Squiz Today / 05 November 2019

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 5 November


"A nose out of joint”

Is a medical journal article's apt title about the removal of a balloon of marijuana from a former Sydney prisoner’s nose - 18 years after he put it up there. Lucky he wasn’t smuggling a packet of Winnie Blues…


Get ready for the world's biggest-ever public float. Note: that's not what we're heading towards when we return to the pool/beach after a carbolicious winter… We're talking about Saudi Arabia’s giant state oil company Aramco’s announcement that arrangements for its initial public offering (IPO) have commenced. And it’s massive whichever way you look at it...

Aramco is the most profitable and valuable company in the world. It made a profit of US$68 billion for the first nine months of this year off revenue/income of US$244 billion - that's more than the combined income of Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch/Shell, BP, Chevron and Total... With that in mind, bankers have told the Saudi Government, which owns Aramco, that its value is about US$1.5 trillion. That’s well below the US$2 trillion valuation touted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. And while the details haven’t been released yet, even if the company offers somewhere between 1-2% of its shares to the public, analysts say it would raise about $20-40 billion. That would make it the largest share market listing in history.

Cheaper petrol for everyone! Just kidding… It's too soon to know what the impact on fuel prices might be if any. Analysts say oil companies aren't the no-brainer they used to be with climate change a pressing issue for some investors. And there are the risks associated with operating in that region. Remember, it was Aramco's plants that were hit in September’s drone attacks, which is why the Saudi Government is talking up the company’s ‘reliability’. Reports say this will all be done and dusted before the end of the year, so keep an eye out.



An agreement on the terms of a significant new trade deal between ASEAN and many East Asia Summit members has been struck. India, however, isn’t over the line at this point. With India, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership would cover 32% of global economic activity. Without it, it covers about 29%, which is still good going. Meanwhile, PM Scott Morrison has met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of the Bangkok Summit, describing the encounter as “honest”. "We're a liberal democracy and they're a communist party state. We're not seeking to adopt their system, and they're not seeking to adopt ours," Morrison said yesterday. Now we’ve got that straight, an invite for a sleepover at their place is something pundits want to see. Former PM Malcolm Turnbull was our last leader to visit China back in 2016.


Just a few days into the UK’s six-week election campaign, some of the other shoes are starting to drop. Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage says he won’t make his sixth attempt to become an MP but has 600 candidates ready to go. And the suggestion of a deal between the Conservative Party and the Brexit Party was yesterday ruled out by PM Boris Johnson, even though Farage and US President Donald Trump maintain it’s a good idea… Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is trying to get his troops to fall into line. If elected, Labour says it would negotiate a new Brexit deal with Brussels within three months, and put it to the public in a referendum. But Corbyn wants his candidates to move past that and focus on social justice and climate issues. Bring on 12 December...

The latest developments in the quest to Brexit make up our latest Squiz Shortcut. For a quick gallop through where things are up to, and the upcoming UK election, look no further.


India's capital is in the middle of a toxic smog crisis with millions of residents struggling in the heavy conditions. Particles in the air are at well over 10 times safe limits leading health officials to ask people to stay indoors. Schools are closed until at least today, and possibly until Friday. Many have been critical of the government’s response of launching a car rationing system when experts say it’s crop burning by farmers in neighbouring states that’s the problem. Residents outside Delhi showed little sympathy posting pictures of their clear air.


The global burger chain’s CEO and President Steve Easterbrook resigned yesterday over a consensual relationship with an employee. The British divorcee violated the company’s policy on such matters, and the board showed him the door. Easterbrook had been in the big chair since 2015 and was credited with modernising the company's technology and maximising efficiency by dumping niche burgers and extensive breakfast/late-night menus. Falling on his sword, Easterbrook yesterday said "This was a mistake. Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on.”


And you know what that means… For those not lucky enough to be there to see it live, there’ll be lunches and sweeps held across the country counting down to 2.30pm (AEDT) when the Reserve Bank announces its decision on interest rates. And after that excitement, there’s a horse race at 3pm down Melbourne way… While negative sentiment has been building about the racing industry for a while, there’s little doubt last month’s reports from ABC TV’s 7.30 on the ongoing welfare of the horses have turned many people off racing. Still, there will be a lot of people tuning in and/or taking a punt today. The Chris Waller-trained Finche starts today as the favourite to take out the $8 million, 3,200 metre Melbourne Cup. And a comprehensive guide to the day is here.


It’s a term that could apply to Joyciline Jepkosgei, a 26yo Kenyan who won the women’s title in yesterday’s New York Marathon with a time of 2:22:38 on her first try. And we don’t mean it was her first New York Marathon - it was her first-ever marathon. But onto a more authentic Grease experience... ONJ's (that's Olivia Newton-John to the uninitiated) outfit that took her character Sandy from straightlaced to sassy - aka the tight black pants and leather jacket number - went to auction yesterday with several bidders saying "you're the one that I want". The outfit sold for $587,000 - more than double what was expected. The proceeds will go to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne.


Public holiday in Melbourne for Cup Day

2.30pm (AEDT) - Reserve Bank announces its decision on interest rates

3.00pm (AEDT) - Melbourne Cup - Flemington

Start of the trial of Roger Stone, a friend and adviser to US President Donald Trump, on charges that he lied to former special counsel Robert Mueller about his contact with WikiLeaks

International Volunteer Managers Day

Guy Fawkes Day

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