Welcome to your smart, fast start to the day. First, the markets:
1. Australian stocks are set to open higher today after both had a better night after the Fed intimated they are unconcerned about inflation which gave stocks in the US a lift. SPI 200 futures are signalling a 23 point lift but with thoughts of an RBA rate hike receding and Iron rallying today, the ASX might do better than that.
2. In Asia it is very much range trading with the Nikkei managing to hold above the recent lows over the past three days. Even though it closed down 0.24% at 14,042, it was actually up from the open and then the midday lows. In Hong Kong, stocks barely moved while Shanghai rose 0.84% to 2025. All eyes today will look to the HSBC Flash Manufacturing PMI release.
3. Tony Abbott has apologised for his lewd wink during an on-air interview with a sex hotline worker yesterday. Abbott winked at 774 talkback host Jon Faine when 67-year-old caller Gloria told him what she did for a living, but was caught on camera. “I shouldn’t have done it, Karl,” he told the Today Show host this morning.
4. Businessman David Gonski isn’t happy about the Abbott Government all but ripping up his blueprint for school funding, written for the former Labor Government. He came out strongly against projected $5 billion per annum cuts in a speech last night, saying in 2017 “the concept of aspiration ends”.
5. Where have all the anti-frackers gone? While in Australia, there’s still plenty of heat in the CSG debate, US leaders have shown virtually no interest in slowing the oil shale boom. That’s not entirely surprising – Rhodium Group’s Trevor Houser says it’s “worked like a government stimulus”, but without anyone in Washington having to get involved.
6. If you hate Twitter, you’ll love actress Emma Thompson. She gave the massively popular microblog and pretty much all of social media an almighty serve overnight, saying people who use it are part of “the lemming generation”. Here’s a taste:
We invent stuff, we just fling it out there, we let anyone use it. A three-year-old could f—— be on Twitter. A three-year-old! And then they go on and on and on about everything that there is.
7. There’s a group of sea-faring Southeast Asian nomads called the Bajau Laut who survived the 2004 tsunami because they were in tune with the ocean. They live their entire lives on it and this slideshow captures both the beauty and dark side to their lives.
8. China has jumped in and started building its own jet airplanes. It tried and failed in the 70s, but yesterday rolled out the first of an estimated need for 650 planes to service a $780 billion industry. Yes, that’s $780 billion.
9. If you ever wanted to know what it’s like to be Roger Federer playing tennis, Google Glass can show you. Be warned: Running around chasing a tennis ball makes for some shaky footage. Don’t watch if you’re susceptible to any kind of motion sickness.
BONUS ITEM: Star Wars Episode VII filming is under way in Abu Dhabi and director JJ Abrams just gave fans their first look at the set and an alien character. Along with the chance to be in the movie itself. Here’s how you can live that dream:
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