Good morning! Here’s what’s happening…
1. Twitter crushes it. The social network that faced some serious questions about whether its growth and revenue had stalled has just delivered a market-confounding earnings report. The stock was up almost 30% in after-hours trading at one point, after beating expectations on EPS and revenue. Importantly, it had 271 million monthly active users (MAUs), versus expectations of 267 million monthly active users, which is a 24% year-over-year jump in usage, and a 6% increase on a quarterly basis. Basically, the big concern about Twitter – that it had reached a plateau in its growth and could be facing a relevance problem – has been allayed for now. CEO Dick Costolo attributes the growth to product enhancements over the influence of the World Cup.
2. Barack Obama has announced tougher sanctions on Russia, with three of the five biggest banks in the country now cut off from US capital markets. The language was withering. “This is a choice that Russia, and President Putin in particular, has made,” the US president said, adding it “didn’t have to be this way.” Overnight, the EU also announced its first sanctions against the Russians.
3. To the markets, and the main US bourses shed around half a point in overnight trade, with early gains lost on the news of the new sanctions against Russia. We’re getting to the business end of the week, with US Q2 GDP and the FOMC meeting coming tonight ahead of the US jobs report on Friday. The GDP number is the subject of a wild range of guesses – the average expectation is for a very solid 3% but Deutsche Bank is calling for a stonking 4.2%. ASX futures are dead flat as we head towards the open.
4. China’s anti-corruption drive is picking up pace, with Zhou Yongkang, a former member of the Politburo Standing Committee, under investigation for a “serious disciplinary violation”. Sinocism author Bill Bishop tells Business Insider we haven’t seen someone of Zhou’s standing being targeted for three decades.
5. Small business collapses in Australia are costing tens of thousands of jobs a year, according to a report on insolvency in the modern economy. The report, by Jones Partners, uses indicative data from ASIC to conclude layoffs in major corporates came at the cost of some 6,250 jobs while smaller companies were responsible for more than 74,000 job losses; while 85% of corporate insolvencies had assets of less than $100,000 and 43% had liabilities of less than $250,000. It’s something to think about with the unemployment rate now at 6% and Treasury forecasting a rise to 6.25% next year.
6. Australia’s most expensive property could well be the three-storey penthouse that will sit atop James Packer’s Barangaroo casino development in Sydney. There’s speculation it might be worth more than $100 million, which would mean on its own it would cover the licence fee Packer has had to pay the state government for the project.
7. How to win Millionaire. Melbourne law student Khaled El-Katateny walked away with $100,000 on Monday, claiming he didn’t know any of the answers. Here’s his secret: “I didn’t play the game — I played the man,” he said. “If you look at it, you see me working Eddie McGuire. I’m reading every single subtle thing about his face. I was reading the audience behind him too. That’s telling me the answer.”
8. There’s another taxi disruptor. It’s called RideSurfing, and is now operating in Sydney. The basic concept is they have a troupe of drivers – regular punters with their cars – approved through an interview process. When you want to get from A to B, you call for your ride and the drivers bid against each other for the job. Alex Heber has the details here.
9. England nearly has more Commonwealth Games gold than Australia. But we’re still on top and finally, the Aussies have cracked the ton, with a bunch more swimming golds and a fine day on the shooting range pushing us to 101. But the biggest news of the night was swim champ Cate Campbell banning herself from social media. She’s been overwhelmed with support and it’s been making her teary. Nawww.
10. Before she was famous, Ke$ha broke into Prince’s house. She told the story to Jimmy Fallon, explaining how she “cruised up in my dead grandpa’s car” before sneaking in under the fence. “And then I go up in the elevator and I come out, and I’m on the phone with my mum saying, ‘I think I may get arrested,’ and then I walk out, and there’s Prince playing the guitar, with a beanie on, and I almost pooped my pants. He just kind of looked at me funny. He gave me a look like, ‘Who the hell are you?’ and I waved around my CD, I put it on the table, and then I ran away.” Amazing.
Bonus item: Here’s what the numbers on your credit card really mean. And don’t forget – you can’t sign for a credit card bill from this Friday. It’s PIN only. It’ll be mild chaos for a couple of weeks in restaurants.
Have a great day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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