Good morning! Let’s start Thursday…
1. There’s an Ebola scare in Australia. A man was being taken to isolation at Gold Coast University hospital this morning by paramedics in protective suits. He returned from Africa just days ago, where the Ebola outbreak has been rampant and has now killed almost 2,300 people, according to the latest official estimates. Health officials say they have prepared for such an event on World Health Organisation guidance.
2. It’s jobs day in Australia. The market’s expecting 15,000 jobs added for August, which would be a solid result, and the unemployment rate is expected to tick down to 6.3%. The spike the unemployment rate to 6.4% last month was a big shock, and the headlines could have hit consumer confidence which we’ve seen sinking in recent weeks on the ANZ-Roy Morgan weekly survey, and again in the more established Westpac-Melbourne Institute survey out yesterday. There’s a particular focus for markets on this number today because…
3. The Australian dollar is still getting smoked, and hit a six-month low overnight. “Buy the dip” simply didn’t work for traders during yesterday’s session as the battler drifted ever lower during the session. Overnight the Aussie hit US91.10 cents before finding some buyers who finally propped it back up to just over the US91.50c mark. Look at it go:
Watch for that jobs number at 11.30am AEST – we’ll have live coverage on Business Insider.
4. We need to talk about pay. There are headlines this morning about a pay freeze at Coca-Cola Amatil, and new hires coming in on salaries significantly lower than the existing workforce. The CCA deal is a dramatic one but it is not an isolated incident – companies everywhere are starting to rein in wage increases in order to remain competitive at the global level. As Greg McKenna writes this morning, this is something Australia needs to talk about – there have been warnings for some time that wages can’t keep up with inflation, and people need to plan for some lifestyle adjustments as a result.
5. To the markets, and the US bourses posted gains with the Nasdaq leading the way, up 0.7%, while the Dow was up 0.3% and the S&P 500 was up 0.4%. Asian markets were soft yesterday with Shanghai down 0.4% after a run of strong recent gains, but the Hang Seng had a horror fall of 1.9%. The Nikkei was up, though, 0.3%. As well as the jobs data in Australia today, we get Chinese CPI this morning. ASX futures are up 18 points ahead of the open.
6. Two things you should read about Scottish independence. There’s growing momentum behind the Scottish independence movement ahead of the referendum on breaking from the UK on September 18. George Soros points out it comes at a terrible time for the “unfinished” European project, and could hasten Europe’s retreat from the world at at time of growing nationalism and when there are looming threats to the stability of the region, particularly in Ukraine. And Credit Suisse’s opinion: Scotland would fall into a deep recession.
7. Extremists have planned a terrorist attack in Australia, according to a report in The Australian this morning. There’s no evidence that a bomb has been built but the reported resolve of extremists to carry out an attack is one of the decisive factors behind the anticipated raising of the national terrorism alert level in the coming days. Meanwhile, Barack Obama has outlined his strategy for dealing with ISIS.
8. The questions Apple didn’t answer. It was quite a show yesterday and no doubt the records are set to tumble when the iPhone 6 goes on sale next week. So does it really matter if Apple’s reality distortion field is starting to crumble? No. Regardless, here’s some choice questions that the most watched tech company in the world failed to answer yesterday. We’d also add “Why is the iPhone 6 so darned heavy, despite being so thin?”
9. Australia’s Netflix. Fairfax Media and Nine have teamed up for a $100 million media joint venture, StreamCo, which will offer streaming TV and movies. CEO Mike Sneesby has told Business Insider that there’ll be some big-name TV shows exclusive to the platform and he expects the streaming media audience in Australia to be between 2.5 million to 4 million within a few years. With Foxtel improving its digital products and about to drop its prices dramatically, and an arrival of Netflix seen as a practical certainty, the (justified) grumbling about how Australian audiences are consistently ripped off by media companies might well start to fade by next year.
10. Dreamliner workers spill the beans. This has litigation written all over it, but a documentary about to air claims to show secret conversations with Boeing workers about whether they’d fly on the new Dreamliner jet, which rolled out years over its production target date and has had several high-profile incidents since launch. Ten of the 15 workers secretly filmed said they wouldn’t fly on the Dreamliner. Boeing is saying the documentary is “as biased a production as we have seen in some time”.
Bonus item: An Australian firm has designed the scariest house ever conceived. Have a look:
Come out to the coast, we’ll have a few laughs, take our lives in our hands…
Have a cracking Thursday. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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