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Published on: Friday, May 12, 2017

  • Opposition leader, Bill Shorten, delivered his Budget reply last night. Points of difference included: not supporting the 0.5% Medicare Levy increase for those who earn less than $87,000 a year, providing $22 billion more for schools over the decade, and raising the top personal tax rate to 49.5% by keeping the current 2% Deficit Levy in place for those on more than $180,000. Labor also won’t oppose the $6.2 billion bank levy. Read Peter Switzer’s take on Shorten’s Budget reply here.
  • Richard Umbers, the CEO and MD of Myer, has defended the decision to cut back on markdowns. According to the Australian Financial Review, he said retailers that depend on markdowns would not survive with new competitors entering the market. For the three months ended April 29, Myer’s same store sales fell 2%. Total sales fell 3.3% to $653 million. Year to date, total sales fell 1.3% to $2.44 billion. Umbers says the retailer remains on track to deliver net profit growth this year.
  • Lacklustre earnings reports from a number of department stores weighed on US stock markets yesterday. Weaker than expected sales at Macy’s and Kohl’s raised concerns about consumer spending, sending shares of department stores southward. Macy’s quarterly performance saw its shares fall 17%. The Dow Jones fell 24 points or 0.1%, the S&P 500 index fell 0.2%, and the Nasdaq fell 0.2%.
  • Global oil prices rose on Thursday. Investors continued to react positively to the large drawdown in US crude inventories. A number of OPEC members voicing their support for extending production cuts into the second half of 2017 also supported prices. Brent crude rose by US55 cents or 1.1% to US$50.72 a barrel. US Nymex rose by US50 cents or 1.1% to US$47.83 a barrel. (CommSec).
  • At 0700 AEST on Friday, the share price futures index was down nine points, or 0.15 per cent, at 5,856.

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