Morning business roundup

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Read a sample of the Morning Business Roundup from today.

Market Reports

  • Australian Market Report: Commodity-based stocks have helped the ASX hit a new nine-week high, following the release of several encouraging earnings reports, while online retailer surged on strong Christmas trade. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 14.9 points, or 0.26 per cent, to 5,850.1 at 1615 AEDT on Thursday, while the broader All Ordinaries was 16.1 points, or 0.27 per cent, higher at 5,909.8..... [more]

  • U.S. Market Report: U.S. stocks eked out gains on Thursday to consolidate near a one-month high, helped by advances in the healthcare and industrial sectors and as financials shrugged off Morgan Stanley’s disappointing earnings..... [more]

  • North/South Americas Market Report: North and South American markets are higher today with shares in Brazil leading the region. The Bovespa is up 0.67% while Mexico's IPC is up 0.39% and U.S.'s S&P 500 is up 0.21%..... [more]

  • European Market Report: European markets finished lower today with shares in London leading the region. The FTSE 100 is down 0.40% while France's CAC 40 is off 0.34% and Germany's DAX is lower by 0.12%..... [more]

  • Asian Market Report: Asian markets finished lower today with shares in Hong Kong leading the region. The Hang Seng is down 0.54% while China's Shanghai Composite is off 0.42% and Japan's Nikkei 225 is lower by 0.20%..... [more]

Australian Business News

  • The Australian dollar is holing near one-week lows as renewed worries about global growth had investors flocking away from risk assets. The Australian dollar slipped to 71.60 US cents on Thursday, a level not seen since January 9, and was last fetching 71.66 US cents..... [more]

  • There appears to be no sign of a turnaround in the housing market, with tougher lending standards continuing to put pressure on loans for owner-occupiers, but weaker home prices are good news for first home buyers. The number of home loan approvals fell by 0.9 per cent in November, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show, which was better than market expectations of a 1.5 per cent fall..... [more]

  • The drop in house prices in Australia this year will be the worst in the world, one of the world's major credit rating agencies has predicted. Fitch Ratings believes house prices will fall by another 5 per cent this year and values won't recover until 2020..... [more]

  • There appears to be no sign of a turnaround in the housing market, with tougher lending standards continuing to put pressure on loans for owner-occupiers, but weaker home prices are good news for first home buyers..... [more]

  • Interest rates on mortgages could be even lower in a year, analysts predict.... [more]

  • ALP dividend tax plan is 'big risk' for bank investors. Labor's controversial pledge to revamp tax benefits on dividends has sparked a warning from a leading fund manager that the policy was a "big risk" for investors in the nation's banks. The federal opposition has vowed if it wins this year's election to end a situation where taxpayers receive a cash refund if they receive tax breaks on their dividends that reduce their tax bill below zero..... [more]

  • Woodside Petroleum has flagged higher-than-expected investment costs as it steps up early work on the two big gas developments that will drive its growth in the next decade. Australia’s biggest independent gas and oil producer said its investment expenditure for 2019 will be between $1.6 billion and $1.7 billion, significantly higher than a UBS estimate of $1.2 billion..... [more]

  • Alto Metals Ltd (ASX:AME) is close to completing a gold resource estimate for the Havilah deposit within its Sandstone project in WA which will add to the existing resource of 261,000 ounces. The company aims to define at least 500,000 ounces at Sandstone this year as part of its overall strategy to delineate more than 1 million ounces and re-establish gold mining and milling operations..... [more]

  • Livid minority shareholders in Flinders Mines have succeeded in getting a meeting to vote on the proposed delisting of the company postponed to February 6. The extraordinary meeting of shareholders had been scheduled to vote on the controversial proposal on the morning of Tuesday next week, but recent appeals to the Takeovers Panel have prompted Flinders to reschedule the vote to Wednesday, February 6..... [more]

  • Musgrave Minerals MD demonstrates his confidence in the company’s gold strategy. Rob Waugh has today purchased 260,000 shares on-market with a total value of more than $22,000..... [more]

  • Havilah Resources Ltd’s (ASX:HAV) recently appointed director Martin Janes has acquired 200,000 shares via on-market trades for a total consideration of $33,363. Earlier this month, Havilah appointed Martin Janes as an independent non-executive director to replace outgoing board member Kenneth Williams..... [more]

  • Energy company AGL has suspended sales of coal ash and ash by-products from its Bayswater and Liddell power stations in NSW due to elevated signs of heavy metals in the product..... [more]

  • Illawarra coal output surge to fuel South32 profit.... [more]

  • After securing the business of Hungry Jack's, Red Rooster, and Oporto, Coca-Cola Amatil has signed Pizza Hut to a five-year beverage supply deal for its 285 Australian restaurants. The deal comes about 18 months after the beverage giant lost its Domino's Pizza contract to rival Pepsi-Schweppes..... [more]

  • Food Revolution Group upgrades processing facility due to high Chinese demand. The company is exploring opportunities for growth in the functional food, beverage and nutraceutical markets..... [more]

  • Online retailer says record Black Friday and Boxing Day sales have offset plunging revenue from poor iPhone sales. In an unaudited update on Thursday, Kogan told the ASX total revenue growth for the six months to December 31 was 9.7 per cent higher than the same period last year, boosted by new and store-specific products in the lead up to the peak Christmas trading period..... [more]

  • Technology entrepreneur Elon Musk has hinted interest in helping solve Sydney's road congestion, quoting $1 billion on Twitter for a high-speed transit tunnel through Australia's Blue Mountains. A New South Wales MP has pitched the idea of building a 50-kilometre tunnel to Musk, who quoted "a bargain" to build it, according to tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes..... [more]

  • Esports Mogul Asia Pacific Ltd (ASX:ESH) has extended its PC game title catalogue ahead of its Silver Slam tournament next month. Four in-demand PC game titles will be added to three current titles already integrated on Mogul, with a total of 16 PC, console and mobile titles offered in Silver Slam..... [more]

  • Mining mogul Gina Rinehart retains her spot at the top of Forbes' Aussie rich list despite falling iron ore prices knocking her wealth down $US1.8 billion, to $US14.8 billion (down $A2.5 billion, to $A20.6 billion)..... [more]

  • With plenty of major lenders in the Australian finance sector having already fallen foul of regulators, there is continually less surprise when another goes into the mire. The industry now under investigation relates to car finance. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has raised concerns that lenders are pushing car loans on those who lack the means to pay them back..... [more]

  • Fair Work deputy under fire for sharing anti-CFMEU social media post.... [more]

  • 'Sad face' emoji signs off mass job loss message at fallen tech darling. It was to be an app that tackled pests improving life for farmers or home owners. Its inventor thought it could make a difference. The father of four searched for the best developers in the country to build his app and in late 2013, enlisted tech company Appster..... [more]

  • Opinion - Jessica Irvine: Let's end the unlucky $3 trillion super lottery. Not much fuss is being made yet, but at some point later this year, Australia is likely to reach a significant milestone, as our collective super balances swell above the $3 trillion mark..... [more]

World Business News

  • OPEC cut oil output sharply in December before a new accord to limit supply took effect, it said on Thursday, suggesting that producers have made a strong start to averting a glut in 2019 as a slowing economy curbs demand..... [more]

  • Trump’s Tariffs Are Producing Billions, But China Isn’t Paying. According to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more than $13 billion in duties imposed by the Trump administration were assessed on imported goods as of Dec. 18. Actual collections could lag and be lower because of refunds and other factors,.... [more]

  • The most important earnings season for tech since the dot-com boom went bust is about to begin, but don’t expect a holiday miracle, especially for the companies that are used to a victory lap at this time of year..... [more]

  • Shutdown is starting to hurt Trump's financial deregulation agenda.... [more]

  • A Washington brewery worried about the fate of 40 barrels of apricot-infused India pale ale it calls "The Precious One" has sued the Trump administration, saying the government shutdown has prevented it from shipping the seasonal beer. Craft brewer Atlas Brew Works filed the suit against Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker late Tuesday as the partial shutdown was in its fourth week, hobbling a wide range of government operations, including its crucial -- for the brewing industry -- beer labeling authority..... [more]

  • Sears, the long-troubled US department store chain, is set to stagger on. Billionaire Eddie Lampert, a hedge fund financier who is chairman of Sears and its former chief executive, has won a bankruptcy court auction to purchase the company for $5.2bn (£4bn)..... [more]

  • Apple and Johnson & Johnson collaborating on heart research project.... [more]

  • For years, tech companies have been under fire for causing housing prices to soar in certain areas. Now, Microsoft Corp. is doing something about it. The Redmond, Wash.,-based tech giant has pledged $500 million to create affordable housing and address homelessness in the Seattle area, the Seattle Times first reported Wednesday night..... [more]

  • Shares of Ford Motor Co. were among the worst on the S&P 500 index on Wednesday after the car maker kept Wall Street in the dark about its expectations for this year and reported disappointing preliminary 2018 earnings. Ford F, -0.42% stock fell more than 5% to trade as low as $8.30 in midday trading, on track for its worst one-day decline since late July. It was the third worst performer on the broader stock index..... [more]

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May narrowly survived a vote of no confidence in her Government before proposing immediate talks with other party leaders in an attempt to break the deadlock on a Brexit divorce agreement..... [more]

  • Theresa May to skip World Economic Forum in Davos amid Brexit crisis. Theresa May is reportedly set to announce she won’t attend the World Economic Forum in Davos next week as she scrambles to save Brexit..... [more]

  • Brexit department uses seven 'gagging orders' as firms plan for no deal Defra also confirms enforcing NDAs despite Theresa May’s criticism of such contracts.... [more]

  • The boss of Procter and Gamble, maker of Fairy liquid and Gillette razors, says its products could cost more if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. Tariffs the company may have to pay would be added to grocery bills, David S. Taylor told the BBC..... [more]

  • Primark said it gained market share, increased sales and cut down on discounting over Christmas by focusing on the high street and continuing to keep away from the internet. Sales at the cut-price fashion chain’s established UK stores rose 3% over the Christmas period, according to analysts’ estimates, and slipped less than 2% in the four months to 5 January, despite a dismal period for many clothing chains..... [more]

  • Oxford University suspends Huawei donations and sponsorships.... [more]

  • Hitachi has scrapped plans to build a nuclear power station in Wales, becoming the second firm in two months to abandon a major nuclear project and triggering “a full-blown crisis” for the UK energy’s strategy. The £16bn Wylfa plant on Anglesey was meant to be the next in a line of new nuclear plants behind Hinkley Point C but the Japanese conglomerate failed to reach a deal with the UK government..... [more]

  • ITV shares fall as broadcasters are warned not to underestimate Netflix.... [more]

  • Investors betting on China’s stocks rarely react to the nation’s economic releases, even to the key ones such as the gross domestic product. But a less noticed figure may point to a tough year ahead for corporate revenue. The year-on-year growth of nominal GDP -- or the economic expansion pace unadjusted for inflation -- will slow by more than 2 percentage points this year, according to UBS Group AG, from the 2018 level hovering near 10 percent..... [more]

  • A string of Hong Kong-listed stocks plunged without warning in afternoon trading, the latest shock losses to sideswipe investors in the world’s fourth-largest equity market..... [more]

  • Japan faces unforeseen risks in guiding economic policy as its population of about 126 million ages and declines, the governor of its central bank said Thursday. Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda told fellow financial leaders Thursday that policies must be devised to prevent the shrinking population from hindering economic growth..... [more]

  • Lawyers for former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn on Thursday appealed against a decision by a Tokyo court to refuse him bail, as he faces charges on three counts of financial misconduct. Since his stunning arrest on November 19 the auto tycoon has languished in a Tokyo detention centre, facing questioning over allegations he under-reported his salary and tried to shift personal losses onto the company..... [more]

  • France Abandons Carlos Ghosn, All But Ensuring Renault CEO's Ouster.... [more]