Good morning folks. A lot going on this morning – including massive redundancies at Qantas. Let's dig in.
1. Qantas will sack at least 6000 of its 30,000 employees and launch a $1.9 billion capital raise in response to the coronavirus. In a fairly grim announcement to the ASX, the airline said the moves were designed to "accelerate its recovery from the COVID crisis and create a stronger platform for future profitability".
2. Pat yourselves on the back. Australia is the only advanced economy to have its economic outlook upgraded by the International Monetary Fund. It's not all great news – the economy is still going to contract by a very significant 4.5%, and the global recession is likely deeper than feared – but there you go.
3. The Australian arts sector will get a bit of support, after being poorly targeted by JobKeeper. The Morrison government will offer $250 million in grants and low-interest loans to help the struggling arts, film and entertainment sectors get back on their feet. "These measures will support a broad range of jobs from performers, artists and roadies, to front of house staff and many who work behind the scenes, while assisting related parts of the broader economy, such as tourism and hospitality," Morrison said.
4. Mortgage brokers tell us that many Australians are trying to use their early super withdrawals to bolster a deposit. Of course, this doesn't quite align with the stated purpose of the government's super scheme, which was ostensibly for financial hardship in the COVID-19 crisis. At the end of the day, that money belongs to punters – but it certainly adds to the pile of criticisms of the program.
5. Australian fitness chain F45 Training has struck a deal to go public in the US. It will do so by merging with Crescent Acquisition, a company backed by investment firm Crescent Capital. The deal will value the combined company at $US845 million ($1.23 billion). Earlier this week, founder Rob Deutsch said he was stepping down from the business, but would remain a major shareholder.
6. Woolworths and Coles are bringing back purchase restrictions in Victoria, following 'significantly' elevated demand. The announcement comes following a spike in COVID-19 infections in the state. Hopefully we're not heading back to the bad old days of loo roll shortages.
7. The ABC has announced its five-year plan, and yes: it includes a lot of cutting. About 250 job losses are baked into it, alongside the discontinuation of the ABC Life brand. The entire plan augurs the ABC's shift from a traditional public broadcaster into a digital content provider. One wonders whether these will be the cuts which will appease those who do not like the ABC. (Spoiler alert: they will not.)
8. Stake, a platform which lets Australians trade on the US markets, has hit 100,000 users as Australians leap into shares with both feet. CEO and co-founder Matt Leibowitz said the market fluctuations through the coronavirus pandemic interested a lot of people. “In the last five years there’s been a lot of growth in international trading but this just accelerated that trend and we were in position and ready to go when it did hit,” he said.
9. The US is, uh, very much not done with the coronavirus. The country surpassed its highest single-day total of new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with 36,000 new coronavirus cases. It does put our national concern over double-digit growth into some perspective.
10. It comes amid news the US federal government plans to end funding and support for 13 coronavirus testing sites in five states on June 30. I'll leave this one here: