Good morning. First, to the markets.
1. China has cut rates again. In an effort to reverse some of the current economic weakness, the People’s Bank of China cut benchmark deposit and lending rates by 25 basis points (bps) over the weekend. This brings the one-year rate to 2.5% and 5.34% respectively. According to the PBOC, it’s to “keep real interest rate levels accommodative to the changing fundamental trends in growth, inflation and employment”.
2. ASX prices are approaching pre-GFC levels. It’s only March and already stocks have put on as much as they did for the whole year in 2014. Since the start of calendar 2015, the ASX 200 is up 9%. The market is now looking at whether the ASX 200 can break through 6000 points; there’s about 70 points to go for something not seen since before the GFC. Better than expected half-year earning results from listed companies announced in February saw 55% of companies beating expectations against a norm of 45%. And 66% of companies have seen profits rise from a year ago.
3. Locally, SPI futures traders kept the run on the ASX, no doubt helped by the Chinese rate cut which could push trade on the ASX further today. But it depends on if Shanghai takes prices higher again.
4. In Asia, the talk last week of the rate cut in China helped Shanghai end the holiday-shortened week up another 0.35% to 3,310. In Japan, the market only budged 0.06% to 18,798 while in Hong Kong, stocks dipped 0.32%.
5. Currency traders took the Aussie higher after the US data took a little bit of the previous night’s US dollar mojo. This morning the Aussie dollar is back above 78 cents at 0.7817. Euro is languishing at 1.1181 however, with USDJPY at 119.73. Sterling is at 1.5434 and the Canadian dollar is at 1.2494.
6. Malcolm Turnbull has been rumbled. The Australian Media editor Sharri Markson found the super tech-savvy Comms Minister using Wickr, the Snapchat grown-ups use when they want their messages to self-destruct after being read. According to Markson:
Wickr has been the preferred method of communication among most behind the February 9 leadership spill, and is being used to discuss strategy and Tony Abbott’s performance.
Woo. Wickr is so powerful, Markson says, even the US Government can’t hack it.
7. Samsung’s new Galaxy S6 phone is out, unveiled overnight at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It’s the first metal Galaxy and from first impressions, Samsung hasn’t left out much. At a glance, here’s:
- Your first look at the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge
- How the new Galaxy S6 phones compare against their biggest rivals
- Why Samsung’s new payments platform could be bigger than Apple Pay
- The fingerprint sensor on Samsung’s new Galaxy S6 is just as good as the one on the iPhone
8. People with chronic fatigue aren’t just being lazy. Researchers have found the first physical signs that show the syndrome could be a biological illness as opposed to a psychological disorder. The Centre for Infection and Immunity at Columbia’s Mailman School say blood markers show certain infections throw a wrench in the immune system’s ability to quiet itself after it’s kicked the bug. The immune response becomes like a car stuck in high gear, and if science can find a way to kick it back, there could be a cure in the works.
9. Victoria wants to ban unvaccinated children from childcare. A “no jab, no play” policy will be introduced in 2016 if the legislation is passed. NSW has a similar scheme in place, whereby only a special exemption certificate from a GP will get your unvaccinated kid into childcare.
10. Ahh! Zombies! A graduate statistical mechanics class at Cornell University in the US explored how an actual zombie outbreak might play out, modelling the spread and rate of infection. It showed that if you want to survive longest, head for sparsely populated areas. In movie terms, that’s “the hills”. Cities would fall quickest, with upstate New York going under in about a month.
BONUS ITEM: Elon Musk is such a huge Bond fan, he bought the Lotus Esprit submersible from The Spy Who Loved Me. He hasn’t built it yet, but here’s what happens when you log in as “007” in your Tesla Model S.
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