Good morning and welcome to Friday. But first:
1. Surely Asia will have a good day today. Yesterday’s selling in Shanghai, which saw the index down 1.06% to 2,302, is an interesting take on the HSBC Flash PMI which was slightly better than expected at 50.4. The Hang Seng fell 0.3% and the Nikkei was down 0.37% to 15,139. The Nikkei should love both the US move and the fact that the USDJPY surged more than 100 points to 108.29, making the Japanese economy and exports more competitive.
2. China’s PMI report yesterday could have been worse. But it’s not great, says Sam Ro at BI US. Its Flash Manufacturing PMI index climbed to 50.4 in October, up from 50.2 in September and better than the 50.2 expected by economists, but the problem is it’s been trending down for four years now. And at 50.2, it’s now just above the break-even mark of 50. Barclays’ Jian Chang says the real concern is “the drivers of growth continue to come from the external sector; domestic activity remains soft”, which isn’t encouraging.
3. The Aussie dollar is becalmed but at the bottom of its 0.8750/0820 range for the week at 0.8757 this morning. It is resting on a knife edge. Iron ore is off with the Dec 2014 contract losing 46 cents a tonne to $79.04 but Dec 2015 lost $2.03 to $77.06, not a good sign for prices in the future. Newcastle coal settled at $65.45, down 5 cents.
4. On the data front today, Chinese house prices and leading index are out in Asia and then UK GDP tonight. Over the weekend we get the results of the European bank stress tests and then next week we get the FOMC meeting and maybe, just maybe, the end of QE.
5. Did you pirate Dallas Buyers Club? Its makers want to have a word with you. Or to be more precise, want to extract $US5000 from you. The studio behind the Oscar-winning film, Dallas Buyers Club LLC, has already filed 66 lawsuits in the US, targeting more than 1000 people alleged to have downloaded the film via torrent client, BitTorrent. In Australia, iiNet famously beat Hollywood in a four-year battle to protect its clients and it’s sticking to its guns this time around, too.
6. Sydney – the ghost CBD? Sure, it’s a bustling place during the day but Sydney has long struggled to sustain that energy past a certain time of day when the majority of the city’s office workers retreat to the suburbs. That’s not going to improve if it keeps courting the wave of foreign investors snapping up residential space for lock-and-leave investments. David Rolls should know – when he was at Lend Lease, he helped shaped more of the Sydney’s skyline than most and now he said the CBD is in danger of losing its vibrancy.
7. The biggest mover. Caterpillar announced it Q3 earnings overnight, and they smashed expectations. Adjusted earnings jumped to $US1.72 per share, which was much stronger than the $US1.35 expected by analysts. Good news for all, because as a global supplier of construction and mining equipment, Caterpillar is considered a reliable bellwether of economic activity. Sadly, BI can’t tell you much more than that, because the presentation was chockfull of awesome clips of tractors doing stuff.
8. Brilliant CEOs teaching themselves amazing things. Yesterday we learnt Mark Zuckerberg gave a 30-minute address in Mandarin, which he’s learning in his spare time. So yeah, Elon Musk taught himself rocket science. Former employee at SpaceX Jim Cantrell is writing a book about his time at the then-startup. He remembers getting a cold call in 2001 from “some guy named Ian Musk was saying that he was an Internet billionaire”. Soon after, he loaned Musk some textbooks which he said Musk can now quote “verbatim”. “He is the smartest guy I’ve ever met,” Cantrell says. “He’s absolutely, frickin’ amazing. I don’t even think he sleeps.”
9. More about overachievers. If all that inspires you to be CEO, here’s three things you need to know which could help you make it to the top by the time you’re 30.
10. It’s Friday, so let’s rub it in a little more with 11 of the world’s most luxurious private jets. From Jackie Chan to Roman Abramovich, nothing says you’ve made it quite like flying long-haul solo in a La-Z-Boy. Not surprisingly, the Sultan of Brunei doesn’t muck about, laying down a quick $100 mill for one of those Boeings with the upstairs bit. For the rest of us, here’s a great reason why you should be booking all your expensive flights on a Sunday.
BONUS ITEM: Steve Ballmer goes nuts:
No, it’s not because Microsoft just announced an extremely healthy earnings report. Nor is it because BI confirmed Microsoft tried to buy LinkedIn a few years ago for a couple of billion, but failed. It’s because someone on his NBA team, the LA Clippers, just scored. In a preseason game.
But hey, a man has to be in tune with his emotions, right? Have a great weekend.
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