Economy

Housing finance falls 1% in July: Midday roundup

Engel Schmidl /

The demand for home loans fell 1% in July, missing analyst expectations, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

ABS data showed the number of home loans granted in July fell to 44,804, down from 45,278 in June.

Analysts were expecting housing finance to remain unchanged in the month.

Total housing finance by value fell by 1.8%, seasonally adjusted, to $20.05 billion.

Lend Lease takes control of Abigroup after financial discrepancies

Lend Lease Group has taken control of the financial and operational oversight of its subsidiary Abigroup after revealing it had found discrepancies in the company’s financial reporting on two of its projects.

In a statement, Lend Lease said that while the discrepancies were not expected to materially affect its financial results or outlook, Australian chief operating officer David Saxelby had been put in charge of the group while an investigation was conducted.

“Until further notice, responsibility for the operational and financial oversight of the Australian construction business, including Abigroup, has been assumed by Mr David Saxelby (chief operating officer, Australia) and Mr Andrew Muller (group financial controller), reporting respectively to Mr Mark Menhinnitt (chief executive officer, Australia) and Mr Frank Krile (chief financial officer, Australia).”

Stock market flat

The Australian stock market opened little changed despite Wall Street closing stronger on Friday on hopes that disappointing US jobs data will lead to new economic stimulus measures by the Federal Reserve.

At the official market open, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index inched up 0.14% to 4332 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index also added 0.14% to 4,354.9 points.

Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said the ruling by Germany’s court on the constitutional validity of the European bailout fund and the Federal Bank’s decision on additional monetary stimulus will be the defining events for markets this week.

“Investors are likely to stay cautious prior to the German court decision,” he said.

“The ECB’s plan to buy Spanish and Italian bonds has removed a major source of short-term risk for markets. However, the ECB plan is dependent on the bailout funds being effective.

“A negative decision by the court could be a significant source of uncertainty for markets.”

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