November Interest Rate Hike and Bank Profits - Talking Business 2011 Ep 2c

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

Leon and Garry talk about how the November interest rate hike helped create a record $3.35 billion profit for the Commonwealth Bank. NAB’s earnings for the quarter are up 18% to $1.3 billion. Macquarie downgrades its full year profit guidance but Rio Tinto records a massive 122% jump in annual earnings to $US14 billion and flags share buybacks. It also expands operations in Canada and Australia. Oz Minerals announces a $586.9 million profit, turning around from last year’s loss. Alumina has also returned to profit to $US35 million, a turnaround from last year’s loss. Cochlear announces an16% rise in first half profit to $87.2 million. Boral reports a 36% rise in first half profit to $92.3 million while Stockland doubles is profit to $425.1 million. On the downside, Telstra posts a 36% drop in its profit while Optus posts its 16th straight quarter of growth by signing 150,000 new mobile customers. Computershare reports a drop in profit and Austereo reports a lower than expected profit figure. Myer similarly lowers its profit guidance . Still, Myer buys sass & bride from David Jones for $42.5 million and says it plans to push on with plans to set iup a Chinese based website to avoid taxes. AGL Energy has cut its full year underlying profit forecasts, blaming it on extreme weather. But JB Hi Fi posts a record first half result of $87.9 million. Australians are set to pay higher insurance premiums because of the extreme weather and Cyclone Yasi’s damage bill will exceed $500 million. Treaurer Wayne Swan warns that Australia’s economy could shrink because of the floods. An NAB survey finds that national business revenue slumped more than 5% because of the floods. But surveys show a rebvound in consumer confidence, with unemployment remaining steady at 5% and the number of jobs advertised online and in newspapers for the 12th straight month in January. Another survey shows rising wages and a tight labour market are concerning businesses. Retail sales rose only 0.2%, impacted by the floods. Banks meanwhile are considering tightening lending to retail and agricultural businesses. Asciano replaces CEO Mark Rowsthorn with DHL Express CEO Jihn Mullen. Fairfax Media confirms Greg Hywood as the new CEO. Woolworths meanwhile denies that its CEO Michael Luscombe is about to quit. The Coalition releases a survcey showing building the NBN will cost 24 times more than South Korea as Telstra finalises the $11 billion deal which will see it hand over its fixed lines to the NBN. Embattled engineering and contracting group Downer EDI to be hit by class action

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Garry Barker and Leon Gettler
Business, Economics, RMIT