1. Scott Morrison highlights Australia's 'bankable' commitment to reduce emissions
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has highlighted Australia's plan to reach net zero emissions "as soon as we possibly can, through technology that enables and transforms our industries" in a speech to to the 40 world leaders gathered at President Joe Biden's virtual climate summit. "You can always be sure that the commitments Australia makes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are bankable," Morrison said, adding that "future generations, my colleagues and Excellencies, will thank us not for what we have promised, but what we deliver".
2. AMP announces plan to demerge private markets business
AMP said it intends to pursue a demerger of AMP Capital's private markets business including infrastructure and real estate investments, ending takeover talks with Ares Management Corporation. "The proposed demerger would unlock further value in the Private Markets business by simplifying its structure, providing operational independence and enabling it to establish a new brand," AMP said in a statement to the ASX.
3. Joe Biden proposes higher capital gains tax
President Biden is reportedly considering the introduction of a capital gains rate of 39.6% for Americans earning US$1 million or more, up from the current rate of 20%. Coupled with the existing 3.8% Obamacare tax, the federal tax rate for wealthy investors could be as high as 43.4% under the proposal. Biden is expected to announce the plan in a joint address to Congress next week as part of the 'American Families Plan'.
4. Climate summit hit by glitches
Even world leaders can be affected by the technical glitches of virtual meetings, with a number of issues hitting President Biden's climate summit. Scott Morrison was apparently caught 'on mute' for almost a minute at the start of his speech, while French President Emmanuel Macron's speech was interrupted to cut to a confused Russian President Vladimir Putin.
5. US indexes fall almost 1%
The Dow Jones was down 321.41 points or 0.94% on Thursday to 33,815.90, the S&P 500 fell by 38.44 points or 0.92% to 4,134.98 and the Nasdaq dropped 131.81 points or 0.94% to 13,818.41.
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