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Westpac Banking, Australia's fourth-biggest lender by assets, beat forecasts with a 9 percent rise in second-half cash profit, helped by strong fund management performance, and said businesses momentum was strong this year.
Australian businesses were busy borrowing in September despite interest rates at decade highs, while a jump in approvals to build new homes provided a tentative sign of a recovery in housing construction.
Australian electrical goods and furniture retailer Harvey Norman Holdings forecast a 25-35 percent rise in first-half net profit on Wednesday, sending its shares up 6 percent.
Australian building materials company James Hardie Industries said it would halt production at one of its ten U.S. plants due to poor conditions in the U.S. housing market, sending its shares down 2 percent.
Australia's St George Bank met expectations with 13.1 percent rise in full-year cash profit on strong growth in business lending and wealth management division, and maintained its forecast for 2008 earnings per share growth of 10 percent.
Australia slashed its official 2007/08 wheat crop forecast by 22 percent on Tuesday, the second downgrade in just six weeks as drought and searing temperatures have led to total crop failure in some regions.
Anglo-Swiss miner Xstrata on Monday offered $2.8 billion for Australian nickel miner Jubilee Mines, seeking to consolidate its position as a global nickel producer.
Australian and New Zealand Banking Group, Australia's third-biggest lender, missed forecasts with a 7 percent rise in its second-half profit, as provisions for bad loans increased.
Underlying inflation in Australia speeded past expectations last quarter to hit the very top of the central bank's target range, sharply lifting the risks of a hike in interest rates as early as next month.
Babcock & Brown, an Australian investment and advisory firm, said on Wednesday it had raised about $800 million to buy infrastructure assets in North America.
Woolworths, Australia's largest grocery chain, said on Wednesday it has decided not to proceed with a request for the competition regulator review a potential acquisition of some Coles Group assets.
Australia has a strong Western-style economy. Consumer confidence is high, exports of raw materials and agricultural products are profitable, and the budget has been in surplus since 2002.
BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, churned out as much copper, iron ore and coal as it could in the first quarter to keep up with surging China-driven demand, but failed to impress investors.
Australian healthcare provider Symbion Health said on Tuesday it would press ahead with a revised tie-up plan with Healthscope, despite opposition from its major shareholder.
Australian producer prices rose faster than expected last quarter, led by higher food and construction costs, fueling concerns consumer inflation could accelerate enough to provoke another hike in interest rates.
AGL Energy, Australia's largest electricity retailer, said on Monday that Chief Executive Paul Anthony had left the company, following an earnings downgrade, and would be replaced by Michael Fraser.
Australian travel firm Flight Centre said on Friday it was looking at international acquisition opportunities which may be funded with debt and capital raisings if a deal goes ahead.
Australian travel agent Jetset Travelworld said on Thursday it was looking at expansion opportunities but declined to comment on a report it may merge with Qantas Airways' travel business.
Australia's Publishing & Broadcasting will push ahead with plans to split its media and gaming assets into separate companies after deciding on Wednesday that new tax laws would not impact the demerger.
Australian iron ore miner Murchison Metals made a $889 million bid for Midwest Corp on Wednesday, seeking to combine the two miners' iron ore projects in the nation's west.