Markets watch budget impact on consumers

The impact of the federal budget on consumer confidence and key wages and jobs data will be the focus for Australian markets this week.


Economists will be watching Tuesday’s weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence reading and the monthy Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment index on Wednesday for any boost from last week’s federal budget.

“The sentiment gauge will attract more than the usual attention given it will be the first reaction of Aussie consumers to the federal budget,” CommSec senior economist Savanth Sebastian said of the weekly survey.

Economists expect Wednesday’s March quarter wages data to show growth of 0.5 per cent, leaving annual growth at a record low of 1.9 per cent.

“While the annual growth rate is the lowest on record, it still remains marginally ahead of underlying growth of consumer prices,” Mr Sebastian said in a research note.

“The real wage gains alongside the low interest rate environment on record will serve to support consumer spending for the rest of 2017.”

The market consensus is for Thursday’s April employment data to show a gain of 5000 jobs and the unemployment rate remaining steady at 5.9 per cent.

However, RBC Capital Markets and Commonwealth Bank of Australia economists expect some consolidation after a surge in new jobs in March, forecasting a flat jobs outcome for April and the unemployment rate to tick down to 5.8 per cent.

“A likely small drop in unemployed persons and some retracement in the participation rate after several monthly gains suggest that the unemployment rate may edge a little lower to 5.8 per cent,” a RBC report said.

Also out this week are March housing finance data and the minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s last board meeting, which economists do not believe will offer any new insights.

The Australian share market may open trading on Monday flat or slightly weaker after US stocks edged 0.1 per cent lower on Friday.

McMahon ready for Wallabies: Rebels coach

He has only played 40 minutes of rugby this season but Melbourne Rebels coach Tony McGahan says Sean McMahon will be ready for the Wallabies’ June Tests.


The 22-year-old made his long-awaited return to AAMI Park after finally overcoming ankle surgery followed by a knee injury.

He came off the bench at blindside flanker for the Rebels’ second half with his leg drive pumping up his team for a late surge.

They ultimately fell short 29-24 when Reds skipper Samu Kerevi scored a last-ditch try, but McMahon played with his usual aggression and tenacity.

“He was great,” McGahan said of his back rower.

“He’s an important player for us with what he brings with effort and attitude, he’s a real fierce competitor.

“He was absolutely busted in the last seven or eight minutes but to get through 40 minutes after being out for seven months was a fair effort.”

The coach added McMahon would be ready for the three June Tests, when Australia take on Fiji, Scotland and Italy.

“He’ll be fine,” McGahan said.

The Rebels have only managed one win this season and while injuries have contributed to their poor run, they have also turned in some shockers.

While he plumped for McMahon, the coach thought the results would count against the Rebels at the selection table, who had a club-record six players winning Test caps last year.

Hooker James Hanson, lock Lopeti Timani, prop Toby Smith and centre Sefa Naivalu could all miss out this season.

“I’ve got absolutely no doubt,” said McGahan, a former Wallabies assistant coach.

“That’s a proven fact, that individuals can still do all their things but sometimes you suffer at the fate of your team and their performances.”

Q & A on global cyber attack


A massive hack crippled computers across the world on Friday in what was described by experts as a cyber attack unprecedented in scale.


Q: What happened?

A: Tens of thousands of computers in homes, businesses and government agencies were infiltrated by malicious software that encrypted and blocked access to content until users paid between $US300 ($A406) and $US600 ($A812) in the digital currency bitcoin. Nearly 100 countries were hit in the attack.

Q: What accounts for its scale?

A: Hackers exploited vulnerabilities in the most widely used operating system in the world: Microsoft Windows. The software giant issued a fix in March to correct the security flaw, but computers that did not run the update were susceptible to infection.

The highest-profile organisation to fall victim to the cybercrime was Britain’s National Health Service, which uses the 15-year-old Windows XP operating system on its computers.

Windows XP is so old that Microsoft was no longer offering free software updates for it. The company announced on Saturday that it was reversing that policy.

Q: How does the malware enter the computer?

A: The cyber weapon involved in the attack is malware known as Wanna Decryptor or WannCry. It infiltrates computers by way of links and attachments in spam emails.

Security experts say unknown hackers took advantage of tools stolen from the US National Security Agency. Portions of the spy agency’s sophisticated cyber arsenal have been leaked online in recent months.

Awesome foursome join Fanning, Parkinson

There will be six Australians in the fourth round of the Rio Pro after another successful day at Saquarema.


Adrian Buchan, Matt Wilkinson, Julian Wilson and Owen Wright all prevailed in their third-round encounters to join former world champions Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson in advancing in Brazil.

Saturday’s day five opened with an upset as Brazilian 20-year-old Yago Dora upset championship leader John John Florence of Hawaii.

South Africa’s Jordy Smith was next up, dispatching of hometown hope Jadson Andre in a close encounter.

Fellow Brazilian Caio Ibelli laid an early marker for Buchan with a 7.07, but he was unable to back it up as the Australian finished with 13.16.

It was an all-Australian affair in heat nine with Wilkinson proving too strong for Josh Kerr before Kanoa Igarashi of the United States defeated Filipe Toledo.

Wilson accounted for Frederico Morais despite the Portuguese recording the highest score of the day with 9.20 before a consistent Wright posted the session’s highest total.

His total of 17 won the final heat of the men’s session over Nat Young, the American named for the former Australian world champion of the same name.

“I feel like that was always going to be a really strong heat,” Wright said.

“I feel like we’ve got similar game plans, we like to stick to what we know. We don’t go to the air too much, when we do it’s more of a risk.

“I felt like we were there trading right-handers and I just thought I’ve got to show the judges something different and go left and that was the difference for me.”

Warner hits out as Mumbai hit the summit

Australian Test vice-captain David Warner’s unbeaten 69 set up an eight-wicket win for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League and with it boosted their hopes of a top-two finish.


Warner carried the bat in his 52-ball knock, steadying the ship after the early wickets of opening partner Shikhar Dhawan (18) and Australian teammate Moises Henriques (4) in the third over.

The opener shared an unbroken 133-run stand with Vijay Shankar to successfully chase down Gujarat’s total of 154.

Ishan Kishan top-scored for the Lions with 61 after sharing a 111-run opening partnership with Dwayne Smith. Big-hitting Australian Aaron Finch was dismissed for 2 by Rashid Khan in the 14th over as a late collapse saw Gujarat all out for 153 with four balls remaining in their innings.

James Faulkner fared little better than Finch, making eight before falling to Mohammed Siraj.

Henriques’ solitary over was expensive, going for 12 runs while Siraj (4-32) was the best of the Sunrisers’ bowlers.

In Saturday’s second IPL clash Mumbai Indians secured top spot on the ladder with a nine-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders.

Chris Lynn helped Kolkata, chasing 174 for victory, to recover after losing his opening partner without scoring on the fourth ball of Tim Southee’s opening over.

Mitchell Johnson had the next wicket when he had Gautam Gambhir caught on 21.

Lynn made 26 off 14 balls before being caught off Vinay Kumar.

Consistent wickets saw the Knight Riders’ run rate taper off somewhat and they finished on 8-164.

Mumbai had posted 5-173, headlined by Ambati Rayudu’s 61.