Hello and welcome to Monday. It’s Oscars day!
1. The most glamorous awards night in the world kicks off here at midday (AEDT). We’ll have all the live coverage, so look away if you don’t want to know. Until then, here’s the full list of nominees, here’s what the past 42 Best Actress winners have worn to the Oscars and here’s what Los Angeles’ Hollywood Boulevard looks like before and after the red carpet’s laid down.
Now, to business:
2. Locally, futures on the ASX rose 14 points to 5,862 after a down day to close the week Friday. The fall Friday of 0.4% masked some big percentage moves for individual stocks. In Asia, it’s still Chinese New Year holidays in much of the region but the Nikkei closed up 0.37% to 18,332. That’s another 15-year high.
3. The Aussie closed around 0.7840ish but with a data drought this week – save for Capex Thursday – its fate is tied to offshore events. Euro sits this morning around 1.14 and sterling is at 1.54. The US dollar strength has pushed USDJPY back above 119 to 119.20 this morning while USDCAD is back above 1.25 at 1.2524.
4. Your week in data kicks off with Japan CPI and we’ll get a better idea of where the big global economies are with that and UK and US GDPs on Friday. Locally, besides Capex on Thursday, it’s as close to a data drought as you can get here in Australia with only the release of the Q4 Wages Index, construction work done and private credit. Here’s Westpac’s great summary of all the key events and data releases for the week.
5. The housing construction boom looks like it’s finally winding down. New dwelling starts are forecast to increase for a third consecutive year but this is likely to be the peak of the boom, according to Australia’s major builders. Growth of 7.7% in 2014-15 would take commencements to a record level of 195,936. And in a rare win, the biggest growth will be in the Apple Isle with a forecast surges of 24.2% for Tasmania. There’s declines in for SA, WA, NT and the ACT though, and that will bring starts down for the next years.
6. Australians are still spending though. At more than 6% per annum, it defied weak consumer sentiment in 2014. While January’s data showed that spending continued to decelerate with a rise of just 2%, the annual rate of 6.8% is still solid in terms of real growth (after inflation) and much stronger than the five-year average of 2.7%.
7. Shark Tank USA erupted in a pretty full-on blue this week which saw Mark Cuban and two other sharks storm off the set. It wasn’t staged, either, and it’s the first time things have genuinely got personal. In a nutshell, the pitch was solid – a database company that tracks $100m in unused US scholarships every year and finds matches with students for a price. Sharks Lori Greiner and Daymond John jumped in early, but it was way too early for the others. Here’s what really got them upset.
8. Secret codes are the best codes, and someone just blew the lid off one used by Mexican drug cartels. In a recent money-laundering case in Chicago, one Homeland Security special agent testified against 32 members of various Mexican drug cartels who often used Blackberry Messenger, or BBM. Here, Christina Sterbenz gives us a lesson on what one member “Walt Disney” means when he texts “I have diarrhoea” and “I like your sister”.
9. Where’s Jolly? The Block crowned the winner of its bathroom challenge but one half of the pair was nowhere to be seen. Darren Jolly, ex-Melbourne, Sydney and Collingwood ruckman was taken to hospital when he suffered breathing problems at a cafe just after he and his wife Dea finished their bathroom. Jolly has recently opened up about a benign brain cyst he recently had surgery on but the breathlessness was related to pneumonia in both lungs. Dea will carry on solo on The Block this week.
10. Anna Meares is the greatest female track cyclist ever. The 31-year-old won gold in the keirin in Paris yesterday – her 11th world title. It was good enough for former French president Nicolas Sarkozy to drop in and personally congratulate the champ. It’s been a golden weekend for the girls, with Annette Edmondson claiming her second gold of the meet in the multi-discipline omnium. And on Saturday, Rebecca Wiasak won the individual pursuit 3,000 metres world title. At 30, Wiasak is the oldest Australian female debutant at the track cycling worlds.
BONUS ITEM: Whoa. Check out the monster barra they’re catching up near Cairns. Whoa. Check out the, er, bong in the bottom right of the Cairns Post pic that didn’t make it to the online version.
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