CAPEX records unexpected fall in fourth quarter, Melbourne radio station on the brink: Midday roundup

Private capital expenditure has fallen despite expectations of a rise in the fourth quarter, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The figures show CAPEX fell 0.3% in real terms seasonally adjusted, with the median market forecast predicting a rise of 4%.

The first estimate of expenditure for 2012-13 is $172.887 billion, 28.2% higher than the first estimate for 2011-12.

MTR nearing collapse, report claims

Melbourne conservative radio station MTR is nearing closure with co-owner Macquarie Network reportedly cutting off funding to the network.

The station is co-owned by Macquarie and Pacific Star, but Macquarie has just issued a notice of default to Pacific Star, according to Fairfax, which means money owed by MTR is due immediately.

According to Pacific Star Network’s financial report last week, advertisers spent under $1 million with MTR in the half year to December.

MTR has struggled to find an audience in Melbourne, where 3AW has a substantial hold on the market.

Building approvals rise in January

Building approvals rose in January, according to the latest ABS figures, but the expectations were for a larger increase.

The number of dwellings approved rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.9% to 11,729. However, in the year to January, building approvals have fallen 14.6%.

Shares fall after negative comments from US Fed

The Australian sharemarket has fallen 1% this morning after negative comments were made overnight by the US Federal Reserve.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 30.5 points or 0.7% to 4268 at 12.00 AEST, while the dollar fell to $US1.07c.

In the United Stated, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said that while unemployment is dropping, progress still remains slow.

Manufacturing activity lifts again: industry survey

Manufacturing activity lifted in February for the third straight month, an industry survey shows.

The Australian Industry Group/PricewaterhouseCoopers Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) came in at 51.3 last month, above the 50-point expansion mark, but down 0.3 index points on January.

The strongest performance was in clothing, footwear and transport equipment.

Ai Group incoming chief Innes Willox says the movement of new orders into positive territory for the first time since the middle of 2011 is “encouraging.”

But PwC partner for economics and policy, Jeremy Thorpe, said the “recent spate of announced job cuts in the manufacturing industry will lower the Australian PMI employment sub-index in coming months.”

“The job reductions are a clear demonstration of the manufacturing industry’s focus on improving labour productivity.”

James Murdoch steps down as News International chairman

James Murdoch has stepped down as chairman of News International, after being embroiled in the newspaper division’s phone hacking scandal that led to News dropping its bid for BSkyB.

He has moved to News Corp’s New York headquarters to focus on pay television and international operations.

“Over time, it’s become clear that it was in the best interests of the company and James that he step down,” said Lawrence Haverty, a portfolio manager at Gamco Investors Inc.

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