Good morning, and welcome to Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know:
Markets are lower. Stocks fell and Treasuries surged in the US trading session, with the US 10-year yields nearing a low for the year. The Dow was down 0.68%, the S&P 500 0.95% and the NASDAQ 1.09%. ASX futures are pointing to a fall of 25 points on the open. Could be an interesting day.
US dollar weakness. The Australian dollar rose sharply overnight and is back near its 2014 highs, trading at US93.55c, about 1c up against the dollar in 24 hours. Instead of Aussie strength this is about the weakness in the US dollar – the Euro and Yen are also up strongly against the greenback.
OECD budget warning. The OECD released its economic outlook overnight, which noted the recovery of advanced economics around the world. But it had a startlingly direct warning for Australia. “Given near-term uncertainties in the re-balancing of the economy away from investment in the natural resource sector, heavy front loading of fiscal consolidation should be avoided.” Translation: don’t cut government spending too fast, you might need it to cushion the blow from the end of the mining investment boom.
Budget tweaks. The fundamentals of the federal Budget will have been locked away but there is apparent agonising about what to do with this deficit levy idea which polls suggest is deeply unpopular with voters. It has been canvassed at kicking in at 1% for people on $80,000 but then only affecting people on over $180,000; today News Corp reports the threshold is likely to be set at around $150,000. One piece of good news for business: a planned cut to the company tax rate will go ahead. We get all the details next Tuesday night.
Alibaba and the IPO. The filing for one of the most hotly-anticipated stock market debuts of the year was lodged overnight by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Revenue for the nine months to March was $US6.5 billion, up 57% year-on-year; while net income was an eye-popping $2.9 billion, up 305%. Alibaba is 24% owned by Yahoo and the stake has been one of the reasons for the stock’s big gains during Marissa Mayer’s time as CEO.
Twitter smashed. The market really hates Twitter at the moment, even more so since last week’s earnings call suggested that the company might be struggling to grow its user base. But overnight was a horror show: the lockup period expired and employees cashed in, sending the stock down 18% for the session to all-time lows, below its IPO price. It hasn’t stopped there for tech companies: TripAdvisor reported earnings after the bell and the stock was down 18% on light revenue in after hours trading.
Insider trading case. A 39-year-old Sydney man, Michael William Hull, from Cronulla, is facing 67 charges of insider trading for alleged profits of $600,000. ASIC says he got the information from someone in the investment banking department of a global financial services company. The AFR reports the tips came from a Credit Suisse analyst and were allegedly exchanged while the two went running in the Domain, the park on the east side of Sydney’s CBD. The penalties associated range from five to 10 years in prison and/or fines ranging from $220,000 to $450,000.
Lewinsky’s blues. Monica Lewinsky is breaking her silence about her affair with Bill Clinton! She’s written about it for this month’s edition of Vanity Fair. You might remember that the whole story was exposed by online news machine Matt Drudge. “Thanks to the Drudge Report,” she wrote, “I was also possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet.”
Simpsons did it. Here’s easily the craziest conspiracy theory of the quarter. An Egyptian TV network has dug out a 2001 episode of the Simpsons in which Bart and his mates parachute into a Middle Eastern country to teach the local women about bikinis and tether ball. A jeep in the video is emblazoned with a flag now being used by the Syrian opposition. The anchor on al-Tahrir television said it showed “what is happening in Syria today was premeditated”.
Will fly down the back. If you’re feeling the absence of news about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge since the end of their tour Down Under, here’s something for you. Prince William attended a friend’s wedding in Memphis recently and a local reporter spotted him on the flight to Dallas – in economy class on American Airlines.
Bonus item: Time to start getting excited about the World Cup. Christiano Ronaldo is incredible. Here’s an article explaining why, and a little skill highlight:
Have a great day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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