Markets Overview

  • ASX SPI 200 futures down 0.2% to 7,353.00
  • Dow Average down 0.5% to 34,416.30
  • Aussie up 0.4% to 0.6814 per US$
  • U.S. 10-year yield fell 7.7 bps to 3.5285%
  • Australia 3-year bond yield fell 7.5 bps to 3.09%
  • Australia 10-year bond yield fell 4.8 bps to 3.48%
  • Gold spot up 1.9% to $1,802.94
  • Brent futures little changed at $87.01/bbl

Economic Events

  • 11:00: (AU) Australia to Sell A$600 Million 0.5% 2026 Bonds
  • 11:30: (AU) Oct. Investor Loan Value MoM, est. -2.0%, prior -6.0%
  • 11:30: (AU) Oct. Home Loans Value MoM, est. -2.0%, prior -8.2%
  • 11:30: (AU) Oct. Owner-Occupier Loan Value MoM, est. -4.5%, prior -9.3%

Stocks saw a lot of instability near a key technical level, with traders awaiting the all-important jobs report for clues on the Federal Reserve’s next policy steps. The dollar fell with bond yields.

A big fight is unfolding around the S&P 500’s 200-day moving average — an indicator seen by some analysts as portending the continuation of a move when breached. The equity gauge crossed that mark after a massive rally driven by Jerome Powell’s signals of a downshift in the pace of tightening — but struggled to find solid footing on Thursday.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index sank to its lowest since June. The Treasury rally gathered steam amid a pullback in expectations for Fed tightening. Bets on where the central bank rate will peak have now dropped below 4.9%, according to swap markets. The current benchmark sits in a range between 3.75% and 4%.

Other News

Nearly 40 years after a 175-pound black bear found and ingested cocaine in a Georgia forest, the drug binge has inspired a movie.

The trailer for a new movie called “Cocaine Bear” was released on Wednesday, and the film’s title is not a metaphor or clever wordplay: The movie is about a bear high on cocaine.

The bloody spree that follows the bear’s cocaine binge, as depicted in the trailer, is fictional, but the story about a high bear is very real. Its lore is likely to grow with the movie, which was directed by Elizabeth Banks and is set for a Feb. 24 release.

“Cocaine Bear” stars Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Ray Liotta, who died in May, in one of his final film roles. It depicts the bear’s drug-induced trail of terror and the victims he leaves behind.

The real story is less bloody.

It all began, as you might guess, in the 1980s. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced in December 1985 that a 175-pound black bear had “died of an overdose of cocaine after discovering a batch of the drug,” according to a three-sentence item from United Press International that appeared in The New York Times.

“The cocaine was apparently dropped from a plane piloted by Andrew Thorton, a convicted drug smuggler who died Sept. 11 in Knoxville, Tenn., because he was carrying too heavy a load while parachuting,” U.P.I. reported. “The bureau said the bear was found Friday in northern Georgia among 40 opened plastic containers with traces of cocaine.”
The bear was found dead in the mountains of Fannin County, Ga., just south of the Tennessee border.

Dr. Kenneth Alonso, the state’s chief medical examiner at the time, said after an autopsy in December 1985 that the bear had absorbed three or four grams of cocaine into its blood stream, although it may have eaten more, The Associated Press reported that month.

Today, the very same bear is said to be on display in Lexington, Ky., at the Kentucky for Kentucky Fun Mall. The mall said in an August 2015 blog post that workers there wanted to know what happened to the bear and found out it had been stuffed. The blog post says the stuffed bear was at one point owned by the country singer Waylon Jennings, who kept it in his home in Las Vegas, before it was delivered to the store. (The New York Times could not independently confirm this account.)

What happened to the bear in its final days, or hours, after the cocaine binge is a mystery, but the origins of the cocaine are not.

Mr. Thorton was a known drug smuggler and a former police officer. He was found dead the morning of Sept. 11, 1985, in the backyard of a house in Knoxville, Tenn., wearing a parachute and Gucci loafers. He also had several weapons and a bag containing about 35 kilograms of cocaine, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported.

A key in Mr. Thorton’s pocket matched the tail number of a wrecked plane that was found in Clay County, N.C., and based on Mr. Thorton’s history of drug smuggling, investigators guessed there was more cocaine nearby, The News Sentinel reported. The investigators searched the surrounding area and found more than 300 pounds of cocaine in a search that lasted several months.

They also found the dead bear.

(New York Times)