Morning business roundup

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Read a sample of the Morning Business Roundup from today.

Market Reports

  • Australian Market Report: The Australian share market has closed slightly lower as energy shares tumbled after Santos rejected a $US10.9 billion takeover offer. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 dropped 0.16 per cent to 6,032.5 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index shed 0.16 per cent to 6,140.2 points..... [more]

  • U.S. Market Report: U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday as President Donald Trump’s latest comments fueled skepticism over U.S.-China trade talks and ahead of a Federal Reserve report that could indicate the pace of future rate hikes..... [more]

  • North/South Americas Market Report: North and South American markets are mixed. The IPC is higher by 0.65%, while the Bovespa is leading the S&P 500 lower. They are down 0.22% and 0.06% respectively..... [more]

  • European Market Report: European markets finished sharply lower today with shares in Germany leading the region. The DAX is down 1.47% while France's CAC 40 is off 1.32% and London's FTSE 100 is lower by 1.13%..... [more]

  • Asian Market Report: Asian markets finished sharply lower today with shares in Hong Kong leading the region. The Hang Seng is down 1.58% while China's Shanghai Composite is off 1.41% and Japan's Nikkei 225 is lower by 1.18%..... [more]

Australian Business News

  • The Chinese government has warned it could cut Australian imports by billions of dollars. The state-run Global Times newspaper issued a lengthy editorial today slamming the nation, saying: “It is necessary for China to leave Australia hanging for a while, instead of being too quick to bury the hatchet whenever Canberra tries to put a smile on its face.”.... [more]

  • Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe has pointed to the build-up of debt and bad loans in China as one of the biggest risks facing the Australian economy, noting similar situations in the past have led to a slowdown in growth or financial crisis. “Perhaps the single biggest risk to the Chinese economy at the moment lies in the financial sector and the big run-up in debt there over the past decade,” he told a forum at the Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI) in Sydney on Wednesday night..... [more]

  • Sydney, Melbourne property prices to fall for another 18 months, says CBA. In the space of just 12 months, Australia’s housing market has been turned on its head. Auction clearance rates have hit the lowest level in years, especially in Sydney and Melbourne, and home loan lending is also slowing, largely reflecting tighter lending standards for investors..... [more]

  • The construction sector has started the year in a low gear with work completed in the first quarter barely growing. The value of total construction done over the quarter edged up just 0.2 per cent to $51.2 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis, to be 5 per cent higher than a year ago..... [more]

  • Commonwealth Bank has agreed to sell its stake in Chinese life insurer BoComm Life for $668 million. CBA needed to offload the 37.5 per cent stake as a condition of its $3.8 billion deal to sell its local life insurance businesses to AIA, and will sell to Japan's Mitsui Sumitomo..... [more]

  • The Commonwealth Bank plans to slug superannuation and pension fund members with a hefty fee to fund the cost of regulatory compliance, in a move described as an "out-and-out gouge" by Financial Services Minister Kelly O'Dwyer. The bank this month wrote to members of its flagship superannuation fund Colonial First State, informing them they'll be charged a "regulatory reform fee" in June 2018..... [more]

  • More WA developers set to follow Sirona Capital and shun banks for project funding. CBRE and its capital markets team played a pivotal behind-the-scenes role in the audacious bid by Kings Square Fremantle developer Sirona Capital to bypass banks for its $190 million project finance package. The deal is expected to add to a burgeoning trend for more WA developers to shun banks altogether for project funding..... [more]

  • The seaborne iron ore market appears to be in something of a sweet spot currently, with largely steady demand and prices that have been flatlining for the past couple of months. Of course, another way of saying that a market is enjoying relatively stable and good times is that it's boring, but in iron ore there is plenty of action bubbling beneath the seemingly calm exterior..... [more]

  • Woodside has called on the government to end the debate over company tax cuts and petroleum resources rent taxes, saying either implement changes or reject them as the continued uncertainty is harming investment. Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman said the recent federal budget's exclusion of the PRRT, which would increase the level of royalties resources companies pay to state and federal governments, has created investment uncertainty around Woodside’s new gas developments and is an issue that has been raised with the government..... [more]

  • Carnarvon Petroleum Limited (ASX:CVN) is about to start drilling set-up for the Dorado-1 well which will target gas and liquids at the Phoenix project on the North West Shelf. The Ensco-107 jack-up drilling rig is near the well location offshore Western Australia after arriving from Singapore..... [more]

  • BGC Contracting is cutting 36 mainly Perth support jobs as part of a corporate restructure. The mining and construction contractor, part of the Buckeridge family’s Osborne Park-based BGC group, said today the changes met “changed support service needs” flowing from its national expansion and the early closure of the mining contract at the Koolyanobbing iron ore mine in WA’s Yilgarn..... [more]

  • Impact Minerals granted trading halt by ASX pending asset disposal news. The halt will remain in place until Friday, May 25 or earlier if an announcement is made..... [more]

  • Core Exploration expands lithium JORC resource by 70%.... [more]

  • Santos took a beating on the Australian stock market, with its share price tumbling by almost 10 per cent in early trade. In dollar terms, the company bled more than $1 billion in value..... [more]

  • Havilah Resources Ltd (ASX:HAV) intends adding cobalt icing to its copper cake with appreciable cobalt resources in its sulphide copper projects in South Australia. The company is one of the few potential Australian cobalt producers from sulphide-based deposits, where cobalt production is underpinned by copper and gold..... [more]

  • Myer stokes war of words with attack on ‘hostile’ Solomon Lew. Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments is running a hostile and obstructive campaign designed to destabilise Myer, the department store chain says..... [more]

  • Property developer Psaros’ syndication unit, Quadrant Investments, has launched its first investment trust with a strategic, $40 million Malaga-based large-format retail property portfolio. The portfolio consists of eight buildings on four titles, which Landgate searches reveal were sold by a Caratti family company, Venetian Nominees, listing John Caratti, Maddeliene Caratti and Aaron Caratti as directors..... [more]

  • Australia's largest cattle and beef producer is mothballing its unprofitable abattoir in the Northern Territory, creating uncertainty for around 220 workers. Australian Agricultural Comany (AACo) said operations at the Livingstone Beef meatworks south of Darwin would cease by September 30 in order to put an end to its ongoing operational losses..... [more]

  • ClearVue Technologies set to debut solar technology on ASX after IPO.... [more]

  • Seafarms Group Ltd (ASX:SFG) has finalised an agreement with Japan-based Nissui (TYO:1332) that includes a $24.99 million equity investment in Seafarms. The company-making investment at a substantial premium to Seafarms’ current share price will assist in the development of its world class Project Sea Dragon (PSD)..... [more]

  • Shares in the operator of Captain Cook Cruises and ferries to Queensland's Fraser and North Stradbroke islands have soared after the company said it has rejected a $480 million million takeover proposal..... [more]

  • Oliver’s Real Food drops 50% on revised earnings guidance.... [more]

  • Shares in skin and hair care products maker BWX have soared after it received an unsolicited $810 million buyout from its senior management and a private equity firm..... [more]

  • Actinogen Medical Ltd (ASX:ACW) has successfully raised $15 million through an institutional placement at a price of 5 cents per share. The placement coincides with the positive outcome revealed today in an interim analysis of XanADu, Actinogen’s phase II clinical trial of Xanamem in Alzheimer’s disease..... [more]

  • Admedus Ltd (ASX:AHZ) has filed three new provisional patent applications in the US as part of its transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) research and development project. TAVR is where a valve is placed into the heart via a catheter (usually inserted through the leg) to replace the aortic valve, eliminating the need for open-heart surgery..... [more]

  • Telstra loses court case over 'unlimited' mobile ads. Telstra has lost a federal court battle filed by rival Optus over its marketing of a new type of mobile plan as “unlimited”. In a judgment handed down today, Justice Jacqueline Gleeson found that advertising of the ‘Endless Data BYO Plan’ broke Australian Consumer Law and was likely to have misled customers..... [more]

  • Optus is slashing about 200 jobs nationwide as it pulls the plug on its Virgin Mobile brand. The telco says it will phase out the brand, which it has owned or co-owned for 18 years, over the next two years..... [more]

  • One of Australia's largest defence companies has launched legal action against the Auditor-General over a report that criticises the handling of its $1.3 billion Hawkei project for new armoured vehicles for the Army. The ABC can reveal Thales Australia recently applied for a Federal Court injunction against the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) over the report, which is yet to be tabled in Federal Parliamen.... [more]

  • Analysis - Neil Irwin: Bluster and empty threats: why Trump's China shift could backfire.... [more]

  • Opinion - Elizabeth Knight: Small business misery poses dilemma for reformers. How can a bank credibly argue that a culture to perform is not a culture of sales pressure when performance, in large part, was measured by sales? It can’t. But the royal commission into misconduct in banking and financial services heard an ANZ executive attempt to that on Wednesday..... [more]

World Business News

  • President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly pledged to revive American manufacturing, said on Wednesday that “big news” was coming that would be welcomed by U.S. auto workers, and he suggested it was somehow linked to NAFTA trade talks..... [more]

  • Lawmakers take first step in stopping a Trump deal with ZTE. A Senate panel on Tuesday said it would not accept efforts by President Donald Trump to ease sanctions on Chinese smartphone maker ZTE..... [more]

  • Congress on Tuesday rolled back some of the restraints imposed on banks after the 2007-2009 global financial crisis, but big players like Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N), Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), will not be breaking out the champagne..... [more]

  • American banks had their most profitable quarter ever. American banks are hauling in record-setting profits just as Congress prepares to cut regulations. Bank profits soared by 28% during the first three months of 2018 to $56 billion, according to statistics published by the FDIC on Tuesday..... [more]

  • Amazon asked to stop selling facial recognition technology to police. More than two dozen civil rights organizations are calling on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to stop selling its facial recognition technology to the government, according to a letter made public Tuesday by the ACLU..... [more]

  • Amazon has defended working with US police forces to provide facial recognition technology, amid concern from civil rights groups. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and others, said the retail giant's Rekognition software guide "read like a user manual for authoritarian surveillance"..... [more]

  • It looks like consumers around the world are having breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and dessert at Tiffany's. The luxury retailer's sales and profits topped forecasts, and Tiffany also boosted its outlook. Shares rose a shiny 20% Wednesday..... [more]

  • Tesla cars are getting cheaper in China. The company iscutting the prices of its Model X and Model S cars in China by about 6% after Beijing said it would slash duties on imported passenger vehicles, starting July 1..... [more]

  • Immaterial negative news stories about Tesla Inc have hit a “fever pitch”, and the electric carmaker’s stock is set to surge as output of its Model 3 sedan improves, according to an analyst..... [more]

  • Stung by a negative review of the Model 3 by Consumer Reports, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is promising to fix problems cited by the magazine. And he says he'll be able to fix cars already on the road without them being brought in for service..... [more]

  • Shares of General Electric Co. plunged in very active trade Wednesday, putting them on track for the biggest selloff in six months, with losses accelerating after Chief Executive John Flannery started talking at an industry conference. The industrial conglomerate’s stock GE, -7.49% slid 7% in afternoon trade, enough to pace the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s DJIA, -0.15% losers..... [more]

  • Comcast's plans to bid for Fox are almost official. The company said Wednesday that it's preparing to top Disney's bid for most of 21st Century Fox with an all-cash offer..... [more]

  • Apple now lets Europeans download all the data it holds on them.... [more]

  • French President Emmanuel Macron told executives from the world’s biggest technology firms that he believed in innovation but that he wanted tougher regulations and for them to contribute more to society. The French leader paints himself as a champion of France’s plugged-in youth and wants to transform France into a “startup nation” that draws higher investments into technology and artificial intelligence..... [more]

  • The post-Brexit customs system favoured by Boris Johnson and other leading Brexiteers could cost businesses up to £20bn a year, officials have suggested. The chief executive of HM Revenue and Customs told MPs firms would have to pay £32.50 for each customs declaration under the so-called "max fac" solution..... [more]

  • PwC halved the estimated costs of winding up British brokerage Beaufort Securities on Wednesday, potentially boosting funds for hard-pressed mining companies and other clients that are expected to shoulder the costs. Beaufort, which specialised in helping to raise money for the junior mining sector, was declared insolvent in March after the U.S. Department of Justice alleged it had a role in a more than $50 million stock fraud and a laundering scheme involving a work by Pablo Picasso..... [more]

  • M&S profits slump on store closure costs. Marks and Spencer has suffered a big fall in annual profits following a costly store closure plan. Annual pre-tax profits fell by almost two-thirds to £66.8m as sales of food, clothing and homeware all declined..... [more]

  • Mothercare (MTC.L) has decided a management buyout is “100 percent not” an option in the future, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, after Bloomberg reported that its CEO had proposed one earlier this year..... [more]

  • Paddy Power Betfair merging U.S. business with FanDuel.... [more]

  • Jaguar Land Rover has reported a drop in profits after slower sales growth and rising business investment. Annual pre-tax profits fell to £1.5bn from £1.6bn the year before, and fourth quarter profits almost halved from £676m to £364m..... [more]

  • Hamburg is about to become the first city in Europe to implement a partial ban on diesel vehicles to cut pollution. Officials said they would begin banning older diesel cars and trucks from a main road in the center of Germany's second biggest city starting on May 31..... [more]

  • Heinrich Hiesinger’s position as Thyssenkrupp’s CEO is more precarious than it has ever been as he prepares to unveil a new strategy to placate impatient investors, including Cevian and Elliott, people familiar with the matter said..... [more]

  • Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) plans to cut 10,000 jobs, or about a tenth of its global workforce, as part of efforts to reduce costs, a person with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday..... [more]

  • Turkish lira rallies after emergency rate hike.... [more]

  • China signals to state giants: 'Buy American' oil and grains. China will import record volumes of U.S. oil and is likely to ship more U.S. soy after Beijing signaled to state-run refiners and grains purchasers they should buy more to help ease tensions between the two top economies, trade sources said on Wednesday..... [more]

  • Amid unemployment concerns, the University Grants Commission is set to instruct every higher education institute to ensure at least 50% of those graduating get access to a job, self-employment or get to pursue higher education, and that two-thirds of the students are engaged in ‘socially productive activities’ while studying. UGC is expected to approve in its meeting on May 24 a set of targets and objectives for all higher education institutes that must be achieved by 2022, ET has learnt..... [more]