Gerry Harvey, Executive Chairman of Harvey Norman, expects improvements in the retail sector to lift profits this year and discusses what Australia's robust housing market means for the firm.» Read More
Asian markets fell Friday, hurt by resource-related shares stung by oil's 10% decline this week and by weaker-than-expected results from Merrill Lynch, which deflated hopes for a recovery in the financial sector.
Australia's biggest airline, Qantas Airways, will cut 4 percent of its workforce and scrap its growth plan for the coming year, saying the business would be at risk if it fails to offset soaring fuel prices.
Asian markets rebounded but were off their highs Thursday, boosted by Wall Street's rally Wednesday and a decline in oil prices, providing some relief from fears about the global credit crisis spiraling out of control. Japan closed 1% higher.
Australia's Qantas Airways will sack 2,000 staff as soon as next week to combat sharply rising fuel costs, local newspapers report. The carrier, already hard hit by strikes over a long-running pay dispute involving engineers, will slash 5% of its 36,000-strong workforce.
Asian markets seesawed Wednesday with investors uncertain about global growth prospects, the state of the financial sector and volatile oil prices. Japan finished flat, South Korea fell but Australia gained over 1%.
Asian markets tumbled Tuesday with Japan and Australia losing 2% and South Korea tumbling 3%. Investor confidence waned in the region's financial sector, which faces high inflation, a stricter lending environment and massive volatility from overseas markets.
Australia's central bank was growing more confident that interest rates were high enough to retrain future inflation when it left rates unchanged at a 12-year high earlier this month, minutes of its July meeting showed on Tuesday.
Centro Properties Group, a high-profile Australian victim of the global credit crunch, is selling almost all of the shopping malls in its Centro America Fund for $714 million, using the cash to pay down debt.
Asian markets were mostly weaker Monday after Washington unveiled an emergency plan to rescue the top U.S. mortgage finance companies, offering to buy shares if necessary. Japan and South Korea both closed slightly lower.
Australia's Toll Holdings said it plans to offload its stake in airline Virgin Blue Holdings, and would take a $1.2 billion charge in its fiscal 2008 profit to reflect the lower value of its stake.
Most Asian markets made a sharp turn into positive territory after the New York Times reported that the U.S. government is considering taking over the two top U.S. mortgage finance companies.
National Australia Bank, the nation's top lender, said on Friday it was in talks to buy ABN AMRO's operations in Australia and New Zealand which was being sold following ABN's acquisition by a banking consortium including Royal Bank of Scotland.
Asian stocks were mixed Thursday with South Korea finishing over 1% higher in a volatile session which saw markets seesawing between negative and positive territory.
Australian employment staged a surprisingly strong revival in June while the jobless rate ticked down toward three-decade lows, keeping alive the risk that a drum-tight labour market could fuel inflationary pressures.
Asian markets pared back gains Wednesday, on news that Iran has test-fired missiles. The report, which came in the afternoon, prompted many investors to lock in profits, sending South Korea down almost 1% and taking back most of the Nikkei's earlier gains.
A key measure of Australian consumer confidence fell to 16-year lows in July as record petrol prices and a sliding share market hurt family finances, in just the latest sign of spreading economic weakness.
Insurance Australia Group, Australia's top home and car insurer, announced a partial exit from its struggling UK operations, taking a charge of $333 million in fiscal 2008.
Asian markets took a beating Tuesday, weighed by the financial sector after sharp declines in shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the U.S. on funding concerns reminded investors about the fragility of global credit markets.
Australian business conditions deteriorated sharply in June as profits and sales fell from the previous month, providing further evidence the economy was cooling and relieving some of the pressure for more rate hikes.
Asian markets ended mixed Monday, with Sydney down 1.6 percent while Shanghai jumped 4.6 percent. However, sentiment remained weak after credit concerns pushed European indexes lower. The market lacked direction overall as investors waited for the U.S. to reopen after the Independence Day long holiday weekend.