News Corp earnings rise 65% in second quarter, Warning on manufacturing jobs: Midday Roundup

News Corp has recorded a rise in second quarter profit due to improvements in its cable and film businesses. 

The company saw net profit lift 65% to $US1.06 billion, in the three months to December 31, up from $US642 million in the previous corresponding period.

Total net income for the first half of the year has now reached $US1.79 billion, although the business has been forced to undergo a $US36 million cost due to restructuring the British and Australian newspaper divisions.

“I am particularly pleased with the success of our business strategies in spite of the uncertain economic conditions that we continue to face,” chairman Rupert Murdoch said in a statement.

“News Corporation’s commitment to delivering value to our stockholders is unwavering and we will continue to focus on generating superior shareholder returns, as evidenced by our strong year-to-date earnings and the successful completion of over half of our previously announced share repurchase program.”

Shares fall as investors watch Greek debt talks

The Australian sharemarket has fallen this morning after weak overseas leads, as investors waited for the outcome of debt talks in Greece that ultimately failed.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 28 points or 0.6% to 4262.7 at 12.00 AEST, while the Australian dollar also fell slightly to $US1.07c.

AMP shares rose 0.69% to $4.36, as Commonwealth Bank shares fell 0.26% to $50.19. Westpac rose 0.05% to $20.91 as ANZ fell 0.32% to $21.54.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average remained flat, up just 5.8 points to 12,884.

Greek debt talks fail

Discussion amongst political leaders regarding the Greek debt situation has failed, after talks were organised between the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Members of the talks ended the meeting after seven hours, it has been reported by Reuters. The key point of contention is harsh austerity measures that would need to be introduced by Greek Parliament.

Several members of the Greek Parliament have objected to cutting pensions.

Manufacturing could lose 400,000 jobs: Warburton

Former Reserve Bank board member and Manufacturing Australia chairman Dick Warburton has warned in a new interview with Business Spectator the manufacturing industry could lose up to 400,000 jobs if current issues are not addressed.

“And it’s not just the employment of people that’s important; it’s the cluster businesses that come to the side of that,” he said. “If we get it wrong now… we’ll be on a downward spiral that would be very, very hard to stop. We’re not at that tipping point yet, but boy it doesn’t take long to get there if we don’t correct things pretty soon.”

“Clearly we need to improve our productivity. We’re flat-lining at the moment on productivity,” he said. “How do you improve productivity? There are a number of factors. There’s IR laws, there’s taxes. There’s innovation, creativity.”

Stockland positive on outlook despite profit decline

Stockland has reaffirmed its full year guidance and is confident about the next six months despite profit falling 28% in the first half to $307.6 million.

“Economic conditions were very tough at the start of FY12 resulting in poor consumer sentiment, reduced discretionary spending and weaker demand for Sydney CBD office space which affected our result,” managing director Matthew Quinn said in a statement on Thursday.

“Conditions will remain challenging with credit markets tightening, the Australian economy under pressure and tough property markets,” he said.


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