1. The ASX rally continues, delighting all the old bulls who love to see a market “climb a wall of worry”. Yesterday’s up move of 0.3% was another fresh high since the 2008 financial crisis, with the close at 5944. But overnight SPI traders took the March contract down 19 points to 5900, possibly on the 1% fall in iron ore.
2. Company results and the US recovery are helping the Aussie dollar and the Commodity bloc currencies in general. Last night the Aussie touched the 79 cent level and while it hasn’t pushed on yet, the mood has brightened. In fact, the Commonwealth reigns supreme with sterling, Aussie, Kiwi and the Loonie (Canadian dollar) all stronger overnight. GBP is at 1.5522, the Aussie is at 0.7890, CAD 1.2420 and the Kiwi is at 0.7540. Euro is lagging at 1.1350 and USDJPY is at 118.81.
3. All quiet on the data front in Australia today, with just the release of Private New Capital Expenditure. But it is a huge night offshore with the release of German unemployment, UK GDP, US CPI, and Durable Goods. Aroogah.
4. China could be ready to roar again. The Chinese economy is slowing and the last six months of 2014 were certainly weaker than the first six months. But Andrew Whitford, head of Westpac’s Greater China banking operations, told Business Insider he doesn’t expect any rot to set in. While Westpac’s MNI Consumer Sentiment Index released yesterday didn’t look great, clients were advised that:
Business conditions ‘one year ahead’ and ‘five years ahead’, and ‘time to buy a major household item’ all moved higher, the latter strikingly so.
That’s promising, McKay told us, basically because it’s exactly that kind of optimism which historically points to better times ahead.
5. Bitcoin can now be used to buy anything in Australia – but all people are using it for is to buy groceries. And that’s exactly what CoinJar hoped when it rolled out Swipe, which converts Bitcoin into Australian dollars to make everyday purchases. It’s been trialed over the past five months by 61 users who made nearly $30,000 worth of transactions, and now you can join the crypto crowd too, without getting into the technicals of it all.
6. It’s time to talk about your next wage raise, because it’s not coming soon. And if it is, it’s likely to be underwhleming at best. Welcome to Australia, where our terms of trade (what we’re paid for exports compared to what we pay for imports) is trending down toward 20-year lows. And as this chart shows, where ToT goes, wages follow.
7. Unlike wages at Yahoo, which are skyrocketing, especially for people who don’t want to work there. The company’s clouded future creates nervous employees, which means Mayer has to pay them more to stay, which leads to cost-cutting and job losses elsewhere in the company. Which makes employees even more nervous. But rich – one ad sales employee reportedly has enjoyed a pay rise from $450,000 to $2.5 million since Mayer took over less than three years ago.
8. You might try your hand at the stock market, which is on track to hit Goldman’s target by the end of 2015. They’ve got a basket called “Total Cash Return to Shareholders” which provides investors more than a 14% total yield on a trailing 12-month basis. And we’ve highlighted the top 14 picks from it, for you, right here.
9. This insanely desirable car. First we heard Aston Martin’s $2.3 million Vulcan scream down a racetrack. Then we saw it spit fire out of its side exhausts. Now we finally have our first glimpse of Aston’s newest hyper car and… hang on, you’ve got some drool hanging there.
10. Melbourne-based venture firm Adventure Capital began looking for investors this week for its second tech startup fund. Give them a minimum of $250,000 and your cash will go into a $40-$60 million fund which is aiming to invest in up to 30 Australian startups. Its first round saw Adventure bankrolling 10 startups in 2013, so there’s a nice growth curve going on right now in the Australian investment market.
BONUS ITEM: Kids on xylophones play Zeppelin hits.
Jimmy Page approves.
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