Garry Barker and Leon Gettler - Talking Business 2010 Ep 34c

A review of the week in business, with expert analysis and commentary

Leon and Garry talk about rising business confidence masking patchy business conditions. Consumer sentiment has dropped and fewer people are taking out loans. However, more people are using their credit cards. Bad news for retailers with a study showing that more are saying they are no longer attracted by discounts. A new report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows Australians are wealthier and living longer. The battle over the National Broadband Network will become more intense with the appointment of Malcolm Turnbull as opposition Communications spokesman and Telstra says there is uncertainty about its own future following the deal with the rural independents. Business is hoping Bill Shorten will deliver in his new portfolio of financial services and superannuation. One of Australia’s most successful ad agencies Clemenger is about to be sold to overseas giant Omnicon. Leighton Holdings turfs out its chief executive Wal King after 23 successful years and its main shareholder, German construction company Hochtief is about to be taken over by Spanish company Grupo ACS. James Hardie meanwhile is bracing itself for a tough year in the United States with no improvement in its housing market. Qantas wants the ACCC to block Virgin Blue’s deal with Etihad, claiming it will lead to price fixing. Myer records a 38% drop in its profit because of charges coming out of its float on the ASX. Country Road gets rid of its chief executive John Cheston after just two months in the job. A Senate committee says ASIC should not have any powers over insolvency. Gold rises to new record levels because of economic uncertainty and the Australian dollar reaches new highs with the greenback in retreat. The Foreign Investment Review Board approves a $2.7 billion private equity takeover of Australia’s second biggest hospitals operator Healthscope. Rio Tinto to spend $803 million ramping up production at its Argyle diamond mine to meet soaring Asian demand. Ten years after his company was put into administration, former One.Tel managing director Jodee Rich drops his legal action against James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch. National Australia Bank terminates its $13.3 billion bid for AXA Asia Pacific and News Corp decides to sell the Fiji Times. Independent supermarket chain FoodWorks is in a lot of trouble, running up a big loss and debts. Woolworths’ plans to enter the hardware market to damage Bunnings and Mitre10 according to a new report. Australian banks are adjusting to big changes in banking rules. BHP Billiton calls for a carbon price and tax. The exclusive suburbs of Sydney and Perth and mining towns in WA and Queensland now dominate the list of Australia’s highest earning suburbs, according to the ABS.

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Garry Barker and Leon Gettler
Business, Economics, RMIT