5 things you need to know before markets open in Australia and around the world.

The first week of May is done and dusted. Did you know that the month was named after the Greek goddess of fertility, Maia? Good morning and happy Monday. This month is fertile with Mondays – May has 5 of them!! Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Emmanuel Macron is the president-elect of France after an emphatic win over Marie Le Pen. The margin was far greater than predictions of a close election. Mr Macron will be the youngest French president since Napoleon.

The news has been greeted with some big sighs of relief around the world as Macron has a less dramatic plan for his country than his opposition. Macron wants France to remain a strong member of the European Union and bring together the right-left differences that have been a part of the French political landscape for the past few decades.

Mr Macron served as the Finance Minister of France for two years and is a former investment banker. Similar to Canada, it seems people are preferring younger leaders as a reflection of identifying with new age ideas. It’s a refreshing change.

2. Was it our commentary on the Nasdaq last week that has caused another gain this week? Anything is possible! Rumour has it that the 50 or so points rise was due to the French Elections and further driven upwards with Apple closing at a record high. It will be interesting to see what levels the Nasdaq can reach over the next two months.

3. The Macquarie bank announced record full year profit of $2.2 billion, another clear indicator of a couple of things: banks are good investments and the Australian banks, in comparison to other countries, have strong, positive financial foundations. Even though news of record profits by a bank is usually met with a raised eyebrow and a ‘ho-hum’, it’s comforting to know that Australian banks remain rock solid with good performances.

4. It was nice to see our Prime Minister dressed in sartorial splendour as was Donald Trump, both in tuxedos, when the two met in New York yesterday. If you remember their first exchange, which was over the phone, was not the friendliest. Although, maybe that was ‘fake news’! Discussions between the two covered a number of topics including comparison between Australia’s and the USA’s health systems.

5. The announcement by Prince Philip, the Queen of England’s husband for those that are not into British/Australian Royalty, that he will be stepping down from royal duties comes as no great surprise. The old boy is 96 years old. Ever the prankster, this announcement was made at an emergency meeting called by Buckingham Palace for 3am. A time when people over the age of 50 should be sleeping. Duties will fall on the shoulders of other royalty.

Mining Trivia

The oldest mine in the world is in Swaziland. It was an iron oxide mine dating back 43,000 years. It’s called the “Lion’s Cave.”
The first Academy of Mining was in Hungary in 1762.
The biggest mining disaster happened in China. 1,549 Miners lost their lives in 1942 at the Honkeiko Colliery.

Andrew Mortimer
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