Good morning, and welcome to Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know…
1. A sell-off towards the close led to the biggest fall in US stocks in more than a month. The losses weren’t huge: the Dow was down 0.6%, as was the S&P, and the Nasdaq was down 0.4%. The VIX – an indicator of how much traders expect S&P prices to move over the next month – gained 10%. The strong US economic data continued – new home sales boomed in May – and the trigger is believed to be a report of Syrian warplanes bombing Iraqi border towns.
2. The fall is likely to reverberate in Asian trade, with little in the way of data out today. ASX futures are at their lowest since April, after the ASX200 lost 0.4% yesterday while the Nikkei was largely flat. Shangai was up 0.3% while the Hang Seng was up almost 0.5%.
3. The Australian Greens are now pro-motorist. The Greens have surprised everyone – probably some of their own members – by declaring they will not support the reintroduction of indexation on the fuel excise, a measure proposed in the federal budget, which would have injected a new price signal into the economics of car use in Australia. It would have raised $2.2 billion over four years, but the money was earmarked for roads spending and the Greens want some earmarked for public transport instead.
4. Myer’s recruiting disaster. It emerged yesterday that Australian retail giant Myer fired a high-profile executive recruit, new group general manager of strategy and business development Andrew Flanagan, on his first day. Fashion giant Inditex, which owns Zara and where Flanagan had claimed to have worked, came forward to say they had never heard of him. Myer told Business Insider they had spoken to Flanagan’s two references who had vouched for his credentials. Myer is assessing its options.
5. Coulson guilty, Brooks cleared. Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson is facing jail time after being found guilty in the UK’s marathon phone-hacking trial against him and former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks. Brooks, who was charged with conspiring to intercept voicemails during her time as editor of the paper, which Rupert Murdoch decided to shut down over the scandal, was cleared. The Guardian reports police now want to interview Murdoch.
6. Aussies through. It was a mixed night for the Aussies at Wimbledon. At 19, Canberra talent Nick Kyrgios is the youngest player left in the mens’ draw after he downed French veteran Stephane Robert 7-6 (-7-2), 7-6 (7-1), 6-7 (6-8), 6-2. James Duckworth and Matt Ebden couldn’t get over seeded opponents but Lleyton Hewitt’s impressive four-set opening win over Poland’s Michal Przysiezny makes it seven Australians (SEVEN!) through to the second round – our best effort since 1999.
7. GSElevator is back. Today’s column is the Goldman Sachs Elevator Guide To Flying Like A Boss, with rules including “The exit row is first class for poor people”, and, “If you are afraid of flying, listen to Britney Spears on takeoff. You’ll be fine; no one is destined to die like that.” More here.
8. The sugar epidemic. A new study from Credit Suisse looks at the explosion in world consumption of sugar and calorific sweeteners, and its impact on health. The US is the No.1 consumer of sugar, but Australia makes the list of the next-biggest consumers, with an average of 35-38 teaspoons per person per day. The study notes that there’s growing awareness of the problems with sugar consumption but that this is closely tied to income, geography – and says that taxation, as with tobacco, might be an answer.
9. House Rules couples aren’t struggling, at all. The show makes a big deal of its lifechanging makeovers. But Woman’s Day claims five of the six couples are on Easy St. The worst offenders? WA’s blonde and blonder Carole and Russell, who claimed they were “so strapped for cash they desperately needed the show to help them pay off their mortgage”. To be fair, they probably did – Woman’s Day claims their property portfolio is worth $2.3 million.
10. Luis Suarez bit a guy. Who bites people? Liverpool and Uruguay star Luis Suarez, that’s who. For the third time in his career he bit defender – this time, the bitee was Giorgio Chiellini of Italy, and the morsel was from the shoulder. Uruguay won the game 1-0. It inspired this excellent headline from the Huffington Post:
NO SOY LUIS SUAREZ, HAY MUCHOS SUAREZ EN EL MUNDO, NO SOY LUIS SUAREZ POR FAVOR
— Diego Suarez (@Suarez) June 24, 2014
Have a great day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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