Your money | Earnings, Business & Markets

Australian market set to open up slightly

THE Australian market looks set to open slightly higher following positive sessions on most major international markets and with Wall Street’s S&P 500 lifting close to a record high.

At 0645 AEDT on Friday, the share price index was up 11 points at 5,349. The US benchmark S&P 500 index rose as bank stocks got a boost on bets the Federal Reserve is on track to raise interest rates in December following comments by Chair Janet Yellen.

Yellen said in congressional testimony that the Fed could raise interest rates relatively soon and was prepared to adjust its outlook as the new administration takes shape.

Locally, no major economic news is expected on Friday.

In equities news, Myer, iSelect, Vicinity Centres, Kogan, Capilano Honey and Automotive Holdings hold their annual general meetings.

In Australia, the market on Thursday held onto a slim gain as investors wonder how the US political landscape will change under Donald Trump when he assumes the presidency.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index gained 10.8 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 5,338.5 points.

The broader All Ordinaries index rose 9.3 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 5,408.9 points.

US sharemarkets were generally firmer on Thursday. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen noted that rates were likely to rise relatively soon and this provided support to the banking sector.

Australians too lazy to shop around on major life purchases study finds

AUSTRALIANS are a nation of “misguided” savers who pinch pennies but are too lazy to find a better deal on major life purchases that could save them up to $3000 a year, a study has found.

According to the report by the University of Technology Sydney, Australians are wasting an estimated $7.4 billion a year by focusing on minor savings purchases such as their weekly shop, rather than major life purchases such as their home loan.

Three quarters of Australians (76 per cent) described themselves as tightwads who limit their spending, but the biggest priorities for savings were travel (95 per cent), fashion (93 per cent) and food (90 per cent).

But while more than two thirds (67 per cent) of Australians recognised the importance of getting a good deal on their home loan, only a third of people had actually switched providers.

Nearly 30 per cent thought it was not worth the time and effort, but according to UTS, those who did switch saved up to $3000 per year.

‘Tightwads are more likely to switch providers in more categories, but they switch in categories that are more instant gratification like clothing and food, said UTS researcher Dr Eugene Chan.

They are actually less likely to switch in more major categories such as credit cards and home loans, or major investments. The reason is the perceived time and effort. They care about their money but the effort [to switch] is a significant barrier.

Ironically, the Australians classed as spendthrifts were less likely to hold back on minor purchases but more likely to seek out a better deal on their major service providers. These people care less about putting in the time and effort, Dr Chan said.

They really dont mind looking at all the different bank websites for home loans. They dont see it as a barrier, but tightwads do.

But the study found more Australians were shopping around for a better deal on their banking, insurance, grocery and utilities providers since last year, with 55 per cent having ditched their current service provider for a better deal.

The study, commissioned by Heritage Bank, found simply switching providers could net consumers minimum savings of $750 on home loans, $186 for credit cards, $296 for groceries, $149 for energy, $81 for internet and $88 for mobile phones.

Even though consumers think theyre looking for the best deals, they tend to focus on travel, fashion and food, which arent necessarily areas were theyre going to get the best deal, said Heritage Bank general marketing manager Jane Calder said.

David Koch lets you in on the top questions to ask yourself when you're going to get a new credit card.