Here are the Hump Day (Wednesday) news headlines from the S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX: XJO)(ASX: XJO) and Australian finance circles.

First, here are the data points:

Australian Dollar ($A) (AUDUSD): 71.90 US cents

Dow Jones (DJI) : up 0.5%

Oil (WTI): $US75.18 per barrel

Gold: $US1,208 per ounce

Australian Finance News

According to CoreLogic, Australian house prices fell 0.5% in September and are down 2.7% year over year. Prices in Sydney and Melbourne fell 0.6% and 0.9% during the month.

Corelogic’s Head of Research, Tim Lawless said: “Not only are these amongst the largest annual falls across the capital cities, but considering Sydney and Melbourne comprise approximately 60% of the national value of housing, the weak conditions in these cities have a substantial drag down effect on the overall national housing market performance

On Tuesday, Australia’s central bank, the RBA, kept interest rates on hold at 1.5%

In a media release the RBA board stated it had, “…judged that holding the stance of monetary policy unchanged at this meeting would be consistent with sustainable growth in the economy and achieving the inflation target over time.”

In sharemarket news, shares of Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group (ASX: SCP) skidded into a trading halt this morning as it prepares to announce “material acquisitions” and a capital raising to fund the purchases. (Click here to learn what a Capital Raising is.)

SCA Property Group’s Mark Lamb expects the company to make its announcement before trading resumes on Thursday, October 4th.

Finally, after the market’s close on Tuesday evening, Freedom Insurance Group Ltd (ASX: FIG) announced a material restructuring of its business and senior management.

According to a market filing, Freedom said it will enact an “immediate suspension” of new direct insurance sales, continue to service its existing policies and reduce its staff count in line with the decline in activity.

“Over the coming months, Freedom will continue to work constructively with its business partners to assess future options for its business model,” the company’s announcement read.

Read more: Here’s Why Freedom Insurance Stopped Selling Insurance

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