1. US stocks capped their best weekly gain in two months on Friday night while European markets climbed for the seventh straight week. So the ASX looks set to extend its recent gains this morning, although it’ll be an interesting week ahead with three of the big four banks scheduled to go ex-dividend. Here’s a look at what else Australian traders will be talking about this morning.
2. The Australian dollar edged higher on Friday, continuing to benefit from a softer-than-expected US consumer price inflation report for April released on Thursday. Data released on Friday revealed short US dollar positions held by traders continued to evaporate last week, hinting that the tailwinds for the greenback from short covering may be coming to an end. At 7.50am AEST, the AUD was up 0.03% to 0.7544.
3. Australia gets a double shot of key data on the labour market this week. The quarterly wage price index will be released on Wednesday (11:30am AEDT). The median forecast is for quarterly growth of 0.6% in the three months to March. That will leave annual growth at 2.1% — in line with the previous result (which beat expectations), but still well below the long-term average. And on Thursday, markets are forecasting the monthly employment report to show Australia’s economy added 15,000 jobs in April. That follows a subdued reading for March, which indicated that Australia’s record run of jobs growth is starting to show signs of a slowdown.
4. Scott Morrison’s 2018 federal budget has failed to move the needle in favour of the Turnbull government, with the latest Fairfax-Ipsos poll showing a surge in support to the Labor Party. Labor leads the Coalition on two-party-preferred basis by 54 per cent to 46 per cent. We’ll have more on that soon.
5. This is not a drill. Facebook is reportedly exploring the creation of its own cryptocurrency. On Tuesday, Facebook’s head of Messenger, David Marcus, said he was looking into blockchain applications within the company — and the creation of a Facebook cryptocurrency might just be one of the avenues he is considering. Reportedly, unnamed sources familiar with the matter said Facebook was “very serious” about its consideration of building its own decentralised digital currency.
6. Indonesia’s president has ordered a full investigation into the organisation blamed for three church bombings on Sunday. Six people from the one family, including a nine-year-old girl, conducted coordinated suicide attacks, which left 13 dead and dozens more injured. Joko Widodo has described the attacks as “barbaric and inhumane”.
7. A Chinese company shortlisted to build Telstra’s next superfast mobile network has bribed foreign officials and faced US criminal penalties for busting sanctions, according to documents obtained by Fairfax Media. According to the report, ZTE paid bribes of $US12.8 million ($17 million) to secure one contract. More here.
8. China’s first home-built aircraft carrier has begun sea trials. The vessel left dock in the northern port of Dalian yesterday morning local time after undergoing weapons fitting and work on other systems. The ABC reports that little is known about China’s aircraft carrier program, which is a state secret, though official media in recent weeks had widely speculated that sea trials were set to start.
9. Australia’s space industry could produce 20,000 Australian jobs, according to former CSIRO boss Megan Clark, who will head the country’s first dedicated space agency. In her first interview in her new role, Clark told the ABC the agency’s primary goal would be to grow the industry. “We think that we can add another 10 to 20,000 jobs to 2030,” Dr Clark said. More here.
10. “Next time in Jerusalem.” Netta Barzilai, the winner of the 2018 Eurovision song contest, has struck fire with her victory speech, after she invited viewers to see next year’s song contest in the occupied Jerusalem, not the internationally-recognised Israeli capital Tel Aviv. Many on Twitter were quick to point out her statement in tune with Israeli propaganda, and some even called for her to be disqualified for violating the contest’s rules by promoting a political message.
Here’s the song that won her the coveted award.
BONUS ITEM: Here’s what happens when a Chinese wedding turns into war zone.
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