Good morning! Let’s get to it…
1. Telstra beats. Australia’s largest telco posted its results this morning, beating some analyst expectations on earnings with as 14.3% increase in full-year after tax profit to $4.28 billion. The company also added almost a million new retail mobile customer services, making its total number of mobile services now 16 million. Telstra also announced a $1 billion share buyback program.
2. Markets have rallied despite some poor data, with the Dow gaining half a point to 16,652.80, the S&P up 0.7% and the Nasdaq up 1% in the overnight session. US retail sales for July were flat compared to June, the worst result in six months. The Nikkei also shrugged off a 1.7% fall in Q2 GDP to finish slightly up yesterday. SPI futures are up 22 points to 5479 ahead of the start of trade in Australia; the big data point to watch globally is European GDP data out tonight where we could see some ugly numbers out of Germany and France.
3. Poorer people drive less, and federal Treasurer Joe Hockey is repeatedly underlining this point – doing it again this morning – in his case for political support for the indexation of the fuel excise, one of his budget measures that is currently blocked in the Senate. While it might be accurate to say that richer households tend to have more cars and drive more, thereby being affected most by the fuel index rises, you don’t need to be Peggy Noonan to know that saying “poor people don’t drive” isn’t the greatest of political messages to be bandying about.
4. The NFC payments boom is coming. ANZ CEO Mike Smith famously said he was terrified by the coming disruption he saw in payments technology following a trip to Silicon Valley last year. But digital payments like NFC, which uses a chip in your phone, have so far had limited takeup. That may be about to change. Globally, some 300 million NFC-enabled phones have shipped globally in the past year, and the iPhone 6, expected to be launched early next month, is also believed to have the technology in-built. Here’s a projection for the growth in NFC payments processing in the US alone:
5. Harriet Wran, the daughter of former NSW Premier Neville Wran, will appear in court today charged with the murder of a drug dealer in Sydney’s Redfern on Monday.
6. That people mistake a bull market for brains is one of the nuggets of investing wisdom from the legendary Jim Chanos.
7. Samsung has a metal phone. After months of speculation and just weeks ahead of the anticipated release of the iPhone 6, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Alpha overnight, a new metal-edged phone that looks remarkably like, well, an iPhone. It’s slightly smaller than the Galaxy S5 and is just 7mm thick. No indication on prices just yet.
More details here.
8. Deutsche Bank says Kim Kardashian is killing Candy Crush. The investment bank has downgraded King Digital, the Candy Crush makers whose stock has been crushed in the US on this week’s poor earnings. In a new note the bank points out that casual gaming competition is increasingly intense, especially with the recent launch of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, and that games only have so much time to play in any one day.
9. A look inside the secretive Apple University has been published in The New York Times. Trainees in the elite executive program are introduced to Apple’s ways of thinking and its design philosophies, as well as how it makes business decisions.
10. Karl Stefanovic is 40. And he’s heading south to Crown Casino to celebrate this weekend with a host of the usual Aussie TV suspects. Crown is the scene of the post-Logies booze-up that inadvertently made Stefanovic a star in 2009, and the private villa has been handed to him personally by James Packer. On the guest list at Shane Warne’s bar – Alan Jones, Eddie McGuire, Lisa Wilkinson, Mick Doohan and possibly Stefanovic’s Sunrise rival, Samantha Armytage. It will be closely watched.
Have a cracking day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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