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Human Statue Bodyart provides golden James Bond girl dancers and models for ASX party; Sydney, Australia

Markets Live: Stocks run out of puff - 26th November 2013

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Australian business press digest: June 6 2012

Compiled for Reuters by Media Monitors. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW (www.afr.com)
New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell yesterday said that the push by casino operator Crown Ltd's to seize control of rival Echo Entertainment Group was "starting to look like a political campaign". Mr O'Farrell also acclaimed Crown chairman James Packer, who is attempting to have John Story removed as chairman of Echo, as a "shrewd and successful" businessman. Page 17.
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Hardware big-box retailer Bunnings is being encouraged to increase its use of e-commerce, with rival home-improvement franchise Masters preparing to unveil Australia's biggest online do-it-yourself store. "Online (hardware) is a growing category. The percentage online has gone up more than other categories such as food and groceries, alcohol and furniture," Phil Harpur, senior research manager at analysts Forrester Research, said. Page 17.
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Campbell Wilson, chief executive of Scoot, yesterday said that the discount airline could lure customers away from rivals such as Jetstar despite the current turbulent economic conditions. "People's desire to travel doesn't change because of the economy, particularly leisure travel. It's just their willingness to pay for it, and so if they can still get a good value option, they will take it, and they will trade to an airline like us that offers very good value," Mr Wilson remarked. Page 18.
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Paul Howes, national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, yesterday said it was "absolutely amazing" that the Foreign Investment Review Board's approval was not required for Etihad Airways to increase its stake in local rival Virgin Australia. "Ultimately, Etihad is a plaything of the Abu Dhabi royal family  that means it is essentially sovereign capital and it is taking a significant stake in Australia's second biggest airline  not being subject to [the review board's] scrutiny is ludicrous," he said. Page 18.
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THE AUSTRALIAN (www.theaustralian.news.com.au)
The Reserve Bank of Australia yesterday reduced official interest rates by 25 basis points to 3.5 percent, but some analysts said the decision was insufficient to substantially boost the local economy. Belinda Allen, senior analyst at wealth management group Colonial First State, yesterday said that while the move would generate "some short-term confidence" it would be "hard to see strong gains in the market" until there was a more substantive solution to the European debt crisis. Page 35.
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The International Energy Agency yesterday announced that Australia's A$205.5 billion pipeline of liquefied natural gas ventures may be held up by high costs and various other project risks, which could cause gas prices to surge in 2015. "These projects are likely to face many challenges, including higher capital costs and workforce shortages; they are expected to come on later than announced," the agency stated in a report. Page 35.
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James Hogan, chief executive of Etihad Airways, last night confirmed that the airline was holding discussions with the Foreign Investment Review Board to increase its holding in rival Virgin Australia. "Certainly, we don't intend to become a majority investor. We're keen to have a strong minority stake that strengthens our partnership with Virgin Australia," Mr Hogan said. Page 35.
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Shares in Qantas Airways yesterday plunged by A26.5 cents to A$1.155 after chief executive Alan Joyce announced that the company was scheduled to report its first annual loss since listing on the local stockmarket in 1995. The airline is now worth A$2.6 billion on the market, well below the A$11 billion takeover offer from Airlines Partners Australia that was rejected by Qantas shareholders in 2006. Page 35.
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THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD (www.smh.com.au)
Analysts NAB Global Markets yesterday warned that Qantas Airways could see its credit rating downgraded by global agencies, after Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce predicted annual underlying profit to decrease by 91 percent. Mr Joyce yesterday tried to reassure investors that Qantas "cashflow remained strong" and that "no plans for an equity raising to bolster capital" were underway. Page B1.
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The Australian Securities and Investments Commission yesterday confirmed that there was "insufficient evidence" to prosecute Jack W. Flader, the former Hong Kong businessman behind the largest superannuation theft in Australian history. Deb O'Neill, who led a parliamentary inquiry into the matter, said that it was "now the responsibility of the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Crime Commission to investigate". Around A$123 million in funds was scammed through a complicated nexus of foreign funds. Page B3.
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PPB Advisory, the administrators of Hastie Group, yesterday declared that buyers had been found for the collapsed engineering firm's mechanical services division D&E Air Conditioning and its Cooke & Carrick hydraulics business, preventing 408 employees from being made redundant. Craig Crosbie, partner at PPB Advisory, said he expected three more units to be sold off shortly, which would save another 50 jobs. Page B3.
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Warrnambool Cheese & Butter yesterday said reductions in prices for commodity dairy products like skim milk powder had forced the company to lower its profit projections for the current financial year. The cheese and butter manufacturer announced that net profit after tax would be as much as 30 percent lower than last year's A$18.5 million result. Paul Jensz, analyst at researchers Austock, praised management for limiting the earnings downgrade to the extent it did given the market conditions. Page B4.
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THE AGE (www.theage.com.au)
Bank of Queensland yesterday announced that it would lower variable borrowing rates by 20 basis points to 6.91 percent, after the Reserve Bank of Australia decided to cut the official cash rate by 25 basis points to 3.5 percent. Economists at Westpac Banking Corporation forecast that the central bank would lower rates later this year, with a prediction that the cash rate would be 2.75 percent by the end of 2012. Page B1.
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Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) yesterday announced a six-step program for re-entry into the local brewing sector, which will see the beverage manufacturer compete against global giants like SABMiller and Kirin. According to documents filed with the Australian Securities Exchange yesterday, CCA will initiate export an program for its Fijian beer labels and begin creating strategic partnerships. The company would then use international partnerships to enter the New Zealand market. Page B2.
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Logistics group QR National yesterday announced it would terminate over 500 jobs, mainly from its maintenance and manufacturing departments. "We continue to deal with a raft of legacy issues including higher than required staffing levels, high corporate overheads and bureaucratic structures, after more than 145 years in government ownership," managing director Lance Hockridge said. "Our cost base is too high when compared to competitors and rail industry peers," he added. Page B4.
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The Fair Work Ombudsman yesterday declared that it was inquiring into claims from former Future Building Material Corp employees relating to unpaid superannuation and wages. The building materials firm was established by John Hancock, son of the wealthiest woman in the world, mining magnate Gina Rinehart. Jerome Naidoo, Mr Hancock's business partner, yesterday said he "welcomed the investigation". Page B4.

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Media Man Australia founder and director buys Crown Limited and Virgin Blue shares - 12th October 2009

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The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is the primary stock exchange in Australia. The ASX began as separate state-based exchanges established as early as 1861. Today trading is all-electronic and the exchange is a public company, listed on the exchange itself.

The Australian Securities Exchange as it is now known resulted from the merger of the Australian Stock Exchange and the Sydney Futures Exchange in December 2006.

The biggest stocks traded on the ASX, in terms of their market capitalization, include BHP Billiton, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Telstra Corporation, Rio Tinto, National Australia Bank and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group. As at 31-Dec-2006 the three largest sectors by market cap were financial services (34%), commodities (20%) and listed property trusts (10%).

The major market index is the S&P/ASX 200, an index made up of the top 200 shares in the ASX. This supplanted the previously significant All Ordinaries index, which still runs parallel to the S&P ASX 200. Both are commonly quoted together. Other indices for the bigger stocks are the S&P/ASX 100 and S&P/ASX 50.

The ASX is a public company, and its own shares are traded on the ASX. However, the corporation's charter restricts maximum individual holdings to a small fraction of the company.

While the ASX regulates other listed companies listed on the ASX, it cannot regulate itself, and is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

The current managing director Robert Elstone was appointed in July 2006. Prior to the merger of ASX with the Sydney Futures Exchange (SFE), Robert Elstone was the CEO of the SFE. (Credit: Wikipedia).

 

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Crown Limited, Virgin Blue and Telstra