ACCC takes on Visa in Federal Court: Midday roundup

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against Visa, alleging the company broke the Competition and Consumer Act.

The consumer watchdog alleges Visa earned less revenue when a cardholder selected the “dynamic currency conversion services” option than when a cardholder used Visa’s own currency conversion system.

“The ACCC is concerned that Visa sought to stop the growth of competing dynamic currency conversion services and, as a result, limit the choices available to consumers,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.

It is alleged Visa implemented and maintained rules which prohibited the further expansion of DCC services in retail stores across Australia.

Building approvals fall by 4.4%

Building approvals fell by 4.4% in December, despite analysts expecting an increase, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The figures show the number of buildings approved fell by a seasonally adjusted 4.4% to 12,767 during the last month of the year, compared to an upwardly revised 13,351 units in November.

The median forecast was for a 1% increase.

ANZ job ads series falls for 11th consecutive month

The number of Australian job ads published online or on the internet fell for an 11th consecutive month, according to the latest data from ANZ.

The job advertisements survey showed the total number of ads published fell by a seasonally adjusted 0.9%, following an upwardly revised 2.8% decline in December.

“As in previous years, it will not be until February data are released in early March that a clearer read on recent job advertising trends becomes available,” ANZ said.

NAB extends debt facilities for Casella

National Australia Bank has extended debt facilities for winery group Casella Wines.

Casella Wines chief executive John Casella told Fairfax the discussions were ongoing, and included some new strategies to help boost the business.

”I think the bank is doing the right thing and being clever, saying to us, ‘I know what you need today, and I know you can travel over the next 12 months without issues and maybe even 18 months, but all we want to know now is what your plan is longer term because maybe the dollar won’t recede’,” Casella said.

Shares rise on strong offshore lead

The Australian sharemarket has opened higher this morning, following a strong lead from the United States last week.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 6.8 points or 0.1% to 4,927.9 at 12.00 AEST, while in the United States last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 149.2 points or 1.1% to 14,009.8.



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