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AUSTRALIAN STOCKS LIFT AGAIN: What you need to know

Matt Hall of Australia leads Kirby Chambliss of the US and Nicolas Ivanoff of France over the Emirates Palace prior to the first stage of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in Abu Dhabi. Joerg Mitter /Red Bull via Getty Images

The Australian market turned around an early dip to close higher.

Here’s today’s scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,157.20 +49.24 +0.96%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,215.70 +46.21 +0.89%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7434 -0.0002 -0.03%

A surge in financial stocks reversed losses to bring the market to a strong, positive close. The ASX 200 has gained 3% this month but is still down 2.6% since the start of 2016.

Markets in the US and Europe ended lower overnight. On the ASX, mining and energy stocks dragged the local market on the back of weaker trade numbers from China.

BHP lost 1.9% to $17.86 after being sold down heavily in the London market overnight. Rio Tinto dropped 2.1% to $44.30 and Woodside Petroleum 2.6% to $26.83.

The big gainers from the strong rally in iron ore prices slipped ground again today. Fortescue, whose share price jumped 23.7% on Monday, shed 2.8% to close at $2.71. Atlas Iron shed 16% to $0.026.

The top stories Wednesday:

1. Home lending is cooling. Australian housing finance data missed expectations in January, pointing to the likelihood that recent strength in house prices may ebb in the months ahead.

2. Listen up. Bill Ferris, the father of venture capital in Australia and the newly appointed chair of Innovation Australia, says he’s learned through his involvement in private equity “not to be greedy”.

3. Drone wars. XTEK Limited, an Australian supplier of military hardware, has applied for permission to use drones in civilian airspace. Its shares closed 4.6% higher at $0.45.

4. Managing upwards. 6 steps for coping with a ‘challenging’ boss, according to a human behaviour expert.

5. Slipping. Australian consumer sentiment fell unexpectedly in March, according to the Westpac-MI consumer sentiment, bucking improvements seen in other consumer-related surveys.

6. Where to next for oil? After hitting a fresh 13-year low of $27.10 per barrel on January 20, front-month Brent crude futures have been on an amazing run higher of late.

7. Your body tells the story. Science says you’ll make less money if you are short and fat.

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