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Feb 22, 2011

Financial And Forex Info: The Australian Business Briefing: RBA urges Australians to keep saving








Update for Wed Feb 23 13:30:11 EST 2011
RBA urges Australians to keep saving
Glenn Stevens James Glynn RBA Governor Glenn Stevens has urged that savings growth should continue as a means of allowing the economy to deal with the mining boom.
Suncorp rises despite weak profit, NZ
Suncorp, Suncorp CEO Patrick Snowball UPDATED Andrew Fraser SUNCORP says it is too early to make an estimate of the financial impact of the devastating Christchurch earthquake on the company.
Virgin Blue hits challenging headwinds
John Borghetti UPDATED Steve Creedy, Aviation writer VIRGIN BLUE expects the Queensland floods and Cyclone Yasi to rip $50m from its full-year bottom line and warns of a tough second half.
IAG to see $40m impact from NZ quake
Mike Wilkins Rebecca Thurlow INSURANCE Australia Group has cut its full-year insurance margin guidance after the latest earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Coca-Cola beats summertime profit blues
Coke Blair Speedy COCA-Cola Amatil managed to beat both an unseasonably cool summer and lower consumer spending to post an 11 per cent profit hike.
Hewlett-Packard rattles investors
Hewlett-Packard Ian Sherr and John Kell THE world's largest maker of personal computers slid 12 per cent in after-hours trade after it disappointed investors with a weak outlook.
Libya looms as Worley profit falls
WorleyParsons profit down Ray Brindal WORLEYPARSONS said the impact of turmoil in Libya and the Middle East was hard to estimate as first-half profit fell below market forecasts.
AGL confident of stronger second half
Michael Fraser AGL Energy is planning to ramp up its marketing spend in NSW on strong retail margins in the state, after meeting first-half net guidance.
Financial Markets
Coke helps contain sharemarket fall
share market SOLID results from Coca-Cola Amatil and WorleyParsons have helped limit the declines in the sharemarket after heavy falls in US equities overnight.
Wall St sinks as Libya turmoil deepens
Investors seek safety in gold, silver
Financial Markets Coverage
Mining & Energy
AGL confident of stronger second half
Michael Fraser AGL Energy is planning to ramp up its marketing spend in NSW on strong retail margins in the state, after meeting first-half net guidance.
Investors seek safety in gold, silver
Oil prices soar 8.6pc on Libya unrest
More Mining & Energy Coverage

Evening Market Wrap

Evening Market Wrap
Tuesday, February 22, 2011, 17:01

Commentary



Stocks saw sharp losses on Tuesday, as uncertainty regarding the stability of key countries in the Middle East undermined upbeat sentiment regarding the U.S. economy. Traders received good news in the form of the strongest reading on consumer confidence in three years amid the ongoing chaos overseas. (Feb 22, 2011) Full Article

Economic News

Home prices in the U.S. showed another notable decrease in the month of December, according to a report released by Standard & Poor’s on Tuesday, with the report signaling continued weakness in the housing market at the end of 2010. The report showed that the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index fell at an annual rate of 2.4 percent in December compared to a 1.6 percent drop in January. The decrease in December came in line with economist estimates. (Feb 22, 2011) Full Article

Reflecting a notable improvement in consumer expectations, the Conference Board released a report on Tuesday showing that its consumer confidence index for the month of February jumped to its highest level in three years. The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index surged up to 70.4 in February from a revised 64.8 in January. Economists had been expecting the index to rise to a reading of 65.0 from the 60.6 originally reported for the previous month. (Feb 22, 2011) Full Article

Activist investor Carl Icahn said Tuesday that he has offered to buy chip-design software company Mentor Graphics Corp. (MENT) for $17 per share in cash. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Icahn noted the offer price represents a 40 percent premium to Mentor's stock price at the beginning of January 2011. It also represents a 17 percent premium to the company's closing stock price on Friday of $14.52. Mentor has a market capitalization of $1.6 billion. (Feb 22, 2011) Full Article

Forest Laboratories, Inc. (FRX) and Clinical Data, Inc. (CLDA) announced Tuesday that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement by which Forest will acquire the specialty pharmaceutical company for $1.2 billion. Forest expects the deal to leverage its existing presence in the antidepressant category by the addition of Clinical Data's Viibryd. (Feb 22, 2011) Full Article

Medtronic Inc. (MDT) reported Tuesday a higher profit for the third quarter, above market estimates, mainly on the strength of newly launched products. Further, the company tightened its fiscal 2011 earnings forecast. The Minneapolis, Minnesota-based medical devices maker also said it plans a restructuring, which would result in workforce reduction of up to 2,000 positions in the fourth quarter. For the third quarter, net earnings grew 11 percent to $924 million from $831 million last year, and earnings per share increased 15 percent to $0.86 from $0.75 a year ago. (Feb 22, 2011) Full Articl

Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) on Tuesday reported a 27 percent increase in profit for the fourth quarter, reflecting a tax benefit and strong international sales. However, total U.S. comparable store sales declined in the quarter on slower store traffic. The company's fourth-quarter net income rose to $6.06 billion or $1.70 per share from $4.76 billion or $1.25 per share in the previous-year quarter. (Feb 22, 2011) Full Article

Political News

While a majority of Americans still think that the U.S. should play a major role in world affairs, the results of a Gallup poll released on Monday showed a growing minority that want the U.S. to be a more minor player on the world stage. (Feb 22, 2011) Full Article

Following months of speculation, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., announced Tuesday that he will not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012. While Thune, 50, said that he gave a great deal of thought to running for president in recent months, he determined that he could better serve South Dakota and the country by remaining in the Senate. (Feb 22, 2011) Full Article

Donald Trump may not have announced his candidacy to run for President in 2012, but that hasn't stopped people from speculating whether the real estate mogul could oust President Barack Obama. According to a Newsweek/Daily Beast poll, Trump lags Obama by a mere two percentage points. With the margin of error thrown in, Trump is holding his own against Obama. (Feb 22, 2011) Full Article

President Barack Obama traveled to Cleveland, Ohio, Tuesday to solicit ideas for improving the economy from a gathering of small business owners. Obama said that the success of small businesses would be crucial to the nation's economic growth so he wanted to be sure his administration was working to address their needs. (Feb 22, 2011) Full Article

Financial And Forex Info | Reuters - Daily Investor Update: HP revenue below Street, trims sales outlook



News

LATEST NEWS
HP revenue below Street, trims sales outlook
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard Co reported smaller-than-expected revenue and lowered its 2011 sales projections as the company experienced weak demand for consumer personal computers. | Full Article

Wall St tumbles on Libyan turmoil
February 22, 2011 04:19 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks ended sharply lower on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 losing 2.05 percent in its worst one-day percentage drop since August, as investors dumped stocks on turmoil in oil exporter Libya, in what could be the start of a long-anticipated pullback after a lengthy rally. | Full Article
Consumer confidence at 3-year high
February 22, 2011 04:31 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - American consumers are more confident than at any time in the last three years thanks to better prospects for the economy and jobs, even as separate data on Tuesday showed house prices were still falling. | Full Article
Wal-Mart says needs more time to fix U.S. missteps
February 22, 2011 01:32 PM ET
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc failed to meet its promise of reigniting sales at its U.S. stores and it is up to relatively new leaders to turn things around as they face increased pressure from dollar stores. | Full Article
Oil holds near 2-1/2 year highs on Libya revolt
February 22, 2011 02:35 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices held firm near 2-1/2 year highs on Tuesday as the revolt in Libya disrupted more supplies, but there was no repeat of Monday's spike as both OPEC and the IEA said they could help meet any shortage. | Full Article

Financial And Forex Info: The Australian Business Briefing: Wall St Sinks as Libya turmoil deepens










Wall St sinks as Libya turmoil deepens
Wall St UPDATED Kristina Peterson US stocks fell sharply today and the Australian dollar dropped below parity, as escalating tensions in Libya sent oil prices soaring.
Oil prices soar 8.6pc on Libya unrest
oil Dan Strumpf ESCALATING violence and signs of disruptions to oil supplies in Libya pushed crude prices up 8.6 per cent to a 2 1/2-year high today.
Apple sets date to unveil new iPad
Steve Jobs Kara Swisher APPLE is planning to unveil the iPad 2 on March 2 at an event in San Francisco.
Sonray founder and CEO pleads guilty
Scott Murray Andrew Main THE co-founder of collapsed brokerage Sonray Capital Markets, Scott Murray, was arrested yesterday and pleaded guilty to 10 criminal charges.
Quake adds to Kiwi economic woes
Christchurch quake Geoffrey Rogow and James Glynn The latest earthquake to wreck parts of New Zealand's second-largest city will add to the country's economic problems.
Foxtel, Austar merger talk takes flight
austar James Chessell THE chief executive of regional pay-TV group Austar, John Porter, played a straight bat when asked about takeover reports.
Sharing the spoils: home equity access
property Jacquie Hayes  RECORD numbers of senior Australians are expected to tap into the equity of the family home to pay for aged-care and lifestyle expenses.
Hunt on for coal-seam gas investors
coal-seam gas towers Andrew Fraser AUSTRALIA Pacific LNG will accelerate its search for an Asian investor to take up to 15 per cent of its coal-seam gas project in Queensland.
Financial Markets
Wall St sinks as Libya turmoil deepens
Wall St UPDATED Kristina Peterson US stocks fell sharply today and the Australian dollar dropped below parity, as escalating tensions in Libya sent oil prices soaring.
Investors seek safety in gold, silver
Oil prices soar 8.6pc on Libya unrest
Financial Markets Coverage
Mining & Energy
Investors seek safety in gold, silver
gold Tatyana Shumsky INCREASING instability in the Middle East lifted gold and silver prices alongside the US dollar today, as investors reduced their risks.
Oil prices soar 8.6pc on Libya unrest
Hunt on for coal-seam gas investors
More Mining & Energy Coverage

NYT: Afternoon Business News: Saudis, Trying to Calm Markets, Say OPEC Is Ready to Pump More Oil.



BUSINESS

Saudis, Trying to Calm Markets, Say OPEC Is Ready to Pump More Oil

By CLIFFORD KRAUSS
The intensifying turmoil in Libya drove oil prices sharply higher again on Tuesday.

Wall Street Shares Fall Sharply Amid Libyan Unrest

By CHRISTINE HAUSER
Much of the uncertainty among traders is being stoked by fears over oil supplies, which is also sending equity markets lower.

Home Prices Slid in December in Most U.S. Cities

By DAVID STREITFELD
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller price index fell to nearly its lowest level since the housing crash began.

Wal-Mart's U.S. Sales Drop in 4th Quarter

By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD
Same-store sales dropped 1.8 percent, the seventh consecutive quarterly decline.

Will Britain's Royal Wedding Pay the Bills?

By JULIA WERDIGIER
Rosy tourism forecasts are offset by costs that include a national holiday.