ASX ENDS THE WEEK AHEAD DESPITE IRON ORE CRUNCH: Here's what you need to know

A fan waits for players during a North Melbourne Kangaroos AFL training session in Melbourne. Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Australian stocks fell today but ended the shortened trading week slightly ahead.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX 200: 5,889.90 -44.06 -0.74%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,925.90 -43.02 -0.72%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7592 +0.0069 +0.92%

The ASX200 closed the week ahead by 0.4%, its three day run in the Easter trading week cut down by sliding mining shares.

The local market was hit by a global fall in iron ore prices which followed a drop in steel prices with the demand outlook in China weakening.

The big miners and the iron ore specialists were sold down. BHP lost almost 4% to close at $24.31 and Rio Tinto 4.4% to $59.15.

The pure-play iron ore producer Fortescue Metals dropped 6.7% to $5.50. Bluescope Steel lost 7.9% to close at $11.37.

The banks also lost weight. The ANZ was down 0.7% to $31.90 and the Commonwealth 0.5% to $86.25.

Top stories:

1. The jobs report for March smashed expectations. According to the ABS, employment increased by a massive 60,900 in seasonally adjusted terms, easily surpassing the 20,000 increase expected by economists.

2. We’re work tragics. A survey finds that about two-thirds nof us check our work email on weekends.

3. Global hedge fund activists are starting to like what they see in Australia. Credit Suisse analysts have just identified a group of Australian companies ripe for activists.

4. Many will have a problem when interest rates rise. The RBA says the data suggests that one-third of home loan borrowers have either no accrued buffer or a buffer of less than one month’s repayments.

5. Demand for casual workers is booming. According jobs website Seek, ads for casual and vacation roles rose by 19% over the past year, far outpacing a 5% lift in full-time job ads.

6. The mystery of a NSW farming area living on negative income. The latest ATO statistics show postcode 2387 with an average taxable income of -$8,832 in the 2014-15 financial year.

7. New apartments now outnumber houses. Australia has passed another property benchmark with the completion of new units now exceeding new houses for the first time.

8. Fangs “longer than a tiger snake”. A new species of funnel web spider has been found in Tasmania.

9. The Australian designer with a $250,000 crowdfunding page to pay medical bills. Ksubi jeans co-founder Dan Single has removed the page after criticism from “donors” on how self-absorbed the request was.

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