ASX POSTS ITS BIGGEST GAIN IN 4 MONTHS: Here's what you need to know

The Ariane 5 rocket lifts off from the European Spaceport in French Guiana. JODY AMIET/AFP/Getty Images

Australian stocks rallied to their best one-day gain this year.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX 200: 5,821.20 +74.50 +1.30%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,860.40 +71.17 +1.23%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7611 -0.0006 -0.08%

The local market defied a weak Wall Street where blue chip shares fell overnight, leaving the S&P500 down 0.1%.

The ASX200 hit a new high for 2017 and was above the 5816 point close two years ago but below the intraday high of 5833 in February this year.

The major banks led the way with the Commonwealth 2.2% higher at $85.26, Westpac 2% at $34.70, the NAB 1.9% to $32.84 and the NAB 1.5% to $31.94.

BHP added almost 1.5% to $23.90 and Rio Tinto 1.5% to $59.93.

Myer fell 5% to $1.195 after yesterday rallying 18% after a large parcel of shares of the retailer changed hands. No word yet on who the 10% mystery buyer is.

Hotel operator Mantra was up 12.6% to $2.93 after reports of a potential takeover. The company, however, said it wasn’t in any talks.

Sandalwood producer Quintis was up 13.6% to $1.25 after managing director Frank Wilson resigned to partner with an unnamed international group to make an offer for the company.

The top stories:

1. Cyclone Debbie makes landfall. Smashes into north Queensland with gusts over 260km/h. Also read: The coal facilities facing a direct hit. And: See the photos.

2. The Google tax has been approved. A 40% tax on multinational companies using overseas havens to avoid paying tax in Australia has been passed by the Senate.

3. Lifespot Health joins the medicinal cannabis party. The company says it is looking at using its BodyTel platform to monitor medicinal cannabis use in patients. Its shares clsoed down 1.79% to $0.275.

4. Overly sensitive wind farms. An investigation into a major blackout in South Australia six months ago has found that technical issues led to the network’s breakdown.

5. Profits tank at Oroton. Weak post-Christmas sales are partly to blame. Its shares lost 1.9% to close at $1.54.

6. A plane that will fly from Sydney to LA in seven hours. A startup developing the supersonic airplane has secured $US33 million ($AU43.3 million) in series A funding.

7. Jamie Oliver now has control of his Australian restaurant chain. The British celebrity chef has bought back the farm.

8. The Australian Navy’s two new $1.5 billion ships are out of action. HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide are stranded in Sydney with engine problems.

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