dollars in assets..... [more]

  • A Supreme Court judge has ordered Michael Fotios’ Eastern Goldfields be wound up and have liquidators appointed to it. It comes just a week after executive chairman Michael Fotios painted a positive picture of the company’s future at the Diggers and Dealers Mining Forum in Kalgoorlie-Boulder..... [more]

  • Opinion/Comment - Jasmine Ng: As good as it gets: Iron ore may come under pressure as China demand cools.... [more]

  • Comment - Adele Ferguson: Aveo may be taking a big punt too early. With regulators and various state and federal governments breathing down the collective neck of the retirement village industry it was little surprise that Aveo was in damage control when it released another record profit..... [more]

World Business News

  • The United States on Wednesday laid down a tough line for modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement, demanding major changes to the pact that would reduce U.S. trade deficits with Mexico and Canada and increase U.S. content for autos..... [more]

  • Some Fed members say bank can be ‘patient’ on interest rates due to low inflation.... [more]

  • President Trump has said he is scrapping two business councils after more bosses quit over his handling of violent clashes in Virginia. Business leaders left the White House manufacturing council after the backlash against how he reacted to the far-right rally last weekend..... [more]

  • Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi, one of the most powerful women and minorities in business, is being aggressively pressured by a racial justice group to quit President Trump's advisory council. Seven execs have left Trump's manufacturing council this week amid outrage over the president's response to the violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia..... [more]

  • Trump, in tweet, hits Amazon over taxes, jobs.... [more]

  • Trump vs. Amazon: So much for the businessman president. Donald Trump fashions himself as a CEO president. But he's feuding with one of America's most famous, most respected and wealthiest business leaders -- Amazon's Jeff Bezos -- mainly because the company is so successful..... [more]

  • Amazon stock market value falls by $5bn after critical Trump tweet.... [more]

  • Apple issues Canadian-dollar bond for first time — and sets a record.... [more]

  • Analyst initiates three social media stocks, and guess which one is a sell? SunTrust Robinson Humphrey initiated coverage of three big social media platforms Wednesday, taking a bearish stance on one platform, which it says has “farther to fall.” That company was Snap Inc. SNAP, +2.28% which Youssef Squali, lead analyst on all three reports, initiated at sell, saying the company has more downside than reflected in analyst estimates..... [more]

  • Target Corp on Wednesday reported an increase in second-quarter comparable-store sales after four straight negative quarters, driven by improved online traffic and demand across all businesses except groceries. Target shares rose as much as 4 percent after the retailer beat second-quarter profit and same-store sales expectations, traffic jumped 2.1 percent, and it raised its full-year adjusted earnings forecast..... [more]

  • Is your engagement ring as real as your love? Wholesale retailer Costco was ordered to pay jewelry company Tiffany & Co. TIF, +1.26% more than $19 million in damages after a federal judge ruled Costco sold diamond engagement rings with the jewelry company’s name on it without a deal to do so..... [more]

  • Reckitt Benckiser is betting on connected consumer products as part of a push to show investors its innovative approach can still drive growth. In an interview at Reckitt's global headquarters outside London, Chief Executive Rakesh Kapoor dismissed suggestions that a recent product failure signaled Britain's 12th most valuable company has lost its design mojo..... [more]

  • UnitedHealth Group Inc said on Wednesday president David Wichmann will become the company's chief executive, succeeding Stephen Hemsley, who is moving to the newly created role of executive chairman after more than a decade at the helm of the largest U.S. health insurer. Wichmann, 54, was widely viewed inside and outside of the company as Hemsley's likely successor, although the timing of the change was sooner than some had expected..... [more]

  • Urban Outfitters shares spike 22% after earnings, but analysts say there’s little to cheer about.... [more]

  • Black banker sues Goldman Sachs for racial discrimination.... [more]

  • U.S. securities regulators on Wednesday accused an employee of a large multinational bank and six other people of taking part in an insider trading scheme that reaped more than $5 million in profits. Daniel Rivas, 32, learned in advance about dozens of corporate mergers and other transactions while working at the bank’s information technology department, and passed the information on to acquaintances, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said in a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court..... [more]

  • British unemployment is the lowest it has been in 42 years -- but many workers won't be celebrating. Unemployment fell slightly to 4.4% in the three months to June, according to official data published Wednesday. The jobless rate hasn't been that low since 1975. And the number of people in work is at a record high..... [more]

  • An activist investor hedge fund has agreed to halt its long-running feud with Dulux paint owner AkzoNobel. US hedge fund Elliott Advisors reached a "standstill" agreement after clashing with Akzo over the way the company should be run..... [more]

  • Denmark's A.P. Moller Maersk gave an upbeat outlook for container shipping on Wednesday, lifting its shares by as much as 4.5 percent as investors looked beyond one-off second-quarter charges and a costly cyber attack on its operations. Maersk has been hit by low oil prices at its energy arm and sliding prices in its shipping business in recent years due to lacklustre global trade and a glut of available ships for hire..... [more]

  • Britain will seek a series of waivers for goods and people crossing the Northern Ireland border under new plans that risk creating a “backdoor” with the European Union after Brexit. The government aims to avoid the need for border posts with Ireland when the UK leaves the EU, an ambitious goal seen as essential to preserving the Good Friday peace agreement..... [more]

  • Ireland's finance minister said the European Commission's demand that Dublin collect up to 13 billion euros ($13.8 bln) in back taxes from Apple was unjustified, in an interview with Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine (FAZ) newspaper. The European Commission ordered Apple to repay taxes to Ireland after ruling last year that the U.S. technology company paid so little tax on its Ireland-based operations that it amounted to state aid..... [more]

  • Air Berlin's administrators will focus on selling its attractive take-off and landing slots in Germany, a source familiar with the process said, potentially opening up the market to new players. Loss-making Air Berlin has until now helped to shield Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) and Germany, where a booming economy is fuelling demand for travel, from low-cost carriers..... [more]

  • Ryanair has accused Lufthansa and the German government of conspiring to carve up collapsed airline Air Berlin. Lufthansa is negotiating over buying Air Berlin planes, which are still flying following a 150m euro German government loan..... [more]

  • Merkel reaffirms her million e-vehicles pledge.... [more]

  • Fiat Chrysler will join an alliance led by BMW to develop self-driving cars, intensifying a race by carmakers and technology companies to develop "robotaxis" which can be called up via smartphone and paid for by the minute. The market for such self-driving cabs could be worth $2 trillion by 2030, according to consultants McKinsey, as younger customers abandon car ownership in favor of a pay-per-use mobility service..... [more]

  • Deutsche Bank plans to beef up its trade finance business in the developing world, creating new jobs and investing in technology, it said on Wednesday. The focus is on Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, and central and eastern Europe, Germany's largest bank said..... [more]

  • The Philippine transport regulator stood by its one-month suspension of Uber Technologies Inc on Wednesday, despite its apology for a "misunderstanding" in failing to heed a directive to stop accepting new driver applications. Members of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) met an Uber executive and senators to discuss a suspension, announced on Monday, that critics say punishes Philippine consumers and drivers who depend on the service..... [more]

  • A U.S. judge overseeing the bankruptcy of Japanese auto supplier Takata Corp's U.S. business has halted for 90 days the lawsuits brought by victims of its faulty air bag inflators against automakers, a ruling that temporarily smooths its efforts to exit bankruptcy. Takata argued for a six-month stay of the lawsuits so management could complete a $1.6 billion sale of its viable operations and replace air bag inflators that are subject to the biggest recall in automotive history..... [more]

  • RBI accords sanction for new KVB CEO.... [more]

  • The government has issued a notice to smartphone makers, including Chinese companies such as Vivo, Oppo, Xiaomi and Gionee, over hacking fears. The government fears hacking at the hands of mobile phone makers, mostly Chinese, as they are believed to be stealing personal information of users such as contact lists and messages..... [more]

  • This Bank’s Stock Price Has Jumped 50,000% Since 2002. Nothing, outside a financial-market collapse on the scale of the Great Recession, can faze Capitec Bank Holdings Ltd..... [more]