Business sentiment falls in June quarter: Midday roundup

Business confidence and conditions both fell in the June quarter, according to the latest NAB business survey.

The survey showed that business expectations also fell more into negative territory and below financial crisis levels.

Business conditions also fell in the quarter to below the long-term average.

“It appears that even the lure of lower interest rates was unable to lift sentiment, with the Reserve Bank of Australia lowering the cash rate by 75 basis points during the June quarter,” NAB said.

“Furthermore, the sizeable depreciation of the Australian dollar over the three-month period appears to have provided little relief to those industries exposed to currency movements, including manufacturing and mining.”

Toll chief criticises enterprise bargaining

Toll former chief executive Paul Little has criticised enterprise bargaining procedures, saying they have only raised costs and have not helped workers.

Speaking to The Australian Financial Review, Little said the current scheme is not working.

“You cannot travel overseas and come back without the realisation Australia is so expensive,” he said, according to the newspaper.

“That’s not just driven by the cost of labour; it’s also work practices, awards and general inefficiencies. I think there are more problems out there industrially than is perhaps fully understood.”

He also said there was less of a link between higher wages and productivity.

“Australia can’t continue paying as generously as we do today without finding a better and smarter way of doing things,” he said.

“I’m not suggesting reduce pay levels but there has to be an understanding that Toll will get less competitive if there’s this extrapolation of this above award pay. At some point there has to be a correction.”

Shares rise 1% on strong offshore leads

The Australian sharemarket has opened more than 1% higher this morning after strong leads from offshore markets.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 42.9 points or 1% to 4,166.5 at 12.00 AEST, while the Australian dollar was at $US1.03.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 103 points or 0.8% to 12,908.7, after strong housing data was released on top of a group of solid earnings.

eBay earnings double in recent quarter

eBay announced overnight its second quarter net income doubled due to better revenue in the PayPal business.

The company earned $673.51 million in the June quarter, up from $US283 million during the same period last year.

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