Good morning, and welcome to Tuesday! Here’s what you need to know.
Markets are up. Trading volume was at its lowest level of the year overnight on the NYSE, with many markets around the world enjoying the Easter Monday holiday. The hard-working US markets were still at it, and the Dow (+0.2%) and the S&P500 (+0.4%) finished up for the session while the NASDAQ was up just over 0.6%.
Inflation week. It’s only a three-day week in Australia with the ANZAC Day public holiday on Friday, but it’s a potentially mammoth one on the economic calendar, with Q1 CPI out tomorrow at 11.30am AEST. The market expects 0.8% for the quarter giving an annualised rate of 3.2%. This is outside the RBA’s target band of 2-3% for inflation through the cycle; if it prints above 3% and prices keep rising at the same rate over the coming months the current “period of stability in interest rates” the bank has settled on will be under pressure and rate increases will be back on the table. The other big data point this week is HSBC Flash manufacturing PMI for China, also out tomorrow.
RBA tension. The AFR reports this morning that the Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision to switch to that more neutral policy stance has angered the government, and that this has been made clear to the bank. The change in policy has helped the Aussie dollar’s rally this year with the signal that the period of rate cuts was likely over.
Budget doctoring. It’s three weeks today until Australia’s federal Budget and we can expect the leaking and expectation management – probably better termed “softening up” – to ratchet up in the coming weeks. Today it’s reported there’ll be a $6 payment for all bulk-billing visits to GPs (currently no money changes hands at all). With the revenue collected and the reduction in some unnecessary visits it’s expected to save around $750 million over four years – a drop in the ocean of the nation’s budget deficit.
Samsung’s social monitoring. Over the weekend we published an interview with Arno Lenoir, Samsung’s CMO in Australia, where he revealed the company constantly monitors social commentary about the brand, and shared his use of a marketing framework developed by Google known as the Zero Moment of Truth – in which purchasing decisions are made long before going into a store – as a way of thinking about modern consumers. You can read it here.
Packer rolls again. Australian billionaire James Packer is sizing up a potential $2 billion investment in a loss-making (yes, they exist!) Las Vegas casino. Packer was burned in a previous investment made just before the GFC.
Qatar World Cup disasters. Some of the appalling costs of the 2022 FIFA World Cup going to Qatar are starting to become apparent. There are concerns about worker deaths in the thousands, and entire cities that are supposed to host games don’t exist. On top of that, it now looks like the timetable might need to be shifted to the winter because a summer schedule would be too dangerous in the heat: this has the potential to throw the European winter leagues into absolute chaos. More here.
Moyes’ doom: Speaking of chaos in football, there’s feverish speculation that Man Utd manager David Moyes will be fired within the next 24 hours, following the team’s disastrous (for this team, anyway) finishing position in the Premier League, 13 points behind Liverpool. There’s more at Sky Sports.
Stowaway miracle. The 16-year-old Californian runaway who hitched a ride in a jet’s wheel well to get to Hawaii was incredibly lucky to survive. The conditions at cruising altitude have been likened to spending hours outdoors at the South Pole wearing only street clothes.
Bonus item: Meetings are a necessary evil – try these tips from top executives for making them better.
Have a top day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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