10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Happy 35th anniversary, Rebel scum. Picture: Disney

Well hello, Friday.

1. The world’s biggest solar technology company got absolutely slaughtered this week. Hanergy Thin Film Power stocks were slashed nearly in half before trading was suspended. Founder Li Hejun lost $15 billion in just minutes, but the story behind how he made it is equally incredible. Or extremely dodgy. Almost all of the company’s revenues were sales to Hanergy Group, the parent company, and almost all of the surge in the stock had occurred during the last minutes of trading. Mike Bird has more on that here.

2. Meerkats! On the local yesterday, the recovery in the ASX continued. Feedback from some brokers was that a lot of traders had been watching the support zone we’ve been talking about over the last week or so. With the close of 5662 yesterday, the market is 100 points off support and 100 points below the current resistance level. With futures up 19 points, it should be a better day. Should.

3. If you thought Li Hejun’s loss was bad, Goldin Financial Holdings Limited dropped a whopping 60% yesterday. That may have cost billionaire Pan Sutong a smidge under $US21 billion. But the remarkably, the overall market is unaffected – a good sign for the overall strength of what has felt like a rampant speculative rally. This week was solid and the Shanghai composite is up a very modest 1.99% for the month. But with more hopes of stimulus coming after the weak ‘flash’ manufacturing PMI yesterday, it’s going to be hard for the bears to get any traction.

4. Tesla’s home battery is coming and interestingly, Elon Musk sees Germany and Australia as the biggest initial markets for what he hopes with be an off-the-grid revolution. Maybe that’s because in the US, the cost of the battery alone means households won’t save a cent, especially where utilities are allowing people to plug solar panels directly into the grid to reduce their energy bill. Sound familiar?

5. “There has never been more margin” in home loan lending, Mortgage Choice CEO John Flavell told us. He says the fall in wholesale borrowing costs and deposit rates would continue to make home loan lending extremely profitable for the banks. Yet there’s evidence the majors and Macquarie are starting to tighten up and as Westpac says in this note, trying to do “the right thing for customers and balancing the needs between all in the housing market”. So it seems banking regulator APRA’s “serious conversations” with lenders is finally showing some results.

6. Samsung is in serious danger. At least, it’s mobile phones division is, with sales of the Galaxy S6 lagging about 10 per cent that of last year’s S5 in the same time frame. It’s got Apple’s big phone attacking from above, and Xiaomi’s budget beater hitting it below the belt. But the real problem is China. Oof:

There’s even more woeful news here.

7. It hasn’t been a great couple of weeks for the Commies, with their new tank breaking down before the big Victory Day parade, and a couple of failed satellite launches. So now’s a good time to look back on the most spectacular Russian military failures of all time.

8. Australia keeps winning. This time, it’s in the form of a deep sea mushroom-like species found about 1000m down on the sea floor off Point Hicks, Victoria. Congratulations, Dendrogramma enigmatica, you’re in the the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s 2015 Top Ten Species list. (Alongside the Chicken from Hell.)

9. VIVID is here. The world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas, kicks off tonight with the centrepiece being some jets spraying water 30 metres into the air to create an amazing laser light show onto the water at Darling Harbour. All set to a soundtrack by Sydney band The Presets. It’s also the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, so it better be good. Here’s your complete preview.

10. Want to get rich but can’t be bothered with schools and getting off the couch? Here’s the best 12 online courses to take if you want to make bags of cash while everyone thinks you’re just playing Candy Crush.

BONUS ITEM: ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ came out 35 years ago today. Here’s the original trailer, which nowadays seems unnecessarily long.

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