Unemployment drops in September; Labor leadership battle comes to a head; BOQ profits lift: Midday Roundup

Australia’s unemployment rate has decreased 0.1 percentage points to 5.6% in September, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The employment figures released this morning defied analysts’ expectations of a rise in the unemployment rate.

The number of people unemployed decreased by 14,700 to 697,100 in September and the number of people employed increased by 9100 to 11.66 million.

The jump in employment was driven by a rise in full-time work, up 5000 to 8.13 million.

Labor leadership battle comes to a head

The Labor Party leadership battle will conclude this afternoon, as the caucus members are preparing to decide between the Right powerbroker Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese.

Shorten is so far being tipped as the favourite to win the leadership.

The ALP has been known of late for its leadership spills and is thought to have partly lost the last election because of party disunity, as the saga between former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard played out before the Australian public.

It came to a conclusion last month when the Labor Party convincingly lost the federal election and Kevin Rudd stepped down as Labor leader.

The caucus is due to vote at 4pm this afternoon and so far 25,000 of 44,000 membership ballots have been received.

BOQ profits lift

Bank of Queensland has posted a full-year net profit of $185.8 million, an impressive rebound from a $17.1 million loss in the previous corresponding quarter.

The bank reported strong after tax cash earnings of $250.9 million and announced a full year dividend of 58 cents per share fully franked.

The bank’s basic underlying cash earnings were up 79.2%, as the bank has improved its credit management practices.

“Our strategy is now all about execution and we are focused on our four strategic pillars: multi-channel optimisation; risk/return balance; operational excellence; and talent, capability and culture,” BOQ’s chief executive Stuart Grisham says.

Shares lower on open

Aussie shares have opened lower this morning, as investors were cautious ahead of the release of employment figures.

The S&P/ASX 200 benchmark was down 18.1 points to 5134.9 at 11:40 EST. Overnight the Dow Jones closed 0.18% higher, up 26.45 points to 14,802.98.


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