AUSTRALIAN STOCKS CHARGE HIGHER: What you need to know

A life-size elephant puppet, built by the creators of War Horse, at the Sydney Opera House. Don Arnold/WireImage

Australian stocks closed higher for the second day this week.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,591.10 +29.02 +0.52%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,640.00 +27.17 +0.48%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7256 +0.0009 +0.12%

The local market nudged through the 5600 barrier on the ASX200, a point not seen since August 1, but slipped back again at the close.

The ASX200 is up about 1% in the last two days and 1.6% so far this month.

Today the big miners and energy stocks suffered but the banks gained ground.

BHP was down 0.7% to $24.91 and Woodside Petroleum 0.5% to $30.94.

The NAB was up 1% to $30.40 and Westpac 0.5% to $32.49.

Capitol Health Limited shares jumped after the federal government delayed planned cuts to bulk-billing for diagnostic imaging. The shares closed 13% higher at $0.13.

A ratings upgrade for Fortescue Metals wasn’t enough to save the iron ore miner from a slump. The shares closed down 1% to $5.94.

The top stories:

1. Australia’s investor fear gauge has fallen to a 2-year low. If you’re not expecting much volatility in Australia’s stock market over the next few weeks, you’re not alone.

2. The most expensive places to buy a home. The suburbs in Australia with the highest median house and unit values.

3. The RBA signalled the bar for rate cuts is moving higher. Deep within the minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s December monetary policy meeting is a section entitled “considerations for monetary policy”.

4. Scott Morrison’s mid year budget update. Goldman Sachs believes conservative assumptions, including downgrades to the economic outlook and change in approach to commodity price forecasting, are part of a smart political strategy.

5. BT Investment shares hit. Credit Suisse downgraded BT Investment to Underperform from Neutral. The shares lost almost 5% to close at $10.55.

6. Sydney Airport says it needs more time to plan for Badgerys Creek. The airport today received a formal offer to develop and operate a second airport in the city’s west. Its shares were down 2% to $6.40.

7. Domino’s is the only fast food chain winning over millennials. Roy Morgan’s looks at the trends in fast food.

8. A new theory about where MH370 can be found, just as the search is due to end. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau thinks we’re looking in the wrong place for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight.

9. Rolls-Royce just made their cars even bespokier to appeal to younger owners. If you think Rolls-Royce is the transport of choice for elderly billionaires, your chauffeur has the wrong end of the steering wheel.

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