Good morning. First, to the markets:
1. In Asia yesterday, the Nikkei didn’t like the strength of the yen which is back under 118. Key to the outlook for both the yen and Nikkei really is what happens in US and global stocks. Stocks down will drive flows into the yen and put a double weight on the Nikkei. Elsewhere in the region, stocks in Hong Kong and Shanghai were higher by 0.79% to 24,216 and 0.18% to 3,235 respectively after the solid increase in Chinese exports of 9.9%.
2. The Aussie is sitting at 0.8163 off the lows of yesterday and hasn’t done a whole lot else. USDJPY loooks like it’s about to break down and it sits at 117.86 this morning. Euro fell from 1.1859 yesterday to 1.1771 this morning while GBP has recovered a bit from its lows. It’s down, but okay at 1.5156.
3. Meanwhile, in coal. A quiet crash is going on in Australia’s bulk energy export market to the tune of 10% since Christmas and around 20% in the past three months. Here’s the slide at a glance:
Since mid-December, that’s seen an unusual trend in the ASX energy sector (XEJ) underperforming the ASX 200 – by some margin.
4. Fred Nile has weighed in on talk from the Prime Minister that the survivors of the Lindt Cafe siege just before Christmas should be honoured with bravery awards. Sure, says the NSW MP, award the two who lost their lives, emergency services and those that suffered the whole ordeal in the cafe. But not those men who escaped. “Maybe they could have done something more to protect the women,” he told Fairfax Radio.
5. Pic series of the day. If you were alive in the 80s, you’ll remember the hysteria that hit our current affairs shows surrounding the appearance of a new drug called “crack”. It wasn’t unwarranted though – the Drug War was in full swing, and it was being waged on doorsteps and streets in the US. Photographer William Karl Valentine logged 1000 hours shadowing officers as they tried to gain control of gangs while minimising innocent casualties, and he’s shared a heap of his pics with BI. Come for the serious good work being done, stay for the serious moustaches:
6. Tony Robbins wants you to be rich and has shared five core strategies that he says will make you “unstoppable” in reaching that goal. We’ve been working our way through his new book “Money: Master The Game” in the past few weeks, and it’s a cracker. This quick excerpt is a good mix of a common sense approach to savings and investment and a couple of unorthodox lifestyle choices you might not have otherwise considered. Like Costa Rica.
7. China is getting serious about Macau. It’s cracking down on corruption in the casino mecca, and the impact it’s having on profits is undeniable. This week, a huge sting netted a major prize when Alan Ho was arrested under allegations he ran a syndicate controlling 100 rooms of prostitutes that brought in $US50 million a year. Ho may have thought he was untouchable – he’s the nephew of billionaire Stanley Ho, who has been in Macau since Day Dot and controls 18 casinos. Stanley Ho also happens to be the father of Lawrence Ho, the business partner of James Packer and chairman of Melco Crown. Overnight, Melco unveiled a raft of “family-friendly features” for its third Macau casino, Studio City, in what the SMH claims is a shift that “reduces reliance on high rollers amid a Chinese government crackdown”.
8. Inflation is at a 14-year low in the UK and likely to head even lower as oil prices continue to fall. But don’t panic. There’s a scenario – such as that in Europe – where falling prices for the past couple of years isn’t a good thing, because it’s linked to people not being able to afford goods and services. Deflation in the UK, because it’s happening alongside the oil price drop, is the good sort which happens because things are cheaper to make. That’s why BoE governor Mark Carney is calling cheap oil an “unambiguously net positive”. Mike Bird explains it all in much better detail here.
9. Delta Goodrem is the new John Farnham. When it comes to comebacks, anyway. The ex-Voice judge is a Voice judge again, returning to replace Kylie Minogue in the spinning chair when the hit show returns later this year. Sadly, will.i.am – a highlight from last year’s series – is confirmed as gone, replaced by a Pom called Jessie J, who apparently wasn’t that great on the UK version of the show last year. Joel Madden will this year share the chair with Cameron Diaz’s new husband, otherwise known as his brother Benji, so we can expect a star turn from the Hollywood glamour at some stage in the 2015 series.
10. The Socceroos are on a roll. A 4-0 win over Oman last night all but cemented a quarter-final spot in the Asian Cup, which is great news for the home side. It’s also great news for those looking to find Aussie scorers apart from Tim Cahill. Four players who weren’t Cahill scored last night and apart from a nervous 10 minutes early, it was one-way traffic for the Socceroos. The highlight, though, was the stunning footwork on show from rising Aussie star Massimo Luongo.
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