Construction activity contracts in October: Midday roundup

Construction activity declined in October, according to the latest figures from the Australian Industry Group-Housing Industry Association performance of construction index.

The index showed activity improved from 30.9 to 35.8, but it was still below the 50-point level separating expansion from contraction.

The result means the construction industry has contracted for 29 consecutive months.

HIA economist Harley Dale said in a statement the data showed some signs the sector could be reaching a turning point.

“A protracted period of contraction in the Australian PCI, which in October extended to 29 consecutive months, represents a blight on Australia’s economic performance and has made it difficult to find any glimmer of hope for the construction industry,” he said.

“An October reading of 35.8 remains very weak. But at least the pace of contraction has eased.”

Collapsed auto parts maker resumes work in South Australia

Car parts manufacturer Autodom has resumed operations in South Australia, although receivers are still examining a restructure of the business.

Staff in Adelaide have returned to work, while Melbourne plants are also expected to resume operations.

The staff returned to work after Ford and Holden guaranteed the company’s debts, following discussions with lenders.

”Without this you would have seen the shutdown of Ford and Holden until we could have sorted this out,” South Australian Industry Minister Tom Koutsantonis told Fairfax.

Shares flat on surprisingly strong Wall Street lead

The Australian sharemarket opened slightly higher this morning, following a surprisingly strong lead in the United States as the US presidential election continues.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 13.7 points or 0.3% to 4,498.5, while in the United States the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 133 points or 1% to 13,245.7.

Rinehart’s legal family feud adjourned

The legal battle between mining magnate Gina Rinehart and her three eldest children has been adjourned to next year, according to The Australian Financial Review.

The newspaper reports that Judge Paul Brereton in the New South Wales Supreme Court adjourned the matter until March 2013, at which time a date is likely to be set down for a final hearing.

Rinehart’s children, John Hancock, Bianca Rinehart and Hope Walker, are prosecuting a claim in related arbitration proceedings to get access to money they believe they are entitled to under the Hope Downs deed.

HSBC appoints Tony Cripps as chief executive

HSBC today announced the appointment of Tony Cripps as chief executive HSBC Australia.

Cripps is currently chief executive Officer for HSBC in the Philippines and will commence his new role from December 24, 2012.

He replaces Paulo Maia, who will take up the role of president and chief executive of HSBC Bank Canada.

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