10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Hold it together now. Picture: Getty Images

Good morning.

1. The war of words between the US and North Korea is exactly that. After Kim Jong Un called the US president’s bluff almost immediately by saying it was “considering a plan” to fire four missiles at Guam, Trump has now responded by saying maybe his “fire and fury” statement “wasn’t tough enough” and promises an “event the likes of which nobody’s ever seen” if North Korea attacks Guam. But while Kim my have won that little skirmish, Alex Lockie says it’s business as usual in Hermit Kingdom, because everyone knows Kim’s back is against the wall.

2. Back in 2014, the nuclear threat of the moment lay in tensions between India and Pakistan, so researchers modelled what the world would look like after both sides dropped 50 nuclear weapons on each other. And while that’s relatively small beer in terms of what the world holds in its arsenal, they found it was still enough to cause a nuclear winter lasting decades. Rug up.

3. Volatility ahoy! There’s nothing like a bit of the old war to get stocks moving and the VIX volatility index for US stocks has responded with a 40% spike. The big mover was the S&P which shed 1.45% and stocks in the UK and Europe were also down by more than 1%. ASX Futures traders have the local market down a whopping 68 points. The Aussie dollar continues to slide but iron ore is ripping higher.

4. Where’s your safe haven? Gold has rallied almost 3% since Trump’s tirade and Jeffrey Gundlach, founder and CEO of DoubleLine Capital, has noticed “one of the most bullish” patterns around in its pattern – the “cup and handle”:


Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio is in. He reckons everyone should consider a 5% to 10% allocation to gold as a hedge, right now.

5. It’s time for your podcast and we’ve got UBS chief equity strategist David Cassidy in, who reckons there are “not enough tech and too many banks” on the ASX. He also chatted with us about the US-North Korea tensions and where they might lead, and more about how Amazon will obliterate affect the retail sector. It’s our 50th episode! Tune in below or catch us on iTunes.

6. Ugh. Snap is a disaster. It missed across the board for its second quarter earnings and is now relying on the fact its average revenue per user rose to $US1.05 from $US0.50 a year ago. But it still lost $US443 million compared to $US116 million last year. Snap stock continues to tumble over a cliff and CEO Evan Spiegel has lost about $US1 billion since its IPO.

7. Spiegel could take some heart from a class action in train right now against Facebook. According to a Financial Times report, the court just read a 2012 text from Mark Zuckerberg to his then-fiancee wife Priscilla Chan that claimed:

“Everything here is going really badly. Our revenue projection has gone down so much we now think we might go public at less than $US50bn if things continue.”

8. Some of our readers who were even alive when Basic Instinct came out 1992 might remember why Paul Verhoeven thriller was one of the year’s biggest box office hits – Sharon Stone. And violence. Now, 25 years later, Stone has taken to Twitter to share her audition tape for the movie, and there’s no competition.

9. You might soon be able to live off pizza for the rest of your life. Abbott Nutrition already creates supercharged foods such as energy bars and supplement-heavy shakes. Its R&D director Dan Schmitz says the technology that helps it jam all those nutrients into a shake without it destabilising into a gooey, fishy mess has him believing a “super nutritious pizza” isn’t too far away.

10. Don’t buy an iPhone just yet, and not because the iPhone 8 is out in September. Dave Smith says wait until at least late November and December to buy anything Apple. The company has a pattern of heavily discounting a lot of its products around then.

BONUS ITEM: Our fate is in good hands:

Have a great weekend.

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