QBE hit by superstorm Sandy fallout: Midday Roundup

Shares in QBE Insurance Group have plunged after the insurance giant said it expects its losses from superstorm Sandy in the United States to be up to $US450 million ($A434.85 million).

This morning shares in QBE fell 11.27% to $11.42, against a benchmark index loss of 0.29%.

QBE has cut its insurance profit margin guidance, but still expects its net profit for calendar 2012 to be higher than in 2011.

Wong rules out GST extension

Finance Minister Penny Wong says the Federal Government won’t be extending the goods and services or lifting its rate.

“We have made clear we’re not in the cart in jacking up the GST,” Wong told Sky News.

She was responding to comments by former Treasury secretary Tony Cole, who says it is inevitable that a future government will extend the GST into areas such as health, education and fresh food and lift its 10%.

Australian stock market opens weaker

The Australian stock market opened lower as world markets remain dominated by Greek bailout concerns and worries of the looming fiscal cliff in the United States.

At the official market opening, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index lowered 0.33 %to 4447.2 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index sank 0.29% to 4469.3 points.

Unclaimed money hits record high of $677 million

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission today launched a national campaign to help re-unite Australians with their lost money.

ASIC’s database of unclaimed money has risen to a record $677 million, an increase of more than $40 million from 2011.

Last year Australians recovered $56 million. This year 33,022 parcels of money have been added to the database and are awaiting collection.

“You might not know it yet, but you could have thousands of dollars sitting in an old bank account, shares, or a life insurance policy,” ASIC Commissioner, Peter Kell says.

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