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5 things you need to know today

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Published on: Friday, December 02, 2016

  • Wesfarmers MD Richard Goyder has urged regulators to spend more time removing barriers to competition, rather than trying to prop up dying businesses, as Aussie retailers prepare for the arrival of Amazon. Goyder said that Amazon would have a significant impact on profitability unless Aussie retailers reduced costs and improved stores, distribution and fulfilment, and that governments and regulators also had a role to play by cutting restrictive regulations making it harder to compete. “There’s a regulatory environment that doesn’t reflect the reality of the world we’re in these days,” he said. “I still get very frustrated at this time of the year when we can’t open the doors of our businesses employing Australians paying tax and yet we welcome these new players in who don’t do those things,” he said (The Australian Financial Review).
  • Global oil prices continued to go gangbusters for a second straight session. Following the news that OPEC oil producers (and non-member Russia) agreed on an output cut, Brent crude lifted by US $3.47 or 6.9% to US$53.94, while US Nymex rose US$1.62 or 3.3% to US $51.06 per barrel. OPEC agreed on Wednesday to the first oil output reduction since 2008, however doubts about the deal are still widespread. The deal aims to reduce oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from January 2017. 
  • Biotech company CSL is preparing for its largest clinical trial, with a study of a drug for heart attack patients set to target up to 18,000 people. At CSL’s annual research and development investor day, CSL’s chief scientific officer, Andrew Cuthbertson, said the R&D (research and development) team were planning to move into a phase three trial for CSL112 – which is intended to prevent a second heart attack after an initial one is suffered. The phase three trial would target between 16,000 and 18,000 people across 1000 global sites, cost up to $550m, take three to four years to complete, and is said to be a multi-billion dollar opportunity (The Australian). 
  • In US economic data, the ISM Manufacturing Activity Index rose from 51.9 in October to 53.2 last month - a positive sign for the American economy as any number over 50 indicates growth. The November figure was the highest recorded since June, and the ISM manufacturing index has topped 50 for eight of the last nine months. Eleven out of 18 manufacturing industries posted growth in November. 
  • At 0645 AEDT on Friday, the share price index was down four points at 5,498.

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