1. The banking Royal Commission’s final report will be released shortly after the market close at 4pm today. The investigation has already rocked the banking industry with its revelations of misconduct and its interim report that had a particular focus on greed — but this is the big one, with sweeping recommendations expected for a range of operational areas in banking from regulation and lending to bankers’ pay. We’ll have full coverage soon after the report is released.
2. The army has moved in to save Townsville in Queensland after monsoonal rains triggered an emergency evacuation of the 180,000 person city. As the flood risk continues the army has sent in troops on inflatable boats to assist moving people out of danger. Meanwhile, the crocs are a whole other problem:
3. Steady as she goes. The Aussie dollar is holding steady despite a number of global influences. Strong US economic data released last Friday had little impact, nor did weak PMI data out of China. Chinese markets will be closed until next week for Lunar New Year celebrations.
4. China as a new superpower? US President Trump and China Vice Premier Liu He recently met to discuss pressing issues such as IP and cyber-theft. The US is facing an estimated loss of $600 billion from intellectual property theft, a large part consisting of military technology. There are fears that China is shifting the balance of power against the US.
5. Trump is warring with his own intelligence agencies after key leaders from the CIA, FBI and National Intelligence delivered a report on security threats that directly contradicted Trump’s stance on Iran, ISIS and North Korea. “It would be laughable if it weren’t so scary,” said former National Security Council officer.
6. It’s time to de-FAANG. A leading trader believes that Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Neflix and Google (FAANG) stocks are diverging and the emerging differences in their risk profiles needs to be treated with caution. Netflix is up 33% since the start of the year while Apple only gained less than 7% after releasing it’s holiday quarter earnings saw a 15% drop.
7. If you want to stay in the good books in China here’s some suggestions. China has been progressively rolling out their social credit system to give citizens behavioural rankings. German researchers have determined a list of “good deeds” to get a higher ranking that comes with better access to credit, travel perks or discounts to your energy bills.
8. The UK is suffering from “Bregret”. British data company YouGov has been polling citizens on Brexit sentiment since 2016 and their insights show a clear and consistent trend — voters are increasingly regretting voting to leave the UK.
9. Facial recognition software has attracted a lot of backlash, especially when it is in the hands of government. But Microsoft CEO thinks that it would be “cruel” to hold back the use of the technology. He believes that the future of the tech in government hands will help with medical diagnosing or missing persons.
10. It’s time for the Superbowl LIII. While the big game doesn’t kick off until 10:30am (AEST) you’ll definitely need to see these hilarious Superbowl ads. Each ad spot costs around $5 million for 30 seconds, so advertisers bring out the big guns to get attention.
BONUS ITEM: A new tomb has been unearthed in Egypt containing over 40 mummies who held high positions in the Pharoah’s empire. They were discovered just south of Cairo.
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