Reserve Bank raises inflation forecast: Midday roundup

The Reserve Bank has lifted its forecast for inflation by a quarter of a percentage point.

In the RBA’s latest statement on monetary policy, the RBA is forecasting consumer prices will rose by 2.5% this year to December 2012, above the previously predicted 2.25%.

“The carbon price effect on inflation will largely have passed by late 2013 and underlying inflation is forecast to be around the middle of the target range (of two to three per cent) thereafter,” the RBA said.

The RBA has kept rates on hold partly because of low inflation figures.

Crown records profit increase of 52%

Crown has recorded a net profit of $513 million, up by 52.8% from the previous financial year, the company announced this morning.

Revenue from continuing operations rose 16.6% to $2.8 billion, while the company said it will pay a dividend of 19 cents.

Chief executive Rowen Craigie said the results from each of the company’s individual locations were mixed.

“During the year we saw reasonable revenue growth at both properties, although in some areas this was offset by higher operating costs,” he said.

“At Crown Melbourne, in particular, we saw a softening of activity in some segments of main floor gaming and non-gaming operations in the second half of the year, as well as the effects of refurbishment disruption on operating margins.”

“We continued to see some evidence of weak consumer sentiment, which has affected some segments of the business, particularly in the second half, while the premium markets maintained their strength.”

Google fined $22.5 million over privacy charges

Google will pay $US22.5 million to settle a case in the United States over the company’s privacy controls.

The Federal Trade Commission announced overnight the company would be forced to pay the fine.

Google told customers it wouldn’t monitor online activities as long as it didn’t change browser settings to permit track. But according to the FTC, the company created a loophole that allowed its advertising network to track users on the Safari browser.

Because of that, the company was able to more accurately targeting marketing pitches to customers.

“We set the highest standards of privacy and security for our users,” Google said Thursday, according to AAP.

“It’s a big company,” FTC bureau of consumer protection head David Vladeck said in a conference call. “It’s grown very quickly, but the social contract is if you are going to hold on to people’s most private data, you have got to do a better job of honoring your privacy commitment.”

Goodman Group profit up 4.2%

Goodman Group has announced its full-year profit has risen 4.2% to $408 million, and said it is well positioned to record a stronger profit in 2013.

Chief executive Greg Goodman said growth in offshore operations had contributed significantly to the profit result.

“We expect earnings from our offshore businesses to continue trending toward 50% of operating earnings before interest and tax over the medium term,” he said.

“These factors, coupled with our ability to access third party capital and the partnering approach we take with our global investor and customer base, has placed the group in a strong competitive position and will continue to drive the growth of our business and generate future value for our stakeholders.”

Shares open flat on similar offshore leads

The Australian sharemarket has opened mostly flat today, holding onto gains made during the week.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 15 points or 0.4% to 4292.5 at 12.00 AEST, while the Australian dollar has remained steady at $US1.05.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 10.4 points or 0.1% to 13,165.2.




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