Good morning, and welcome to Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know:
- China’s Q1 GDP is out at 12pm AEST, along with a string of other data that has the potential to move the markets today. The market is looking for growth of 7.3%, down from 7.7%, but there are other key numbers to watch: retail sales, fixed asset investment, and industrial production, all of which are expected to be up on previous reads. There’s a full preview here and we’ll have live coverage of the numbers today.
- US markets staged a strong rally in the second half of the session and closed up for the day. As has been the case with the swings in the markets over the past week, there wasn’t really an identifiable driver of the move, and the NASDAQ was once again the laggard, up 0.2% while the Dow was up 0.5% and the S&P500 up 0.6%. US CPI came in slightly ahead of expectations, at 0.2% for March (0.1% was expected) for an annualised rate of 1.5%. The rally has continued in futures trading after hours.
- The Nikkei was up 0.6% yesterday thanks to the US dollar recovering against the Yen, but the Hang Seng fell 1.60% while stocks in Shanghai dropped 1.39% after Chinese credit growth came in lower than expected. Australian market futures are pointing to a slight rise at the start of trade; we get production reports from resources giants BHP and Fortescue today.
- Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has outlined how he sees the forthcoming age of the “Internet of Things” playing out in the real business world. He talks about “the data culture” that will emerge when electronic chips are installed in inanimate objects everywhere, and says that “with the right tools, insights can come from anyone, anywhere, at any time. When that happens, organisations develop what we describe as a ‘data culture’.” The company launched three new products overnight, including a new database, SQL Server 2014, that can crunch vast amounts of data almost instantaneously.
- The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge start their Australian tour in Sydney today. They’re in the country for 10 days, and will take in Uluru and a visit to the Adelaide suburb of Elizabeth before finishing in Canberra next week. Here’s the itinerary.
- Two Australians were killed in a Predator drone strike in Yemen last year, it has emerged. The pair, in their twenties, were al-Qaida footsoldiers and were killed by a strike in which they were not the primary targets. The US notified Australia after the strike and identified them through DNA testing on bone fragments.
- It will take up to two months for the underwater drone looking for wreckage from MH370 to complete its scan of the designated search area. The scale of the challenge became clear on Monday when the US Navy’s Bluefin-21 drone had to resurface after reaching its depth limit of a crushing 4.5km.
- The Australian federal government officially gave the green light for a second airport in Sydney yesterday. It will be a $A2.5 billion project which will create some 60,000 jobs in western Sydney. It’s the first of a likely surge in similar projects to be announced by Tony Abbott, who wants to be known as “an infrastructure prime minister”. Two points to note: the project will largely be funded by private investment, and it is unlikely to have a curfew similar to Sydney’s current airport, where operations cease between 11pm and 6am to let people sleep in the built-up areas around the airport. This clears the way for more flexible flight scheduling to Sydney out of major hubs like Dubai, LA, Singapore and Hong Kong. Regardless of your opinion of Tony Abbott’s government, one thing it can’t be accused of is not doing anything.
- Here are 14 emerging technologies that will change the world, including context-aware computing, telepresence (imagine the impact on business travel!) and something called “botsourcing”. Some of these are viable technologies now and may be commercially viable within the next decade.
- The Melbourne Victory kept their Asian Champions League hopes alive last night with a 2-0 win over title defenders Guangzhou Evergrande – a huge win. In other sports news, Australian F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification from the Melbourne Grand Prix, where he finished second, has been upheld.
Bonus item: From the “why hasn’t someone done it before?” drawer, adding some basic CGI to scenes from one of golf’s major tournaments makes it look like crazy golf. Adam Scott sinks a killer through the windmill.
Have a cracking day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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