Good morning! There’s lots happening this Thursday morning.
1. Hundreds of police were involved in raids across Sydney and Brisbane in the largest counter-terrorism operation ever conducted in Australia. The knocks came on the door before dawn, with properties in 12 Sydney suburbs targeted as well as a handful in Brisbane. There were 800 police involved in the Sydney operation alone, and 15 people have been arrested following the execution of 25 search warrants. A further 70 officers were involved in Brisbane. Police said this morning that the plot disrupted involved the intention to carry out violent acts, specifically “random acts” against members of the public. A man will appear in court later today and police say the full nature of the plot will become apparent at that point. Police have also warned there will be an extremely heavy police presence on the streets of Sydney today.
2. The big event overnight was the FOMC statement and Janet Yellen’s press conference. There was something in it for everyone with the US dollar strengthening materially once traders decided that for all her usual dovishness Fed Chair Yellen was signalling the end to QE and the start of rate hikes – even if it is in the future. The retention of the “considerable time” quote was enough for stock traders to also take something from the FED and the Dow closed at a new all time high 17,157 for a gain of 0.15%, the Nasdaq rose 0.20% to 4,562 and the S&P pulled back from a high at 2,011 to close up 3 points to 2,002. And here’s the new “dot plot”, showing where members of the FOMC believe interest rates will be over the coming years:
3. Locally the SPI was up a few points overnight but the performance on the day looks as uncertain as the outlook for the Aussie dollar which has fallen more than a cent of this morning’s high and broken below 0.8950 this morning. Yesterday saw the physical ASX break lower and the pressure will be on in trade today. And the Aussie VIX has spiked, indicating the market’s expecting a rise in price volatility:
4. Scotland votes on its future today. The gloves have been off in the final hours of the campaign, with talk of a leadership challenge against David Cameron if the Yes vote carries the day, an allegations of bullying by Scottish nationalists. The polls say it’s too close to call. Results will start coming in tomorrow morning at around 11am AEST.
5. The list of Australia’s 10 best-paid CEOs is out. CSL’s Brian McNamee tops the list after the costs associated with his departure at the end of FY13 are factored in. ANZ’s Mike Smith is the top of the bank CEOs, with his package just topping $10 million. The full list is here, with a notable omission being CBA’s Ian Narev.
6. A star is dead. A real one, which is at least eight times bigger than our own Sun. Astronomers spotted a Type II supernova, the moment a giant star runs out of fuel, stops burning and collapses in on itself, and you can watch it’s spectacular light show too. The online Slooh observatory will broadcast the show on Saturday, starting at 5pm. And in other space news, a couple of Aussies found a light-eating black hole. Woo.
7. Richard Branson prank calls his own office. In his new book, the billionaire admitted he checked up on his customer service employees by calling up and pretending to have a complaint. Only he’s not very good at it, and says his assistant could tell when it was him trying to mask his voice. But he makes a good point about how a customer who’s happy with the way a complaint is handled can become loyal for life.
8. iOS 8 is out and you’ll need a lot of free space to download it. Here’s the step-by-step guide you need. Reports are that it works smoothly all the way back to the iPhone 4, so here’s another great guide, this time showing you all the ways iOS 8 can make your old iPhone feel like a new iPhone again.
9. On the subject of iOS 8, we haven’t confirmed this, but if you can, please let us know immediately. Because it’s great:
10. Larry Page wants to fix airports. As anyone who has ever flown in or out of Sydney will attest, airports are one of the worst things about modern life. The Google founder believes inefficient airports are major problem, rather than air travel itself. He’s got people working on designing a perfect airport.
Stay safe. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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