Good morning, and welcome to Friday! Here’s what you need to know…
Tepper tipper. There was something of a sell-off in the US session overnight, with one analyst partly pinning the blame on hedge fund manager David Tepper, known for his bullishness on stocks, who said this week it was a “nervous time” and the market was “getting dangerous”. (He’s not the only one – Oaktree Capital’s Howard Marks says in the AFR this morning that a “day of reckoning” is coming and Australian super funds should be reassessing their love affair with stocks.)
Asia to follow. ASX futures are pointing to fall at the open, with the June futures contract down 30 points, following Wall St’s lead. Shanghai was down 1.12% yesterday on weaker-than-expected growth this week, and the Nikkei was down 0.75% yesterday following a big GDP print for Q1 (4.4% annualised), which reduces the prospect of further BoJ stimulus. The big number for Asian markets is likely to be Hong Kong GDP, and we also get Japan industrial production.
The Europe question. The patchiness of Europe’s recovery is clear from the Eurozone Q1 GDP data. The all really about Germany, which grew at 0.8% annualised, just beating 0.7% expected. Portugal clocked in a shocking 0.7% fall against -0.1% expected, while Italy was -0.1% against expectations of +0.2%. The sluggishness explains the big focus on the ECB meeting next month, in which we might see a negative interest rate announced. More here.
Vietnam China tensions. Five people have now been killed and 400 rioters detained over anti-Chinese protests in southern Vietnam. China has decided to build an oil rig in disputed maritime territory in the South China Sea. The Paracel Islands are claimed by Vietnam but controlled by China. Protesters have been burning and looting what they believe to be Chinese-controlled factories, and Chinese are now starting to leave the country. Analysts say this is the lowest point in China-Vietnam relations since the 1979 border war, in which thousands were killed.
How to change a company. One of the big challenges for an incoming CEO is making their mark on the company quickly. Satya Nadella is a study in this: in just three months, he launched Microsoft into the Internet of Things, ended the war with Apple, got developers making more apps for Windows, let go a couple of senior managers who weren’t all-in with his vision, and changed the Windows 8 business model for the better. The stock is at a 14-year high.
Without smoke… “Vaping”, or the use of e-cigarettes, is an important trend. It’s helping thousands of smokers kick the habit, and businesses, especially in the hospitality and airline industries, are having to figure out how to deal with people who use them. Can you do it in a bar? Is it OK to “vape” in the office? There’s a problem, though: they may be a “gateway device” for young people towards actual smoking. Chris Pash has taken a look at the issue here. Note the ads: who do you think they might be targeting?
Internal NYT website analysis. An internal memo about the Grey Lady’s web traffic makes for fascinating reading. So much that you wonder if the person who wrote it still has a job. It notes competitors are growing faster, there’s an “inescapable truth” that traffic to the home page is in decline, and, most witheringly, people don’t come back for Paul Krugman. Must-read for anyone in the media or digital industries.
Origin blue. It’s just two weeks to go until the first game in rugby league’s greatest series, the State of Origin. An extraordinary situation is unfolding in the NSW camp with coach Laurie Daley having to state his support for his assistant coach Matt Parish, who is going out with the ex-wife of powerful Sydney broadcaster Ray Hadley. Last week Hadley called the NSW CEO to “discuss” Parish, and meetings are being called to discuss the matter. Daley says, unsurprisingly, it is destabilising the campaign. The Daily Telegraph has the details.
Palin comparisons. Scientists have been researching how looks can affect a female politician’s success at the ballot box. They say it requires a delicate balance between voters’ perception of traditional femininity and political competence.
The gluten mystery. A key study that provided evidence of non-celiac gluten sensitivity has been challenged – by the authors of the original report. Gluten sensitivity is a big industry, with gluten-free options now a staple at many restaurants and in supermarkets. In this follow-up controlled study, subjects were asked to report pain, nausea and bloating – the typical symptoms in people who believe they’re allergic to gluten – and found it didn’t matter if there was gluten in their food or not.
Bonus item: It’s the question being debated in offices in Australia, with much pausing and replaying of the moment Chris Pyne said, “You’re such a [something]” across the Parliamentary chamber in Bill Shorten’s direction yesterday. Pyne says it was “grub”. Some people think it’s the c-bomb. (My two cents: there’s no way he would have.) But it sure is close…
Have a great weekend. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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