Morning business roundup

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Read a sample of the Morning Business Roundup from today.

Market Reports

  • Australian Market Report: The share market has lost ground as gains for materials and energy companies were offset by falls in the utilities and property trust sectors, and the Australian dollar has been boosted by strong jobs growth. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 0.2 per cent at 6,011.3 points at 1630 AEDT, with low turnover suggesting traders were holding onto gains ahead of Christmas..... [more]

  • U.S. Market Report: Wall Street indexes hovered around record levels on Thursday, perked up by the Federal Reserve’s upbeat view on the economy and news that the Republicans’ tax code overhaul is set to face final votes in Congress before the year-end..... [more]

  • North/South Americas Market Report: North and South American markets are mixed. The IPC is higher by 0.30%, while the Bovespa is leading the S&P 500 lower. They are down 0.56% and 0.03% respectively..... [more]

  • European Market Report: European markets finished lower today with shares in France leading the region. The CAC 40 is down 0.78% while London's FTSE 100 is off 0.65% and Germany's DAX is lower by 0.44%..... [more]

  • Asian Market Report: Asian markets finished lower today with shares in China leading the region. The Shanghai Composite is down 0.32% while Japan's Nikkei 225 is off 0.28% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng is lower by 0.19%..... [more]

Australian Business News

  • The Australian dollar has jumped to 76.66 US cents, following the US Federal Reserve's rate hike and strong Australian job figures. The local currency has surged by 1.2 per cent in the last 24 hours..... [more]

  • Unemployment is at a four-and-half-year low. Sounds good, except that the unemployment rate is still 5.4 per cent, above what most economists consider a desirable balance — something around 5 or below. But sometimes the unemployment rate is the least important number in the ABS Labour Force report, and November was one of those months..... [more]

  • Global fund manager BlackRock says Australian households battered by low wages and high debt will be the source of the biggest headwinds to hit the national economy next year. With Aussie households mired in a low income growth cycle, a material split between business conditions and consumer confidence is both unsurprising and problematic for the economic outlook, says BlackRock vice-president and portfolio manager for Multi-Asset Strategies Group, Australia, Ron Montgomery..... [more]

  • Westpac will pay about $11 million in compensation to interest-only home loan customers who were not switched to principal repayments when they should have been. The refunds will go to 9,400 customers who held owner-occupier interest-only variable home loans, most of which had interest-only periods that expired between 2009 and 2016..... [more]

  • More than 1600 mining jobs up for grabs in WA as industry shows signs of improvement.... [more]

  • Nzuri Copper Ltd has secured a cornerstone $10 million strategic investment by Huayou Cobalt through Huayou HK to advance its portfolio of copper-cobalt projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This would include expansion and optimisation studies on the company’s flagship Kalongwe copper-cobalt project..... [more]

  • CITIC launches WA charm offensive to fix image problem. Recent tensions between Australia and China have not deterred CITIC Pacific Mining from pushing the button on a new public relations campaign aimed at highlighting the value of its Sino Iron project to WA..... [more]

  • Blackham Resources enters trading halt pending update on funding arrangements.... [more]

  • Origin to halve carbon emissions by 2032.... [more]

  • Argent Minerals gets more cash to advance projects in New South Wales. Argent Minerals Limited has received $693,748 in relation to its research and development (R&D) claim for the financial year ending 30 June 2017..... [more]

  • Engineering services firm Monadelphous Group has secured new contracts worth $110 million in the resources and infrastructure sectors. The deals include three separate three-year contracts for maintenance work at the Dalrymple Bay coal terminal in Queensland, Synergy's Muja power station in WA, and BHP's Mount Arthur coal operations in NSW - as well as the design and installation of an irrigation scheme in New Zealand..... [more]

  • National Australia Bank says it will stop lending for new thermal coal mining projects, becoming the first major Australian bank to phase out support for the sector. In a statement on Thursday, the bank said it would no longer back new thermal coal mining investment, but would continue to support customers across mining and energy, including those with existing coal assets..... [more]

  • Woolworths and BP say they are disappointed with the consumer watchdog's decision to oppose BP's $1.8 billion takeover of Woolworths service stations, and will now assess their options. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says the deal would substantially lessen competition as fuel prices would probably increase at the Woolworths sites if BP were to buy them..... [more]

  • Myer has had a woeful start to Christmas, with its sales taking a sharp fall in December despite efforts to bring shoppers through its doors. The embattled department store chain now expects profit for the first half of the current financial year to be "materially below" the $62.8 million it made in the same period a year ago..... [more]

  • The $11 billion Australian gaming giant created by the merger of Tabcorp and Tatts will make a priority of fighting for nationally consistent digital-betting taxes on its foreign bookmaker rivals. After shareholders this week voted to approve the long-awated Tabcorp-Tatts mega-merger, Tabcorp chair Paula Dwyer said a political focus would be working to ensure regulations kept pace with the fast-changing wagering environment..... [more]

  • Australian surfwear group Billabong is on the cusp of agreeing to a buyout at the hands of the US company that owns rival Quiksilver, according industry chatter. Billabong earlier this month revealed it had received a $200 million all-cash buyout offer from Boardriders — the Californian company that owns Quiksilver..... [more]

  • Casino giant Crown Resorts will sell two floors of its new luxury Sydney complex for $60 million to its largest shareholder, billionaire James Packer, as part of a $700 million package of asset sales in Australia and overseas. The company told the stock market on Wednesday that Mr Packer would buy two floors "above the mid-levels" at Crown's upcoming hotel and casino complex in Sydney's Barangaroo, which is under construction and due to open by 2021..... [more]

  • A deal that will reshape the global media landscape has (finally) been formally announced. Rupert Murdoch's entertainment conglomerate 21st Century Fox Group will sell key assets to storied film and theme parks giant Disney..... [more]

  • Telstra has paid $50 million at auction for a block of 3.4GHz spectrum in Brisbane, a clear sign of its build preparations for a 5G network. The $50 million bid on a single lot accounted for over half of total takings from the so-called multiband spectrum auction run by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)..... [more]

  • Ten Network has made its first leadership change following its takeover by US media giant CBS. The broadcaster has appointed director of corporate and regulatory affairs Annabelle Herd to the newly created role of chief operating officer..... [more]

  • Dubber Corp raises $6.5 million, focus on expansion in North America and Europe. Dubber Corp Ltd (ASX:DUB) will continue expanding its call recording services beyond Australia after raising $6.5 million in a placement. The company placed more than 17 million shares with institutional and sophisticated investors at an issue price of $0.35 per share..... [more]

  • Float hopeful Nicheliving is parting with nearly $10 million in shares to settle a legal dispute with a major investor in several of its WA property projects. The dispute and settlement with the privately owned Jetwin Investments came to light in a second replacement prospectus filed by Nicheliving for its sharemarket float, which appears to be struggling for support..... [more]

  • Commonwealth Bank has been hit with another 100 alleged contraventions of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws, including failing to quickly report two suspicious matters relating to the financing of terrorism. AUSTRAC on Thursday filed an amended statement of claim to Federal Court in which the federal government's financial intelligence unit updated the total number of alleged breaches by Australia's largest bank to more than 53,800..... [more]

  • Opinion - Elizabeth Knight: Who will be the next Frank Lowy or Rupert Murdoch?.... [more]

World Business News

  • Janet Yellen raises interest rates in final act as Federal Reserve chair. Outgoing Fed chief’s ‘final pull of interest rate lever’ comes amid forecast of economic growth, news that will be cheered by Trump administration.... [more]

  • Congressional Republicans reached a deal on final tax legislation on Wednesday, clearing the way for final votes next week on a package that would slash the U.S. corporate tax rate to 21 percent and cut taxes for wealthy Americans..... [more]

  • The future of how the internet is regulated could be decided this morning. The Republican-led Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to vote Thursday on a controversial plan to repeal Obama-era net neutrality protections..... [more]

  • A number of top banks, including Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase and PNC, announced right after the Federal Reserve undertook the fifth rate hike of its cycle that they would be increasing their prime lending rates. None of them said they were lifting the interest rates they’re paying to depositors..... [more]

  • Rupert Murdoch reshapes media empire with $66bn Disney deal. Sale of 21st Century Fox assets includes stakes in Sky in the UK and Hollywood film studio as tycoon focuses on Fox News and newspapers.... [more]

  • Disney is buying most of 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion.... [more]

  • Internet sellers, U.S. retail sales get big boost in November from Black Friday.... [more]

  • The European Central Bank (ECB) has lifted its economic growth forecasts as growth across the eurozone picks up. It now expects the eurozone's economy to grow 2.4% this year, ahead of its previous guidance of 2.2%..... [more]

  • Scottish income tax changes unveiled.... [more]

  • Facebook says that a Russian troll farm with links to the Kremlin that spent $100,000 on Facebook ads in an attempt to influence U.S. politics only spent $0.97 targeting British voters ahead of the Brexit referendum. But the head of a parliamentary committee investigating fake news and online misinformation in the United Kingdom says he's concerned Facebook hasn't looked hard enough..... [more]

  • Black Friday helped to propel retail sales 1.6% higher in November from a year earlier, official figures suggest. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that retailers had reported a particular uplift in sales of electrical household appliances..... [more]

  • Tesco faces legal threat over marketing its food with 'fake farm' names. Charity accuses UK supermarkets of misleading customers with fake farm branding and claims Tesco is damaging the reputation of a real farm with the same name.... [more]

  • Ocado blames driver shortages for sales slowdown. Online grocer says lack of delivery drivers in some locations has hit growth in the three months to 3 December.... [more]

  • China's central bank has followed the US Federal Reserve by raising interest rates, in a move that has surprised economists. The People's Bank of China lifted its 7-day and 28-day reverse repurchase agreements by 5 basis points..... [more]

  • The value of music streaming service Spotify, which is planning a stock market listing, has grown around 20 percent to at least $19 billion in the past few months, outperforming U.S. and European tech indexes, sources familiar with the matter said..... [more]

  • Japan's largest e-commerce company wants to shake up the country's wireless market. Rakuten (RKUNF) said in a statement Thursday that it's working on plans to build its own mobile network, aiming to launch services in 2019 and eventually sign up at least 15 million subscribers..... [more]

  • Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has announced a restructuring plan that will see it cut 14,000 jobs worldwide, or 25% of its total workforce. Israel itself will feel a deep impact - the company plans to cut about half of the 6,400 employed in the country..... [more]