10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Stop this world, we’re getting off. Picture: Hello Games

Good morning.

1. To markets, where the ASX is left to its own devices while the US and UK have a day off. After a stellar close on Friday of 2405, the ASX 200 is aiming to take out the recent high at 5425. And with June SPI 200 futures up 23 points and a little rally for iron ore, it just might. The Aussie is at its lowest level since early March. Blame Janet Yellen.

2. Data! In Australia, we start slow with some second tier stuff, including new home sales today, before the big one Wednesday – first quarter GDP. Building approvals Tuesday and retail sales Thursday round off a solid week. Overseas, it’s Canada’s GDP Tuesday, official PMIs in China Wednesday, and the Kiwis have pretty much booked the week out. Then it’s non-farm payrolls in the US Friday. Keep on top of it all with Greg McKenna’s diary.

3. Yawn. Even career politicians couldn’t stay interested in the debate between the leaders last night. Here’s the former premier of NSW:

What we got was mostly recycling of the stump speeches, and as usual there was no “killer blow”. Opposition leader Bill Shorten hammered, at every opportunity, the Coalition’s plans for reductions in the company tax rate over the coming decade, including his estimate that it will hand more than $7 billion in benefits over the decade to the four major banks. Turnbull did take the opportunity to explain that the cuts will come first for smaller businesses which employ five million people, over the life of the next parliament, although by that point many people might have switched over to the league replays or The Voice.

4. Here’s a lesson in selling to the Chinese. According to the AFR, Murray Goulburn and Blackmores are struggling to break into the $600 million local infant formula market. They’ve been in the market for three months now without making a dent, but there could be a couple of key issues the companies are failing to address. We could have headlined this “Chinese mums aren’t as stupid as greedy Australian CEOs think”, but we didn’t.

5. Shark Tank got lively last week in the US. Here’s an exchange between pitcher Maneesh Sethi and judge Kevin O’Leary:

MS: I feel like — I would take an offer from anybody besides Mr. Wonderful.
KOL: Maneesh? You’re an a — hole. Get the f — out of here.
MS: Oh, well… are you all out?
KOL: F — you.

Here’s how that came about.

6. Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo had Monaco in the bag when his pit crew called him in for a tyre change. Except they didn’t have the right tyres ready and it cost Ricciardo the lead and the race, so he was understandably a little upset about all that. At least he finished second at the most famous grand prix in the world, instead of being nearly killed by a flying metal manhole cover like Jenson Button was:

7. According to phone polls, the Remain side is now comfortably in the lead as the UK mulls whether to leave the EU on June 23. Unless you believe online polls, which claim it’s going down to the wire. That’s sparking a bit of a debate about which polling method is most accurate, but if the online pollsters want to put their money where their mouth is, betting companies are offering odds of around 7/2 of a Brexit taking place, great money for a “50-50” race. They’d be betting against at least one London woman with £100,000 bet on Bremain.

8. When is a startup not a startup? When it’s been going since 2007, surely. That’s when Alta Motors first began work on their electric motorbike, and now the company is just a couple of months away from delivering its first order. For about $US15,000, you’ll get Alta’s Redhsift MX and about 80km of range – plus that amazing, seamless acceleration that would put a smile on any biker’s face. And for a whole lot more – if the technology works – you can hire Japanese startup “Sky Canvas” to put on a meteor shower for you. A real one.

9. Researchers at the University of Washington built this highly dexterous, five-fingered robot hand:


Not only is it fast, it can also learn from its own mistakes. Kind of like all those robots from Boston Dynamics that Google bought. Then, when they became too terrifying capable, decided it didn’t want anything to do with them and is still trying to sell the lot.

10. Playstation 4 owners really, really want to play space explorer “No Man’s Sky”. But it got delayed and instead of launching on June 21, it won’t be out for a full six weeks later. Clearly, that means game developer Sean Murray deserves all the death threats cheeseball-munching, pimply kids can hurl at him. He should try working in Apple Store…

Have a great day.

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