Squiz Today / 27 April 2018
Squiz Today – Friday, 27 April
"Cheese & bacon fries”
Nothing says ‘Australia’ like some loaded fries, according to McDonald’s. Wait, what? The fast-food giant is opening a futuristic store in Chicago drawing on the hits from its international menus. As well as the fries, it will also serve a flat white in a nod to Oz. Given our true national sport (coffee snobbery), that’s probably zero from two…
HOME ON THE FINANCIAL RANGE
Heading out for some house hunting this weekend? Or are you worried the home you paid a fair bit for not so long ago is now dropping in value? There are three things to consider:
• Domain House Price Report was released yesterday. Nationally, the annual median house price increased 2.3% - the lowest rate of growth since 2012. In the biggest markets, Melbourne house prices rose by 8.8% for the year while prices in the formerly steaming Sydney market fell.
• The findings were announced as the banking regulator announced it was removing some investor lending restrictions.
• And lending practices are again under scrutiny with Westpac under pressure.
POOR FIRST HOME BUYERS…
They might be ok. The banking regulator APRA will remove the cap to limit the growth in investor lending to 10% for financial institutions that can prove the benchmark has been met for the past six months. Try saying that twice. But APRA chairman Wayne Byres says he wants to see the banks limit lending to investors seeking big loans when they only have little income. So home price increases driven by flashy investors might stay in check for a while yet.
AND WHAT’S THAT ABOUT LENDING PRACTICES?
This guy isn’t the only one under Royal Commission pressure… The key points are:
• Westpac took a 3.6% share price hit yesterday which wiped $9.1 billion off its market value after fancy bank UBS told its clients the Commission had documents questioning the quality of its lending practices.
• The bad smell also infiltrated the other banks’ share prices like a warm egg sandwich. Gag.
• The key to all of this is so-called ‘liar-loans' where it’s alleged loans have been made to customers based on fantasy info about their financial capacity to repay.
Expect to hear more about this as the Commission's hearings continue.
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COSBY FOUND GUILTY
Actor and comedian Bill Cosby (80yo) has been found guilty of three charges of drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. Each charge could bring a maximum prison sentence of 10 years but it's expected any sentence would be served concurrently. It was the second trial to hear the case with last year’s attempt ending with the jury unable to reach a verdict. There were few TV stars as big as Cosby during the 80s and early 90s. He and his family continue to vehemently deny the accusations. Around 60 women have accused Cosby of assault over the last 50 years.
BIG MEETING IN KOREA
South Korean leader Moon Jae-in and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un will meet this morning to discuss peace and denuclearisation. Moon and Kim have never met before. In fact, it’s only the third time the nations' leaders have met since the 1950s. One to look out for today.
And while we have you… Mike Pompeo, the CIA Director who recently met with Kim as an envoy for US President Donald Trump, has passed the Congressional process to be confirmed as America’s next top diplomat (a TV series that is not nearly as exciting as America's Next Top Model...).
DROVE MY LEVY TO THE CHEVY…
That makes no sense, but it’s Friday so cut us some slack. Treasurer Scott Morrison yesterday confirmed the government would ditch its plans to hike the Medicare Levy by 0.5% to 2.5% next year to pay for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Morrison said the government could meet its NDIS commitments without slugging taxpayers with the levy increase. The disability sector wants more detail but will have to wait until Budget Day on 8 May.
THE $10 MILLION CLUB NO ONE WANTS TO JOIN
It was a good day in court for the consumer watchdog yesterday:
• Ford copped the ACCC’s equal-biggest ever fine of $10 million for unconscionable conduct over some dodgy gearboxes. More than 10,000 cars sold between 2001-16 were affected and the Commission said the car company wasted its customers' time and money.
• Telstra also joined the $10 million fine club after the Federal Court found it signed up about 100,000 customers for ringtones, gaming and data without their knowledge. Customers are being compensated for the unauthorised charges.
BUNNINGS UK TURNING A CORNER?
That’s the thought Wesfarmers CEO Rob Scott wanted to leave investors with yesterday while delivering the company’s latest sales results. Bunnings UK’s comparable sales declined 15.5% on last year, but Scott said the lingering cold conditions didn't give them a springboard into Spring and the improving weather would help sales. Coles, the supermarket business it plans on selling, delivered comparable sales growth of 0.9%, low by its previous standards. Bunnings and Kmart continue to shoot the lights out.
FRIDAY LITES – THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
Cartier, The Exhibition is on at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, and we're going. There are more diamonds on show than we’ve had roast potatoes (which is a lot), but we’d go just to see the crocodile necklace. If you can’t get to chilly Canberra before it closes in July, this short video with Pierre Rainero from Cartier is a nice overview.
For that moment when you’re half-heartedly asked in a job interview if you have any questions – here’s five. In fact, you could probably rework them for your upcoming performance review and completely blow your boss away.
Mother's Day is in a couple of weeks. Get it sorted now to avoid the petrol station flowers of shame. This gift guide has some good suggestions.
SQUIZ THE DAY
Leaders from North and South Korea meet - Panmunjom
Freedom Day - South Africa
Anniversary of the formation of the Watson Labor Government, the first Labour-led government in the world (1904)
Anniversary of the Port Arthur Massacre that killed 35 people and injured 23 more (1996)
Prince William and Kate's wedding anniversary (2011)
Anniversary of the 1992 LA Riots after the police officers accused of beating Rodney King were acquited
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