Good morning, and welcome to Tuesday. Here’s what you need to know:
Stocks climb. It was a nasty day on the ASX yesterday, with the market down more than 1%, led by the miners being dragged down by falls in the iron ore price. But there might be a strong rebound today, with ASX futures up 20 points overnight, pointing to a strong open following the US session. The Dow was up 0.1%, the S&P 500 0.3%, and the Nasdaq was up 0.8%.
Yen drag. The Nikkei continues to be weighed down by Yen strength. It fell 0.64% yesterday while stocks in Shanghai fell just over 1% on weaker housing data. It’s quiet day for data in the region.
Pfizer failure. Pfizer’s final bid for a mammoth takeover of British pharmaceutical AstraZeneca at 55 pounds a share – which valued the British pharmaceutical company at $118 billion – was rejected. AstraZeneca shares fell 12.0% on the news.
Hockey faces the crowd. As John Howard would attest, doing a solo appearance on ABC TV’s Q&A has its risks. Treasurer Joe Hockey did a reasonable job last night of selling the budget to an audience of anxious and upset voters. The show started with a lot of jeering and guffawing at some of his answers but by the end it was just sombre and civilised. Here’s five things we learned.
AAA rating risk. The hard politics of the budget are tricky for the Australian government, with crossbench support in the Senate required to pass the budget measures and the minor parties flagging opposition to various elements. Standard & Poor’s has indicated it needs to see progress on getting the budget through, because if deficits started to become something that were more acceptable, that would might trigger a review of Australia’s AAA credit rating.
ECB easing. A Bloomberg survey has found 90% of economists believe Mario Draghi will cut interest rates next month. Rabobank economist Elwin de Groot told Bloomberg that Draghi would “risk his reputation, and a significant strengthening of the euro, if the ECB doesn’t follow through in June.” There has been speculation that we could see a negative interest rate introduced on central bank deposits.
Supercell formation. Storm chasers in the US have captured terrifying video of a storm supercell forming in Wyoming. The full video is here, and it shows the storm swirling to a perfect cylindrical base. Here’s a brief excerpt:
Edelsten’s new squeeze. Disgraced millionaire doctor Geoffrey Edelsten was the talk of Melbourne yesterday when he attended the funeral of AFL great Tommy Hafey with a 24-year-old blonde, New York model Gabi Grecko. There was a report going around last night that Edelsten had issued a statement saying Grecko was not a prostitute. She’s not bothered about it: she’s put photos of all of the press coverage up on her racy Instagram account.
MERS alert. The death toll from the MERS virus has now reached 169 in Saudi Arabia, where it was first detected in 2012. At least two cases have now been detected in the US, and there are concerns that this deadly virus with a 30% fatality rate could be the next global pandemic. One of the risks could be from travelling doctors, Reuters reports, because a feature of the virus is that there are no symptoms for 14 days after initial contraction.
Top drop. Australia’s best red wine is a Shaw and Smith Adelaide Hills Shiraz, according to judges at London’s International Wine challenge. It’s a widely available wine that retails for only $40, so form an orderly queue.
Bonus item: Hollywood megastar Brad Pitt tosses other Hollywood megastar Matthew McConaughey a beer across the street on the opposite balcony. As you do:
Have a cracker day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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