In Asia, the data was weak yesterday with the second read of Q3 GDP in Japan missing by a mile, printing -0.5% to an annualized -1.9%. In China, the trade data showed a dip in exports to 4.7%, from 8.2% expected, and imports fell heavily into the red down 6.7% against +3.9% expected. But this drove more calls for stimulus. Locally the impact was that after a fairly positive day yesterday, futures traders took the SPI 200 march contract down 14 (Dec lost 34) to 5,313. At the close, the Nikkei was up 0.09% to 17,936, the Hang Seng was up 0.19% to 24,048 and the Shanghai Composite ripped through to 3,020, up 2.80%.
The yen rallied from around 121.90 yesterday to sit at 120.68 this morning. Too far too fast is as good a reason as any for a pullback, but is it sustainable? The yen’s strength even helped the Aussie at the margin, though it is still below the level it opened at yesterday morning, sitting at 0.8291. Euro (1.2310) and GBP (1.5646) were up. On the data front the best and most important data release of the month – the NAB Business survey – is out this morning.
Qantas grounded its third flight in less than 24 hours. Yesterday, an Airbus A380 was forced to land in Perth en route between Dubai and Sydney due to “ventilation problems”. That’s now been followed by a flight from Perth to Karratha being sent back and 80 passengers treated for smoke inhalation, and last night, an Airbus on the new run from Sydney to Dallas had to turn back four hours after takeoff. Qantas said technical problems relating to “seat power, the in-flight entertainment system” and, bizarrely, “some of the toilets” were to blame.
The best jobs in 2015. Hiring intentions by Australian companies has reached the highest level since 2012, according to this quarter’s Employment Trends report from recruiter Hudson. Some 18.7% of employers are looking to increase permanent staffing levels, which is a huge 5.6% up on last quarter. Queensland and NSW are the hot spots for help wanted in 2015 and if you want be really valuable, focus on your skills that show you can help a company’s bottom line look better.
Shark selfies are bad, hmmkay? Lake Macquarie in NSW is Australia’s largest coastal salt water lake. It also has a great white shark in it at the moment. And now it has tourists leaning out of boats trying to take selfies with it, which, while not wishing harm on anyone, is not going to generate a lot of sympathy if the worst case scenario unfolds.
On that note, don’t try and be eaten by an anaconda. Discovery finally aired its controversial documentary “Eaten Alive” in which naturalist Paul Rosolie, wearing a carbon fibre suit, was set to be swallowed by a 6m anaconda. SPOILER ALERT: He didn’t get swallowed. Rosolie opted to free up one arm from the suit so he could wrangle with the serpent a little better. It ended up nearly breaking his arm, and Rosolie called the team in to extricate himself. Disappointing, but still a hundred times more entertaining than these Twitter attempts to hilarify it.
Mark Zuckerberg might be reading David Beckham’s autobiography. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it couldn’t help but be noticed in a pic opportunity of the Facebook CEO taken by Chinese state media while he was escorting Lu Wei, China’s top internet regulator, around Facebook HQ.
There’s also a strategically placed copy of a book written by the President of China sitting on Zuckerberg’s desk. And if you want to know more about what top tech CEOs are reading this Christmas, here’s the five best books Bill Gates read in 2014.
Australia’s online pirates wish they didn’t have to steal stuff. But they do, they say, because content in Australia is so darned expensive. Research from CHOICE shows that while 33% of Australians have illegally downloaded or streamed content online, most who pirate “are even more willing to spend money on content than those who don’t pirate”. “People who illegally download content are more likely to have a Quickflix account than the average Australian,” CHOICE Director of Campaigns and Communications, Matt Levy said, “and they are significantly more likely to pay to see a movie at the cinema.” Why? Because mainly, they just like to see everything first.
TIME has put out its short list for its Person of the Year award. Last year, Pope Francis got the coveted gong. This year, there’s not a lot to argue with. The headline acts would be Russian President Vladimir Putin, and pop star Taylor Swift. The most applauded would be the Ferguson protestors, those fighting against ISIS and ebola caregivers. And the most controversial would be NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who is in hot water after allegedly not taking action against a star footballer who knocked out his girlfriend in an elevator.
Cricket season. Finally, and hitting off in what will undoubtedly be one of the most emotional starts to a series, ever. The NSW Government has decided against holding a state memorial service for Phillip Hughes, saying after consultation with the Hughes family and Cricket Australia, last week’s funeral was the best possible way to say goodbye. A service will be held before the Fourth Test at the SCG in January. Michael Clarke has been named fit to play in today’s opener against India in Adelaide.
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