ASIC SAYS IT WILL INVESTIGATE A HOAX MEDIA RELEASE THAT SENT SHARES IN A COAL MINING COMPANY PLUNGING TODAY.. ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP FRONTLINE ACTION ON COAL ISSUED A FAKE PRESS RELEASE CLAIMING ANZ HAD WITHDRAWN ONE-POINT-TWO BILLION DOLLARS IN FUNDING FOR WHITEHAVEN COAL'S MAJOR NEW SOUTH WALES PROJECT.

THE GROUP SAYS ITS DRAWING ATTENTION TO THE PROJECT IT SAYS WILL FORCE FARMERS OFF THEIR LAND AND DESTROY A KOALA HABITAT

ASIC SAYS THE MAXIMUM PENALTY FOR FALSE STATEMENTS ARE HALF A MILLION DOLLARS AND OR 10 YEARS IN JAIL.

TAKING A LOOK AT THE MARKET NOW... IT CLOSED DOWN AS INVESTORS GROW CAUTIOUS AFTER SEVEN WEEKS OF GAINS. THE ASX 200 GAVE BACK SIX POINTS. MARKETS ACROSS THE REGION ARE MIXED... ON FRIDAY IN THE US THE DOW ROSE A THIRD OF A PER CENT ... AFTER OFFICIAL FIGURES REVEALED THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE REMAINED AT SEVEN-POINT-EIGHT PER CENT IN DECEMBER WITH 155K. TO COMMODITIES AND ... GOLD AND TAPIS ARE RISING. THE AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR IS BUYING CLOSE TO 105 US CENTS.

IN A BAD SIGN FOR BRICKS AND MORTAR RETAILERS... RESEARCH SHOWS ONLINE SALES SURGED AHEAD OF CHRISTMAS. THE NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK'S ONLINE RETAIL SALES INDEX SHOWS SALES OVER THE INTERNET INCREASED 27 PER CENT IN NOVEMBER... THAT'S UP SEVEN PER CENT ON THE YEAR BEFORE. THE DATA SHOWS THAT OVER THE YEAR TO NOVEMBER AUSTRALIANS SPENT AROUND 12 AND A HALF BILLION DOLLAR ONLINE.... WHICH IS AROUND SIX PER CENT OF THE AMOUNT SPENT IN SHOPS.

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