Hello Friday. You took your time.
1. How to fix global banking. Martin Wolf is something of a doyen of global economics and finance writers. His new book, The Shifts and the Shocks: What We’ve Learned — and Have Still to Learn — from the Financial Crisis, dropped overnight. Wolf himself previewed it in a Financial Times column, arguing global banking is no more stable now than it was nearly six years ago when Lehmann Brothers collapsed. His fix is basically to keep it simple and has more than a few parallels with the business model and practices the Murray Inquiry and global regulators are highlighting. It should be a great read.
2. The “unravelling” Chinese economy is the big alarm bell sounded today by CommSec chief economist Craig James. A 0.5% Q2 GDP growth rate completed Australia’s 23rd year without a recession (!) but the big fall in prices of Australia’s big bulk commodity exports, coal and iron ore, and a domestic economy in need of investment while transitioning makes for a rocky road ahead if China can’t keep up the pace. Then there’s the high dollar and housing prices…
3. On currency markets, the Aussie remains strong and even though it’s off its high of 0.9392, at 0.9345 the performance is very solid. It also made solid gains on the crosses as well in a night of US dollar strength with the euro tanking. Sterling is also sharply lower at 1.6318 and USDJPY is up at 105.29.
4. The Nikkei lost 0.33% to 15,676 even though the BoJ continues with its super accomodative monetary policy. The Hang Seng dipped 0.08% to 25,298 but the Shanghai exchange rose 0.8% and is now back above 2,300, closing yesterday at 2,307 – a very solid recovery over the past week. The impact on the local market has been small with the SPI 200 futures off just 2 points to 5631 after a weaker day on the physical ASX yesterday. Iron ore continues to have a shocker, with September futures down 56 cents a tonne to $84.71, while December futures fell $1.66 to $83.37. That’s likely to weigh today.
5. Speaking of shockers, Australia’s mens’ basketball team went down to Angola last night. Yes, the team that comfortably dispatched Lithuania and was chasing four straight wins at the World Cup were downed 91-83 by the African top team. But wait – there’s some talk that the loss may have handily allowed Australia to avoid facing the mighty US until the semi-finals. Several players were rested and a 15-point lead midway through the third term was let slip. Aussies tanking? Go on with you.
6. Surf Days are the new sickies. Australia’s best boss is a Gold Coast surfboard shaper named Stuart DÁrcy, who lets his employees manage flexible work hours. By “flexible” he means “take a day off when the surf’s up”, because that’s what his employees were most likely doing anyway. And it’s good for productivity, apparently.
“I’m still old school and think that if you go surfing then it brings out the best in you mentally and physically,” Mr D’Arcy says. “It allows the employees to have better focus and be in better health. There is no reason why it can’t be incorporated into large businesses as a health benefit.”
7. What jobs suits you best. Most likely, you’re thinking “working for a surfboard shaper” right now, but really you should be taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test used by about 80% of the Fortune 500 companies to profile their employees. We condensed an entire book on the test into this table which lists the five best jobs for the 16 different personalities identified by Myers-Briggs. See where you fit in and maybe whether you need to rethink your career.
8. James Packer needed to shoot an ad for his company Melco Entertainment and its mega-casino Studio City in Macau. So he hired Brad Pitt, Leonard DiCaprio and Robert De Niro to star in it and together with business partner Lawrence Ho, reportedly coughed up $70m for the project. $70 MILLION. There was a time in the not-too-distant past where a $70m budget for a Hollywood flick had investors and reviewers alike trembling at the prospect of an epic flop. For the record, a Melco spokesman said the figures are wrong, but wouldn’t come clean on the real numbers.
9. Apple’s about to reveal its global domination plan for mobile payments. PayPal execs will be watching closely and are probably already alarmed to learn of reports that the tech giant has deals in place with American Express, Mastercard and Visa. And probably not coincidentally, on the eve of the launch of the iPhone 6 and possibly the iWatch. Helping the rumoured iWallet become a major player will be the fact it already has the financial details of 800 million iTunes users on record, most of which includes credit card information.
10. Joan Rivers is dead. She was outrageous, offensive, unpredictable and arrogant – all the attributes shared by the great comedians throughout history, along with heartwarming and hilarious. Rivers’ family made the call to switch off her life support this morning. She is already greatly missed. You can YouTube for any collection of her greatest one-liners and you won’t be disappointed, but here’s a great moment she shared with Louie CK about what it really means to be gifted with funny.
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