WORLD FINANCE UPDATE:
The Australian dollar continues to fall ahead of US labour figures.
At 0630 AEDT on Friday, the local currency was trading at 75.76 US cents, down from 75.93 cents on Thursday.
The Australian market is closed on Friday for the Good Friday public holiday.
The market on Thursday closed higher as prices for commodities such as gold and copper improved, though iron ore continued its fall.
WASHINGTON – The US trade deficit shrank sharply in February to the lowest level in over five years as the country’s oil import bill continued to drop, the Commerce Department has reported.
WASHINGTON – Orders to US factories rose in February, breaking a six-month losing streak.
WASHINGTON – The number of people seeking US unemployment benefits dropped significantly last week, showing signs of a strong job market.
WASHINGTON – Average long-term US mortgage rates barely moved this week, remaining close to historically low levels as the spring home-buying season gets underway.
FRANKFURT – The official account of the European Central Bank’s last policy meeting show top officials expressing determination to stick with the full $US1 trillion euros ($A1.32 trillion) of their planned stimulus – even though the 19-country eurozone economy shows signs of finally picking up.
NEW YORK – Target will close the last of its 133 Canadian stores by April 12, a little more than two years after the US retailer crossed the border on its first international expansion.
MOSCOW – US oil and gas giant ExxonMobil is suing Russia at the Swedish Arbitrage Court for back taxes it believes it overpaid on a joint project, the energy ministry says.
TOKYO – Japanese electronics giant Sony has announced the sale of half its stake in camera and endoscope maker Olympus Corp to fund internal restructuring measures.
NEW YORK – A pay bump for workers at some McDonald’s restaurants isn’t likely to ease the pressures the chain is facing over labour issues.