Business sales indicator falls 5.4% in July: Midday roundup

The Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator has fallen 5.4% in July, reversing improvements of 3.1% in June and 1.7% in May.

The BSI tracks the value of credit and debit card transactions made through Commonwealth Bank terminals and attempts to give a snapshot of consumer spending each month.

The BSI found that five industry sectors, with New South Wales and Victoria also recording the slowest growth.

Acting manager for local business banking Gary McGrath said the result was especially disappointing considering the BSI had recorded improvements over the previous few months.

“The turnaround we have witnessed here simply reinforces the consumer we are dealing with today – that is, one who is far more cautious when it comes to how they spend their money and who is quite happy to hold on to their cash,” McGrath said.

BlueScope Steel posts $1 billion loss

BlueScope Steel has reported a $1 billion loss for the full financial year, although says it expects financial performance to continue improving.

For the 12 months to June 30, BlueScope recorded a net loss of $1.04 billion, down 1% than the amount it recorded last year.

Chief executive Paul O’Malley said the previous financial year was one of transformation.

“Globally, we are now well positioned for growth,” O’Malley said in a statement.

“For the (first half) of FY2013, we expect a continued improvement in financial performance with an underlying net after tax loss approaching breakeven.”

Shares up on profit expectations

The Australian sharemarket has risen slightly this morning, with investors expecting better profit results this week.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 4.6 points or 0.1% to 4374.7, while the Australian dollar was up slightly to $US1.04.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the week up 25 points or 0.2% to 13,275.2.

Corporate insolvencies fall

The number of Australian companies entering into external administration fell slightly in the last quarter of the 2011-12 financial year, against a backdrop of relatively high appointments overall, according to official insolvency data published by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission today.

A total of 2,552 companies entered into external administration compared to 2,656 for the same time last year, a decrease of 3.9%.

ASIC’s senior executive leader, Adrian Brown, said there had been a small decrease in insolvency appointments from the previous quarter although the overall number of external administrations appointments remained relatively high.

“Voluntary administrations and receivership appointments sit within a range of between 300 to 400 appointments per quarter since September 2009,” Brown said.

Billson says small business left to carry the burden of the carbon tax

Shadow minister for small business Bruce Billson said a national survey by News Limited today demonstrated how small business was left to carry the burden of the carbon tax.

The survey reported that two-thirds of small businesses feel they aren’t able to pass on the world’s largest carbon tax.

“Small business is caught between a rock and hard place. They are lumped with higher costs because of the carbon tax and cost-conscious consumers looking for a bargain,” Billson said.

“Even in these early weeks after its introduction, the hurt and harm the carbon tax has caused small business is already emerging from a tax that is designed to go up and up.”

Billson says a Coalition government will repeal the carbon tax “as its first order of business” to help create a stronger economy.

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