ASX set to open higher on Monday

The Australian stock market is expected to open higher by 25 points on Monday reversing some Friday’s losses on the back of better global news.


The main driver is US payroll figures which showed good jobs growth in the world’s biggest economy.

AMP Capital’s chief economist Shane Oliver said Friday night’s figures showed 209,000 jobs were created in the US in July and the unemployment rate was 4.3 per cent.

He said the strong figures and low wages growth, of just 2.5 per cent, will result in the US Federal Reserve continuing its gradual tightening of monetary policy.

“So that combination of good growth but relatively low inflation is something the sharemarket likes, it’s almost like a Goldilocks economy – not too hot, not too cold, but just right,” Dr Oliver said.

“Not so good for workers but it’s good for the companies.”

The rise in the iron ore price is another factor.

It rose 7.8 per cent last week to US $74.10 per tonne on Friday.

It all points to reasonable start to the week for the ASX, but share trading will start slowly due to Monday’s bank holiday in NSW.

During the week, all eyes will be on the start of the profit reporting season.

One to watch is the CBA full-year’s results on Wednesday.

The bank is expected to report another record profit. Its share price fell 3.6 per cent to $80.72 last week after it was revealed on Thursday the federal government’s financial intelligence unit, AUSTRAC, had accused the lender of more than 53,000 breaches of Australia’s money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.

Other data the market will be watching includes the NAB’s business survey on Tuesday and Westpac Consumer Confidence Index on Wednesday.

Globally, China releases its trade figures on Tuesday.

At the close on Friday the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 14.5 points, or 0.25 per cent, at 5,720.6 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 13.5 points, or 0.23 per cent, at 5,773.3 points.

Euthanasia, CFA to dominate Vic MP debate

The winter break is over and Victoria’s parliamentarians are set to return to passionate debate on whether they will give the state’s terminally ill a choice on when they die.


Legislation on assisted dying is not expected to be introduced when parliament resumes this week, but MPs will no doubt be grilled on their thoughts.

Premier Daniel Andrews hopes to see a vote on the scheme, which he says will be the “safest” in the world, by the end of 2017.

“What we know is many Victorians are not getting the care they need,” he said in July when announcing his government would adopt all 66 recommendations made by an expert panel.

“There is no solution to their unbearable pain and they are taking matters into their own hands (and) that leads to many tragic outcomes, that’s unacceptable to me.”

While the government has endorsed the report, not all Labor MPs will vote for it to become law.

Mr Andrews’ deputy, James Merlino, has long said he does not support euthanasia and reaffirmed his position during the winter break.

A passionate debate is anticipated and already tensions have started to mount thanks to a Right To Life leaflet campaign in nine electorates.

The government will also be bracing itself for a report into its controversial fire service reforms due on the first day back.

The committee has spent the break grilling firefighters, service executives and departments on whether the CFA should become volunteer-only, with paid firefighters to move into a newly formed Fire Rescue Victoria.

Their report is due on Tuesday and will play a pivotal role in whether the reforms, which are tied to the approval of well-supported presumptive cancer compensation rights.

In other parliamentary business, ride-sharing services like Uber will soon be legalised with amended laws returning to the lower house.

The government accepted upper house changes including halving the ride levy to $1 which will replace licence fees and help compensate taxi operators.

Knights can make NRL finals in 2018: Joey

Newcastle legend Andrew Johns believes the Knights’ recent run of good form could be converted into a long-awaited NRL finals appearance as soon as next season.


Wooden spooners for the past two seasons, the Knights have shown signs of life after following up their upset win of St George Illawarra with a 26-10 walkover of the Warriors on Saturday.

It’s the first time they have recorded back-to-back wins in over 700 days, and it instantly doubled their total win account for the season.

The turnaround based on improving local talent, together with a growing recruitment drive headed by emerging stars Connor Watson and Kalyn Ponga, prompted Johns to predict that the finals are a genuine possibility in 2018.

The Knights haven’t played in the post-season since 2012.

Johns hailed the growth of local juniors Daniel Saifiti, Luke Yates, Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Brock Lamb and skipper Sione Mata’utia, all under 22 years of age.

“All the young players combining. They all came through the system in the SG Ball and the Jersey Flegg together,” Johns said on The Sunday Footy Show.

“They’re building, the Knights. The players they’ve bought next year with a bit of class, another off-season, I think next year they’ll be around semi-final area, around the eight.”

Johns, who was part of the Knights’ premierships in 1997 and 2001, reserved special praise for the development of Lamb since his nightmare showing against Canterbury in round 18.

Lamb had arguably the best game of his career against the Warriors, setting up two tries and three line breaks to go with his own try.

“Some of the biggest lessons we learn are the toughest ones. He’s had to learn some tough lessons, he’s come into a side that’s struggling at a young age,” Johns said.

“But in the last couple of weeks, you can see how well he sees the game, and his control. He understands space, he understands when to run and when to pass.”

UK prepared to pay €40 billion Brexit bill: report

It is the first time the British side has put a figure on its so-called Brexit bill – although the sum falls well short of the €100 billion sum discussed in Brussels.


The newspaper report, based on unnamed government sources, said Britain would pay this only if the EU agrees to negotiate the settlement as part of a deal on future relations, including trade.

Brussels has said progress must be made on the divorce bill, as well as the rights of European citizens living in Britain and the Irish border issue, before any talks can start on a free trade agreement.

British officials are looking at proposing a transition deal where Britain would continue to make net payments to the EU of €10 billion a year for up to three years after it leaves in March 2019, the Telegraph said.

This money, paid in return for continued access to Europe’s single market, would be a “partial down-payment” on the final bill.

The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has declined to publicly name a sum for Britain’s divorce bill, which includes its share of EU spending projects already agreed, as well as pension contributions of staff, among other expenses.

But he said the “methodology” for determining how much Britain must pay should be worked out during the first phase of the Brexit negotiations, which is due to end in October.

A number of senior EU officials have confirmed to AFP the estimate of €100 billion.

Officials have previously said there is scope for paying the bill in instalments, and that the total figure may eventually come down because of jointly-held assets that the EU must reimburse Britain for.


US suspends search for missing Marines after crash off Queensland coast

The US Navy and Marine Corps has suspended search and rescue efforts for three US Marines missing after their aircraft crashed into the sea off Australia’s east coast.


The Marine Corps said they have shifted their operations to recovery efforts in coordination with the Australian Defence Force, which could last several months, and notified the next-of-kin for the three missing Marines.

Twenty-three other personnel aboard the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft had been rescued, the III Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Okinawa, Japan, said in a statement early Sunday.

The plane crashed about 4pm on Saturday off the central Queensland coast at Shoalwater Bay.

It had taken off from the USS Bonhomme Richard and was on regularly scheduled operations when it hit the water in a “mishap”, a statement from the US military says.

Small boats and aircraft from the Bonhomme Richard, an amphibious assault ship, immediately swung into action.

31st Marine Expeditionary Unit MV-22 Osprey [email protected] @PacificCommand @PacificMarines @USPacificFleet @AFNPacificNow pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/6dJX7Ke8w5

— III MEF Marines (@IIIMEF) August 5, 2017

US President Donald Trump, who has just begun a 17-day “working vacation” at his New Jersey golf club, has been briefed on the incident by his new chief of staff John Kelly, a White House official told reporters.

Minister for Defence Marise Payne confirmed in a statement late on Saturday night that no Australian Defence Force personnel were on board the aircraft.

The search and rescue operation is being conducted by the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unite and Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, which are on deployment in the Indo-Asia Pacific region.

“The United States are leading the search and recovery effort,” Senator Payne said.

She had also briefed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and spoken with US Defense Secretary James Mattis to offer Australia’s support.

I have offered our support to the US following the MV-22 incident today & confirm no ADF personnel were on board: 长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/VtPkLt3Qlc

— Marise Payne (@MarisePayne) August 5, 2017

“Our thoughts are with the crew and families affected,” she said.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk offered her government’s support to the search and rescue efforts.

“In recent weeks, many Queenslanders have had the opportunity to meet US servicemen and servicewoman visiting as they prepare for the joint military exercise Talisman Sabre in central Queensland.

“On behalf of all Queenslanders, our prayers are with those US military personnel involved in the incident,” she said in a statement.

The Osprey aircraft, a tilt rotor aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter but flies like an aeroplane, was in Australia for Operation Talisman Sabre, a biennial training exercise involving the defence forces of both countries, at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area. The exercises concluded at the end of July.