Good earnings
numbers helped propel US equities to another big rise overnight. This was
despite a $1 rise in the price of oil to US$75 per barrel and another $100
story, this time courtesy the co-founder of George Soros’s Quantum hedge fund,
Jim Rogers. (AFR, p23)

Condoleezza Rice
is in the Middle East making sympathetic noises about Lebanese civilians but
otherwise supporting Israel’s right to defend itself.
However, Abraham Rabinovich reports from Jerusalem that: “Reports from Washington say the US will give Israel
only one more week to continue the fighting.” The Economist’s line is about
“mixed signals”.

Syria and
Iran are increasingly being fingered
as the real villains in this conflict and one has to hope the
non-Islamist nations, including Russia and China, can form
a united front of some sort.

The returning
Lebanese-Australians have at least said thanks to Australian taxpayers for
getting them out of the war zone. This episode should make us re-examine the
dual nationality rules – let’s insist it’s Australia or the
bush for future citizens, that becoming a citizen requires a literacy and
cultural test and that there is no social welfare until one is a

In the domestic
economy, yesterday’s shocking PPI result has raised the odds of a rate hike
after the Reserve Bank Board meets next week. However, if the
international geopolitical situation is grim enough, the RBA will have a
perfectly respectable reason to stay its hand.

Henry Thornton.

Peter Fray

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