“BHP banking on China,”
says The Australian, reporting that the mining giant has underscored its confidence in a continuing
boom for resources with plans to return $4 billion to shareholders via higher dividends
and share buybacks.

It’s a simple fact that the record-breaking $5.93 billion interim profit
released yesterday by BHP is “astonishingly
impressive,” says Matthew Stevens in The Oz. And while Goodyear generally displays
the reserve of a banker, says Stevens, yesterday he abandoned any caution about
China’s
immediate economic prospects.

Goodyear’s so upbeat he even says cost increases offer
the company “double benefits,” says John Durie in the Financial
Review
– being a reflection of increased commodity prices and raising
barriers of entry to newcomers.

But then the diversity of BHP’s
cash-flow sources and the diversity of its markets lend it a resilience that
sets it apart, says Stephen Bartholomeusz in
The Smage.

Meanwhile, the results released by new CBA
boss Ralph Norris say more about the superb job his predecessor, David Murray,
did for shareholders, says Durie.

“I love the mobile phone industry,” yelled
Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer at a giant mobile phone conference in Barcelona
yesterday. Why? The Australian‘s Michael
Sainsbury
finds out.

Meanwhile, the paper’s Bryan Frith is still following the
Toll-Patrick-PN saga, in which Toll Holdings is attempting to have Patrick
representatives – Chris Corrigan and Allan Davies – thrown off the PN board
on the grounds of oppression.

The multiple legal actions launched by Toll’s Paul Little and Patrick’s Chris Corrigan over PN underline the fact that
while Little’s options for growing Toll will diminish if PN is broken up,
Corrigan’s growth options could multiply, says Malcolm Maiden in The Smage.

And the Fin‘s
editorial calls for Australia’s
railways to be untangled, now!
John Howard yesterday was at last forced to take the first
step in what will undoubtedly conclude with AWB losing its monopoly over the
export of wheat, says Elizabeth Knight in The SMH. It’s a nonsense that it has
taken him this long to do it – just as it’s ridiculous that the Iraqi government had to force the issue.

In other news, James Packer believes in the afterlife…
The complicated truth about Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft in China… Forget sex and money, says Fortune‘s Bethany McLean – this
is the era of sleep and money. Three new sleeping pills have been approved in
the US in the
last 14 months and more are on the way… And the phoney war in the battle for the London Stock
Exchange is about to come to an end, says The
Independent
‘s Jeremy Warner.

On Wall Street, US stocks closed higher Wednesday after
reassuring testimony from new Fed chief Ben Bernanke. The Dow Jones closed up 30.58 points at
11,058.97, after briefly surging to a 4 1/2-year high of 11,068.74 in the first
half hour after Bernanke’s speech.

Peter Fray

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