Retail trade inches up in June: Midday roundup

Retail trade was in line with expectations during June, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

According to the figures, retail spending rose 1% to a seasonally adjusted $21.58 billion during June, although analysts had expected a 0.9% increase in spending.

The result comes as the retail industry continues to remain under pressure due to the higher dollar and a larger emphasis on digital sales.

Surprise trade surplus recorded in June

Australia recorded a surprise trade surplus in June, according to the latest official figures.

The data shows the trade surplus during June was a seasonally adjusted $9 million, although economists had expected a deficit of $400 million.

Exports fell during June by $99 million to $26.629 billion, while imports also fell by 2% or $422 million to $26.619 billion.

Shares flat on weak offshore leads

The Australian sharemarket has opened flat today, following a weak lead from offshore markets after the US Federal Reserve said it will take a wait-and-see approach to fiscal stimulus.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 0.1% or five points to 4267.8 at 11.50 AEST, while the Australian dollar was up to $US1.04.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 37 points or 0.3% to 12,971.1.

ACCC clears News bid for ConsMedia

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has confirmed it will not oppose News Corp’s acquisition of Consolidated Media Holdings.

The watchdog said it would not oppose the $2 billion deal because it will not lead to less competition in the market.

“The ACCC’s view is that this acquisition is unlikely to lead to a substantial lessening of competition in any relevant market,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.

The ACCC noted that News Corporation already owns 50% of Fox Sports Australia.

“Given that News Corporation has no interests in other free-to-air or subscription television entities in Australia, the ACCC considered that the proposed acquisition was unlikely to materially change News Corporation’s incentives in relation to the supply of content in Australia,” Mr Sims said.

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