US stimulus and RBA minutes to keep local investors interested


US politics

Speculation about US politics, as well as negotiations within US Congress regarding a US fiscal stimulus bill, will be the major drivers in the global financial markets. Polling continues to
suggest a Joe Biden victory in the US general election, with the balance of probabilities seemingly indicating a so-called ‘blue wave’, which would see Democrats seize control of both houses of congress, with the markets also positioning for a subsequently bigger spending government after the election. The markets also appears to be less concerned about the possibility of a contested election result. Although it remains inverted, the US VIX Futures curve has flattened considerably in recent weeks.

Australian markets
SPI Futures are suggesting that the ASX200 ought to kick-off the week with a 0.63 per cent
rally, following a neutral lead from Wall Street on Friday. It backs up what was a positive
week for Australian equities, with the ASX200 briefly challenging post-virus-crisis highs
during the week and closing trade 1.22 per cent higher. The highlight for the local trading
week this may prove to be the RBA’s minutes from its last meeting. The minutes will be read for how close the RBA came to cutting rates last month, as market participants price-in a
likely easing of monetary in November, along with the increased likelihood of a more
conventional quantitative easing program from the central bank in the near future.

Virus and lockdowns
Second and third waves of the coronavirus in several major economies is weighing on
market sentiment. A spike in infections in the UK and parts of Europe cast doubt over the
global economies recovery last week, the UK and France two notable countries to reimpose
fresh lockdown measures. The need for a vaccine has become more pronounced for the
markets, as it becomes clearer that the global economy faces a slow journey to normalcy
without one. Hopes were bolstered at the end of last week that a vaccine may come sooner
than expected, after US pharmaceutical company Pfizer flagged it could release its vaccine
by as soon as November.

US earnings season
The reporting period for US corporates has so far been a positive one. According to financial
data company FactSet, of the 49 companies that have reported profits, 83 per cent have
exceeded expectations, with the market now tipping a contraction in earnings this quarter
of -18.5 per cent. Better than expected results from financial sector firms were largely
responsible for the outperformance, with some of America’s biggest banks surprising
investors by reporting lower provisions, and continued strong revenues in trading divisions.
Attention will turn to US tech in the week ahead, with Netflix and Tesla reporting
their Q3 results.

Economic data
A raft of economic data will deliver a health check on the global economy’s recovery this
week. China will publish its GDP data for the quarter, with economists tipping the figure will
reaffirm the view that the Chinese economic rebound is on strong footing. GDP is projected
to have expanded by 5.5 per cent on a quarter-over-year basis, up from 3.2 per cent last
quarter. Global PMI surveys will also be closely watched to get a live pulse on global
business activity. Estimates are suggesting a plateauing of both manufacturing and services
activity across the world economy, with special concern directed to the services surveys this
week, as fresh lockdowns roll-out across several major economies.

Listen to the Short Squeeze, our weekly markets podcast produced in conjunction with IG here. Episodes last for about 10 minutes and are also available through Spotify and Google Podcasts.

This column was produced in commercial partnership between The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and IG. Information is of a general nature only.



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Collingwood Magpie Adam Treloar ‘not interested’ in move to Gold Coast Suns


The Gold Coast Suns have contacted Collingwood star Adam Treloar’s management about a possible move north after the midfielder’s partner signed a contract to play netball in Queensland next year.

The Suns sounded out manager Tim Hazell about Treloar’s possible interest in following his partner Kim Ravaillion, and their baby, to Queensland where she’ll compete for the Firebirds.

The Suns were told Treloar is not interested in moving and the couple are planning to regularly fly interstate for the family to be reunited when training and playing commitments permit during the 10-month netball playing contract.

Adam Treloar’s partner has signed with the Queensland Firebirds. Credit:Getty Images

The Suns had preliminary discussions with Treloar and Collingwood about a possible move last year when there was an approach then for Ravaillion to sign with the Firebirds.



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No one was interested in him Why Penrith Panthers rejected Wayne Bennett’s secret handshake deal with Phil Gould for Ivan Cleary


Mid-way through 2018, when it had become clear to Panthers powerbrokers that Anthony Griffin’s days as coach were numbered, the club began plotting for the following year.

Gould put aside his long-standing rivalry with Bennett to convince the seven-time premiership-winning coach to join the Panthers whenever his turbulent stint at the Broncos came to an end.

Both Bennett and Cleary were under contract in 2019, so Penrith had organised a back-up plan and told assistant coach Cameron Ciraldo he would remain as caretaker coach until a full-time appointment arrived.

But the club chose Cleary as the man to lead them into the future on a five-year, $5 million deal.

“We copped a lot of flack for signing Ivan last year, but we did so on a five-year deal knowing that he was the right man for us,” O’Neill said. He had a connection with the place and knew what Penrith was about. Wayne Bennett is a fantastic coach but he wouldn’t have known the first thing about Penrith.”

Cleary has a poor record against Bennett-coached teams and has won just six of 20 games against him since they first squared off in 2006, however Cleary has got the edge over him in their last two outings.

Arthur at a crossroads

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur has reached a crossroad in his career, as the club searches for answers on a season that promised so much but delivered an all-too-familiar result.

Saturday’s loss to South Sydney marked Arthur’s fifth finals defeat in six appearances, the third time in four years the Eels have crashed out of contention in week two of the play-offs.

Eels coach Brad Arthur.Credit:Getty

Few would dispute what Arthur has managed to build at the Eels, assembling a roster that is capable of winning a premiership. But as the dust settles on the reality of their shortcomings, there remains a huge question mark over the mental fortitude of his team, and how much he has to evolve as a coach to harden a perceived soft underbelly.

The Eels sat down as a group six weeks ago and were shown vision of Nine commentator Phil Gould declaring they were “kidding themselves” if they thought they were a chance at winning the title.

“They just haven’t got the underbelly, they haven’t got it under the shirt,” Gould said on 100% Footy. “I’ve looked at some of their second halves this year against quality sides – they’ve frittered away big leads.”

The criticism stung, but six weeks later they did as Gould foreshadowed and surrendered an 18-8 half-time lead against the Rabbitohs at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday night to see their season slip away. They “capitulated”, the coach said after the game.

Arthur tried to use the chorus of criticism surrounding his team to light a fire that would inspire a run for the title. Unfortunately, the run never came. Arthur, an old-school players’ coach, has been afforded every opportunity to prove his way is the right way.

The club has backed him. But while his way isn’t necessarily the wrong way, the club will now demand he works with head of football Mark O’Neill in the off-season to find a better way to ensure results improve in 2021.

Arthur has been somewhat reluctant to embrace the power of mindfulness when it comes to impacting results with the coach prioritising football matters over mental ones.

While the players all love playing under Arthur given how staunch he is in their support, there is a concern at the club and an understanding from the coach that mollycoddling the players may have only exacerbated a potential mental weakness.

Arthur has proved himself as a coach who can lead teams through adversity. He’s now transformed into a coach who can produce regular finals appearances. The next step is there to be taken and while the club would love nothing more than to see him make it, the option of someone else doing so could become a reality if the Eels fail to capitalise on a premiership window that Arthur has helped force open.

The club recently handed Arthur a one year contract extension that sees him through until the end of 2022, but with Craig Bellamy, Trent Robinson and Wayne Bennett all off contract at the end of next season, don’t expect the Eels to let an opportunity slip.

Nathan Brown took St George Illawarra to four finals appearances in five years between 2004 and 2008, failing to turn the opportunities into a grand final. It took Bennett’s arrival for the club to finally shake the chokers’ tag and end a 31-year drought in 2010. Parramatta now stand at 34 years and counting.

Who’s the Origin greatest?

The Herald, in conjunction with Wide World of Sports and NRL.com, has launched the voting to decide the greatest team in Origin’s 40 year history. The teams will be selected by a judging panel, which includes the likes of Andrew Johns, Wally Lewis, Johnathan Thurston and Brad Fittler.

The NSW team will be unveiled in the broadcast before Origin II, while the Queensland team will be announced prior to Origin III. The fans also have the chance to vote for a team, which will be announced before Origin I. Voting is open to the public on the Wide World of Sports and NRL.com websites.

It comes as the Blues announced the newest members of their 27-man squad, with Brad Fittler adding skipper Boyd Cordner, Luke Keary, Angus Crichton, Daniel Tupou, James Tedesco, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Junior Paulo, Clint Gutherson and Nathan Brown.

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Optus not interested in Rugby Australia broadcast rights


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Before the RA broadcast rights talks restarted, Optus launched OS Fitness, a channel for subscribers with yoga and pilates, strength, core and high-intensity workouts that can be done at home. In August, 12 per cent of Optus Sport users watched the content. The fitness channel also experienced a large spike in minutes streamed after Melbourne entered stage four lockdown.

Optus’ absence from the official negotiating table leaves RA with fewer choices for a broadcasting partner. Fox Sports, which has broadcast Super Rugby since its inception in 1996, remains interested in rugby – particularly Super Rugby and Test matches. Amazon, which last week secured the rights to a one-off Eight Nations tournament in Europe, declined to comment on whether it was involved in the local tender process.

Meanwhile Network Ten, which is currently the free-to-air broadcaster for the Wallabies matches, did submit a formal expression of interest. Ten is the only commercial free-to-air broadcaster to formally enter talks, but sources have indicated the broadcaster is looking to pay less than it currently does for the matches. Ten currently pays about $3.5 million a year as part of RA’s $285 million deal signed with the broadcaster, Foxtel and BSkyB in 2015.

Earlier this year, RA rejected an offer from Foxtel’s sports network Fox Sports for the 2021-2025 rights which resulted in an open tender. Optus, which operates streaming platform Optus Sport, was in advanced talks to buy the rights, but they fell over when the pandemic hit. The telco provider’s interest has subsided since then.

In that time the code has gone through several major changes, including the installation of new chairman Hamish McLennan and interim chief executive Rob Clarke. Securing a new broadcast deal is one of the key priorities for RA as it looks to secure financial certainty for the code (the existing arrangement with RA’s broadcast partners expires at the end of the year).

When RA put its broadcast offering out publicly last month, it gave bidders the option to cherry pick different competitions and types of rugby content. This includes a combination of existing products like Bledisloe Cup matches and Shute Shield and new products such as a ‘State of Union’ three-game series. RA has not provided clarity on what next year’s Super Rugby season will look like.

The organisation has since announced the Rugby Championship will run in Australia. Clarke said the current broadcasters were very excited by it. “I know Fox and Ten will love the fact they’re getting such quality rugby at that time of the year and will drive, I hope, some subscriptions and viewership for them,” he said.

Sports codes are facing similar pressures to television broadcasters and telco providers due to the coronavirus crisis. Foxtel boss Patrick Delany said earlier this month that the subscription television operator would only focus on acquiring TV rights to ‘tier-one’ sports moving forward.

So far this year, Foxtel, Nine Entertainment Co (owner of this masthead) and Seven West Media have secured reductions on existing deals with the NRL and AFL. The broadcasters, which lost large amounts of advertisers during the pandemic, argued a reduction in matches and lack of crowds reduced the value of the sports codes they broadcast. Seven is separately trying to terminate its contract with Cricket Australia.



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Netflix not interested in competing for streaming sports rights


Netflix chief Reed Hastings has shot down the prospect of a deal for live sport streaming. So where will the codes turn to in the battle for bigger broadcast deals?

Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings (Images: Wikicommons; AAP/Dave Hunt)

Bad news for all those sports around the world looking for new suckers — sorry, outlets — to play against their established broadcast partners: don’t count on Netflix to be interested.

Netflix has no interest in live sport or news, according to the streaming giant’s co-CEO Reed Hastings in an interview with the Financial Times.

As far as live sport is concerned, Hastings told the FT “there is no long term profitability, nothing defensible”. The interview came ahead of the release of No Rules Rules, a new book co-authored by Hastings.





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Four clubs interested in out-of-contract Giant


Up to four clubs are interested in out-of-contract GWS youngster Xavier
O’Halloran, according to Fox Footy’s Tom Morris.

It’s understood that Geelong, Brisbane, Essendon and the Western Bulldogs are all keen on O’Halloran with the Giants willing to offer a multi-year deal to keep the 20-year-old at the club.

The midfielder has played just two AFL games after failing to make a single senior appearance in his first season at the Giants.

O’Halloran, who captained Vic Metro and the Western Jets in his draft year, was selected by GWS with the 22nd pick overall in the 2018 draft.

O’Halloran isn’t the only young Giant who could be on the move this off-season.

Off-contract pair Jye Caldwell and Jackson Hately have also been linked with moves away from the club.






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Coach not interested in ‘managing’ Broncos


Brisbane interim coach Peter Gentle has chuckled at the prospect of taking the job fulltime, comparing an NRL head coach appointment to a management role that doesn’t appeal to him.

The Broncos assistant is the reluctant face of the club after Anthony Seibold’s exit last week, the side winning just one of 14 games since the competition’s restart in May.

Gentle has tweaked their preparations since Seibold’s departure but had little on-field joy, a 58-12 loss to Sydney Roosters their third by 46 points or more this season.

They face Penrith on Thursday, the Panthers on an 11-game winning streak and capable of twisting the knife further at Suncorp Stadium.

Gentle, a head coach with Hull in England for two years, still has another year to run on his contract at Red Hill.

While Kevin Walters and Paul Green present as front-runners to replace Seibold, Gentle won’t be applying and knows he could be made redundant by whoever does win the post.

But that is fine with the quiet achiever, who played a handful of games for St George in the late 1980s and has an interesting take on the modern-day coach.

“Not a chance … he (whoever gets it) can have the head coaching role, I just want to coach, not do all this sort of stuff,” he said in reference to his weekly pre-game press conference.

“I was head coach in Hull for a couple of years, it takes you away from the actual hands-on coaching.

“There’s a lot of peripheral stuff, but as assistant coach you’re dealing with the players one-on-one, you’re nobody and that’s fine by me.

“You’re actually coaching, whereas now a head coach is more and more like the (English) Premier League manager, so I prefer this side of it.”

The Broncos are his for the last four games though and, sitting just one win ahead of Canterbury but well behind on percentage, Gentle would love to avoid the club’s maiden wooden spoon.

“At the end of the day we have to make our one-on-one tackles,” Gentle said.

“We can look after each other a lot better on the field.

“I know it might not look like that at times on the field, especially with a scoreline like that, but I don’t see it as an attitude problem.”

STATS THAT MATTER

* This will be the first time since 2016 that a team on a five or more game winning streak comes up against a team on a five or more game losing streak.

* Penrith have had nearly 38 tackles per game inside their opponents 20 to lead the NRL, while the Broncos have conceded a try every 8.2 tackles inside the zone.

* Broncos will aim to avoid losing four straight at Suncorp Stadium for the first time since 2007.





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Butterflies crucial to outback pollination, despite being ‘more interested in sex’


During a few select months of the year in the arid heart of Australia, butterfly populations explode and take on an important role in the desert’s ecology.

Kym Schwartzkopff, a senior wildlife ranger with Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife, said when the air temperature was not too hot nor too cold, a kaleidoscope of butterflies spread their wings over the dusty red landscape.

“Generally, butterflies start at the end of March and go through until April,” he said.

“During July we’re right into the colder months, so there won’t be anything at all as it will be too cold for anything to move.

“Once it starts warming up again, you’ll get another influx of butterflies back out around September and October.”

Lesser wanderers are reasonably large species.(Supplied: Rebecca Duncum)

Butterfly numbers depended on rain and accessibility to food, Mr Schwartzkopff said.

“We’ve had good rains in the last couple of months, and we’ve got a lot of flowering plants and a lot of grasses that are coming up at the moment that the larvae are feeding on, so they’re making the most of it.

“The food source the butterflies rely on are more the flowering plants.”

The insects have a longer life cycle than moths, which generally only live for several days, although they appear four weeks ahead of the butterfly season.

“Most butterflies would probably last up to about two weeks at the most,” Mr Schwartzkopff said.

And that fortnight is crucial for the survival of native flora, he added

Caper white butterfly
The caper white is a migratory butterfly.(Supplied: Rebecca Duncum)

“So without the butterflies, you’ll mostly find in Central Australia that there would be a lot less flowering plants around the place.”

Fascinating to watch and study

A chart of butterflies
Butterflies of Central Australia.(Supplied: NT Parks and Wildlife)

Several varieties that come out in autumn include the pea blue and the caper white, which is a migratory butterfly.

“So they follow their food source around and they feed mainly on a type of caper vines, which are passionfruit, wild orange, those sort of things,” Mr Schwartzkopff said.

The little pea blue is common for the region and, interestingly, help ants survive in the hard climatic conditions.

“You see those more around mulga or flying fairly close to the ground. They predominately feed on the the mistletoe plants around the area.

“Their larvae pupate inside ant holes. The ants gather up the eggs that the little butterfly produces and take them down into the holes.”

The caterpillars live off the ant larvae, but in return, Mr Schwartzkopff said, they give the ants “a little sack of honey or sweet nectar which the ants love, so they look after the caterpillars until they’re coming out and pupate.”

Meadow argus butterfly
This meadow argus butterfly feeds on the nectar of a sunflower daisy.(Supplied: Rebecca Duncum)

In spring, the butterflies are different to the ones you would see earlier in the year.

“You’ll get more of the glass wings, the common egg flies, which is a large butterfly and they’re quite dark.”

Mr Schwartzkopff said given social isolation restrictions, more people should take notice of the influx of butterflies.

“Most people do see butterflies around, but most really don’t take much interest in them,” he said.

“They’re always there, but once you start taking a bit of a look and getting to see what’s what, they’re a really fascinating little insect to watch and study.”

It’s all about sex

Even though butterflies play an important role in the pollination of native species, they are not born pollinators given their short lifespan, according to bee trainer Vicki Simlesa.

Grace Jerrett checks her racks for honey production
Bees live longer and don’t get “distracted”.(ABC Alice Springs: Emma Haskin)

“Eighty per cent of their food source comes from bees, not butterflies, given their lifespan at six weeks is much greater than the butterfly,” she said.

“In the two-week lifespan of butterflies, they are more interested in sex, whereas bees are colony-driven to support their queen and the existence of the colony as a whole.”

Ms Simlesa said the female worker bees headed out of the colony without any sexual appetite.



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