Good morning! Let’s start the week…
1. Australians have an increasingly bleak outlook on their living standards. That’s one way of looking at a Newspoll survey in The Australian this morning, which mirrors the dip in consumer sentiment around the federal budget. Almost one-third of respondents said they expected their living standards to fall in the next six months. Looking at the other side of the ledger, though, and more than half of Australians are still confident they’ll be unaffected.
2. Two major surveys this week will give us more information about the mood in the Australian economy. Tomorrow, there’s the NAB business survey which will include employment intentions, an important number to watch following last week’s surprise fall in Australian jobs. On Wednesday we get the Westpac consumer sentiment survey, which will show the recovery – or lack thereof – from the budget-induced gloom. The ANZ-Roy Morgan survey retraced last week after a few weeks of sharp bounceback while the budget receded from the headlines. Businesses and investors will be watching Wednesday’s result closely.
3. To the markets and after an ugly day for Australian and Japanese stocks on Friday, the US bourses bounced back at the end of the week. The Dow finished up 1.1%, the Nasdaq gained 0.8% and the S&P 500 was up 1.2%. It gives a stronger lead to the start of the week, with the key ASX futures contract up 37 points ahead of the start of trade in Australia. The eyes of the world will be on the European GDP result on Wednesday, where we’re likely to see some horrible numbers for the French and German economies particularly, and a flat quarter for the Eurozone.
4. Companies reporting this week include Domino’s, Commonwealth Bank, and the casino groups Echo and James Packer’s Crown. We also get JB Hifi this morning, and Telstra on Thursday.
5. The Australian jihadist’s son with the decapitated head. A photo of a seven-year-old boy, believed to be the son of Australian Islamic extremist Khaled Sharrouf, holding up the severed head of a Syrian soldier, is a sickening example of the extreme propaganda from the ISIS militants who are running amok in Syria and Iraq. (You can read about it here, with a pixelated photo, which is still disturbing.) Sharrouf posted the sickening photo to Twitter with the words “That’s my boy.” This comes amid continuing reports of the horrors ISIS is inflicting in Iraq: the militants are said to have killed 500 Yazidis – some by burying them alive.
6. The rise of ISIS is staggering. Patrick Cockburn in the London Review of Books explains: “As the attention of the world focused on Ukraine and Gaza, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) captured a third of Syria in addition to the quarter of Iraq it had seized in June. The frontiers of the new Caliphate declared by Isis on 29 June are expanding by the day and now cover an area larger than Great Britain and inhabited by at least six million people, a population larger than that of Denmark, Finland or Ireland.” Airstrikes against ISIS are now into their third day, with the US military this morning confirming its most intense strikes yet.
7. Cheese supply warning. One of the consequences of the Russian sanctions announced last week – with Australia one of the affected countries – might be an oversupply of cheese on the global market, because 70% of Russia’s cheese imports come from Western countries. Capital Economics’ Tom Pugh warns the surplus could affect prices for producers.
8. Wave breakthrough. Australian physicists have surprised themselves by being able to manipulate waves in a way that they can control the direction of objects floating on the water – including getting the objects to move in the opposite direction to the waves. They aren’t quite sure how it works. Chris Pash has the details here.
9. Monday motivator. Here are 11 ways you can stop procrastinating.
10. Kyle and Jackie O had an on-air fight. News.com.au reports that Jackie O walked out on Kyle Sandilands after an on-air argument over Kyle’s sick day that he took on Friday. Sandilands reportedly asked: “Have you got the sh**s or something?” and Jackie O said she did “a little”, adding “You’re always sick on a Friday… I’m putting it out there”. After a break, when the nationwide FM show came back on air, Kyle had to tell listeners Jackie O had left. Awkward.
Have a cracking Monday. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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