Good morning! Here’s what’s happening…
1. Stocks grind higher. The Dow and the S&P 500 were up a bit, 0.4% and 0.3%, while the Nasdaq shed 0.02% in the US session. The main economic news overnight was the release of the minutes from the Fed’s July meeting at which some members took the view that labour market conditions were starting to return to normal, and which could lead to a rise in interest rates “sooner rather than later”. It’s a good reminder that wages growth is the key tell-tale to watch in the US economy at the moment.
2. Asia was largely flat yesterday but ASX futures are up 19 points to 5,625 ahead of the start of trade. The HSBC China flash PMI is out today – always one of the region’s most closely-watched data points, but especially so after some slightly softer-than-expected numbers last week out of Australia’s biggest trading partner. After the PMI number, the focus of global markets will be on Fed chair Janet Yellen’s speech at the Jackson Hole in Wyoming tomorrow.
3. Stopping ISIS is going to take a full-scale war. The US rhetoric has suddenly changed gear on ISIS, with Obama describing it as a “cancer” with “no place in the 21st century”, while John Kerry said that it “must be destroyed”. The problem is that ISIS has proved itself a determined and adaptable, and destroying it will take boots on the ground – potentially many tens of thousands of troops.
4. Look out for jobs going at The Australian, where the average wage bill last year was $174,000, according to an eye-watering leaked financial document from News Corp published yesterday by Crikey. It showed the scale of job cuts and revenue losses at the media company during its tumultuous 2012-13 financial year. The talk of the town in the media industry yesterday was the wage bill at the Oz, with one wag observing that as long as it didn’t go up too much this year, the average Oz staffer would have just escaped the deficit tax in the federal budget that kicked in at $180,000. News, somewhat ominously, described the information as “illegally circulated”, while highlighting that company performance has improved since.
5. The 50 stocks hedge funds love the most. FactSet is out with its quarterly report on which 50 stocks are most widely held by the 50 largest hedge funds. According to their research, these funds increased their equity exposure by 9.8% in the second quarter, so there’s good investment advice to be shared here.
6. The New York Post’s Aussie editor broke Twitter. Col Allan is no stranger to controversy and was always the most likely to not shy away from running an image of US hostage James Foley with a knife to his throat on the front page. Twitterers are outraged and want the Post and it’s crosstown rival, the Daily, which ran a similar treatment, banned from the microblogging service.
7. Ten years of Google. The search tool that changed the world went public 10 years ago yesterday. Just because she can – via internet time portal The Internet Archive – BI US’s Jillian D’Onfro went back to 1997 for some great images of Google’s evolution. And as starters go, it doesn’t come much more basic than this:
8. Gourmet Traveller’s annual restaurant guide is out, and Victoria wins again. Top of the heap is Ben Shrewry’s Attica in suburban Ripponlea, with Dan Hunter’s Brae, in Birregurra, 90 minutes southwest of Melbourne, named new restaurant of the year and regional restaurant of the year. Overall, Sydney can hang its hat on receiving the most three-star accolades, with five restaurants getting the top honour compared to Victoria’s four.
9. It’s wrong, but sometimes you have to work on no sleep. At all, whether it’s because you’re a workaholic or maybe even a little bit alcoholic. So here’s how to get through it! These six tactics are all scientifically proven, but the first rule is always “Get some sleep”. Otherwise you’ll die, or worse, become immoral.
10. Aussie chases giant desert tornado? Most likely not, but we love it all the same. This video was posted to YouTube by one Terry Tufferson, who snagged 26-odd million views back in June with a post of a man “fighting off a great white” in Sydney Harbour. Here’s his latest offering, which is at the very least entertaining… and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Have a cracking day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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