THE NEWS WRAP: Hockey warns business on taxpayer handouts

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has warned that taxpayer subsidies won’t be paid to companies that fail to fix their problems, The Australian reports.


He told the newspaper that taxpayer funds won’t be used to shore up dividends or to continue poor industrial practices.


“The government should not be subsidising poor workplace practices,” he said.


“It is not the responsibility of taxpayers to prop up unprofitable companies.”


ANZ eyes acquisitions and divestments in Asia


ANZ bank could consider divesting some assets while on the lookout for acquisitions in Asia.


The Australian reports ANZ chief executive Mike Smith indicating he was open to acquisitions and divestment of its stakes in Asian banks.


“I have always been patient. Something will happen at some stage,” he said.


“I still believe that some of the European bank assets will have to be sold off.”


US data suggest strong economic growth


US retail sales rose in December in a sign the economy gathered steam at the end of last year and is poised from stronger growth, Reuters reports.


The Commerce Department said retail sales gained 0.2% last month.


“The surge in sales in December means the momentum will continue into the first quarter of the new year. 2014 is shaping up to be pretty good from where we sit,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in New York.




The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.71% at 16,373.86 points, while the Australian dollar is buying US89.6 cents.


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