Housing finance lifts again, Job cuts tipped for ANZ: Midday Roundup

Housing finance numbers lifted again in December, for the sixth straight month.

The 2.3% jump in home loans to 48,453 beat market expectations, with analysts tipping a rise of 1.8%.

By value, total housing finance lifted by 3.8% to $21.26 billion.

ANZ flags substantial job cuts: Report

ANZ Banking Group has reportedly told the Finance Sector Union that it plans to proceed with “substantial job cuts”.

The report follows large job cuts at other banks Westpac and Macquarie, and comes as ANZ prepares to release its first-quarter results this week.

ANZ was criticised for upping its mortgage and small business rates on Friday, despite the Reserve Bank keeping the official cash rate on hold.

Shares open flat after Greek austerity deal

The Australian sharemarket has opened slightly higher this morning after Greece accepted an austerity deal that has caused several riots throughout the country.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 5.2 points or 0.1% to 4250.5 at 12.00 AEST, while the Australian dollar also fell to $US1.06c.

In the United States late last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 89 points or 0.7% to 12,801.2

Greece approves austerity plan

Burning buildings and public marches did not stop the Greek Parliament from signing off on a controversial austerity plan designed to ensure the debt-laden country gets its hands on a €130 billion rescue fund from the European Union and IMF.

“The situation is very clear. Tonight at midnight before the markets open the Greek Parliament must send the message that our nation can and will support the deal,” Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said.

The reforms include a 22% cut in the minimum wage, regulating the labour market to make dismissals easier, and tax and pension changes.

According to reports, about 100,000 people protested in the major cities, with about 10 buildings set on fire and 54 people injured.

Leighton profit jumps, but shares fall on AFP investigation

Construction giant Leighton Holdings has maintained its full year guidance after posting a 56% increase in first half profit over the previous corresponding period.

But shares have fallen over 3% after it made a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange that the company is working with the Federal Police over payments that could have been connected with oil exports from Iraq.

In a statement, the company said it had contacted the AFP over a possible breach of ethics.

“We are cooperating fully with the AFP as they conduct an investigation into these matters,” chairman Stephen Johns said in a statement.

“The AFP investigation is at an early stage and, accordingly, Leighton is not in a position to make any further comment.”


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