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Big day for airline news

NIKO KLOETEN
Last updated 08:01 28/08/2014

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What you need to know on Thursday morning, August 28.

- NZX50 up 48.07 points (0.93 per cent) to 5243.700

- NZ dollar at US83.73 cents, A89.69c, 87.03 yen, 50.52p, 63.49€c

- Brent crude oil at US$102.61 a barrel (up US7c)

- Spot gold at US$1282.60 an ounce

What's on today

- Hellaby Holdings full-year result

Stocks to watch:

- Air New Zealand: the national carrier posted a solid annual result yesterday, with statutory net profit after tax in the year to June 30 up 45 per cent to $262 million. However, its profit has been somewhat overshadowed by criticism of its regional airfares, with even Prime Minister John Key suggesting they're too high. Air New Zealand's rival, Qantas, announces its results today and analysts are forecasting a loss of A$1 billion (NZ$1.1b).

Top international news

- International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has been put under formal investigation by French magistrates for alleged negligence in a political fraud affair dating from 2008 when she was finance minister.

Lagarde was questioned by magistrates in Paris this week for a fourth time under her existing status as a witness in the long-running saga over allegations that tycoon Bernard Tapie won a large arbitration payout due to his political connections.

"After three years of procedure, the sole surviving allegation is that through inadvertence or inattention I may have failed to intervene to block the arbitration that brought to an end the longstanding Tapie litigation," Lagarde said in a statement yesterday. "I have instructed my lawyer to appeal this decision, which is without merit."

Under French law, magistrates place a person under formal investigation when they believe there are indications of wrongdoing, but that does not always lead to a trial.

Lagarde's lawyer, Yves Repiquet, told Reuters he would personally appeal the magistrates' decision. That means Lagarde would not have to return to Paris in the meantime, allowing her to continue her duties as the IMF's managing director uninterrupted.

Something else for your morning

- Christchurch's premier department store does not want the sale of legal highs restricted to the central city because of fears it will concentrate intimidating behaviour.

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In his written submission on the city council's Psychoactive Products Retail Locations policy, Ballantynes director Philip Richards said the potentially negative effects would detract from the city's image if psychoactive-product retailers were confined to the central city.

- Stuff

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