Hastie holds first creditors meeting: Midday roundup

Creditors meetings are being held around the country today as part of the next step in efforts to save the jobs of workers at the failed Hastie Group.

Hastie was placed in the hands of administrators in May after its banks refused to extend loans to the provider of engineering, electrical, plumbing, fire and refrigeration services.

Investors have previously warned they may ready legal action against the company while Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten has flagged the possibility of Federal Government assistance.

Some of the 44 companies within the group have since been sold off, saving some jobs, but the future for many of Hastie’s 2,700 Australian workers remains uncertain.

An update on other potential sales is likely to be provided by the administrators, PPB Advisory, at creditors meetings scheduled for Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.

Stock market off to a “lacklustre” start

The Australian stock market opened slightly lower following falls on Wall Street overnight and a mixed performance on European markets after disappointing US retail sales data and concern remaining over the euro zone.

At the official market open, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.16% to 4,057.2 points, while the broader All Ordinaries Index lost 0.15% to 4105.3 points.

Miguel Audencial, sales trader at CMC Markets, said a “lacklustre” start is due to continuing concerns in Europe and disappointing US Retail Sales data.

“I would expect a low volume on today’s session with risk aversion dominating the mind set of investors leading up to the Greek election on Sunday,” he said.

Consumer inflation expectations deteriorate

Inflation expectations have moderated and unemployment expectations deteriorated, adding to the case for additional interest rate cuts according to the Westpac-Melbourne Institute.

The Melbourne Institute survey of consumer inflation expectations reveals a significant moderation. The median inflation expectation was just 2.3% in June, down from 3.1% for May.

The step-up in inflation expectations evident over the first half of this year has been fully reversed. The latest reading is a touch below the 2.4% reported for last December. This is the lowest reading since early 2009 and before that, since 1998.

The survey found prices of key every day commodities, notably food and petrol, have eased in recent times and domestically, retailers have been discounting aggressively to clear stock.

Annual inflation, as measured by the headline Consumer Price Index, dipped below 2% in March, tumbling to 1.6% from 3.5% just six months earlier.

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