Building approvals rise in September: Midday roundup

The number of building approvals granted in September rose from the previous month, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The figures show building approvals rose by a seasonally adjusted 7.8% to 13,388 for the month of September.

Expectations had been for a 3% increase in approvals. However, approvals are now down by 12.4% from the same time last year.

NAB cash earnings drop in full year results

National Australia Bank has warned business conditions are mixed and that global uncertainty will continue, as it announced a fall in its full-year cash earnings.

The company announced a cash earnings result of $5.4 billion for the year to September, down by 0.5% from the previous year.

Chief executive Cameron Clyne says bad debts are rising, while businesses are finding it difficult to recover from weak economic conditions.

“It’s not necessarily a wave of new receiverships or bankruptcies, it’s more that the existing ones are not having the strength to trade out,” Clyne says.
“The Australian economy has performed well relative to other advanced economies, although business conditions across sectors remain mixed reflecting the prolonged global uncertainty and weak confidence.”

Shares rise despite another flat offshore lead

The Australian sharemarket has opened slightly higher this morning despite another flat lead from the United States, where stock trading is still closed due to hurricane Sandy.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index is up 25 points or 0.6% to 4,511.1

Elders shares drop to record low

Shares in Elders have fallen to their lowest point ever as the company announced a plan to “take charge” of the sale process of its Rural Services arm.

The company’s shares fell by 15% this morning to just 16.5 cents.

Earlier this week, chief executive Malcolm Jackman said it wants to control the sales process of its Rural Services division.

“Given the fact that we’ve got a lot of interest in the agricultural sector at the moment – we’ve got people approaching us – the board has asked: Should we just be waiting for people to come knocking on the door, or should we take charge of the process?” Jackman said.

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