Ashes hope lost for all money
As if Michael Clarke and Darren "Boof" Lehmann don't have enough to worry about as they pad up for the second Test tonight at Lord's in London, the boffins at ANZ have bowled a googly that would make Warnie weep.
ANZ economists Warren Hogan and Andrew Salter have crunched the numbers and give Australia only a slim chance of turning around the Ashes series.
The pair used a somewhat unorthodox action and appealed to a statistical relationship - something new for the decision-review system - between Australia's performance at the Ashes and exchange rates between the dollar and the pound.
"Comparing this to our exchange rate data for each calendar year suggests that when the AUD/GBP is high, Australia performs poorly," the economists said. This is based on the assumption that a strong dollar tempts Aussies to travel and not spend the day watching sport.
"When it is low, Australia performs well (they don't travel and hence support the team at the ground). What's more, this partnership seems to hold all the way back to the tail-end of our sample, which opened its innings more than a century ago," they said.
"Indeed, our model suggests that England will win the series by between one and three Tests."
Conversely, if the pound is weaker - which it is against the $US - it reflects a weak economy, which means the locals look to sporting success as a diversion from economic woes. A challenge indeed. One Australian dollar was last buying a little over 61 pence.
It's as torturous a prediction as watching Stuart Broad fiddle with his shoe at Trent Bridge to stave off another over before lunch (at least that's what it looked like, ask any Aussie).
Bob Hosking, the surfing CEO of Karoon Gas Australia, held court with institutional investors in Melbourne's salubrious RACV club on Wednesday, spruiking the company's latest oil and gas exploration successes, and there have been plenty of them.
Bob is still a keen surfer at a youngish 60-something - he is a long term member of Woolamai surf club on Phillip Island, where he is affectionately known as Hippo (CBD has been told not to ask why) - regaled the audience with news that the Kangaroo and Bilby wells in the offshore Santos Basin in Brazil each yielded a significant oil discovery earlier this year.
While the results were still being analysed, he said cores cut from these wells look to be in the 50 to 100 million barrels (recoverable) range. Given Karoon holds 60 per cent, Bob's mob could be in line for a big pay day.
Surfing wash up
Another surfing story comes from the saving of Billabong by private equity consortium of Altamont Capital Partners and the Blackstone Group. Of interest to the retail and property world is whether Blackstone will use its muscle and lease some space to Billabong.
Blackstone has been hoovering up the Top Ryde centre in Sydney, the Greensborough Plaza in Melbourne and the Logan MegaCentre in Brisvegas. And if it buys hotels from Brookfield, guests could see some Billabong towels in the bathroom.
Nursing state pride post-Origin, it will be a vice-regal affair at tonight's Urban Taskforce of Australia's 2013 Development Excellence Awards at the newly opened Hyde Park Ballroom, Doltone House, Sydney. NSW Governor Marie Bashir will join former NSW premier and chair of UrbanGrowth NSW John Brogden and more than 300 developers and investors from across the country, to toast a swath of projects.
Phew, that was a mammoth effort by the IT team at the get-rich-quick spruiker turned politician Jamie McIntyre's Twitter account. As BusinessDay revealed, the poor staff had to manually delete 900,000 fake followers. Now surely, that's one to tweet about.