Thursday briefing: Spectre of vaccine 'trade war' between Britain and EU

Top story: ‘We reject first come, first served’ Hi, I’m Warren Murray and I am just going to leave this here. Britain is on a collision course with the European Union over vaccine shortages after Brussels refused to accept that people in the UK have first claim on Oxford/AstraZeneca doses produced in British plants. Stella Kyriakides, the EU’s health commissioner, said the UK should not earn any advantage from signing a contract with AstraZeneca...

Gold demand hit an 11-year low in 2020

Global demand for gold fell last year to its lowest level since 2009, as the coronavirus pandemic drove weakness in consumer demand for the precious metal, the World Gold Council reported Thursday.

Australian shares lose $46b after Dow Jones drops 630 points on fears of overvalued market

Australian shares post heavy losses following a sharp pullback across foreign markets, as investors fret about overvalued stocks and the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Samsung Electronics profit spikes on pandemic-driven demand

Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest smartphone and memory chip maker, on Thursday reported a 26-percent rise in fourth-quarter net profits year-on-year, with pandemic-driven working from home boosting demand for devices powered by its chips. The firm said profits in October to December rose 26.4 percent year-on-year to 6.61 trillion won ($5.97 billion). Operating profit rose 26.4 percent to 9.05 trillion won, while sales were also up 2.8...

‘I have been plagued by enormous guilt and regret:’ I tried to care for my late father, but I gave up. How can I ever forgive myself?

‘He was a good father, except everything had to be his way. But I know I was a cruel and horrible son.’

Pfizer to continue vaccine supply to Italy even if Rome files lawsuit: CEO to paper

Pfizer to continue vaccine supply to Italy even if Rome files lawsuit: CEO to paper

Elizabeth Warren calls for new leadership to oversee student loans — and calls Betsy DeVos era a ‘disaster’

'Students deserve leadership at this office who will follow the law and make this program work for students,' Senator Elizabeth Warren told MarketWatch.

Forget Ratatouille, here's Ratatoing! The rise and rise of the 'mockbuster'

It is hard to describe what happens 24 minutes into Ratatoing, an animated children’s movie from 2007. Four unnerving rats – one with a handlebar moustache, another in pearls – begin to jump up and down and grunt in a restaurant, in order to alarm the human clientele. “La, la, la, la, la,” they sort of sing while sort of dancing. They then do the can-can and shout “HA, HA, HA!” before making ghostly noises. Ratatoing is not, it is safe to say, a...

First flashes of Brexit trade trouble appear in UK data

First flashes of Brexit trade trouble appear in UK data

Cathay Pacific raises $870 million in convertible bonds to shore up liquidity, shares fall

Cathay Pacific raises $870 million in convertible bonds to shore up liquidity, shares fall

Vaccines take pressure off credit ratings

Global credit rating agency S&P says the successful development of coronavirus vaccines should help government budgets over the next couple of years.

Australia's billionaires struck gold during the pandemic. Now it's time to combat rising inequality, analysts say.

Australia's 31 billionaires accumulated $85 billion more between them during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest Oxfam report. The experience contrasts sharply with the those of the average Australian, who has faced rising unemployment and imminent cuts to government support.

GameStop surge leaves U.S.-based mutual funds and ETFs behind

GameStop surge leaves U.S.-based mutual funds and ETFs behind

Prada CEO sees revenues rising to 5 billion euros in 4-5 years: paper

Prada CEO sees revenues rising to 5 billion euros in 4-5 years: paper

World's first airport for electric flying cars to launch in Coventry

Air-One is set to become the smallest airport ever. It has been designed with ultra-compact dimensions so it can be implemented in towns and cities to allow air taxis and electric drones to land and charge.

Apple, Facebook score with pandemic-hit consumers: profits surge

Apple and Facebook on Wednesday delivered stunning gains in profits and revenues over the past quarter, in the latest sign that Big Tech is delivering for pandemic-hit consumers around the world. The more iPhones there are in people's hands, the more opportunity Apple has to sell them music, games, television, and more in what has been a priority for the company, Sales topped the $100 billion mark for the first time as Apple won over...

ACCC vows to pursue Google's ad dominance, as tech giant threatens to remove its search engine from Australia

The consumer watchdog raises fresh concerns about tech giant Google's digital advertising dominance, vowing to pursue its potential misuse of market power.

Car production slumped by a third in 2020 to lowest output in 26 YEARS

Production fell by 29.3% compared to the previous year, down to 920,928 units - the lowest annual output since 1984. The loss of 382,207 cars came at cost of £10.5billion to the sector, bosses said.

Australia's competition regulator could take Google to court over potential misuse of market power

Cathay shares plunge as bond sale announced to stem cash crisis

Shares in Hong Kong's marquee carrier Cathay Pacific plunged on Thursday after the struggling airline unveiled a HK$6.7-billion (US$870-million) bond sale to try to stem its rampant cash burn. The firm tumbled as much as nine percent, days after it warned new quarantine measures planned for passenger and cargo crew arriving in Hong Kong would further dent its finances. Cathay on Thursday said it would offer five-year bonds maturing in February...

Lifting of Queensland border restrictions met with caution by businesses as families plan long-awaited reunions

Annastacia Palaszczuk's announcement that border restrictions will be lifted earns a mixed response from businesses, tourism operators and residents who remain worried there could be more lockdowns to come.

US lender JP Mogan to launch a digital bank in the UK

It will be JP Morgan's first banking product in the UK for normal current account holders, and it follows in the footsteps of its major rival Goldman Sachs, which launched its Marcus bank in 2018.

A Queensland farm industry group is reportedly up in arms after a Coles magazine promoted plant-based alternatives to meat

A Coles magazine guide celebrating plant-based diets has reportedly drawn the ire of an industry group representing rural Australian livestock farmers.

'Rio is still on notice': native title groups say mining company's reshuffle is mainly PR

Aboriginal native title groups say Rio Tinto’s executive reshuffle is a sign the company is in “PR mode” and the new appointments won’t lead to meaningful change in the miner’s dealings with traditional owners. Investors also remain sceptical as to whether Rio has committed to the cultural change needed after it destroyed 46,000-year-old rock shelters at Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara. They are flagging a confrontation with management at the...

Cable companies are once again capping data on home internet service — here’s what it costs if you go over

After a pause because of the pandemic, Comcast rolled out data caps nationwide on its home internet service at the start of the year.

GameStop's three largest shareholders earn over $2bn amid stock surge

The three largest shareholders in GameStop, the video game retailer at the center of a frenzied dual between Wall Street and small investors, have made more than $2bn from the company’s astronomic recent share rise. Stock in the company continued its vertiginous rise on Wednesday, hitting a fresh 52-week high of $354.83, making the 13% stake held by Ryan Cohen, 34, GameStop’s largest single shareholder, worth more than $1.3bn. Over the past two...

Aust shares have biggest drop since Sept

Investors had their biggest loss on the ASX since September, however an investment analyst could see positives in the move.

Analysis: Short sellers face derision, death threats and unexplained pizza

Analysis: Short sellers face derision, death threats and unexplained pizza

Asian markets sink after Wall Street’s worst day in months

Asian shares skidded on Thursday as a reality check set in about longtime economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic, giving Wall Street its worst day since October.

Tesla reports $721 mn in 2020 earnings, first profitable year

Tesla Motors reported its first annual profit Wednesday following a big jump in auto deliveries despite the upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic as it signaled confidence for more growth in 2021. Elon Musk's electric car company -- which has soared on Wall Street for much of the last year -- benefited from scaled-up production at factories in California and China as it pushes forward with new plants in the state of Texas and Germany that are...

Is the trading in GameStop and AMC a major risk? Analysts weigh in

A mania is under way on Wall Street that is being heralded by some as a revolution of individual investors against pros, but there are concerns that the recent flurry of activity could end badly.

Apple dials up a sales record as it makes $111bn in just three months

In an extraordinary set of results, the US giant said sales in the final three months of 2020 had increased from £67.1bn to £81.5bn ($111.4bn) while profits rose from £16.3bn to £21bn.

Australia could rebuild its local tourism industry in 2021 – but it might need a helping hand from the government

Australians are in a position to rescue the local tourism industry, if state borders were to reopen. AMP senior economist Diana Mousina said local tourism spending could compensate for the lack of international visitors in the short term, pending border closures and government incentives.

Australian stock surges after being mistaken for GameStop

A little-known Australian mining company saw its share price soar as much as 50 percent on Thursday, after investors appeared to mistake it for the similarly named cult US stock GameStop. GameStop, a struggling US video game retailer, has seen its stock surge about 1,000 percent in two weeks after a group of amateur investors active on the online forum Reddit banded together to fight the Wall Street funds that had pushed its price lower.

Toyota overtakes Volkswagen as top-selling global auto maker

Japan's Toyota reclaimed the title of world's top-selling automaker in 2020, according to data released by the firm on Thursday, pushing Volkswagen into second place for the first time in five years. The last time Toyota held the top spot was in 2015, with VW edging it out in the following years. sah/kaf/qan

Stan's sports package will cost $10 a month on top of an existing subscription

Stan has announced its sport add-on will cost $10 on top of an existing subscription. Stan Sport will feature plenty of rugby at launch, and will also broadcast Wimbledon and the French Open.

Victorian kangaroo meat heading to supermarket shelves under expanded harvest plan

The Victorian Government increases the number of kangaroos allowed to be killed as part of its controversial kangaroo harvesting program by nearly 40,000.

CBA boss expects rules for pay later firms

CBA boss Matt Comyn says regulatory scrutiny will increase for buy now, pay later providers and still expects additional rules are inevitable for the sector.

Wonder Woman 1984 boosts HBO Max activations by 17.7M

NEW YORK (AP) - Despite premiering simultaneously by streaming service, "Wonder Woman 1984" managed the best box office debut of the pandemic, opening with...

A little-known Australian mining company with the same ticker code as GameStop has seen its share price surge today

The share price for an ASX-listed Australian mining company that shares a ticker code with GameStop rose by up to 50% on Thursday. Some social media users speculated that it was from others mistakenly buying the wrong stock, whereas others spoke about purchasing stock to capitalise on the possible mistake.

Insurance giants facing COVID-19 payout class actions after 'stuff up' with contract fine print

Furious small business owners are vowing to "fight to the end" against Australian insurance companies, in an increasingly heated battle over pandemic payouts that is likely to drag on for years.

ACCC puts Google's ad power in spotlight

With negotiations continuing over the government's media code, the competition watchdog has released a report showing Google's dominance in the $3.4bn ad space.

Head office targeted in latest Virgin cuts

Virgin Australia is close to completing its major restructure, announced last year, under which 3000 staff will depart the battered airline.

And after lunch... it's maths with granny

Millions of parents across the UK have struggled with homeschooling kids during lockdown. And an increasing amount of grandparents are now stepping up to help out.

Fortescue boss sees China demand steady

Fortescue boss Elizabeth Gaines is confident Chinese demand for iron ore will stay strong, despite stable shipments and lower production for the second quarter.

Sun Cable signs development agreement with NT Government to build giant solar farm, but intended customer Singapore yet to commit

The Sun Cable project, on track to be built in the Northern Territory, aims to supply up to 15 per cent of Singapore's energy by 2027, but the city-state has concerns about reliability and has not yet signed any agreements.

House prices have hit record highs in all but two capitals – but it's the outer city regions that are really booming

ul> Australian house prices have broken new records in every capital city bar Darwin and Perth. The median house price in Sydney now sits at $1.21 million, while Hobart house prices soared 12.5% last year.

At Davos, the global elite should ensure the whole world can access Covid vaccines

In different times, the president of South Africa would have been one of the world leaders in Switzerland this week for the annual gathering of the global elite in Davos. But the January talkfest has been online-only, and covered less avidly than usual by the media. That’s a pity in Cyril Ramaphosa’s case because of what he had to say about the dangers of “ vaccine nationalism”: that while the leaders of the world’s richest countries keep...

Aust shares close down 0.65pc, miners drop

Investors had their steepest losses on the ASX in more than a week, but inflation figures showed plenty of reasons to stay in the market.

White House ‘monitoring’ GameStop share surge as US hedge fund pulls out

The White House has said it is “monitoring” the extraordinary surge in the share price of the ailing video games retailer GameStop and other companies amid a surge of bets by small investors discussing their investments online. Wednesday’s announcement by the press secretary, Jen Psaki, came as the Treasury and the Securities and Exchange Commission said it was “aware of and actively monitoring the ongoing market volatility in the options and...