Good morning and welcome to Friday, and good times.
1. There goes the dollar. The Aussie has crashed 3 cents in 36 hours, trading from a high of 0.8026 on Wednesday night to low of 0.7717 early this morning – the lowest level the Aussie has traded against the US dollar since July 2009. That’s probably because just about everyone’s excited about the prospect of a rate cut next week (except Saul Eslake), but Westpac’s senior currency strategist in New York, Richard Franulovic, said there were a lot of macro funds selling Aussie after “watching the RBA and the tumble in gold and oil in the NY session”.
2. Locally, after a really weak indication from futures traders yesterday morning, the ASX did well to finish in the black up 0.3% to 5569.5. Overnight, the strength in European and US markets has buoyed futures traders with the March SPI 200 contract up 47 points to 5552.
3. In Asia yesterday, however, it was a sea of red. Of particular note was the 1.3% fall in the Shanghai composite after the Xinhua news agency said there is another round of margin checks at brokerages coming soon from government regulators. Futures indications overnight are for further falls in Shanghai today. In Hong Kong, stocks slid 1.07% to 24,596 while the Nikkei lost the same percentage to close at 17,606. CPI in Japan today is going to be huge for the stock market (which is higher in overnight futures), expectations about the BoJ policy settings, and for the yen, which was under pressure from the US dollar again overnight.
4. Centurions and Unicorns. Australia’s tech millionaires went on an epic jaunt to Queenstown in New Zealand last week. Organised by Atlassian founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, the group included some of the nation’s brightest tech minds. While they’ve all been sworn to secrecy, we’ve managed to piece together some of what went down over the ditch. Naturally there was quad-biking, hiking and fishing.
5. Earnings, earnings everywhere. Here’s the rundown today so far:
- Amazon stock surged on a huge EPS beat and a surge in Prime memberships.
- Alibaba got a little crushed, with a miss on revenue. (Just $US4.22bn instead of the expected $US4.42bn.)
- Google missed on EPS and revenue. Ad growth rates kept slowing and Google stock is down 2% as we write.
6. Oh dear. Queensland Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk is on the verge of possibly upsetting Premier Campbell Newman in tomorrow’s state election. Or was, until she failed to name the GST rate on radio yesterday. It’s 10% – the same it’s always been since lobbing in 15 years ago. A gaffe, which considering her state runs on a heavily GST-supported $300bn budget, was bad enough to cop her a cringeworthy front page in the Courier-Mail today.
Brutal Courier Mail front page urges Queenslanders pass on Annastacia Palaszczuk; & that GST gaffe. It was Gold? pic.twitter.com/W1cwrDn1mw
— Nathan (@nathan28423118) January 29, 2015
7. Aussie teen app guru Ben Pasternak built an app during science class last year that briefly topped Tinder and Vine in the App Store charts. Now. he says he’s working on a cross between Snapchat and Instagram which could pull enough cash from investors to “buy a couple of Ferraris”. And he just told us about a Silicon Valley tour he’s back from where he visited the Facebook, Instagram, Yo, Apple and Google offices, and stared at Mark Zuckerberg in his office for a second.
8. Ruslan Kogan wants to deliver your groceries. The online electronics retailer is kind of a big deal when it comes to selling cheap, solid TVs, and thrives on shaking the big retailers up. Kogan Pantry is joining the huge rush on grocery delivery and launched yesterday with over 600 products claiming shoppers can save up to 80% AND have them delivered to their door.
9. The world’s most elusive cat. Conservationists recorded a rare video of the African golden cat. Blink and you’ll miss it:
(Note it didn’t catch the monkey, which might go some way toward explaining why it’s so rare.) Laila Bahaa-el-din, a researcher for the endangered cat NGO Panthera, was pretty happy with the footage – she’s only seen the cat once in four years of study. And in a great day for rare sightings, another camera in California’s Yellowstone National Park caught the first sighting of a Sierra Nevada Red Fox in nearly 100 years.
10. Qantas has virtual reality headsets. In a trial, on A380s from Melbourne and Sydney to LA, and only in first class. The Samsung Gear VR headsets are expected to showcase network destinations, new Qantas products and inflight blockbuster movies. Qantas is also chatting to production company Jaunt to develop destination footage, giving Pol Roger-sipping passengers a chance to get out amongst it without all that messy weather and poor people ruining the view.
Have a great weekend. I’m on Twitter.
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