Good day. It’s going to be a big one.
1. Let’s start with employment data in Australia. The market consensus says it should print an increase of 5,000 but many pundits are expecting big negatives. The local arm of the world’s largest job site, Indeed, told us that job listings on its Australian site fell 16.3% in December from November. A fall over Christmas is not unexpected, but that’s a number verging on significant. More importantly, Indeed local boss Chris McDonald says there’s a consistent decline overall “without much of a seasonal pattern”. We’ll know more at 11.30am.
2. In Asia yesterday, the markets dipped into the red after lunch in Shanghai and Hong Kong, no doubt as early European weakness fed east. At the close, the Hang Seng was down 0.43% to 24,113 while in Shanghai, the close of 3,222 was 0.41% lower on the day. Tokyo was a different story with the stronger yen (lower USDJPY), which rose sharply over the day with the crash in copper weighing on the Nikkei (down 1.71% at 16,796).
3. The Aussie was poleaxed at one point yesterday, with the fall in copper focusing attention on the most liquid risk asset on the planet (ours) which underwent heavy selling. It traded down to 0.8066 but is back at 81.51 this morning.
4. Tony Abbott has ditched the Holden Caprices in favour of a “hulking BMW armoured car”. The $500,000 Bimmer can withstand AK-47 bullets and the odd roadside blast. Abbott’s gang has ponied up for nine of the cars, which also include tyres that stay inflated after being punctured, an attack alarm and some kind of futuristic comms device that “allows the occupants to communicate with people outside without having to open the doors”.
5. Australia’s lucky run is running out. Top analyst Gerard Minack – a noted bear – even has a note out titled “2015: Australia Runs Out Of Luck”. He estimated Australia faced a 40% chance of recession this year and said the only reason it was not his base case was that the leading indicators of employment – job ads, readings from sectoral PMI reports and so on – remained strong. He claims the twin boom of the past decade in commodity prices and mining investment was a “once in a century” event which produced a “fiscal magic pudding”. It’s all here if you can bear the bad news.
6. “Of a size that has not been seen before around Newcastle” is the Moby Dick moment council lifeguards in Newcastle delivered to the press yesterday when discussing a monster great white stalking their beaches. The water has been off-limits to Novocastrians since last Friday when the fin was first seen slicing through the water. Some say the shark is near five metres long and weighs about 1700kg, and according to our source, has a “menacing glint in its eye, almost human-like when it looks at yer”. Regardless, there’s a mandatory 24-hour period with no sightings before beaches are again opened.
7. The Queen has declared her gifts of 2014 on the annual registry to the Royal Household. From her Commonwealth subjects she received lovely things such as a horse head model from Qatar, a large wooden coffee grinder from Jordan and a miniature throne from the set of “Game of Thrones” episodes filmed in Northern Ireland. Cool. And from Australia? How about yet another edition of “Who’s Who In Australia”, a Royal Mint coin and a grey scarf with a Commonwealth Games badge on it…
8. “What’s something annoying a cyclist might do?” If you’ve got at least eight answers to that, you would have smashed it on Family Feud on Tuesday night. Channel Ten and host Grant Denyer have faced down a barrage of hate from the two-wheel brigade furious at the airing of the question. The Australian Cycle Alliance was “shocked”. “We are all someone’s mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter,” president Edward Hore said. And fair enough, we have to all get along, but when “everything” is an answer that makes the list, maybe you’ve got a PR problem that actually needs looking at, rather than whining over.
9. Taylor Swift for the Hottest 100. Triple J’s biggest day of the year – the Australia Day Hottest 100 – is approaching and Swift fans are sweating on an appearance. The likeable “Shake It Off” received zero airplay on the station last year, so it’s not on the voting list. Buzzfeed’s Mark Di Stefano has an issue with that – JJJ touts its poll as “the biggest in the world”. So he showed Swift fans here how they can get “Shake It Off” on the list. They have until Sunday night to teach the hipsters a lesson.
10. NRL champ stands after quadraplegic tackle. Alex McKinnon is living every rugby players’ nightmare after a tackle in the NRL last year left him in a wheelchair with two fractured vertebrae and devastating spinal injuries. The former Newcastle Knights forward rehained movement in his arms three weeks later and vowed at the time to be able to one day walk down the aisle with his finacee Teigan Power. Today, the wonderful news:
“When aided to stand up out of my chair, I am now able to stand for a short amount of time with assistance.”
There’s more from McKinnon here, including the YouTube of his breakthrough moment.
BONUS ITEM: Here’s the clip of the fantastic Family Feud moment. Note the Colisseum-like chanting of the crowd as the answers go up:
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