10 Things You Need To Know This Morning In Australia

Alan Joyce – flying high, finally. Picture: Getty Images

Good morning.

1. The Financial System Inquiry findings are out. Inquiry head, former Commonwealth Bank CEO David Murray, wants the report to be a blueprint to foster a more competitive and flexible financial system. Major issues include revisiting the concept that Australia’s big banks are considered too big to fail and scrutiny of the $1.8 trillion superannuation industry. There’s a lot to take in, so here’s the wrap:

Now, to the markets.

2 – On Asian stocks Friday, the Shanghai had a very volatile day making a high of 2,978 before closing at 2,938. It’s rising at crazy speeds, which has everyone worried about about sustainability, even Chinese authorities, who have warned investors. But today shouldn’t see any change, given Asia feeds the beast that is the US economy with goods. At the close Friday, the Nikkei was up 0.18% to 17,920, the Hang Seng was up 0.72% to 24,003 and Shanghai Composite up 1.33%.

3 – The US dollar crushed almost every currency on planet Friday after the surge in non-farm payrolls in November of 321,000. That was bad news for the Aussie, which fell heavily and closed the week at 0.8324. That’s the lowest level it has traded at since July 2010. In early trade this morning it’s sitting at 0.8295.

4 – On the data front there are some holidays in Europe, while we get ANZ job ads in Australia and the all-important Chinese trade data.

5 – Some motivation for workers at Facebook’s Palo Alto campus in California. There’s a message on its huge “Like” sign that passers-by don’t get to see, but workers cop every time they head out for home. Here’s what you’ll see walking past:

Here’s what they see on the way out:

Yep, the campus was previously owned by former tech giant Sun, whose share price rose from $2 to $253 between 1994-2000. Eight years later, it was back down to $3 and the company was snapped up by Oracle. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg deliberately chose to keep the sign “as a reminder of what happens when you take your eye off the ball”. Brutal, but effective.

6 – Solar’s getting better. A lot better, in fact, with the University of NSW solar researchers achieving a world-first mark of turning 40% of sunlight hitting a solar system into electricity. To put that into context, in 1989, they achieved a world-first mark of 20%. The 40% mark was confirmed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory at its outdoor test facility in the United States.

7 – How to overhaul a cruise ship. Business Insider toured Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas as it underwent a 32-day bow-to-stern rejuvenation at Singapore’s Sembcorp Marine’s Sembawang shipyard. It’s costing them a cool $80 million, which in itself gives you some idea of what the growing popularity of cruising is worth to the tourism industry. BI’s Peter Terlato got the most unglamorous cruise ship junket ever, but came back with some great pictures of what an $80 million renovation job looks like.

8 – A Qantas plane made an emergency landing this morning. Flight QF-2 was about 700km northeast of Perth “when the crew initiated an emergency descent to 9000 feet due to the loss of cabin pressure”. Passengers were quick to tweet the details:

It was en route from Dubai to Sydney but touched down safely. Alarming for all on-board, unless they’d taken Henry Blodget’s advice on How To Fly First Class For The Price Of Economy. In better news for Qantas, it just reported an H1 profit of $300m-$350m – its best first half result since 2010.

9 – Australia’s most expensive apartment. If it sells, the penthouse of Sydney “Toaster” building on Circular Quay will be a record-breaker. Listed at $40m by CBRE, interest is coming in from buyers based in Asia and the Emirates. One buyer is thinking of snapping up both the penthouse and the apartment two floows below it listed for $23 million, and joining the two with an elevator.

10 – Lionel Messi is a freak. This curving shot past three defenders in Barcelona’s 5-1 win against Espanyol yesterday proves it. You have to feel sorry for the Espanyol ‘keeper:

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