THE NEWS WRAP: Consumer confidence up 1.9%

Consumer confidence in November is up by 1.9%, according to the latest Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer confidence index, which is now 23% higher than in October last year.

 

The index stands at 110 points, with a result over 100 indicating a growing number of optimistic consumers.

 

Economists attribute the result to rising house prices, which consumers expect to continue over the short term.

 

“But when we ask them about their finances over the next 12 months we see a fall of about 8% and that may be implying that people don’t expect these rises in house prices to be sustained for over the medium term,” Westpac chief economist Bill Evans says.

 

Murray Goulburn trumps Warrnambool bid rivals with $505 million bid

 

Agricultural co-operative Murray Goulburn has increased its offer in the bidding war over Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, with its latest bid valuing the company at $505 million.

 

The $9-per-share offer trumps the $8 per share offer from Canadian food giant Saputo and Bega Cheese’s cash-and-shares offer, which are worth around $7.56 per share at current market prices.

 

“If it proves to be the knock-out blow, may it be. That’s not the objective. The objective is that we are doing something in the interests of our shareholders and the Warrnambool shareholders, and particularly supplier farmers,” Murray Goulburn managing director Gary Helou says.

 

New digital media player launches with super fund backing

 

The former editor of The Age, Bruce Guthrie, has launched a new online news site called The New Daily, with backing from superannuation funds Australian Super, Cbus and Industry Super Holdings.

 

“I think first and foremost, it’s a true digital-only product. It hasn’t been a newspaper in the past that was dragged kicking and screaming into the digital age. It wasn’t a TV station. We’ve created this from the ground up to be digital and only digital,” Guthrie says.

 

“But significantly, and I think it is becoming even more significant, it’s free and it always will be free.”

 

Overnight

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.17% to 15777.31. The Aussie dollar is up to US93.30 cents.

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