Good morning! It’s CPI day in Australia. Here’s what you need to know…
1. The theory of direct Russian involvement in the missile that shot down MH17 has hit a snag. US intelligence officials gave a briefing a short time ago in which many believed they were going to outline a connection between the Russians and the pro-Russian separatists who fired the SA-11 missile from a BUK launcher in disputed Ukranian territory. At the briefing, the officials said they didn’t have any direct evidence of Russian involvement and “didn’t know if any Russians were present at the missile launch, and they wouldn’t say that the missile crew was trained in Russia,” adding “the most likely explanation was the plane was shot down by mistake.” Instead, they said Russia likely “created the conditions” for the incident Russia “created the conditions” for the incident by arming the separatists. More here.
2. Australian Q2 CPI is out at 11.30am AEST. The market’s expecting 0.5% headline and 0.6% core increases for the quarter. This should take the inflation rate to 3%, at the top of the RBA’s target 2-3% target band, something which gives inflation a special role in the setting of Australian interest rates. The x-factor at work is the record warm May and the budget-linked fall in consumer confidence, which hit some retailers (and Qantas!) hard and may have trigger some price reductions. We’ll have live coverage when the number’s out.
3. And just on that budget hit to confidence, Joe Hockey wanted to go even harder, according to a new reports this morning. The AFR says Madonna King’s book “Hockey: Not Your Average Joe” claims the Treasurer wanted the deficit levy to kick in on incomes far below the $180,000 finally decided upon, and also wanted the pension reductions to start sooner. Hockey apparently holds Prime Minister Tony Abbott responsible “for taking a more cautious approach to appease voters”.
4. To the markets and it was a solid night in US trade with some of the geopolitical risk from the MH17 incident now abated. In the end the Dow was up 0.4%, the S&P 500 up 0.5% after touching an all-time high during the session, and the Nasdaq up 0.7%. ASX futures are up 16 points heading into the start of trade in Australia. There’s more here.
5. Bill Ackman’s Herbalife disaster. The star hedge fund manager who has a massive short bet on nutrition company Herbalife, believing it’s a pyramid scheme, gave a presentation overnight which he’d billed as evidence that Herbalife was a fraud. The stock rose 25% and the market is basically laughing at the poor bloke. He cried during the presentation, but it was when he was talking about the American dream and not because he realised the market was going against him big-time.
6. Apple results are out. The big story is the collapse in iPad sales, down 9% year-on-year. iPhone sales were up 13% which offets it a bit. EPS beat expectations slightly and revenue was in line with expectations. The details are here.
7. The end of Crocs as we know it. Rejoice, for the terrible foam clog shoe that inflicted itself on the world a decade ago and became inexplicably popular may be on the way out. Crocs, the US-listed company that makes them, is restructuring and changing strategy after net income was down 44% for Q2. In your face, Balmain and St Kilda.
8. You can’t hide where your eyes go. Technology that tracks eye movements reveals an amazing level of details about people and is a huge boon for marketers. One website, Sticky, lets companies to conduct their own biometric online eye-tracking and you can see some of our favourite examples here. The results from the image of Scarlett Johannsson might surprise you, but not as much as men’s fascinations with each other’s, er, groins.
9. Bill Clinton’s “Energizer” mistress. Former US president and philanderer Bill Clinton reportedly has a new mistress which the Secret Service has dubbed “the Energizer”. All the juicy detail is in a new book The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of Presidents. The buxom blonde allegedly arrives at Bill’s in her SUV when Hillary is out. A new agent was told: “You don’t stop her, you don’t approach her, you just let her go in.” There’s also some unnecessary detail about her breasts.
10. Jacqui Lambie apologised. Probably the most predictable backtrack from a politican this year, PUP Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie has some regrets about her claim on radio yesterday that she was looking for a man who is “cashed up and well-hung”. She got some interest from 22-year-old Jamie who answered in the affirmative on both counts, but today, she’s changed her tune. “When Kim and Dave … asked me about my love life in a light-hearted segment – I tried to cover up my embarrassment by making a joke,” she said. “I apologise to any radio listeners who may be offended by my comments.”
Bonus item: For something a bit different, here’s two guys doing excellent acoustic covers of 90’s nightclub hits. Worth following all the way through to see if you recognise them from a time when you had more energy and less responsibility.
Have a cracking day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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