A Westfield shopping centre in Sydney. Picture: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg
A Westfield shopping centre in Sydney. Picture: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

Department stores in dire straits

THE Australian share market looks set to open modestly higher after gains on virtually all major global indexes including Wall Street ahead of the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting. At 0700 AEDT on Tuesday, the share price futures index was up 12 points, or 0.20 per cent, at 6,016.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar has crept a little higher against its US counterpart which has remained steady. The local currency was trading at 75.32 US cents at 0700 AEDT on Tuesday, from 75.25 on Monday.

WORLD FINANCE UPDATE:

BRUSSELS - An interim Brexit deal struck by Theresa May and the European Commission is not legally binding but the British prime minister has committed her government to honouring a gentlemen's agreement, an EU spokesman says.

LONDON - Uber will defend its right to operate in London in court next year after the app was deemed unfit to run a taxi service and stripped of its licence in its most important European market.

LONDON - Apple has announced it is buying music-identifying service Shazam.

MONDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

RETAIL FOOD GROUP - Shares in the Retail Food Group, owner of Gloria Jean's, Donut King and Brumby's Bakery brands, have fallen to a five-year low amid accusations it is running its franchisees into the ground.

OPTUS - Optus will compensate almost 9,000 customers after failing to provide them with the fast national broadband network speeds it promised.

AWE - Shares in AWE Limited have soared further after the oil and gas producer emerged as the focus of a likely bidding war between mining services firm Mineral Resources and a Chinese state-owned energy giant.

RETAIL - The Australian department store market could be shrinking even more quickly than previously thought, as Amazon's disruption becomes more pronounced and consumers shift away from traditional spending habits.

CYBER AUST - New legislation that punishes companies and individuals who fail to report data breaches could make Australian firms even more attractive targets for criminals, a local cybersecurity expert says.

HOUSING PRICES - The number of homes going under the hammer across the nation has bounced back from a two-year low, while housing prices have hardly moved.



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