Myer chief defends new profit guidance: Midday roundup

Myer chief executive Bernie Brookes has defended his move to lower the full-year profit guidance for the department store giant, saying the company would not make further spending cuts.

In an interview with Business Spectator, Brookes said the retail market is still difficult.

“We decided to take the guidance down rather than pull those two things out because we’re conscious that we need to invest for the future,” he said.

“We think we would do ourselves more damage by delaying omni-channel and by not investing in customer service.”

Brookes said the introduction of GST did not match the current environment’s problems.

“Each day when we get our text to look at the sales you just do not know what’s going to happen,” he said.

“It’s a very, very unusual trading period where there’s wild swings in people purchasing. Today’s equity market has an impact on tomorrow’s sales and this is a highly reactionary environment and one that makes it very difficult to drive forward.”

Commonwealth Bank cuts fixed loan rates

The Commonwealth Bank has cut its rates for fixed-interest home loans by up to 40 basis points.

The rate on the bank’s two-year fixed rate loan will drop from 6.19% to 5.79%, while the rate on the four-year loan will drop 35 basis points to 6.29%.

The rate on the five-year fixed rate loan will fall 35 basis points to 6.39%.

The rates will apply from Friday.

Shares flat after good lead from Wall Street

The Australian sharemarket has opened flat this morning after a positive lead from the United States, although tensions in the euro zone have continued to rise.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 19 points or 0.5% to 4036.7 at 12.00 AEST, while the dollar was trading at US97.5c.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3% or 33.6 points to 12,529.8.

PM should let Thomson quit, Abbott claims

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to allow Craig Thomson to resign.

“The best thing for everyone – to take the pressure off him, to take the pressure off his family – would be for him to leave the Parliament,” Abbott told the Nine Network.

“If the Prime Minister was putting his interests and the interests of his family first, she would allow him to leave the Parliament. She would not insist on clinging to his vote in the Parliament.”

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