Good morning and welcome to Friday. It’s been ugly so far…
1. Locally the SPI 200 December futures reversed yesterday’s strength, falling 54 points to 5,225. It’s been whipsaw trade lately and with the US markets closing on their lows, there is going to be a lot of negativity in the Australian market and around Asia today. Could we see some bottom fishing? Maybe, but there is an old traders’ adage about what happens when you pick bottoms….
2. Nikkei weakness reflected yen strength to a large extent. But equally the foreign buying of Japanese assets data released showed that Japan and the yen remain safe havens, with the latest weekly purchases the highest since 2011. That means if this stock market volatility heads into a higher range, the yen will strengthen further, putting additional pressure on the Nikkei.
3. The Aussie is back at 0.8781, which is incredible given it traded up to 0.8898 in a rather strange reaction to the weakish labour data yesterday.
4. Elsewhere in Asia, the release of Chinese new loans data will be very important for the region today. But the Shanghai, 2,689, is likely to come under pressure regardless today. Likewise the Hang Seng’s 1.17% gain yesterday is likely to be reversed. In Australia, we get the release of home lending data.
5. Coal is getting smoked. China will impose a 3% tariff on coking coal and a 6% tariff on thermal coal from October 15 for everyone bar Indonesia, which is safe due to an ASEAN-China FTA clause. The moves, aimed at propping up local Chinese miners, had an immediate impact in the US, with several of the biggest losers down between 6 and 10 per cent overnight. No doubt it will put pressure on Australian margins as well – Newcastle Coal futures trade on ICE saw the December contract fall 65 cents to $65.45 a tonne overnight.
6. One of the most famous Irish tax loopholes is about to die. Yep, the infamous “Double Irish” exploited by Apple, Google, Facebook, and countless others to reduce their tax rates on foreign profits. The profits often also pass through the Netherlands, which is called a Dutch Sandwich. The OECD has been pressuring member states to close such loopholes for some time now, and Irish finance minister, Michael Noonan, is reportedly set to do just that in his 2015 budget reveal next Tuesday.
7. Beer tastes good. It also smells good, and scientists, in yet another experiment that sounds suspiciously like an excuse to handle a lot of alcohol, have found out why. It’s all to do with beer yeasts which mimic the smell of fruits in order to attract flies which can transport the yeast cells to new niches. The volatile compounds are also essential for the flavour of beer and wine. Now try not to think about Friday knock-off.
8. John Howard still can’t stand David Koch. Former Sunrise executive producer Adam Boland’s tell-all memoir Brekky Central looks wonderfully juicy. He says one of Kochie’s most infamous moments, which saw him reader out a viewer’s joke about which involved Mr Howard, his wife Janette, Kim Beazley, and a message written in urine in the snow, will haunt the presenter forever.
“To this day, John Howard refuses to talk to Kochie, even when he’s seated on the same table at functions,” Boland writes.
9. Ebola still not in Australia. The 57-year-old woman under observation in Cairns hospital has returned negative blood test results for the potentially fatal Ebola virus. Australian nurse Sue-Ellen Kovack recently returned from Sierra Leone where she had spent one month as a Red Cross aid worker treating Ebola-infected patients in a hospital. Initial tests returned a negative result, but Kovack was likely to remain under observation for at least another 24-hours.
10. Absolutely the last Bachelor update. Promise. But we just needed to clear the air on behalf of runner-up Lisa Hyde who, in an exclusive interview with the Courier-Mail, says she is definitely not pregnant with Blake’s baby. Hyde is getting on with making the most of her time in the spotlight, and has signed on as the face of the Forever 21 clothing chain, which opens in Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall next Thursday. Now that’s over, let’s turn back to The Block, where Deanne and Darren Jolly have signed up for another series.
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