10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

It can be yours. Well, a bit of it. Picture: MGM/Columbia

Good morning.

1. Telstra has an even bigger rival. TPG and Vodafone Hutchison just announced a merger of “equals”, creating an entity with enough scale to take on the big telcos. The companies say the enterprise value of the merged group will be about $15 billion.

2. Boo. Westpac put its variable mortgage rates up independent of the RBA, and you can probably count on the other big three following soon. It turned a half-year profit of $4.25 billion in March, up 6%, but yesterday pointed out how it’s had to suck up the increase in the bank bill swap rate this year and will continue to do so. And here’s Stephen Koukoulas with an argument for why the RBA can become relevant again by ending the focus on “financial stability” and cutting rates instead.

3. Overnight, US stocks hit fresh highs as tech stocks surged. Apple climbed just days after CEO Tim Cook collected another $US120 million in stock, Amazon climbed as US senator Bernie Sanders got in a war with it over why its workers still need federal assistance while Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has $US150 billion, and Morgan Stanley said Alphabet could easily surge 20% this year. The US dollar edged lower, the Aussie stabilised, but is under pressure, and iron surged from out of nowhere.

4. This morning, we’ll get an important piece in the puzzle that is Australia’s Q2 GDP. It’s the private-sector capital expenditure figures from the ABS. The RBA is looking for a lift in non-mining investment and it all happens at 11.30am AEST. Here’s your 10-second guide.

5. The Trump-North Korea peace deal could be falling apart. If there were ever a deal in the first place. Apparently, North Korea is upset Trump hasn’t ended the Korean War. Trump didn’t actually sign anything specifically saying that, but said he discussed the possibility with Kim Jong Un’s right-hand man Kim Yong Chol at the White House prior to the historic summit in Singapore. Anyhoo, the war is still on and North Korea is now threatening to resume “nuclear and missile activities”.

6. Missed out on snapping up this $29,357,949.25 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype?

It was one of the 15 most expensive cars sold at RM Sotheby’s annual Pebble Beach auction. But don’t panic, because you can buy a piece of Aston Martin itself. It’s finally announced plans to go public and float on the London Stock Exchange, where it will be valued around $8.9 billion. If tech stocks are more your thing – and they led Wall St to record highs overnight – you might want to check out SurveyMonkey’s IPO.

7. A better investment might be an original iPhone. As in, the iPhone Apple was working on before it released the iPhone. Dubbed “The Rarest Of Them All”, a prototype is for sale on eBay and bids have passed $US16,000. It last sold in 2015 for $US8000. Samsung fans will just have to be happy to part with $1500 for a Note 9. Here’s why Antonio Villas-Boas says it’s the only smartphone actually worthy of its high price tag.

8. Elon Musk hit Twitter last night and asked why the Thai cave diver he called a “pedo” hadn’t sued him yet. Except the diver, UK citizen Vernon Unsworth, kind of has, actually. BuzzFeed has a letter dated August 6 showing Unsworth retained legal representation and informed Musk of a possible lawsuit for the “false and defamatory statements”.

9. Novak Djokovic got a bit hot during his US Open match, so he took his top off during a courtside break, toweled down, put on a freshie, and no one cared. French player Alizé Cornet changed her top in the changerooms, but came out wearing it back to front, so she quickly changed it courtside. And got hit with a code violation. Meanwhile Nick Kyrgios played it cool:


10. If you’re going to be spontaneous, be Cristiano Ronaldo:

That goal was so good, UEFA awarded it the Goal of the Year. Even Juventus, the team he scored it against, tweeted its congratulations.

Have a great day.

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