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5 things you need to know today

Stock market fears subside

Stock market fears about the debts of China-based property group, Evergrande, creating a crash have subsided, for now. Our stock market rose yesterday on reports Evergrande would make interest payments on its $400 billion worth of loans, as the Bank of China increased the supply of money to hose down fears of the company’s collapse that could lead to financial markets crashing. Overnight, Wall Street was optimistic on the news, with the Dow Jones up strongly before the close. Let’s hope it lasts.

Ouch! That’s so hot!

The Reserve Bank is now starting to worry that surging household debt linked to booming property prices could hurt our financial system. Our central bank is starting to worry about how its low interest rates policy has caused Sydney home prices to rise by 26%, 20% in Brisbane and Melbourne 15.6%. However, the Bank isn’t planning to raise rates but it could force banks to lend less and say ‘no’ more often to borrowers!

China policy hits our coal

After hitting our exports of wine, seafood, barley and lately iron ore, reports say China is now going after our coal producers, again. China had decided to stop funding the building of coal-fired power stations in other countries, which it was thought would hurt our coal producers, which added $40 billion in exports to our economy last year. However, economist Saul Eslake says our coal goes to Japan, South Korea and India. This China action to stop funding coal-fired power stations is to improve the country’s green credentials ahead of the climate change conference in Glasgow in November.

The Dow is up 1% overnight 

The Dow Jones rose 333.48 or 1% to 34,258.32, the S&P 500 gained 41.45 or 0.95% to 4,395.64 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 150.45 or 1.02% to 14,896.85

National Gallery of Australia purchases $14 million sculpture 

With it's most expensive purchase yet, the National Gallery of Australia has acquired Australian artist Lindy Lee’s Ouroboros, which the Sydney Morning Herald has described as a '13 tonne, 4 metre-high torus of reflective recycled metal that will be installed in the gallery’s garden in 2024.'

5 things you need to know today

1. Biden says that Australia is the closest ally of the US

US President Joe Biden said that the US "has no closer or more reliable ally than Australia" during a meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison in New York. "The United States and Australia are working in lockstep on the challenges that I laid out today in my speech to the United Nations: ending COVID, addressing the climate crisis, defending democracy, shaping the rules of the road for the 21st century," Biden said.

2. Daniel Andrews calls construction worker protests "appalling"

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has criticised the violent protests by construction workers and anti-vaxxers in Melbourne this week as "appalling" and "unlawful" ahead of further protests expected today. "What we saw yesterday was an insult to the vast majority of people who are not about wrecking, they're about building," Andrews said.

3. Australia and Austria set to sign strategic partnership

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will sign a new strategic partnership with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz during his time in New York according to The Australian, which reported that the deal includes a commitment for the two countries to work together on negotiations for a free trade agreement between Australia and the EU, along with "a raft of trade, industry, education and security agreements".

4. UK soft drink manufacturers running out of fizz

The effects of Brexit have continued to effect the UK's food and drink industry with the British Soft Drinks Association warning that some manufacturers "only have a few days of CO2 supply left in reserve". The carbon dioxide shortage is also affecting the UK's meat industry, where the gas is used to stun pigs and chickens prior to slaughter.

5. Nasdaq rises 0.2% on Tuesday

The Nasdaq rose by 32.49 points or 0.22% to 14,746.40 on Tuesday while both the Dow Jones and S&P 500 moved lower. The Dow was down 50.63 points or 0.15% to 33,919.84 and the S&P lost 3.54 points or 0.08% to 4,354.19.

5 things you need to know today

1. Victoria's construction industry shut down for two weeks

The Victorian state government has ordered a shut down of construction in metropolitan Melbourne as well as the City of Ballarat, the City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire and Mitchell Shire after at least 500 people attended violent protests outside the headquarters of the CFMEU yesterday. "The immediate shut down action is being taken to reduce movement, minimise transmission and allow for the entire industry to appropriately adapt to the Chief Health Officer Directions, including increasing vaccination rates," the government said in a statement.

2. European Union calls Australia's treatment of France "not acceptable"

Following the cancellation of Australia's $90 billion submarine deal with France last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen commented that "one of our member states has been treated in a way that is not acceptable, so we want to know what happened and why". On the negotiations for a free trade agreement between Australia and the EU scheduled for next month, a European Commission spokesperson said it was "analysing the impact of the AUKUS announcement and what this impact would be on this schedule".

3. Premiers lose support for handling of pandemic

56% of voters surveyed in a recent Newspoll by The Australian said NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian was handling the pandemic well compared to a peak of 79% in June last year. 63% said Victorian premier Daniel Andrews was managing the pandemic well, down from a high of 85% in April 2020, while 67% showed support for Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's handling compared to a peak of 81% in July 2020.

4. Two thirds of millionaires worried about leaving too much inheritance

67% of high net worth individuals are concerned about leaving too much money to their kids according to a survey by The Motley Fool. 59% of the millionaires surveyed said they were worried about money and assets being used irresponsibly.

5. S&P 500 falls 1.7% on Monday

The S&P 500 closed 75.26 points or 1.70% lower to 4,357.73 at the start of the trading week in the US, while the Dow Jones fell 614.41 points or 1.78% to 33,970.47 and the Nasdaq lost 330.06 points or 2.19% to 14,713.90.

5 things you need to know today

1. Do not enter unless you’re jabbed

The country’s top retailers want the Morrison Government to provide laws that can make it easy to bar unvaccinated shoppers. Retailers want to protect their staff, their shoppers and their business profits and stopping unvaccinated customers tops their shopping list. As restrictions ease, businesses such as Nick Scali, Rebel Sport, Supercheap Auto and others want legal clarity on how they can stop unvaccinated shoppers entering their premises.

2. Taxpayer to pay travel testing charges

The Morrison Government will use taxpayer money to facilitate overseas travel by Christmas. International travel will gradually resume once Australia reaches fully vaccinated thresholds of 70% and 80%. And at 80%, unrestricted travel to designated countries will recommence. To make aviation possible, any charges overseas airports impose on travellers for security or medical testing reasons, will be paid by the Morrison Government and you, the taxpayer.

3. Why is our iron price in the pits?

The iron ore price has been cut in half recently and China is the cause, for green and get-even reasons! The falling iron ore price has sent the stock prices of BHP, Rio and Fortescue down ‘big time’ and the cause is China cutting back steel production. But why? First, it’s to cut air pollution and look greener before the Climate Change Conference in November in Scotland and the Winter Olympics in February. And second, to stick it to us for joining the US and the UK in a security deal to curb Beijing’s military muscle flexing in the region.

4. 3-metre wide Boston home sells for $1.7 million

A Civil War era house in the US city of Boston measuring just over 3 metres at its widest point and less than 2 metres in some parts has sold for US$1.25 million ($1.72 million). The 'Skinny House' was apparently built after a feud between two brothers who inherited the land. One built a property while the other was fighting in the Civil War, and when he returned, he built the house to block his brothers's views and sunlight.

5. US indexes end the week in the red

At the close on Friday in the US, the S&P 500 fell 0.57% for the week to 4,432.99 and the Nasdaq fell 0.47% to 15,043.97. The Dow was down 0.07% on a weekly basis to 34,584.88.

5 things you need to know today

1. Other countries fill the gap over Australia's restricted exports to China

After China placed trade restrictions on a wide range of exports from Australia, countries including the US and Canada have reaped the benefits. China Customs data published by the AFR reveal that while imports of Australia barley to China fell from US$264 million to nothing in the first half of 2021 while imports from Canada increased from US$200 million to US$400 million. Furthermore imports from France rose from U$S55 million to US$322 million.

2. 43 superfunds submit over 60,000 data revisions in the lead up to APRA test

The AFR reported that 43 superfunds resubmitted data 60,101 times, 27 times more than a typical quarter, in the four months leading up to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority's inaugural performance test for MySuper products. 13 superfunds failed the test back in August.

3. Business leaders call for vaccine passports as guidelines

The head of Australian Chamber of Commerce Industry, Andrew McKellar, has shared the frustrations of the business community surrounding confusion about vaccine passports. “Business is looking for National Cabinet to stand up today, to provide some clear guidelines, to get agreement across all levels of government and to stick to the plan,” McKellar told the ABC.

4. Dog and cat duo achieve Guinness World Record

Sashimi the 7 years old Bengal cat and Lollipop the 5 years old Boston Terrier, have set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest 5m on a scooter by a dog and cat (pair) with a time of 4.37 seconds.

5. Both the Dow and S&P 500 close lower

In the US on Thursday, the Dow fell 0.18% or 63.07 points to 34,751.32. The S&P 500 dropped 0.16% or 6.95 to 4,473.75. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.13% or 20.39 to 15,181.92.

5 things you need to know today

1. Online Aussie business worth more than Telstra!

A local online design firm, Canva, started by three friends is now worth more than Telstra, valued at $55 billion. We know this because Canva co-founders Cameron Adams, Cliff Obrecht and Melanie Perkins are set to raise $200 million from investors and only in April the company was valued at $20 billion. But with 60 million active users a month, the business’s value has hit a staggering $55 billion valuation, which has to be one of the greatest local business success stories ever.

2. Future for Aussie coal looks cooked

Australia has lost the support of its ally, the USA over our heavy involvement in coal, ahead of a meeting between President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Scott Morrison. “The US has isolated Australia over climate change by siding with ­the EU and Canada in seeking to end rich country support for coal-fired power stations”. The Australian reports that this puts pressure on Australia to do more to cut carbon dioxide emissions in the lead-up to the UN ­climate change conference in ­November. The future for coal looks cooked!

3. No jab, no job

Big and even smaller firms are set to be vaccination centres soon, but how will employers deal with the medically-exempt worker? Companies such as Telstra and SPC told The SMH that they will be working with employees who have a medical exemption preventing a vaccination. A Telstra spokesman said its vulnerable employees will be found alternative roles out of harm’s way, either on a temporary or permanent basis. However, not all firms are promising to be as flexible, especially for those who won’t be jabbed for other reasons.

4. TikTok COVID case predictor contracts the Coronavirus

Sydney man Jon-Bernard Kairouz who famously 'predicted' NSW COVID case numbers, has ended up catching the virus himself. Kairouz was recently charged after his participation in a anti-lockdown protest in July.

5. The Dow closes up 0.7% overnight

The Dow Jones rose almost 0.7% or 236.82 points to 34,814.39. The S&P rose 0.8% or 37.65 points to 4,480.70. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.8% or 123.77 points to 15,161.53.

5 things you need to know today

1. OECD calls for tax reform

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has recommended a range of changes to taxes in Australia "to reduce Australia’s reliance on taxing personal incomes, which leaves public finances vulnerable to an ageing population". The changes put forward by the OECD include an increase to GST and reductions to the capital gains tax discount and private pension concessions.

2. $41 billion in dividends set to be paid out

CommSec has estimated that a total of $41 billion will be paid to Australian shareholders from mid-August, compared to the $21.6 billion paid out in reporting season last year and $25.8 billion in the interim reporting season earlier this year. About $5.5 billion will have already been paid by the end of this week and payouts are set to increase further in the coming weeks.

3. Canva's valuation more than doubles to $55 billion

Australian design platform Canva's valuation has reached US$40 billion ($55 billion) after a US$200 million ($273 million) capital raising led by investment firm T. Rowe Price. The company was valued at US$15 billion ($20 billion) during another capital raising only five months ago.

4. Farmer makes 25,000 jars of jam with surplus strawberries

Strawberry farmer Anthony Sarks from Blackmans Point in NSW has decided to turn the fruit from his 140,000 strawberry plants that is usually picked by tourists into jam. The ABC reported that local jam maker Eric Robinson ramped up production to make 25,000 jars in less than two weeks, compared to the 30,000 jars he usually makes for Sarks each year.

5. US indexes close lower on Tuesday

On Wall Street overnight, the Dow Jones dropped 292.06 points or 0.84% to 34,577.57, the S&P 500 fell 25.68 points or 0.57% to 4,443.05 and the Nasdaq moved 67.82 points or 0.45% lower to 15,037.76.

5 things you need to know today

1. Over 1 million people could be jabbed in workplace vaccination program

National COVID Taskforce Coordinator General John Frewen has reportedly told businesses that they can proceed with plans to start vaccinating employees at workplaces according to the AFR. The program should kick off by the start of next month and the government has estimated that between 1 million and 1.7 million people will be jabbed at their jobs.

2. Scientists say more evidence needed for COVID-19 booster shots

An international group of scientists including experts from the World Health Organization and the US Food and Drug Administration have concluded in a paper published in the journal The Lancet that coronavirus booster shots are not currently required. “Any decisions about the need for boosting or timing of boosting should be based on careful analyses of adequately controlled clinical or epidemiological data,” the scientists wrote.

3. Industry Super Australia says changes to fee measurement may have helped funds pass performance test

Research by Industry Super Australia published by The Australian today suggests that a last minute change to how admin fees for My Super products are measured, from an average over the past seven years to only for the previous financial year, could have seen some funds pass the Your Future, Your Super performance tests that would have otherwise failed. “Millions of Australian workers could remain unknowingly stuck in a dud retail super fund because the government poked some sneaky holes in its own performance tests allowing them to slip through the net,” said Industry Super Australia CEO Bernie Dean.

4. Plan to bring back the woolly mammoth receives $20 million in funding

Harvard Medical School geneticist George Church and tech entrepreneur Ben Lamm have formed a new company with US$15 million ($20 million) in funding that plans to recreate the woolly mammoth through genetic engineering. “Our goal is to have our first calves in the next four to six years,” Lamm said.

5. Dow Jones and S&P 500 rise on Monday

Both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 have closed higher after falls in the previous five trading sessions. The Dow rose by 261.91 points or 0.76% to 34,869.63 and the S&P 500 gained 10.15 points or 0.23% to 4,468.73, while the Nasdaq closed down 9.91 points or 0.07% to 15,105.58.

5 things you need to know today

Come one, come all – jabbed or unjabbed!

A business mutiny could be brewing with some businesses threatening to ignore the Prime Minister and Premiers and serve unvaccinated Australians when lockdowns end. “A range of small businesses including hairdressers, restaurants, pubs and other retailers are using social media saying they will welcome “jabbed or unjabbed” customers when lockdown ends, the SMH reports. A Facebook site called FairBusiness is promoting businesses that say they won’t be asking customers the “are you vaccinated” question.

Vaccine passport to freedom

Meanwhile, the greatest help to promote normal business is the opening of our borders and new technology is to be tested this week to make it happen ASAP. A reliable and internationally acceptable vaccination passport is seen as critical to open borders, and give access to very public venues and overseas travel. And this week Australia’s vaccine passport technology will be tested in major cities around the world to ensure it is compatible with our prospective travel bubble partners,

Bounceback or no bounceback?

One of the positives that makes the negativity of lockdowns bearable is the claim by economists that a big bounce-back of the economy awaits us. But is that right? Reserve Bank Governor Phil Lowe says ‘yes’ but the AFR says some bankers have their doubts. And while they do expect a surge in spending, they’re worried about a lack of staff because of unvaccinated workers and global supply chain problems that mean there will be stock shortages. I’m hoping the Reserve Bank boss is more on the money than these worry wart bankers.

Teenager wins women's US Open final

Emma Raducanu, 18, came out on top by defeating Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez with a score of 6-4, 6-3 in the women's US Open final overnight. "I think it shows that the future of women's tennis and that the depth of the game right now is so great," Raducanu said, according to CBS Sports.

The Dow dropped more than 2% last week

Last week in the US, the Dow Jones dropped 2.15% to 34,607.72, S&P 500 dropped 1.69% to 4,458.58 and NASDAQ dropped 1.61% to 15,115.49

5 things you need to know today

1. Record budget surplus for Western Australia

A record $5.6 billion surplus helped by strong iron ore prices was announced in Western Australia's budget yesterday along with a $2.8 billion surplus forecast for this financial year. The state collected $11.3 billion in iron ore royalties and expects to receive $9.2 billion this year. "This budget proves that by putting the health of Western Australians first, by keeping the state safe from COVID-19, we have delivered the best economic and social outcomes in Australia and possibly the world," said Premier Mark McGowan in his first budget as Treasurer.

2. Joe Biden makes vaccinations mandatory for all federal workers

US President Joe Biden has announced that vaccinations will be mandatory for federal employees and contractors as well as healthcare workers in facilities that receive federal funding. Employers with more than 100 workers will also reportedly be required to either make vaccinations mandatory or introduce weekly testing. 100 million Americans are set to be covered by the new requirements.

3. Anthony Albanese pledges changes to national cabinet if elected

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has told The Australian he plans to prioritise the "transparency and accountability" of national cabinet if Labor wins the next election. Highlighting the importance of a "strong federation", Albanese also said he would "task ministers with working with their state and territory ministers to streamline regulation, avoid duplication and maximise efficiency".

4. First Spider-Man comic fetches $4.9 million at auction

A copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, the first comic book to feature the superhero Spider-Man, has sold US$3.6 million ($4.9 million) by Heritage Auctions in the US. This is the most expensive comic ever sold after a copy of Superman's first comic, Action Comics #1, sold for US$3.25 million ($4.4 million) earlier this year.

5. US stocks close lower on Thursday

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones fell 151.69 points or 0.43% to 34,879.38, the S&P 500 was down 20.79 points or 0.46% to 4,493.28 and the Nasdaq dropped 38.38 points or 0.25% to 15,248.25.