Squiz Today / 06 February 2019
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 6 February
"The tattoo has gone. All that's left is the music, which is what my rockstar team and I had planned all along."
The tattoo of One Directioner Harry Styles on the face of aspiring music star Kelsey Karter was fake. Fake! Are we now to question the integrity of everything on social media? Perish the thought…
SETTLING THE BANKING ROYAL COMMISSION DUST
As the findings and recommendations of Kenneth Hayne’s inquiry into misconduct in the financial services industry were digested yesterday, investors gave the banks a double thumbs up. Gains for the ‘big four’ drove the biggest one day rise on the Australian Stock Exchange in more than two years. Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank had its say about what’s ahead this year for the Aussie economy, and it’s as understated as the Pope’s hatchback.
THRILL ME WITH THE ECONOMIC OUTLOOK FIRST...
Alrighty then. The Reserve Bank (which left interest rates at 1.5% yesterday) flagged some risks for the economy this year. Wages growth remains low, as does inflation. Yesterday's weak retail figures for the all-important month of December is a big concern. And there are other signs of a slowdown including falling property prices in Sydney and Melbourne and declining car sales. The shining light of goodness is our ongoing strong employment growth, so it's not all bad... All of which led the central bank to lower its expectations on economic growth for 2019 from 3.5% to 3%.
WHAT’S THAT GOT TO DO WITH THE BANKS?
Public confidence in the banks and their ability to lend money is critical to our economy. Both of those things have been an issue over the last year as the commission has gone about its work. Now that it’s done, and with no super-frightening findings against the banks, the market backed them in yesterday. However, National Australia Bank chairman Ken Henry and CEO Andrew Thorburn aren't out of the frying pan quite yet. Called out for special mention by Commissioner Hayne, the pair is facing questions about their futures.
Things to look out for today: The Commonwealth Bank delivers its half year earnings, and Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe is speaking at the National Press Club.
SQUIZ THE REST
TOWNSVILLE FLOOD CLAIMS TWO LIVES
The two men aged in their 20s were missing since Monday morning from the Townsville suburb of Aitkenvale. Sadly, their bodies were found yesterday in a stormwater drain. Flood waters started to recede yesterday with the rain easing, but that could be short-lived with more rain overnight and today. The release of water from the Ross River dam has continued - it's now at 196% capacity (down from 244% on Sunday, but up from 64% at the end of January). Here are some pictures to help you get a sense of the scale of the disaster.
HUANG'S RETURN TO OZ BLOCKED
Prominent Chinese businessman Huang Xiangmo has had his permanent Australian residency cancelled, and his application for a passport has been knocked back while on a trip overseas leaving him unable to return to Oz, says the Sydney Morning Herald this morning. Huang is the bloke who has been tied to significant political donations to both Labor and the Coalition in recent years. He was famously warned by former Labor senator Sam Dastyari that our spy agencies were monitoring him. He's been rejected for a number of reasons, including character grounds with concerns about his ties to China’s Communist Party. The report says Huang is fighting to return to Oz.
TURNBULL SPRUIKS FOR BANKS (BUT NOT THE BANKS)
Former PM Malcolm Turnbull gave a tick of approval to his former colleague/now independent MP Julia Banks yesterday – but withheld his praise for our financial institutions. The endorsement for the Melbourne-based MP came after Turnbull’s son Alex confirmed he is involved in Banks’ campaign (the candidate, not the financial institutions) to topple senior Liberal Greg Hunt at the election.
STATE OF THE UNION PREVIEW
Hands up who doesn't want to drop their thoughts on today's State of the Union address into a conversation this morning? We can help with that… What we know is that US President Donald Trump's scripted speeches are different to his 5am tweets. For starters, there's less ALL CAPS yelling and fewer exclamation marks. Looking at today's address, his team say he'll appeal to Congress to work together for the betterment of the country. And he'll again press his case for the building of a wall along the US-Mexico border. Trump has some extra time to polish his speech with yesterday’s Super Bowl winners opting out of traditional celebrations at the White House.
HAWAII SMOKIN’ FOR CENTENARIANS
Last year, it was a crackdown on sunscreens that could bleach the coral. This year, it’s a proposal to make cigarettes unavailable to anyone aged less than 100yo. Holiday haven Hawaii is already a leader in the US when it comes to anti-smoking initiatives. In 2016, it upped to 21yo the legal age to purchase cigs. Now, a new plan will up the age by a decade each year until it hits 100 in 2024. And if you have visions of centenarians congregating for a sneaky dart, snap…
PASSWORD GOES TO THE GRAVE
It doesn't take much to have a million accounts requiring different usernames and passwords. And you have to change it up to ensure your identity isn't stolen from you in one hacker's fell swoop. Sympathy then for the wife of deceased cryptocurrency boss Gerald Cotten. The 30yo died unexpectedly earlier this year and without the password to his computer and phone, the $275 million business is about to go down the tubes. Nearly as devastating as when we can't remember our Netflix login...
SQUIZ THE DAY
12.30pm (AEDT) - Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe addresses the National Press Club - Sydney
1.00pm (AEDT) - US President Donald Trump to deliver his State of the Union address - Washington DC
Commonwealth Bank delivers its half year earnings results
Top racing trainer Darren Weir to face officials again where it's expected he will cop a four year ban
Waitangi Day - New Zealand
Anniversary of US basketball icon Michael Jordan's slam dunk from the free-throw line (1988)
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