1. In Asia, Shanghai is still ripping higher, up 0.58% to 2,780 as a wall of cash enters the market. Volumes yesterday were around double the daily average. And the Nikkei clearly loves global QE and a weaker yen closing in on 120 – it’s up 0.32% to 17,720. The Hang Seng is down 0.95% to 23,429. Blame the protestors.
2. The Aussie dollar was knocked lower to 0.8404 by the US dollar belting the euro (1.2308) and yen (119.79). Adding to the weight on the Aussie is the fact that the US economic data last night was solid with the ISM non-manufacturing (services) printing 59.3, almost two big figures better than expectations and close to a nine-year high.
3. On the data front in Australia today, retail sales are going to be huge and as the NAB says, could be on the weak side after the iPhone spending splurge last month.
4. Tiny violins at the ready. Several of Australia’s richest people could lose hundreds of millions of dollars after US giant Discovery Communications and Foxtel cut their original offer for the Ten Network. Poor ratings have the takeover team concerned about the network’s health, so they’ve adjusted their offer to 23 cents a share, which means James Packer, media entrepreneur Lachlan Murdoch and mining magnate Gina Rinehart could drop about $400m between them. Anyway, moving on…
5. A rate cut is looming. A growing group of authoritative voices now believe rises are off the agenda in early 2015. It was only a couple of weeks ago there was an expectation of at least a small rise, so what’s changed? Rising unemployment, for one. And a slowdown in residential housing growth. But yesterday’s appalling official GDP numbers, which showed a weakening in economic growth to about 2.7% from 3.2%, were the final blow. The last thing RBA wants is for both residential and mining investment to slow at the same time, so their choice to raise or lower is almost being made for them.
6. This just in from the US. Westpac’s head of market strategy, Rob Rennie, has spent the past two weeks in the US and Canada talking to clients. He’s learnt all sorts of things about what they’re thinking and how they’re planning to invest on topics such as oil, bank lending, iron ore, Draghi and the EUR and the Aussie dollar. And kindly, he’s agreed to share them all with Business Insider here. Cheers, Rob.
7. Volvo’s big promise. The company that’s a byword for safety in the auto industry says that by 2020, no one in their new cars will die or be injured if they crash. Volvo Australia technical manager David Pickett spoke to us about its development of driverless cars, which unlike Google and Audi’s vision for future cars, still have steering wheels. But there’s all kinds of amazing collision avoidance technology being rolled out, along with the ability to “talk” to others cars and warn them of dangers and tail each other automatically, safely.
8. Sydney’s eternal thunderstorm. It’s been an amazing week for lightning fans in Sydney, with black clouds rolling in every evening since Sunday for spectacular shows. Not so much last night though, particularly for several people who were actually struck by lightning, and the firies who had to rush to put out a Pyrmont substation which exploded into flame and endangered residents in nearby buildings. And a Weatherzone meteorologist reckons “Wednesday through to Saturday looks like being the wettest”. The awesome pictures keep rolling in – here’s our selection.
9. All the gift guides. BI has done all the Xmas thinking for you, but you need to act fast to beat the closing delivery times. Here’s a rundown on today’s indispensable advice:
- 19 Gifts The Modern Gentleman Should Buy For Everyone In His Life
- 15 Gifts Any Dad Would Love
- 14 Gifts That Teens Will Actually Love
and my favourite:
- 23 Geek-Worthy Science Gifts, which includes amazing, creepy magnetic putty.
10. Somewhere in Texas, there’s a very happy group of zombies about to enter a week-long food coma. The University of Texas in Austin admitted half its collection of human brains had gone missing. That’s about 100 blobs of grey matter, including one which belonged to alumni, Charles Whitman, who in 1966, killed 16 people and injured 46 others in a horrific on-campus massacre. UT is determined to find the brains, or at the very least is “committed to treating the (remaining) brain specimens with respect”.
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