10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, and US President-elect Donald Trump. Picture: Getty Images.

Good morning!

1. Will they ever learn? It’s still January but a strong candidate for the most bizarre quote of 2017 is already here. It’s from Bronwyn Bishop yesterday on Sky News, where she was talking about Sussan Ley’s decision to stand aside as health minister. Bishop, who lost her job as Speaker after taking an outrageously expensive helicopter flight from Melbourne to Geelong, said she didn’t know the specifics of Ley’s travel booking, but:

“I do know that there are socialists out there who want to attack free enterprise and anyone who sticks up for it.

“I know that socialists, like alcoholics, will blame anyone but themselves, whereas alcoholics can damage their own family, socialists can destroy the whole country.”

Socialism? Alcohol? Perhaps it has something to do with voters hating politicians splurging taxpayers’ money on business class flights, especially when there’s even a hint that there was some personal interest involved, such as a supposed “impulse buy” of a Gold Coast apartment. Ley’s travel is being investigated.

2. Bull market. That’s officially what it is for Australian financial stocks since the lows around the US election count. The broad rally in stocks has seen gains for CBA at 22.4%, Westpac 17.5%, ANZ 23.2% and the NAB at 27.5%.

Chart: Investing.com

3. Markets. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones indexes both found themselves in the red following a near 4% dip in the price of WTI crude overnight, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq ended up strongly. That might drag on local stocks after the ASX 200 broke through the 5800 mark yesterday, boosted by a rally in financial stocks, to 20 month highs. March ASX 200 futures are down 21 points. Chinese iron ore futures are on yet another gravity-defying rally and the Aussie dollar is rising again.

4. Jack Ma met Donald Trump and promised him a million jobs. Alibaba tweeted photos of the whole event, and apparently there’s a million new jobs coming to the US. Alibaba’s share price went from down for the session to up over 1%.

5. The three things to watch this year, according to Goldman Sachs’ chief economist Jan Hatzius, are simple:

  • Trade protectionism
  • European politics
  • China

Easy. Goldman also has this at-a-glance guide to the chaotic European political calendar and the rise of populist movements:

Goldman Sachs.

More here.

6. The jobs in demand right now in Australia are: financial analyst, payroller, site manager, data analyst, development and operations engineer and sales administrator. Here are all the skills you need to stay relevant.

7. We know nothing about space. One researcher now believes the moon wasn’t formed out of a single collision with the Earth, but from something like 20 collisions. And on the weekend, an asteroid ducked past the Earth, missing by just half the distance to the Moon. It was 34 metres across, would have exploded in the atmosphere with the force of a dozen hydrogen bombs – and no one saw it coming.

8. The iPhone is only 10 years old. In fact, this week marks 10 years since Steve Jobs first announced it, like this:

A decade later, there’s talk of technological deflation, there are apps for everything, and kids grow up thinking they can pinch and zoom any photo. Remarkable.

9. Prince didn’t own any stocks when he died — but he did own over $800,000 in gold bars.

10. Elite golfer problems. Rory McIlroy says Tiger Woods texts him in the middle of the night from the gym because he can’t sleep.

Bonus item: Dude, perfect:


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