Good morning, and welcome to Friday! I hope you don’t own Twitter stock.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has given what is probably the best indication yet of what he has in mind in terms of ideas for rebalancing the national books. “The private sector is cashed up around the world. Governments are not,” he told the Lowy Insitute. “We need to facilitate that private sector investment.” Form an orderly queue for those new chequebooks.
- It’s been a good week for Miranda Kerr, with her being confirmed as the new face of American fashion chain H&M. She replaces Gisele Bundchen as the face of the powerhouse brand, which might open stores in Australia this year. Last year was a choppy one for Kerr personally and professionally and it looked like her career might have been on the wane, but this is a good start to 2014 for the Australian model.
- Twitter had a horror time on the market overnight, with the stock down more than 23% following an earnings call where the company didn’t have any great answers for how it plans to address a pattern of stalling user growth and apparent lower engagement from existing users. Some investors started betting big on a Twitter share price fall in December – the last report showed 32.6 million shares short as of January 15th. Some folks might have done well out of that trade – the share price is down around $11 since Jan 15th.
- Fairfax Media has published extensive further details of the incident in which asylum seekers claim to have been mistreated by Australian navy personnel. You can read it here. Tony Abbott says it’s “very hard to take them seriously”, without corroboration. As a side note, Fairfax has published the extensive list of questions that it sent to the federal government about the matter, seeking to clarify various elements of the story. The response from immigration minister Scott Morrison is a good example of the obfuscation and ducking that amounts to “answers” to media questions from all types of government officials. Morrison’s celebrated stonewalling is especially insidious, but such responses to questions are a fairly typical attitude from taxpayer-funded spin doctors.
- It’s non-farm payroll day! The US employment data release, probably one of the world’s most important economic indicators, comes out at 12.30am, Sydney time, tonight. The market’s expecting to see an increase of 185,000 payrolls added after a disappointing 74,000 last month. It’s a big event on the US edition of Business Insider with BI’s executive editor Joe Wiesenthal leading the news coverage and analysis. You can join in with your predictions on the number using the hashtag #nfpguesses and pinging Joe on @TheStalwart on Twitter. My guess: 172,000.
- The by-election for Kevin Rudd’s vacated seat of Griffith is tomorrow. Polls suggest a tight result with former AMA president Bill Glasson competing with Labor’s Terri Butler. Against Glasson is that governments don’t win by-elections.
- Here’s a great slide from Commonwealth Bank chief economist Michael Blythe explaining why Australia isn’t facing a housing bubble.
- There are divisions in the Labor movement over AWU sectretary Paul Howes’ call for a “grand compact” between government, unions and business to ensure labour market stability and job creation.
- This guy is auctioning off part of his retirement savings. He’ll pay double whatever is bid on eBay for the item when he retires at 65, in 34 years’ time.
- Brisbane is getting a stack of free public wi-fi spots ahead of the G20 summit. This is great. I was recently in Ireland and there’s free wi-fi everywhere, including on public transport. Makes a surprising difference and it would be great to see more of it in Australian cities.
Bonus item: This excellent video from NASA with all sorts of visualisations will make you think about the Earth in a whole new way. Fullscreen that baby.
Have a great weekend. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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