Retail sales were sluggish over the key Christmas period, new figures show, with a sharp drop in food purchases fuelling a 0.1% decrease on the previous year.
The Bureau of Statistics said that retailers made $20.88 billion in sales during December, with a rise in clothing and household goods purchases not offsetting a fall in restaurant and takeaway sales.
IMF warning over China growth
The European debt crisis could impact China if it isn’t brought under control, the International Monetary Fund has warned.
The IMF said that it expects China to experience 8.2% growth this year, but that this figure could be slashed in half if the eurozone situation worsens.
HBO takes 16% stake in Quickflix
Time Warner broadcaster HBO has pumped $10 million into DVD rental company Quickflix, giving it a 16% stake in the business.
Quickflix said that it will use the money for marketing activity to increase its profile.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 47.72 points, or 0.4%, to 12,814.51. The Australian dollar rose to 107.31 US cents.