The corporate regulator remains dissatisfied with the way the
Australian Stock Exchange handles conflicts of interest despite three
warnings in the past two years, reports The SMH. In its latest report, ASIC said ASX had
implemented changes but it had not gone far enough.

PBL
has been forced to commit an extra $170 million to update its Crown
Casino as part of a five-year licence extension that frees the group to
extend the brand worldwide, reports The Australian. The licence renewal deal with the Victorian Government will also see
PBL’s gambling division entrenched in Melbourne, as it seeks
international hotel and casino businesses in Macau and Singapore.

Also in The Oz, a storm is brewing over executive pay ahead of
next week’s Macquarie Bank annual general meeting, amid suggestions
that the bank’s stratospheric pay levels are the result of a higher
risk profile.

The wonderful thing about the debate over regulation of Telstra
ahead of T3 is that the phrase at the heart of it – “operational
separation” – has no meaning. It can mean almost anything at
all, says Alan Kohler in the Smage. It’s one of those extremely useful terms that has been
manufactured from thin air and meanders shyly through speech,
waiting for a job to do. It is therefore extremely versatile and
can be employed for a variety of tasks.

After Tattersall’s massive first day of trading, the liquidity
in its shares has dropped sharply. Its value, however, has held up
and will create a significant temptation for the Tatt’s board to
exploit the apparent premium for illiquidity while they can, says Stephen Bartholomeusz in The Age.

The ATO has announced a sweeping review of the tax affairs of people
with low-documentation loans after an initial audit uncovered
widespread tax avoidance by business operating in the cash economy,
reports the Fin Review.

On Wall St, US stocks closed higher overnight, buoyed by
better than expected results from IBM and
Merrill Lynch. The Dow Jones

rose 71.57 points to 10,646 – MarketWatch has a full report here.

Peter Fray

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