10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Good morning. Let’s run through the warm-up.

1. Starting with Asian trade yesterday, the ASX, Nikkei and Hang Seng were all lower following from the weak US lead the night before. Shanghai was weaker initially as well but once the news broke that the Reserve Bank of India had cut rates again by 25 basis points, sentiment in Shanghai turned and it ended higher on hope that while the NPC is likely to downgrade growth expectations, the PBOC will ease again soon.

2. On currency markets, the Aussie dollar’s performance stunned, given the weakish GDP yesterday and comments from RBA board member John Edwards implying more easing and a rising unemployment rate. The Aussie sits at 0.7822 this morning even though the euro has broken down to a new low at 1.1074. Sterling is also lower at 1.5258, USDJPY sits at 119.73 while the Canadian dollar is also strong at 1.2412.

3. On the data front today, retail sales for January is important in gauging where the Australian economy is in early 2015. Trade is also out and then tonight we get German factory orders, Italian GDP and the big event – the BoE and ECB board meetings.

4. Investing can be profitable as well as fun, but it can also be unnerving and unprofitable. So says Shane Oliver, head of Investment Strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital. To help you navigate the minefield, he’s kindly shared 21 quotes on markets and investing that work for him.

5. The trouble with fracking. It causes earthquakes, according to research from seismic watchdog USGS who released this quote yesterday:

This rise in seismic activity, especially in the central United States, is not the result of natural processes.

And this graph, which charts the rise in seismic activity in California (non-fracking, light blue) versus that in Oklahoma (fracking, dark blue).

Now the big question is, what to do about it?

6. Taking your startup to the US? Plenty of Aussies are drifting across the Pacific in search of better exposure and better funding, but also finding new laws, new lingo and a whole lot more people. Oneshift founder Genevieve George and Marion’s Kitchen boss Marion Grasby found a foothold with two very different products but offer the same advice – talk to as many people as you can. Here’s eight more of their top tips for making the move a success.

7. The new Marvel superhero. The studio told fans it would release a new trailer if enough fans tweeted the #AvengersAssemble hashtag, which they did. But the release was mainly just scenes from the first two trailers recut (although it was still awesome). There was one small new detail though – the first appearance of Vision, who’s a bit of a cult favourite with Avengers fans. Here’s what Vision looks like and how he fits into the story.

8. Here’s yet another guilt trip for coffee pod users, although the skyrocketing numbers say you probably couldn’t care less. One of the guys who helped launch the pod revolution doesn’t own a machine and “kind of feels bad” about being partly responsible for it.

9. We’ve got a couple of amazing pictorials for you. Photographer Keen Heick-Abildhauge moved to Russia six years ago and after growing tired of fielding stereotypical questions about vodka and soldiers from his friends, set out to meet 100 Russians at every age.
The results are incredible, as are these pics of Chinese militia training near the Russian border. In the snow. With swords.

10. Handshakes are smelly, and a surprisingly large percentage of people sniff their hands discreetly after receiving one. That’s just weird, but science is here to help.

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