THE NEWS WRAP: Telstra sells Sensis and aims to lift dividends in long term

Telstra plans to streamline its business and increase dividends to shareholders after selling 70% of its Sensis directories business, which prints the Yellow and White Pages, to US private equity firm Platinum Equity for $454 million.

 

The Australian Financial Review reports that chief executive David Thodey said Platinum Equity would continue to print the Yellow Pages “where we think it is necessary”.

 

It also quoted chief financial officer Andy Penn saying the sale proceeds would add to the $4.6 billion to $5.1 billion in free cash flow the company predicts it will generate by the end of June.

 

“Over the long term, our aspiration is to grow Telstra’s dividend,” he said.

 

Job ads numbers fall, but at slower pace

 

The number of job ads continues to fall but at a slower pace, the latest ANZ jobs ads survey shows.

 

The number of job ads fell for the third straight month in December with internet and newspaper advertisements down 0.7 per cent to 124,786, the Herald-Sun reports.

 

ANZ economist Justin Fabo said it appeared the national labour market was stabilising or even improving slightly with a number of different measures of job ads and vacancies “broadly flat since mid-2013”.

 

First-home buyers pushed aside in housing market

 

First-home buyers are being increasingly shoved out of the housing market as low interest rates attract investors who have driven prices higher and spurred new developments.

 

The share of first-home buyers among recipients of new home loans fell to 12.3% in November, the lowest since data collection began in 1991, The Australian reports.

 

“Investors are reacting more strongly than owner-occupiers to lower rates,” says Michael Workman, a senior economist at Commonwealth Bank.

 

Markets

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 1.01% at 16,270.97 points while the Australian dollar is buying 90.6 US cents.

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