Good morning, and welcome to Monday. Here’s what you need to know…
1. The Australian economy has a problem. ANZ and BAML’s Saul Eslake have joined the chorus of uncertainty about the health of the nation’s economy and they are increasingly pointing directly at the federal budget and its destructive impact on consumer sentiment as the problem. The issue for Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey is that a budget designed to secure the economy in the long term could end up damaging it in the short term because the government has scared people so badly that it will significant affect consumer spending. The RBA also published some research last week on the downside risks emerging in the economy thanks to the hit to consumer sentiment. Greg McKenna has more here.
2. The week ahead is reasonably quiet on the data front but all the attention in Australia and the region will be on the “flash” PMIs out this morning, especially for China. The market’s expecting the China PMI reading to tick up slightly from 49.4 yo 49.7. This is still in contraction territory (being below 50) but would be a further indication that the Chinese economy is stabilising. Tomorrow we get house price data in the US, and on Wednesday there’s China consumer sentiment and final US Q1 GDP, while on Friday, there’s Japanese inflation. Full details here.
3. The federal government will reintroduce its bill to dismantle the carbon tax today. Meanwhile, George W. Bush’s former treasury secretary and previously CEO of Goldman Sachs, Hank Paulson, has written an op-ed in the New York Times explaining why he believes the US needs a carbon tax. He makes the argument that the same kinds stresses that built up in the banking system that led to the GFC (excess stress in the system, flawed policy approaches) are now building up in the climate system.
4. To the markets and the ASX had a rough end to the week, finishing down 0.9% on Friday after a wave of selling that took hold in the afternoon. The main US bourses were up 0.2% in the session on Friday, and also iron ore rose as well, which should buoy the big miners and the local market overall today. Futures are up 10 points for the open to 5,391.
5. Meares crash. James Packer’s ex-wife, Jodhi Meares, has been in a car accident at Bellevue Hill in Sydney, rolling her Range Rover and reportedly returning a blood alcohol reading of 0.181, three times over the limit. She was also driving on a suspended licence, if she’s charged with offences the next step could be prison time for the fashion designer and former model.
6. INTJ or GTFO. Everyone knows the Myers-Briggs personality tests. But there are a range of questions over its accuracy and scientific validity. For example, there’s a 50% chance that you’ll test as another personality type if you take it six weeks apart. Drake Bauer has more here.
7. Private equity is looking at Channel Ten. The company has been struggling for years, cutting costs and changing schedules – its shares were getting smashed again late last week – and now Providence Equity is having a look at it with a view to taking the entire operation private.
8. The “hand of God” is back. Did Diego Maradona help his national side win against Iran by leaving the stadium? Argentina was tied 1-1 with Iran when Maradona left just before fulltime. Seconds later, more Lionel Messi brilliance gave Argentina the win. Argentine FA President Julio Grondona called it proof of Maradona’s “jinx” on the team. And here, during his commentary spot on Venezuela’s Telesur broadcaster, is Maradona’s official reply – “Jinx this”:
9. The new app you need to know about is Yo, which just allows you to send a simple, one-word message (“Yo”) to contacts. It’s popular in emerging markets but its popularity has rocketed globally in recent days. It might seem stupid at first blush but there are simple ways of communicating with it (e.g. two Yos means you’re running late) that make it useful. Here’s the inside story.
10. Clickhole launched early last month and if you haven’t checked it out yet, here’s some great reasons to tune in immediately. It’s the site you’ve been waiting for if a) you’re a fan of The Onion and b) you don’t ever want to see a BuzzFeed, Upworthy or ViralNova stories shared on your Facebook feed ever again. If you’re going to get ridiculous clickbait headlines, they may as well be “6 Heads You Never Realized Are Also on Mount Rushmore” and “10 Hilarious Chairs That Think They’re People”, right?
Have a cracking day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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