Good morning, and welcome to Friday. Here’s what you need to know…
Markets rise. Investors shrugged off a downward revision to US Q1 GDP that showed just how hard the harsh winter hit the American economy. In the end the S&P 500 made an all-time closing high for the third time in four days, finishing at 1,920, up 0.5% for the session. The Dow was up 0.3% and the Nasdaq up 0.5%. Asia’s likely to follow the lead – ASX futures are pointing to a higher open with the futures contract up 10 points to 5,541 – and there’s little in the way of data.
Aussie dollar rally. After a week of range trading the battler has been the big winner in currency markets over the past 24 hours after the stronger-than-expected rise in the 2014-15 capex estimate yesterday, and the upgrade to Q1 GDP expectations due next Wednesday. This morning the Aussie was at 0.9304, up 80 points from yesterday.
Budget saw mill snag. Tony Abbott has met, or scheduled meetings, three out of the four crossbench Senators who take up their seats in July and hold the fate of the federal budget measures in their hands. But he hasn’t been able to get a meeting with Ricky Muir of the Motoring Enthusiast Party – because Muir can’t get time off his job at a saw mill. Don’t you love Australia? There’s likely some brinkmanship at play, with Muir part of Clive Palmer’s critical voting bloc in the Senate.
Clive’s cars. Speaking of Palmer, the sight of the millionaire rocking up to Parliament in a Rolls-Royce Phantom V this week worked a treat for getting the attention he loves. Palmer collects classic and vintage cars and we’ve got photos of them here; we might be seeing him rock up to work in another one of these.
Who to follow. Wondering who the best people are to follow in Australia for markets and economics news? Here’s a list of 30 of the best.
The Rivkin legacy. The brokerage that carries the name of one of Australia’s most famous financial criminals, Rivkin, will never change its name. The company has reined in the excess since the years Rene Rivkin was running it but CEO Scott Schuberg tells BI he has always seen the brand “as a net benefit”. “I don’t want to be seen to be ducking and hiding,” he said.
Modern map problems. There’s always a challenge laying out 3D shapes on a two-dimensional flat map. But there are significant distortions in how we see the world as a result. Nothing shows this better than how large Greenland looks in the Mercator map, one of the standard flat formats, in comparison to Africa’s land mass. This overlay showed up Reddit by user Asuros. The pink shape is Africa, while the purple represents Greenland.
How to win an argument. This works in many scenarios but especially when it comes to a political barney: ask the person how they would do something rather than why. When people have to explain how their favoured policy would play out in the real world, the challenge of putting an idea into practice becomes apparent.
Warne’s latest. After dating Liz Hurley, it looks like Shane Warne’s hooked up with the sexiest woman in the world. And that’s official – Aussie model and part-time DJ Emily Scott has owned that title from several lads’ mags in the past few years. The pair weren’t shy about cosying up at boxing champ Jeff Fenech’s 50th birthday on Wednesday night. Scott’s got stellar form herself, having previously been linked to Little Britain star David Walliams and the fat one from Take That.
Touchdown. We’re all familiar with spaceships in sci-fi hitting their thrusters just before touching down. Yet somehow, our astronauts only ever land on wheels on with an undignified bomb in the middle of the ocean. Not any more – Elon Musk’s SpaceX says it has hit on a way to use thrusters safely, which may be able to land humans neatly and accurately on another planet. Here’s the video.
Bonus item: The most-liked Instagram post of all time is now…
Jackasses. But very well-liked jackasses.
Have a cracking weekend. Next week’s a big one.
I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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