1. The news that stopped a nation. Admire Rakti died of a rare heart attack. A German horse won the Melbourne Cup in stunning style, but within an hour the country was talking about the horse that finished last. Admire Rakti, the Caulfield Cup winner, faded badly in the home stretch and was walked across the line. Then just minutes after returning to his stall, he collapsed and died. Not surprisingly, there were the usual calls for better racing practices and outright bans, but a vet this morning put it down to a rare “consequence of the athletic heart” that can occur in both humans and horses. Not so rare was the death of another runner, Araldo, who broke his leg and was put down after a flag-waving child accidentally worried him into a fence.
2. To the markets. In Asia yesterday, after having Monday off, traders bought with gusto at the open, taking the Nikkei above 17,000 for the first time since 2007. But it closed the day at 16,862, still up an incredible 2.73%. Lower oil makes it hard for the BoJ to kick inflation higher, however, but the JMMA PMI yesterday showed the positive impacts of yen weakness. In China, stocks were far quieter with the Shanghai B flat, gaining just 1 point at 2,431. Stocks in Hong Kong dipped 0.29% to 23,846.
3. The Aussie dollar. Buyers were back near the lows for the year and it is up a little under a cent from where it was post-11.30am yesterday at 0.8736. That could be due to the combination of the marginal increase in unemployment from the ABS’s recalibration and the much worse than expected trade data. Here’s another take from Westpac’s Richard Franulovich:
“the currency has absorbed its fair share of net selling, so much so that the 60 day sum of net flow is about as weak as it typically gets. Appetite for AUD has been weak – for good reasons as we argue overleaf – but it is near a lower limit at close to 2 z-zcores below trend.”
4. On the data front today, Australians get the AiG performance of services, HSBC China services PMI (which we will cover here) and then the global services PMI data over the next 24 hours from HSBC and Markit. EU retail sales are interesting, as is the ADP employment change data in the lead-up to non-farms on Friday.
5. How to make a perfect flat white. It’s basically a latte with less milk, but Aussies (who invented it, ignore the predictable Kiwi bleating) love it so much they demand it the world over. And now the world loves it too, starting with London and now popping up everywhere in New York City. Here’s how you can make one at home, just like the experts, for about $4 less.
6. Ooh, lovely. Sydney is getting a new swim centre at Green Square, the $8 billion, 10,000 apartment urban consolidation area half way between the airport and CBD. The $50m development will feature the biggest pool built in the city since the Olympics and 40% more water space than the Harry Seidler-designed Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre in Ultimo. It will take two years to build and boast a heated 50m outdoor lap bool, a beach pool, indoor program pool and indoor leisure. And a creche! Here’s the concept design from winning architect Andrew Burges:
7. The Pope prayed for Gough. A state memorial service for Australia’s 21st prime minister, Gough Whitlam, will be held at Sydney Town Hall today, starting at 11am. But Pope Francis beat Australia to it, holding his own memorial mass for the giant of Aussie politics in Rome on Monday. Cardinal Pell’s sermon recognised Mr Whitlam as “one of the great figures in Australian history”. Whitlam had a strong relationship with the Vatican after he established state aid for Catholic schools, and the Pope had this message for the Whitlam family:
“His Holiness recalls with gratitude your father’s many years of service … The Holy Father has prayed for your father’s eternal repose.”
8. Angelina Jolie for President. She’s done just about everything Hollywood promises – sex symbol, box office glory, Oscars, directorial debut – and matched it off the screen with an international aid campaign that saw the Queen make her an honorary dame. Now, while once again gracing the cover of Vanity Fair, Jolie says she’s “open” to a political career. “When you work as a humanitarian, you are conscious that politics have to be considered,” she said. “Because if you really want to make an extreme change, then you have a responsibility.”
9. My double life as a CIA agent. Get into banking and you never know where your career could take you. Ed Hale, the former chairman and CEO of the First Mariner Bank in the US, has revealed he led a double life as a CIA agent from 1991 to 2001. He even “found himself in the early hunt” for Osama Bin Laden as he could get people in and out of Afghanistan without too many questions. Yet when he finally told his mum five years after retiring, she said something like “That’s nice, dear” asked him to pass the broccoli.
10. Protip. Do you remember your students days swotting for exams by highlighting reams of text, supremely confident you were committing it to memory with a single stroke of a fluoro texta? It doesn’t work.
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