Within the recent round of big bank interim profit presentations was a major divergence of strategies, says Stephen Bartholomeusz in The Age. Westpac’s David Morgan was happy to concede a largely deliberate loss of market share while NAB’s John Stewart was trumpeting his bank’s above-system growth. And unless either changes their bank’s positioning, it shouldn’t take that long before we know which one of them has priced their risks correctly.
James Hardie has not yet completed a deal covering its asbestos compensation undertakings and there are myriad uncertainties, says Robert Gottliebsen in The Australian. Victims have the chance to be paid substantial sums because of the prosperity of the global Hardie business and every time its profits rise their payments become more secure – assuming a deal can be done. It’s in everyone’s interest to complete the deal – except the lawyers.
BHP Billiton has walked away from a proposed $13 billion integrated iron ore, steel and port development in India, after the Orissa state government refused to allow the iron ore to be exported, reports The Australian.
The NSW government is considering a major restructure of the state’s energy sector as some of Australia’s biggest companies make a renewed push for the privatisation or merger of key electricity assets, reports the Fin Review. Also in the AFR, Australians will be able to download Australian Bureau of Statistics reports free from the internet within weeks, as part of a government move to improve the quality of Australian data and its distribution.
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On Wall Street, US stocks ended sharply higher overnight as investors snapped up bargains after the market’s recent falls – the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 112.17 points, or 1.1%, to close at 10,252.29. MarketWatch has a full report here.