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ASB Securities Morning Brief for Saturday, 31 March 2012

New Zealand Headlines

NZ Market Report. New Zealand shares rose Friday, ending a strong trading quarter on a high note... Read more

A decision whether to proceed with civil claim against Lombard Finance's four directors will be made soon, receiver John Fisk says... Read more

Fonterra Cooperative Group found its first-half earnings growth by selling dairy ingredients to rivals rather than competing with them in branded consumer products... Read more

Housing consents fell 6.7% in February after an 8.1% rise the month before, but Statistics New Zealand said the overall consents trend remains upward... Read more

The planned Bathurst coalmine on the West Coast could see $1 billion spent in the first few years, creating hundreds of jobs, but environmental groups say it is akin to mining the peak of Mt Cook... Read more

New Zealand forestry export earnings fell in the latest quarter because of oversupply of logs in China and currency pressures, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry... Read more

Ports of Auckland's surprise backdown on locking out wharfies may have been forced by cracks appearing in its "bulletproof" case for contracting out labour, an employment law expert says... Read more

Multi-millionaire John Copson plans the country's largest suburban redevelopment with a $250 million Takapuna scheme... Read more

Credit growth flatlined last month, adding to the evidence of a change to less improvident behaviour by New Zealanders... Read more

Sanitarium has enlisted former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry to front an advertising campaign aimed at encouraging loyalty to its Marmite brand during the shortage that has been dubbed "Marmageddon"... Read more

New Zealand's largest listed retirement operator will begin paying dividends again later this year, distributing between $4 million and $6 million to shareholders... Read more

Exide Technologies is defending a $6.8 million damages claim over a massive fire that destroyed a Palmerston North warehouse... Read more

A Wellington real estate agent has had his licence suspended for three months for his handling of a deposit on a Lower Hutt commercial property... Read more

Craigs Investment Partners analyst Chris Byrne has downgraded his rating on Hallenstein Glasson Holdings... Read more

Shares in Wellington software firm Xero have topped $4 for the first time, shrugging off Australian rival MYOB's launch of a rival product on Wednesday that MYOB believed could eat into Xero's market... Read more

A senior woman banker says it has been easier for her to do business in Christchurch since she returned five years ago with the city being a more dynamic place than the one that was once dominated by old boys' networks... Read more

Australian Headlines

Australian Market Report. The Australian share market has finished the first quarter of 2012 almost 7 per cent higher - its best return in two and a half years... Read more

ASIC and the RBA would have sweeping powers in proposal put to government... Read more

Australians are paying down their mortgages in big numbers and keeping their cash in the hip pocket... Read more

NBN Co is ramping up the network construction work nine months late after a series of hold-ups... Read more

Population growth in NSW has slumped to a five-year low, robbing the economy of much-needed momentum... Read more

Telstra builds its Asian connections, appointing businessman Tim Chen to its board... Read more

Outgoing Future Fund boss David Murray says the Government's carbon pricing scheme is "the worst piece of economic reform" he has ever seen... Read more

The Rinehart family might be embroiled in battles and court stoushes, but in the business world the fortunes of Hancock Prospecting continue to soar... Read more

The Chinese technology company that has been banned from tendering for Australia's National Broadband Network has announced a sponsorship deal with Canberra's NRL team... Read more

Franklins supermarket owner Metcash is set to announce impairment charges that will impact on its net profit... Read more

BHP Billiton insists there will be no change to its iron ore strategy despite the departure of the iron ore president, Ian Ashby... Read more

Approval from competition regulators is the final step in Foxtel's takeover of Austar after shareholders said yes to the deal... Read more

Qantas Airways Ltd has announced another round of increases to its fuel surcharges, in response to rising global prices, and has lifted its expected total fuel costs for the second half... Read more

Aristocrat will focus on building its foothold in regulated online markets... Read more

Regulators have approved Virgin Australia's request to transfer capacity on its Australia-Indonesia flights to the airline's new, unlisted company that will operate its international services... Read more

Victoria's Hazelwood power station is the biggest beneficiary of government assistance... Read more

Rio Tinto has become a key customer of the China Beijing Metals Exchange... Read more

Darwin is the slowest growing city in Australia, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures... Read more

Australia's five largest airports generated almost $1 million a day of car parking revenue in the last financial year - and managed to keep more than 70 per cent of it as profit... Read more

West Australia-focused iron ore explorer Flinders Mines will soon be in the hands of a Russian steel company after shareholders approved the friendly takeover... Read more

Gambling firm Tabcorp Holdings Ltd says a legal victory by NSW authorities over Betfair and Sportsbet will ensure the viability of Australia's racing industry... Read more

The opularity of the 9-5 desk job is diminishing, with a survey suggesting Australia is leading the world in part-time work... Read more

Chemical giant Orica has pleaded guilty to environment law breaches over two pollution incidents in Newcastle... Read more

Carbon Energy is suspending operations a month after becoming the first Aussie company to export synthetic gas power to a commercial electricity grid... Read more

Hardware chain Bunnings says its $1.5 billion expansion plan will create 6000 jobs in the next three years... Read more

Brisbane's convention and exhibition business is booming... Read more

Australian consumers behind the $166 million Easter confectionary market are being asked to turn their dollars towards survival of local chocolatiers... Read more

International Headlines

US Market Report. Stocks bounced back from a string of declines on Friday, on track to close their strongest quarter in more than two years on a positive note... Read more

World Market Report. An updated report of the world's latest market movements... Read more

Euro zone finance ministers agreed on Friday to increase their financial firewall to 700 billion euros to ward off a new flare-up of Europe's sovereign debt crisis, drawing a positive initial reaction from G20 partners and markets... Read more

Spain cuts 27bn euros from its budget this year and freezes public sector salaries to try to address its "extreme" economic situation... Read more

Research In Motion posted a net loss and its first slump in BlackBerry shipments for its holiday quarter since 2006, as its new CEO announced the initial steps in a strategic overhaul and would not rule out an eventual sale of the company... Read more

US President Barack Obama is set to introduce fresh sanctions on foreign banks still involved in the trading of Iranian oil... Read more

Visa and Mastercard warn US banks that details of credit card holders' personal information could be at risk after a security breach... Read more

Responding to a critical investigation of its factories, Foxconn, a top electronics supplier for Apple and other companies, pledged to curtail working hours and increase wages... Read more

The owner of British Airways and Iberia, IAG, receives approval for the takeover of BMI in return for giving up landing slots at Heathrow... Read more

Retail sales in Germany unexpectedly fell in February, denting hopes that consumer spending will support the economy in the first quarter... Read more

U.S. consumer spending increased by the most in seven months in February as households shook off a rise in gasoline prices, leading economists to raise forecasts for first-quarter growth... Read more

BP Plc has accused the U.S. government of withholding evidence that may show the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was smaller than federal officials claimed, a key issue in determining the oil company's liability... Read more

Ford Motor Co., determined to lift the lid on Lincoln sales, is popping the top on the newest model in its luxury line: The MKZ sedan arriving later this year will feature a retractable glass roof... Read more

US giant Exxon Mobil has lost its crown as the world's biggest listed producer of oil to PetroChina, figures suggest... Read more

Sino-Forest Corp, a Toronto-listed Chinese forestry company accused of fraud, said on Friday it has agreed with some of its noteholders to put its embattled business up for sale... Read more

AOL Inc. won dismissal of a suit by unpaid bloggers seeking $105 million for their work on the Huffington Post... Read more

The coffeehouse chain Starbucks is embarking on a multimillion-dollar campaign to win over Europe’s coffee aficionados with an upscale makeover of hundreds of stores... Read more

The United States said that European governments failed to end illegal subsidies for aircraft manufacturer Airbus and that it will be seeking sanctions on what could be billions of dollars of European goods... Read more

Oil companies Exxon Mobil Corp, BP Plc and Conoco Phillips have reached a settlement with the state of Alaska that will allow the companies to build a pipeline from a North Slope natural gas field, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday... Read more

In a year heralding the landmark initial public offering of Facebook Inc., share sales got off to a slow start... Read more

Shares in Sun Hung Kai Properties have fallen sharply in Hong Kong after the arrest of its joint chairmen on suspicion of bribery... Read more

France's public sector deficit shrank to 5.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011, statistics agency Insee said... Read more

Britain's largest defence contractor has announced a new Eurofighter Typhoon support £446m contract that it says will sustain 600 jobs... Read more

Japan's industrial output unexpectedly fell in February, due to lower overseas demand for cars and electronic goods, official figures have shown... Read more

The 'Duchess of Cambridge effect' is helping British fashion in the United States... Read more

Important Disclaimer - The views expressed herein are those of the authors and are based on information believed but not warranted to be correct. Any views or information, whilst given in good faith, are not necessarily the views of ASB Bank Limited and are given with an express disclaimer of responsibility and no right of action shall arise against any of the authors, ASB Bank Limited or its employees either directly or indirectly out of any views, advice or information.
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