The News Wrap: Business calls for early election

Business leaders call for early federal election

 

Business leaders are calling for Labor to hold an election “sooner rather than later” and warned that the party’s leadership turmoil has hurt confidence and distracted from policy debates.

 

They say the Rudd government needs to act quickly to shore up confidence in the economy.

 

Toll Holdings chief executive Brian Kruger called on Kevin Rudd to set an election date as soon as possible, while Myer chief executive Bernie Brookes says an early election would mean issues such as productivity, competitiveness and economic strategy could be addressed more quickly.

 

Glencore-Xtrata cuts 450 jobs at Queensland coal mines

 

Coal miner Glencore-Xtrata says it’s cutting 450 jobs from two Queensland mines because of falling coal prices and the high Australian dollar.

 

The company says 300 workers will be sacked at the Newlands coal mine by the end of the year, while another 150 will go from its Oaky Creek coal mine.

 

US consumer spending, jobs figures point to tepid growth

 

Consumer spending in the US rebounded in May and new applications for unemployment benefits have fallen, suggesting the economy remained on a moderate growth path.

 

While other data showed contracts to buy previously owned homes approached a six-and-a-half year high in May, the data taken together suggested economic activity would probably remain lukewarm and discourage the Federal Reserve from scaling back its monetary stimulus anytime soon.

 

“It’s still a picture of better growth, but there is little to suggest that we are going to get the kind of break-out growth that would entail a tighter environment from policymakers in the near future,” said Brian Levitt, an economist at OppenheimerFunds in New York.

 

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, increased 0.3% last month, reversing April’s 0.3% drop, the Commerce Department said, while the Labor Department said initial claims for unemployment benefits fell 9000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 346,000, signalling little change in the pace of job growth, which has averaged 189,000 jobs per month so far this year.

 

Markets

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has closed up 0.77% at 15,024.49. The Australian dollar is at US92.83 cents.

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