10 Things You Need To Know This Morning In Australia

Let’s get this over and get to the pub.

1. It’s Cup Day. Some lucky Aussies get the whole day off and there’s a good case for why we all should. Some are taking the office out for lunch. Others are throwing an in-house party. A sad few won’t stop at all for the iconic 3-minute horse race. But pretty much everyone who does will lose money on it, so here’s some advice on who to plump for from some of Australia’s top CEOs. If you like fairytale winners, here’s the best shots at Melbourne Cup folklore in 2014. And Greg McKenna has mined the data for a winner (he picked it last year).

2. Gail Kelly is crying poor. Despite booking a combined cash profit of $28.6 billion in a slowing economy, Westpac’s CEO claims Australia’s major banks will be forced to hand on the cost of any Murray Inquiry findings that increase their level of capital held. Which begs the question from Greg McKenna:

“How do you justify an ROE of 16.41% in the business of banking in a slow-growing economy where the tax payer is effectively back-stopping these returns because of your too-big-too-fail status and still tell Australians they will have to pay for stability?”

Privatised profits and socialised losses – hardly a platform on which to be making threats, Ms Kelly.

3. Iron ore and coal prices keep falling. Economic news at the weekend suggested weaker manufacturing activity and shareholders reacted accordingly, dropping December Iron Ore Swap Futures Prices down $0.92 to $77.82. And December ICE Newcastle Coal Futures Prices are down $1.15 to $63.15 – the lowest level in more than 5 years. Despite all that, the December SPI 200 contract at 7.30am is down just 2 points to 5,489. Not bad, but the Aussie dollar is under pressure again this morning at 0.8688. It’s at 98.85 against the yen, off a high of 99.41 and looking toppy, as the traders sometimes say.

4. In Asia, Japan was out for Culture Day but stocks in Hong Kong dipped initially and then fell throughout the rest of the day, closing down 0.34%. In Shanghai, the non-manufacturing PMI and manufacturing PMI painted a picture of a weakening domestic economy but stocks rallied 0.41% to 2,430 on the back of state-owned enterprise reform and asset purchases via both the Guangzhou Shipyard and Sichuan Electric Co.

5. It is huge data day for Australia with the release of retail sales, trade and the RBA. In Japan, they get their manufacturing PMI from the JMMA while tonight we get PPI in Europe and trade, ISM New York and loan officers survey.

6. How Eric Cartman starts a startup. South Park kicked off its 18th season with a crack at Kickstarter and startup culture. Cartman works it out pretty quickly, eventually realising the best startup is a startup which funds startups. Here’s his business philosophy in four steps:

Eric cartman south park startup planSouth ParkEric Cartman’s 4-step plan to starting a successful company

7. The Austria/Australia thing. This time it was the UN secretary-general, no less. Ban Ki-Moon wound up a conference in Vienna overnight by thanking “in particular (Austrian) president Fischer and the government of Australia”. He was quicky to realise his error though, adding “There are no kangaroos in Austria. Sometimes this happens, I hope you understand.”

8. An investment banker has allegedly murdered two prostitutes in Hong Kong. The details are pretty gruesome – apparently one body was found in a suitcase on the man’s apartment balcony. Obviously, that’s a terrible thing for all parties involved. But is it also what happens all too often when you take a presumably well-raised, Cambridge-educated, and well-paid man, and you throw him into a world largely without societal restraints and an industry with its own set of deviant moral benchmarks? Sadly, GSElevator isn’t surprised at all – here he reflects on his time as a Hong Kong banker.

9. The political bias of workers. Our favourite set of charts today is this rundown of who votes where in what profession. Crowdpac, a non-partisan non-profit dedicated to political data analysis, used US federal campaign contribution records dating back to 1980 in order to estimate where various officials and donors fall on the political spectrum. It chose donations for its model because their research shows that “campaign contributions are the best predictor of how a candidate will behave in office”. Where does your profession sit – liberal or conservative?

10. Now for something really useful. Google has its disruptive fingers in a seemingly infinite number of pies, so much so it’s hard to keep track of what they’re rolling out on any given day. So we’ve rolled together 16 incredibly useful services Google provides to help you keep your life a) in order and b) interesting. And the best bit is they’re free.

BONUS ITEM: You might not have ever wondered, nor cared, what happens when you strap a GoPro to a ceiling fan… but we’re going to show you anyway.

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