Myer cuts another 50 jobs as sales fall

Original article by Sue Mitchell
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 : 22-Mar-19

Myer Holdings has stressed that customer-facing staff will not be affected by the department store group’s latest job cuts. CEO John King has advised that 50 employees will be retrenched, primarily in store administration, marketing and merchandising roles. Myer is expected to shed further jobs when it begins reducing the amount of space it leases in some of its stores. Myer retrenched 30 executives and managers in August 2018, shortly after King took the helm.

CORPORATES
MYER HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX MYR, HOUSE OF FRASER HOLDINGS PLC, TOURISM AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, J WALTER THOMPSON AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, OGILVY AUSTRALIA

Labor push on minimum wage will hurt those it’s meant to help

Original article by Kurt Wallace
The Australian – Page: 14 : 22-Mar-19

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has committed to raising the minimum wage to become a "living wage" if Labor wins the 2019 election. The ACTU has stated that a living wage is needed so that no full-time worker is living in poverty, but under its definition of what is poor, someone earning $42,000 a year would be deemed to be living in poverty; many would take issue at this definition. Research based on the annual Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey suggests that poverty is on the decline, while introducing a living wage will result in less jobs and fewer hours worked.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ACTU, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS LIMITED, UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE. INSTITUTE OF APPLIED ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH

Jobless fall gives RBA breathing room

Original article by Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 10 : 22-Mar-19

Australia’s official unemployment rate fell from five per cent to 4.9 per cent in February, with a net gain of 4,600 jobs for the month. The economy shed 7,300 full-time jobs in February, although this was offset by the creation of 11,900 part-time positions. The participation rate and the underutilisation rate both eased slightly, to 65.6 per cent and 13.1 per cent respectively. Economists say the unemployment rate’s fall to an eight-year low will reduce pressure on the Reserve Bank to cut official interest rates.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, HSBC AUSTRALIA HOLDINGS PTY LTD, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE. INSTITUTE OF APPLIED ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH, SEEK LIMITED – ASX SEK

Never again: NZ bans semi-automatics

Original article by Ean Higgins
The Australian – Page: 8 : 22-Mar-19

New Zealand will ban semi-automatic rifles in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings, with Prime Minister ­Jacinda Ardern saying she is determined to ensure that such an attack never happens again. The government will conduct a gun buyback as part of its gun control measures, with the buyback expected to cost between $NZ100 million and $NZ200 million. Ardern has called for New Zealand to observe two minutes’ silence on 22 March. It is estimated that there are around 1.5 million firearms in New Zealand.

CORPORATES
NEW ZEALAND. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Tax big banks for implied guarantee

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 25 : 22-Mar-19

Australia’s four major banks are able to access wholesale funding at cheaper rates because of an implied guarantee that the federal government will not let them fail because of their size. ME Bank CEO Jamie McPhee says governments should tax the bigger banks because they get cheaper funding as a result of the "too big to fail" guarantee, and that this would make it easier for smaller banks to compete. ME Bank has advised that its net profit for the second half of 2018 fell 11 per cent to $41 million.

CORPORATES
ME BANK, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIA. PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION

Patient Fed backs off rate hikes

Original article by Vesna Poljak
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 12 : 22-Mar-19

The Federal Reserve is now widely tipped to leave the cash rate unchanged until 2020, after it adopted a more dovish stance at its latest monetary policy meeting. The central bank has dampened expectations of two interest rate increases in 2019, with chairman Jerome Powell indicating that the cash rate may be left on hold for some time. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve’s stance has heightened speculation regarding the timing of any rate cut by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

CORPORATES
UNITED STATES. FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, BANK OF AMERICA CORPORATION, STANDARD AND POOR’S 500 INDEX

Miner Forrest makes long march to Norway to protest offshore oil drilling

Original article by Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: 21 & 24 : 22-Mar-19

Australia’s National Offshore Petroleum Safety & Environmental Management Authority has received more than 30,000 submissions regarding a proposed oil drilling program in the Great Australian Bight. Fortescue Metals Group founder Andrew Forrest is amongst those who oppose the drilling plans of Norway-based Equinor, due to the potential environmental impact on the Bight. Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation recently launched the Flourishing Oceans initiative.

CORPORATES
FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG, MINDEROO FOUNDATION, EQUINOR, AUSTRALIA. NATIONAL OFFSHORE PETROLEUM SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY, THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY, VALE SA, CHEVRON CORPORATION, BP PLC, FLOURISHING OCEANS, AUSTRALIAN PETROLEUM PRODUCTION AND EXPLORATION ASSOCIATION LIMITED, ACIL ALLEN CONSULTING PTY LTD, WOOD MACKENZIE

Fortescue enters the big tech race

Original article by Paul Garvey
The Australian – Page: 24 : 22-Mar-19

Pure-play iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group will establish a research and development centre for self-driving cars in Karratha. Amongst other things, the research facility will undertake a trial of self-driving light vehicles at the Christmas Creek iron ore mine. Fortescue CEO Elizabeth Gaines expects autonomous vehicles to become widely used in both the mining industry and urban areas. Fortescue already operates more than 100 self-driving iron ore haulage trucks in the Pilbara.

CORPORATES
FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG, TESLA INCORPORATED, GOOGLE INCORPORATED

Shares on track for bumper quarter

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 21 & 30 : 22-Mar-19

The S&P/ASX 200 has gained 9.2 per cent so far in 2019, putting it on track for the best quarterly return since 2009. The rebound follows a loss of 6.9 per cent for the benchmark index in calendar 2018, including a nine per cent loss in the fourth quarter. However, Chris Nicol of Morgan Stanley is bearish about the outlook for the local bourse, forecasting that the S&P/ASX 200 will end the year at 5,800 points. He also forecasts economic growth of just two per cent in 2019.

CORPORATES
STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED, MSCI ALL COUNTRY WORLD INDEX, SUPERRATINGS PTY LTD, UNITED STATES. FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Inflation Expectations lowest in over two years

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 22-Mar-19

Australians aged +14 expect inflation of 4% per year over the next two years, according to the Roy Morgan Inflation Expectations Index for February 2019. This is down 0.2% on January, and down 0.4% on February 2018. Inflation Expectations have now broken below the range they have tracked in for over two years and are now at their lowest since November 2016. Inflation Expectations have now dropped significantly below the nine-year average of 4.9%. Analysis by voting intentions shows that Inflation Expectations for supporters of the major parties were unchanged in February, with L-NP supporters having Inflation Expectations of only 3.6% and Inflation Expectations for ALP supporters of 3.9%. February Inflation Expectations are based on personally interviewing a nationwide sample of 4,234 Australians aged 14+ face-to-face in their own homes.

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY