10 Things You Need To Know This Morning In Australia

Good morning! Unless you’re a tunicorn (more on that later).

1. First, to the markets, where in Asia, the Nikkei’s volatility continued with another 2% plus move – the third in a row. The Nikkei rose 2.65% to 15,196 with the Yen back above 107 and following on from the solid lead in US stocks the previous night. The Hang Seng was up 1.37%. In Shanghai however, stocks dipped 0.54% to 2,327 and traders will be eyeing the preliminary measure of the October HSBC PMI which is due to be released at 12.45pm AEDT today.

2. The Aussie dollar is off the highs for the night at 0.8815 and sits at 0.8777 this morning but it has outperformed the other major currencies.

3. There might be some good news for Australia’s listed coal miners today with Newcastle Coal rallying 1.86%. The benchmark thermal coal price on the globe, it’s been in free-fall over the past 12 months, dropping from $85.20 a tonne last December to a low of $64.00 last week. Last night it rallied 1.86% for a gain of $1.20 a tonne to close at $65.75 a tonne. Joe Hockey yesterday suggested coal would be exempted if Australia can finalise its free trade agreement with China, so maybe sentiment for the black diamond has turned.

4. On the data front, the NAB’s quarterly business survey – the one with a larger number of respondents – is out but all eyes will be on the Chinese HSBC manufacturing PMI. Tonight there is a raft of preliminary manufacturing PMIs around the globe and retail sales in the UK are important. Also out are jobless claims in the US, which have been reflective of an improving economy lately.

5. The cost of holding a global summit. This table was built in 2006 for the G20 finance ministers’ meeting in Melbourne for $70,000:

The table costs twice as much to move as it’s worth. Picture: Getty Images

So it’s good to see we’re recycling it for the G20 in Brisbane next month, right? Sadly, wrong. It will cost $36,000 to renovate… and another $150,000 to move to Brisbane. Note from taxpayers: BUY A NEW TABLE.

6. The new Telstra. They say it takes 21 days for an individual to break a habit. So how long do you reckon it will take for a big corporation like Telstra to change almost everything it does? Telstra Boss David Thodey said it’s going to have to happen quickly if the company stands a chance in what is a very different marketplace and while he’s fond of the old legacy, it just ain’t gonna work. He said part of the solution for Telstra is changing the way it innovates to be more like a startup. It’s been pretty active on the deal front too, so it looks like the telco’s on its way to breaking some old habits.

7. Gold is old. The eternal safe haven hasn’t moved a lot for a while. And as Warren Buffet said in 1998:

“Gold gets dug out of the ground in Africa or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head.”

So here’s our list of 11 other items that people use to store their wealth, and some – like wine and stamps – are more lucrative than gold’s ever been.

8. The Spocks are coming. This is a little scary – Stephen Hsu, Vice-President for Research and Professor of Theoretical Physics at Michigan State University, thinks we’ll soon be able to engineer humans that make Einstein look like Todd Carney. He thinks that by tweaking our genomes, we can ramp up our brain activity by about 100 times. But while smart people are great, building them before birth would be something only the wealthy elite could afford. As Hsu soberly warns at the end of his article, it could lead to “inequality of a kind never before experienced in human history.”

9. Take photo, solve math. File this one under Why Didn’t I Think Of That? PhotoMath is an app that lets you take a pic of a maths problem, highlight it, then it does the hard work for you. It “only” handles maths problems that include fractions, decimal numbers, linear equations, and several functions like logarithms, but these days, that’s more than most either can, or want to, handle. It looks incredible, and even more wondrous is the fact it’s available on Windows Phone (and iOS, obviously) before the Android version drops.

10. Tunicorns are real. Is what a Queensland fisherman said when he reeled in a tuna with a single horn. Kim Haskell told the NT News it was one of the strangest sights he’s seen in all his years of fishing, which begs the question – what were the stranger ones? Look:

Picture: Kim Haskell

Haskell’s brother shared the photo with ABC yesterday. It’s actually a dogfish tuna that had a run-in with a sailfish. From the look of the 40cm sailfish bill snapped off in its head, the tuna won. Up to a point, anyway – when Haskell released the tuna, four sharks ate it.

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