No fewer than five small companies issued profit warnings yesterday, reports The Sydney Morning Herald– “compounding fears that businesses whose fortunes are tied to the economic cycle face a tough year.” Retailers Miller’s, Gale Pacific, Repco, car parts maker Pacifica and printing group PMP yesterday joined a growing list of small- to medium-sized companies forced to revise their earnings forecasts downwards, reports the paper.

The Heraldalso reports on the Commonwealth Bank’s biggest move into China yet, buying a strategic stake in the Hangzhou City Commercial Bankfor $100 million “in a bid to tap the country’s rising savings.

The Ageleads its business section with the news that major sectors of the Australian economy are divided over the prospect of a free trade deal with China. While most farmers support an FTA deal, various manufacturers are wary of – or even opposed to – the China FTA, says the paper.

Meanwhile, the Fin Review ’s Anzac holiday issue – designed to last four days – has a story on the increasing number of students who want to study forensic science because they’re attracted by the good-looking forensic science experts on TV who can solve the even the most complex mysteries “inside a neat commercial hour”. But despite the rise in the number of forensic science courses, says the Fin, the number of forensic jobs on offer hasn’t changed that much at all.

Today’s Economistreports on Rupert Murdoch’s recent landmark speech on the glowing future of the internet – a speech, says the magazine, which was “astonishing not so much for what it said as for who said it,” and a speech that “may go down in history as the day that the stodgy newspaper business officially woke up to the new realities of the internet age.”

And on Wall Street on Thursday the sharemarket had its best day in two years, reports The New York Times.

Peter Fray

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