Network Ten posts significant loss: Midday roundup

Ten Network Holdings this morning revealed a net loss after tax of $243.3 million for the half year of the financial year, as the network struggled to retain viewers with a number of program flops in 2012.

Ten recorded a non-cash write-down of $304 million, including a non-cash television license impairment charge of $292.1 million and restructuring charges of $11.9 million, all of which contributed to its overall net loss.

Television costs were reduced by 10.6% to $247 million and Ten says its programs have been tracking well so far this year, with Saturday nights proving popular for viewers.

In February, Ten appointed Hamish McLennan as chief executive, following the termination of James Warburton.

Ten announced there will be no interim dividend to be paid for the half-year.

Business conditions fall to near four-year low

The latest figures from the National Australia Bank monthly business conditions survey have found conditions nearly fell to their lowest point in four years during March.

The survey showed conditions fell four points to negative seven, the lowest point since May 2009. The manufacturing and retail industries suffered the biggest declines.

In a statement, NAB chief economist Alan Oster said given the survey’s results and inflationary pressures being “well contained”, there is scope for two more interest rate cuts before the end of the year.

“Timing is still fluid with higher house prices a possible delay factor but the unemployment path will be the key variable.”

Shares rise on open

Australian shares have opened higher this morning, with the mining companies and the banks performing well.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was up 55.3 points to 4960.8 just after midday.

Shares in Rio Tinto jumped $1.11 this morning to $55.95, while BHP Billiton was up $0.42 to $33.08.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.33% higher last night, up 48.23 points to 14613.48.

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