THE NEWS WRAP: The major banks are expected to unveil profit growth this week

The major banks are expected to unveil profit growth this week, despite six months of falling lending to small businesses.


Start-ups have felt the pain of the banks’ caution in the six months to December – the same period that covers the banks’ half-year accounts. However, analysts expect a strong performance from each of the major banks, with Commonwealth Bank predicted to lead the way with a $3.2 billion cash profit.


Floods set to push up premiums


Australian businesses will be hit by higher premiums if the country’s recent natural disasters become a trend, according to the chief executive of Suncorp.


Patrick Snowball downplayed the suggestion that premiums could rise by 30% in the wake of floods and Cyclone Yasi, but said that policies will “carry a premium” if such events become more frequent.


There was better news for Victorian businesses caught in the weekend’s downpour, with the State Government set to extend the $15,000 flood clean-up grants to them.


Hayward set to head oil start-up


It’s a start-up, technically, but its scale would be slightly out of reach to most budding entrepreneurs. Tony Hayward, the former BP chief executive, is set to head a new oil company that has been backed by the tidy sum of $800 billion.


Hayward, who stood down from BP following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster last year, has been approached by an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund to head the new global company. 




The US stock market enjoyed its best week in two months last week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 29.89 points to 12,092.15. The Australian dollar will start trading today at $US1.0138


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