10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Michael Clarke prepares to lead Australian players onto the field for the first Ashes Test in Cardiff. Photo: Getty.

Good morning! Let’s start Thursday and try not to mention you-know-what.

1. The New York Stock Exchange was down for three hours overnight because of a technical problem. This is what traders were seeing on their screens right after the system went down:

The White House, Treasury, and the SEC were all monitoring the situation which the NYSE was quick to clarify was not the result of a cyber attack. Some trading did continue through other avenues such as dark pools. On Twitter, everyone made the same jokes: “Glitch better have my money”, and “hey NYSE, take the cartridge out, and blow on it”. More details on the incident here.

2. Amid the disruption, stocks sold off on the US markets, with the Dow down 1.4%, the S&P 500 down 1.7% and the Nasdaq down 1.8%. European markets were mostly higher, however, on hopes a Greece deal is closer. (Overnight it was reported Greece was seeking a three-year bailout in return for tax reforms and pension changes to start as soon as next week.) ASX futures are pointing to losses following in Australia to back up yesterday’s loss of 2% in an Asia-wide sell-off driven by the continuing free-fall in Chinese stocks.

3. China’s market problems reverberated around Asia yesterday as panic selling continued on the Shanghai and Shenzen exchanges. What was, for weeks, written off as a highly contained correction is now being seen as potentially having far broader implications. First, China’s rising consumer class, who were the benefiting from the rally, are being hurt. “The net result of this volatile market is a transfer of wealth from the people on the street to the wealthy, including many major shareholders, who cashed out. We expect this will likely hurt consumption down the road,” wrote Bank of America’s David Cui. There are also rumblings about a slowdown in the reform program of Xi Jinping, who is in danger of losing significant political capital as the share market experiment blows up. “When a stock bubble pops in the world’s second largest economy it is going to have an effect,” one investment manager in Sydney told me yesterday, adding people who didn’t think it would mean anything beyond China were “muppets”. More on that here.

4. Iron ore got destroyed. The spot price for 62% fines dropped 10.1%, the biggest daily fall on record, to $44.59 a tonne. It’s now down 25% in just seven days. There’s some cold comfort in futures being up a little in overnight trade. Here’s the spot price chart:

Combined with the China worries it’s a tough outlook for Australian iron ore miners. Details here.

5. It’s jobs day in Australia and the market is expecting a total of 0 jobs added or lost in the economy last month. That’s right, economists expect a big fat zero in today’s unemployment data, to follow last month’s huge – and hardly believable – addition of 42,000 jobs in May. We’ll have live coverage at 11.30am Sydney time.

6. Microsoft is cutting 7,800 jobs, mainly in the phone division acquired in the Nokia buyout, which is being restructured. Satya Nadella informed the company in an all-staff memo outlining “a strategy to grow and create a vibrant Windows ecosystem including our first-party device family,” Nadella said in his memo. “In the near-term, we’ll run a more effective and focused phone portfolio while retaining capability for long-term reinvention in mobility.” Translation: Windows phones just about have a future. The losses are in addition to the 18,000 layoffs announced last year.

7. First Spotify and Rdio, then Apple – is Facebook next? The social behemoth is rumoured to be planning its own music streaming service to compete directly with Apple Music.

8. Volvo is trying to solve a big problem for families with young kids: the need to have your baby rear-facing in the back of the car. It’s awkward to get the ankle-biters into the back seat at right angles first, and then you can’t see them while driving. Here’s their answer:


9. Speaking of children, they can be loud in restaurants, and one upmarket dining establishment in Queensland is trying to tackle it. Children under 7 are now banned from Flynn’s a French and Italian restaurant in Yungaburra outside Cairns, after a recent heated confrontation between management and the mother of a screaming child. Results: (a) social media outrage and (b) a fully-booked restaurant on Tuesday. Simon Thomsen has the details.

10. The Ashes series is underway, so at least some things are right with the world. England looked for a horrible moment like they were picking up where they left off when they were at 3-43. Then things went their way. Joe Root was dropped by Brad Haddin on zero, and Root went on to make 134. At stumps the Poms were a very respectable 7-343. And Mitchell Starc left the ground with a sore ankle – not the first day the Aussies were looking for.

Bonus item: Even the pros do it sometimes. Here’s Andy Murray with the serve of a suburban Saturday afternoon scratcher:

Have a great Thursday. I’m on Twitter, and you can sign up to get 10 things in your inbox each day using the form below.

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