Business confidence steady in January: Midday roundup

Business confidence remained positive in January after a strong performance by the Australian sharemarket, according to NAB’s monthly business survey.

The result follows months of disappointing results, with SMEs remaining pessimistic about the global financial outlook.

The NAB survey released today found business confidence fell just one point to plus three on the index last month.

The result follows on from a strong December result, but in November last year confidence was rated as minus nine on the index.

NAB chief economist Alan Oster said the outcome was welcome.

“That recovery mainly reflects external factors, including the rally in global equity markets and generally better activity in China, as well as recent RBA cuts,” he said.

Business conditions also increased, although Oster said locations exposed to the mining industry took a hit.

Shares flat after mixed offshore lead

Australian shares have opened flat again this morning, following a mixed lead from the United States.

At midday the S&P/ASX200 benchmark was up 7.1 points to 4966.6, while in the United States the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 21.7 points or 0.2% to 13,971.2.

All the major sectors posted minor gains with the exception of energy and materials.

Reserve Bank sells Securency stake

The Reserve Bank has sold its stake in Securency, the firm alleged to have bribed foreign officials over note-printing deals.

The RBA said today it would receive $64 million for selling its stake to Innovia, a British film company which owns the other half of the company.

“The sale of the Bank’s interest in Securency is in accordance with the Bank’s long-standing intention to exit from the joint venture once Securency had established itself as a viable long-term supplier in the international market for banknote substrate,” the RBA said.



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