Good morning. Here comes Easter.
1. Expect a rally. With just four days of trade left, it looks like the ASX will head higher, the dollar, still up around 76 cents, less so. The Dow moved back into the black for 2016 last Friday, so Australia should open in an upbeat mood, but the question is whether it can crack the psychological barrier sitting at 5214. As usual, Greg McKenna has all the goss traders will be swapping in between a dissection of the F1 and Sam Burgess’ injury worries.
2. Here’s how the grand central bank conspiracy works. After the ECB, PBOC, Fed, RBNZ, et al, blindsided traders, they cooked up a theory that at the recent G20 meeting in Shanghai, a grand bargain in the vein of the Plaza or Louvre accords, to manipulate forex markets and the US dollar, was struck between central bankers. Marc Chandler chief currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman calls bollocks, arguing that:
The US and Europe could not press China (and others) to allow market mechanisms to drive foreign exchange prices, and then intervene when they did like what the markets had done. With the notable exception of the intervention after the Japan’s tsunami and nuclear accident, there was not G7 intervention in the foreign exchange market in recent years.
So stop it, before you go blind.
3. Either ore. What will iron ore do this week? One of Australia’s most volatile commodities is in a good mood again, with a three-day rally pushing the price for benchmark 62% fines up nearly 9%, with the 2016 gains now at 32%. Twiggy, Gina and the revenue-needy governments will no doubt be hoping things keep looking up.
4. Australian spending has stalled. CommBank’s monthly business sales indicator, which tracks credit and debit card transactions on CBA POS terminals is flat for the second month in a row, which the bank says has been progressively slowing since September 2015. Year-on-year growth is down from January’s 6.3% to 5.6% in February. One theory is that early election speculation could be to blame for wary spending, which means Turnbull’s now making it a slightly less exciting time to be alive.
5. American politics is different. There are no factional party heavyweights who can intervene, Australian style, when preselection candidates get restless. And even crazy moments, like when former federal minister Stephen Smith made a bizarre tilt for the WA Labor leadership last week, seem to sort themselves out with ruthless efficiency. In America there’s The Donald problem and the Republican establishment is girding its loins to deal with this runaway train of a presidential candidate, developing a 100-day plan to try and stop his tilt at the White House. It must hurt when you have to spend your campaign war chest trying to stop one of your own candidates from getting elected.
6. Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso did something remarkable yesterday. He completely destroyed his F1 car on lap 17 of Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix in a failed overtaking bid at around 300kmh, got airborne, flipped it and rolled the McLaren-Honda until not much more than the driver’s cage was left leaning against a safety wall. And then he got out and walked away. Walked away!
“It was a scary crash,” the Spanish master of understatement said. “Lucky to be here and happy to be here, and thankful to be here.”
The crash stopped the race for about 30 minutes, before the sheer brute force of the Mercedes AMG team delivered it a 1/2 finish – surprisingly race favourite Lewis Hamilton scored the latter, with teammate Nico Rosberg taking the win, and Sebastian Vettel’s seriously annoying Ferrari getting in the way of Our Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull car, which finished just off the podium in 4th.
The race made up for Saturday’s qualifying farce, which looks set to change before Bahrain in a fortnight.
7. Will 007 get a Tesla? Never mind crashes, Elon Musk’s put “Bioweapon Defence Mode” in the Tesla Model X SUV, which apparently keeps the germs out and scrubs the biosphere to hospital grade. Here’s what happened when Business Insider pressed the button.
8. This is what Australia looks like, financially. Do you live in Point Piper (just down the road from PM Mal Turnbull?), Edgecliff or Darling Point. If your letters are sent to 2027, then congrats, you’re a resident of the highest-earning postcodes in Australia with an average taxable income of $200,015 per year. Second place goes to Toorak in Victoria and the 3142 postcode with an average income of $167,407. Here are the country’s 10 richest postcodes according to ATO figures. Here are the 10 highest paying jobs in every state, and if you’re wondering how best to negatively gear all that money, here are the most expensive suburbs to buy a home in every state.
9. There’s a Hulk Hogan sex tape. No, we didn’t know that either, but Gawker did, uploaded an edited version in 2012, and on Friday, a Florida jury decided Hogan, aka Terry Bollea, deserves $US115 million in damages because Gawker published it online without his consent. There’s some seriously sordid details surrounding how it came into being in the first place, which we’d rather not go into, but the payout is considerably higher than the $55 million awarded to sports journalist Erin Andrews by a Tennessee jury just a fortnight ago over nude footage taken in a hotel by a stalker in 2008. Both payouts look like they’ll be subject to appeals.
10. What’s Easter without an airport strike? The public sector’s two-year pay fight with the government is reaching a climax with a series of rolling strikes starting today. Medicare, Centrelink, the ATO, Defence, the weather bureau, dept of Stats and even the PM’s own depart are walking off the job for 24 hours today. Immigration, border protection and agriculture workers will strike at international airports this Thursday, March 24, giving them a five day Easter long weekend. Who knows how that will pan out for travellers. The details of the dispute are here.
BONUS ITEM. Three very smart people, including Julie Stevanja from digital retail startup Stylerunner; Alistair Pearson, who leads PwC Consulting’s Insight Analytics team; and 1st Available CEO Klaus Bartsch talking about how to use data to improve business performance and sales at a special Business Insider breakfast in Sydney this Tuesday morning. There are still a couple of spaces left for this free, standup working breakfast, which runs from 8.30am-10am, so if you want some insights from some of the best, click here to register and see you tomorrow!
Have a great day!