Stocks strengthen, health premiums rise, JobSeeker ends.

Stocks strengthen, health premiums rise, JobSeeker ends. Source: Getty

Good morning.

Here’s everything you need to know about finance markets today.

ASX: The Australian share market looks set to start the month in a positive fashion following a solid night of trade on Wall Street. According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is poised to open the day 30 points or 0.45% higher.

Wall Street: Technology shares led US stocks higher, regaining favor on the last day of a quarter where they trailed the rest of the major market sectors, with President Joe Biden set to unveil his next stimulus plan.

AUD: The Australian dollar is currently trading at 0.7594 to the US dollar.

Home value index: Corelogic will release its latest data for monthly house prices later this morning.

Private health: Private health insurance premiums have risen by an average of 2.74 per cent, the second price hike in just six months for many policyholders. The increase takes effect from today, April 1, and is expected to cost the average family about $127 a year, and singles about $60 a year.

Flights: The Federal Government’s much-anticipated 800,000 half-price flights are now available. Around 46,000 of the discounted fares, announced as part of a $1.2 billion tourism rescue package, will be released every week across 13 tourism regions, with more destinations expected to be announced.

JobSeeker: The JobSeeker benefit boost has officially expired from today. The fortnightly $550 Supplement, which was introduced in March last year, effectively doubled the income support payment of $565.70 to $1,115.70 per fortnight. The payment was extended twice but was cut altogether as of today (Thursday 1 April).

Real estate fine: Sydney real estate agents who deliberately underquote property prices have been put on notice as Fair Trading takes aim at the practice. NSW Fair Trading inspectors will attend auctions, open houses and agencies across Sydney to identify agents deliberately low-balling property values, with those caught facing fines of up to $22,000. They could also lose their commission, and face jail.

AMP CEO: AMP has announced its chief executive Francesco De Ferrari will step down later this year. The investment firm said De Ferrari will retire as the company completes a portfolio review. He will be replaced by ANZ deputy chief executive Alexis George, who also heads the bank’s Australian wealth management division, in the third quarter of this year.

International students: Education Minister Alan Tudge believes the COVID-19 vaccine rollout could pave the way for Australia to up its intake of international students as early as the start of next year. In a speech delivered to the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) – the university most reliant on overseas students – Tudge said Australia’s lucrative market for international students could be given a much-needed boost by February 2022.

Telstra: Telstra engaged in “unconscionable conduct” by selling over 100 Aboriginal people phone contracts that they couldn’t afford and didn’t fully understand, the Federal Court has heard. The company has agreed to pay a massive $50 million fine. Australia’s competition watchdog first launched the proceedings back in November last year.

Business class hack: Even though it may be tempting to get on the first plane out of good ol’ Aus, there’s a smart way to go about it, that doesn’t involve a loan shark. A rewards credit card might just be your ticket out of here. Hack your way into a business class flight with these 4 steps.

Facebook: Facebook users sharing posts publicly have been granted the ability to restrict who comments in a move to “limit potentially unwanted interactions”, the social network says. The change follows similar action by Twitter, meaning people who publish content visible to everyone now have the option to only allow comments from their friends, or tighten it further to only users and pages tagged.

Have a great day.

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