Good morning. Here’s what you need to know after a huge night.
1. The big news in Asia overnight is the biggest. According to the International Monetary Fund, China overtook the US to become the world’s largest economy. The IMF measures both GDP in market exchange terms, and in terms of purchasing power. On the purchasing power basis, China has gone past that cross-over on the chart below. By the end of 2014, China will make up 16.48% of the world’s purchasing-power adjusted GDP (or $US17.632 trillion), and the US will make up just 16.28% (or $US17.416 trillion):
2. The Aussie dollar roared to 0.8835 this morning, thanks to the release of the FOMC minutes. It’s almost a cent higher than where it was prior to the release of the minutes. Key to the price action is that the minutes suggest members of the FOMC are worried about the outlook for global growth and the recent surge in the US dollar’s strength. The Aussie’s now sitting at 0.8845.
3. Australian investors and stock traders will have a more pleasant day today – as long as we don’t get another rogue employment number – with the December SPI 200 futures up a stellar 57 points to 5282. The rally might have more legs in it yet. Unless something goes haywire in Asian trade today, expect Europe to open sharply higher as it missed all the early morning action. On the data front, the new and improved – maybe – non-seasonally adjusted employment data for Australia will be released today with the market looking for a solid gain of around 20,000. Westpac consumer confidence is also out.
4. High payout ratios for Australian companies are unsustainable, according to a new report from Boston Consulting, The Challenge of Growth: Our Perspective on the Growth versus Dividends Debate. The report finds that payout ratios on earnings as dividends of 70% is 31% above the global average of 39%. At the same time, the report also shows that Australian earnings growth has lagged global growth by 15%. Co-author Ramesh Karnani said that without growth, payout ratios “cannot be sustained for long” and “only postpone an inevitable crunch”.
5. Everyone has to have a hobby. A 15-year old Australian kid was so bored in a science class one day he coded an app, with the help of another teenager in the US, that took over Vine and Tinder in the US app charts. Meeting via Facebook group High School Hackers, Aussie Ben Pasternak and Chicago-based Austin Valleskey coded brain teasing app Impossible Rush in a couple of hours. New York-based social media marketer Carlos Fajardo spread the word and boom – it peaked at 7th place in Sweden, 16th in the US and 18th in Australia.
6. The Blood Moon. It was a bit cloudy over Sydney last night, but plenty of stargazers everywhere else got a good look at the stunning lunar eclipse which saw the moon turn red. Here’s a great collection of pics from Tokyo to Perth to Washington DC.
7. You can eat at Fat Duck. English chef Heston Blumenthal is bringing one of the world’s most famous restaurants to Melbourne’s Crown Resort in 2015, but the only way to get a table at The Fat Duck is via an electronic ballot. Blumenthal is shifting to Crown for six months while his English pad is renovated. The restaurant will seat just 50 people and open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday to Saturday. The 14-course tasting meal will cost $525 per person and there’s a $675 per person chef’s table. To get one, you need to register in the online ballot, which is open now, until October 26.
8. Red Bull doesn’t give you wings. And it now has to pay $US10 to anyone disappointed by it not living up to its famous claim after the success of a US class action lawsuit accusing the company of false and misleading advertising claims. Sadly, the suit did not allege that plaintiffs were disappointed that they didn’t grow actual wings. Rather, it filed complaints such as one athlete who said he’d been drinking the product since 2002 but had seen no improvement in his athletic performance. It could cost Red Bull up to $US13 million.
9. ISIS is violating the laws of Islam. This post is proving popular today, as a letter signed by 126 Muslim leaders and scholars condemns ISIS and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of failing to respect key tenants of Islam. That letter outlines 24 violations of Islamic Law, noting it’s forbidden to kill the innocent, torture people, and disfigure the dead. And while we’re on ISIS, if you missed Emma Alberici berating Hizb ut-Tahrir member Wassim Doureihi, do yourself a favour.
10. Sam Burgess may have played the NRL Grand Final concussed. The NRL is set to launch an investigation into South Sydney’s handling of Burgess’ head injuries after he admitted to radio 2KY “I don’t remember too much of it”. His “courage” was celebrated after he played the entire decider with a fractured cheekbone and eye socket, but NRL head of football Todd Greenberg had reminded both teams that breaches of new protocols around player safety could see medical staff deregistered or competition points stripped next season. Burgess’ mother Julie called her son “the ultimate hero” in “a stupid sport”.
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