Good morning! Here’s what’s happening this Wednesday morning…
1. Australian mining giants are gunning for Chinese competitors. The power that the mining investment boom has created for the big Australian companies in the global market is starting to become clear: as demand has slowed out of China, BHP and Rio Tinto have continued to ratched up supply regardless, and according to one analyst it’s a play aimed at putting Chinese suppliers with lower-grade ore out of the market.
2. The S&P500 closed above 2000 for the first time, finishing at a palindromic 2000.02 for the session, up a tiny 0.1% in a flat overnight US session. Asia had a poor day yesterday with the Nikkei down 0.6%, the Hang Seng off 0.4% and Shanghai having a big 1% fall. ASX futures are pointing to a slight rise at the open; one thing to look out for is a mini short squeeze on the miners because of the swings in the iron ore price lately.
3. Why was Tony Abbott late yesterday? Fairfax Media reports this morning the prime minister told fed-up MPs, who had to wait on his delayed arrival to a partyroom meeting yesterday in Canberra, that he had to attend a cancer centre function in Melbourne that morning to justify a taxpayer-funded trip which involved a private “fundraising” function the night before.
4. Qantas reports its results tomorrow and the festival of free advice is underway for the company that everyone in the country feels like they own. The latest: it needs to cut another 2000 jobs and cut back on its international operations to turn its fortunes around. Analysts are expecting an underlying pre-tax loss of $750 million. It’s worth noting that since the horror show of the market selling down Qantas as Alan Joyce briefed the media on the restructure plans earlier this year, the share price is up around 30%.
5. The US posted a stunning 22.6% rise in durable goods orders, thanks to a huge rise in aircraft orders for Boeing. There’s plenty of debate over the details when you remove the airline spike, but it’s good news for a big industrial sector of the recovering American economy.
6. Apple is making a huge new iPad that will go on sale next year. The collapse in iPad sales growth has been one of the big squeezes on the Cupertino giant recently. Bloomberg reports the new device will have a 12.9-inch screen compared to the current iPad Air’s 9.7-inch display and the 7.85 inch on the iPad Mini. That size makes it much more of an industrial working tablet compared to the current iPad, which falls between two stools for many people: too small for many work functions and just a tiny bit too big to lug around everywhere.
7. And a payments platform is all but confirmed now. Apple’s latest patent application describes a system capable of handling payments via NFC, the cloud, and QR codes. It has been described as an “omni-wallet” system. And for an idea of Apple’s starting point in terms of registered credit cards on its platforms, take a look at this chart:
8. Scotland could be invaded by Russia. Something to think about for Scots when they go to the independence poll in three weeks: a vote for a free Scotland means an unguarded coastline. At least, until they build some submarines. There’s no real reason why Russia would be interested, but it has a history of military “adventurism” and actually does have a habit of venturing into Scottish waters a couple of times a year.
9. Australian ingenuity solving the problem of hard butter. There’s a project going nuts on Kickstarter that solves a problem: how to spread butter from the fridge. This adaptation of a table knife by Australia’s DM Solutions fixes it. Here it is in action:
Google uses a “toothbrush test” when running the ruler over companies: would you use it twice a day, every day? Tick.
10. Roman Abramovich’s 19-year-old daughter Sofia is pretty well-grounded for the offspring of a multibillionaire. Her Instagram account is in stark contrast to those of the Rich Kids of Instagram’s champagne-soaked indulgence shots. OK, there’s the usual flood of selfies and equestrian shots, but the best pics from Sofia are those of her life in the comparatively modest family home, and a great collection of Throwback Thursday moment with her and her dad. It’s nice to see.
Bonus item: Stocks in ISIS are surging. There really is an ISIS pharmaceuticals, and its share price is up 43% in the last three months on not a huge amount of news. In the overnight session its share price was up 10%, almost inexplicably. Biotechs have been doing generally well on the markets, it’s worth noting; but also the headlines out of the Middle East might have been calling attention to the company, and investors like it.
Have a cracking day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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