Good morning, and welcome to Tuesday. Here’s what you need to know.
- US stocks rallied towards the end of trading to finish up for the session – an end to the market bleeding for now, though the NASDAQ still lagged, finishing up 0.5% while the Dow was up 0.9%. Citi earnings beat expectations, as did the US retail sales data for February, signifying American consumers have been more upbeat than some think.
- The Nikkei lost only 0.36% yesterday, helped by a steady USDJPY. The Shanghai composite and Hong Kong were pretty flat, up 0.07% and 0.15% respectively. Nielsen’s China Wealth Index found household confidence in the Chinese economy remains strong, although sentiment on home buying as fallen back a little. This is interesting as it gives a view on how Chinese consumers are thinking amid all the rumblings in recent weeks about potential corporate defaults and an unwinding about China’s credit boom. The big data point this week, remember, is China Q1 GDP on Thursday. UK CPI is out tonight.
- Attention in Australia today will be on the RBA board minutes from its April meeting, out at 11.30am AEST. The Aussie dollar climbed back above the US94c mark this morning and as usual the market will be looking carefully for the central bank’s thinking on the progress of Australia’s economic rebalancing, as the lower dollar that would help the export sector stubbornly fails to materialise.
- The trade visit through Asia by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s trip to Asia has been a broad success by anyone’s measure, especially with the securing of the Japan trade deal – the first concessions that country has made on beef imports – and getting some momentum going on a potentially similar deal with China. But there are obstacles: China is reportedly demanding its workers be allowed to come to Australia to work on projects funded by Chinese investors.
- Google has bought drone company Titan aerospace for an undisclosed sum, but probably more than the US$60 million Facebook was offering in previous talks. As outlined here, Google has hit practical saturation in terms of reach in countries which have full internet access. But drones are a potential way to deliver internet services in countries currently not connected – opening up the possibility of getting hundreds of millions more people online relatively cheaply.
- Clinkle, the payments app startup that raised the largest seed investment in Silicon Valley history at $US30 million last year, has been in chaos, with senior executives fleeing and stories of mass, sudden sackings. Parties in its huge investment round last year included Andreessen Horowitz and Richard Branson.
- Four weeks from today Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey will deliver what is likely to be one of the most dramatic federal budgets in years, in which the government will have to start to address a structural deficit which seems to be worsening every time we get new numbers. One measure being canvassed to plug the immediate gaps is the privatisation of ASIC’s company register, which has $535 million in reporting fees and earns $90 million a year from business names and searches for company details, according to The Australian.
- ANZ bank has launched a news and opinion website, BlueNotes, led by former AFR writer Andrew Cornell. Expect similar exercises to become a trend in the coming years – the traditional career change for journalists has been going into public relations, but content marketing is a rapidly growing industry and is an appealing, fairly cost-efficient marketing solution for big companies. The superannuation industry is already funding a news site, The New Daily, and the AFL launched its own newsroom years ago.
- Neuroscientists have helped create music that helps you concentrate – it’s written in a way that avoids triggering emotional connections to the music but blocks out other distractions. Business Insider’s Alex Heber has been trying it for a few days and has been blown away by the results.
- The shocking latest episode of Game of Thrones which aired yesterday in Australia was the second-most watched episode ever in the saga.
Bonus item: A bloke parked his BMW in front of a Boston fire hydrant, illegally. Duly, there was a fire in the area, and firefighters smashed through the windows to run a hose through his 3-series.
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