Good morning, and welcome to Thursday! Here’s what you need to know:
Markets are down. Stocks fell from all-time highs in the US overnight, with the Dow off 0.61%, the S&P 500 down 0.47% and the NASDAQ down 0.72%.
Japan GDP. In the region the focus today will be on Q1 Japanese GDP which the market expects to lift to 1% from 0.2% the previous quarter, for an annualised 4.4%. The key driver is likely to be personal consumption ahead of the sales tax increase. Stocks were mixed in Asia yesterday, with the Asia Dow up 0.6%, both the Nikkei and Shanghai down 0.13% but Hong Kong up 1%.
Here comes the ECB. The European Central Bank is preparing a series of measures to help with the fragile recovery in the Eurozone. The bank is considering a potential negative interest rate – where the ECB charges banks a fee on deposits – to encourage banks to get money out and borrowed in the market. There’s also a series of measures to help small business. Details are likely to come in June.
Budget trouble. The Australian government has a problem with the budget. Some of the measures – the fuel levy increase and the new charge for seeing a doctor – are likely to be opposed in the Senate. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has raised the possibility of going to a double dissolution election if he can’t get the measures through.
Levy loophole. The deficit levy hits people on over $180,000 with an extra tax of 2c in the dollar for three years, but it turns out a loophole means that people can avoid it for 12 whole months with the strategic use of salary packaging. One tax professional told Business Insider it should unleash a “salary packaging frenzy”. Here’s how it works.
Rudd’s back. Kevin Rudd is before the insulation scheme Royal Commission this morning. Late yesterday a fascinating scenario developed at the commission with the former Prime Minister seeking to submit a prepared statement, but the government seeking to have only a redacted version released because it would breach Cabinet confidentiality. A fascinating legal argument ensued about the long-standing principle of the confidentiality of Cabinet discussions. The Australian reports the unredacted parts of the statement pins the blame for the scheme on the public servants who designed it. We’ll find out more today.
Power-generating roads. A US couple have developed a solar cell prototype that could be used to turn the roads of the world into sources of power. The roads in the continental US alone, if coated with these hexagonal panels, would deliver three times America’s electricity requirements. Here’s what it might look like:
The price of celebrity fights. TMZ reportedly shelled out $US250,000 for footage of the scrap between rapper Jay Z and his wife Beyonce’s sister, Solange. Repeat: $US250,000. For dodgy mobile footage of a security cam scuffle in a lift. The $200,000 News Corp paid for beautiful hi-res images of two of Australia’s media heavyweights punching on in the street suddenly seems like smart money.
Swearing is good for you. It helps you deal with stressful situations better. So drop an f-bomb today, and if someone pulls you up on it, tell them it’s f—ing science.
Think better. Successful people think differently to everyone else. We’ve got nine examples of how they do it, including having agendas rather than schedules, and being willing to borrow from the best.
Bonus item: Meet Social Media Man, an advice video prepared for Queensland public servants. Cringe factor 11. Enjoy:
Have a great day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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