Good morning! It’s Tuesday – you can do it.
1. Joe Hockey’s iron bottom. The federal Treasurer made waves yesterday with his comments that there appeared to be “no floor” to the iron ore price, and that the government was potentially having to contemplate prices at $US35. And the market said: buy! Within hours, prices were moving violently the other way. Iron ore futures have gained more than 3.4% since yesterday, one of their biggest upward moves in months. Now, one man doesn’t move the market, but sometimes it can defy you at every turn.
2. As can your predecessors. Former treasurer Peter Costello has taken a cudgel to some of the tax changes Hockey’s apparently considering for the budget, such as the bank deposit tax and changes to superannuation. Costello writes in a column for News Corp today that while the tax discussion paper talked about lower and simpler taxes, “Ever since we have been flooded with demands for taxes that are higher, more complicated, and less economic. ‘Lower, simpler, fairer’ is looking like a morbid joke.” Oof.
3. To the markets, and yesterday’s weak Chinese trade data did nothing to stop the momentum in the Hang Seng (+2.7%) and the Shanghai composite (+2.2%). US markets were muted with both the Dow and the S&P500 finishing slightly weaker. The 6000 mark looks like a long way off for the ASX200 today, after yesterday’s early tilt brought it within a few points but then the Chinese trade data reversed all the gains.
4. To grasp the effects of the China rally, consider that one company — China Construction Bank — is now larger than JPMorgan and Facebook thanks to the increases in its share price, which soared to new highs in recent weeks. Here’s the chart.
5. On the data front today in Australia we’ll get ANZ weekly consumer confidence before the NAB Business survey at 11.30am AEST, a release always stacked full of some of the best insights into the trajectory of the economy in terms of trading conditions, and intentions on employment and investment. We’ll have full coverage when it’s out.
6. Victoria’s Secret is under pressure. Key Angels are leaving and designers and staff are being poached by disruptive startups. And then there are marketing problems. “The dazzling and over the top fantasy positioning is simply alienating to the modern day sophisticated and complex young woman,” branding expert and University of Southern California professor Jeetendr Sehdev told Business Insider. It’s in danger of being the next Abercrombie & Fitch (which, if you’re still wearing it, you should know it’s not cool any more). More on the Victoria’s Secret problems here.
7. Rock T-shirts for interest rates. San Francisco Fed President John Williams has been selling the message that the US economy is strong enough to to withstand the start of the Fed’s tightening campaign, expected some time this year. Williams has been having T-shirts printed which stress that decisions will be driven by data, not mood or bloody-mindedness. The black T-shirts which say “Monetary policy – it’s data dependent” are white prints on black shirts, much like the style favoured by rock fans to show their enthusiasm for bands. Monetary policy: it’s so rock ‘n’ roll right now.
8. The Netflix opportunity. UBS has upgraded Netflix to a Buy in the US, partly because it’s bullish about its international expansion potential, including in countries like Australia. On current trends, Netflix’s international margins should surpass domestic margins by 2020, and it is looking at a total addressable market of 600 million homes with broadband by 2020.
9. And now you can even binge-watch at work. The Helium floating browser allows you to park your Netflix on your desktop but because it works beautifully in opaque mode, you can still see your Gantt charts and spreadsheets on your desktop while you get your fix of House of Cards or The Office. Here’s what it looks like:
10. Jordan Spieth trousered $US1.8 million for winning the Masters – more than triple what Tiger Woods won in 1997. Nice work if you can get it.
Bonus item: The dangers of celebrating early, courtesy of this college athlete in the US overnight. It’s a bit like what happens every time the ASX200 gets close to 6000.
Have a cracking day. I’m on Twitter.
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