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AUSTRALIAN STOCKS LIFT: What you need to know

Carmen Marton (L) and Safwan Khalil (R) of the Australian Olympic Taekwondo team in 2012. Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

The Australian market closed higher.

Here’s today’s scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 4,922.30 +41.37 +0.85%
  • All Ordinaries: 4,989.60 +41.66 +0.84%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7131 -0.0011 -0.15%

Australian stocks had a positive start to the month, helped by stronger commodity prices, with the ASX 200 breaking back through 4900 points.

After two negative months, the local market is down 7% since the start of 2016.

A raft of companies went ex-dividend today, dragging on the overall market. AMP lost 2.8% to $5.17 and Telstra shed 4.7% to $5.00.

But the banks, the big miners and the iron ore specialists all did well. The ANZ was up almost 3% to $23.07, BHP 2.95% to $16.03 and Fortescue 6.3% to $2.17.

Mesoblast, the stem cell treatment biotech, continued its run higher, adding 14.55% to close at $2.20, a 42% rise since the start of last week.

The top stories Tuesday:

1. The ANZ bank grabs Maile Carnegie from Google. She will be Group Executive Digital Banking, reporting to ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott.

2. Closer to cutting again? As they have done since May last year, the Reserve Bank of Australia board left interest rates unchanged at 2.0% at the conclusion of its March monetary policy meeting.

3. Optus and ad-blocking technology. Sources say Australia’s second largest telco is looking at introducing the tech across its network.

4. The shrinking Slater and Gordon. Shares in the law firm, now talking with its banks about reorganising its debt, took another hammering today. Its shares lost more than 45% to $0.315.

5. The future of cannabis. Shares in MMJ PhytoTech dropped sharply after the medical cannabis company announced a first half loss and a successful $5 million equity capital raising. Its shares lost 11.7% to close at $0.30.

6. Announcement coming. Pure play online retailer Shoply has gone into a trading halt after it posted another loss, this time $1.69 million for the six months to December.

7. The party spreads. Sydney-based incubator Pollenizer is opening up shop in the Philippines and Melbourne.

8. The housing market. Property prices outside of Sydney and Melbourne are starting to heat up.

9. Talk of tax reform. Australian consumer sentiment fell heavily last week, wiping out the gains seen in the previous three weeks.

10. Kim Dotcom’s party mansion is available. The house where New Zealand-based entrepreneur Kim Dotcom held some epic parties, and was also arrested, is up for sale.

11. And Australia’s most expensive shed. A beach shed in Victoria is expected to sell for $700,000.

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