Markets Overview

  • ASX SPI 200 futures up 0.2% to 7,226.00
  • Dow Average up 0.1% to 34,048.74
  • Aussie up 1.6% to 0.6855 per US$
  • U.S. 10-year yield fell 11.6bps to 3.4957%
  • Australia 3-year bond yield rose 4.9 bps to 3.11%
  • Australia 10-year bond yield rose 1.8 bps to 3.40%
  • Gold spot up 1.7% to $1,811.59
  • Brent futures up 3.5% to $80.75/bbl

Economic Events

  • 09:30: (AU) RBA’s Lowe-Speech
  • 11:00: (AU) Bloomberg Dec. Australia Economic Survey

US stocks advanced on Tuesday as investors mulled whether latest data showing prices rose less than forecast last month would prompt the Federal Reserve to alter its aggressive approach to battling inflation.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 capped a volatile session with a gain after data indicated the worst of inflation has likely passed. While the soft consumer price index data was briefly celebrated with a surge in equities, the indexes pared those gains as investors turned their focus to what the latest numbers mean for the Fed’s path of rates.

Treasuries surged, with the policy-sensitive two-year yield dropping as much as 24 basis points after the CPI data released. Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s closely watched measure of services prices that excludes energy and rents continued to moderate.

While the Fed is largely expected to raise rates by half a percentage point Wednesday, investors will be watching what officials say for further policy clues. Swap markets are now favoring a quarter-point hike as early as the Fed’s February meeting.

Other News

When Bob Holman, 78, and his team of five other septuagenarians reached Sangatte beach in France to become the oldest relay team to swim the Channel they thought the hard part was over.

But despite battling “washing-machine” waves, 15-knot winds and suspected hypothermia, the toughest challenge lay ahead for the team known as One Foot in the Wave: getting their new record ratified.

The Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation (CSPF), which adjudicates swims across the 21-mile route, has said that their record does not count, citing an apparent illegal changeover.

Members of the British team, who have an average age of 75 years and 187 days, said the decision was “unthinkably cruel” and “devoid of common sense”.

Under the rules of any official swim attempt across the Channel, changeovers should take place every 60 minutes.

However, during their 18-hour swim, which began on the Kent coast in the early hours of September 12, one swap between Robert Lloyd-Evans, then 79, and the team’s “youngster”, Professor Parviz Habibi, 70, was delayed by four minutes after a “disorientated, slightly cold” Lloyd-Evans swam about 100ft to 130ft away from the boat.

Other members of the team blamed “age-related confusion”. In complete darkness, with his goggles and cap filled with water, the oldest member of the team could not see nor hear his teammates telling him to come back.

Habibi, his replacement, was primed for the next leg but, concerned about having two members of the team in the water at the same time, the boat’s pilot, Simon Ellis, told him to stay out of the water.

The CSPF observer on board raised no objections and later congratulated the team, donating £20 to the £3,000 that the group raised for Alzheimer’s UK.

Two months later, following a report by the on-board observer, the CSPF declared the record attempt unsuccesul. Last week an appeal was rejected. The team are now considering legal action, arguing that the CSPF rules allow for a five-minute window to change swimmers.

“We thought common sense would prevail,” Holman said. “Parviz was there waiting, shouting ‘let me get in’ and was refused. We’ve been penalised for obeying the direction of the pilot but also [for] basic honesty and decency.”

According to Holman, the observer was not planning on including details of the changeover in the final report but only did so at the insistence of the team member Kevin Murphy, 73, a veteran of more than 30 Channel swims who assumed there would be no issue.

“I think they are devoid of common sense,” Murphy told The Times. “The incident was a delay in a takeover for safety reasons. The pilot and crew told the next swimmer not to go in on safety grounds. When you are out there as a swimmer you have to obey the skipper of the boat.”

Holman, a grandfather of three and a retired financial adviser, added. “I’m totally gutted. Each of us is angry. It’s all very sad. Very sad for the sport itself — looking at the bigger picture, if they take this nit-picking and pedantic attitude it doesn’t speak well for the federation.”

The team had hoped to submit their result to the Guinness Book of Records.

In a letter to the CSPF, Holman said: “It was a magnificent effort by the whole team with everyone playing their part. It would be an unthinkably cruel decision by the CSPF to refuse accreditation for the swim. How can anyone justify this decision when we have clearly swum within the spirit of the rules?

“We are proud that we have broken a world record for being the oldest standard six-person channel relay team to swim the channel.”

The CSPF has been contacted for comment.

(The Times)